Daily Prompt 6/9/2016 | Then and Now

So… have I changed much? Not really, no.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/9/2016 | Transformation

Hello, friends! I was inspired by today’s daily prompt, as well as it being Throwback Thursday, to delve into the depths of my Facebook profile, all the way back to 2007, in search of my first ever profile picture. I thought it would be a good time to reflect on who I was when I joined the social networking site (not so much social networking as a whole, since I was a pretty hardcore MySpace user back in the day), and compare it with who I am today. I’ve compiled a list of questions to answer about who I was then, and who I am now.

Feel free to copy and paste these, or add your own, and post them on your blog! I had a lot of fun trying to remember things from my high school years!

THEN: 2007
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(Holy MySpace angles, Batman!)

1) How old are you?
17 years old.

2) Where was this picture taken?
On my front porch, minutes before I left for my senior photo shoot… not sure why I chose this extreme angle.

3) What is your hair color?
Brown and red.

4) Do you dye your hair?
Quite frequently actually.

5) Do you wear makeup?
Not really. I did the year before, and it looked awful all the time. I think I wore mascara and lip gloss sometimes, and that’s it.

6) What is your favorite color?
Green!

7) What is your favorite book?
Hm. Probably Crank  or Burned by Ellen Hopkins, though I was still pretty smitten with the Harry Potter series, which had just come to an end the summer before.

8) What is your favorite movie?
Pan’s Labyrinth.

9) What is your favorite band?
Breaking Benjamin and 30 Seconds to Mars!

10) What is your favorite song?
“Becoming the Bull” by Atreyu, or “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park.

11) Do you have any pets?
I had a cat named Napkin.

12) What is your best friend’s name?
My then-boyfriend, Matt.

13) What is your favorite food?
Chop Suey… or anything chocolate.

14) What is your ringtone?
I had just gotten my first cell phone, and all I had to choose from were the crappy pre-set ringtones. Ew.

15) What does a typical weekend look like for you?
Oh, you know, hardcore partying… with my online friends… in World of Warcraft…

16) What is your most visited website?
Probably MySpace, but I was starting to get into Facebook. I also went on eBaum’s World a lot.

17) Do you have any nicknames?
Jan Jan, and Jan. I also went by my WoW name… Zul.

18) What is your biggest fear?
Graduating and having no idea what to do with my life.

19) What is your biggest insecurity?
I was actually pretty confident at this point in my life. I had lost a lot of weight, stopped wearing makeup, and was preparing to graduate. I was insecure about my intelligence more than anything.

20) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in Psychology, living with my boyfriend, Matt, in a nice house, with a picket fence, and a dog. You get the idea.

NOW: 2016
13239920_10206476000078274_8685172509188265663_n (1)
(Yeah, that’s definitely a better angle, Jan. Good job.)

1) How old are you?
26 years old.

2) Where was this picture taken?
In the passenger seat of our car, where I take most of my selfies these days. Best lighting!

3) What is your hair color?
Brown and blonde.

4) Do you dye your hair?
This was the first time I had dyed my hair in over two years, and I went to a salon, instead of doing it myself, and it came out so terrible.

5) Do you wear makeup?
Sometimes. I’m wearing more makeup in this picture than I normally would, as we were going somewhere. I am content with leaving the house with no makeup on, but I do like wearing foundation, since, you know, I still have the same acne I did 7 years ago. And 10 years ago.

6) What is your favorite color?
Still green! Although I am fond of teal as well.

7) What is your favorite book?
I haven’t read a book in far too long. My life consists of baby and toddler books these days. Still Harry Potter, probably.

8) What is your favorite movie?
Mirrormask, Guardians of the Galaxy, and… well, any of the Harry Potter Movies. Duh.

9) What is your favorite band?
I actually don’t have one! I don’t listen to music anymore. I haven’t heard a recent song in… years?

10) What is your favorite song?
… I don’t have one. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

11) Do you have any pets?
I have a fiance, and a toddler, do they count?

12) What is your best friend’s name?
I don’t have one really… I suppose my closest friend is Lindsey. I love her. She is a pretty mermaid.

13) What is your favorite food?
Homemade brown rice bowl with black and red beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, avocado, and sour cream. Mmm. I also really love chocolate.

14) What is your ringtone?
I haven’t taken my phone off of silent since I bought it 2 years ago. Literally.

15) What does a typical weekend look like for you?
The same as a typical week really. Wake up with my son, and spend my day reading books, building block towers, digging toys out of the trash, having company while I pee, and maybe going for a walk to the park. I’m living on the edge, baby!

16) What is your most visited website?
Definitely Twitter.

17) Do you have any nicknames?
My mom calls me J, though I’m not sure why. Most people call me Jan.

18) What is your biggest fear?
Being unhappy. Losing my son.

19) What is your biggest insecurity?
My body. Everything about my physical appearance.

20) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully living in a house, with two little ones, married to my fiance, with a dog. Oh, and if I could have won the lottery by that point, that would be great.

So… have I changed much? Not really, no. I have all of the same values, morals, and beliefs as I did, and I’ve managed to stay pretty true to who I am as a person, though I am much more boring these days. My plans for myself, however, have gone to shit, and I feel like my 17-year-old self would be quite surprised to see where I am in life. The only thing that managed to stay on track was my reproductive plans. Seriously. I planned to have my first child at 24, and that is exactly what I did.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Never Feed the Fucking Trolls

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

WARNING: Strong language.

Hello, friends. I have a general rule for myself when it comes to dealing with internet trolls: DO NOT interact with them. Don’t. Just don’t do it. Lately, I have been having a hard time abiding by this rule. With the current state of politics and the presidential race, as well as the women’s rights movement (International Women’s Day was just a few days ago), various LGBT rights movements, and other pro-equality movements going on, our nation has become a nation divided in the ugliest of ways. I am very upfront with my political and moral views, and most of you know than I am an Agnostic Atheist, who believes in equality for everyone. I am not only an LGBT ally, but also a Pansexual woman, and member of the community. I am also a feminist, and a Liberal. I don’t really care if you dislike me for those reasons, because your close-mindedness does not effect me, and I don’t want you in my life if you choose to judge me based on those facts. For just these reasons alone, I have been judged very critically by complete strangers who know absolutely nothing about me, and who throw wild generalizations at me, and that isn’t fair.

I have been called everything from a libtard, feminazi, fag lover, and so much more… all because I believe in basic, human rights and equality for everyone, which apparently, is an awful thing. Who knew?

For the last several days, I have been engaged in a handful of online comment wars, spanning across Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Sometimes, I am guilty of being a bit of an instigator, but more often than not, I simply voiced my appreciation on a topic. I am not a troll. I do not scour the web in search of things that I wholly disagree with with every fiber of my being, just to jump into the comment section and spew ignorance and hatred on the subject. I also rarely skim through comments in search of someone who supports said topic, just to call them names and trash their opinions. I don’t make a habit of fucking attacking people on a personal level just because I disagree with something they say on the internet.

Apparently, I am a minority when it comes to this sort of behavior, because people online are fucking assholes. Shocking, I know!

Recently, an LGBT/equality page that I follow on Facebook posted the following picture:

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This graphic was posted on International Women’s Day, and while it did received a ton of praise from the LGBT community and its allies, it also received a lot of backlash from a lot of people who knew very little on the subject, and really had nothing of value to input other than “Fuck Caitlyn Jenner!” or “Until you’ve had a child you’re not REALLY a woman.”, both of which have nothing to do with what was said. The latter isn’t even a correct statement.

I posted the following two comments beneath the photo:

comments

Both comments received more positive feedback than negative, but there were a few people that had apparently just had a bad day, and wanted to tear everyone on this page apart for no reason. There were even a few commenters that were clearly fake accounts, created for the sole purpose of trying to hurt other people who disagreed with their views. Others had nothing of value to say other than calling me ridiculous names, or paraphrasing the Bible in all caps, WHICH AS WE ALL KNOW MAKES YOU SOUND SO MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT.

Why? WHY? What could you possibly get out of doing something like that? You are about as unlikely to change my way of thinking as I am to change yours, and that’s why I don’t waste my fucking time.

On a day that was for celebrating ALL women, there were feminists who wanted nothing more than to point out how they felt that trans women weren’t women, and gave them no support at all. There were civil rights activists, and #BlackLivesMatter activists, talking about how trans people, as well as the LGBT community in general, did not deserve rights, let alone to be recognized in a holiday. This lead me into several, one-sided, heated “debates” (I can’t even really call them that, because only one side had anything logical to contribute) across all of my social media platforms, that I let get to me. I couldn’t stop.

I let these trolling, immature, ignorant, terrible people get to me. I broke my own rule. And boy, did it get me fired up.

How can people actually think like that? It is 2016! How can you still have so much hate in your heart that you think it is okay to hurt people like that? I’m not even a member of the trans community, but as a woman who has struggled with her sexual identity for many years, I can certainly tell you how hard it is to KNOW that you one thing, but have everyone around you tell you that you aren’t, for a whole list of bullshit reasons. What if you were black, and people told you that you weren’t black enough, because of your eye or hair color? Telling you that you weren’t what you KNEW you were, what you were meant to be, because you didn’t look like it on the outside? That would hurt. You would be stuck feeling like you don’t belong on either side of the tracks, and it would tear you apart.

No one deserves to feel that way.

There are people who use sources like the Bible to back up their behavior, thinking that they are doing their god’s work in tearing down and hurting these people, because they disagree with how they live their lives, and that is WRONG. But even more wrong are the people who have absolutely no reason to hate these people, and choose to anyway.

Hatred is a choice.
Sexuality, gender dysphoria, and race are not.

If you want equality for women, or African Americans, or Latinos, but not for your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, then you want privilege. Not equality. Those are not the same thing.

PSA: Just because something is not YOUR problem, does not mean it is not an important problem for others.

I’m so done. Back to my happy place.

Jan

[Just now, as I finish writing this, I am reading the comments beneath Ingrid Nilsen’s latest video on public bathrooms and gender identity, and it is honestly making me want to scream and rip my hair out. I fucking hate people.]

Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/21/2016 | The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.”

In June of 2008, I graduated high school. In the months prior to my graduation, I struggled with deciding where I wanted to go to college. My mom was the only person who ever went to college in my family, and she only went to the local community college, and I felt like that just wasn’t an option for me (no offense at all to anyone who went to community college, I was an ignorant child who thought community college was below me, but now I would be thrilled to be able to attend classes as our local community college). I had had four years of extra help, tutoring, advanced classes, and college tours, thanks to the Upward Bound program, but I still struggled. I think, deep down, I felt like I didn’t belong in the area that I grew up in. I had applied to many good schools in the area, and had gotten accepted into all of them, but I wanted something more.

During this time, I was dating a great guy named Matt, who I wrote about a bit here. Matt lived in Missouri, I lived in Maine, and we had met online. Matt was determined to go to school in Canada, so we applied to the same schools, and I ended up getting accepted to the Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Grenfell Campus. After springing this information on my mother, and packing my life up, I left for Canada, leaving everything behind, and changing my life entirely.

But what if I hadn’t?

What if Matt and I had stayed in a long distance relationship, or even went our separate ways, and I attended one of the several universities in Maine that I had been accepted into? Let’s talk about The University of Maine Farmington, for example. This is an excellent school, as well as my top choice school that I applied to, for local schools. Many of my friends from Upward Bound applied, and ended up attending this school. If I had chose to go to UMF, I would have qualified for so much more in financial aide, as well as scholarships, and probably would have been able to stay in school. I would have had more opportunity to make more friends, and become closer to the friends that I knew who went there. I have two good friends that I met in Upward Bound, Barbara and Kat, who both attended UMF, and who I have grown closer to in the last couple years, despite our distance. I would have loved to go to school with them. I would love to have friends that know me, and know where I came from, who I can talk to, face-to-face, and have a good time with. In the 8 years since I left home, I haven’t had that. At all. And it is so lonely.

I love my fiance, and I love my son, and I love our life that we have built… but all of these What If? questions tug at me daily. What if I had stayed in Maine, went to UMF, and had gotten my degree? Would I be married to someone else? Would I be single? Would I have any kids? Would I have a cat or a dog? Would I have started my career? Would I have a house? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing.

Heck, maybe on the day I would have left to go to UMF, I would have crashed, and died, and none of those questions would even matter. Who knows? What I do know, is that I love my life currently, despite financial difficulties, or family drama. I love my life, and I wouldn’t want it to be any different.

This prompt has inspired me to reach out to my old university, to see how much I owe them for tuition, and what my payment options are. I can’t afford to pay anything now, but it will be nice to have a number in my head to work toward.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/11/2016 | Under My Skin

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/11/2016 | Quirk of Habit

“Which quirky habit annoys you the most, and what quirky habit do you love — in yourself, or others.”

Strangely enough, peoples’ various quirks don’t bother me all that much. There are a few things that I would prefer that people refrain from doing around me, but nothing too crazy. I’ve seen people get physically angry at someone smacking their gum, or clicking a pen, or constantly clearing phlegm from their throats (okay, that one is pretty gross though…), but I’m just not one of those people. I’m not perfect, and I know I probably do things that might annoy other peoples, and I’m okay with that.

I do enjoy when people are kind, and do nice things for others, without being given orders to do so. I greatly admire people in the medical community, specifically doctors and nurses, who give up sleep, sanity, and often times family, to help others. I admire volunteers, whether it be once a month at a food kitchen, or every day at an animal shelter. People who sacrifice a little bit from their lives to improve the lives of others. Those people are just wonderful.

So, habits don’t bother me, but I guess you could say certain personalities do. Even certain, tiny aspects of peoples’ personalities. Is that a habit? I actually don’t know. Let me just give you a few examples of things that do get to me, and be warned, this is going to get a bit ranty, and may likely offend someone.

1) When teenage girls refer to a grown man, who is a complete stranger, as “daddy” on the internet, and says things like “fuck me“. I specifically see this on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube, directed at YouTubers, or musicians, etc., and it is SO creepy. Now, I’m no prude, and I’m definitely not going to judge grown men and women who call their partners “mommy” or “daddy“, or any variation of the two, in the bedroom, because that is none of my business. But when a 12-year old girl comments on a 29-year old YouTuber’s Instagram selfie with “OMG daddy fuck me“, I get concerned. Where the hell are the parents? Who is teaching them this? Ugh. That really gets to me. It is just so unhealthy.

Related irks: People who obsessively “ship” two real people, young teenagers writing VERY smutty fanfiction, stalkers.

2) People who blatantly fish for compliments. I’ll be the first to admit that I have low self-esteem, and I know there are many out there who feel the same way about themselves. Recently, on Facebook, a friend of a friend shared an image of a piece of paper that simple said “Share this if your ugly!“. Grammatical error aside, things like this piss me off, because this is 110% for attention. The ONLY reason to post something like this is to get responses like, “Aww, no, you’re beautiful!” but this is the wrong way to do it, and it just irks people, and makes you look insane. The kicker in this situation was that the girl was GORGEOUS, and upon further snooping, I discovered that she is actually a MODEL. Are you joking? No. Just stop.

3) People who constantly butt into other peoples’ issues and problems. As many of you know, we recently had to deal with some stupid, family drama surrounding the Dodge Journey that we received from Kyle’s aunt. Well, as of last night, we got a new car (that gorgeous Lincoln LS), and Kyle’s mom took the Journey off our hands to use as a second vehicle. But just a few days prior, our drama reached a boiling point, when Kyle’s grandmother poked her nose into a matter that did not concern her, and tried to play middle woman, but ended up twisting everything that Kyle said, passing along false information (lies), and ultimately made the whole situation 10000% worse. In the end, Kyle ended up blocking his grandmother, and both of his aunts, and we most likely won’t be attending Christmas this year. Ugh. If a problem has nothing to do with you, then leave it alone. If it is not directly affecting your life, then butt out, and let the other parties sort it out.

And now… the big one. I’ll apologize ahead of time. Sorry.

4) I’m not religious, but I am also not disrespectful towards people tho choose to believe in what they believe in, as long as they are not forcing those beliefs on others in order to control them and their lives. We’re all living on this planet together, and life is too short to hate on someone for believing in something different. With that being said, one of the things that bothers me more than ANYTHING else, is people who use the Bible to justify their hatred of something, i.e. homosexuality, but cherry-pick through the rest of the sins, simply because they want to do them. You all know what I’m talking about. Saying that you hate homosexuality because it is an abomination, because the Bible says so, but being guilty of ANY of the following, makes you a hypocrite:

Divorce/Adultery.
Love of money.
Any of the following dietary abominations: eating shellfish, eating many kinds of birds, eating anything that has many legs, or stands on four legs, and eating and touching PORK!
A woman wearing PANTS.
LYING, guys. That’s a big one!
Arrogance.
Blatantly ignoring the law.
Wearing mixed fabrics.

Getting a HAIRCUT, or shaving your beard.

So, if you’ve done any of those things, which I know you have, guess what? Those are all considered just as sinful as homosexuality. Those are abominations, according to the book that you quote from, to prevent two people who love each other from getting married, or living happily. You can’t pick and choose what things to be an asshole about, just because you like to eat shrimp, and think that two men kissing is icky, or unnatural. Guess what? There are over 1,500 species of animals that display homosexual behavior, and many of these species are older than the human race. You can’t get any more natural than nature, folks. So, I’m sorry, but that just isn’t how it works.

Now, if I remember anything from my time in the Brownies, I seem to recall that the original book was written with no punctuation, and was completely open to interpretation, and has changed so many times throughout the years, to fit the specific beliefs of whomever was interpreting it. If this is correct, then couldn’t it be possible that many of these things, as well as homosexuality, were not originally meant to be labelled as abominations, but the words were misinterpreted as such? Just something to consider.

As I said before, I personally don’t believe in any of this. I lead a life free of religion. I do believe that, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, or infringing on someone’s legal and human rights, then everyone deserves to be happy. But you need to understand that there are so many religions that are practiced on this earth, and not everyone believes in yours, and they all have different rules, which are open to interpretation, and we are all live vastly different lives, and just accept that. Stop thinking that just because someone chooses to believe differently, or acknowledge different things, that you and your beliefs are being threatened. Relax, folks. I do apologize if this offended anyone, but if it did, then maybe you have some things you need to think about?

Anyway, I’m done. Those are some of the big ones for me. I’m not trying to start a debate in the comments, or attack anyone’s beliefs, I’m just trying to tell you things how I see and interpret them.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | Starved Rock

“Describe your favorite place using all five senses.”

In Starved Rock State Park
Trails wind to the top of bluffs
Or into canyons.

Coarse, wooden railings
Line the rugged hiking trails
Causing splintered palms.

The wind blows through trees
Creating songs in the leaves
Calling you outdoors.

The waterfall mist
Mixes with the taste of air
So crisp on my tongue.

Water, earth, and green
Combine into aromas
Revitalizing.