Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oh, Jada

It’s the Oscars this weekend and Jada Pinkett Smith won’t be there. She’s boycotting them, remember?

Oh, Jada.  I understand what you’re saying, but at the same time, I don’t understand what you’re saying.

You see Jada, award shows are silly. There, I said it. And to bitch about them, regardless of the well intentioned political reason, is even sillier. And boycotting them? Yeah, umm…I’m all for that…but not in the rebellious politician-esque way that you seem to be going about it. My version of a boycott involves sweatpants, a pina colada, a good book and a non-publicized commitment to avoid television on award show night. Easy peasy.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. Being appreciated for a job well done is…well…nice. And your quest for equality is admirable. But saying anything remotely serious or political instantly loses its value in the ridiculousity that is an awards show event. I mean, think about it. An awards show put together to congratulate people who work a few months out of the year on a movie? The anticipation of the red carpet, the Neil Lane jewelry on loan, the signature Christian Louboutin heels – all to see which of the beautiful people of Hollywood will get to take home a statue of a little gold naked man? Are you understanding just how trivial this all is to your plight, Jada?

The thing is this- like the woman you spoke of in your brilliant motherhood interview last month, I have found balance in my life.  Like you, I am a working mom. I work months at a time on any given project. My co-workers and I slog through the night into the next day. And when one project ends, another begins. My co-workers are very diverse-Black, White, Hispanic, Indian, Asian. And when we do our job well, if we’re lucky, we all get an email from our boss saying thank you. That’s it. When our projects end, we don’t take a month’s hiatus and chill in St. Bart’s with our friends and family. 

When we are overworked, stressed out and exhausted, we don’t take a break at some glorious rehab retreat. And we certainly do not show up in gowns and tuxedos to accept awards, much less bitch about why the Indian dude didn’t get a nomination for his contribution to our project.
You see Jada, we live in the real world. We toil away with people who are overworked and underpaid, who might be overlooked for their race or socioeconomic status. Some of us deserve rewards, bonuses or perks, and some of us don’t. But we press on because we all know that life is not always going to be fair. We don’t boycott our company for giving a bonus to people who we don’t think deserve it. Because as you said in your interview, “It’s all relative.  It’s very difficult to look at something and say, ‘That’s right.  That’s wrong.’ Because you don’t know.”  

While it may not be as glamorous as your career, my job empowers me to know the difference between bitching about something minor and standing up for something significant. And I think that we both know that no one actually gives a rat’s ass about who gets to bring home the naked man statue. No one actually can relate to the “hard work” of actors pretending to be someone else for a few months out of the year. The reality is that the only one who remembers the award is the person who holds it. Everyone else moves on and tries to find their satisfaction with the role they play in their own lives. Most people don’t need a statue (or even a nomination to obtain a statue) to measure their worth. You see, finding true happiness in what you do without needing the recognition for it…well…that’s the real prize.

So, my sweet Jada, my unsolicited advice to you is to keep being relatable, because that beautiful interview, along with the setting you chose, was important. When you make a strong statement such as the one you gave in your interview, bask in it. Don’t say anything else because, as you’ve seen, your beautiful words were forgotten and replaced with something completely irrelevant. You see, you have a platform. So, I beg of you to use it wisely. And I, in turn, promise that, although I may be in my sweatpants, I will be attentively listening to every single word.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on February 28, 2016.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The New Type of "Party"

I just so happen to have gone to a university that almost always makes an appearance on the yearly Top Ten Party School list. So, you can imagine my confusion about the fact that I have been invited to more parties in the last few years than I was in my entire college career. 

Now, let me start by saying that I am not really a social butterfly. So, you might be confused by my adulthood popularity. Let me put your confusion to rest. The parties that I have been invited to are not the “keg-stand-dance-until- 4am-wake-up-in-a-frat-house- with-lipstick-smeared-on-your-head” kind of parties. The parties (and I use the word “party” very lightly) I have been invited to are, in my opinion, quite ridiculous. 

Here is a list of just a few of the invites I have received:  Pampered Chef Food Extravaganza, Origami Owl Jewelry Party, Scentsy Candle Party, Princess House Kitchenware Party, Jamberry Nail Party, 3D Eyelash Party and, of course, the “Bad Girl” Sex Toy Party. 

I honestly would love to wave my “you go girl” flag high in support of the women who host these parties. But the truth is that, for countless reasons, I despise everything that goes along with this type of get together. First and foremost, I am introvert, hear me roar! The last thing on Earth I would ever want to be is stuck in a room full of unfamiliar women talking about a product I simply don’t give a shit about.

Secondly, when did a woman’s idea of a “party” turn into having friends and family sit in her home for a demonstration which will reveal something that each and every person in that room will feel obligated to buy? Not to mention, since most of these items are almost always severely overpriced, do these hosts really feel good about guilting people they care about into buying something they can probably get on Amazon for half the price? In my opinion, these “parties” are better suited for enemies, rather than friends.

Which brings me to my final point- the word “party” should be given some respect. I realize that I’m an adult now, and keg stands are no longer to be expected at any event that requires an RSVP. However, if you really wanted to host a “party”, can’t it be done without hinting to your guests that they should bring their credit cards? In case it has been forgotten, parties are times of celebration, times to feel unencumbered, to relax and let your guard down. Parties are not the time to worry if you will bounce a check for buying an ugly fifty dollar candle so your acquaintance (aka party host) won’t unfriend you on Facebook. 

With that said, if you still feel the absolute need to convert the personal gesture of a party invite into a business transaction, please don’t be offended when I try to inject a little bit of fun into your party by bringing my own beer pong table and announcing that the loser has to buy something from your catalog. You see, a small bit of the party girl in me still exists. And she doesn’t need Tupperware to have a good time.

*This piece was published on BLUNTmoms on February 10, 2016.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Five People You Meet At Disney World

Last week, my daughter’s third grade class went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I was lucky enough to tag along. The childlike excitement fluttering in my heart upon walking into the park, even as an adult who has been to Disney numerous times, is still magical for me.

But alas, there are some occurrences that even Disney cannot control. You see, once inside those beautiful gates, some of the magic may be zapped out of your experience by incidents that have nothing to do with Disney, and everything to do with the people who are joining you on your park adventure.

So, without further ado, I give you the five people you will meet in Disney.

  1. The “stop-walking-in-the-midst-of-a-crowd” people (SWMCP): Unfortunately, SWMCPs are an abundant population in Disney who unknowingly cause twenty people pile ups when they abruptly stop walking to do something mundane like look at a map or tie their shoes. There is no avoiding them, so if you don’t have quick reflexes, you can either opt to get angry or just keep swimming.  *If you happen to be one of these people, and you just have to stop to have a discussion with your toddler, find something in your purse, or take your nineteenth selfie of the day, don’t be surprised if I nudge you over to the side where you belong.  
  2. The “incessant-picture-taker” people (IPTP): In addition to constant selfies in popular parts of the park, IPTPs take it one step further.  You know that long ass line for the women’s restroom?  Well, it just got longer because the IPTPs want to document their trip by snapping pics of themselves making duck faces into the mirrors in the Disney bathrooms. You know that table you’ve been waiting an hour for at the Rainforest CafĂ© in Disney Springs?  Well, you’ll need to wait ten minutes more because the IPTPs have asked the waiter to take a picture of their group…for the fifth time.  Just like the SWMCPs, there is no avoiding them.  *If you are one of these people, we get it.  You went to Disney.  But next time, could you try putting your camera away when my daughter is doing the pee-pee dance behind you? 
  3. The “taking-way-too-long-to-take-pictures” people (TWTLP):  Taking pictures is naturally something that will happen nonstop in a Disney park.  However, the TWTLPs not only take an absurd amount of photos, but they also take their sweet time when actually taking the picture.  With TWTLPs, you can try your best to skirt around them or if you’re really patient, you can wait it out. *Just a note of caution to the TWTLPs that may come across my family at a Disney park- if you can’t get your shit together and take the damn picture before the sun goes down, expect my big fat head in the upper corner of your shot.  My daughters and I have become photobomb masters. You have been warned.
  4. The “take-up-the-entire-pathway” people (TEPP): Somehow, in Disney, it is possible for a family of four to block an entire roadway. We understand that everyone is in awe of the artistry that goes into these parks, and it is sometimes hard to keep a family together.  But unless Mickey is personally giving you and your family a piggyback ride straight past the TEPPs, it is no easy task to maneuver in or around their family structure. This especially goes for families traveling with multiple strollers.  Now, I know what it’s like to travel with a stroller, and those Disney strollers are enormous and hard to operate.  But for the love of God, share the road, people!
  5. “Non-smiley” people (NSP): One would think that there would be an abundance of joy emanating from the faces of those in attendance at the happiest place on Earth.  This is oddly not the case.  Other than Disney employees, smiles are hard to come by in Disney parks.  A friend of mine once challenged me to a game of “count-how-many-people-are-smiling” while we strolled around the parks.  Instead of smiles, we came across toddlers shrieking, moms yelling, older kids completely frustrated or distracted by their phones, and Dads probably wishing they knew the score of whatever game they were missing in order to give their families a spectacular Disney vacation. Regardless, don’t let the NSPs drag you down!  Be unique and trust that a simple smile is all that it takes to refocus your energy on the fun that lies ahead.

By now, we’ve learned how astonishing it is to witness just how quickly people lose all consideration for every other human being the moment they walk into a park.  But the moral of the story is to try not to blame Disney for the momentary lapses in judgement that the people in their parks frequently exhibit.  Disney is amazingly beautiful in every way possible.  And maybe that beauty causes people, who otherwise would be able to think clearly, to replace their normal thought process with the same helium that fills those adorable Mickey ear balloons that line Main Street, USA.

Despite my encounters with all five of the people everyone meets in Disney, I’ve found that focusing on my family, on our smiles, and on the marvels that each park has to offer always helps me remember why I chose to visit Disney in the first place.