Its_a_girlWe’ve all see it by now, the glorious pictures of the beautiful, dare I say radiant, Duchess of Cambridge standing on the steps of the hospital next to her beaming husband, the future King of England, a mere few hours after giving birth to the angelic Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana.

Kate, markedly unlike most of the rest of us, is a glow of post-partum perfection in her little yellow dress, with her long, dark, perfectly coiffed tresses blowing in the breeze.

How Dare Kate Be Prettier

And what have I been reading all over the internet? Bitterness. Lots and lots of snarky female bitterness.

Here’s some quotes about Kate taken directly from my Facebook feed:

“I sure didn’t look like that after I had a baby!”

“How gross!”

“How sad!”

“How pathetic.”

“Poor thing.”

Pictures of “real” women just hours after birth have been filling up my Facebook feed reminding all of us that yet another woman has gone and made the rest of us feel shitty about ourselves by daring to be who she is.

How dare she!

While I get that it doesn’t seem fair that Kate has a full staff of attendants at the ready to make sure that nary a hair is ever out of place, I am appalled at the backlash against her as though she has somehow betrayed our gender by showing up the rest of us.

Which leads me to one of my ever-constant thoughts about women:

WHY IS EVERY FUCKING THING WE DO A COMPETITION?

and even more disturbing to me:

Why do we take another woman’s success as a personal attack and a personal failure?

Why Does Kate Make Other Women Feel Insecure?

Kate’s ability to look positively stunning only a few hours after birthing her second child says exactly nothing about you or me. That’s her, and good for her. It has nothing to do with us.  Why do we need to take away from her to feel better about ourselves? Why do we even make it about us? Why can’t we just be glad for her good fortune, admire the things about her that are admirable, and GET ON WITH OUR OWN FUCKING LIVES?

I’ve spent a lot of the past couple of years pondering why women do this to each other. Because I don’t think it’s benign. It’s a symptom of the deep sickness within our gender that we need to face and fix if we’re ever going to grow the hell up and get on with the serious business of saving our planet.

One comment I read that really struck me is that Kate needs to “dial that shit back” because she’s “making strangers want to slap [her]”. Why? Why does she need to dial it back? For whom? What is it about her visible perfection that makes the rest of us want to slap her?

Do men ever feel this way? If they do, they certainly keep it to themselves.

brad-pitt-absFor the movie, Troy, Brad Pitt achieved a level of physical perfection that probably bested even the mythical Achilles. Sometimes, for no reason at all, I pop Troy into the DVD player and watch it with the sound off just so I can admire his god-like beauty. But when that movie came out I didn’t see one article anywhere written by a man calling for Pitt to “dial that shit back” because he was making other men want to slap him.

Men flocked to see the perfectly computer-enhanced Gerard Butler meet his historic defeat at the hands of the Persians in 300 and didn’t feel the need to take up arms on the internet demanding that all that photoshopping of Butler’s abs be removed because (boo-effing-hoo!) it was setting an unrealistic standard of beauty for men that was affecting the self-esteem of boys.Gerard-Butler-abs

Old Spice hasn’t launched a campaign of masculine beauty, and I’ve yet to see some Instagram photo of a guy with a bloated beer belly go viral because FINALLY we’re getting to see what a real man looks like.

Yeah, you can say that it’s because men aren’t judged on their looks that we don’t see that crap, but I say it is deeper than that, and that if anyone is to blame for this bullshit it’s us women. If we want this competition that we all feel we’re in with other women to stop we’re the ones who need to dial this shit back.

Competition and the Biology of Women’s Survival

Human beings are extremely competitive. As a species we’ve competed against every other organism on the planet, and so far we’re winning. But we’re also in a life and death struggle against each other. While men have been busy competing against other men, wild creatures, and the forces of nature for their survival; women’s competition has had a very narrow focus. Specifically, we compete against other women for what we’ve rightly perceived as our single most valuable resource: MEN.

Biologically, a woman’s ability to get and hold onto a man of substance was (and still by and large is) her best chance for ensuring her survival and the survival of her offspring. One reason women haven’t been as successful in business and politics as men is because women aren’t programmed to compete in the same way men are.

Men are programmed to win; women are programmed to defeat other women.

Women and Other Women

But, and this is incredibly important for survival, biologically, women cannot afford to alienate other women while at the same time defeating them. That’s why we’re so damned sneaky about the competition and pretend it isn’t happening. Because, as dependent as we are upon men, we’re as–if not more–dependent upon other women for our survival and the survival of our children.

It’s critical to her survival for a woman to win a man who will protect and feed her and her children, but a woman forced to go pee on her own on the Serengeti is less likely to come back alive than the woman who has friends who like her enough to risk going pee with her. In this way, biology has forced women to develop subtle and manipulative interpersonal techniques that allow them to simultaneously compete against and defeat other women while at the same time winning them as friends.

Kate Middleton smartly won the female competition by marrying the best man in her Kingdom. Biologically, you can’t get any better than the King! But the skills and craft she used to win his heart are the very same things that are geared to make other women hate her guts and want to slap her.

These comments about Kate show the dark underbelly of womanity, and how we’re constantly being forced onto that tight-rope of being perfect enough to win the king, but not too perfect lest the rest of the bitches want to slap us.

Kate Doesn’t Owe You and Me Anything

Had Kate walked out in a house robe and slippers with greasy hair and bags under her eyes maybe some of us would feel better about ourselves, but would Kate have felt good about herself? Should she have sacrificed her own happiness just so the rest of us wouldn’t feel like shit in her shadow? Why do we feel she owes us that? Why are we making her ability to look great about us at all?

This bitter snarkfest shows our underlying feelings that somehow our success depends upon another woman’s failure. This is one reason we women revel in other women’s failures, be they fashion or otherwise. We glory in another woman’s catastrophes because we think it makes us feel better about our own small and meaningless lives. And that’s sick. And we really ought to dial that shit back if we ever want to grow the fuck up.

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not_giving_a_fuckI’ve stopped and started this post dozens of times. Like most of what I “write” today, I imagine the words coming together so beautifully in my head while I’m driving to work, but it all breaks down into nonsensical babbling the minute I find myself sitting in front of my computer. Here’s hoping today it’s different.

It’s been mostly radio silence here on my blog because I mostly haven’t got much that I want to publicly say anymore. How many times can I say, “Damn, that was a stupid decision” and “Whew! I’m glad that shit is over” before I’ve bored even myself to tears? 

How to Make Money Blogging 

In the blogging world, when you don’t write for awhile people forget you. There’s simply too many bloggers vying for our limited time and ever-dwindling attention spans. On WordPress.com alone, every single day tens of thousands of new blogs are launched. Tens of thousands! So if you aren’t constantly out there hustling for your 15 milliseconds of attention you might as well not exist. 

In 2008 I started this blog for one reason and one reason only, I wanted to say “fuck” on the Internet. In fact, I was desperate to say fuck. I’d come to the end of my Suzie Homemaker, good little Christian homeschool mom rope, and it was either kill myself, kill somebody else, or say fuck on the Internet. I chose fuck.

A lot of people didn’t like the “new” me. I was tossed out of one forum where I’d been a long time member, and then I stormed out of another one. And in the process I got myself a little reputation for being hot-headed.

But, just as many people didn’t like where I was going, others did. People who resonated with my new Fuck this Bullshit/Kiss my Ass message called me things like courageous and brave and vulnerable. And the next thing I knew, courageous, brave, vulnerable me set out to make a million dollars blogging!

The only problem is that I haven’t a clue about how to run a business (No worries! There’s plenty of folks out there on the blogging conference circuit who’ll promise you that you don’t need to know a thing about business to be a successful blogger.)

Before too long it was obvious to me that I’d chosen the wrong people to trust. Unfortunately, and this part I take full responsibility for, I didn’t handle it well at all. Instead of dealing with my mistakes head-on, I hid. I crawled into a hole and allowed my anxiety and shame to eat me alive.

And here’s the part where I always quit this post and go do something else that feels a helluva lot better emotionally. But today, just maybe, I’m going to push past this to get to what I’ve learned from all of this.

How to Be Happy

I have learned something from my stint as a professional blogger and not only do I want to share it with my readers, but I want to write it down for myself for when I forget what I’ve learned. So here are the THREE lessons I’ve learned from professional blogging about being happy.

Lesson One: Stop Giving a Fuck About What Other People Think of You

If_you_want_lifelong_friends

Mark Manson wrote a great article a few months back called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”. This piece of writing changed my life. While everyone was telling me to Let it Go, Mark was able to clarify what my real problem was: I give way too many fucks. 

Many people think what’s wrong with me is that I don’t give enough fucks, but there could be nothing further from the truth. In fact, my penchant for fuck-giving is what my enemies used against me so well. They knew that despite my devil-may-care public persona, all they had to do was plant a few nasty rumors among the gullible about how I’m such a diva and a power-tripping attention whore, and next thing you know I would give-a-fuck myself to death.

Oh, but how I wailed and gnashed my teeth in the privacy of my own give-a-fuck hell, “How could people think this of me!?!? Don’t they know what a nice person I am?!?”

See? Way too many fucks.

What Mark taught me is that I need to learn to be much more prudent about my ever-dwindling ration of fucks to give. 

Should I give a fuck about the misinformed opinions of a bunch of strangers who were easily manipulated by false rumors and nasty innuendo manufactured about me all geared to make them feel better about themselves? Hell fucking No! Why would I give a fuck about people I don’t even know?

Should I give a fuck about what some emotionally stunted and terminally jealous women think about me? Hell fucking NO! Why did I give a fuck in the first place about the opinion of people I don’t even like?

Should I give a fuck about some silly, misguided, middle-aged sychophants who think they are going to make a million dollars blogging if only they can kiss enough of the right ass? Hell fucking NO! Above all, I should most definitely not give a fuck about that.

Freeing myself up from a whole bunch of misplaced fuck-giving created space for far more important things, like giving a fuck about what’s really important to me: my husband, my children and grandchildren, and my financial future.

See, what Mark taught me is that the secret to a joyful life worth living isn’t not giving any fucks, but choosing more wisely where I give my fucks. 

Lesson Two: Put Yourself First

This one is tough, especially for Christian women, because people will talk bad about you and call you a bad Christian if you dare put yourself first. That’s why I had to put the not giving a fuck lesson first because you can’t put yourself first until you’ve stopped giving a fuck about what other people think of you. 

“But, Chloe, isn’t putting yourself first selfish?”

Yep. It is. So?

You don’t think Jesus was selfish? I’m sure his disciples before His crucifixion would say he was. They wanted him to run away from the Romans before he got them all killed. They wanted him to stop stirring up so much shit with the Pharisees and getting them tossed out of the synagogue. But, as far as I understand the scriptures, Jesus had his mission, and everybody else could go suck it. 

You have a mission, too. Your job is to go pursue it, whatever that is, and let everybody else go suck it.

Granted, it is likely you have people you love who you want along for your ride. I get that. But your mother was right. The people who really love you will support you, and the people who don’t, won’t. In fact, a good test of a person’s devotion to you is demonstrating your real self to them and watching what they do next. It’s a tough test because you have to be ready for rejection, but it’s the only way to know who loves you and who’s just using you for their own selfish mission. 

Lesson Three: Embrace Failure

Anyone who tells you that achieving your dreams is easy is trying to sell you something. There’s a bazillion dollar cottage industry built upon the notion that all you need to do is “set your intention” and all your dreams will magically come true. But, if you think about it, an intention is nothing more than a wish, and if wishes were fishes…well, you get the point. 

You are going to have to work very hard if you want to create the life you want to live. And, after working your ass off, you are most likely going to face the agonizing heartache of failure at least once, but probably a lot more.

Because of your own misplaced fucks, you are going to trust people who turn out to be untrustworthy. While waiting for people to come along who truly do care about you, you’ll likely be lonely a lot of the time. Over and over again, you are going to pick yourself up, dust your sorry ass off, and do more on any given day than you ever imagined possible if you want to see anything worthwhile happen in your life. 

Creating A Life Worth Living is Serious Business

Chloe_in_Barcelon

My husband and I have a dream. This dream has been forming itself in our minds for three and a half years now, and we’ve had to work very hard to get where we are, and we’re still a long way off.

First, we had to go get some serious marital counseling to deal with some old, and new, wounds. People look at marriage counseling as a failure when it really is one of the best things a couple can do for themselves. 

Next, we had to make some seriously difficult financial decisions which included walking away from our seriously upside-down mortgage. This is the single best financial decision we’ve ever made, but it was humiliating and humbling until we learned to stop giving a fuck about what other people think and started thinking for ourselves.

Then we both had to set about finding ways to make seriously good money. My husband is doing his part, and I’m doing mine.

A year and a half ago I took up travel nursing where I now make in a single day what I used to make in a week. Yes, I work very hard and many long hours, but my eye is firmly on the prize.

And I have the failure of my professional blogging career to thank for all of this. Not a day goes by when I’m not eternally grateful for the heart-breaking failure of Generation Fabulous and the two pathetic people who made it all possible.

My husband and I have had to think outside the box, decide to live unconventionally (thank goodness we don’t give a fuck about what other people think anymore), and put our dreams first in every decision we make (Sorry kids, but you’ll thank us someday when you don’t have to take care of us when we’re in our dotage.)

Where to Next?

My_Dream_Home

In ten short days we close on a gorgeous piece of property with this view where we plan to build our dream home next year. Both my husband and I are working very long hours these days to make our dreams come true. It’s thrilling, it’s exhausting, but our lives are far better now than we ever imagined back in the beginning of 2012 when our journey began in earnest.

What role does blogging have in this future? I don’t know. Maybe some. Maybe none. Other than the fact that I promised AARP I’d write three posts in exchange for flying me to Miami in a couple of weeks to attend the Life@50+ National Event, it doesn’t matter to me anymore.

Life@50+

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I Watched 50 Shades of Grey, and I Liked it. Sort of.

WARNING! SPOILERS! I just got back from seeing 50 Shades of Grey at a multiplex near me. If you don’t want to read spoilers then go away. If you don’t want to read another post about 50 Shades of Grey then go away. Unlike Christian Grey, I give absolutely no fucks (more on that later). […]

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My Daddy was a Soldier

“You’ll know right away whether your daddy is dead or just injured.” “How?” “If he’s dead then they send two men in a car to your house, but if he’s only injured they just send one.” I was seven years old when I rushed home to tell my mother this important news I’d learned on […]

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It’s all in Your Perspective

In honor of 2015, I thought I’d host a little bloghop on the topic: “Your Guiding Word for 2015″. If you want to participate all you gotta do is grab the linky code (yes, that’s what it is called) at the bottom of this post, insert it at the bottom of your post in the […]

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A Year of Grieving Ends

I’ve cried my last tear. I just finished reading Joan Didion’s book, The Year of Magical Thinking. This heart-wrenchingly sad book is about the few days leading up to and the year following Didion’s husband’s sudden death from a massive heart attack while her only child lay in a coma in intensive care. Didion explores […]

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Another War No Woman Can Win

I love irony, specifically this definition by Mirriam-Webster, “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.” Except irony is only amusing if you are in on the joke. See, last week, I received a little known beauty treatment known as “hand […]

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Is Blogging Healthy?

The point of blogging for me has always been that I write something true, because, the way I see it, there’s already enough bullshit on the internet that the world certainly doesn’t need me adding more to it. The problem is that I just don’t know if it’s healthy for me to blog anymore; if […]

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Who Will Pick Up Your Pieces?

It all began when my car broke down in the middle of the night hundreds of miles from home. For those of you just tuning in, I’m a labor and delivery RN, and for the past year I’ve been working as a traveler. A traveler is a nurse who contracts out to the highest bidder […]

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Dear David Cassidy,

I know it seems a bit silly now, some 40 years after the fact, but once upon a time I had a mad crush on you, and I’ve decided that it is high time I tell you. Why now, you ask? Why have I kept this secret, lo, these past 40 years, that, alone in […]

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