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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fiftyshadesofgreyWARNING! 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).

REQUISITE NOD-TO-THE-HATERS DISCLAIMER: This is my REVIEW OF THE MOVIE, not the books. Plenty of haterade has already been served up over how badly the books are written. And all that hating matters exactly not at all. 100 million copies of these terrible books have been sold–something like two books a second during its peak of popularity. And the movie that nobody is going to see because it’s so awful made $85 MILLION dollarinis in its opening weekend.

All of this conspicuous consumption of something that everybody hates means something. What that something means is currently a matter of much public debate, but it means something whether we like it or not. And since so many people don’t like it at all, one is left to wonder if the haters aren’t actually the ones driving the FSoG juggernaut.

Pearl Clutching and the legacy of the Victorian Era

50 Shades of Grey for all its terrible writing stands among some mighty literary/smut giants. Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Fanny Hill, Moll Flanders, Lolita, and The Story of O have all drawn the attention of the pearl-clutchers of their day.

Nobody is surprised when all the religious leaders agree that a movie about sex is not okay, but you know you’ve hit a nerve when even the BDSM community is clutching its pearls by repudiating the notion that 50 Shades reflects the values of their community. Let that sink in for a moment. Both the bishops of the Catholic Church and Professional Dominants think Christian Grey is a bad boyfriend/domme.

It all boils down to consent. The charge against Christian Grey is that he never fully explains his predilection for sadism and the consequences thereof to Ana. She’s an innocent unwittingly drawn into Grey’s sick and twisted sumptuous and well-appointed Red Room of Pain. On Facebook people are coming right out and saying that this movie doesn’t just promote but celebrates something called “the rape culture.” As a feminist, I take that shit seriously. But as a sexual adventurer–within the context of a 30-year monogamous relationship–I wondered if–like almost always--it’s much to do about nothing.

My Movie Experience

I saw FSoG on a whim. I could see the movie theater right across the street from the restaurant when the thought popped into my head, “Hey! It’s my night off; I should go see FSoG.”

I texted my husband to let him know so he wouldn’t worry when I didn’t answer my phone. I laugh when I think that some of the people I know who publicly denounce the relationship between Christian and Ana would be the first to think that I really ought to get my husband’s permission to see this movie. Irony much?

Which brings me to my first real thought about the content of the movie.

Is male dominance anything new?

Is it really the relationship between Ana and Christian that has people so bothered, or is it just the kinky sex that Ana mostly enjoys? Because frankly their relationship is the perfect fantasy lived out loud of every Christian marriage self-help book I’ve ever read.

Give the man all the sex he wants, let him think he’s in charge, and then he’ll marry you and take care of you for the rest of your life.

Ana just has the good sense to play this well-worn game with a billionaire who likes to have sex in thoughtful and unique ways instead of the mostly pieces of crap husbands I see so many women so desperately trying to submit to.

I walked to the theater feeling a bit dirty and wrong. I hadn’t been able to make it through a single trailer for this movie, plus I was worried that I might be letting down my entire gender by tossing in my 8 bucks to support a rape culture.

I actually walked past the theater on my first approach because there were two young men walking towards the theater at the same moment. I didn’t want them to think I was the sort of woman, you know, dowdy, middle-aged, mommy pornish, who had nothing better to do than go see 50 Shades of Grey all by herself. Even if that is the truth I didn’t want anyone else to know. On my second approach these two guys were still standing there talking to each other so I had to decide not to give a fuck and walk inside and buy a ticket.

They followed me inside.

For some reason I really did not want these guys to know I was going to see this movie. It crossed my mind that if they saw me going then maybe they’d think I’d like to get raped afterwards.

But they weren’t going away, so I set my resolve. I kinda whispered to the clerk that I wanted one ticket to FSoG. She repeated back in a voice that I’m sure was heard across the lobby, “ONE TICKET FOR 50 SHADES OF GREY.” for no apparent reason other than to let the two guys behind me know that I was going to see the movie that promotes a rape culture and that after the movie I probably would like to be raped. I cringed inside.

As I walked away with my ticket I heard the two guys say, “Two tickets for 50 Shades of Grey.”

Walking into the theater I immediately realize that I am easily 10 years younger than any other woman there. I sat down behind three women who are older than my mother would be if she was still alive. They are tittering away excitedly, but I’m not so sure I want to watch soft porn with my grandma. A few minutes later a woman my age sits down next to me with a girl who looks like her daughter. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to watch soft porn with my daughter either.

The two young guys make their way in holding their freshly warmed over popcorn followed by a lone gentleman, I kid you not, who looks to be about 90 years old. I realize the universe could not have gathered a more non-erotic crowd if it had tried. All that’s missing is Pee Wee Herman and maybe somebody with a little baby. Fortunately neither of those things happen and the movie starts.

The Movie is Better Than the Book

This may be the first time in history when the movie is better than the book. They changed the part that was hardest for me to swallow where Ana doesn’t own a computer or have an email account. YOU CAN’T GET A COLLEGE DEGREE TODAY WITHOUT A COMPUTER AND A FUCKING EMAIL ACCOUNT! Now her computer is just broken. Other problematic parts have also been either taken out or replaced with more believable scenarios.

We quickly get to the part where Christian and Ana meet. Frankly, at this point in the story I don’t have a clue why Christian Grey falls in love with Anastasia Steele, but it’s easy to see Dakota Johnson’s appeal. Yes, like Bella, she bites her lip a lot, but she has very pretty lips and she bites them with such depth of emotion and sincerity. The same cannot be said for James Dornan’s portrayal of Christian Grey.

Get to the Sex Already!

Was the sex hot? Yes and no.

fifty-shades-greyThe scene where Ana and Christian negotiate the sex slave contract is the hottest in the movie. It’s really only then that you start to see Ana not only an equal to Christian, but possibly the one with the true upper-hand. She plays him like a fiddle.

After getting anal fisting and genital clamps crossed off the list of things she’ll agree to do, she starts describing the sort of sex they could have right there and then on Christian’s fancy conference table. Just when he thinks he’s going to get to have his way with her, Ana stands up and tells him she’ll “think about it” and walks out. Damn. That’s hot. The funny thing is that there is no actual physical sex in that scene. Maybe the director should have gone more with that.

The scenes where the self-descriptive non-lovemaking Christian Grey is making zee love with Ana are pretty decent. He sure goes down on her a lot which is nice to see. We’re seeing that a lot in movies these days which I think is a trend we all should encourage.

But in all honesty I must admit that I closed my eyes and plugged my ears during most of the BDSM sex scenes. Not because they were all that raunchy, but because I had three grandmas and a 90 year old man sitting right in front of me, and somebody’s 18-year old daughter there right next to me, and I just couldn’t cope.

Enjoying adventurous sex requires a level of intimacy from me that I simply wasn’t equipped to allow while sitting alone in that theater full of strangers. Maybe movie-goers should get a safe word too.

Personally, I think this movie will be much more fun for me when I watch it at home with my husband. Which I will. I have no doubt that the sales of FSoG once it goes to DVD will dwarf movie ticket sales because watching porn with your grandma, the PTA president, and that pesky neighbor-lady down the street just isn’t as arousing as watching it with someone who can make your every nasty fantasy come true, or at least alone with your trusty Toshiba.

The James Dornan Problem

Maybe I could have suspended disbelief more if James Dornan had tried at all to make his character believable. It’s obvious from his interviews that he holds the character in complete contempt which is all fine and noble but it made it impossible for me to care about his character much less get turned on by him.

Lines like “I don’t make love. I fuck. HARD!” were delivered with an expression so pained that I felt bad for the actor until I remembered that I’d paid him $8 to convince me that he’s actually a guy who likes fucking hard.

If the actor doesn’t believe in his character, how can I?

This is the real problem with this movie: James Dornan. Why him? Why not Ian Somerhalder who reported campaigned for the role? Why not somebody, anybody, who actually wanted to play this character? Why choose somebody who delivers all of his lines like he’s got a gerbil trying to claw its way out of his ass?

Okay, to be fair, Dornan has his moments. There are a few precious scenes where I stop seeing the pained actor and catch a of glimpse of the tortured but erotic Christian Grey. But those moments are so few and far between. Dornan does have a great ass (gerbil notwithstanding) and nice abs and he does look very believable when he’s going down on Anastasia again, and again, and again. But overall he just doesn’t do it for me in this role. And I’m not alone. Why this actor was so badly miscast in a movie that had to have had unlimited financing is one of life’s great mysteries.

The Set-Up For The Sequel. FSoG Isn’t Going Away.

The movie ends abruptly. After demanding that Christian show her his worst, he spanks her with a belt six times and she’s donesies with him. She returns his computer, the expensive first edition of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and the brand new little red Audi he bought her as a college graduation present. It was then that I understand why Christian wanted her.

Men want what they can’t have. Edward wanted Bella because she was the one person whose mind he couldn’t read. If he could have read it then he’d have known it was filled with utter nonsense, but that’s besides the point. The point is that he couldn’t and that made her novel. Men like novelty when it comes to women. I’ll betcha the other 15 subs Christian had holed up in his Red Room of Pain before Ana didn’t return his expensive presents and dump him after only six spanks with a belt.

Which leads me back to the charges that this movie promotes a rape culture. Maybe I’m blind, but I just don’t see it. Each and every single time Ana says a real no to Christian he immediately stops whatever he’s doing. While reluctant at times, which is entirely understandable, Ana wants to be tied up and ravished by Christian. What she doesn’t want is to be punished by him. That’s her hard limit. And Christian lets her go when she’s reached it.

By the end of the movie it is clear who is really in charge of this relationship, and it isn’t Christian Grey. Ana deftly turns the tables on him by not needing his money or wanting his kinky sex. What Ana wants is a little bondage with an otherwise normal boyfriend. I haven’t read Book 2 or 3, but in the sequels to come somehow I expect that it will be Christian Grey who will be getting the education and not Anastasia Steele.

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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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Are Bloggers Exploited? Well, that Depends®.

A few weeks ago  I was contacted by Dr. Phil’s people. According to the person who contacted me they were shopping me to see if I’d be a good candidate for an upcoming show about female urinary incontinence. Not that I’m biased or anything, but I know I would be a great guest on this […]

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