Wednesday, November 30, 2011

To all the women out there:

A friend of mine posted this article on facebook. its not the kinda article thattl make you wanna light your bra on fire and march around for equality or anything like that..but ladies... read this. its reeaaaal good. makes me wanna do a fist pump or somethin. (or fist pump my ex in the face?)

anyway, its good to know that there are people out there who will put forth an effort to sidestep a habit that society has forced upon a majority of both men and women.

A Message to Women From a Man
By: Yashar Ali

You're so sensitive. You're so emotional. You're defensive. You're overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You're crazy! I was just joking, don't you have a sense of humor? You're so dramatic. Just get over it already! 

Sound familiar?

If you're a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it's not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling -- that's inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, "Calm down, you're overreacting," after you just addressed someone else's bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It's patently false and unfair.

I think it's time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation, and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term often used by mental health professionals (I am not one) to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they're crazy.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman's husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman's character reacts to it, he tells her she's just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim's perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it's usually because the perpetrator says things like, "You're so stupid," or "No one will ever want you," to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer's character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman's character into believing herself unhinged.

The form of gaslighting I'm addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, "You're so sensitive. I'm just joking."

My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, "Can't you do something right?" or "Why did I hire you?" are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn't know from these comments that Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, "It doesn't help me when you say these things," she gets the same reaction: "Relax; you're overreacting."

Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it's exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.

But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, "You're so sensitive," to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

While dealing with gaslighting isn't a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.


Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It's a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don't refuse our burdens as easily. It's the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren't able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can't tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can't tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, "Forget it, it's okay."

That "forget it" isn't just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It's heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, "I'm sorry," before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: "You're late :)"

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don't belong in, who don't follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live. 

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as "crazy" has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration. 

Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, "Oh, about how crazy we are?"

Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don't think this idea that women are "crazy," is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it's connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as "crazy."

I recognize that I've been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends--surprise, surprise). It's shameful, but I'm glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.

While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It's about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.

When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions. 

When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, "The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn."

So for many of us, it's first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights and learning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn't the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women's opinions don't hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn't quite as legitimate?

( original article found here: )

Monday, November 28, 2011

time for....

..a blog post full of photos thattl make you rofl.
thanks pinterest.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maybe its because i'm a social worker...

..but when i see an ad for a 'free baby' on ksl, i just am inclined to immediately call child protective services.

awkward: party of free baby + psycho-pants caregiver.

was it a real ad? i think yes. i'd link you all to it to guess for yourselves, but luckily the ad was taken down.
it went along the lines of:
"i need someone to take custody of my little girl...her mom died in a car crash, and i have no legs and cannot take care of a newborn by myself. i know this is not the best place to do this but i just need her to go to a loving home. will go to any loving family. please email me at _____ to hear my story and talk further."

at first i didn't believe it..because it was sort of funny, but sort of really sad....but then i googled the area code 205
...hmm..from alabama..
ok, believable.

yes, my sunday consisted of calling CPS, church, nommin on punkin pie, and i am now about to rest easy knowing 5 other people already reported someone tryin to give away their baby on the net within the first hour. heaven bless the good people in utah willing to catch the crazies on the loose.

go ahead, psychotic caregivers..i dare you to try and give away another kid on KSL.
lets see just how long it takes me to call CPS on you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

camouflage cat

what better things do you have to do on thanksgiving break than stare at a picture of a cat?

took me oh..prob 15 minutes of staring into the depths of my laptop to find this fricken feline.
please, someone tell me they can't find it so i'll feel better about myself?

time wasting begins: now.

 goot luck tryun ta fiynd mah invisibo kitteh self

Thursday, November 17, 2011

dear everyone

my sweet friend, mindy, is holding an auction over at her blog for a really good cause. go hurry on over there and bid on some awesome stuff before the bidding closes! and tell yo frennnzzz!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

look at this bebe sqeuwwel, want touch him?

i cannot stop watching this. it gets better every time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

some things i have realized for my future

I've recently realized some things i will most likely do in my future and things I currently need to work on for my future. So.. I'm writing them down on blogosphere to remember them and hold my freakin self accountable in 10 years time.

1. I will read harry potter to my children. I will use funny voices every night and tuck them in leaving them to dream about spells and potions and wizzzaarrddss. Bet on it.

2. I will never go to bed early..not even when i'm 97. I will be up watching lifetime rocking in my rocking chair probably eating a snickers (as I am right now. Its fine.)

3. As I have realized through my nannying adventures, I will hug my children often and make them feel loved and important... because when they feel loved and important, they always succeed. And children need that love. (..and they are way less bratty when you love them. seriously.)

4. I will always try to keep in touch with those who matter to me most. being a good, caring friend is one of the best attributes you can acquire , and i want to perfect the art of friendship throughout my lifetime. I need to perfect that starting now...cuz seriously, everyone could use a better friend.

5. I will take my children to the theater to watch plays and musicals so they can love the arts like I do, even if I have to force them a little  bit at first.

6. There are people in my life who I appreciate so much but hardly ever tell. I will be the kind of woman who will tell those people how much I appreciate them, even if I feel super awkward doing it, dangit! And even if they feel awkward while i'm doing it.

7. I will most likely always have irrational fears and be a worrier. I think I was born that way... (I guarantee in utero I was anticipating my birth thinking of all the things that could go wrong..imagine fetus nicole getting all antsy and twiddling my little thumbs.. haha) however, as i learned in stake conference today, feelings can be changed by faith. So even if I worry till the day I die, i will work on worrying less.

8. I will dress up for halloween up until I perish. then I will come back as a ghost and haunt my children and grandchildren.

9. Nutella will most likely always be my drug of choice.

10. I want my kids to know that their parents love eachother. Its something thats really important to me.

11. I want my husband to know how obsessed with him I was before I ever met him.

12. I will make it a point to see the world. (That starts now.)

13. I probably will never feel bad for drugging myself with benedryl to get a good nights sleep.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

dear blog readers-

yes...all 110 of you. (i dont even have that many friends. ok...i dont even have HALF of that number for friends in real sidenote: thanks for reading my blog. you guys are gems to let me take up space on your feed list :) ...anyway..on to my request..)

my dearest little blog readers...
i need your suggestions. no no. i want them.
yes i want your suggestions.
i am graduating college soon.
and it scares the bajeebies outta me. why?
maybe because my life plan involved finding a husband right when i got to college..and if i'm being honest with myself, i will admit that i only planned on graduating IF I DIDNT GET MY HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

stupid you say? maybe. you may shake your head at this little mormon girl, but thats what i wanted, and thats what i planned. i wanted to get married young and have babies young and be a young mom. to be high school, i didnt even want to go to college..(which quite literally made my mother worry for my she was super stoked i even applied to school..)

but i didnt get that...and hey, that is ok. i am ok with it right now..because obviously Heavenly Father has different plans for me. I am graduating COLLEGE and am STOKED.

but now i dont quite know what to do.
this wasn't in my plan.

i have heard many things like 'do things for yourself nicole!' and 'be selfish at this stage in your life'.......
but i'd like lots of suggestions from readers who don't know me personally to tell me what they wish to do when their 'real life' begins or what they wish they would have done at my age.
i'll be {22}...have my bachelors in Social Work...and the world at my fingertips. (heheheheheeeeeeeee)
so..what now? get a real job? a real life? a real apartment? by MYSELF?

i just would like your suggestions, in all seriousness. because now that my one plan fell through, i have like, 5 or 6 options buzzing around in my brain and none of them feel awesome yet.

ok, comment away. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

only in a ward talent show....

...will you see:

-a dorky lad swinging a 'hungarian whip' around his head in circles pretending to be indiana jones
-a girl getting choked up while reading a poem about an elephant that she wrote herself
-a guy singing a serious song about lucky charms and how it improves his quality of life
-a couple showing off their swing dance moves that were unmemorized and uncoordinated
-painfully awkward countless original guitar solos with off pitch vocals and lyrics like, 'the first time i met you' and 'it was rainy'
-people banging on glasses with a knife trying to portray 'mary had a little lamb' but having it mostly sound like people banging on glasses
-a guy reading pick-up lines off his phone app while he has some relief society sisters walk across the stage

ohhhhh mormons.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

update snippets, snitches.

-i am in love with my practicum and am so glad that i am actually willing to get up outta bed at 7ish in the morning to get there in time for rounds. i love it, i love my supervisors, i love how we talk bad about their ex husbands and they coach me through my life. i love how they encourage me to go on to grad school and not be pressured into settling for something less than i deserve. i love how we tell funny jokes and how lisa always swears. i love that becky wants to hang out with me even though i'm only 21. i love that i am learning so much about mothers and babies and pregnancy and loss and grief and adoption and protective services and counseling and medicine and miracles and good hearted people out there who just want the best for everyone. i love my internship and am so so blessed i got placed here. its exactly what i needed at this point of my life.

-my sister jackie is here for the weekend. its my other sister tami's birthday on party rockin in the booooooth house! kristin is here and michelle is of course here, because shes the only child nugget that is still in highschool. she has a frickin boyfriend we are meeting this i'm going to be sure to put on my awkward pants and talk in a lisp when i see him. anyways, its great to have all my sisters together. really really great.

-my friend showed me the trailer for 'the woman in black' and i about peed myself. the only reason i watched the trailer was cuz daniel radcliffe is in it and i wanted to see if he was charming without his round little glasses on..anyways..go scare yourself silly and IMDB that shiz

-wingers is getting the best of me lately. (so what if i ordered some to-go for myself and ate it feverishly in the parking lot!?)

-the first snow today made me automatically happy and then...only like 2% sad. things were so different last november...last winter. i spent my days running up the steps of his apartment and shaking the snow off my boots on his doormat and being so excited to spend a nice cozy evening in his nice apartment with him. making plans for our future, eating strawberry oatmeal together.. :( fhjdsfhjdkashfdjs. how weird is that, that something so stupid can trigger a memory like that? snow? really? REALLY? frozen water falling from the sky!?! puh-the-tic nicole. get yourself together.

-oprah winfrey's lifeclass webcasts are CHAAANNGGINNG MYYY LIFFFEEE. want free therapy? go ahead, click HERE! . youre welcome.

-17 credits was kicking my butt until i realized that i should spend less time on pinterest and fb and more time writing papers. okay..its still kicking my butt because even though i realize i DO have enough time in my day to get all my crap done..i still havent changed my crack-addict type behavior towards pinterest. but i willllll. someday. (actually its funny because i saw a quote ON pinterest..something to the effect of..."you and albert einstein had the same amount of hours in a day. work harder.") HA to the HA.

-im excited for thanksgiving and christmas.

-ever read hyperbole and a half? i'd post another link but my eyes are drooping and i'm too tired. anyways, my point was.... i was having a bad day the other day, so i started talking like SPAGEHTTA NADLE and it cheered me RIGHT UP. AHHH I'M A SPAGEHTTA NADLE NAIS TAO MAHT YAO


Thursday, November 3, 2011

500th post.

"just because you can't find the right one, doesn't mean you have to settle for the wrong one. don't settle for the wrong one."