Slut (and a few additional thoughts)

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) At the end I will have a few more thoughts of my own.

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

~ end

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Since the day I became a mom I’ve thought of telling my kids about sexual predators. I’ve told them that more often than not sexual predators are people they know. It will be their word against yours. More often than not they already know how to hack the physical, emotional, legal, and social systems so that you won’t win. But always fight back. Never believe their lies. Tell your parents or someone else you trust.

Parents: LISTEN to your kids. Talk to them. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Listen. Help. BELIEVE THEM. Kids and teens don’t lie about these things.

College Kids: RED CUPS. Don’t drink out of a drink anyone else gave you. That sweet punch in the big red cups will SLAM you hard. There will be a blog post about it and a quiz in a day or two.

In light of everything going on in the news this week I have a story. A friend posted something on FaceBook about men and boys behaving badly. She claimed if women flashed their boobs at Mardi Gras and other drunken events like concerts etc., then why did we all have a problem with men flashing their dicks.  I thought I’d quote my 19 year old daughter:

“When a woman flashes her boobs she is being silly and using bad judgement. It is insanely tacky and rude but not threatening anyone. When a man exposes his penis to someone it is a power and control thing. He is doing it as a threat. He is doing it with the purpose to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable. You can’t compare the two.”

That is all for today. Be safe. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Believe them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Parenting in the Land of Monsters

As parents we all have those moments that we can’t get out of our minds. Now that my children are in college I’m cautiously walking down the memory lane of their childhood.

I was driving down the freeway this morning and saw some interesting things. The first was that Stormy Daniels is going to be performing at a local strip club. This is one of those large “Gentlemen’s Clubs” that is in an industrial area far away from homes or schools. I hear the place is popular with a certain groups in the local high tech companies but that is another blog post. That has nothing to do with this post except I thought it was interesting. Read on.

I also passed the sign to the Curragh Downs subdivision in Fair Oaks, California. This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. The houses are large and often with a view. The community is exclusive and gated. But I pass no judgement. A lot of nice people live there.

Yes, this has to do with parenting and children.

In November 2016 ago my daughter and I volunteered to be Election Clerks for Sacramento County. The polling place was at the Curragh Downs club house. Everything went well with the polling, as it always does. Other than the crazy old guy with dementia who always yells at the poll workers, it was a positive day.

But at the end of the night, later at night after the polls had closed, when we were counting ballots, and putting away equipment, the woman who was responsible for the club house came by to lock up. As we, the six poll workers finished our work this woman started to spew her opinions.

She gladly spewed out racial slurs and political opinions. Most of the comments were racial. All of us poll workers were clearly uncomfortable but as poll workers we could not express our opinions. For about twenty minutes this woman reveled in her personal stand-up act of self congratulatory bigotry. She was white. Then she said what she was saying was ok because her husband was Asian. WTF?

I don’t have to words to describe how upset I was. This was one time I was with my child and I could not be my best Vampire Mom. At the car I was livid. My lovely child told me that the woman was wrong and a bad person but that I should have been so upset. But I was upset. I was extremely upset.

That woman was a monster in the body of a smug middle aged woman. I don’t care that our political opinions did not match. It was the fact that she gleefully was able to share her open hate and blind ignorance.

No parent wants a positive experience about how our society works to be tarnished by some flaming asshole jerk-off entitled nasty ignorant hateful bitch. That is why I’m calling her out here and now. I don’t know her name, but I can still tell my story.

There are other childhood stories in my folder today. There was time when another mom called me to say she thought my 8th grader was cutting herself (cat scratches.) There were a few girls I thought were Satan’s spawn. Yes, there are children who act that badly (and so do their parents.) There were other things so bizarre that I wasn’t sure what to think. I’ve posted a lot of those here. Do a search – you’ll find them.

My children have returned to college. One is far away. One is still at home. They are excited about life. They are excited about being part of the big wide world.

Their father and I have taught them that there is no room for hate, racism, or other bigotry in our world. They have learned to accept those who are different. They’ve also learned, in a lot of cases, to celebrate and appreciate those differences.

Like I’ve always told them, “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.”

You can’t protect your children from everything, but you can talk to them about it. You can support them. You can teach them to stand up for their opinions and rights. You can teach them to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

I just wanted to call out that bitch.

That’s all.

Hug your kids. Talk with them. Love them. And if they’re 18 or older make sure they vote.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

A Light That No Band of Old Men Can Dim

iphone-MYkh

I usually blog about parenting and Vampires with posts that are funny, and weird, and entertaining. I’ll get back to that soon. Lately I’m thinking about other things. I’m thinking about real horrors that our kids face.

Parenting isn’t always easy, especially when the world seems to have gone insane and you don’t have the answers. You’re the parent. You’re supposed to know everything, even when your kids think you know nothing – they still want you to know everything.

I’ve been writing about parenting on this blog since 2012. I take parenting seriously. I think about it a lot. I practice what I preach. My kids are amazing. Their friends are amazing.

So what’s the problem?

My daughter was born in 1999, the same year as the Columbine High School shootings. The first time I heard the elementary school was having lock down drills in case a bad man with a gun came to the school I never imagined how sad that would make me. Lock down drills where little children have to learn how to hide from bad men with guns. We don’t live in a war zone. Our children shouldn’t have to live in fear of men with guns.

There were more shootings. Some were at schools, movie theaters, on military bases, at colleges, and at work.

I was in tears the day I picked up my children and told them about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. All of those beautiful little children, all of the adults who cared of them gone. Just gone. For no reason. No parent wants to discuss something like THAT with their own children. But we have to. It is the world they live in.

Then there were more shootings. People said to wait until we’d mourned. But we didn’t have time to stop mourning – we’d been mourning since 1999.

In 2016 everyone was shocked at the shooting at a club in Orlando, Florida. Forty nine people were murdered. It was senseless. It was unbelievable. All of those beautiful people killed.

We all know what happened in Las Vegas in 2017. We’re still not over that one. That was one of the biggest WTF moments in American history. It was so unbelievably tragic.

That is the world our kids live in.

So when we heard about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida it was almost too much. It was too much.

Still there are those who choose to troll the teens from Parkland who speak out. There are politicians who criticize them and their parents and teachers for mobilizing, organizing, and saying ENOUGH.

2016 was an educational year for teens. Their parents, teachers, and every adult they knew had never seen an election year like that. Our children were exposed to hate, bigotry, and ignorance the likes of which we thought we’d never have to deal with.

Yes, I had hoped that by 2016 kids wouldn’t be dealing with hate, bigotry, ignorant anti-science dim-witted idiots, misogynist religious zealots, people who spoke of the good-old-days that were not great but horrible.

I took teens to see Bernie Sanders so they could experience a political rally. The kids had fun. There were quite a few bands and other singers. It was a good experience. The Trump rally wasn’t safe. The Clinton Rally was at a bad time and not at a great location. We heard it was disorganized and the speaker, Bill Clinton, showed up a couple of hours late.

I volunteered to work in a polling place along with my daughter. All went well, except at the end of the night the woman who had the keys to the clubhouse that was used for the polling place started to spew racists remarks. She was NOT a poll worker. The club house was part of her community association. Anyway, she made crude racists remarks about those who were black and hispanic. She was white. She said it was ok for her to talk like a bigot (my words not hers) because her husband was Asian. All of us poll workers just listened almost in shock. Because we were all sworn in at the time we couldn’t make any comments. By the time my daughter and I got to my car to go home (after a 16 hour day) I was so upset by that horrible women’s remarks. My daughter told me not to let it bother me, but it did.

I didn’t like anyone who ran for office during that election. What I hated the most was that by the time we got to vote in California we had NO CHOICES. I didn’t want to vote for Trump or Clinton. Why had our political parties let us down. Money. It is all about who has the most money. It is never about the American people. That is not the lesson I want my kids to learn but unfortunately that is the only lesson I can teach them right now.

All of the hate and embracing of ignorance on all sides since the election has been horrible. This is not the world I want my kids to know.

So we need to change it. Our children need to know that THEY can change it.

I remember when I was a small girl and asked my father, “is there always a war going on?” I don’t even remember his answer. I just remember the I don’t have an answer look on his face. Now that I’m a parent I find myself without answers.

Do not disparage today’s youth. They are going to stand up and fight. Not with guns. Not with knives. Not with poison. They will fight with truth. They will fight with facts. They will fight with passion. They will fight with their vote.

Their light will shine bright. It is a light that no band of old men can dim.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dim/

A Reflection on Horror and Hope

This is Werewolf Week here at Vampiremaman.com

I’ve been posting stories of Werewolves, in relation to Vampires, the modern world, friendship, and the never ending quest of trying to understand each other.

It has also been a week of horrors that nobody can explain or understand.

Over the past few years I’ve written too many posts about how to try to explain to my children, and talk to my children about mass shootings and other unbelievable acts of violence. Sandy Hook was the hardest. You can’t explain why, or anything else. Nothing about it makes any sense. No good can come out of something like at, or any shooting. Even a day after 9/11, my two year old looked into the sky and asked, “Mommy, where are the airplanes?” We’d always looked in the sky where I pointed out the planes that flew over our home.

I don’t know a soul who isn’t still shaken from what happened in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

My friends in Las Vegas are deeply shaken. One is painting a mural in honor of those lost. I’ll post photos. The community has come together to help, and heal.

A few weeks ago I received a text message from the college my daughter attends about a gunman at one of the locations. I went cold. Nobody was hurt. No shots. The asshole was caught. Still, it chills even me to my bones.

With the three terrifying storms, and now the Las Vegas shooting we are numb, but also we are called to help. Unlike in a lot of movies, when things go bad people help each other. People mourn for those they have never met. We are one in our humanity, at least most of us are.

Nobody will ever know why a man decided to kill people at a music concert. Nobody will ever know why he decided to murder people who were parents, high school students, friends, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, good people…

I find myself without any original words, only sorrow and the feeling that I’m going to cry.

Nobody can understand that kind of evil, in a world that seems to be so full of evil and hate. Nobody can understand that kind of evil in a world so full of goodness and hope.

I write about the paranormal world, those who are Werewolves, Vampires, Ghosts, etc. I don’t try to horrify but write about the day-to-day existence of such beings in the modern world. I write about what it is like to be a little different, or unique, or strange compared to everyone else.

For example – Werewolf myths and stories have been around as long as humans and wolves. Some cultures believed that all it took was a wolf skin belt to make one become a Werewolf. Some said it was a form of witchcraft. Snopes worthy Werewolf stories have abounded for centuries.

In the Old English Werewolf means man-wolf. Sometimes the Greek term Lycanthrope (wolf-person) is used to describe someone who changes their shape from human to wolf, either by full moon light, on demand, or by some other sort of trigger.

There is also a condition known as Hypertrichosis in which a person is covered with hair – face and all. This is a genetic condition that has nothing to do with shape changing. It is just excessive hair (as far as I know.)

If you look at the history of Werewolves, and especially Witches you’ll find a world of blame.

Nobody could believe that someone would kill fifty-nine people for no reason, or injure more than five hundred so they explained it away with accusations of shape shifting and witchcraft.

They burned people alive, tortured them, and locked them away in the name of godliness. There was horror on both sides, with more innocent people caught in the middle. Ignorance and hate for some reason always seem to come up on top. To be crass, shit floats to the top along with dead things.

We can’t blame the modern horrors here in the United States or elsewhere in the world on Werewolves, Witches, Demons or Ghosts. The horror is human. The horror can’t be explained away.

The fact that people are trying to make all of this political has to stop. Yes, there are going to be assholes who are going to say and even do stupid things. They need to feel important. They aren’t. They need to blame and hate because that is where they find their power. They are broken. Stay good. Stay true. Keep your heart on healing and love.

The true monsters are those who kill, who hurt the weak, who subject women and children to slavery like conditions and keep them from their God given human rights, and who prevent others from the freedom of thought, religious belief, and prevent others from loving who they love.

About the love part. Why do people prevent same sex people from loving each other? Why do they force young people into loveless marriages? Why are transgender people beaten and murdered? Why do people abuse their spouses, children, and the elderly? There is no reason for it, except for monsters who are really human. It is control. It is evil and the cult of ignorance and control. It is every dystopian story ever written come true.

As Pogo said, “We have me the enemy and he is us.”

pogo

Then again, little possum, there is hope. There is always hope, because there are always those who hold the hand of a dying stranger, who wait in line for eight hours to give blood, who donate to build homes for people they’ve never met, who adopt shelter animals, who comfort those in need, and who feel in their hearts for others.

I’ve been writing for a while but I still don’t think I’ve come up with the right words.

Hold close to those you love, and keep your love light burning for all to see, especially for those who are in their darkest days.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

jojo the dogfaced boy

Jo Jo the Dog Faced Boy, aka Fedor Jeftichew. The most famous example of someone with Hypertrichosis.

Begging and Other Undesirable Actions

I have 72 thousand contact updates on Linkedin and other messages in my email inbox tonight. I don’t even know why I have a Linkedin account. More useless junk to throw at me, and then attempt get information off of me like a Kentucky strip mine.

Since before the election (you know which one) I’ve been bombarded with emails from all sorts of interesting groups. They all ask for my opinion THEN they ask for my MONEY. It is a constant pleading and begging for money that is so distasteful that I feel like turning against it all.

I’m unusually annoyed at our new Senator for sending out polls and asking an opinion, but I really feel like all she wants is my money. Nobody wants to listen, but everybody wants to get paid.

As a parent sometimes I don’t know what to say. One does not want to say we live in a society where our elected government never listens, but hey, we all know they don’t listen.

Who the young folks DO listen to are teachers. Yes, they DO listen to teachers. We’ve been discussing the two-party system and our two ineffective parties. We’ve been discussing all the assholery and shit-for-brains behavior on both sides. We’ve watched how that in spite of our government (both state and federal) that we will survive…or at least most of us.

In darkened corners, and in the light, we must teach our kids to fight ignorance. We must teach them not to be followers but to be free thinking citizens. We must teach them to question everything. We must teach them to follow the rule of law, but if that law is unjust they must use the system to change it. We have to start at an early age too. It is never too young to teach your child to question, and research, and form opinions.

One thing that makes our country, The United States of America, unique is that we’ve always questioned our parents, our elders, our government, and forged ahead. There are those who would take us back to the good-old-days of discrimination and sexism and inequality. Fuck them. Seriously, they can fuck themselves, but then again they’re already fucked because of the backlash that is guaranteed to come in good time.

Vampires don’t live in the dark because light burns their skin. They lived in the dark because it is the best place to find easy prey. Teach your children not to become prey. Teach yourself not to become prey.

And no matter what kind of relationship you’re in, be if political, romantic, or anything else – don’t beg. It is so unflattering and will leave you high, and dry, and alone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Embracing Ignorance (and Other Parenting Thoughts)

If your child is a senior in high school you’re no doubt like us and finding dozens of mailers, catalogs, and letters in your mail box from colleges you’ve never even heard of. In our case my daughter is getting dozens of invitations from small private religious based colleges. Alright, I’ll come out and say it – she is getting a lot of invitations from private Christian colleges.

I’ve nothing against religion, and I am by no means an atheist. I do have problems with exclusive education where children and young adults learn only one view of the world.

Obviously, those who know me, know my view of the world can be a bit different. But my views on parenting, I feel, are based on raising a child to be an adult and see the “big picture” of the World they’ll go out into one day. I want my kids to go above and beyond my own experiences, and beyond what I can teach them.

I would NEVER send, or encourage my child to go to a college where everyone is the same, and encouraged to be the same.

I always like to think that my children were exposed to those with a variety of lifestyles, religions, and traditions – because from that they learned that not everyone is like them.  But more so they learned that we all have a lot more in common than we have differences.

Sure I could have sent my kids to school where everyone was like us. But why?

Another thing that worries me about a lot of faith-based education, or those who are yodeling about it on the news these days, is that the curriculum is anti-science. To me that is dangerous.

Considering the way Star Wars, and Star Trek are now so much part of American culture, and our own mythology, I don’t understand how anyone can be against science, discovery, or free thought. And the very lessons of these stories is about different people coming together and trying to understand each other. It is the fight between good and evil, and sometime the thin line between the two. But it is also about the promise of space and the existence of others out there in the universe we call home.

Science keeps people healthy. Science keeps our environment healthy. Science makes us comfortable. Science lets us know who we are. Science is knowledge about our world, and ourselves.

I will never understand the cult of ignorance which demonized science in the name of religion. If you love the Earth your God made, wouldn’t you want to protect it? Wouldn’t you want to protect God’s creatures rather than kill them and their habitats? Wouldn’t you want to use the brain that God gave you and discover the wonders of our Earth and universe? Wouldn’t you want all people to be able to spread the message of love, and to love each other? Seriously folks, I’m a Vampire and I have more compassion than (warning I’m going to get political) all of the so-called Christian bible beating bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, assholes who claim to be good people.  What bothers me the most is how willing so many are to embrace ignorance. Not only do they embrace ignorance, but they reject anyone who isn’t dumbing themselves down. Maybe being dumb might be safe, but it is morally wrong.

I’m always being asked if Vampires and Werewolves fight each other. Seriously? Who has time for that? We’re different. We might not get alone. We annoy each other. But we can also be friends, or at least friendly. And over the centuries we’ve learned a lot from each other.

One of the best things about college, or being young, is sitting up all night with others and solving the problems of the world, learning about each other, sharing personal stories, sharing hopes and dreams, building dreams for the future. Think of how much they would miss out on if they were all of the same background, same mind, and same heart. College isn’t just about classes. It is about growing up and discovering who you are – outside of your home, parents, and childhood. Part of the experience is learning from others.

I have to admit that a lot of the students at our school are just like my kids, but, well you know, a lot of them aren’t. That’s a beautiful thing.

Tell your kids that they can reach for the stars – and they won’t be alone.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Beware of Ignorance