Discrimination: I Don’t Want to be as Bad as Them

Yesterday, I published a blog post about moral dilemmas regarding my graphics and heat printing business and it was filled with discriminatory remarks. Thank you to the commenter who called me out on it because I then looked up the law. I explained in the post how I would refuse to do projects with religious text and symbols, and I didn’t even know that was illegal. It was pretty stupid of me to assume that it wasn’t. I often see signs at businesses that say, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” It turns out those signs don’t hold up under the law and private businesses can’t pick and choose who they serve.

I think it’s very wrong when religious business owners discriminate against gays, trans, blacks, etc. I certainly don’t want to be in their company. I still view religion as hateful, but it’s going to have to be one of those “hate the belief and not the believer” situations.

Plus, everyone’s money spends the same.

Thanks again to the commenter because now I know the law before I ever actually encounter this situation with my business. 

I’m sorry for my post. This was definitely a learning moment for me.

Influences and Inspiration as an Artist

Several years back, I was working my butt off as an artist, and doing art shows almost every month. There were shipping boxes everywhere and frequent road trips. My husband and I were young, newly married, and without kids. I had a lot of flexibility in my life that allowed me to work a lot, travel, and take on new projects. It was a very exciting time for me.

At that time it was pretty early on in my recovery for schizoaffective disorder, and art was how I frequently coped with my symptoms. I had no problem finding inspiration. Sometimes I think people found my story more interesting than my art, but I was having a great time and it didn’t seem to bother me.

I still work in the arts, but my last project as an independent artist was back in 2015.

I’m in a really stable place now. I would even say I’m pretty boring. My mental illness isn’t really providing inspiration these days.

I hope to return to working as an artist sometime in the future, but I’m going to have to think about what I want to say with my work. I’m not the type of artist that creates pretty paintings to hang above your couch.

Are there any other artists out there willing to share their influences and inspiration?

Mommy and Me “Book of Eyes”

One of my daughter’s favorite activities is drawing and considering my background in art, I am absolutely thrilled about it! I run a nonprofit arts center and sometimes my husband brings our daughter to visit me at work. She loves to draw and paint with the group, and the participants love having her there. She loves to experiment and she puts a smile on everyone’s face. The arts center is for people struggling with homelessness as well as mental health and addiction issues and my daughter lightens the mood and lets the participants have a little fun. 

We spend a lot of time drawing and painting at home as well. I love to draw eyes so naturally, my daughter does, too. We created a “book of eyes” — a collection of drawings my daughter and I made together. We have over 80 drawings in the book and I want to share of few of them with you.

Little kid’s interests are always changing but I hope my daughter’s love for art never dies.

Also, today is my daughter’s fourth birthday! I felt it was appropriate to post celebrating something we love doing together. 🙂


Are you fascinated with the things that scare you?

Why are we fascinated with the things that scare us?

I have a fascination with tornadoes. Storms and tornadoes are just a fact of life here. We grew up doing tornado drills in school and everyone seems to have a story. I’ve had a couple of close calls and both my parents and grandparents have had property damage. I always thought it was funny when my grandpa called a tornado that destroyed one of his barns “just a little one”. My husband and I got too close for comfort to an EF-4 one night. I’ve never heard a storm that sounded like that one. The part of Ohio we live in falls in the Hoosier Alley, the northernmost tornado alley. Our official tornado season is from April to July but then we have another “unofficial” season in the fall.

Even from my writing, you can tell I’m fascinated with tornadoes, but I’m also scared to death of them. When a bad storm is coming I hide in the basement even if the tornado siren doesn’t go off. 

(A funny side note — when we would have tornado warnings when I was a child, my older sister would sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as we went down to the crawlspace just to freak me out. This might explain some things.)

I kind of do the same thing with airplanes. I’m often scared to fly. In fact, I haven’t been on a plane in over ten years. I spent a year in Denmark when I was a teenager and even today I shudder at the fact I flew over the ocean. Yet I like to watch shows on airplanes like “City in the Sky” and “Ice Pilots”. I love to see other places, so I’m sure I will get on a plane again. It’s just my heart will be racing the whole time.

Do you have anything that fascinates you but scares the shit out of you at the same time?

The Humanist’s Devotional

I mentioned this book a couple of weeks ago in a blog post. It’s a book of daily meditations with very thought-provoking and meaningful quotes. Well, I’ve been reading it every day and I can apply the quotes to my personal life so well that it seems uncanny. I highly recommend this book! It’s keeping my thoughts positive through this quarantine.

You can get it on Amazon or at freethoughthouse.com.

My daughter’s favorite color is pink.

A comment that came from my blog post yesterday brought up a good discussion topic and inspired my post for today.

Should we discourage girls from liking anything that’s considered traditionally “feminine”? Even if they’re exposed to a variety of activities and interests? I don’t think we should label “girl” activities as bad. That in a way is putting women down as well. 

My daughter seems to like a bit of everything, but she does it all wearing pink from head to toe.

A little background info — I was raised by a single dad, so I wasn’t really exposed to too many gender roles. My dad did it all. My dad went to work every day at a demanding job and came home and cooked us a wonderful supper. I never really appreciated all that he did for us until I was older, and especially when I became a parent myself. I know there are many single moms out there doing the same thing. I’m pretty sure single parents are superheroes.

I used to think I was a girly girl because I like to do my hair and makeup. But now I see these makeup tutorials on Youtube with a million different steps and products. No, thank you. If it takes me more than 45 minutes to get ready for work in the morning I’m not doing it. I’m learning that I’m not as high maintenance as I thought I was. My daughter doesn’t see me going to fancy salons or spas or getting my nails done. (I work at an arts center so most of the time there’s paint under my nails.) But at the same time, I don’t want her to see those things as bad or wrong.

My husband and I have been married for 10 years, so for six years, we lived as a couple before having a baby. We were never really a traditional couple. My husband and I both work and divide household chores. It’s only been in the last year where I’ve felt we’ve fallen into more traditional roles. My husband works second shift, so I’ve become our daughter’s main caregiver. I get off work in the afternoon and pick up our daughter from daycare. I am the one making supper and taking care of her every night. This isn’t going to change any time soon. My husband and I both love our jobs, and while it’s hard not having my husband home at night, he makes twice as much money as I do. We don’t have much of a choice. I wonder what effect this will have on our daughter. We don’t mean to have “roles” but right now we are just doing what we need to do to get by.

So back to my main question, do we discourage girls from doing “girly” activities? Is it wrong for a little girl to like pink? Is it sending the wrong message to allow your daughter to like these things even if it’s their choice?

I feel my daughter’s play activities are pretty well balanced and I don’t push her in any direction. She’s a little human and she likes what she likes.

Right now her favorite thing is to have battles with her dinosaur toys. But we also play with beads and make bracelets for each other. (Actually, they usually end up on her dinosaurs or other toys and stuffed animals.) She loves playing outside and getting dirty but also watching me put on my makeup. She has a wide variety of play activities and she always adding new things to the list. 

Regardless, she really likes pink. I am aware of gender stereotypes and I encourage my daughter to make her own choices. Sometimes she puts together crazy outfits for daycare and it makes us all smile.

If my daughter chooses to have a tea party or dress like a princess, then so be it. I am okay with this because she has a wide range of interests.

Judging people for what they wear or are interested in is a big reason I speak out against the conservative groups where I live. It’s definitely not something I want my daughter exposed to, but I know I can’t protect her forever. Ideally, she should feel comfortable in her own skin and respect others as well.

I think the best thing we can do for girls is to empower them to make their own choices and to make as many opportunities available as possible.

Like I said yesterday, with everything a parent has to worry about, what your kids wear is pretty far down the list. It’s important as a community that we support each other because we all want what’s best for our kids.

Are there any other girl moms and dads out there juggling with the same issues?

UPDATE: We got the seedling!

My daughter and I planting a tree.

So I decided to pick up a free seedling from the religious organization I talked about in a post a couple of days ago. I went back and forth on it.

You guys might think this is weird, but I tend to personify everything, and, well, the tree isn’t religious.

They never mentioned religion or asked for my information so I’m feeling better about it.

My daughter named the tree Lilly.

How do you explain the concept of gender to kids?

I know my daughter’s young — she’ll be four on Sunday — but it seems that she may have already been exposed to some rigid standards when it comes to gender. I’m guessing it’s from the other kids at daycare.

I think it’s really interesting when she calls a toy a boy or a girl and what she names it. I like asking her why she identifies it that way. She loves dinosaurs right now and she says all t-rexes are boys and triceratops are girls. When it comes to cartoon characters, she says boys talk louder than girls. Girls talk softly. I brought this up again just yesterday and she said you can always tell a girl by her eyelashes. Then again sometimes so just says “I don’t know” or “poop” and then laughs. 

How do I tell my daughter that there are more genders than boys and girls and that sometimes your body doesn’t match your brain — and that all of that is okay? Considering what she may be picking up at daycare I feel I need to approach this subject sooner rather than later.

When I was pregnant I wanted a girl so bad. I really did. My husband and I both lost our mothers and we decided if we ever had a daughter we would name her after them — so we had her name picked out years before she was born. We were so excited that we got to use that name. I don’t know if I will ever tell my daughter this because I don’t want her to feel bad or rejected if she identifies as a gender other than female.

I’m guessing a conversation about gender is ongoing over time. I feel the same way about talking to my daughter about sex. I definitely want to start both of these conversations before she starts school next year.

Have you ever talked to kids about gender? How do you feel it should be approached?

Do you support religious charities if they’re doing good work?

There’s an organization in Toledo that is giving out free Norway Spruce seedlings. Their goal is to give out as many seedlings as there are people in Toledo — 280 thousand some. 

I really want a seedling. I’m looking around our yard for a good place. It’s just my daughter and I are really into plants. I actually don’t have a lot of knowledge about plants, but we’re starting to have a nice collection in our house. My daughter names each one and we talk to them a little as we water them. I like to think this will make my daughter a little more respectful of other living things.

Anyway, this organization giving out seedlings is a Catholic organization. Why on earth does an organization whose mission is to plant a bunch of trees have to be associated with a religion?

I still want a seedling, but maybe I should just buy one.

Why does doing anything good have to be associated with god? Can’t you just do good things because you’re a good human?

I had a job a few years back where I had to drive people to food pantries. Sadly, most food pantries in Toledo are associated with a church and many make people sit through prayer or mini-sermon before getting their food. Why is that even necessary? It’s important that people get the help they need, but why does it have to be in god’s name?

I still kinda want a seedling. Do you support an organization doing good work even if it’s a religious organization? Does it make me an asshole if I don’t?


Do you think it’s important to forgive others?

I really hate it when people say you need to forgive others that have wronged you in order to move on. Do you believe that’s true?

Obviously, forgiveness is an important part of Christianity and Jesus — is that where these ideas stem from? I don’t even think I understand the whole notion of forgiveness.

I’m thinking about this right now because I was in an abusive situation with someone at my workplace for 11 months. They were finally kicked out of the program last summer and I’ve dealt with a lot of anxiety and anger ever since. My supervisor referred me to our EAP and I am now in treatment for PTSD. 

Could I ever forgive that person? Should I? Would it help anything?

Things have gotten a lot better for me since starting therapy last November, but occasionally those negative thoughts still invade my brain. Tonight seems to be one of those nights.

Christians put a lot of emphasis on this topic, but I don’t think I’ve ever really heard a perspective from a fellow atheist. 

Is forgiveness important?