13 Reasons Why

SHOULD We Discuss Suicide With Our Kids? (The “13 Reasons Why” Effect)

Everyone keeps telling me that I have to watch 13 Reasons Why. It’s a book about a teen-suicide that was turned into a Netflix series and it’s now taking over the internet. The chatter has come in waves, with people first touting the importance of the series and it’s focus on teen-suicide. That was followed by outrage from those who felt it actually glorified suicide. Now social media is discussing the importance of watching 13 Reasons Why with your kids, so you can answer any questions they have about it.

While I agree that this is all very important, I also wonder if we’re not putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. We don’t open discussions about drugs with our kids by showing them gruesome pictures of overdosed addicts. No, we usually just start by saying “DON’T DO DRUGS.”

Yes, that’s an oversimplification but I think opening a discussion about suicide should start with the feelings that could lead to it, like depression and anxiety. I say this not only as a parent, but as a grown-up kid who suffered from both. Continue reading →


MENOPAUSE: Is THIS Why I’ve Gone Batsh*t Crazy?

My daughter had a Puberty Class at school last week and as you can imagine, she was horrified. They discussed how men and women WHO LOVE EACH OTHER make babies, what to expect from menstruation, and learned all about the dreaded hormones that will turn sweet, young women into surly monsters.

At least, I think that’s what they talked about.

Emma was so grossed out by the whole thing that she didn’t even want to discuss it. It’s not like we haven’t gone over that nasty business before. I have openly talked about these matters with her for years, hoping to keep that particular line of communication open. I want Emma and her sister to know that they have a safe place to voice their concerns through the crazy, hormonal years ahead.

Parents today make sure their kids are mentally prepared for puberty but do nothing to prepare THEMSELVES for the changes they’ll be going through. After all, we go through tumultuous hormone-shifts of our own, but no one tells US how to handle them. There is no class with uncomfortable film-strips to explain hot-flashes or anxiety attacks. No teacher sits us down to analyze the rapid weight gain, depression, and hair loss that awaits us or when to expect it.

Nope, we fumble through it all on our own, wondering why we feel so NUTS and if that nightly glass of wine could be classified as “self-medication.” We don’t even talk about it with each other because…well, I don’t really know why. Maybe we’re afraid of seeming weak or pathetic. Or maybe it doesn’t even occur to us that our bodies and brains are changing due to natural shifts in our hormones. Instead, we just feel crazy and keep it to ourselves, which makes us even more depressed.

Maybe we don’t even think our hormones ARE responsible, because only old ladies go through menopause, right?

That all depends on your definition of OLD. Peri menopause usually starts when women are in their 40’s and can last several years. That’s right, YEARS so why hasn’t Judy Blume written a book for us? Where is the My Body, My Self for the over-40 crowd and why haven’t we gotten even one awkward classroom chat about THE CHANGE?

It’s time to fix that. I’m going to schedule our first meeting, but since the word MENOPAUSE makes us feel old, I’ll call it our 2nd Puberty Class. We’ll meet at a bar instead of a school and diagrams won’t be provided so we’ll have to draw our own dirty pictures of the female anatomy. Also, instead of a film-strip, I suggest drunken karaoke followed up by interpretive dance in the parking lot while we wait for our Uber rides. It might not mentally prepare us for anything, but it’s far better than feeling batshit crazy all alone.

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BLOG: Constructive Criticism Should Come With A Band-Aid

I had coffee today with someone who told me that a particular blog I wrote wasn’t funny enough. It was “constructive criticism” so it wasn’t supposed to hurt. Is that what “constructive criticism” actually means? Something that isn’t supposed to hurt but actually hurts like hell?

He was trying to help and maybe he did because I didn’t realize people were EXPECTING me to be funny. I never post a blog and question if it’s FUNNY enough. I have worried in the past about my posts being too grim, though. I sent a really depressing blog to my friend Kristi once and asked her if it was too sad. She wrote back and said I shouldn’t worry about that. She said that SOMEONE would connect with it and THAT’S what really mattered. I’ve been rolling with that advice ever since.

So, in honor of my Constructive Critic, I decided to issue this warning:

DO NOT READ MY BLOGS AND EXPECT THEM TO BE FUNNY! You will be sorely disappointed! Continue reading →