But Seriously…This is a Real Website?

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Apparently there is a website called Ashley Madison which states on its Facebook page, “is the world‚Äôs leading infidelity service for married people looking for something more. Launched on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2002, over 12 million people worldwide have since joined the top social network for married dating. Have a guaranteed affair and break up the monotony in your marriage.” I was unaware of this site (guess I’m behind the times) until I read an article about it getting hacked. It prompted me to find and read numerous other articles regarding the scandal (and the site). If you’re looking for the basics to what happened, I suggest reading the article posted here by Wired.com. But I’m not here to talk about the hack, I’m here to talk about the site. There are so many problems with it I don’t even know where to begin but here goes…

“Have a guaranteed affair and break up the monotony in your marriage.” We now live in a world where everyone has the right to get married but let’s shit on that with websites like this. Let’s demoralize marriage by promoting infidelity. Yeah, let’s do that, because the world isn’t already morally corrupt enough. Way to go Noel! Who is Noel, you might ask? Oh, Noel Biderman is the douche bag a.k.a CEO & President of this website and Avid Life Media, which also owns CougarLife.com and EstablishedMen.com. According to the Avid Life Media website, “Noel is a family man who is happily married with two children. He holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.” Family man? Happily married? How can you be a happily married family man if you own a website that promotes infidelity? I know what some of you critics will say, ‘well, he can be because that’s his job not his personal life.’ Wrong. I’m sorry, but oh so very wrong (in my opinion).

Cheating on a spouse is so much more than just the physical act. Its repercussions have a Domino effect on all parties involved. Trust is broken, the memory possibly forgiven but never forgotten or never forgiven and never to be forgotten. Children caught in the crossfires and used as pawns. Cheating destroys relationships. It breaks up families. Family members and friends are forced to choose sides. Lives are ruined. When you own a website that is dedicated to “breaking up the monotony in your marriage”, I do not believe you can call yourself a happily married family man. You just can’t. You created the site that you call your ‘business’. You invest time and money into this ‘business’. You have to promote this ‘business’. In order to promote your ‘business’, you have believe in it, in the product, in what it stands for, otherwise it’s a sham, is it not? When you get married you take a vow with your partner before God (I understand this may not be for everyone but for me it is), family and friends to be faithful, honest and true to one another. If you are a happily married man that means that you live by those words, unless those words to you mean something completely different and it sounds like they do. Maybe to him, happily married involves cheating. And maybe that’s why he considers himself so happy? And as a family man, what does he tell his children he does? Is he honest about his career or does he hide it the way his website hides its secrets…or at least tried to. I don’t know this man’s day-to-day, what he does, what kind of relationships he has, but from reading about his website and some of his interviews, I just don’t think you can represent yourself as a happily married family man who runs a website for cheating spouses.

Recently, Ashley Madison was hacked by a group calling themselves ‘Team Impact’. First, I’d like to say thank you to Team Impact. Whatever the reason (I’m hoping it’s moral), I thank you for your crusade to remove this filth from the Internet. And yes, I said the Internet, because that’s where this site is. Are people actually that naive to think their information is super secure? This must be the same people who think their ‘snap chats’ actually just magically disappear! Oh, and I carefully chose the word ‘crusade’ because that’s exactly what it is. It’s a crusade in our world to fight for freedom, religious beliefs and it’s also a crusade to fight for morality.

Ashley Madison’s website slogan is as follows: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Really? No, really? Did happily married man Noel approve that slogan? He probably came up with it! Life is short, yes it is. But the last time I checked you got married to spend the rest of your life with one person. You made that choice…for better or for worse. And if you can’t or don’t stand by those vows, guess what? You can get divorced! Heck, half of America is according to statistics nowadays. The divorce rate is staggering, but you have that option. The option you don’t have as a married person is to cheat. That is not part of the deal. Everyone knows this, even you Noel.

Do I feel bad about this website being hacked? Heck no, you get what you deserve. These people made a conscious choice to go out to this website and partake in all of its charades. They knew the risk. And even if they didn’t, if they really thought their secrets were safe, I am an avid believer in ‘the truth always comes out, one way or another’. However, this was a crime. Hacking data and releasing personal information is illegal. I don’t support crime. Two wrongs don’t make a right. People stand up for what they believe in every single day whether it be a simple ‘no’, a company strike or war. A lot of times these ‘crusades’ come at a cost. People get hurt. People die. Just because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t always make it right to do. So while I don’t condone the action (even though I did thank them), I understand their intentions. Am I concerned about security overall on the Internet? Yes. I don’t think any site is really secure (back in college my ATM card was hacked and people in China were withdrawing money out of my account!). If governmental websites can be hacked, anything can be.

But with regards to this site, I hope it gets shut down. I really, really do. I think it’s kind of ironic how a website that’s supposed to have secret affairs hidden is slowly being exposed for all to see. However, I still have hope for our world. I hope we can get back to a place where we live morally. We stop the hate, stop the crime, stop the bullying, the deceit and try to change… to be better, if not for ourselves but our children and future generations. I don’t want my daughter growing up in a world where ‘Anything goes!’. No thank you. And as for the monotony in my own marriage, I will gladly take it because after all, I said ‘yes’ to only one man for a reason :).

Why I Love This Job

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No one can prepare you for motherhood…even if they’ve tried. Sure, you can hear birthing stories (which you won’t understand until you’re actually having the contractions where you feel like you might die) or advice about getting sleep before the baby comes (there is no amount of sleep you could ever get to prepare you for all the sleep you won’t be getting as a new mom!). You can read everything on the Internet but that’s also just going to prepare you into a paranoid freak! At the same time, no one can prepare you for the love you will have. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. You will never feel anything like it until you are a parent. No once can prepare you for this journey you’re about to embark upon, but you know what, that’s why I love this job!

The first time I held my daughter I was overwhelmed with how much I loved her. It was like a tidal wave that flooded my heart and completely filled me up. Sure, it was tough in the beginning, but isn’t any new job? The insecurity of taking on a new role, how will you perform, what if you make a mistake and the overall uncertainty of not knowing what you’re doing. It’s the fear of the unknown…

And it’s the unknown that always get us…what’s next? what do I do now? is this right? should I be doing it this way? what if I’m supposed to do it that way? HOW WILL I KNOW?! You don’t get paid, you definitely don’t get raises, you don’t get reviewed (this is usually unsolicited and when I assume when most kids become teenagers) but best of you, this is one job no one can ever take away from you. You are a parent, congratulations ūüôā

Recently, we took some family photos to celebrate my daughter turning one. I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Krista (from Krista Lynne Photography) did an AMAZING job…check out her page here! So this is why I love this job…I love being able to have sweet moments like this captured, but that’s only a small part of it. I love everything about this job, the good, the bad and sometimes, even the ugly. I love when someone asks her “where’s mommy” and she points to me…I love it when she screams ‘MA!’ even though I sometimes want to scream myself…I love when she runs towards me and falls right into my lap…I love her laugh, seeing her interact with her dad, her smile, the way she imitates everything, the way we play together as a family, her hilarious faces, how excited she gets to be chased, seeing already how smart she is….this list could go on forever so I’ll stop here.

But most of all, I love her. I everything about her. And although I have exhausting days at times, my best days are spent with her. They are cherished moments that I am fortunate to have because God blessed me into becoming a mom…and that is why I love this job :).

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Ben Affleck and the Experts ARE Right, Marriage IS Work!

I am normally not one to comment on articles unless I am really passionate about the topic, like this article I read here entitled: ‘Ben Affleck and the Experts are Wrong: ‘Marriage is not Hard Work‘. My two passions here are Ben Affleck and marriage, in that order, kidding! Maybe

As we’ve all heard/read, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced after 10 years of marriage that they will be getting a divorce. As a wife and mother myself, this saddens me (despite the huge crush I’ve had on him for the past fifteen years). While we do not know the private details of this situation, the media will speculate and tabloids will continue to exploit these stars (because remember, they’re not people) during this very public split. When I first saw this article, I was quite bothered. The title alone put my head in a tizzy. Marriage is not hard work? What? I mean seriously…WHAT?

The author states she has been married for 31 years. As someone who has only been married almost four, I believe that marriage is hard work. While I realize I don’t have the miles that she does, I agree with Ben Affleck and the experts. Let’s break down this article piece by piece, shall we?

“You are only as happy as your most unhappy child. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Deciding whom you’ll marry is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Marriage is a lot of hard work.”

She seems to be setting up this first paragraph to be all things that people say/believe but aren’t necessarily true. The first sentence for me is one of those puns I don’t like so I’ll skip it. As for ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, DUH! There have been studies proving this to be true (a study from Harvard Medical School found that people who ate breakfasts of whole-grain cereals had lower rates of diabetes and heart disease compared to skippers). Some may argue with me saying that there are also studies showing breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day and that is true. I, however, don’t think they are as supported. Next, ‘deciding who you’ll marry is the most decision you’ll ever make’. Hmm, what to eat for lunch today or whom to marry? Yeah, I’d count that as pretty weighty. You actually repeat the vows ‘until death parts us’ so unless you’re planning to ‘Dateline’ your spouse, it’s kind of a forever thing and in my eyes, I think spending my life with someone is the most important decision….after what to eat for lunch, that is. And she nailed it with the last statement…’marriage is a lot of hard work!’ She could have stopped there, but she didn’t, so I shall continue.

She links Ben Affleck’s Best Director Argo Oscar speech (highly recommend the movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it), where he mentions that his marriage is work. Well, you know what, it is! And I don’t think he was insulting his wife either, I think he was speaking honestly. You are entering into a binding (and legally, I might add) partnership when you get married. You are fully committing yourself to another. You are saying you will love, support and honor that person until death do you part. You speak the words, ‘in sickness and in health’. Have you ever cared for a sick person? It’s work. The author continues stating that she asked her husband and he agreed their marriage isn’t work. Well of course he agreed with you and for two obvious reasons:
1. She was holding a knife (that part of the article made me chuckle)
2. If he disagreed with her then there would have been a long discussion as to why (and we all know men hate long discussions!)

The article continues about how the author and her husband have asked each other this question over the years and her most recent reply was this: “Not at all. It’s never been work for me. Not even for a day in 30 years.” I told him.

I know I have not been married that long, but my follow-up question to this statement would be ‘do you have kids?’ Because if she does, then I would say that answer above is bullshit. If not, I still call bullshit (and I call it Kate Hudson style…if you haven’t seen ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ this won’t make sense to you).

My parents will have been married for 35 years this August. I, too, asked them both this question. And guess what? They both agreed that it is! My mom did say that some people would agree with this author, but believes the majority would not. So why is it hard work? Because it’s a relationship that requires effort. It requires being present. It requires making time for one another. All of these things take work. Maybe this author feels complacent in her marriage and for some people, that is okay. They get along and go about their lives. But for me, I just don’t see it.

The author winds down the article with the following: “I am not saying that everything is always perfect, that Mike¬†doesn’t sometimes disappoint me, that I don’t get angry at him. I am not saying that there are not hard times, hard issues, hard problems. But I must say that he¬†overwhelmingly makes it easier to handle these things. So¬†maybe if marriage seems like really hard work, there is¬†something that needs a little fixing.

Mike and I spend hours cuddled up on our couch. He scratches my head if it hurts. He hugs me when I am sad. But he doesn’t consider that work either, because when I am happy, he is happy. And I know the reverse is certainly true, so I do what I can to make him happy too. Did I mention that I sail overnight on the boat every summer taking a three-hour shift on my own in the middle of the night? So is our marriage¬†work? It can’t be. Because I never feel like I need a vacation. Does anyone else have a marriage that isn’t hard work?”

I agree with some of what she’s said above, but her overall message, I do not. My husband and I irritate each other. We disappoint each other too. We fight, we forgive and we continue to love. That’s just simply part of marriage. We also have work stress, personal stress and overall life stress that sometimes spills into our marriage. We have a child that requires our constant attention. We can take each other and our relationship for granted. We can fall or drift apart from one another. And then we reconnect. We work at it. We work at it because marriages just don’t magically stay together. They require two people committing to that relationship. No, it’s not a 9-5 job, it’s actually a 24/7 job that when you don’t put your time into, can really affect its productivity.

This doesn’t mean our relationship needs fixing. That means our relationship is real. We have a love that while it is full of joys, affection and appreciate is also full of sacrifices, compromises and hard work (some of these the author mentions). And by the way, when you are sacrificing and compromising you are working…you are working to satisfy your partner, to keep them happy. That takes work, whether you want to admit it or not. So maybe you believe that your marriage is not hard work, good for you (and I say that in the most sincere way). As for me, I will continue to work at mine each and every day because my goal at the end of it all is to bring out the best in my husband and in me…and how can I ever do that without working on it?

No One’s Life Looks Like it Does on Facebook

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Alright, let’s get real here for a minute (or two). Facebook is not real. It’s an illusion. An illusion of people you know or don’t really know (yet somehow you are “friends”). There is nothing real about Facebook. Heck, some people don’t even use their real names (gotta love those ‘first and middle name only’ individuals…I get it, keepin’ it private, because you know, Facebook is all about that, WINK)! Facebook, or as I like to call it Stalkbook, wasn’t designed to keep you ‘in touch’ with your friends/acquaintances/ex-lovers/etc. No, no my friends, it was not. Facebook was designed so that you can literally stalk what any one of your 800+ “friends” and see their incredible lives. Did I say incredible? I’m sorry, I meant ridiculously fake.

First, I am an avid user of Facebook. My husband and I constantly argue over it. He finds it to be incredibly pointless…kind of like the way I find the video game on his phone to be! So, we agree to disagree. But nonetheless, I use Facebook often. My blog has its own page, I post lots of updates and share things I find to be interesting or important (DUH, like my blog!) but I also share how incredible my life is. Yes, there is some sarcasm in that last sentence. My life is great, it is. Not everyday is a fairytale but I’m very blessed and that I don’t BS about. I adore my daughter and enjoy showing off her sweetness as well so most of my posts are now consumed my her. Still, I do promote the ‘incredible’ because it’s better then the latter. When you see the same people posting the same drama filled status updates, don’t you kind of want to punch them in the face? Please stop airing your dirty laundry on Facebook. Please. Take that shit to People’s Court or something (at least you can filter your news feed now!). But again, in the reverse, people could say the same about all those my-life-is-so-amazing posts. Thank you for showing us what we can never have, a-hole.

Because I’m a frequent Facebooker, I can say that no one’s life looks like it does on Facebook. No one. The pictures? Edited/cropped/enhanced/filtered….. The lovey-dovey marriage/anniversary posts? Not as ‘happily ever after’ as it seems. The sales pitches to join some period scheming pay structure job because it’s ‘the most incredible opportunity ever’? BEYOND ANNOYING! Facebook has crafted a beautiful bubble where people go to see other people’s lives and get depressed about their own.

If you haven’t seen my post ‘Dear Victoria’s Secret‘, please check it out. Photos are edited ALL THE TIME! Models are edited ALL THE TIME! It’s a fun little program called Photoshop. So when you look at these ‘pictures’ on Facebook, just remember that. As for the relationship posts? I knew a girl who was posting thanks to her ‘hubby’ on Facebook for her birthday present (a romantic vacation for two!) when they were in the process of getting a divorce. A divorce. Again, an illusion. And the ‘who wants to join my team’ crap for all those products out there nowadays sorry, but stop. Stop with your fourteen paragraph status updates. I’m happy you have the most incredible job ever (really though?), I am, but I don’t need your amazing job shoved in my face every other day. I’m not here to judge either, I’m really not, but the amount of BS posting is astronomical.

Wait, there’s more! Facebook isn’t just to for stalking, but it’s also magical. Yes, this magical site will tell you where people are and what they’re doing even though you can’t see them (ooooooooooh) and even provides visual pictures (aaaaaaaaaah). Selfie anyone? Don’t forget your duck face!

Honestly, I don’t mind Facebook, but the more I find myself ‘stalking’ the site, the more I realize…what am I doing? Why am I on here? To compare? To see pictures of vacations I wish I was on? Am I really that bored? Or worse…have we as a society become so consumed my technology and social media that we have to ‘show’ our lives instead of ‘live’ them?

The other day my daughter cuddled up with me on the couch. It was sporadic and so wonderful. I quickly took a photo and shared it. Then I thought to myself, why did I do that? Can’t I just enjoy the moment without having to make it a public affair? On the other hand, what’s so wrong with sharing it? I guess I see both sides. This is an eye-opening article from Parents Magazine, it’s called ‘How Social Media is Affecting Your Parenting,’ I suggest you read it.

I have a lot of friends that have left Facebook or ‘deactivated’ their account for a bit (I have this feeling you’ll never really be able to delete your Facebook account). When I ask them why all the answers were quite similar…’I was sick of the things I was seeing on there’, ‘I was wasting time just reading about what other people are doing all the time’, ‘I just didn’t want to be on there anymore’. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great avenue to connect with old friends, colleagues, etc. As I’ve stated before, I use it frequently. I’m just starting to wonder what kind of impact it will have on us and future generations in the long term. Will my daughter one day ask me what people said about a photo of her I shared? Will I be forced to let her have an account because I do? What if she is being bullied on there? How will I handle that?

Sometimes I wish life wasn’t so technology driven. It wasn’t all about the internet and texting and immediacy. No one’s life looks like it does on Facebook, sometimes not even mine! But many will never admit that (yep, I just did!)…and I guess that’s just all part of the illusion ūüėČ

Conformity.

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conformity
noun con¬∑for¬∑mi¬∑ty \k…ôn-ňąfoŐár-m…ô-tńď\

: behavior that is the same as the behavior of most other people in a society, group, etc.

: the fact or state of agreeing with or obeying something

I am having some difficulty with the way our world is today. We live in a society where everyone just conforms to the majority. Everyone else is doing it so why not fall in line and follow the crowd? Why would you consider speaking up for what you truly believe in or have feelings about because that might put you….on the outskirts? Cause ridicule? Expose your true feelings? or Eek! Make you an individual?!

As American sociobiologist Rebecca Costa states in her book, The Watchman’s Rattle:

“Conforming to society and its pressures is much easier than¬†making¬†conscious decisions about every issue. The more complex life becomes, the more difficult it is to acquire the knowledge we need to make a correct decision. Not only are the decisions we face more complex, we also have to make many more of them and make them faster. From this standpoint, it’s no wonder that group behavior and¬†groupthink¬†are so seductive. The alternative is to become paralyzed by too much information, too many choices, and too much difficulty.

When conditions become chaotic and incomprehensible, we naturally align with the majority. We let the group decide because we believe there is special wisdom in the group’s decision. The results of¬†“groupthink” can be hisoric and disturbing, as in the cases of Nazi Germany, Mi Lai, and the Abu Ghraib prison. But¬†groupthink¬†is by no means limited to human atrocities; it also explains the lines around the block on Black Friday, the spread of Disco in the seventies, and the 2008 stampede to buy rice when news of a possible shortage leaked out.

Experts who study human behavior speculate the drive towards uniform behavior may be a natural instinct inherited from our ancient ancestors. They suggest that survival opportunities increased when we acted as a unified group rather than as individuals. Working together enabled us to capture larger prey and to efficiently defend against more powerful predators. So, similar to the jackals and wolves, our ancestors relied on the strength of the pack for their well being. If this is true, it implies that we may be biologically predisposed to conform to the wishes and behavior of the group.

Regardless of whether our desire to conform to society is motivated by comfort, is biologically inherited, or is simply a natural inclination to take the path of least resistance, one this is certain: When it comes to survival, groupthink may be less complex than diversity, but it is also dangerous.” -The Watchman’s Rattle, Rebecca Costa

Why do we do this? Why? We live in America, the land of the free. If you don’t agree with something you don’t have to! That’s your RIGHT! And you know what else is your right? Speaking up about it! So what if others don’t agree with you, at least you’re staying true to what you believe in.

I’m sorry, but on certain topics, I will not fall in line with the majority. I will stay true to my feelings and beliefs. And I’m not hear to say I’m better than anyone, I’m saying I’m different. I am unique. We are all different and unique. We have been given the freedoms we have to make choices and decisions we feel are best.

When we stop thinking for ourselves and let society deem what is right and wrong we are doing two fundamentally things wrong. First, we are saying that society knows best. If everyone else is doing it then it must be right. Second, we are giving up our individual freedoms. We are letting others decide for us. We are conforming to the ideals of the majority because we are too scared/lazy/undecided/fickle/confused/overwhelmed or whatever other excuse we use to prevent us from going against the grain.

I am Catholic. I understand that not everyone is. However, my decisions/choices/actions and beliefs follow the catechism teachings of the Catholic church. People do and can criticize some or even all of these beliefs.They have the freedom to do that. But it isn’t going to chance the way I feel. Even if I don’t support something that everyone else does, I won’t conform. This doesn’t make me stubborn or ignorant. This makes me, ME.

There is a different between conformity and evolution. The world and people have evolved and continue to, but that doesn’t mean society’s way of evolving should equate to the conformity of everyone else. I don’t believe in casual sex. I don’t like how it’s displayed on TV shows (really ABC family? You seriously disappoint me), talked about on the radio (yeah, I’m talking to you Channel 95.5) and basically splashed everywhere as ‘a part of life’. Why isn’t anything left to be sacred anymore? Sex was meant to be between a husband and wife to procreate. It wasn’t meant for high schoolers who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground (PARDON MY FRENCH)! But again, this me and this is how I feel. It’s evident that casual sex is considered fine in our society. Well, it’s not fine for me and I will gladly stay in the minority on this one.

I believe that everyone has the right to feel the way that they do. I will not invalidate your personal feelings…but I also ask that you not invalidate mine. If I don’t believe in something you do the way that you don’t believe is something that I do that’s okay! It makes us co-existing human beings with separate ideals. And we can each stand up for what we believe in. We have that right. But it’s how we do it. It’s how we differentiate ourselves. Our world is too entitled. We believe we deserve to ‘have it all’. We are sadly mistaken. Life is a GIFT. And whether or not you agree with me, it’s a gift from God. At any instance, your life can be taken from you. And that, you have NO control over. So when people act and live their lives as if the world owes them something, it makes me sad…very, very sad. Because I wake up each day thanking God for my life and my blessings. Maybe I don’t always act that way and that’s something I’m working on internally, but it’s my goal.

I hope more people stand up for what they believe in. I hope they don’t just conform because the rest of the world is. BE YOURSELF…everyone else is already taken.