Tattered Rag Magazine

Posts tagged respect
July 31, 2015

Playbook For A Childfree Life

i can barely take care of myself by Jen Kirkman is more than just a hilarious series of stories about a young woman’s life being center stage in the limelight of critique and ridicule about her personal decision of not wanting to bring a child on board her already frenzied train to the free-spirited, strangely cool island of Quirksville. Instead, it’s also kind of like a how-to, didactic playbook manifesto for navigating through a life filled with inconsiderate prejudices from persuasive cavilers.

“Most people who don’t want kids also don’t want to be cornered by strangers at parties who launch an informal investigation into our psyches and backgrounds and decision-making capabilities.” - Jen Kirkman.

“It’s time for the bullying from breeders to stop.” - Jen Kirkman.

Between the pages, Kirkman repeatedly reassures and explains how she does not dislike or, dare I say, hate children or the people that want to have them or even her friends, for that matter, that have or want to have them. She points out that, obviously, ones friendships and interests’ do change a little from how you spend your time and money when you have a child, but it should not change your attitude of respect and common decency towards others!

As you grow up, you begin to realize that the peer pressure in high school wasn’t actually all that bad after all.

“This is the real reason lots of people end up changing their minds and having kids. They don’t want to lose their friends. It’s just like drugs. Peer pressure eventually gets to everyone.” - Jen Kirkman.

However, baby, a child, another human being with a heart should not, under any circumstances, give parents the right to become some kind of rude, elite force; an army of ‘spawnists’ who can’t seem to respect others’ personal choices to not want to multiply their genes. I know how to multiply my jeans just fine, thank you.

“Childfree by choice is the new gay. We’re the new disenfranchised group. People think we’re irresponsible, immoral sluts and that our lifestyle is up for debate.” - Jen Kirkman.

True. Babies and children can be cute little blessings (most of the time). But this doesn’t mean that everyone on earth is cut from the same bib cloth. (no pun intended…well, maybe just a little) Not everyone is cut out or even wants to handle that kind of responsibility of caring for another tiny human being’s every desire and demand. Not everyone follows the same generic recipe for life. Some people find it much more fun to concoct their own original recipe.

“It also takes a lot of strength and dedication to carve out a life that doesn’t seem normal to anyone else.” - Jen Kirkman.

For some of us, it’s hard enough making it on our own; surviving the best we can to make sure we alone get the proper amount of food, sleep, exercise, respect and love to and from others, showering and staying potty-trained. How then should we be expected to be responsible for a little ankle-biter when some of us are already daunted by the task of being responsible for just ourselves?

For more information about Jen Kirkman, go to her website at jenkirkman.com or follow her on twitter: @JenKirkman & instagram @JenKirkman. Everything you need and could ever want to know can be found there. If it’s not there, then you were not meant to know about it…yet.

i can barely take care of myself is available in hardcover, paperback, electronic copy and audiobook (which is read by Jen herself).

Download & listen to her podcast “I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman Podcast” on Itunes, Soundcloud & Libsyn
July 12, 2015

How To: Conduct Your Online Composure Well

Since the world has predominately gone to the robots, the digital side, a numerically-coded form of hell, the state of our social interactions has shifted. Shifted forward, yes, I guess in some regard as it pertains to certain avenues of progress, but simultaneously our culture has also shifted into reverse as it pertains to our use of human wit and intellect. Nowadays, anyone can meet and get to know anyone without having met them in tangible proximity first. Everyone has access to a myriad of resources for researching anything and anyone they so desire. And yet, many times, it still seems as if the majourity of the human population has lost it’s ability to function intelligently in social interactive scenarios, both on the interweb and on the streets.

First of all, I will say that technology is an excellent tool, however concomitantly, the use of computerized devices and social media, should not be treated as oxygen tanks or pacemakers. They are our assistants. They assist us. They are not the boss. We are.

With technology comes a power of responsibility; a choice between good and evil. While our “smart” devices have proved to be very efficient and creative in many ways, they are still only susceptible to our behaviours and how we choose to use them. And by the way, computers are actually “dumb” little devices. Look it up in, say, the Oxford English Dictionary (oed.com, definition 7c). Whoever the hell’s brilliant idea it was to brand them as being “smart” is just plain ignorant. Just because these mechanical contrivances are programmable doesn’t make them smarter. They are no more intelligent than the genius brains (the original super computers) that write their code and program them. They only seem smarter to the ordinary, average-IQed brains that aren’t always fluent in the language of computer code.

Therefore, we can not place the entire blame on technology for how we (the brains behind the screens) conduct ourselves in our social media interactive scenarios and when browsing the interweb. Our profiles and browser histories are just extensions of ourselves in another societal realm and should therefore reflect an attitude of respect and courtesy for the people in our proximity. Treat others the same way we would, if those same people were standing directly in front of us or passing us on the street. Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then maybe you shouldn’t say anything at all.”

While it is true that actions do speak louder than words, it is equally true that words are indeed weapons. Remember, the infamous phrase authored by Edward Bulwar-Lytton, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Or in this case “The keystroke is mightier than the sword.” How you wield that lexical sword can both murder or protect anothers’ soul. When we pick up a pen, pencil, crayon, marker, stone, stick, paintbrush, piece of coal or any other instrument that can etch letters onto some surface, we are picking up power and caressing it between our fingers. Playing with the power of words can be a lot of fun, but they also come with a warning label. And in the words of Clark Kent, authored by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, “With great power comes great responsibilty.”

Here are a few general tips and manners to think about and consider whenever you’re composing a message or post on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace, Youtube, Wordpress or whatever other social media site you use.
  • Don’t say something in type you wouldn’t say to someone’s physical face.
  • If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. (We all should know this by now)
  • Know your grammar! This includes the grammar of slang. (Yes, even slang is still accountable to certain grammatical guidelines.) Punctuation is pivotal!
  • Silence is the best defense against words. Silence is the pen’s mortal enemy.
  • Don’t hide behind the screen with a “What happens online, stays online” type of mentality. This isn’t Vegas.
  • Remember that some things don’t always translate the same way in text as they do in verbal speech. When you’re communicating through written words, you have to explain your actions in words as well. Make sure the correct tone of voice is being communicated to the reader also. [Ex. stop. VS. STOP!!!!!]
  • Try and be a little less liberal with the use of lol’s and other overused acrostics. Reserve it for when you are truly guffawing or “laughing out loud” about something. If an outsider were to visit our planet and their only prior knowledge of us was from our social media accounts and texts, then they’d be sorely disappointed to find us a lot less euphoric.

Balance and respect are the cornerstones of life and when they are disrupted that is when life becomes messy & screwy.

March 31, 2012

The Forgotten Copper

Disbanding the production of copper currency is a smart financial and economical decision for the Canadian government. A decision that the United States should soon follow suit. By not producing the penny, millions of dollars can be saved. Millions of dollars that could be used more productively elsewhere. Say, I don’t know, paying down the National Debt!

The penny really has lost its value and respect. Every day thousands, even millions, are trampled on and forgotten about. Very few people really see them for who they are. They have been around and seen a lot since their creation. The myriad of stories they could each tell. Each one of them used to bring a simple smile to child’s face with just a piece of candy. 

My keen sense of observation and I refuse to leave them abandoned on roadsides and floors, dizzied in washing machines or drowned in fountains. We will continue to rescue them. While their careers as a national currency may be over, these coppers still have a lot to live for. For instance, being tossed into cans for general merriment and amusement, (which is actually quite addicting and so much fun!)