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  1. Get free listings for opening an Etsy shop with my link!
  2. The Eternal Shame of Your First Online Handle



    This is a fun and somewhat cringe-inducing piece.

    A friend recently reminded me of my first AOL screen name: beachebumm85. Cheeseball for sure, but when I was 14, I thought it was so clever. Because I lived at the Jersey Shore and loved the beach and all.

    What was yours?

    I hate to admit but my nicknames were pretty damn hipstery:

    • JTGreat/James the Great
      So chosen because my middle name is Alexander, and because I wasn’t “great”
    • newjoiseyboy
      So chosen because I did not have a New Jersey accent.
    • eques
      So chosen because I couldn’t think of a nickname other than “X” but needed more letters.

     My first handles were on a BBS called 2001: A Communications Odyssey.  I was 14 so I went by Spaz. I was given this nickname by my friends because of how random I was.  I was eventually banned for being a complete jerk to other users.  I was granted a second chance and then went by Luna - I had just started getting into Paganism at the time - until I no longer had access to the boards because I was using a friend’s computer. 

    My first AOL user-name was Corgaano which is a misspelling (Korgano) of a Star-Trek: TNG (Ep. 7x17:Masks) sub-character played by Data (Brent Spiner).  I think that’s still my favorite episode.  I have yet to delve into why, but I’m sure it will be some interesting introspection.  My next user-name was daarkraine which I still use in various places to this day.  It came from a time that I toyed with numerology - with no real weight to it but simply because I’ve always loved math.  Without going into all the convoluted math that goes into it, I’ll just say that it matches my birth number.

  3. Unconditional love is a value put forth by toxic people who want you to keep them in your life no matter what they do.  Love is NEVER unconditional.  I would even go as far as to say it’s a self detonating statement.  If love is the involuntary response to virtue then those without virtue will not be loved.  Therefore love cannot be unconditional.

  4. I have a bridge to sell you.  This phrase usually refers to the gullibility of people but I had to stop and think about it for a minute. I entertained the thought that it would be pretty awesome if I could buy a bridge.

    According to Sam Harris’ (totally missing the point) article on education: “Over one quarter of our nation’s bridges are structurally deficient.” (A New Year’s Resolution for the Rich: The Huffington Post - 12/29/2010).  I can’t help but think that if individuals could purchase bridges that this number would be much lower simply because the inefficiency of government is well documented Private companies would, in general, get the job done better if not constrained by the state.  I guess because of living on an island - where the only way on and off is a toll bridge - bridges have been on my mind lately.

    But it’s fun when my brain runs off with just one seemingly random thought.

  5. Lately I’ve been thinking and talking to other people about the prospect of having children.  I have a long way to go both emotionally and financially before it’s actually a serious consideration but I do think about it periodically simply to evaluate if it’s still on the table.

    Up until three years ago I did not really like small children.  Babies annoyed me and I could not communicate with children at all.  I thought they were something to be managed and herded around like cattle.  I realize now that I was completely denying the fact that I too was not understood as a child and that I was repeating exactly what my parents did to me.

    Children are not given the credit they deserve for their natural reasoning and negotiation skills.  When any person who has not reflected on their own past sees the strong will and determination of a child, the first thing they do is what their parents did to them; squash it.  I refuse to ever do this to a child.

    I will be 33 years old in a little over a week.  For years now when ever I encountered someone with children they’d always ask me “When are you going to have kids?”  I found this odd.  There was never curiosity as to why I didn’t already have them as though the default was having kids and I was the exception.  And, well, in reality, it is.  When I’d tell them I want to be financially secure and find the right person to have kids with (my boyfriend at the time was not someone I would have given children to) they scoffed at the notion. “When your biological clock gets tickin’ any guy will do.”  That’s pretty nauseating if you think about it. 

    The other response was “Well, things just happen.”  This is where I get more than a little angry.  Oh really? Things just happen? You have no say in whether or not you use condoms, spermicide, or the multitudes of birth control pills, shots, patches and other contraptions. I’m constantly berated by phrases like this and the thing that irritates me most is that if you bring a child into this world it is the single most important thing you will do in life and yet these people think “it just happens.” 

    The worst thing I’ve noticed is that if you want to plan, read all you can about child rearing, basically study for the biggest test you’ll ever take, you are looked down on for it; that being ignorant is good; that what you have in your head (what you learned from your own childhood) is sufficient.  I’ve heard things like “you’ll just know how” said to young mothers who are asking how to raise a child. They are never told to question the process in any way.  I honestly believe that women spend more time studying for the SATs than they do in making the decision to have children.

    My personal plan for getting ready for children goes something like this:  Find a good mate.  This has most certainly been accomplished.  Three years ago I was in a 12 year long abusive and destructive relationship.  I never thought I was going to get out of it, but I did a lot of work on my self esteem and finally walked away.  Now, still continuing the trend of self work, I have an amazingly supportive guy in my life who has the same goals of self improvement as I do and as far as someone I would give children to; he is absolutely that person.  But that doesn’t automatically clinch the deal.  We both may want children, but several more sets of criteria would need to be met.  We want to be financially secure and by that I mean that one or both of us would be able to be at home for the first few years of the child’s life.  But even with that in place, would we be at a stage emotionally to have children, do we even want children at that point or have our life goals pointed us in a direction where children would not be a good choice? When we get there would it be healthy to have children based on my age?

    As you can see, in just my instance, there are so many factors that go into this decision and it bothers me that so many take it so lightly.  To those of you pondering this decision right now or who may do so in the future, please treat this decision with more care than you would deciding which shirt to wear in the morning.  As cliche as it sounds children ARE the future.  You may have control of their today but you don’t own their tomorrow.  As a parent it’s your job to get them to adulthood unscathed, unblemished and free from all the trappings of your own childhood.  It’s bittersweet seeing a child who isn’t raised with their parent’s baggage.  You feel sad that you never got that opportunity but you can be happy to see them flourish in their natural state of freedom.

  6. Freedom has very little to do with one’s physical surroundings.
    The Edge of Madness

Melani Sub Rosa © by Rafael Martin