Posts Filed Under Sometimes, I’m all deep and shit…..

Pink Socks: the best part of homeschool

by Janelle Hanchett

The other day my son came out of his room squealing in delight about the following arrangement:


 He said “Mama! Ava gave me these socks and I think they go really well with the green in my Vans! Don’t you think?”

And I said they look amazing, especially with the baseball pants, and I kissed his head.

I considered writing a blog post about how my son is gay, but then remembered that  wearing pink (or full drag, for that matter) doesn’t make a boy gay. [That wasn’t a slight against that woman who wrote that post (how’s that for vague?) when her son dressed in drag for Halloween, but rather against people who make giant sweeping assumptions when their boys gender-bend a little, IN PRESCHOOL,which isn’t actually gender-bending at all, since they haven’t been “gendered” yet and therefore can’t “bend” it — and are rather, in my opinion, just displaying a simple appreciation for the color pink. Or ruffles. Or tutus. Or whatever. ]

He wore those socks all day, including to baseball practice. I prayed none of the shithead children would make fun of him. We dodged that bullet, this time.

He once went to school in a navy blue jacket with pink piping and got all kinds of crap for it, and he was only in preschool. He may or may not have ever worn that coat again. He also got his heart handed to him for bringing a stuffed white seal to show-and-tell, because it was a “girl” toy.

That one thrashed me.

And as he was flailing around in his bright pink socks all day, I thought to myself…now THIS is a serious benefit of homeschool. My kid can run around all day dressed however he wants and won’t be tormented because his choices don’t quite fit the world’s gender expectations.

Yes, I know. Someday he’ll have to face the homophobes and their children. And they will be mean, especially if he continues to dress in 1980s-throwback gear. And he’ll doubt and question himself until all the pink is busted out of his little soul…

Or he’ll ROCK THAT SHIT forever (which is what I’m kinda hoping for).

Because dude. The kid has STYLE. Here’s the outfit he put together for his dad’s birthday dinner:

I love you, Rocket, with your pink socks and plaid fedora and big open heart.

16 Comments | Posted in Sometimes, I'm all deep and shit..... | February 18, 2012

People suck. Expect it, Move on, Be free.

by Janelle Hanchett

Yesterday, Ava came home very upset. Like really upset. She was emotional and distraught and seemed overwhelmed and lost.

She explained that she had been betrayed by her friends…her “friends.” Not only had there been some flakiness surrounding the science fair (which Ava takes so seriously it sort of alarms me), she found out that two of the girls at her slumber party had snuck into her room and read her diary, after telling Ava to “please leave” because they were “talking about something private.”

She was absolutely betrayed and could not make sense of it on any level: why would they lie? Why would they hurt her like that? Don’t they really care about her? Aren’t they her friends?

As she asked these questions I did my regular searching-for-the-right-thing-to-say routine, in which I inevitably realize I am not cut out for this shit and should not be trusted with somebody’s emotional development.

I listen to her feelings and empathize and commiserate. I feel the urge to say supportive, encouraging, hoo-rah good-mothering comments to her, to boost her spirits and make her feel better…but I just can’t. I can’t get them out. I hear them in my head: “Oh, maybe they were having a bad day. Be a bigger person. Look for the good in them.” Blah blah fucking blah.

But just like in The Stuffed Seal Incident, I can’t bring myself to say them, mostly because that crap never worked for me or helped me and it pretty much always just pisses me off. All that positive self-talk crap.

So instead, I say the truth.

“Ava, people suck. People are self-interested and self-centered. Every person, no matter who they are or how much they love you or you love them or how good they seem, WILL, inevitably, at some point, let you down. They will fail to meet your expectations. They will hurt you. This is not because they are bad people, but rather because they are human. And as humans, they are flawed.”

Maybe that seems pessimistic or negative or defeatist, but I don’t really think it is. And here’s why: because it’s true.

It’s reality.

And the truth, in my opinion, is where the freedom lies and real growth can occur.

All that positive self-talk just polishes my anger into something more palatable, or covers it up long enough that I forget it’s there. Ah, but the truth. The truth changes things.

Now if any of you have a close relationship to a human being who has never once failed to meet your expectations, please let me know and I will adjust my theory…but as far as I can tell, not a single human has ever lived on this planet without royally fucking up at least once, injuring the people close to him or her in the process.

I’ve done it. Sometimes I don’t even know I’ve done it. I let people down without even knowing they expected something of me. I’ve been so lost serving my own interests that I don’t even realize my friend needed me. So I’m an asshole consciously and an asshole unconsciously.

That’s actually kind of impressive.

Anyway I was on a roll, so I kept going. “Ava, this doesn’t mean we just roll over and accept the way people treat us without question. We get to choose who is in our lives and who isn’t, and you can cross those girls out immediately if you want, and with reason, but either way, the sooner you let go of the expectation that friends and acquaintances are going to treat you in thoughtful, considerate ways all the time… the sooner you’ll be a happier person.”

And she thought about this. And thought. And thought. And finally said “Yeah, I see that, because I hurt people all the time and get mad and feel bad about it. But I just want them to see that they were wrong.”

And so I said something to her that changed my life when a good, [very mean, very real] friend said it to me: “Well, would you rather be right or would you rather be free?”

She looked at me like I was insane.

But I think she got it one some level…

I chose not to go on, chose not to explain that it’s freedom from bitterness and resentment and pain – freedom from that aching feeling that comes because the world just won’t do what I want and nobody behaves and no matter how hard I try, you fail me. You hurt me. You let me down.

And I think they won’t. But they will.

And I will.

Because we’re human.  That’s what we do.

Oddly, when I see that, when I see the humanity in the other person, when I see that they are just like me, I am finally able to forgive them, to move on with a clearer head and less pain. Or at least it doesn’t last quite so long.

And maybe I will walk away, ultimately. And that’s cool. But whether I choose to love them despite their flaws or kick ‘em to the curb, I don’t have to carry that sickening feeling of betrayal, of deep-seated hurt – because I wanted you to be something you literally cannot be. (The Person Who Never Lets me Down.)

I don’t know.

It took me 30 years to learn these lessons. Just kinda hoping she gets it a little earlier.


But seriously, what kind of asshat kid reads somebody else’s DIARY? Little bastards.

It’s my baby, I’ll wean when I want to. Wean when I want to…

by Janelle Hanchett

That was hands down the stupidest title I’ve ever come up with.


So let’s move on, hopefully to better things…

I would like to clear something up, publicly, on the internet. So there’s no confusion…and maybe, just MAYBE, people will stop asking me the following question, which is of course nobody’s business and shouldn’t be asked anyway, but somehow keeps getting fired in my direction…

“Are you STILL nursing your baby? When ARE you going to WEAN her? “

Let me answer this question with all kinds of clarity: I plan on weaning my baby…NEVER.


Or, when I freaking feel like it.

Alright. Real answer: I will wean my baby when I no longer feel like nursing her or she no longer feels like nursing.

How is that complicated?

Why don’t I worry about this issue? Because I’m lazy.

Also because I don’t know a single adult who still nurses. Therefore, I’m pretty sure this particular relationship will end AT SOME POINT.

Now don’t start giving me that bullshit 1950s Dr. Spock “your kid will end up too dependent” theory. That’s such a load of crap.

“Okay, Sally, to help you become independent, I’m going to withhold from you that which you need to feel safe and secure and confident, which in turn makes you clingy, needy and more dependent.”


Independence is a byproduct of feeling safe. Dependence is a byproduct of feeling fear. Meeting my kids needs as best as I can helps them feel safe.

Now leave me alone.

But don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that weaning your child is “not meeting their needs” or causing “fear.” Come ON…would I do that? Nah.

What I’m saying is that I don’t buy the theory that not weaning a baby impedes her independence (based on that old-school kids-shall-not-cosleep-or-nurse-past-6-months-because-they’ll-never-grow-up-to-be-good, strong, strapping-Americans theory).

In my opinion.

Does this mean I think a mother should nurse her baby as long as the baby wants even if she’s miserable and “over it” and wants her damn nipples back?

HELL TO THE NO. That is some irrational crazy mama bullshit. If the nursing relationship ceases to work either way, then it should end. Don’t ya think?

I mean why nurse your baby in resentment? That ain’t cool.

And maybe, the reason the mother no longer feels “into it” is because the relationship is ready to evolve – maybe it IS time for the baby/toddler to move on – maybe the mother feels that intuitively and therefore the nursing no longer feels natural and good and right…and SO…she weans the kid. Right?

But for now, for me and for Georgia, we have a pretty nice thing going and she enjoys it and I enjoy it and we reconnect and play and cuddle. So what’s the freaking problem? Why would I end something that is cruising along just fine for both of us? Because I’m making her dependent?

Yes, I can really see her stifling dependency in the way she runs away from me fifty times a day to explore new territory, meet new people, tackle new obstacles…or walks into new places and says “bye!” and forgets my existence entirely unless she falls, gets tired, gets pissed…or wants a drive-by nursing (you know exactly what I mean, right?)…to reconnect, to reassure. To maintain that independence.

I guess I’m just getting pretty sick of hearing that Dr. Spock throw-back crap because I still nurse my baby girl who is 18 months old. Eighteen months!! A baby! Even if I nurse her til she’s four. Even then. WHO CARES?

Oh holy crap there’s no way. I wouldn’t like it that long.

But I nursed until I was four.

And look what a winner I turned out to be.

Damnit. Perhaps not the best example.

Okay but seriously, can we all just agree that nursing a baby past one year doesn’t cause mental and bodily harm? And neither does weaning?

Although… nobody ever sees Georgia with a bottle and says “She still takes a BOTTLE?” They only ask about the nursing…which leads me to believe the issue is still based on that “A CHILD MUST SEPARATE FROM HIS MOTHER AND BE STRONG!!!!” crap.

What’s weird is that it isn’t that I’m NOT weaning, it’s that I don’t have a PLAN for weaning. Maybe I’ll wean. Maybe I won’t. And somehow, in that, I’m guilty of some crime. I guess it’s the crime of trusting my gut. The crime of trusting the radical notion that I know what’s best for my baby and myself,  that I know how to nurture and raise the baby I birthed. And trusting that if the time comes when nursing feels wrong, I will know that too and will act accordingly.

Screw the books.

Screw the theories.

You know what’s real? This:



Hello, my name is Janelle, and I judge everybody.

by Janelle Hanchett


So a few different things have come up lately that have made me think about the whole concept of judging others.

Or, perhaps, not judging others.

People tend to say that a lot: “Don’t judge.”

Or “I don’t judge.” This statement is, in my opinion, one of the hugest piles of steaming bullshit around.

And, most of the individuals I’ve run into who claim “not to judge” are the most raging judgmental people on the planet – they just keep it all inside – obsessed with the bullshit political correctness movement, wherein we all judge each other silently, but violently, and stand from our pedestal of righteousness and superiority since we “know how to talk properly and respectfully and non-judgmentally.”

Which is of course, in itself, a judgment.

Because as far as I can tell there is no way to avoid judging others. It’s like an auto-pilot reaction to life. I have been conditioned by my social, economic, cultural backgrounds to perceive the world in a certain way. I’ve developed ideas along the way regarding right or wrong, educated or not, classy or not – the list continues. I’ve been told things from a very young age by parents and teachers and the media, things that wedge themselves into the crevices of my mind whether I want them there or not.

I can’t just THINK that shit away. I can’t just erase them with positive self-talk and Oprah.

In my experience, the best thing to do with the judgments I have is to admit that they’re there, face them directly, and remain as willing as I possibly can to let them go should information come my way that negates them.

I try to keep my mind open.

And usually, that’s how it works for me. I think I know something. I think I know the way it should be done and oh yeah I get all self-righteous in that knowledge, until life hands me something in startling opposition to that belief – and I realize, in a flash…I was wrong.

Boom. Judgment gone.

I think that’s why so many people who haven’t had children are so judgmental of people’s parenting approaches. They haven’t had kids yet so they still think it’s easy and straightforward and universal.

And then they have kids and they’re like “Holy fuck I didn’t realize it was like THIS.”

Or they remain judgmental pricks and we hate them.

But after thinking about this for awhile, I think when people are saying “don’t judge” they actually mean “don’t condemn.”

And that I think is some sound advice. If I reject people because they’re doing something I don’t agree with, if I shun them or silence or ignore them, well then I’ve entered the land of closed-mindedness and I am sure to stay swimming forever in the pool of my own judgments and hate.

I have all kinds of people in my life who do things on a regular basis that make me wonder if they have some sort of mental disorder. But I freaking love them anyway. My love blows past my ego’s need to judge them. I watch my judgment come up. Maybe I say something, maybe I don’t. But I try to just go back to loving them. Because usually there’s more to a person than this one thing that really irritates me. And I know that. And I try to hold on to that.

Unless that thing is really fucking BIG. In that case, we pretty much can’t be friends. I’m not Mother Theresa, you know. (as shocking as that may strike you.)

Maybe I shouldn’t write my judgments on my blog. Maybe I should hold them all inside in case they are disproven at a later date.

Maybe. But I don’t think so. It’s way too much fun to let that shit go sometimes.

And if it turns out I’m wrong, holy shit won’t that sting even more! And then I get to get on my blog and tell all you guys “Oh, yeah. About that. I don’t think I believe that anymore.”

And that’d be okay.

And here’s the other thing. Some behavior should be judged. We have to use our brains to look critically at what this world is selling us, right? We gotta question, always question.

If somebody is beating their child they should be judged. Right? What if we just said “oh, well, let’s have an open mind and support them in their beliefs?”

Or Martin Luther King, Jr. Was he not judging? Was he not taking a look at this society and analyzing it like a jeweler looks at a diamond, assessing what was right and wrong, but with the eyes of the open-minded and loving and curious?

He judged, but he didn’t condemn. And his love made him profoundly effective.

No, I am not comparing myself to MLK, Jr. Um, that would be ridiculous. He changed our country. I say “fuck” a lot and whine about inappropriate kid clothing and guinea pigs.

He came to my mind because he embodies what I believe to be the epitome of a free-thinking, resistant, powerful individual. He was an excellent “judge.” He looked, he knew it was wrong, he worked with great power and determination to change it. And he did it out of love for all humanity. Though he could have, he didn’t condemn whites. Instead he loved people with such depth that he could see the universal suffering caused from hate and racism, and from that place of acceptance and love he resonated with people’s souls.

Yeah, I don’t do that. I also don’t love everybody.

But I do try, in my own small, unimportant, slightly pathetic way, to say things honestly as I see them, to stand up for a few things I believe to be true and right and real. I feel a little fear (but I do it anyway) every time I write a post that exposes myself deeply or opinions that may be controversial.

But I’ve never had the gift of small talk or indirectness or beating around the proverbial bush. Consequently, I am really good at removing my foot from my mouth.

I am also so used to being wrong it isn’t funny. (Although as you all know, I still get worked up sometimes when others attempt to tell me I’m wrong. My ego stomps its foot screaming obscenities in the corner of the room, and I write pissed off retaliatory blog posts.) That’s because I’m also, quite often: childish, self-centered, egotistical and shallow. I get hurt feelings and want to retaliate and prove myself. Why? I don’t freaking know.


Because I’m a human. With judgments and disasters and successes and failures and tantrums.

I will try to love you. But I will let you down. I will contradict myself. I will walk out too soon or stay too long or speak the wrong words.

But at least I’m speaking them. And that, somehow, feels right.

A letter to the man poisoning animals on our street

by Janelle Hanchett


Dear Animal Killer,

So you’ve successfully killed 5 cats and one small dog. In the middle of the night you put blue fly poison in Tupperware containers around our neighborhood and what success you’ve had! Bravo, you fucking waste of human life.

I just want to tell you that one of the cats you killed belonged to my little boy, Rocket. He is 6 years old and had his young kitty, “Play-Doh”, for about 6 weeks when we found him dead in our backyard, with a blue substance dribbling out of his mouth.

We thought it was a fluke. We thought he got into antifreeze or something. Though intentional poisoning crossed our minds, we didn’t really think it possible. We have such nice neighbors. The police told us yesterday that all the animals who have died (4 other cats and one Miniature Pincer) have been found with the same blue substance coming out of their mouths.

A year ago, when Play-Doh died, we told our son about it and he shook with grief. We didn’t tell him he could have been poisoned. We told him he died because he was sick.

Because how the fuck are we going to explain that YOU EXIST? That YOU KILLED his animal because you murder things for fun, or revenge, or insanity, or whatever it is that makes a person obliterate life at random.

Do you realize you’re killing pets? Do you realize you’re killing the little animal friends of children and old people and everyday people who cuddle with those animals and curl up with them when they’re sick and watch T.V. with them on their laps and give them a pat when they come home from work each day?

Do you realize all that?

They say you’re a drunk and get into dark places and kill cats.

I say get some help you worthless fuck.

Because the poison you’re using is supposed to be used only in auction yards and livestock farms – where no children or small animals are present –because it burns human skin and can kill children if ingested, even in tiny amounts.

So one of these days you could maim or kill a kid, Einstein. A real, live kid.

Does that mean more to you? Do you care more about that? Or is that your next step?

I now live in fear. I’m terrified of my kitty’s escape when I’m not looking. I’m terrified my little escape artist Houdini dog will get out and get into that poison and I will lose my beloved dog.

And my kids, when we walk to the park.

What about them.

And you, the fact that you are there, sitting in your house, plotting how to get your poison out, unseen. Sitting there alone with your booze, in darkness, in misery, working on ways to share your pain with the world.

With all of us.

Even little boys and their kittens. Or my baby.

Do you feel better after it happens? When you see them dead, are you relieved? Do you lie in bed at night glowing with joy at the success of your missions? Are you satisfied?

Or do you know on some level this isn’t the person you were meant to be? Do you sense somehow there is some other way to live? Do you feel desperation in the face of your own evil, of the destruction you cause, of the tears you pull from the eyes of people around you?

Either way, I have an idea. The next time you’re feeling down, and the whiskey has taken your wits and your soul, try a little fly poison.

I hear it’s great for the complexion and digestion, and works wonders on primitive insects.

So it should be perfect for you.

I know, that wasn’t very nice.

But you’ve made yourself pretty hard to love. I guess I’ll try. Since you live right next door to me. They say it’s you. The man who LIVES NEXT DOOR TO ME, who I know pretty well, as my quirky drunk neighbor.

So when you emerge from your drunken abyss and chat with us on Sunday afternoons again, I will try to see through your evil to the baby your mother saw, the newborn she cradled in perfect adoration. In wonderment of his smallness and innocence.

And maybe I’ll explain that there are places for people like you to get help, people who will help you regain your sanity and spirit.

But first I’m going to watch you like a hawk and when I catch you I’m going to call the police and hope they haul your sorry ass away.

For a very, very long time.