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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Today... I just want people to back away!

I am not kidding. Too many people and organizations are sticking their hands where they are not meant to be, while ignoring things that actually need to be done, and I am sick of it. That includes the government, the finance institution, the media and just negative individuals.

Back away from my reproductive organs!

Virginia nearly legalized a procedure which would have been equivalent to rape. Arizona declared each and every ova cell a living being, and every woman - pregnant while between periods. There are a few more bits of legislation of the same kind in the works right now. Seriously? Don't you people have things to do? Like, real work? Like maybe creating jobs in your respective states, or improving the economy, or taking care of the environment - the list goes on and on.

If you are not sure what you are supposed to be doing, just ask the women - the same women you are stubbornly attempting to shove back into the Middle Ages. Women are really good at finding tasks that need to be completed. They can give you a to-do list as long as your driveway from each and every county of your state. So, just ask.

But quit messing with our health, with our periods, with our PMS, and with when we might or might not decide to have children. Leave us alone with our contraceptives. If you are a man, you should seriously just back away quietly. If you are a woman, and you support the ridiculous anti-woman legislation, you should have your head checked first, and then back away quietly. And while you are at it - back the hell away from Planned Parenthood.

Back away from the animals!

While we are on the subject of using living beings as breeding machines... It is not acceptable to treat a woman like a baby factory, and it is just as unacceptable to treat an animal that way for your own profit. I can understand the efforts by the zoos and nature preserves when trying to restore endangered species. That makes sense from the environmental standpoint.

However, designer dogs are not endangered species. Nor are designer cats or exotic birds and animals smuggled in here for your amusement. They are so not endangered, that puppy mills flood Humane Society shelters and pounds with extra animals every breeding season - every spring. Not only that, but because of the inbreeding for "designer" breeds, these animals are chock-full of chronic illnesses and genetic disorders. I am all for cute animals, but not at that price, not with those methods, thank you.

You want a dog, or a cat, or a hamster, or a parrot, or a horse, or a ferret, or any other number of things - hop onto PetFinder and look for it. There are bound to be hundreds of animals looking for a home in every imaginable category.

Back away from the toys!

Seriously, people, how many toys does your child really need? Come on! We know that a kid's interest in a new toy varies dramatically. It might last as long as years or as short as five minutes. If your kid already has a bunch of toys he or she loves, why get more different ones? Because the neighbors bought them for their kids? Because they were on TV? Why?

Aside from the few tried and true toys that inspire creativity (Leggos, Tinkertoys, drawing supplies), your child is unlikely to learn anything or improve in anyway from the latest mega-super-whatever with buttons and flashing lights. Send the kids outside and let them learn to play with sticks and dirt. Those toys are reusable, environmentally friendly and cost nothing. Use the savings from the toy budget to buy some good books.

Back away from the bottles!

No, you can keep the wine bottle. Until we figure out the way to have wine faucets in each and every home, wine bottles and boxes are a necessary evil. In this case, I am talking about bottled water. I do understand that in some areas, like Arizona, water quality is really poor and faucet filters don't always work or have to be replaced very frequently. There are now in-line filters available. Perhaps, installing a series of those in your home would help solve the problem and get the water clean before it gets to the faucet.

Otherwise, there is no excuse to buy bottled water. There are tons of reusable bottles available, tons of faucet and carafe-style filters, oodles of them are affordable and environmentally friendly. So, get on with the damn 21st century and quit using the product of one of the biggest scams in the history of American consumer goods that wastes more materials than even paper manufacturing does.

While you are at it, quit the Starbucks habit and make your own coffee in a coffee maker with a reusable filter.

Back away from my books!

Hey, you, moneychangers! Yes, you! You, banks, transfer services and the like. You know who you are, because I have already reported your butts to the Better Business Bureau for unfair business practices. Listen, as long as I am not smuggling drugs or weapons or prostitutes, as long as I am not funding a terrorist organization, as long as I do nothing that constitutes money laundering, conflict of interest or a violation of code of ethics, it's none of your damn business what books or art I choose to spend my money on. As long as my money is in an account managed by your company, your job is to pay up when I tell you to.

If I want to buy the latest leather-bound edition of Marquis de Sade, you don't open your mouth and say that you can't let me do it, because Marquis de Sade wrote about sexual practices you find objectionable. You pay. If I want to add a series of Japanese erotic paintings to my home art collection, you don't tell me that I can't use your service to pay for them, because they show penises, vaginas and nipples. You pay. If I want to buy a replica of an ancient Celtic fertility goddess, it's none of your business that her pose is pornographic. You pay. Period.

Your job is to manage my money. Not my morals. Not my tastes. Not my reading materials. Not my art and sculpture selection. Just the money. And if you don't want to do just that, I shall take my money and go elsewhere. Is anything not perfectly clear?

Back away from my clothes!

I am a huge proponent of eating right, exercising, dressing well and looking good - if and only if it is not damaging to one's physical and mental health. So, I am sick and tired both of the unrealistic beauty standards in the media and of the damn fashion designers being unable to recognize said standards as unrealistic. Not to mention the fact that, just for the added bit of fun and messing with our heads, they keep changing the sizes.

I was shopping for jeans recently. It's been a while, and I was very surprised (not to mention depressed), when I picked up a size I used to wear two years ago (which was, incidentally, the size I had on as well at that very moment) and it didn't fit. Not by a long shot. I tried the next size up and that worked fine.

Then, just out of curiosity, I put the jeans I wore that day up against the jeans I bought - they were identical in every dimension. So, it's not that I went up a size in two years. It's that somebody, somewhere decided that my original size should be moved up. That makes no sense!

Yes, the wise and wonderful Tim Gunn did suggest that if the number on a clothing label upsets up, we should just cut it off and throw it in the trash. And I completely agree with him. But even I, with my hardened attitude toward clothing sizes, get irked by this kind of ridiculousness - especially when the size that fits goes from a one-digit to a two-digit number. I do have to make a conscious effort to talk myself down and not feel embarrassed of my body and its dimensions.

Why do men's clothes get sizes that are measurements, while women's clothes are sized based on some mysterious formula invented by someone with a pretzel for a brain? Women do keep track of their clothing sizes, especially now, in the age of internet shopping. And the number on the label does impact us. We don't like that it does, but it still does.

Convert our sizes to something that makes sense and keep it there! No, we don't want to look like super-models - we just want to look good in the clothes that fit us properly. And for crying out loud, drop the idiotic sample size (which now goes to the whooping size 4 - wo hoo!). Show most clothes on the models that are the size that most women are. Show petite clothes on petite women (that's 5' 4" and below with curves, not a super-skinny runway stick-figure, whose legs are longer than 5' 4"). Show plus-size clothes on plus-size women. Yes, that means starting to feed your models actual food and shipping clothes in a variety of sizes - not just 0, 2, and 4. All your commercials and catalogs will have to be redone. Oh well, it will create more jobs for caterers, photographers and struggling actors - so what are you whining about?

Back away from my attitude!

Yes, I view people as mostly good, I do not believe that world is going to hell in a handbasket, I do not consider celebrations as a waste of time, I think I am awesome, and I do intend to be spectacularly wealthy and help save the world. That is my attitude, and I like it that way. If you disagree with any or all of these statements, that is your prerogative. If you prefer to think that you are a schmuck, living in a schmucky world, surrounded by schmucky friends, with not a damn thing you can do about your overall level of schmukdom, that is fine. But don't dump it on me. As far as I am concerned, energy vampires exist (they are also known as negative people), and I have no tolerance for them.

And don't ever try calling me naive or delusional. I've seen reality like you can't imagine. Illness, death, molestation, assault, hunger, joblessness, hopelessness, censorship, oppression, fear, persecution - I've experienced all of that up close and personal and then some. Is that real enough for you? It was my choice to have the attitude I have after all that crap.

Having faith in your own ability to dig out of shit is not naive. Having come an awful long way from where you started and knowing that you can go even further is not delusional. Maybe you'll be brave enough to try it some day. But until that - do not try to suck away my energy and soil my view of the world. I am happy to share it freely, but only with positive people. It is not available for crapulation. Period.

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