I would like it known that while I read that failblog article with the hilarious pictures, and while I'm writing this down, I'm thinking of and channeling my beloved friend and phenomenal single mom vastlymore, who does this kind of shit to her son Jake ALL. THE. TIME. The beauty of it is Jake is an awesome guy with a fantastic sense of self, sense of humor, and empathy for others. That is a direct correlation between who he is as a person and who has dedicated her life to raising him and sweating how she does it by kicking her own ass to make sure she's doing right by her son. For which I adore her - and then there's her WICKED sense of humor. I understand her in fundamental ways, because she loves her baby boy as much as I love my babies. There are many others who might read this and who feel similarly, but this one goes out to Kristen - because she deserves it, just as she deserves to feel as beautiful as I believe she is.
Here are a few of those important life lessons for our children, Biscuit style. Feel free to add more, or gank these and make them your own if you like.
1. LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP. I respect and appreciate your intelligence and temperament, but you have to know that other people are just going to do what the fuck they want most times, as is their right, whether or not you like it or care, AND YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THAT. Get right with that now, for the same reason you got over expecting to get a new toy each time we passed Toys-I-Lust, and it was okay. I believe in you - the POWER of you - to know when it's time, when it's just over, and when it's just broken. Also, can we agree, Smart Child O' Mine, to cut the shit with the "OMG, I ALREADY KNOW THIS, LIKE, UGH, BOOOORIIING, LIKE... blah blah blah Kardashians blah blah h.i.m. best EVAR blahbitty blah blah blah" bullshit, please? Beautiful child with the gorgeous everything, consider ME for a moment. Train thyself to consider who I am and what I've studied and debated before reacting as though you know more than I do. Being fair, yeah - you might know a thing or six that I don't enough to speak with some measure of authority on the subject, I just know more THINGS than you do, so lighten the fuck up and show some respect. Also, so I won't have to verbally bitchslap you so fucking hard you'll be stunned for the first 10 minutes after before you even feel it. You knew this snake bit when you picked it up, take responsibility - I'll only dole that shit out when you deserve it.
2. I will always be the softest place you'll ever need or want to land on. I will also be the one who walks into the mythical fires of Hell itself, simply to grab you by the hand and pull you out and into my safety. I will respect the boundaries of your privacy as is age appropriate for you, specifically for you, because you're not a child - you're not even MY child - you are a completely unique individual. I just ask to be included in the things that affect you, so I can best encourage you to be the best YOU you are capable of. I will never lie to you - but so help me, if you ever lie to me willfully and intentionally, the wrath that will come down on you will be so epic that intelligent alien life approaching Earth from space will see it and say to each other "UH-UH, OH H A I L naw, we're not stopping and getting all up in that shit - keep going." Be told, and don't think you're clever enough to test me on this stuff. I know you think it's crafty of you to think you're getting over on me, but let me tell you, that ain't SHIT. Any time you try to manipulate me, I'm only pretending to buy it because I'm hip to you and secretly thinking "OMG, look how cute you are right now with this, you really think this is working!" Unfortunately or you, *I* know how to take Mom's car out of the driveway and go joyriding at age 15 on a Tuesday school night, and get in all kinds of potential trouble, without ever getting caught. I was getting in bar fights at 17. Trust me boo, you ain't shit - I can smell deception like a fart in a car, and worst of all, I'm able to seamlessly go from 0 to fucking CRAZY before you even catch on. I'll buy into it like I have no idea what's really going on, and then come out of the ether like the fucking Batman and wreck your whole week - and you KNOW this. My point here is just don't, because this is what the consequences are, and you really don't want to be bringing the redneck out of me. Every sense I have as a parent is finely tuned and driven by pure will and determination, so I'm in your head and heart and will die before I willingly allow harm to come to you - including your own self-harm.
3. You have to decide what you believe about religion and faith for yourself, and I will cover everything I can sans personal bias, even if it is contrary to what I believe. Because it's not about me, it's about you. It's insulting to a person's intelligence to foist an entire life design upon them, to say nothing of disrespectful - but there's a LOT out there, and you must self educate before you're in a fair position to make those kinds of decisions. Don't believe what I believe because it's easy - in fact, follow that rule closely in most areas of life - believe in something because it makes sense and isn't constructed out of glass when it should be the strongest steel. There is no such thing as one true god, that's something religious people use as a safeguard. As many possible gods as there are throughout time and the history of mythology, there is absolutely no way to be sure which god or which religion is right - so if you go there, go with humility. Faith is a fine thing and I make no argument against it - it's when faith gets a manual that has to be treated with skepticism for the nonsense it is that problems arise. You CAN have faith without religion because the two are not mutually exclusive as long as you keep your ego in check and are not hypocritical because I will not tolerate that or suffer it. You'll never find morality in religion, you find it within. Morals are a choice, you'll figure yours out as you go along. Just remember - morality is doing what is right no matter what you're told; religion is doing what you're told no matter what is right.
4. No, you cannot go off with so-and-so, because I haven't spent any time with them OR their parents. It's not that I don't trust you, unless of course I have reason not to, or that I think you cannot make good solid decisions and choices in your own best interests. It's just that peer pressure is a fucking bitch on the worst rag ever, and I do not take on faith that you WILL make the best decisions and choices possible every time, so I'm pre-screening for riff raff. Remember, I am a fair man - what I am not is a naive, gullible man. As your parent, it's not the easiest thing mastering that fine line between parent and friend. Anyone you try to fly under my radar is going to result in you being REALLY unhappy with me for a while, and I absolutely will sit beside you when you're mopey and complaining about how unfair I am and begin singing "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen..." no matter where we are. choose the people you surround yourself with wisely, and reject the notion that you are always the company you keep when it's inappropriate. That's insulting, and not very respectful of one's own intelligence and ability to see people for who and what they are.
5. It pays to be smart, humble, and free of ego. It's also not that difficult to just NOT be a dick to people for no valid reason. YOU decide who you're going to be in this world; set your standards high and your goals within reason and what is realistic for you - and be who you fucking ARE. Because who you are is awesome, and even if I weren't your parent, I'd very much want to be your friend. My wish for you is to be wise enough to recognize the love of your life when you see them, and stick it out when it gets rough, because they are SO worth it.
6. Please remember that it's damned near impossible to embarrass me, and don't ever make the mistake of acting out or thinking you're a bad ass and disrespecting me, no matter where we are or who's watching. I ask this of you for any future instance where, say, we're in the mall or something and your friends are around and I settle your hash in front of the entire planet because you had it coming. I'd just as soon not do that, but we both know I will, so take some responsibility for yourself and don't open that door. You really don't want that. I hold everyone to the same standard and I expect you to as well. Don't make me sky-write your shit and make stencils to graffiti the whole state with.
7. The person you're supposed to be is the person you know you ARE - period. You have a responsibility to that person to be your authentic self. Let's face it - if you're not telling yourself the truth, then you're lying to every person you come into association with. That's no way to live. Why else do you think I came out as gay, liberal, and atheist at 15 - in Alabama, in the 80's, in the face of people who hated me for it? Because FUCK those people, THAT'S why. I don't owe them a fucking thing, least of all respect that hasn't been earned. If you want to hate me that's fine - I only ask that you do it on merit. Let people decide for themselves how they feel about you because you have the courage and will to be yourself without restraint or apology, because that is how character is made. At the end of the day the people who don't accept you as you aren't rejecting you - they were never worthy of you to begin with.
8. Darling now-teenaged-male-child, I know things are frustrating and taxing on your nerves and a lot of the time you're just mad and you don't know why, and inadvertently take that out on other people. Sometimes deliberately for no valid reason, which simply will not fly with me. Lo and behold, there is a solution, and an awesome one at that. When you start feeling all edgy and aggro, go to your room and beat your dick like it owes you money. You're not going to damage yourself by doing it too much - trust me, I'VE TRIED. It's not sex, it's maintenance - just like eating, breathing, and sleeping. It's what we do so we can be balanced and calm and not climb a clock tower with a rifle. It increases circulation and assists in oxygenating the blood, it releases endorphins, it's very self validating getting yourself off FOR YOU, and then the main reason - IT'S FUCKING AWESOME. Everyone does it, including those who lie about it, so don't appropriate any guilt or shame about taking care of your body because that's just stupid. Don't be surprised when I call you out on your attitude by saying to your face "DUDE - go rub one out or get choked the fuck out, make a choice, because I'm having none of this." Just don't do it in the shower and run up the water bill, and everythang be everythang. Girls, I'm not ready for you to be teenagers, so cut me some slack while I'm navigating what you need from me so I'll know who and how to be with you. ;-)
9 - and then I'll stop for now. Once I watched in complete awe as a dog took a shit - while walking in a circle and not stopping at all - and made it into the shape of a heart. I am not kidding. It was an amazing experience that taught me to pay attention to all of the life going on around me and how truly fucked up I was and how much I needed my own ass kicked. I was 17 years old when it happened, sitting in the park, just completely wreck by something or other, because I had no clue where my limits and boundaries were. Then it happened, like it was totally normal, and the dog wasn't even smug about it. In fact he really didn't take much notice of me. I'd been institutionalized for a clinical nervous breakdown and diagnosed as bipolar that spring and it was now October, and holy fuckballs, this just happened. Right in front of me, HAPPENED!!!. What choice did I have but to interpret that as the dog's way of saying "You know what dude, fuck off - just FUCK OFF!!! You're not getting out of this alive, so get on with it for fuck's sake" in that heart shaped, steaming gift? What would YOU have thought if you saw that happen? Would you listen to everything around you long enough to pay the moment the respect and attention it deserves? You should, because that's all you've got. Find out who the hell you are and do not be afraid of who that is, because I love them already and want to hug them more than anything and shower them with protection and the best care I can manage, permanent press, it will not wash out. There is a bounty of amazing people for you to search out and find, learn to recognize them when you see them.
I know who I am, and I am content with that. Do you really know who you are, my love?