Re: Guest Post - Chris Kluwe

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Kluwe is a disgrunted former employee, and therefore not credible.

I never understood that formulation - "disgruntled former employee." When you're fired unjustly, or when you depart a job after finding some sort of malfeasance, you're supposed to be happy about it?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:45 PM
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I can't imagine anyone in an NFL office being a cowardly schmuck about gay people.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:46 PM
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I was thinking about posting something on this (but obviously no one should have held their breath waiting for it). The thing I thought was noticeable, is that this exact situation is one where the modern social-media world is a huge improvement over the past.

Twenty years ago, if Kluwe had been a gay-rights activist and had been fired for it (putting aside the differences in how, um, revolutionary? it was to be a gay-rights activist at all over those two decades), he wouldn't have had any effective way to tell his story. He might have gotten a writeup in the local alternative free weekly, which would have been read by a couple of thousand people who already agreed with him about everything, and had no effect. Now, the whole story is going to go viral, and he's got a chance to do some real damage to the jerk who fired him.

This isn't a huge deal -- it only works for people who either have a fair amount of celebrity to leverage, or who get really lucky with their story attracting attention. But for someone exactly like Kluwe, there's a real difference in the relative power in the situation over what it was like in the past.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 2:57 PM
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Twenty years ago, wouldn't an NFL player have had access to traditional media to tell his story? More newspapers and more magazines that might have picked it up.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:00 PM
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Not a punter. Nobody pays attention to punters who don't miss punts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:02 PM
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Really, I have no idea. I never read the sports press.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:03 PM
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5 - I'm not a football fan, but a friend made the argument that Brendon Ayanbadejo's vocal pro-marriage equality stance was, for a lot of reasons* but starting with "he's not a punter", more likely to change actual players' minds on the issue.

* Including also "he's a Pro Bowler" and "he's a biracial guy with a Nigerian name rather than a white guy".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:06 PM
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How many minds -- of NFL players or us less-thans -- have ever been changed by a Buzzfeed/Upworthy-esque open letter? By an open letter? By anything? I feel like the number of times that I have heard that something could, or might, or should change minds vastly exceeds the number of times I have observed any mind being, or having been, changed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:14 PM
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8: Some people change their minds. Some people change their sheets. It's a rare human that can do both.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:17 PM
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4: Maybe? But traditional media (of the kind that covers sports) would also have a whole lot invested in ongoing relationships with the team. Counterfactuals are hard to argue, but I'd guess that while he might have gotten a mention in coverage of his firing that he claimed it was related to his activism, he wouldn't have gotten a lot of attention or sympathy.

As it is, he's an attractive guy, and clearly has fans. I haven't heard him speak, but if his vocal delivery is decent, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets some kind of broadcast journalism gig pretty soon, if that's what he's looking for.

7.last: I initially read this as saying that along with Ayanbadejo being a football player, he also bowls professionally. Leaving me thinking "That's interesting, but why does it make him more persuasive?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:18 PM
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Twenty years ago, wouldn't an NFL player have had access to traditional media to tell his story? More newspapers and more magazines that might have picked it up.

Nothing in my experience of journalists suggested that they would have been likely to tell it. Granted I don't deal with sports writers, but it's next to impossible to get coverage of something that threatens the economic status quo.

How many minds -- of NFL players or us less-thans -- have ever been changed by a Buzzfeed/Upworthy-esque open letter?

Precious few, I'd imagine. But I also believe pretty strongly that almost all changes in belief are incremental, and are the product of long saturation by external (media, etc.) and internal (family, friends) sources.

In other words, no *single* open letter is going to do anything. But a series of public stories, combined with private conversations is pretty much the only thing that I believe actually shifts people's beliefs. Very few if any of the activists I know have "epiphany" stories. I certainly don't.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:24 PM
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Pretend there is a comma after "conversations," please. Thanks.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 3:25 PM
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The linked piece isn't really an Upworthy/Buzzfeed open letter. He's got a pretty specific goal of trying to affect the Vikings head coach search, and he's writing for a sports publication. His advocacy for marriage equality sounds like it consisted of multiple public statements and appearances as part of an active campaign.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:16 PM
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His argument is that a coach was willing to put personal beliefs and retribution above the success of the team. If people believe that it really is fatal for the coach, but you have to take the player's word about his relative value. I think the fifth round pick they burned to replace him is key- it was questioned at the time and if it can be shown (e.g. emails showing that the coach was the one pushing for the pick) that the coach did it to replace a punter that didn't need replacing, it's pretty concrete. Is there a nondiscrimination statute that would apply? Discovery in a lawsuit would be the way to reveal that evidence.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:32 PM
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My brother thinks he is liberal but is actually getting more and more conservative. To wit: he just recounted a conversation he had with his daughter, where he told her that Obama bailed out the banks during the financial crisis. And he's actually a finance guy who was semi-paying attention.

Also: At the grocery store, an old man says to me, "I just saw a miracle!" I guessed correctly what the miracle was, but kept it to myself because he is one of those 4 words/minute elderly Texans. "I just saw a preschooler clean up after herself without being told!" Yes, Hawaii had taken a napkin and cleaned up where she'd spilled, eating a free sample. I said something like "She's very responsible." Then he said, "When she grows up, I'll marry her!" Which was an odd compliment but whatever.

I don't know why I started down these two anecdotes but I'll just hit post now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:48 PM
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Texans are perverts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:51 PM
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That is surprising- I'd expect a real Texan to omit the phrase "When she grows up..."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 4:55 PM
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Kluwe made it clear that he was trying to end the pro career of the homophobic special teams guy. I find that completely admirable. Hope it works.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:17 PM
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One interesting part of the letter is that he casts Zygi Wilf in such a positive light. Not the sort of thing you'd do if you were simply trying to get a lot of Minnesotans on your side, I think. Even the pro-Vikings, pro-any stadium, any time crowd are lukewarm at best on Wilf.

I don't know if he'll change a lot of minds with this piece, but open letters are rarely about that, are they? Every since "J'accuse", the form has best been deployed as a way to push fence-sitters one way or the other. Even the fact that he's sparked angry and shocked - shocked! - denials from the Vikings PR machine plays into that aim. Make your dyed-in-the-wool opponents say "I support Mike Priefer and Phil Robertson" and you're halfway to your goal.

I dunno precisely how Kluwe'd like to see this all unfold (other than 'badly for Priefer' of course), but if he ever opens that tabletop gaming miniatures store he's talked about, I'd stop in and buy some stuff. No such thing as "appeared on the cover of The Advocate too often."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:31 PM
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I just read a June interview with Brendon Ayanbadejo, in which he says that he doesn't think that the Ravens cutting him has anything to do with his political activism (and in fact commends them for being very supportive*) but he is 100% on board with the idea that Kluwe was let go because he's pro-marriage equality. (He also notes that the incredibly short career of the average NFL player means that the league is a lot less homophobic than when he started playing, just because the players are younger.)

* They were probably just glad he didn't kill anyone.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 7:39 PM
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(He also notes that the incredibly short career of the average NFL player means that the league is a lot less homophobic than when he started playing, just because the players are younger.)

That's an interesting point. I know nothing about the average age/tenure of football coaches, but if it's anything like baseball I have to assume that age-driven change happens a lot more slowly at the managerial/owner level.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01- 2-14 8:03 PM
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As it is, he's an attractive guy, and clearly has fans. I haven't heard him speak, but if his vocal delivery is decent, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets some kind of broadcast journalism gig pretty soon, if that's what he's looking for.

He's been on a couple of the podcasts I listen to (Nerdist, Indoor Kids) and he's pretty well-spoken and also comes across as generally a good guy. I didn't at all get the impression he wanted to go into broadcast journalism.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 3:32 AM
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8, 11: It's a little too clever and cynical to suggest that people are immune to persuasion through language and argument - which probably explains why we hear this said at Unfogged again and again and again.

For good and ill, people are persuaded of stuff all the time. I certainly am, and I don't claim to be above-average for open-mindedness.

A conservative may well be a liberal who's been mugged, but more often, a conservative is a liberal who has been persuaded to fear being mugged.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:09 AM
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23. I changed my mind recently about the potential importance of epigenetics as a consequence of an article.

I don't have much of a handle for how to think about human behavior. I don't know whether anyone else has much of a handle on how to do this either. I try to believe as little as possible about other people.

That said, being a football fan seems to me to have a lot more to do with ritual than with sports. Homophobia in the US seems to me to be generational, a prejudice on its way out.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:28 AM
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22: He was pretty charming on Colbert.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:35 AM
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And I don't have any reason to think he's looking for a broadcast career, it's just where I assume an articulate, attractive ex-NFL player is likely to head.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:37 AM
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I didn't at all get the impression he wanted to go into broadcast journalism.

Possibly not a want but probably hard to turn down when a company pulls into your driveway with a dump truck full of money.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 10:39 AM
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I was going to mark this with pause/play, but I realize it's on-topic for the same-sex marriage thread.

Apparently Benjamin Britten was not only a significant 20-th century composer, he could also write a very touching love letter. This article ends by quoting the following correspondence between Britten and his longtime partner Peter Pears. You can see why the author chose it as a closing.

In the autumn of 1974, two years after his diagnosis of aortic incompetence, having entered what Kildea calls Der Abschied, Britten happened to hear Winter Words on the radio. Pears was away in New York, performing Death in Venice at the Met. But his voice sang out from the radio, and occasioned this extraordinary letter of gratitude:

My darling heart (perhaps an unfortunate phrase - but I can't use any other) I feel I must write a squiggle which I couldn't say on the telephone without bursting into those silly tears - I do love you so terribly, & not only glorious you, but your singing. I've just listened to a re-broadcast of Winter Words (something like Sept. '72) and honestly you are the greatest artist that ever was - every nuance, subtle & never overdone - those great words, so sad & wise, painted for one, that heavenly sound you make, full but always coloured for words & music. What have I done to deserve such an artist and man to write for? I had to switch off before the folk songs because I couldn't [take] anything after - 'how long, how long.' How long? Only till Dec. 20th - I think I can just bear it

But I love you

I love you

I love you.

B.

To which Pears replied, two days later:

No one has ever ever had a lovelier letter than the one which came from you today - You say things which turn my heart over with love and pride, and I love you for every single word you write. But you know, Love is blind - and what your dear eyes do not see is that it is you who have given me everything, right from the beginning, from yourself in Grand Rapids! Through Grimes & Serenade & Michelangelo and Canticles - one thing after another, right up to this great Aschenbach - I am here as your mouthpiece and I live in your music - And I can never be thankful enough to you and to Fate for all the heavenly joy we have had together for 35 years.

My darling, I love you - P.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 3-14 6:50 PM
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If his goal is to affect the Vikings head coach search, praising Wilf makes sense, since Wilf owns the team and is more likely to listen to someone who is nice to him.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 5:19 AM
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Since this thread seems to be a bit slow, I'm going to threadjack* with a slang question: at what point did "dude" become totally gender neutral? I only noticed this year.

I think the first time was 2 students, both women, with an exchange something like: Q:"Are you ready for the exam tomorrow?" A:"Oh, dude, I'm totally behind!"

Since then I've noticed it all over the place. Is this recent or was I just clueless?

*HG or someone, feel free to make this its own thread if it's too flagrant a violation of Teo's "40 comments" rule.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 7:37 AM
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That happened at least 20 years ago.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 7:38 AM
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Huh...how did I miss it? Maybe postdocs and graduate students were late adopters?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 7:47 AM
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Or maybe it's a regional thing. I spent nearly 12 years in the great plains & midwest and somewhat recently moved back to the East coast.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 7:54 AM
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It definitely happened when I was in high school. Early 90s.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 7:57 AM
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It's not like I never heard women address each other as "dude" before, it just suddenly seemed ubiquitous lately in way that it didn't before.

It's probably a function of my current neighborhood, which trends younger than where I used to live. I'm more likely now to overhear snatches of conversation between people in their 20s or early 30s during a typical day.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:12 AM
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likely now to overhear snatches

I have additional news for you regarding the kids these days and their slang words.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:17 AM
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I think it's not exactly an address, more like a replacement for "oh, man" or "oh, god." But yeah, not new.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:32 AM
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"Snatches. I've forgotten my notes. Oh, snatches, I'm going to have trouble on that test."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:40 AM
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Snatches gonna snatch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:42 AM
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When discussing the NYT dialect survey, I pointed out to my SIL that she had asked "Do you guys say y'all?" My pointing this out was a bit revelatory to her, as she would have said her you-plural was just "you".

Not in this case, as the group of addressees was all men, but "guys" in plural can also be gender-neutral.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:46 AM
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That was another problem with the survey - there are southernisms which I would have adopted, growing up, like "y'all" and "coke" which I did say until I decided to not say them anymore and perhaps emphasize my not-belongingness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 8:53 AM
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To get off the subject of my obliviousness to decades long trends, what's the official Unfogged position on the singular "they" as a gender neutral option?

I'm in favor. People are already used to it and no viable he-she hybrid word has appeared.*

*Unless one has been in common use for the last 20 years and I somehow missed it.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:05 AM
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Unfogged agrees with you. Will wait for a front-page poster to give the official word.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:13 AM
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Singular "they" is one of my favorite things about Australian English - that and the way everything is abbreviated. Have some bikkies, watch the footy, did you get any good pressies for Chrissy?


Posted by: antipodestrian | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:24 AM
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Terry Brooks? All Quiet on the Western Front? Allllllllll of these many Isaac Asimov books?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:26 AM
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I think no to all of these MAD books. That's what the internet is for.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:27 AM
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There is none live-blogging more boring. I should get a prize. Of YA books.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:27 AM
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The 13th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style made a strong case for the singular they, without I believe 100% endorsing it. I haven't checked the 14th, but I think maybe they excised that bit. Anyway, I agreed with the 13th edition: If the singular gender-neutral they is good enough for Shakespeare, Jane Austen, etc. etc., it is good enough for you, gentle reader.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:28 AM
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Oh, three in a row in the wrong thread! Nice!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 9:28 AM
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Singular "they" is one of my favorite things about Australian English - that and the way everything is abbreviated. Have some bikkies, watch the footy, did you get any good pressies for Chrissy?

Those are all, apart from the last one, abbreviations in British English too (BrE has "Chrimbo" instead). If you want proper Aussie abbreviations you need "ute", "arvo", "smoko" and of course "mozzie". The "-o" abbreviation suffix is quintessentially Australian, though it does turn up occasionally elsewhere.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 2:37 PM
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Why I don't leave the city very often, #32: Frank Petro grew suspicious in November, when Mr. Edmundson was arrested for impersonating an officer after, state police said, he tightly handcuffed a boy who threw corn kernels at the car he was riding in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 3:30 PM
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51: they're much more laissez-faire about corn kernels in town?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 3:51 PM
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Not so much that as what happened after Frank grew suspicious.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 4-14 4:23 PM
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Short version: Taking over this deadish thread because sending in an ATM would take too long, I don't know if I need advice or what but I think once again we might be at the point where I have to choose kids or relationship, which is a no-brainer in some sense but is going to have a big impact on the kids. This comment is going to be outrageously long, but the short version is I know several people here divorced with young kids (or presumably chose not to) and I'm interested in that thought process if anyone wants to share.

So, Lee has always had a harder time getting along with Nia than with Mara, well with everyone than with Mara. She was terrible and no help when we had Val and Alex, and then we did therapy and she was sure she was ready to try again and even though she didn't have that immediate click with Nia or the girl we visited with before then, she was willing to try. But she just won't try very hard. They'll have a great connection for days (Nia adores her, and in many ways looks up to her more than she does me) and then Nia will do something stupid and age/situation-appropriate and Lee will just blow up, usually only to me and not where the kids can see it but still. She's been really frustrated and even though we promised that she'd stop talking about asking to have Nia moved and I'd stop talking about maybe breaking up and coming up with a shared custody plan, she hasn't kept that promise at all.

I was in the hospital basically non-stop with the first two kids from 8 pm Thursday through noonish Friday, and had no sleep in that time after not very much the night before because the baby kept coughing herself awake and needing to be rocked back to sleep. Baby Selah was admitted to the hospital for a little while but since there's really nothing they could do except suction her nose since she didn't need IVs or oxygen, they sent her home and I've been taking care of her solo all weekend (with Lee taking an hour for feeding here and there so I can nap) and Lee has been totally freaking out about whether she's even competent to take care of a baby, even though she loves the baby and freaked out also when the state offered to take her away if that would help stabilize things with Nia.

Lee also just started a new antidepressant that's making her sleepy all the time, which is not very helpful to me since the days without sleep made me sleepy too. She spent a month tapering off the previous one, which is one that you shouldn't even taper, and it made her furious and miserable and paranoid all the time, which has been hard to live with. She won't see a psychiatrist even though she doesn't trust the GP she has prescribing for her or think he's doing a good job, and she won't stop drinking even if the medicine essentially requires it.

So she's made a threat that if there's one more problem with Nia, she wants Nia gone. I think that's a really stupid perspective, especially since Nia's been doing better, but it's not clear who gets veto power and whether Lee's actually going to follow through with that or what. But this isn't a good way for any of us to go on living and I'm not sure if Lee is willing to change anything, so I think the change falls to me.

Mara is the only one who can't be moved (unless we were being charged with abuse or neglect or something, just like anyone else's child could be removed, and there's no reason for that to happen) and Mara is super sensitive to the idea of family members leaving and is going to be devastated by any change. (Like, she had a shrieking fit last night because Lee went out to a bar and to see a movie to get a break, because she was afraid Lee wouldn't come home. And this happens all the time.) So any changes are going to be hard for her, and she absolutely sees both of us as her moms and both of the girls as her sisters.

I'm not really interested in losing any of the kids and I think if Nia and Selah were removed, I might try to stay in the relationship long enough to get Mara stabilized enough that we could do shared custody, but I can't imagine it would make any of the already tough things between Lee and me any better and I assume we'd break up. I could just break up with her proactively and move out if I can get an assurance from the state that I could keep the kids, or I could ask her to move out even though the house is in her name. Maybe we could rent the apartment across the street and do the thing where the kids live here? But then she'd have to be willing and competent to parent the other two, and I'm not sure if that's going to happen.

Everything sucks so much and I know the time to make choices is not when we're sleep-deprived. I know I come on here sounding miserable a lot, but aspects of my life are really good and I am hesitant to throw it all away for a lot of reasons. But I just don't think I can give up on my kids and suspect Lee can. Lee has also long since given up on anything that would make this look like a normal romantic relationship, but she thinks I should be willing to wait indefinitely until she's willing to do things like kiss again. We did go out together for a few hours a week or so ago and it was nice, but that's sort of what we're working with and she doesn't like me or what I represent very much right now. But she also doesn't really have any better prospects on the horizon, and she knows that.

So I should probably wait until I know what the hell is going on before trying to figure out what all my options are, but I'm doing it anyway.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:13 AM
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I know the time to make choices is not when we're sleep-deprived.

I'm not ignoring everything else you're saying -- though it's about to look like I am -- but this is so true. Really, there's a reason that depriving people of sleep is considered a form of torture. Or, if you think that's too extreme, I can tell you that the following things are true of me when I have too little sleep for too long: I become terribly morose, I become terribly angry, I become almost unbelievably stupid, I become reckless and self-destructive. A few years back, when the younger boy was still a baby, I genuinely thought I was either losing my mind or becoming demented. I couldn't write a word. I could teach, but not well. And my parenting was a huge pile of crap. I mentioned my anxieties to a colleague, who very kindly said, "You're not suddenly stupid or addled. You're just terribly overtired. There's nothing to be done about it at the moment but carry one. But when you're better rested, you'll be fine." Well, I'm not fine, obviously, but I'm certainly much better than I was.

I think you should give yourself some time to get clear of this rut of sleeplessness, and maybe give yourself some time to get clear of this winter (I'm not sure how terrible the weather has been there), and then make whatever decision you think is best. If possible, I hope, as you're making that decision, that you'll remember that you've already made the world a better place, that you've improved the girls' lives in more ways than you can possibly know, and that sometimes taking care of yourself is the most valuable (or at least the most necessary) thing a person can do.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:35 AM
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No, I think the sleep deprivation is key and I'm doing relatively okay with it, but I'm a lot younger than Lee and I know she can't handle as much. (Though she also doesn't.) Last week I was the one feeling like an inadequate parent who could never get done all the things that need to get done, and I did remind Lee of that. It's just hard to keep up.

I'm getting positive, helpful texts from the hospital and was just on speakerphone with the person doing intake, who sounds great. I think it will be really helpful for Lee to get some professional insights and perspective and probably I can buy us more time.

But realistically, we have two months at the most before they ask us to sign adoption papers and I have to know whether I'm willing to do that or it's unfair to the girls or what. I'm hoping I can get Lee to agree to keep working at least until that point, but I don't know what I'll have to give up to get that agreement made. We'll see.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:41 AM
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And thank you. I've gotten so much advice and support from so many people here already. I'm not trying to be a burden or make things difficult for anyone else. It's just a lot of really hard decisions and I assume other parents worry about fucking up their children's lives periodically too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:42 AM
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I count on fucking up my kids. It's just a question of whether I'll also give them some tools that will mitigate the damage.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:47 AM
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That, exactly! And that's one place where I do think I've been a good parent for them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 10:49 AM
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Lee also just started a new antidepressant ... She spent a month tapering off the previous one, which is one that you shouldn't even taper, and it made her furious and miserable and paranoid all the time, which has been hard to live with. She won't see a psychiatrist even though she doesn't trust the GP she has prescribing for her or think he's doing a good job, and she won't stop drinking even if the medicine essentially requires it.

Just to add to what VW is saying (which seems like a great response) to what extent is Lee happy or unhappy with her own health/medication situation?

You've mentioned before the feeling that you thought Lee was being mis-medicated and that was part of what was making her difficult. It sounds like it might be a significant improvement if all of that got sorted out and she was less sleepy/furious/paranoid/miserable. But also, that part of your frustration is that you don't think she's doing a good job of taking care of herself, and that makes your life more difficult

Do you think that's going to be a tension indefinitely or do you think there's a fair chance that the changes in medication will ultimately lead to a better long-term outcome (as much as anybody can predict these things)?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 12:22 PM
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She just got back and won't talk about any options, said I can't leave because it would be devastating for Mara and that she is just praying that things change and that's all she can do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 1:28 PM
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she is just praying that things change and that's all she can do.

Well, on hoping that things change you two seem to be in agreement. I do hope her saying that's all she can do has an unspoken right now. It does sound like she is hanging on by her fingernails. Whether her doing all she can do is enough for you, that is an important question. Just because she is doing all she can, doesn't necessarily make it acceptable. Life can suck that way.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 2:04 PM
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62: Thanks for looking at it kindly and clearly. I know I can do more if I push myself. You're right that I don't know if she can. I got her to agree to see an actual psychologist so she can have an actual diagnosis and get medicated properly by someone who knows how the drugs work. That could help a lot or it might not.

I've been trying to make myself willing to put up with things that are not enough for me, but it gets very tiring and lonely and I'm not good at it. I can work harder at that, too. It's just hard to know when it's right to and when that means I'm being unfair to myself.

She's going out for a while and Nia's sleeping. I'll get the girls dinner and get the baby to bed and finish doing Nia's hair for school tomorrow. I can do all that and it will be okay. I'm not going to worry too much about the future when I have plenty to keep me busy now and because there's so much I don't know.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 2:26 PM
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There's a huge self-selection bias, but all my friends who left partners to be able to keep foster children only one wanted wish they'd done so sooner. I probably need to ask around about people in that situation who had kids moved instead and how thhat worked out for them. But as of now, we're not quite there yet.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 5-14 2:28 PM
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Oof, Thorn. I'm usually nosy and full of bossy advice, but with you I'm just nosy, so please keep sharing and I hope you get some real sleep. Also people said wise things above.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 5:43 AM
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The baby slept through the night! Well, more or less. And Lee went out all evening and then gave Nia a pep talk about how both of them need to try harder to make things work. Lee also actually listened to me when I explained that I wasn't saying she should see a psych professional because she's defective or something stupid like that but because her current doctor is not helping her at all and it's a little scary to see what the medication is doing to her, and she agreed with all that and is open to the idea now.

All I'm trying to do in general is buy time so we can get the adoptions done, which I think will actually help Lee because I think a lot of her subconscious panic is about the uncertainty of foster care, but also it will mean that if things get worse we can make whatever custody decisions the two of us deem appropriate without having to get all the caseworkers etc. involved. I also think time is what Lee needs to be able to do better, and she gave me a list of ways I should be more supportive that I can work on. I was just really afraid of having to make a permanent decision based on some temporary problems, and I'm glad I haven't been forced into that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 6:09 AM
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I'm with heebie -- I want to wish you all the luck and strength in the world, but I have a hard time formulating what to say, because so much of what's necessary to make the situation work out is so out of your control.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 6:27 AM
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I agree with LB and heebie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 6:31 AM
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I want to second 55, especially the part about sleep deprivation. Even if you're feeling relatively okay, it makes it so much harder to deal with emotional stress because all your energy is already used up dealing with the baby and life.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 6:45 AM
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What everyone else said.

Also: I hope that when legal matters with the girls are finalized, you're able to gain more clarity as to what, precisely, Lee is willing to and capable of doing on a long-term basis, and whether that is a livable combination of fair to you/worth putting up with for the sake of the children/meeting your emotional and physical needs.

To be frank, you know that I think Lee has been treating you in an emotionally abusive manner, and even if her actions have obvious explanations (past trauma, meds, menopause, stress of young children and vagaries of foster care, stress of parenting traumatized children), and even if there are in fact some good times, her treatment of you is still not okay. I understand that there are many factors that affect whether going or staying is the best option for you, and for the girls, so I'm really not judging your decision. (It's also hard to comment without projecting things based on my own relationship experiences, so there's that, too.)

In the end, perhaps I just want to get across that there is a whole Unfogged community here that genuinely cares about you. You. Not (just) the (still deserved) "St. Thorn" image that I imagine must get annoying for you sometimes, but the actual person behind it, whom many of us have met and spent time with, and whom we like, and care for. With apologies to my not-so-secret blog crush Apo, and to all of the other Mineshaft folk I think are awesome, you're absolutely my favorite commenter. I keep wanting to say that you "deserve" so much more than getting--which is true even if banal--but in lieu of that sentiment I will just say that this year I wish for you so much more love and support at home than you are currently experiencing.

[I'm going to immediately regret posting this, I know, but my blog resolution is to comment here even when I feel like I'm being an idiot, and not being afraid of provoking criticism or eye-rolling. And hell, the comment is for a good cause.]


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 11:19 AM
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I just want to applaud 70 and send my own good wishes.
You are always remarkably clear sighted about your own feelings and reaction, and insughtful about the kids'. Otoh Lee sounds like a few people I know who have almost no picture of their own feelings / motivations and find it angry-making when soneone else points out the (to them) glaringly obvious.
Your children are fortunate to learn from you these skills of knowing and coping with emotions (even if Nia is not finding it possible at the moment).


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 12:01 PM
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Thorn, I've started and deleted so many comments to you over the past few weeks because I can't figure out what to say. (Like Heebie, my favorite way of showing that I care is to give a lot of bossy advice, but I don't have anything helpful to say here). But now J, Robot has found a way to say what needs to be said, so let me just second her hope that *you* end up finding the same happiness that you're working so hard to bring to the girls.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 3:50 PM
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J, and other friends, no hard feelings or anything at all! No one is likely to say anything harsher than what I've thought. I mean, it's possible that Lee will be visited by three spirits and will completely turn her life around, but otherwise it's pretty clear that one way or another I'm going to be doing the bulk of the active parenting for the foreseeable future and the question is just about the logistics. (She was very adamant a few weeks ago that she does more than the average partner/co-parent, but I don't think she believes that anymore. I certainly don't.)

Actually, she had a bit of a wakeup call earlier today when Mara admitted to being unwilling to talk about certain emotions with her, only with me. And both of the big girls act out more with me but also express themselves verbally more because they feel safe and know that they can, which I hope will be a good thing in the end and that they'll both keep getting more comfortable with the talking rather than the other stuff. Like I said, if I thought I was something other than a positive force in their lives on the whole, I'd be more open to stepping back and letting the girls be moved and figuring out how to handle Mara's custody or whatever. But I know they do better with me than they did in prior homes, and that counts for a lot. There are plenty of good foster homes, but ours is rare in our area in being so open to birth family contact and so open about race and, honestly, in living in something other than a lily-white suburb, and I think the girls need all of that to do well.

I am grateful for the love and support of different sorts that I get here and elsewhere, all the more because I absolutely don't get that at home. Again, it's possible that could change and I'd probably be open to it if it did, but for now I make do with what I can. And despite how much I complain, I have a lot of joy and peace in my life. I do know, though, about the argument that kids deserve better than to see parents model non-optimal relationships, and that's part of the calculation too. I realize none of this is quite getting toward saying that I'll do better things for myself this year, but I'm working on some and I hope that I'll get better at building in more. I know I could do more, but for now it's mostly going to have to be things I can do with the girls or on my short breaks from them, and I can at least model that it's important for me to get what I need in ways they can see sometimes.

And thanks, friends.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 5:46 PM
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Oh Thorn. I am hoping that things go better with Lee. I am also wishing that you can hold on with every bit of sleep and comfort and joy in the children possible for a while longer.

I hate to see you write a variant on 'but here are my thoughts on working harder'. I cannot believe that the problems come from insufficient work on your part.

Here is my suggestion, same like always. You've said you can't have other adults live-in while you're fostering. But perhaps you can when you are the adoptive parents? Things are good with my boyfriend, but even so, my life has gotten a lot better since an old roommate moved back in with us both and an old friend moved two doors down. So many competent adults! Any grumpy adult is diluted, or can be left alone in favor of whomever isn't grumpy and would like to participate at the moment. I know more personalities sounds like more hassle, but the right personalities could really share the burden.

You expect so much from yourself, and are disappointed in the little you expect from Lee. But maybe if you had more adults in the mix, the same expectations could be spread over a larger labor pool. Better that than driving yourself harder, or pretending that you don't have the expectations that keep being disappointed.

It know that's not an option for now, and your short-term option seems to be to stick it out in uncertainty. I am sorry. That's a hard thing to do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 01- 6-14 6:09 PM
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Caseworker says we'll have a meeting in 10 days or so where Lee has to commit to being 100% on board with Nia's placement and with being a more active parent or we need to look into moving Nia. It's still not clear whether my moving to a new place would be an option.

To Megan's point about housemates, in the eyes of the state I'm just Lee's housemate and she's the foster parent. So if I leave, they think I'd have to get recertified from the ground up, which takes months, and the kids would have to be somewhere else while that happened unless they could get a waiver of some sort, which you'd think they'd be able to. But they've gotten in trouble at the state level for treating us like a "normal" couple before and there might be still bureaucrats willing to deny anything I ask for just on principle.

The caseworker also wants Lee to be a more involved parent, which I actually think is sort of a sexist double standard even though I agree. There are tons and tons of foster families where the dad doesn't do much more than drive periodically and go to the mandatory trainings and sit and eat, but because we're both moms we're held to a higher standard. And like I said, I'm fine with that to some extent because it's how I would like the family to work, but I might be willing to argue otherwise if it will get me what I wan't. I don't know.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-14 7:43 AM
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