Juliet is The Wheelhouse Review’s Founder, Executive Editor and Chief of Parties. Juliet also contributes to Still the Sea, where she writes pop-culture-ridden posts about faith. But if you don’t have a long attention span, just follow her on Twitter. In addition to her wheel collection, she also stores witty banter and running in heels in her wheelhouse.
How are you? I hope that this letter finds you well.
I’m writing because while all attention is focused on the IRS, the Department of Justice and the Associated Press, and Benghazi, the House Agricultural Committee approved a measure that will result in a $20 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP, known even better still as food stamps. Contrary to the stereotype of “welfare queens” and deadbeat moochers, two-thirds of food stamp recipients are children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Why is SNAP being cut? Well, it’s because poor people are the worst, amirite? I mean, there they are, trying to make ends meet and feed their families, often suffering from health problems because they don’t have access to nutritious food, shaming us into realizing that we have so much–more than we probably need of course. I mean, it’s the right of all Americans to have as much as we want, because we earned it, damn it! Nevermind that the poor in America are also Americans with dreams of one day…not being poor and having as much as they want. Nevermind that many of us in the middle class came from families who were once…poor. Continue reading →
“Her children arise and call her blessed.”–Proverbs 31:28
Like a lot of women, I didn’t want to become my mother. I didn’t want to be a stay-at-home-mom. I didn’t want to put my family before my own career or even myself. I didn’t even want her faith, offering everything in her life with open hands to her God. We are conditioned to view that sort of woman with suspicion for being regressive and potentially harmful to the cause of women everywhere.
Ironically, it is my mother’s maternal, nurturing side that made her so successful in her later career and her life. She was not just a stay-at-home-mom to my siblings and me; she was a stay-at-home-mom to eight foster children, two of whom she adopted while she was in her early 50s. She is “mom” to several men–homeless and otherwise–who come each week to the soup kitchen and food pantry that she founded and still runs. One of those men, “Halloween” came to the soup kitchen in the summer of 2000, homeless, dressed in black, and suffering from schizophrenia. Over the course of a couple of years, her constant care for him led him to reveal his real name which allowed her to track down his former college roommate from Brown and get him the help he needed.
Despite–or because of–my mother’s penchant for mothering we didn’t always get along. Even now, my mother can say the most innocent comment that has the power to either send me spinning into an oblivion of self-doubt and frustration, or to validate my entire existence. We are both too similar and too different in all the worst ways. It’s not that I fear becoming my mother. It’s more that I fear what will happen to my sense of self if I live a life that isn’t totally about me. Continue reading →
Even though it’s been much hyped and lauded, even on these pages, I cannot bring myself to watch Girls. Watching young women in their 20s stumble around New York looking for love, meaning, and identity hits too close to home. Not too long ago, I also spent my 20s in New York, making terrible decisions and enduring all kinds of misery because of those choices. For me, viewing Girls as entertainment is probably the same as an ex-drug dealer watching The Wire for fun.
I’ve made a huge mistake.
As I look forward to another birthday in the coming weeks, I have also started my annual reflection over this past year and what I learned. It’s been unsettling to realize that some of the bad habits that I’d picked up in my younger years have followed me to this new decade. But it’s also been empowering to recognize that those habits can be unlearned.
Since my partnership with my co-editor increasingly resembles that of brother and sister–we finish each other’s sandwiches and I have to repeatedly tell him to stop hitting himself–I thought that I would copy him and do Seven Habits of my own. I’m mostly writing for the young single ladies in our readership, but really, they’re applicable to all. So here are my Seven Bad Habits You Really Need to Break. Now. In other words, stop hurting yourself.
In what will probably go down in history as one of the best scenes from television in general and Mad Men in particular, an icy Trudy Campbell dumps her slimy, cheating husband, Pete. “I refuse to be a failure,” she begins, laying out how their marriage will work from now on–no divorce, but Pete is forbidden from coming home unless given permission. “I’m drawing a 50-mile radius around this house and if you so much as open your fly to urinate, I will destroy you.”
Although I cheered for Trudy (it’s been well-documented in these pages that I think Pete Campbell is the Dan Brown of all Mad Men characters), I found her statement troubling. Instead of cutting her losses and moving on to find happiness, she is going to make both her life and her family’s miserable in her refusal to fail.
The Scarlet F. Courtesy of gpvoyager.org
I can relate. As an overachiever and perfectionist, I hate to fail. In fact, most overachievers fear failure to an unhealthy extent. Not only will a failure somehow reveal us as a fraud, we worry, but our perfect permanent record will have a nasty F on it, thereby lowering our life GPA. It doesn’t matter that no one else is monitoring our permanent records. We are carefully maintaining our files in triplicate because well, that’s what makes us good at overachieving.
I venture to say that fear of failure is not just an internal struggle. In my cohort of young overachievers, we learned all of our R’s (and noted how dumb it was to call them that, since writing and arithmetic don’t start with R’s unless you’re unable to read), were offered “enrichment” courses, and were told that we could be and achieve anything we wanted. But we were never taught how to fail well and with grace. And as a result, we are terrified of failure. Continue reading →
If you’re a Facebook aficionado like me, you probably noticed three major trends this past week. The first was a steady slew of misinformation about the Boston Marathon bombing. The second was a steady slew of outrage/jubilation about the defeat of gun control legislation in the Senate. And the third was a steady slew of links to the Dove ad, its various parodies, and commentary on said ad.
I love being emotionally manipulated by my soap.
If you haven’t seen the ad, Dove hires a forensic sketch artist to draw women as they describe themselves to him. He never sees them. Then other people describe the women in question. What results is the realization that their self-perception is distorted from the way others perceive them. The concept is that women don’t celebrate their natural beauty. The ad smacks of the emotional manipulation that has made Don Draper’s character such a genius, even though it would be in his best interest that women continue to have low self-esteem.