10 Christian Stereotypes I Hate

Brett E. Shoemaker

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I hate when people assume certain things about me without getting to know who I am. You probably hate that too! Whenever people figure out I am a pastor at a Christian church, they tend to always assume the following:

1. Cussing around me is a no-no. Really? I’m honored that you feel the need to change your attitude/language around me, but you don’t need to try and be on “good behavior” when we are together. Typically, I’m not offended by your language and its not like I have never heard it before. I would rather you just be yourself than trying to be someone else for me.
 
2. I don’t like the gays. I understand why you may have gotten this impression considering some of the ridiculous Christians out there. But, I love them. To be honest, I don’t know why so many of my Christian brothers and…

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“Be Yourself!”

I used to wonder what this even meant. I know a lot of people did. We’d think, ‘Who else can I be? Aren’t I just myself by default?’ 

Well here’s the thing: It is so very, very important to your relationships, your life, and your personal happiness, to be HONEST with yourself, specifically about the things that make you happy. What you enjoy personally is between you and that thing, and no one can take that away from you, just as no one can make you like something that just isn’t in your interests. I know, I’m sounding very vague, so let’s get specific.

1. You do not need to like something just because everyone else does. Do not feel ashamed because you just aren’t that into Frozen. Don’t take crap from people who poop on you because you aren’t crazy about Marvel movies. Same goes for food tastes, music tastes, and everything else under the sun. So you’re different. That’s great!

2. That being said, there is NOTHING wrong with getting into something just because everyone else is into it. Do it because you want to find out what all the hype is about and you want to have an educated opinion. If tons of people like something, maybe there’s something to it! That’s how I think, at least. I started watching Supernatural because I kept seeing gifs and photosets on Tumblr and I wanted to be in the loop. Now I love it. Yes, I did watch 8 years worth of television in 5 months. So what?

3. If you like an indie band, you are not obligated to stop listening to them as soon as they sign on to a label because they “sold out” and you don’t want to lose your hipster cred. Same goes for anything else you liked before it was popular. I’m feeling bold today, folks! This is the truth. Signing on to a label does not automatically mean your favorite band will fall to crap, and if anyone judges you for still listening to something after it’s popular, then they are not your friend and are not worth your time! You are allowed to like things that tickle your eardrums, or whatever other sensory organs that are affected by whatever things you like that are suddenly more popular. I mean hey, now you have more things in common with most of your friends! Isn’t that a good thing?

4. You do not need to hide your interests! I meant to write a whole post on how I wish to eliminate the term “guilty pleasures,” but it kind of morphed into this post because I have cohesion issues in the brain. Basically, if anyone makes you feel bad for liking something (that isn’t hurting anyone, including you), they do not have your best interests at heart. Whether it’s because it makes you nerdy, weird, or a crazy cat lady, no one can take away from you the things you love. Maybe you post primarily pictures of your Siamese kittens on your Instagram. So you love your cats! What’s wrong with that? Nothing. So you binge watch dramatic and repetitive vampire shows because you have to find out what happens next. Own that! Go public with it and I can guarantee you that fans of the same show will pop out of the woodwork and jump to discuss future plot points with you. Bottom line: If everyone hid the interests that embarrassed them, we wouldn’t really know each other very well, would we? And if anyone does make fun of you for things you love, delete them. You don’t need that kind of negativity. 

5. This is similar to the last point, but I still need to articulate it differently: If something you like or do makes you look like a stereotype, but it is still something you genuinely enjoy, be like Taylor Swift and shake off the haters! So what if you’re a teenage white girl who Instragrams her Starbucks and wears Ugg boots almost all year? You like those things! That’s great! You don’t need to be different just to be different. Liking something doesn’t make you one thing or another, and it certainly doesn’t make you lesser than anyone who considers themselves “above such basic culture.” Culture elitism is so 2005; let’s be real. 

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Has anyone ever made fun of you for something you like? What was it?

I Wear What I Want

I’ve been thinking about fashion trends lately and it has come to my attention that there are some trends that are not super popular with some very loudmouthy people out there. I looked up some “fashion trends men don’t like” blog posts for reference, and found so many trends that I actually like, which made me think, ‘Who cares what men (or anyone else, for that matter) think? If I like something, I’ll wear it. I don’t care if it’s “so 20 years ago” or men don’t think I look sexy in it. For one, I’m married, and for two, I don’t dress for anyone but myself (and my work dress code). So without further ado, seven arbitrarily picked fashion trends that have received some flack but I love anyway. 

1. Overall shorts

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Check out Miley! She looks so comfy and carefree in her overall shorts! Source: denimblog.com

I know it’s totally 90’s, but I’m actually digging some of the 90’s styles that are coming back. When I first saw these hanging up at Fred Meyer (like Walmart, but better, if you don’t know Fred Meyer) two months ago, I got so excited. I didn’t want to spend $40 on them though, so I am still looking. I swear I will get a pair for next summer as soon as I can find one that fits at a thrift store. 

2. High-Waisted Shorts/Skirts

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Taylor Swift looking sleek! Source: thetrenddiaires.com

So fifties! I am digging the retro vibes that are invading current fashion! I should note that there is a wrong way to wear these, and it’s when your butt cheeks are hanging out. That’s too short. Otherwise, I love how the top hits the smallest part of your waist and gives you curves that may not have been accentuated in shorts that come up to your hips.

3. Menswear

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Janelle Monae is the perfect example of someone who OWNS menswear! Source: posh24.com

I love, love, love, the tailored, menswear-inspired outfits that so many women are trying out these days! Maybe it started a while ago, but it doesn’t look like it’s dying out any time soon. I have several jackets that have military-inspired elements, and that counts as femme menswear, right? I just think it’s so bold and powerful-looking. 🙂

4. Cargo Shorts

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You go, Diane Kruger! Source: fabsugar.com

Kurt loves me in cargo shorts. He thinks they’re the sexiest thing, for some reason. I like them because they’re comfy and I don’t care who knows it. So functional and ready for anything! So what if I look like I’m about to go on a safari or work in my garden? What’s wrong with safari’s and gardening? Nothing! I think I look cool!

5. Mixing Patterns

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Whitney Port rocking fabulous polka dots and floral! Source: imnotobsessed.com

This is more of an outdated fashion faux pas that was in style in the 90’s and is coming back now. I love it. I tried it for work and felt really young and fresh, but not childish. There’s a sense of empowerment, I think, that comes with taking what feels like a risk with your clothing choices and finding out no one actually cares (at least not the people who matter). People will probably compliment you if they say anything at all! There’s absolutely no reason not to wear different patterns together if you think it looks fun. Who makes these rules anyway? What will happen? Nothing.

6. Cropped Pants

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Chrissy Teigen looking ready to pilot a yacht because she’s awesome. Source: fabusugar.com

I think cropped pants are great. Longer than capris, shorter than regular skinnies, cropped pants, in any pattern or material, are cool enough for warm days and professional enough for the office. Great with any kind of shoes, too! 

7. Shorts With Stockings

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Leighton Meester ruling as Queen B on Gossip Girl. Source: panacheoffblast.com

My own personal rule of thumb when it comes to fashion trends is ‘If the main characters wore it on Gossip Girl, I can wear it too.’ You want to be the Queen B of your own world? Do it! You don’t have to be rich or backstabbing. In fact, don’t be a backstabber. Just be fabulous! You want to wear your favorite shorts but don’t like how your bare legs look right now? You like the contrast between the colors of your tights and your shorts? Go for it, because unless you are in a place with a dress code, like high school or a professional setting, you have free reign. The people who matter don’t care and the people who care don’t matter.  

What oft-ridiculed fashion trends are you loving right now? Leave a comment! 🙂

An Adventure to 1997

Sometimes, on my days off, I go on adventures. And by adventure, I mean I dress up real cute, get on a bus with no set destination, camera in hand, and decide on the way where I’ll end up. Today, I time-traveled. To 1997. I typed an address I memorized at five years old into the search option on my phone, took the correct buses (three of them!), walked 20 minutes, and ended up at the place I called home thirteen years ago: Lincoln High School. No, not the one where 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed. I wish!

While walking along 45th St, I wondered how my life would have been different if we’d never had to move, or if we had moved out but stayed in the same area. Maybe Milano Pizza and Pasta would have been my family’s go-to celebration spot, instead of El Porton in Yakima (nothing against El Porton. Love El Porton). Maybe I’d meet up with friends at A Muddy Cup for tea or coffee. I’d do homework there or just read by myself. DSC_2777Maybe we would have been able to find a new record player needle after the old one broke and collected records at Golden Oldies. DSC_2778Maybe instead of deli food at Fred’s in Cowiche, our go-to quick, cheap bite after school would be Dick’s Burgers.DSC_2779I walked so long that I feared I had missed my turn and focused on the street names rather than my imagination. And suddenly, after a left turn and one block, there it was.DSC_2780

I actually got a little choked up.DSC_2781

The signs said no trespassing, but I ached to get inside the gates and maybe through a door to see if I recognized anything. I figured wandering around the grounds would be okay as long as I didn’t break through any fences. DSC_2783

The halls were empty, as expected, since it’s summer, but it didn’t look abandoned. I guess someone is using it as a school again. DSC_2784

I remember this lot. Our church held a kiddie fair here. My brothers and I were in a little parade. My dad pulled us along in little wooden cars that he made (maybe not, but probably. I’m a little fuzzy on the details).DSC_2786

I remember these steps too, and the stone railing. But that might be from the last time I visited a few years ago.DSC_2788

I could have squeezed through this gap, but I doubt any of the doors beyond it would have been unlocked.DSC_2789

I am in awe of this architecture! DSC_2790

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This is new. DSC_2793

OH MY GOSH, IT’S AN OPEN GATE! I wandered in and turned left, where the cars were. There was a guy who looked like he worked there, and I asked him if it was okay if I took pictures because “I used to live here, as weird as that sounds.” He said the school was closed since 3:30, so outside was okay, but not inside. I asked if I could come back on any weekday before 3:30 and take pictures of the inside and he said yes!!DSC_2795

I definitely remember this! I don’t think that grafitti has been there for thirteen years though.DSC_2796

Got in a 365 on a bench that I THINK is near the entrance to the basement, where my family lived. I just bought the hat to keep the sun off my face (finally), and the dress is from Beth. DSC_2798

I wandered around the entire grounds, but it was hard to tell what used to be our “front yard” that wasn’t a yard. I didn’t want to try the doors for fear of not being allowed to come back. DSC_2799

I remember this rock!DSC_2800

At Wallingford Playfield across the street, I found a doge! It was so serene and peaceful. I let it sniff me, but it was otherwise uninterested. But oh so cute.DSC_2804

I can’t wait to go back and wander around the inside! I wonder if the Central Wing was ever restored, because that is the sole reason that, for a long time, I had nightmares about school buildings. Stay tuned for part two!! 🙂

I’m going to be honest, folks. I have literally no idea what I’m doing with my life. Currently, I’m sitting on my huge, comfy couch, watching episode after episode of The Vampire Diaries, because I have to find out what happens next. My attention span is so short that I’m basically just listening to it while Tumblring and blogging. I don’t do much else when I’m not working. When I am working, I’m always coming up with creative ideas for blogging, photography, sewing, painting, and yet, I sit and watch Netflix in all my free time. 

I think what’s stopping me from being creative is the fear that nothing will come of it. What if I try to sew something and it turns out terrible? What if I start making a YouTube channel about “this is why we’re married” moments with Kurt and I lose interest and it just becomes another failure? What if I apply to every single writing or editing job in the Pacific Northwest and I still don’t get anything because I don’t have the experience required, there are way more people with more experience and more skills applying for the same positions, and I refuse to leave the Seattle area? What if? What if?

What if?

The other day, someone (probably Kurt) suggested looking into a management position at Fred Meyer, since I am pretty good at my job now and it would pay more and give me more hours. The thought terrified me. Not because I don’t think I’d be a good manager. I’m sure I’d be awesome. What terrifies me is working in retail for longer than a total of two years in my life when I have a college degree. Because what if I never leave? What if two years becomes five, and five becomes 10? What will be the point of going $20,000 into debt? I have firmly decided that I should have majored in something else. I am trying to make the best of my stupid decision to obtain the easiest skate-by of all college degrees. I should have gone into forensic anthropology. Honestly, I chose English Writing because it was easy. I could have worked so much harder in the degree I did earn. I could have learned something. I believe that all the skills I have now, I had before I even set foot on Central’s campus. I BS’ed my entire way through that school. I never cheated, but I did the bare minimum of work and barely thought about what I was doing until I had graduated and I didn’t feel like I had gained anything besides a piece of paper and a mountain of student loans. I could have tried harder to come up with better theses for research papers. I could have read more. I could have started on the school newspaper earlier so I would have three years of experience there and not six months. I could have done the same with being a writing tutor. Why did I wait? 

I wish I could go back and do it again. But I can’t, and I’m stuck picking up piles of clothes from off the floor because someone couldn’t be bothered to put it back on the hanger, and listening to mean ladies gripe about how loud the music is (first complaint I’ve ever heard, and the store director actually laughed when I told him). It’s killing me. I have so much potential but I’m throwing it away because I’m lazy. I don’t even try to find a better job, one that uses my skill set and passions, because I don’t even see the point. And yet, I can’t be happy where I am. I want to leave, but I can’t because I can’t bring myself to job-hunt without feeling the crushing weight of “You’re not good enough” over and over. I can’t. 

A Guide to the Seattle Metro for Beginners

If you’re going to use public transit for the first time or in a new place, you’ll need to know a few things about it first. If not, you may run into some problems along your journey, such as not having enough fare, getting off too early and getting hopelessly lost, or just being that passenger no one likes. I haven’t used public transit in many other places besides the Seattle area, so I can’t speak for everywhere, but this is everything you need to know about how to ride the bus over here:

Before you leave the house…

1. Research your trip the day before. I don’t care if you’re only going somewhere in the same town, this is important. You don’t want to look up your bus routes an hour before you have to be somewhere only to find it’s going to take you over an hour to get there. No good. Be prepared and use Google maps! That’s what I do. If you don’t have a smart phone, print out the directions, enabling maps on the steps that list stops you’re unfamiliar with. You want to make sure you’re on the correct side of the street! If you do have a smart phone, just take note of what time you have to be at your bus stop, and when it’s time to leave, check OneBusAway or Transit Seattle, and Here Transit (or a similar app) to check your transfers and stops.

2. Find out how much you have to pay. You can find out on the Seattle Metro website. Depending on your age, the time of day, and how far you’re going, bus fare can vary between $1.25 and $3.50! You’ll want to know exactly how much you need so that you aren’t short and so you don’t spend more than you need to (i.e. only have dollar bills when the fare is $2.50) because drivers do not have change. You’ll want to have a lot of quarters. If you see yourself riding the bus rather often, obtaining an Orca card might be a good idea.

Off you go!

3. Be visible at your stop when the arrival time is near. This is really when those apps come in handy. Also umbrellas, because I have nearly been skipped over because a driver didn’t see me, as I was under the shelter, where it was warm. If your app says the bus is late, IGNORE IT. Too many times, I have seen an “18 minutes” late and decided and could chill at my house for 18 more minutes, only to miss the bus when I finally got to my stop. The bus will catch up with the schedule. Just be there when you planned to be. Maybe it really will be there 20 minutes late, but maybe it won’t.

4. Have your fare ready when the bus arrives. Don’t be the person who digs in their wallet for change, holding up the driver up from continuing the route. Some drivers will just pull away, trusting that you’ll pay soon enough, but not all. Be ready. Ask for a transfer slip if you’re paying with cash. You never know when you’ll need one. They last about two hours.

Now that you’re on…

5. Leave the side seats at the front for the elderly and disabled. Try not to sit there unless there are NO more seats left. Unless you are elderly and/or disabled.

6. Keep phone conversations short and polite. I have overheard loud conversations about strangers’ sex lives, baby mama drama, or just plan gossip, and that’s not really bus talk. At least keep it quiet and keep the profanity to a minimum.

7. Music is for headphones. Other passengers did not choose to listen to your music, so let’s keep it in your ears, please?

8. Don’t sit RIGHT next to someone unless you have no other option. They will wonder why you chose them instead of more space. Nothing will probably happen, but why chance it? (she said very tongue in cheek)

9. Sit in the seat space you paid for. Did you pay for just yourself? Then you take up one seat. There is room under the seat for your bags. On some buses, there is a rack above your head for your bags, like on an airplane! The exception to this is small children. Children five and under are free with a paying adult, but they don’t have to sit on your lap. Please keep them near you, though. It would be real awkward if they were just running in the aisle and some driver cut off the bus, and the bus driver had to slam on their brakes…

10. Check your apps, or your directions, so you know how far away your next stop is. Know what the cross streets are. Be watching the street signs out the windows.

11. If someone starts talking to you and you don’t want to talk to anyone, be polite, but short. You’re not obligated to talk to someone when you want a quiet bus ride, but being rude may make matters worse. However…

12. If someone is BOTHERING you, get up, sit somewhere else, and tell the driver if they continue. You have the right to feel comfortable on the bus. Drivers have the power to kick people off if they are causing problems, so speak up.

13. If you find something someone has left behind, first ask your fellow passengers if it belongs to any of them. If not, tell the driver and give it to them. They will put it in the lost and found, and the owner will be able to call Seattle Metro and claim their item. Please, do not just take something you found because the owner wasn’t around. It’s still stealing. They are probably missing it and would be very sad to find out no one turned it in.

Almost there!

14. When you are nearing your stop, double check your directions and/or apps and check the reader hanging from the middle of the ceiling, behind the driver. This tells you the street name/ transit center/park and ride where the bus is stopping next. You’ll want to know the name of the stop right before yours, so you can pull the bell cord as soon as you leave that stop.

15. If you pull the bell and it doesn’t ding, look for a red light right above the reader. If that’s there, that means someone else already pulled the bell and you didn’t hear it. The bus will stop. You do not need to pull it for park and rides and transit centers. It will always stop there because those are high traffic stops.

16. Be ready to disembark before the bus pulls up to your stop. If you are transferring, know where you are getting on your next bus before getting off your first bus, so you can run, run run, to be ready at your next stop.

17. Thank the driver as you get off. Wish them a happy day. They deserve it.

18. If you are transferring, get to your next stop and start over at step 3! Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? 🙂

I gotta start writing these down

I finally came up with a solid idea for my YouTube videos. I had been wanting for the good part of the last few years to run a vlogging channel, but my lack of functional equipment and good ideas prevented me from having the confidence to start. Sure, I made a few vlogs, which you can watch here, but then my camera drowned in a river and I didn’t want to use my webcam because I loved making vlogs while walking, or at least being outside. Then I got a video camera for Christmas last year. I tried to make one or two videos, but got frustrated in the editing process because the program I had to use wasn’t as easy as Movie Maker. The longer I went without trying again, the worse I felt for not using a gift that multiple family members had come together to buy for me. I felt like a failure, which should show just how messed up I am, as this shouldn’t have been that big of a deal to me. It’s not like I would never use it. It’s only been 8 months. 

And then it came to me. Today (well, last night), Kurt and I took my friend Rachel out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory for her birthday. After leaving the restaurant, we ended up at World Market, which is a great place to fantasize about future home decor, which is basically what we did. At one point, Kurt and I were joking around and he exclaimed, “This is why we’re married,” which is something he says quite often. He says it when find yet another common interest we didn’t know we had, or when we both get excited about something that most people might not, or when I say something that he totally expected me to say because he knows me that well. I realized that this is a common thing in our relationship. We like to point out why we’re together. The things that make us an “us.” The little quirks that make our relationship different from anyone else’s, or different from any of our previous relationships. So I am going to make videos, just short, 2-minute reenactments of “this is why we’re married” moments. Maybe it will fail, maybe it won’t. But I think it will be a fun thing to do together. I’m excited.