I Don’t Care What You Think of Me. (And I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

I haven’t written a Tumblr post in awhile, but I’m feeling called to write this one. I hope it doesn’t sound rude, but I’m just going to say it: I don’t care what you think of me. Of course, I want people to like me, I would care if I hurt your feelings, I care about you, and I aim to be a good person and hope for others to recognize that, but, at my core, I’ve realized that I have become too consumed with and worried about what others think of me. No one person, one instance, or recent event has caused this “a-ha!” moment. There was no specific catalyst, other than the fact that I’ve been far too concerned with others’ opinion of me, as of late. (Really, I have been for my whole life, but more often recently.)

For instance: I’m a Christian, but I support gay rights (gasp!), think that science and religion can coexist, and sometimes I laugh at jokes that might be a little off-color. I listen to ‘secular’ music and I have tattoos. In my mind, those things don’t make me any less of a Christian. I have a very strong faith and a solid relationship with God … so, where does this guilt come from? It comes not from Him, but from my worrying what other mere mortals will think: am I too Christian? Will my posting Bible verses on Facebook make someone feel awkward? Am I not Christian enough because I enjoy science and think that some things in the Bible are not meant to be taken literally? Does going to a Britney Spears concert condemn me to Hell? What happened to loving everyone and being forgiving — does that only apply to super-literally-devout, always-by-the-book Christians, or can it apply to someone like me who identifies as Christian but who marches to the beat of their own drum a little bit? Oh — and I’m Cathodist. Metholic. I was raised Catholic but now belong to a Methodist church, and I still practice traditions from both religions. Is being a hybrid okay? And why do I care, if I don’t think that God is bothered by it? I’m also in Mensa. I can’t be intellectual and religious, say a gazillion studies, so surely I’m some kind of freak. I mean … a Christian Mensan? … Someone with a high IQ who is ALSO faithful? Come on now!

Then there’s politics. I’ve been registered Republican and Independent but most of my views on life are more on the Liberal side. So maybe I’m a Democrat. Except … I’m just … not. I don’t really fit in the Republican OR the Democrat box, and, in fact, I’m probably more Libertarian than anything, but then I catch myself thinking: well if I identify as  Libertarian, what will people think? So-and-so is a Republican and will think less of me; and yada-yada is a Democrat and will think that I’m ridiculous. And that coupled with the Christian aspect - wait, are Christian Libertarians even a THING? Cue the driving myself crazy.

It bleeds over into what I eat. Ethically and morally, TRUST ME, I *WANT* to be a vegetarian, or, better yet, a vegan. A staunch vegan would tell me that I must not want it badly enough, but that staunch vegan probably doesn’t have problems absorbing nutrients because of a history of celiac disease and the vegan probably doesn’t realize the neurological damage that can come along with my history of pernicious anemia, which is a potentially-dangerous lack of B12. That vegan may tell me to take supplements! To do B12 injections! That I will get enough B12 from other sources … except I won’t. Even with weekly B12 injections and daily B12 supplements and a healthy, balanced diet, my B12, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D levels are lower than they should be. So do I WANT to eat meat or animal products? No. But SHOULD I? Probably. So I dabbled in being a pescatarian. Then I realized that some people think that’s hypocritical: why is fish/seafood any different from meat, poultry, etc.? It isn’t, but I sometimes get RA flares from red meat, and I don’t really like chicken all that much, and so fish is a better choice as a source of protein and B-vitamins, if I have to eat animals. It also contains essential fatty acids that are important to those of us with autoimmune and inflammatory health conditions. Plus, I know that most fish, though sentient, are not as prone to have the same level of intellect or emotion, as, say, a pig or a cow. That fact does matter to me. And I like the taste of bacon as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it ethically. I think that eating animals is wrong, especially given the way that they are treated (i.e. abused,) at many of these farms. (Then again, our whole food industry pretty much sucks.) So, I guess I’m being a hypocrite because I’ll eat mahi mahi or crab legs. And I have leather handbags. Yet I sit on the Board of Directors at an animal rescue organization and donate to/volunteer with an exorbitant amount of animal welfare causes, love animals (sometimes more than most people,) and think eating meat is wrong, but I still eat it, and sometimes enjoy it.

And … by the way, can someone be a part-time vegetarian AND a Libertarian AND a member of Mensa AND a (believing, practicing, Methodist-Catholic) Christian? I also have 5 tattoos and streaks of blue, green, teal, and fuschia in my hair. I listen to some rap music. I once went through a borderline-Goth stage in middle school and I partied in college. Do I still qualify to fit into any of those categories? Yes? No? Kind of?

Oh, and I’m a member of Tone It Up, too, and married to a part-time personal trainer, but … shhh… I don’t exercise EVERY single day, just 5 or 6 days a week. Is that okay? Am I into fitness enough for you? Does this qualify me to be able to list “fitness” as an interest online? Am I allowed? Is that okay with you? By the way: I may as well mention this also — I’m a holistic health coach and try to take a natural approach to my health, but sometimes, though I don’t want to, I need to take traditional medicine. Drugs. From the pharmaceutical industry. Should you be okay with that? Can I be okay with that?

The answer to these questions is simple: yes. If I feel that I exercise enough, I do. If I need to take a pill one day instead of an herbal supplement, so be it. That’s my choice. If I want to be vegan one week and pescatarian the next, and then simultaneously write a check to PETA while shoving a burger in my face the following week, I can do that. I’ve “bought” 2 pets and “adopted/rescued” 2 pets and you know what? I love them all the same, and I’m sorry that I’m not sorry about it. I don’t feel too badly about my purchased pets, because I feel I make up for it with the work I do for animals otherwise. You shouldn’t make me feel guilty about it, because you have zero right to do so. Maybe someone is better than me because they only rescue or adopt. Maybe I’m better than them in five different ways. And guess what, folks? I can go to church and listen to KISS fm or Kanye West or KLOVE on the way home. I can wear a cross around my neck that matches the cross tattoo on my ankle, and I don’t have to explain either to you, no matter who you are. When I vote in the next election, I may choose to tell you who I voted for, but I may not. I may vote for the party for which I’m registered, but I might not. And you may know what party that is, or you won’t. And that’s okay. Because … it’s none of your business, really. It’s mine.

I’m sure that there are Christians for whom this post will be maddening; I’ve probably offended some people, but I assure you that we can agree on one main point: only God can judge me. My relationship with Him is solid, even though I watch movies that have swear words in them. Please know that my faith and my relationship with God are personal, and that if I want to include you in it, I will … but if not, you don’t have to — and really shouldn’t — insert yourself. I appreciate you wanting to save my soul but I think I’ve been saved already … but if I haven’t been, it isn’t really your concern.

I’m sure that PETA & ASPCA members are tsk-tsk-tsking my perceived hypocrisies. I wonder if they tsk-tsk-tsk when I send them checks throughout the year?  Do they realize the money I put into animal charities? The compassion and empathy and seemingly infinite love that I have for my own pets and for all animals, big and small? Do they realize that, if I didn’t have chronic health conditions that can be serious if not treated properly, that I would be a vegetarian, if not a vegan, in a heartbeat? I wonder if some of these folks are ever hypocrites, if they are ever honest with themselves about how much better they are than others, if they have other moral or ethical shortcomings outside of the food choices they make or the products they use, but I wouldn’t say anything, because, as with religion, it isn’t my place to judge. And why would I, anyway?

Do people realize how silly they look when they argumentatively beat their political viewpoints to death online? Honestly, you’re almost certainly not going to change my mind or anyone else’s. You are entitled to your point of view, and I’m entitled to mine. I recognize and respect your right to share that perspective, and I expect the same in return. Simple.

Sometimes, I may ask your opinion about a career move or if a movie is worth seeing or if I should cut my hair or adopt another pet. Sometimes, I truthfully want to hear your input. However, sometimes I won’t, and, even if I ask for it, I may not abide by it … because it’s my life, and my choice.

I have come to the epiphany that I don’t owe it to anyone, really, to explain my dietary choices, my political views, my religious beliefs, my appearance or wardrobe, my level of fitness or lack thereof, my medical choices, or my career path … because although I care about YOU, I don’t particularly care what you think about any of these things … because your hang-ups on these issues, I’ve finally realized, has NOTHING to do with me, and everything to do with you.

Stepping off the soapbox now.

Sincerely, your wannabe-vegan-but-really-just-sometimes-pescatarian, animal-loving, Mensan, Methodist-Catholic-Christian-but-non-judgmental, possibly-Libertarian-but-not-sure, friend,

Ashley :)

PS: This is also a great read: 

15 Things You Don’t Owe Anyone At All (Though You Think You Do)

Forecasters warn of possible 100 mph winds hitting Pittsburgh
Ranting On…Fat Days


Why are women cursed with “fat days?” 

What makes me, for example, feel like a bombshell one day, and a fat, sluggy, schlumpadinka, the next? 

Why do I sometimes adore shopping, and proudly wear a swimsuit or shorts…but on other days, I will cry trying on jeans or bathing suits?

Sure, our weight fluctuates 1-3 pounds day-to-day, so that’s surely part of it, but what is the rest of it? How can I have had a major fat day on Sunday, but, I’m okay with myself today — yet nothing is different?

Does it depend on our moods in general? Does it depend on the quality of food we ate that day, or how active we are on any given day? Is it the clothes we’re wearing? Is it other things that are going on in our life? 

And…why when we are having the proverbial “fat days,” do we usually eat badly…self-sabotage, perhaps?

What do you guys think? 


Question of the Day

Question of the Day: Do you have any “celebrity hair idols?” If so, who are they?

Mine are…

  • Giuliana Rancic
  • Khloe Kardashian
  • Alexis Bellino
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Jessica Biel
Texts from the Dog

Newly obsessed with this Tumblr page. Not as good as Dogshaming, but, a goodie, nonetheless. Thanks to my brother for introducing Text from Dog to me!

Ranting On…Judging a Book by Its Cover

I’ve had about 3 people in the past week make casual (disdainful) comments about people with tattoos, or funky hair, or saying that so-and-so is too thin, or “oh my God will you look at that person,” or, worst of all, derogatory comments about people’s sexuality or personal choices when it comes to religion or politics, and, I want to take a second to say that it’s just not okay — at least, not to me. Please don’t come to me with those kinds of conversations. I will not partake.

Aren’t we taught in elementary school not to judge a book by its cover?Doesn’t religion and even society in general teach us to be accepting of others? Who are we to judge anyone’s appearance or, furthermore, their lifestyle choices?

Would it surprise you that despite my being a Christian and a girly-girl that I have 4 tattoos, want a 5th, and have had countless piercings over the years? That underneath my plain brown hair with blonde highlights that I usually have subtle hints of blues, greens, purples, and pinks? That I admire body art as exactly that — art?  

Would it surprise you that, in high school, people thought I was anorexic, but it was because of an illness? Would it surprise you that, even now when people “think” I’m in shape that my doctor told me I could stand to lose 10 lbs? Did you know that under that usually-messy hair that I have a 6” scar on the back of my head from a brain surgery? Probably not.

Would it surprise you that while I read the Bible, I also listen to rap music, and (gasp!) laughed out loud at the Book of Mormon and various inappropriate TV shows? That I have gay friends and family members who I support despite my being Christian?

That I read Rumi and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Shakespeare but also read 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight? 

That I wear some designer items… but also shop the sale racks and flea markets and donate a large portion of my time and money to helping others?

Did you know that while I can come off as “ditzy” sometimes, that I have a very high IQ, was considered gifted all through school, and am applying to become a member of Mensa? 

Now that you know these things, does it negatively affect your opinion of me? If so, I’m not sure you’re the type of person that I want in my life, anyway. 

If it doesn’t change your opinion of me, then let me ask you this: why is it okay for me to have tattoos, but for your waiter at a restaurant or your hairdresser to have them, it’s appalling? Why is it okay to say other people are too skinny or too fat when you’d tell me that I look fine?

The rule of thumb here is this: you don’t know ANYTHING about a person by looking at them, and even then, you usually only know what they want you to know.

Take a second to get to know someone before judging them — and by all means, take a moment to think before you speak: you never know who you could be offending, and you never, ever know what someone is dealing with or what their story looks like behind closed doors.

Next Up on the Bucket List: MENSA.

As many of you know, I’m often filled with lofty hopes, dreams, and goals. My latest “bucket list” item is to become a member of Mensa. I think I can do it and I’d like to try testing by the end of the summer.

If any of you can offer me any tips or pointers on the process, I’d really appreciate it. 

Thank you!

What Story Does Your Face Tell? - by Ashley Boynes-Shuck

Some of you don’t know this, but I’ve been through a lot of…well, crap.

Here’s my story! (Don’t worry - it isn’t depressing! :) )

Question of the Day: TV

With one of my favorite TV shows coming to a series end, I must ask myself and all of you: aside from The Office (a no-brainer!) what are the Top 5 shows on television, in your opinion?

Mine are…(in no particular order)

1) Scandal
2) Nashville
3) Newsroom
4) Breaking Bad
5) Modern Family

Honorable Mentions: I’m also obsessed with the Real Housewives, enjoying the Walking Dead, and still like Glee, The Big C, Family Guy, and Grey’s Anatomy…

How about you guys?

I’ve Been Slacking…

I’ve been slacking on Tumblr posts…started a new job…will try to begin posting more frequently again…stay tuned!