Open Letter to College Kids Who Need Safe Spaces- Parenting is Gonna Kick Your Ass
At college campuses all across America our young men and women are being triggered. It’s an epidemic of uncanny stress and the total inability to actually deal with their surroundings brought on by something society has even given a special name to- microagressions. So dangerous are these aggressions and the trauma they trigger, they’re requiring the need for campus safe spaces, on-site therapists, and even mind spas to ensure those fragile few who were triggered don’t leap from a building on their way to the campus dining hall.
What exactly are these triggers that have made scads of coddled 19 year olds so uncomfortable they now require total shielding from such fate? Surly, only barrels of actual GUNS would trigger a reflex of such intense emotion it would require total avoidance, amiright? Nope, iamnot. These micro aggressions are things like coeds wearing sombreros and fake mustaches at a fiesta themed fraternity party (racist and offensive to hispanic students!) or when students at Columbia University asked that greek mythology classes be given an actual trigger warning because of their violent and often offensive themes. (Oh the horror of Ovid’s Metamorphosis!)
You see, there’s an entire generation of people currently walking around thinking somewhere in the Bill of Rights, is the right to not be offended. Like, by ANYTHING. It would be funny if it weren’t for one thing- these people will one day be PARENTS, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a parent, it’s that there is a lot of shit that’s gonna want to make you run away and cry into a safe space. But guess what? You can’t! So listen up college kids, it’s time to grow a pair and prepare yourself for the real traumatic triggers and microagressions in life that are headed your way. They’re called KIDS, and here’s a few things you’re going to need a safe space from.
1. Themed birthday parties
If you thought someone dressed like Speedy Gonzalez was stressful, wait until you meet an eight foot tall rat who serves greasy pizza, and then you have to dive head first into a booger filled ball bit for a pacifier.
2. Stories that don’t have a happy ending
We no longer own “Love You Forever.” I threw that emotional mess of a book out the window after I realized just getting to the end would send me into a three day depression. Get used to it future parents, because great kid lit doesn’t come with an emotional trigger warning. Better hope your little wizard isn’t a Harry Potter fan because Dumbledore DIES. Deal with it.
3. Hate speech and foul language
If you cannot handle a person inexcusably and unabashedly saying mean things and blurting out profanity, I suggest the day your child turns 13 you push them out of a moving car, or learn to completely tune them out. Both will work.
4. Music with misogynistic and racist lyrics
Don’t let your teenagers listen to anything on today’s pop charts, or any music by artists in a certain genre who frequently use the “N” word, because it’s all horrifically offensive in one way or another. Go classical, or here’s a crazy idea- realize it’s just music, and people are free to sing about whatever they want to. Don’t like it? Don’t listen to it.
5. Human dignity atrocities
You’re going to be defecated on, peed on, and puked on. You’re going to have your nipples twisted, pulled, bit and chewed on. Your hair is going to be pulled out by chubby fingers with a death grip. You’re gonna be pinched, prodded, poked, and pushed on, and that’s just by your doctor- wait until a three year old does it. Your calcium, iron, and vitamin stores will all be depleted from your body in just 40 weeks. Your perky breasts will go from porn star fabulous-ness to empty sock pockets before you can say miracle bra. You will not sleep for a decade. Now, tell me again how your body is a wonderland and deserves total autonomy?
6. Groups with exclusive memberships
Playgroup moms will chew you alive and then spit you out if you don’t mother exactly like they do. There is a preschool parenting pecking order and group exclusivity that takes in the early years. My advice? Your safe space is the mom friend who comes over at 10 a.m. asking if she can borrow some triple sec and coarse salt. Follow her home at nap time.
7. Your body is your own and should never be violated
Except when you’re in labor, and a dozen med students happen to appear when you’re spread eagle and eight centimeters dilated, and they just want to “have a feel.” Sure, go for it! My body is your learning tool!
8. Parenting experts
Listen up college kids, because this is where it gets good. Parenting is going to smack you right across your overly sensitive and coddled face, but in a very, very good way. You will be brought to your knees in despair and doubt, both the day you bring your baby home from the hospital and the day they move out and go to college. Friends, immediate family, books, and even total strangers are going to tell you all the time you’re doing it wrong, and you’re going to need the mental maturity and vulnerability to learn and recognize when they are actually right.
Those social causes you used to march and rally for? They don’t hold a candle to the new cause you will forever be rallying for, YOUR KID. Your intolerance for those that don’t think exactly like you will be transformed into real tolerance, as your heart grows softer and more empathetic to the struggles and stress every single parent faces at one point or another, regardless of their race, religion, sexuality, or political beliefs. You will no longer see a Christian, an atheist, a liberal, or a democrat. You will now just see another parent also walking through life with their fragile heart now beating on the scary outside of their bodies. Like you, it first beat within them, then crawled underfoot, then walked clumsily, then rode a bike, then waved goodbye as they stepped on the school bus, and then it gave you a big hug when you left it at the college dorm steps.
All of it, every single second of parenting, is one big microaggression and trigger after the next. It’s going to make you question and yell and fight and demand and cry and listen and ultimately force you to take leaps of faith you never thought possible. You will need the strength and courage to accept things you vehemently disguise, and you’ll need the grace to handle circumstances that disgust you.
I believe in this next generation of parents, even if right now they can’t handle fake mustaches and sombreros, or scary myths and politically incorrect memes. I still have hope that just like me, the day they become a parent, is the day they really became a grown up.
You can do this young people, I know you can. Just lose the righteous attitude, will ya?
That shit will come back to haunt you when you have teenagers.
Posted by Melissa Fenton