The CCPA is making it so hard to do my online speed shopping

I’m so lucky to live in California, on the Left Coast, where my online privacy is now protected by law. The California Consumer Privacy Act is in full effect and it’s sort of terrifying me to realize my paranoia about the sinister inter-web has been valid.

Now every website I visit has a giant pop up banner announcing its compliance with the law. And where I formerly clicked away (yes, yes, cookies, got it) I’m now scrolling down to opt out of allowing retailers and glamor blogs alike from selling my private details.

The verbage on each website confesses that they’ve been harvesting my data for sale to third parties.

Since I am a California resident, they will offer me the chance to opt out of this data collection/sale, everything from global location to employment history and, this is what really bothers me, “inferences drawn about your preferences”.

What inferences and which preferences? All imaginable combinations, I’m sure.

My sneaker shopping has been affording the dark web inferences about my sexuality? My blog trips, inferences re: politics? Good grief, I can only imagine how my IG clicks are painting me!

A dozen years ago I worked at a museum and Development (with a big, sinister D) told me that I needed to create a full profile for each person who bought a ticket. Address, email, the whole enchilada.

Why? The indignant visitors asked.

For “security” purposes, I was told to answer.

Soto voce

It was so we could sell that information to a fellow museum.

Scandalous and invasive, you betcha! Now, we just clatter and thumb away, ticking off whichever boxes gets us the coupon, subscription or shorteralls of our dreams.

In 2019, I knew that my email address did not only equal a 10% coupon off white hot denim looks! I knew I’d be getting spam forever. I didn’t really care because I didn’t think I had any choice. Not if it meant getting to the good stuff faster! Just get me my advice about hydrolysed collagen powers and the scoop on Megan and Harry.

Two months into 2020 and I think we all understand that anything we choose to opt out of is probably being harvested in another way.

I am wholeheartedly half-assing everything.

I have it in my mind that I need to do all these things to be the perfect person/woman/mother. I’m not supposed to be trying to be perfect. All those mindfulness lunatics would tell me to breathe and be present. I just can’t do it any other way. It’s my neurosis or my upbringing, but in my perverted mind there’s an ideal way to do each thing in this life and I’m trying to hit that mark.

This in no way should suggest that what results is perfect. I have actually dropped the bar really low. When I was a free agent, I would have never left the house without nail polish. My standards slipped a lot lower with my first kid. Then they slopped to just barely keeping my head above water with three kids. Add the fact that I have several auto immune diseases that zap my strength, and I’m choking as I squeak out my most serious obligations, forget personal grooming!

Women are tasked with being the cruise directors in a family. A ready example is the exchange of seasonal cards. Did you get a holiday card? Oh yes you did, cuz I’m a nut and I would not have been able to sleep until they went out the door. Was it a Pinterest-worthy backdrop featuring five people looking happy about life? Hell no! Did I slash the recipient list? Yup, sorry second tier family members. But I could check it off the list and feel good about life for a day.

My perfectionism creeps up almost immediately after I finish one thing. And this is why I have adopted Cynthia’s half-assed approach to being her best self.

Step 1. Do you see you beautiful vision board? Throw a bucket of Vaseline on that, blurring it.

Step 2. What we have now is my “Smokey Eye” approach. It’s intentionally messy to disguise f*ck ups. Think, “understyled for that lived in vibe”. So, feel free to have the best intentions but stop when you’re too exhausted or stressed and declare GOOD ENOUGH!

Step 3. Find something about what you’ve done, accidentally, and declare it genius. Now you have something a normal person can achieve!

Let’s see this play out in real time. Last night after the typical dinner of trying to keep everyone seated and ingest most of the food before them, I declared it time to bang out those school Valentine’s Day cards. Naturally, I had spent a couple of hours on Amazon, selecting adorable yet affordable goodies to gift with the cards. Because in my school district, it’s like mini-Christmas with the schwag the kids come home with.

Remember, we are trying to keep up but not worry about truly competing with these nut job super moms who make cookies of each child’s initial. Really?!

Step 1. Envision the cellophane baggie with red and pink ribbon curls. Grab that blurring tool and smear it around until you have the baggie that’s smaller than you thought it was when you ordered it. And realize that you’re going to have to tape these puppies closed because hunting for ribbon upstairs means the hooligans will be left unattended and will find the TV remote.

Step 2. Have each child sign their name and select a goodie for the bag. Explain more than 5 times that the choice is one goodie per friend and no, we’re not eating candy or playing with bubbles before bedtime. Wonder why you thought giving choices was a good idea.

Step 3. Notice that the ink didn’t dry and the names are smudgy and that the 4 year old has signed his name on the TO: line. Oh, how charming and authentic, you decide!

Half-assed Valentine’s are done! And no, I did not volunteer to help with the class party only to cancel the day before because someone is sick/acting out/has an emergency team meeting/I’m exhausted. That craziness is not for me. Not this year, anyways.

Do you want the fake answer or the truth?

Holidays bring out the worst in me. National, religious, Hallmark, school… these are not fun and carefree days for me.

The heightened expectation to be cheerful and joyous is crushing for a person who is struggling with the regular days! I have a family that is heavily impacted by special needs. Plus I have my own battle with anxiety and health issues. It’s a lot to get everyone fed and groomed to even leave the house. Add anything extra and I am sizzling with stress.

When I am asked by anyone, family, friends, or acquaintances, “How are you?” I have to decide what kind of response does this person really want?

Do you want the lie or do you really want to know how I am doing?

Even those people who love me are probably bummed out by the real answer, “We are struggling.”

I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable, but I feel so alone and cranky and yes, depressed by your happiness. Your plans for school vacation or a party make me want to crawl into bed and put the pillow over my head.

Hey, Cyn, how’s it going?

Here is the real answer.

My kids are autistic and I just want everyone to be emotionally regulated for one hour.

I have a child who is anxious and sad because he doesn’t have even one friend.

Our kids have a team, a literal team, of teachers and therapists because they can’t safely get through one school day without them.

I got a note from school that my child has broken another window.

There are only 5 foods my kids eat so every snack or meal is a battle of wills.

We don’t have any friends because someone is always screaming or yelling shocking words because they don’t understand how to be socially appropriate.

My kids are going to be afraid of the noise or overstimulated by that party, but thanks for inviting us.

Your happy neuro-typical family makes me want to throw something across the kitchen.

We are the weirdest people wherever we go.

Here’s my fake answer.

Oh, we’re keeping busy! Yup, doing well! Aren’t the kids big? (quickly pivot the conversation back to the other person) How are you!? (painfully pasted on smile)

The lie is exhausting and the truth is too much information.

Yeah, I friggin’ work!

Do you work?

I stay home with my kids, so I hate this question. I hate it on school forms, applications, and when making chit chat. Because I. Am. Working.

I have three autistic kids.

“Is that even possible!?”

I can hear you thinking it. I assure you, I would not joke about such a thing.

Gorgeous boys, too!

“OMG! THREE BOYS?!”

Let’s not get sidetracked. Yes, three special, smart, loud boys. And they each have a team of therapists, teachers, aides, social workers, doctors, specialists, and van drivers. Juggling their lives is my work.

I also manage a healthy amount of panic attacks, I strive for at least 4 per week, worrying if I’m a good mom/person. Maybe the middle one should be in music therapy? Did I call back the Y about getting the behavior specialist her companion membership badge? We’re out of bagels, that’s going to be a crisis!

In rare moments, I experience the pride of successfully wrangling these little Fellas. Their hearts are so fragile, bruised by the struggles that come along with their neuro-diversity. And everyday, I manage to inject kindness into their lives. Not, like, all the time. I still yell. A lot.

We go to museums and out to (crappy) restaurants and we play soccer loudly at the neighborhood park. Add all the loving corrections and the times I bite my tongue when I want to say, “My life is hard, too!” I think I am crushing it at Work.

I have recently been encouraged in my return to writing. I have been blogging for well over a decade. First a very snarky blog, single-gal rants against the establishment, and then, still snarky, my mom journey, recording the events and quirks of parenting and posting loads of cute kid pictures.

This is going to be a mixed up effort to help that pre-mom woman resurface. It’s more work! But so far I am really enjoying it. I hope you do as well.