Find crazy Aunt Trish’s liquor cabinet, hide in the bathroom with a bottle, and vent to us here.
– Shawnie Hamer

I was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. You may have heard it get made fun of by Chandler’s dad on Friends, or driven through it on your way to Las Vegas. If you haven’t experienced it, there is a big thing you need to know: it probably shouldn’t be in California.

Bakersfield is basically the metaphorical wart on the beautiful, liberal, democratic face that the rest of the country believes is the West Coast. What the rest of the country forgets, however, is that there is a giant middle part of the state— a giant, flat, hot middle— that was established by descendants of the Dust Bowl migration.

Bakersfield is oil and farming. It is get married and have babies before the age of 25. It is conservative, Christian, and Republican to the core. It is extremely damaging and ostracizing to anyone fractionally outside the accepted, patriarchal dominant norm (damage that took me leaving for me to fully discover).

For better or worse though, it is my hometown— where all of my family (despite the handful like myself) will probably live and die. For better or worse, these places, these “Bakersfield’s”, exist all over the country. Liberals on the coast often forget this, which is just one of the many reasons why we are in our current political predicament.

This creates intense friction and conflict (now more than ever) with my identity and beliefs, as I’m sure you all can relate to on some level. I have started to attempt contact with some of my family members about the election, and some conversations have been really successful. Some not so much. I believe this is a place that work can and should be done, but I also believe you have to know when to call it, for your own sanity.

Remember, you are not alone! Find crazy Aunt Trish’s liquor cabinet, hide in the bathroom with a bottle, and vent to us here. We will ALL need it.


Written by Shawnie Hamer, Witchy Wanderer Beat

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’d be like if I never moved away from Henderson, Kentucky, the town I grew up in. You might drive downtown to see “Main Street” and the Christmas decorations scattered throughout “Central Park” and think— how quaint, how idyllic, how lovely! Christmas in Henderson is a time for friends and family and for outings and the quaint, small-town enjoyments that the season offers. It is also a time, for some of us, especially now, of fear.

I spend a lot of time wondering if I would be an activist if I were living in Henderson right now— probably not. I would probably have a silly little job I wouldn’t like. I might be married by now, to someone I’m probably not in love with. I wouldn’t have found myself- even nearly. I think it took moving away for me to figure out what I like and what I dislike about small-town communities. And on a personal level, what I know about myself.

I know I am not meant to return to live in Henderson, probably ever, but I visit for Christmas and holidays and to see my parents and close relatives, whom I love and appreciate, despite some tendencies they have. Conservatism is not a thing I want to be around; religiousness is also difficult for me. But I take these things with a grain of salt, and I know that I won’t be there forever, and that there are ways to get the most out of my time with my family and in the small-town.

So if you, like me, aren’t sure how to talk about the things you dislike about your hometown family with those people; or if you have changed since moving, and discussing anything relating to your life and the lives of others seems daunting and makes you want to vomit; let us know. Use the comments section to start communicating; we’re here for you.


Written by Robert Eric Shoemaker, Currently Krampus Beat

Please use the comments section to provide rants or advice to others about ways to survive the holidays!