Alien Bodies – Part I Respectfully Objectified

I am about to tackle a beast. This isn’t particular subject isn’t just about men vs. women, this is also women vs. women and woman vs. herself.

This is a lot of ground to cover and there is a lot of over. As women we have been put in a strange position, by ourselves and the media about our bodies and we’re at war on all fronts. It’s terrible, I don’t have any other word for it. So the best way I can think to put it is a commonly used term; objectified.

About four years ago know, I was working a desk job and I realized, I wasn’t healthy. I looked up what I was supposed to weight for my height, I was over. About 30 pounds over. I was upset with myself, so I signed up for a gym. I started going three times a week for an hour to an hour and half. I did some light weight training, some of the designed training they had blocks off. My favorite was the elliptical machine, I would try to do 3 miles on the treadmill if I could. I also did half an hour of yoga ever morning. I felt good. Funny thing was, I didn’t loose any weight. I did this for two years… I weighted the same. I had converted all my fat into muscle, but I was still technique over weight. It killed me. I did drop a pant size, and funny enough my boobs got bigger, but I was over weight. My BMI was healthy for my size though. It was confusing. That is when I came to the conclusion, fuck it, I feel good. Most of my life my family had given me passive aggressive jabs about how I didn’t work out enough, how I wasn’t health and I was overweight. When I was in high school I weighted way less, I walk about 8-12 miles every day, carried a 50 pound backpack and did an hour dance class 4 days a week. They still didn’t think I was working out enough. Seriously? I still want to glare at my family from the past. I could have gone down the road many of my friends did, the calorie counters, the girls I knew who had major body image issues. Even then those, I just wanted to comfortable in my own body. For the most part I have succeeded.

There is this part of me that looks at all of this and say the only way I can look at the issue of the female form is in a objectified manner because I have to be methodical about it and look at this issue from all sides, though it hard to not get emotional about it. There have been so many studies showing how women have been programmed from a young age by our mothers and other women in our lives to look at our bodies and hate them  to some extent. Dove did a particular powerful piece about this. Whether it is intentional or not, why are we being programmed to hate your own body?  It can’t be healthy. The whole thing only gets worse when you start to go through puberty and you start to feel like an alien inhabiting the wrong body.

I was the first one of my friends who got their period, it was awful, (nothing like this). My Mom was out of town and my Dad and Step-Mom had to deal with it. Even though I knew what a period was, I still remember the shock of going to the bathroom and seeing blood in my panties and the bowl. You never really think it’s going to happen to you until it does. I had had a rather shocking experience when I was 8 and my Mom didn’t flushed when she left the bathroom, I thought she was bleeding to death. So yes, when I turned 11 and I saw the blood, I still didn’t put two and two together. I just knew I was bleeding. My Step-Mom took me to the store, got me some pads, and bought me some fancy facial wash. It was awkward but I appropriate what she was trying to do for me. My Dad sailed through like a champ, he took me to my first OBG/YN appointment. He was open and talk to me about it. When at 13 they realized they needed to put me on birth control due to a hormonal imbalance, he saw me through this as well. I was very very lucky.

Then there is this shame aspect of puberty, it doesn’t make sense to me. Like in Nepal. Forced to sleep outside because you’re unclean? The hell kind of message is that? I was not made to feel a shamed in any way. I know in the some of the United States they have a class around middle school age when they teach the basics of what happens to your body it is no less terrifying and it’s not like your teachers can tell you what a beautiful and wonderful thing it is. Even if you does, you come to know sooner rather than later, it’s a load of bollocks.

Two of the biggest memories that still stand out to me about shame are two. They are both about girls I went to middle school with. The first one was a girl named Beth, we had PE together. We had to change out of our clothing and one day she told me she was on her period and did I have anything? Of course it was common knowledge that I had already gotten mine. People asked and when other girls wanted to know about the experience I didn’t feel discomfort talking about it. I didn’t see anything reason not to be open. Beth told me that she had lost her hymen when she was 10 because on hitting her pelvis and almost breaking in on a fence post. I still think that was weird. The second story, still hurts thinking about it. I didn’t know the girl, I knew she was larger, a little slow and rather unpopular. I was leaving the lunch room and this poor girl have a massive blood stain on the back of jeans skirt. I remember all these people pointing and laughing and I just remember standing there staring in a state of dread. I kept thinking, I should go up to her, I should tell her. I should give her one my of pads. She even had a small trail of blood. It was terrible. The school nurse same out and took her to her office. I felt so sick for the rest of the day, that could have happened to me. I could only image how that would scared her for the rest of her life. I didn’t know if it was her first, if she simply didn’t know or if she was somehow shamed of what happened.

The whole point of this story is that I don’t know if this girl ever got over it. If she ever got comfortable in her body. There is something so terrible about feeling like your own body is betraying you. Which brings us to the point of body image. There has been some major steps in the right direction lately, but it is going to take a lot of work to turn this all around.

It’s both sad and frustrating to watch how brain washing children about this idea of the “perfect body” at a young age, boys and girls. Ladies and gentlemen, yes, we have gotten to it, Barbie and Ken. I played with Barbies when I was younger, I did think, “I don’t look like that.” But I never thought I had to look like that either. I feel like it had gotten so much worse though with Brat Dolls and Monster High dolls. I though that Barbie was bad, but what the ever loving hell is that about? I really love what one mother’s solution to this absurdity was. Personally I think even the dolls removal of makeup speaks volumes as I think it does with women as well.

The implications behind makeup is unnerving. That we’re not beautiful enough without it. That we’re somehow broke and makeup covers it up. Why are be told we’re broken? I personally kind of hate make up. I do get a lot of compliments when I actually do wear it, but on a daily bases, that shit just does not fly for me. Not only is it the time or the fact that I rub my eyes all the time, but to me make up was always about making something a little more special. When I was 7 I had a babysitter who told me, “if it looks like you’re wearing make up, you’re doing it wrong.” I took that to hear, but then I really though, what is the point of makeup? Is it weird that it becomes an armor for some women? Yes that it weird to me. Is it even weird about those stories you hear where women do everything they possible can to never been seen without make up? Even stranger. Are you actually truly naked with make up on? Do people ever actually get to see the real you?

That is really what it boils down to isn’t it? Being you. Letting people love you for your flaws. All of them. Seeing then and accepting them.

This is where I loose some people; I think that is why some people go under the knife: They don’t feel like they’re loved or deserve love as they are. It sound bizarre to say, but I lost a friend to plastic surgery. That sounds dramatic and no, she is not actually dead. She is alive and walking around, (though I have heard a number of stories about being dieding under anesthesia for an elective surgery), but I don’t know her anymore. I always thought she was beautiful, she was a dancer – of the exotic variety – and she was sucked into the life style. A life style that told her that her beast weren’t right, her ass was too flat and her lips needed to be bigger. Why? She was gorgeous as was. I didn’t understand when she started talking to me about it. She said I couldn’t understand because I was a “pixie little goddess.” Yes I am short, yes I have curves, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t understand not feeling right or at home in my own body. That doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt when at 12 my English teacher told me to suck in me belly. It doesn’t mean I don’t get angry when I see or hear other people shaming  other women for their body type. I worked very hard to be comfortable where I am. I still have doubt about myself, I am not as invincible as people perceive me as, I took a lot of hits before I even build that shield. I guess she never got there, she had too many people teller her she was wrong. Wrong about your own body? It’s the only one you have! She was kind of right though, I couldn’t and can’t understand it.

I understand transgender more than I understand people who don’t feel good enough and destroy their own bodies to get where they think they need to be. Is it because be make these impossible expectations?

It’s all so hard to watch.

The whole point is, beautiful is malleable.  To super cliche, it’s in the eye of the beholder.  Have you ever had the moment when you’re known somebody for a while and you though they were okay looking and then one day you look at them and realize they’re absolutely stunning? It has happened to me a couple times in my life and it’s funny to think about. Nothing about that person has change, yet suddenly there is this shift. Maybe it’s just how to feel about that person has change or you see something in them that has always been there, but you are just now realizing.

Everybody has their own beauty. Sometimes it is harder to see it in ourselves or understand where others are coming from.

 

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Feminism Follow Up

I am still trying to sort out how I feel about this. I was once again wondering around the internet when within a hour of each other I found this wonderful talk between Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai and then, Lauren Southern’s Why I am not a Feminist.

It was such a bizarre juxtapose to come across in such a short period of time. What’s I found funny about Lauren’s post about men being victims is that this is part of what Emma was talking about in her UN address back in September of 2014. Yes men and absolutely victims as well. Equally it about getting to that point, about seeing that men can be and are in the same position as women. So that’s the thing Lauren, Feminist is supposed to by a synonym of Equality. That is what is trying to happen.

I tried to watch some of Lauren’s other videos and I couldn’t really make it through. One in particular about how we aren’t living in a rape culture… While yes the situation is far worse in other places in the world, the United States in particular, still has far to go. Including making people more aware of male rape, the women can be the aggressors and rapists. Men have to be willing to step up to this as well on both sides. I am not sitting here trying to blame anyone, but if you don’t speak out, how can anybody know what’s happening? How can we help?

A great friend of mine had my sign up for an awareness day, it was a Day of Silence. I walked around all day with a shirt that say, “Silence can kill” I didn’t speak for 24 hours. It was incredibly difficult, I let all of my teachers know the day before I did it and still I had people come up and try to get my to talk. I had flyers explaining what I was doing. Some of them thought it was funny. I had one girl come up and hug me. I had other people rip up the papers in my face and tell me I was going to hell. It made it that much harder to realize that there are people out there who do stay silent for whatever reason voluntary. It could be out of fear or…I don’t know what else it could be, mistaken love or shame. I don’t feel like people should have to be ashamed of who they are.

I also ran into this, I believe this woman as very right so say “fuck off, why should I smile?”  I’ve been in this position before, working at a fair with an inebriated person, or on public transportation come up to me and tell me I should smile. I couple times, I might of smiled back because it almost seemed like a compliment, but when you’re tired, been working a long day and you just want to be left alone, no matter who are you, you should have a right so say fuck off in any manner you please.

I have also been in the position of, should I stay or should I go now? Should I stay and deal with this shit storm, (aka my decisions to get into fights on the internet) ? Or is it better and safer for me just to walk away?

In one particularly stupid moment of my teen years, I very nearly got into a fight at the mall, (yes for a short period of time I was a mall rat forgive me), this guy though my friend was eyeballing him, he was gay, he was checking him out. While my friend wasn’t an aggressive person, I wasn’t having much of this guys shit. Him and his girlfriends started to yell at me. At this time I was a little punk kid, I had not problem throwing down, but I got lucky. Basically this guy who was older who overheard the whole thing and distracted long enough for me to realize this was stupid and we needed to leave. I looked over and say my Dad pulling up to pick me and my friend up, so was walked away without being noticed. It could have put myself in a terrible situation that day, three on one is never a very good thing, but I used to be a little bit of a hot head. I had been so angry for that time, but I could have done some truly stupid things.

Tangent:1, back to the topic.

It’s so disheartening to see some of this, there is so much hope in this world and we forgot about what we could be possible. One bad apple as the saying goes.

Last night also got an email about the cancellation of the Harassment Online panel for SXSW, there is a women who is trying to reach out to females to express their reaction and frustrations with this event.(It should be noted now that they is discussions there might be for a online seminar for this subject). It was strange that my first thought was conflicted, mostly because I don’t do a lot of online gaming. I am more of a tabletop, RPG, board gaming girl. I have definitely experienced online harassment as a woman. I have played a couple games where I declined to use a mic because I didn’t want to deal with the fall out of the, “ooo a girl!” I haven’t decided if I am going to contact them or not. I am not sure if my experiences are what they’re looking for. There is a brilliant book out there that deals with some of things, which is amazing if your interested, For the Win by Cory Doctorow.

Sometimes I sit here thinking how trivial all of this sounds, but then I think about what this world might be like if I just watched the world go by.

I also like to think about what if we just removed gender come our lives completely, just like a twilight zone episode, you wake but and anybody is androgynous. How would our culture be completely thrown for a loop? Well I mean how would our perceptions just change? What would become our priorities? It was really funny last night I was lucky enough to go to Star Talk Live, it was pretty amazing. They were talking about creativity about our brains works. Towards the end one of this wonderful talk, one of the panelests, a female professor said, “Well you know, so much of our brain space is taken up by sex.” How much of our brain exactly she didn’t go into it, but it’s true. It’s apart of our base instincts to think about sex and reproduction, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. And I mean come on, women think about sex just as much as men, we just think of it with a different view.

I guess my round about question is, when did that shift happen? When did gender roles start to become mandatory? I can’t really see a cave person going, “Well once every full moon you bleed between your legs, you must suck a hunting, you stay here. And you’ll always stay here even though when you don’t bleed, you are the best hunter we have.” No. I just can’t see that flying. Yes material instincts are also very high, but so are paternal. That is why evolutionary, babies are supposed to look more like the Father. Smart move evolution. I have know some very nurture men, and some very neglect women. I guess some people would through nature vs. nurture in here as argument of why it changed. It really boils down to that fact that it’s a missing link moment. There are two actually; the moment it became the norm and the moment it became expected. There is a difference between those two, that difference might seem insignificant, but it’s HUGE.

I am going to backtrack a little and got back to my last post, about the wage gap myth. It happened again, I just can’t help myself, somebody saying something isn’t true when there are a remarkable amount of facts that back it all up. And I even have my own experience as well. Six months ago, I quit my job of three years and when I did they prompted the guy I trained and had only been working there a year. They gave him a better title than the one I had, I had been championing for a better job title for a little over a year after two people quit and one person was fired, I started doing all of their jobs. When that happened, they gave me about a dollar raise from what I was making, which I still feel like they should have given me more. So they also gave him a raise that was higher than how much I had been making. It was about 50 cents more, but 50 cents makes a big difference when you are working 60 hour weeks. Then the really big kicker was he had to doing less than I had been because they split more of my responsibility between him and two other people.The wage gap is not a myth, I have lived it.

I know I was kind of all over the place to day, but that’s kind of my state of mind right now. Next time I will try to stay more on topic. Got to dash, hope you found something enlightening.

I am so tired of Feminist being a dirty word

I recently did something really stupid, I got into a fight on the internet. I know, what the hell was I thinking? Because of this argument though, it made me realize more than ever we need feminism and we need to stand up for it and not to the perpetuate these asinine notions people have of it. As a general rule I try to get along with people, but every now and then, I blow my top.

My blood had been a little up considering some amazing accuracies recently.

First let’s look at the definition.

According Webster’s

Feminism:

:the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

or

: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

I am a Feminist. And I am tired of it being a dirty word, having crappy associations and misconceptions.

About a year ago I saw this floating around the internet.

What was my response at the time?

July 28th, 2014

I think my stomach isn’t even in my body anymore. I feel kind of sick that this is what people think of feminist these days.
I can love my husband, be feminine but still be a feminist. I never asked for special treatment, simply the right to be treated the same as all the men I know. The same opportunities and respect. That includes the respect of my body and my chooses of what to do with it. WHAT I DO WITH IT. Not what you can do to it. I think that makes me more of a humanist than a feminist. I simply fall in the category because I am a strong female. Because I do not see myself as an object but a human being. I could go on with this Tirade for a while but I will stop here.

So now I am going to continue on this point and make a couple more.

Firstly, that I take away from these pictures posted with a great article is that these woman don’t understand what feminist is. They don’t understand that it is what they’re talking about. The second thing is, rape culture is alive and well; get drunk and have irresponsible sex is stupid no matter what gender you are. Then there the money bit, in 2014 the same year this was posted, the Institute for Women Policy Research public that while more women are the main income for their house whole they’re only making 79 cents to ever dollar a man is making. I don’t know about you, but even 21 cents could in the long run make a big difference to my household.

This brings around to the stereotypes.

I think the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous says it best:

Voice of Documentarian: Do you think that most people would say that teenage beauty pageants are a good idea?

Gladys Leeman: Oh yeah, sure. I know what some of your big city, no-bra-wearing, hairy-legged women libbers might say. They might say that a pageant is old-fashioned and demeaning to the girls.

Iris Clark: What’s sick is women dressing like men.

Gladys Leeman: You betcha, Iris. No, I think you boys are gonna find something a litle bit different here in Mount Rose. For one thing, we’re all God-fearing folk, every last one of us. And you will not find a “back room” in our video store. No, no, that filth is better left to the sin cities.

Iris Clark: AKA Minneapolis Saint Paul.

While I laugh so hard at this part, it hurts too.

To quote the previous article “gender-blindness and even age-old stereotypes of feminists as angry, hairy-legged, bra-burning, man-hating lesbians who believe that men are the root of everything bad.”

Women don’t want to use the word Feminist because they don’t want to be one of “those women,” women who hate men, their penises, anything masculine or phallic and everything they stand for. If you’re a feminist you can’t be feminine or love men or even like sex in some people’s minds. I am here to call bullshit.

I like sex. I also like to cook, sew,  knit, dance, I am generally a pretty maternal person. I love my husband and I love fancy dresses. I am still a feminist. I can also out run my husband and most of our male friends. I can out swim them and I am pretty sure my pain threshold is better than theirs too. Still a feminist.

I have also always been an independent person, nearly to a fault. Some of this might go back to being frustrated as a kid when my Dad hold me I couldn’t do something that my brother could but didn’t always want to do, like go hunting. Or walk home after dark from the book store. It was annoying, I do understand that my Dad was mostly concerned for me as a kid and the age difference than saying I couldn’t do something because I was female. I still played sports and got in fights with my brother. My Dad taught use both how to throw a ball, how to throw a punch and to be respectful good manners. In short, my father is a feminist. One of my proudest moments in my life was when I was and moving into my first apartment and my Dad said, “I am not worried about you, I know you can take care of yourself.” When I was younger I was always sure my Dad was going to be of the shotgun and a shovel variety when I would bring boys home. Nope. He wouldn’t always like them, but he trusted my judgement and he knew I would take care of it if it came down to it.

A friend of mine, (who is no longer with us), told me her Dad thought a women who was somebody who could hike in high heels and still take a shit in the woods. I thought that was hilarious at the time. Heels in the woods though? How impractical. The idea behind it always stuck with me, some strong, independent but still beautiful and feminine. I have always wanted to model myself after strong independent women. I was lucky, I had a lot of them. My Mom, by best friends, a little bit of Murphy Brown too :). The funny thing is, being a strong independent women is awesome, but doesn’t necessarily make you a feminist. It makes it a little easier to be one though, a little tougher.

The thing I got the most confused about in my unintelligible internet fight was went I was told to, “Please just shut you fucking whore mouth. The world is growing increasingly weary of your idiotic echo chamber . If you want to help your cause, get the fuck off of reddit and your massive ass, go to Syria and stand up for actual oppressed women, you hypocritical bovine dyke.” That one was a little bit of a slap in the face. Really? I mean, really? Dyke? Whore? Why is every intelligent woman boiled down to being a whore or a lesbian for speaking her mind?  Honestly, I would love to go to another country to hold up the rights of women there. It’s pretty clear to me that we have a lot of work to do on the home front. If I can’t win my home games then what good would it be to I run away from this problem to face another far away from any of my well established resources?

It goes back to the definition of Feminist. My husband and I were talking about this last night too. Being able to rock the hell out of a LBD is awesome, but has nothing do with equality. While it is very clear, particular in America, (where I am), that we are dealing with some pretty serious problems when it comes to the female image issues, they are connected, but that’s not feminism. I am going derail myself here for a second.

The female form is beautiful in all of its shape and sizes. If you’re skinny, great, if you’re a big, great. Pear, hourglass, square, it doesn’t matter. Are you comfortable in your body? It’s the only body you have, get comfortable in it. If people don’t like it? FUCK THEM. I do work out, not because I have this goal of being stronger or losing weight, while those are bonus, I like how I feel in my body because of it. I love me some chocolate chip cookies too. Yum. Okay, back to it.

I am not asking to be the exception to the rule, I am not asking for you to say, “she’s a woman so she deserves…” No. I don’t want woman to be the first and only thing you see about me or anybody. I can’t count how many times I have been underestimated in my life because I am bubbly female. There is still a brain here and it works hard. I have four amazing nieces and every single one of them should be able to have the same opportunities as all of their male counter parts. None of them should be told that something isn’t appropriate because of their gender. Yes, take the karate class, kick some butt, take some names. Be Captain America for Halloween and no, not “sexy” Captain America, she’s 6 come on! Take the engineering course. Be on the football team, join the boy scout or the girl scouts, challenge others expectations. Be awesome.

Guess what everybody though? Feminist goes both ways. If we expect to be treated as equals, we should be treating men the say way too. Don’t look down on the stay at home dad. Men can and should be nurses too. These gender associated jobs is so stupid. I am sorry I can’t think of a better word. Men can be raped. Men can be in a domestic abusive relationship. One of my Ex’s, his brother was in one. I was so livid when I found out. He had been living there for 6 months. 9 months of a physically abusive relationship and nobody knew. I was there to help him move out. I was just waiting for his partner to do something. I wanted him to do something. I am not a big person, but I wanted to hurt his partner. I wanted to throw him over the balcony into the garbage because that is what he had become to me. My husband wasn’t in physically abusive relationship before me, but some of the stories he told me, if he had been a woman in the same situations, let’s just say I am pretty sure somebody would have called the cops for him instead of him having to deal with her. I know there have been a number of videos about it, but it still holds true. Violence is violence no matter who is perpetuating it, it should be stopped. I know a little silly since I just said I want to throw a guy over a balcony, but I didn’t.

Out of all of this shit that has been bothering me and keeping me up at nights, the most strangely delightful thing happened. My 80 year old Grandmother, who I have never seen eye to eye, agreed with me. I was giving vent on social media under the same title and my Grandmother agreed. It shouldn’t be a dirty word. I was shocked and so happy. My Grandmother is a very intelligent woman, she is also very Catholic and very Republican. She has also written a number of books and still raised four kids. It makes me so damn happy to know that my Grandmother despite all of our misunderstanding, understands me one this one thing. I should have thought about it more, but I am so lucky to have her, my mother, my aunts, my uncles, my family, we’re a family of feminist. There are a lot of things we won’t agree on, but to know this is one, makes me feel stronger than I did before.

Please more than anything, rethink you’re negative view of feminism. Why do you think it’s so bad? Why aren’t you one? More than anything, can’t we all just be humanists?

Oxymoroning a Baby

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about having a baby in America in the 21st century. Posts on social media sites, Amanda Palmer talking about her pregnancy. Can I just say, I am scared, but here is what I have learned: I am not alone.

I feel in order to explain myself proper, I feel like you need some background or a lot of background.

My mother was raised very Catholic and subsequently very ignored about many thing for a very long time.  She made a promise that when her children asked her about things she would be open and honest. So at the tender age of 4 when I asked my mother where babies came from, she was honest. My reaction? Run out of the room and look back at her and yell, “OR YOU COULD ADOPT!” I don’t remember this, but it has become one of those family stories.

I kept this mind set for a very long, long time, until recently.

So now, almost two years after I’ve been married, we meet my dilemma. I know I took the extreme scene route, but it felt very important to lay this all out (my last post). Also once I got started I couldn’t stop.

Babies, that is my dilemma.

For most of my life, I felt the same way. Why would I want to put my body through that? Why would I want to contribute to the growing population problem in the world and all its manifestations? I am sure the explanation I received as a child played into this somewhere. No matter what though, I said I didn’t want kids.

I remember the exact two moments in my life when I realized I was wrong and I changed my mind.

The first moment was at my grandmother’s funeral. She was 96 when she passed. She had been living my Dad and Step-mom and her health had not been good. I had eaten dinner with her and my parents the night it happened. It was surreal when my Step-mom called me in the morning and let me know she had passed in the night. Her funeral was very large. This was my Step-mom’s mother, my Step-mom is the youngest of 7 children. She is the only one who did not have biological children. I always consider myself her daughter and I am proud of that. So I was sitting this little hippy church in Berkley with all of my family and I realize, “I want this. I want my funeral to be full of my children, my grandchildren. People who loved me and came from me. I want to be the grand matriarch.” That was the first moment, while I had one of my second cousins running around me and crying buckets, holding my Step-mom’s hand. (I had been dating Awesome for two months.)

The second moment was funny enough at my Dad’s mother’s 92 birthday. My Dad’s family is much smaller than my Step-mom. My oldest cousin was there with her newest little one. He was about 2 and thought that Awesome was the best thing since sliced bread. I had to agree with him. So little guy and Awesome become the best of friends. We had been together at this point for about 3 years. This was the same trip that we kind of proposed to each other. Sitting on the couch at my Aunt’s house, a causal conversation of, “I would say yes if you ask me to.” Later that same night we are driving my cousin and her kids back to the hotel. Awesome had to sit so little guy could hold his hand for the drive or else he would cry. I remember soooo clearly looking at his hand holding little guys hand and I just started to cry. The was the moment I realized I wanted HIS kids.

I realized I was damn in the best way possible. I actually started to think about it. After being on birth control for most of my life, I went off it. He is the only man I ever had unprotected sex with and felt completely safe with. In my hearts of hearts, I think I knew that this was it the moment we first had sex. I didn’t want anybody else.

Babies were not the only reason I decided to go off of birth control. I think I will save that for another time. Really now my mind has moved onto the logistics of actually having a kid. HOW DO PEOPLE DO IT? I have finally gotten to a point in my life where I didn’t feel, as Blade would say it, “Some mother-fuckers are always trying to ice skate up hill.” I have a college degree, I have a reasonable job that doesn’t make me want to kill my life or make me feel like I am killing myself every day and I have no idea how I would be able to do it.

I want kids, I have finally come to terms with this idea in my mind, but it just doesn’t seem possible. Yes we are making it by, but that’s it, making it by. Putting a little money aside, barely what I would call savings. We live on a tight budget and I just can’t see fiscally how we could do it. Babies are expensive. Doctor’s visits, toys, clothing, money and time. We don’t even have a washer or dryer in our tiny apartment. I have nieces, I know how important that can be with kids.

Then there is the time part, we NEED my job. I hate the idea of having a kid and then sending it away with a strangers every day and having somebody else raise them. My husband jokes about being a stay at home Dad. Sounds amazing! Again, we could not afford that. We need both our paychecks to get by with the cost of living.

Time and money. I hate it. I have this beautiful picture in my head. I have actually become that person who stores names in my head. This beautiful picture that just seems like a complete fantasy and I want to cry. I know my parents would love to become grandparents again,  but it just boils down to, how? How could I bring a child into the world and have no idea of how I would feed it, cloth and house it with what I am making these day?

Throwing out all my fears about having a serial killer or just a kid who doesn’t like me, but the how? I want it so bad, I am not afraid to work for the things that I want, just the money isn’t there. The time isn’t there. I feel selfless, selfish and greedy all at the same time and for a million different reasons.  I have even talked to my husband about it. He’s a big kid sometimes and he loves the idea and he gets where I am coming from.

For so long I was afraid to talk to him about kids. He actually pointed out to me when I switched from “if we have kids,” to “when we have kids.”

My Grandfather, funny old-crazy man that he is kept his speech at our wedding brief and too the point, “ From Genesis: As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

Sounds great Grandpas, want to fund that for me?

Why can’t I though? Why can’t I bring my screaming ball of love with me to work and make it work? It’s not like I work in a dangerous environment. Babies at work seems like a taboo, but why is it in offices? I don’t get it really. Yes they cry, scream, poop, but I have had bosses that were worse than a new born before. It’s a conundrum and I hate it. I don’t want to look back at my life and think, but why didn’t I have kids. I also don’t want to have kids and then realized I did something terrible because now we’re living in a car because we can’t afford the rent on our apartment without the washer dryer.

I am one of the lucky ones, I got my educations without debt,  but I still can’t afford shit. My car would be a freshman in college this year. My computer is actually about the go into it’s sophomore year of high school and my dog is almost of drinking age… Something seems very wrong in my life and I don’t know what.

$300-1,600 a month of child care, that’s the average in the states… I maybe put a couple hundred into savings ever month. Well hello depression my old friend. It’s like a torturous Mirror of Erised this biological clock. I know it’s not just the clock though. When my second niece was born I flew out to be with my sister. I stayed with her for a week, she was about the become a doctor and was in the middle of finals. I was there as an extra set of hands and to keep my older niece busy. I love my nieces. I love being there, making them laugh, comforting them when they cry. I want to be there all of the time. I want to teach them about life and read them books out loud. More than anything I want them to have cousins too. I have amazing cousins growing up. I want that for them too.

My other HUGE fear? Miscarriage. What if I make the decision and go through with it and loose it? I have about five people in my life who have children… All of them have also had miscarriages. My role model, my best friend, she also had a miscarriage and never tried again. I can understand that and I don’t know if I would be able to handle it if I did. The first time I did talk to my husband about having kids, really talked I told him this. He understood, his brother and his wife went through a time where they had many miscarriages. She actually carried a couple far enough that they actually had to name them.  That made me soul sick when I heard about it and still kind of does. It makes me think about Frida Kahlo and her struggles.

I have to say here too, I am Pro-Choice. I understand the difficulties of such a decision and at one point thought I was going to have to make it, it turned out I didn’t but I went through that thought process. I knew what I would have done and it’s nobody’s else business. That is always your choice and you are the one that lives with the choice so fuck all those people who think they know what they’re talking about with ultra sounds and three days before you can go through with it. The decision is already hard enough.

I have had a couple times where I though maybe it was going to happen, I was freaked out and giddy. When I did get my period I was reveled but melancholy. I felt like I had lost sometime important, but I had never had it. I almost wondered if you could suffer from a form at postpartum depression from not getting pregnant. It confused my husband and me too. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to go through with being pregnant or if I ever will actually get pregnant.

Last night we were talking again and I was talking about one of my friends with him and he didn’t know she was a lesbian because she has a kid. I even said it sounded like some weird joke almost. I am married and straight and my lesbian friends had a kid before me. There isn’t even a dick involved in that relationship. He laugh about it, it seemed funny.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

You know how you always have that list going in your head, “when I win the lottery”?

Top of my list: Have a kid.

Second on my list, adopt some kids.

I am material as fuck and I know it, but I don’t have anywhere to put this. I really don’t even know where to go from here. I’ll live my life and try to make it to a point where I won’t feel like I would be fucking myself and a kid over, but it just doesn’t seem plausible.

I am not really asking for advice. I really doubt anybody will bother to read any of these, just felt like I need to put it out into the world.

Another Girl in the World.

Growing up is never easy, especially when you look around and know you are and really don’t want to. This is just another drop in the bucket, another story about “becoming a woman.” It seems so insipid to use that term, but it apt.

I developed earlier than all of my friends. It sucked. It also meant I came to term and more comfortable with my body before all of my friends. I was the girl who got asked questions by everybody that hadn’t experienced it yet. I had just turned 11 when I got my period, I knew what it was, but that didn’t make the thing any less terrifying. Too late my parents realized the link between the hormones in the food we were eating and why their ten year old was getting breasts. More than anything this, “becoming a women” business was annoying. My parents split when I was 4 and my mom was out of town working. My Dad was remarkably chill about the whole thing and my Stepmom really stepped up to the plate as it were. The whole experience while terrible, I lived through it.

My menstruations were so bad when I first got them I would have to change my max pad every couple hours and sleep with a towel over my sheets in case I over flowed in my sleep. I was a swimmer too so I had no choice but to start using tampons immediately. I didn’t really think about it until some of my peers starting telling me wild stories about tampons. Some of which were completely bizarre. I think the strangest ones I heard was how one girl  was told a tampon would no longer my her a christian. Trying to dissuade some them for this asinine thinking was rather interesting. Eventually that novelty wore off and everybody else got to get the great experience.

To say I was precocious teenage might be an understatement. Many of my parent’s friends would say  things like, “yeah, 15 going on 40.” When I did finally venture into having sex it wasn’t because I found somebody who I loved that I wanted to share it with, I just wanted to know. That it. I didn’t find it all the great, it was simply something I wanted to experience. Why was it such a big deal? Why were people always talking about it? It was a science experiment to me.

I had promised my parent’s I would tell them when I started to have sex and I did. It’s still really embarrassing to think about. They reacted in the opposite manner I thought that would. I had become pretty good at gauging my parent’s reacting growing up and watching my siblings shenanigans. My Dad was long the lines of: okay, where you safe? Are you going to do it again any time soon? (I should be stated here that I had been on birth control since I was 13 due to a hormone imbalance; however; I still used a condom.)My Mom, flipped her lid. Apparently she had had some pretty terrible experiences with my sister that I was unaware of.

Here is something strange about virginity to me. Nobody ever told me it was something special that I should hold onto. No ever said it had value of any kind. I had heard some tripe about who it was a lovely flower from some religious people, but why would I believe them? (At this point in my life I felt like they had lied to me about too much already.) So why was it so surprising that I didn’t think twice about loosing it? I knew it would be uncomfortable to loose, there would be blood. That was okay it. Really it wasn’t so bad, I remember hearing and feeling a little pop at the same time and a little blood, but not the gushing fountain described by Sylvia Plath.

I might of followed the more normal channels if  had actually been a dating person. I didn’t really see the point in dating really. I had tried to have a couple boyfriend, but it always seemed stupid to me. Were we ever actually dating? No not really. I had boys I liked, boys I would kiss, but none of them ever actually asked me out. My very first kiss I was 3, I don’t remember it, but another family story. A little boy about 5 comes up to me shoves his gum in my mouth and says, “KISS ME!” Then pushed me down on the ground and and kissed me. Mother all over the playground freaked out. The first kiss I remember was by another such asshole I don’t like to think about. He tried to take it way too far considering I was 10, a horrible story for another time. For now let us begin the…

Boyfriend count:

#1. Does He Count? Had math class together in middle school. Was asked out by him by a mutual friend. He wouldn’t give me his home number, wouldn’t eat lunch with me and we never did anything together outside of school. Lasted two week, we never kissed. I ended it because it was stupid to me, in my mind we were never actually dated. Thus began the  school roomers that I must be a lesbian that lasted all the way into high school.

#2. Summer boyfriend. My best friend lived in San Diego and I spent most of the summer with her. She set me up with him, she knew him from the neighborhood. He was nice, cute and older. How much older? 16 to my 12. I had fun. I enjoyed it, kissing. First feeling of an ejection against me, I thought it was flattering. He never pressured me which was nice. Lasted 2 months, I did not, nor to I now believe in long distance relationships. Summer ended and so did it, c’est la vie.

#3. Friend Ex. This begins and kind of disturbing trend for me, I am not good at meeting people. So what end up happening? My friends meet people and I meet people through my friends. My friend had lived down the street from him and said he was nice and that he thought I was cool. He was nice, a stoner, we went out on a couple dates. Messed around, lasted three months. For two of which I did not see him. My thought? Do I really have a boyfriend if I never see him? No.

And that was it for a long, long time.

Again, I kissed boys, I hung out with boys, they never asked me out and I never asked anybody else out. It seemed simpler that way and nobody really kept my interest.

Can I emphasize now that I am not a role model?

So at 15, a friend of mine said there was a boy who wanted to have sex with me and her. My thoughts? I always hear people talking about sex, making it a big deal. What is the distinction between lust and love? Can you have sex with without any kind of love?

I discover yes, you can have sex without love. Later I learned, for me, sex is so much better when you’re invested and if not love, actively like the person. Also I later realized she was not a good friend.

I did it. It was over. I didn’t feel like I had to do it again any time soon.

Then I met:

#4. The Older Man.  It’s a trope, I know it. I never said I lived my life without clichés. I was on a trip with my youth group, (Of the UU variety), he was there, I was there. I really didn’t even think to think of him as an older man. He was 21 to my 16.

I am going to digress more than I already have here for a moment. Why do girls date older men? Because they ask and you feel flattered to be noticed. You feel more mature and worldly. In other words, you feel special. What you don’t realized until later? Why is an older man actively seeking a younger woman? Because his peers realize there is something wrong there and without experienced eye, you miss it. The term arrested development definitely applies.

So how did it end with the Older Man? In a cluster fuck. Parents didn’t like it, but dealt with me. My siblings found him creepy and I finalize realized he didn’t respect me and he was not a healthy or well-rounded person. It was borderline stalking for a while.

When it final ended, I felt broken. We had had sex and it was terrible (the sex and the situation) and of course my Mother found out, which it one of the many ways and reasons it ended in a fireball. We made promises, he did not keep them, I was done. The whole experience is what soap operas were made of.

I got over it, mostly, there are still many metaphoric scars.

Then like the idiot teenager I was:

#5. Stolen boyfriend. It wasn’t intentional, we just clicked. He was friends with all of my friend, he was having a shitty time a home, I was getting over my shitty time with the Older Man. He and my girlfriend had both been there and seen some of that drama. I though they were causal, I actually though there were breaking up. Then I realized after three months with him that I was just lonely and he was my first rebound boy. When I ended it after this realization, he didn’t speak to me for a long time. The girlfriend and I stayed friends. She comes back later.

Again I realized I was more than a little broken and I should be alone. How many 16 year-olds can say that? I didn’t want to date. I had one boy try and have me be his girlfriend. I told him flatly, “No we just made out, that doesn’t make me your girlfriend.” He ended up dating somebody else within a week, (found out years later he was still mad about that.)

Then

#6. Open Boy-toy. Remember that guy who took my virginity? Well, why not try again? I was 17 and it seemed earlier to tell my parents that we were dating then really what it was, watching movies and have sex. We did evolve into a couple over the three years we ended up hanging out together. He ended up influencing my life a lot. He was a great guy, my only ex that I am still friend with. The whole relationship was based on one thing though, it was open. His sex drive was higher than mine. When I realized it was more like a relationship, (because we hung out all the time), I laid out the ground rules:

  1.       No STD or pregnancies.
  2.      You always tell me before hand and get my okay.
  3.       You never sleep in their bed or let them see in ours.

Open relationships are not of everybody. You can’t get jealous about who your partner is sleep with and you have to trust them. I never really took advantage of our open relationship because I had come to realize at this time that I don’t enjoy myself unless I become emotionally invested in the person. And if I had become more emotionally invested in Boy-toy I would of ended up ending it. I also did a couple times. It did end when we moved in together, he skipped his half of the rent and then broke the rules number 2 and 3. I agonized over it for two months before I actually ended it. Breakups are never good, this one was about pare.

After Boy-toy I didn’t really want anything. The whole rule of it takes half the time you were in the relationship to get over it, was about right. I didn’t even look at a boy for about a year. Then took another six months for me to realize, no I was just horny. There is where a line of men becomes a bit fuzzy. I was working my way through school with a shitty job and slightly depressed. I slept around a little. I still had some standards. I was completely paranoid about STD’s so that helped a lot. I almost dated a couple. I tried OKCupid. I was weird, met some people. 19-21 is a weird time.

My friends saw I was becoming increasing depressed. Then my girlfriend, you know the one from #5? Yeah her, she meet somebody. He was the bees knees. He introduction to our friend was, “He is awesome.” What do you do when your best friend is very depressed? Well my friend thought, bring her on my dates with my new boyfriend! After they had been going out of a while she tells me she’s thinking about ending it. I was really starting to like him at this point. I had to prove to myself that no I wasn’t selfish and let her end it. She is awesome and he is awesome so awesome couple should stay awesome! I kept them together for four whole months longer than they should of. They did end up breaking out.

Two week later after my friend says me and He is Awesome should date.

#7. We go on a date. It was awesome. Of course there is backlash. My girlfriend is very upset, I tell her I could only take her for her word. Well we all end up getting over it, she and I are still very good friends.

After me and Awesome moved to Texas and being together for three years, Awesome became my husband. I was gitty, I know I am over using the word, but it was awesome. My girlfriend was maid of honor, it only seemed right.

Of course I was also the kind of girl who said she would never get married. When I announced in 2012 I was getting married, Boy-toy reaction was, “THE MAYAN’S WERE RIGHT! THE END IS COMING!” Love that boy.

It’s been almost two years now since we’ve been married. I never really understood why everybody told me it was so different. I had been very nervous about getting married. I had done research, culture traditions, asked all the females in my family for advice. I didn’t even start to think about the planning bit until I had thought about what it meant to be married. It’s amazing all the things you have to think of for a wedding, all things I had never thought about in my life. Really though, being married doesn’t seem any different than when we were dating. Awesome moved in with me after we were together for about 8 months because of a terrible roommate situation.

I have been very lucky in my life so far. I am not here to brag, I am not here to preach, I just felt like I needed to put this into words and send it out into the world. Maybe it will find somebody who needs these words.