You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

This Article: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/10/sexual_assault_and_drinking_teach_women_the_connection.html

People are pissed off about it. They're calling it victim blaming. I think the people who are calling it that went into it expecting it to be that. They need to turn off that part of their brains and read it again. I despise rape and rape culture as much as the next girl. I liked this article. I agreed with it.

I believe that it is 100 percent my responsibility to ensure that my life and body are as healthy and safe as possible. I believe that it is my job to be sure that body is treated the way I want it to be, and I think most of society would agree.

That is…up until the point I am passed out drunk on a couch in a frat house. Then, apparently, it’s up to the strangers at the party surrounding me to ensure that I continue through my life un-raped. This concept bothers me. I don’t depend upon my husband to make sure I go to the doctor to get my yearly lady checkups. I don’t expect my dad to ensure I go to the doctor when I have the flu. Why exactly is it that other people now have the job of keeping my sexual parts unmolested?

I know. We all should be able to be passed out on a couch and have NO one, ANYwhere, EVER think to themselves, “Oh hey, free sex.” But we’re not there yet. We’re working on it. We’re working toward it, but we’re not there yet. Regrettably, rape is still happening, in all its forms. I’m not saying that in a blasé, “Ho-hum, rape happens, move on,” sort of way, but in a more pragmatic way. Pointing out that some abhorrent, predatory, disgusting men (and women) have not gotten the memo that rape's not cool. Like, at all.

I think there’s a fine line between that pragmatism and “perpetuating rape culture” as I was accused of today. I believe myself to be on the correct side of that line.

Drinking yourself to oblivion is a dangerous behavior. It is hazardous to your health and your safety, and I'm not just talking rape here. You could, while passed out, throw up, choking to death on your own vomit. You could pass out while walking home and crack your head open and bleed to death in the street. You could pass out in your tub and drown. You could drop your cigarette and burn your house down around you before you ever regained consciousness.

Call it survival of the fittest. You are unable to make decisions or protect yourself when you are not awake. That is why we retire to, our beds, our locked doors before we go to sleep for the night; our dens, just as our animal counterparts out in the wild do. You make the decision to become vulnerable in a place safe to you. Getting WASTED (I accent this word, because it is important. Drinking casually is one thing, WASTED is an extreme) is a poor decision with potentially dangerous consequences. This is not saying that if you get raped while wasted–whether functionally blacked out, or unresponsively passed out–you were asking for it. I don't mean that at all. THAT is victim blaming, and as one of millions of victims, I would never do such a thing.

What I mean to point out is that you have taken part in an activity that is dangerous to your health. Step away from the animal instinct view of it, and realize that as an intoxicated human being, your decision making skills are impaired. These decisions we are normally expected to own, to take responsibility for–OUR health and OUR safety–are suddenly subject, unreliable, regrettable in the morning when you look back and can't remember. Even though it was OUR decision to drink that much, OUR safety is now dependent on the choices of OTHERS.

Altering dangerous behaviors in favor of safe ones, stopping yourself from getting wasted has many benefits, including the fact that you retain the cognizance to make decisions about your self and your body that are not regrettable. Decisions that your sober self would be proud of–would agree with. Making the decision to stop drinking before you're too drunk to stand is a positive in every single light you could cast upon it.

If being completely responsible for my own safety, not just in who gets to sexually intercourse me, but the determination of ALL behaviors I take part in–including those potentially debilitating to my reasoning capabilities–is considered perpetuating rape culture, then I guess that's what I'm doing, and I’ll keep doing it until they change the definition. I'm going to put my seatbelt on when I drive my car. I'm going to go to the doctor and make sure the lady down under and the twins do not develop cancer. And I'm not going to close my eyes and go to sleep–intoxicated or not–in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by unfamiliar people where I don't have any way to know what crazy shit happens when I'm not awake. These are my safe behaviors which allow me to continue claiming full responsibility, with no caveats, for my self, my actions, and my health.

Karma is not a bitch. Karma is just the consequences, GOOD AND BAD, that result from our actions and the decisions we make.

Advertisements

I’m reading this book, little by little, that my anti-mommy gave me for Christmas.  It is called Between Ourselves; Letters Between Mothers and Daughters.  And as I read these letters and these stories about the letters and the love of famous and unknown women alike I wonder why I am made to feel that writing letters is a bad thing.

“What’s wrong with a phone call?”

I could go on for hours on that topic!  I hate the telephone.  I call my dad because he lives so far away and I cannot survive without his advice.  I call my husband because we live together yet I rarely get to see him.

Thousands of years we survived and flourished without the use of the telephone.  There were missives carried on sweating, galloping horseback from one king to another.  There were vows of love hidden in secret places, known only to those amorous enough to find them.  There were entire sacks full of words transferred thousands of miles on bright, shiny-new railways, and there are those delivered by the well-known postman to someone just down the street.  There was dirt and despair of war penned back to light and worried, waiting life across the sea and there are conversations of introduction and getting-to-know-you of pen pals. 

Letters are beautiful things and I love them.  Because they are filled with my favorite things; ink and words (which are themselves made up of letters) put on paper; scrawled or dictated, typed or etched or cut from newspaper and pasted down.  Letters are eternal, yes both the good and the bad.

“What’s wrong with a phone call?”

Oh, but they’re so impersonal!  A sweaty hunk of plastic crammed against my head.  I can’t see your face and if there’s something more interesting right in front of me I can focus on that instead.  Then, when it’s over, what’s left?  Nothing, really.  All the words fade and are forgotten.

Letters take time and patience to craft.  They draw out the truths in revisions when you realized you’ve used the wrong words to say what you mean.  They draw and expel anger away in their writing, and even if some of it falls to the page you can always come back before it’s sent and append or set it to flame and start again.

Mr. Darcy explained all and made Elizabeth finally love him with a letter.  Amelie mended the broken heart of a neighbor with a well-meaning albeit forged letter lost in transit for 40 years.  Fiction, yes, but even fiction is a letter from the author’s soul to the hearts of the rest of the world. 

Writing, when I know saying it out loud will not suffice, does not make me a coward.  It does not signify disrespect or a hit-and-run approach to communication.  Writing, when a phone call could be made, simply indicates that I should have been born into a different time of simpler communication.  Because words fall out of my mouth in a tumbling, disjointed way and I always get things wrong.  When I put pen to paper and have the time to carefully organize my thoughts and the ability to cross out and resay what I’ve said then I appear fluent in my own language.

Letters are beautiful things.

And, as a final, snarky aside, I’d like to point out that Facebook messages are private.  If I have a letter for you in dire need of reading and my email address book contains more than five points of contact because you change your address so often then I won’t be sure where to send it.  Instead, I’ll put it in a place where I’m sure you’ll see it.  Neither my friends nor yours will be any the wiser.

 

And one last appendix, this time of self-criticism, I realize  I could write more letters more often, not just when something is wrong.  That is something I can work on when things have mended or time has passed.  But since I have only realized this fact now, as I’m writing this, I will not beat myself up over past failure.  Instead I will learn from my mistakes.  Already a plan to move forward has seeded itself in the garden of my mind…

I would like to say six things.  three about me, and three about her.

Tis an exercise, of sorts.  to prove to myself that i’m not being selfish and it’s not just her I find fault in, but also in myself…

1. I hate that she does not understand me.

2. I hate that I am unable to make her understand.

3. I hate that she tells me to repress and walk away from my feelings.

4. I hate that I can’t ignore my emotions, they rule me; moon and tide.

5. I hate that she turns everything back on me, so i’m the bad guy; that she turns everything back on her, so she’s the victim.

6. I hate that I don’t know that much about her own pain and I won’t make excuses about that, but I’ve never felt that I was welcome to ask those sorts of things.

 

This blog may go quiet for a while, because the line between she and I will be quiet for a while.  I just started another blog.  that’s right, now I have three.  Me, mom of a toddler with a hopeful, new monkey on the way soon, moving to a new house and trying to keep up with two jobs.  I have started a third blog.  Is it insanity that keeps me running?  Probably, but insanity can only get you so far.  The rest must come from diet coke…

 But, then again, I have really loved the other things I’ve posted here.  I like writing about the parenting part, because that is all new and fresh and exciting and fun.  I like writing about my crazy, zany, cuddly, independent, smart, silly, gorgeous croc.  I adore her love of outside and dancing, her tomboyish love of cars and blocks over dolls and kitchen play.  And I want to continue to look at her, as she is.  I do not want some imaginary daughter in my mind forcing me to not see who I really have in front of me.

I’ve had this other post formation swirling about in my head, but I haven’t finished it yet.  This one has come first…

I think it was pretty awesome of me, and the way I feel, when I told my mom that she could text or message me at any time if she wanted to Skype with the croc, knowing that for the most part i’d have to do a lot of the talking… croc likes to wave and point and touch the screen, but she doesn’t really get it yet.

And maybe that’d open up a little more between us… that could be a good thing.

so the other day she asked “What about tomorrow?” and we set a time for after her nap; “after three” were the exact words.

Well, tomorrow came and croc’s nap came a little late.  It was just past four when she was awake enough to be alert and not her post-nap-snuggly self and she’d crammed some spaghetti-os down her throat and she was ready to play.  And I texted mom.  And I sent her a FB message to let her know we were ready.

And then I sat at the computer with my phone at my side for half an hour, waiting.

trying to keep croc occupied while we waited for grandma to acknowledge that we were at that time where we’d plan to have a video chat.

waited, waited, waited.

finally, croc looked at me, pointed at the door and declared “side!?”

yes, croc, we’ll go outside.  So I turned to the computer, clicked on the window for my mom’s chat, which i’d never closed, and typed “well, I guess you’re not around.  We’re going outside.  If you are around later send me a text or a message and we can do it tonight.”

to which she immediately responded “okay”

we went outside.  we played for 40 minutes with a little boy neighbor and in a pile of muddy rocks, moving them from one section of the driveway to the other.  Then we came inside and did inside things.  Eventually we went to bed.  And that entire time I remained online.  I checked my phone repeatedly.  I never heard a word from her.

I don’t know why i’m actually surprised.  her inability to follow through on shit like this is her one consistent quality… well, that and showing up an hour later than she promised…

Today, at work, on my telephone job i was listening to a lady telling her mother about how she was getting trained for working the customer service phones for a health insurance company in a city here in this very state i live in.

it wasn’t just any insurance company. it wasn’t just any city here in this state i live in. It was THE insurance company my mom worked at in THE city she lived in. This lady i was listening to was getting a job at the place that i had driven by, had heard my mom talk about, and i actually have met/made crafts for some of the people she met at that job! yes, i thought of her.

So i texted her to let her know, cuz ha-ha, serendipity! I also mentioned, as an aside, that this woman on the phone had been bitching and moaning for the 25 minutes i’d been working her call so i could forsee her not lasting long before totally telling off an insurance client and getting fired (that didn’t happen to my mom; she quit that job of her own choice)

and she got insulted by it!

What!?

i mean, my wording was perhaps a little iffy, but with 160 characters you have to condense a bit. And the hell, i’m not going to text her just to insult her (that’s what i have this blog for, ha-ha). I was texting her to let her know that i had thought about her randomly throughout the day and to share in the ha-ha-ness that maybe this lady would be sitting in her old cube, chatting with her old coworkers.

nah, that doesn’t fly in mom world.

eggshells much?

I knew when i started this that likely my beef with brother bennie would leak in sometime. because if i am the copy of our father with my laid-back, bitingly sarcastic, book-wormy ways, then Bennie resembles our mother. not only in failing to remember the truths of past events, but in the amazing ability they share in saying truly horrible things about a person and then making it seem as if they’re the ones being attacked.

Now my issue with bennie is new, in the relativity of our lives together, and seperate from anything about mom. we hated each other as kids, as siblings do, and turned into the best of friends as adults. it’s been more than six months since i have heard a civil word from him and it kills me every god damn day.

what happened there doesn’t matter. a tale for another day, or maybe for another blog. where it ties into my mom-thing is in her complete refusal to talk to me about it. we have already had to plan three get-togethers where i have said, “Do not invite Bennie, we are not speaking.” and yet, not a word.

It’s not that i need to rehash it; i’ve done that enough with my dad, my best friend, my anti-mom. it’s the fact that not talking to my brother hurts me so much and on an endless eternity kind of scale. i still cry some days over the things he said to me and the fact that i have one fewer brother than i want/used to/deserve. i feel sick with sadness at all times in not having him in my life and it’s not like it’s a secret. i blather on about it on facebook all the damn time. yet my mom staunchly refuses to acknowledge that pain i can’t seem to escape or forget. she won’t commiserate with me in any way.

The next part? All conjecture.

Mom is super close buddy-buddy with Bennie, his girlfriend and her daughter. she visits them all the time. i can’t help thinking that as much as they are all together that she has heard his side of the story and in hearing his and refusing to hear mine she has take his side completely. That she thinks i am in the wrong.

Perhaps that’s not true, though. perhaps she really has stayed completely out of it, but i just can’t believe that. no single part of me believes that, not with Bennie’s girlfriend’s somewhat mean-spirited gossipy ‘tude (okay, that was a little harsh, but i do blame her, in part, for what has happened between me and him. but again, another day, another blog). Can’t believe it; not with the fact that they have both used the exact same phrase to describe me–walking on eggshells with everything they say to me.

Now, when my mom, the second person to use that phrase, hit me with it i paused and took a good look at myself. Just like i did, a few months earlier, when Bennie told me that of the Givers and Takers of the world i belong to the latter group. I stepped back and took a good hard look into the very essence of my being to see if i had been missing (or ignoring) these fundamentally destructive faults in my personality make-up.

I didn’t have to look too terribly long. i know for a fact, from past experiences and even the idea of a friend or loved one being in some sort of need, that i will do most anything in my power to help them. Perhaps not monetarily (the main factor in the original accusation) but with favors, sending much-needed coupons, spare diapers, toys to other mothers, donations of things i don’t need, being chauffeur to help in getting a job…my time, my ear, my understanding. to my very core, i am a Giver.

And the egg shells? just as laughingly inaccurate. i’m not easy to offend. Dirty jokes? Love ’em. Hateful words? tooth-gritting tolerance for the poor sap who spoke them. Insults? Usually laughed off or congratulated for their orginiality. Hell, i’m still making jokes about how much of a Taker i am in all things. it’s Hi-Larious.

In fact, the only thing i can think of that has offended me are things that my mother has said or done. that’s probably actually a symptom of that deep, dark thing that i have yet to name and am questing to understand.

I seem to have meandered off course but really, the ways aren’t marked here. I am without a map and alone and i don’t even know where this quest ends or even what country i’m in. i don’t know whether the outcome will be reconciliation or the cutting off of all ties. I can’t know until i get there and when i do it will be with relief and a lighter heart.

I’m not ready, i don’t think. in fact, i don’t know where i am, even.

I have a standing explanation that even if i’m logged into facebook i may be nowhere near the computer; i’ve got a kid to take care of and a house to keep clean. Or, since i work from home on the computer i may have my work stuff up and Facebook is only one of half a dozen tabs i’m running on the internet and i don’t have time for chatting.

It gives me an out when convesations are started that i don’t want to join.

mom messaged me the other day and i answered first off, but then i drifted away. when i came back a few minutes later she had added a comment about being lonely and wanting to talk to her greeting.

I just couldn’t. I can’t even explain the feeling i had. I didn’t want to talk to her, i didn’t want to try to make her feel better. i’m not ready for that yet.

I mean, i clearly see that this is selfish of me. That i have wanted similar things from her and never gotten them. and yes, i feel guilty for withholding something like that from her.

But guilty or not…knowing at that very moment that felt guilty and i was being childish, i couldn’t change it. I’m still in the middle of all of this, finally trying to sort it out and understand what i feel and why. making her feel better isn’t on my to-do list right now.

I mentioned in my first post the word hate.

It’s not a word i should’ve used because it is not an emotion that i actually feel. jealousy or envy are also emotions that were left out of the Book of Sahara. genuine fear also seems to be missing i realize as i think back on that time the pizza place i was managing got robbed by a very large man with a very large knife. mild annoyance; that’s what i felt that day.

I preach peace, acceptance, consideration, compromise, love whenever possible. negative emotions seem to have no place in me. And not even in the way of the Vulcans who feel emotions so strongly, so vividly that they must weed them out and supress them before they themselves are destroyed by the strength of feeling. Nope, they’re just not here inside me.

I can’t hold a grudge to save my life and who would want to? who wants to stew in that much hate all day long? even when i am so angry that i can’t speak and my hands are shaking…that passes and i’m still me, writing down everything that hurts to get it out and try to forget it. just me trying to get everyone around me to settle down and listen to each other. just god damn cooperate.

So no, i don’t hate my mother.

But what is it that i feel?

Guilt, i know. sadness, yes. Pity? sure. Anger, not much.

Hope?

I don’t know. if i didn’t have hope why would i be doing this?

If i did have hope would i need to do this at all?

Whole truths because i realize that even though this is nearly private and just for me that i’m still telling the partial lies to keep from hurting her feelings.

one month before we got engaged my then boyfriend and i were going to Vegas and i half jokingly was trying to get him to agree to a Star Trek wedding in lovely Nevada. No go. No biggie.

But mom, oh mom. on a laughingly unserious facebook post she brought the whole mood crashing to the ground.

“You better not because i expect to be there.”

Expect.

Really? what is it you’ve done that makes you think that you would be invited out of my honest desire for you to be there rather than a guilty oblication that i feel to invite you?

When i said i never wanted anyone at my wedding that was a partial truth. there is one person i wanted there more than anything. and even though he didn’t come he was never disappointed. he married my step-mom in the same way; small and private. he understood. and when i tried to explain it to him he stopped me and told me i didn’t need to. he understood. all he wanted was for me to have what i wanted.

But this is not about comparing him to her; there is no comparison.

It’s not that i don’t like my step-mom, i think she’s wonderful and at 21 i suddenly had a mother i could depend on. but i ONLY wanted my dad and i didn’t know how to not-invite her without hurting her feelings. and then, if they were both there, i had no way to not-invite my mom and it all became too much for me–pleasing other people. the word “expect” hung around my head like a black cloud so i chose to please only myself.

I do not lie when i say i loved my wedding day, i had fun, i did not miss out.

And it remains true, in this situation, that those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

The baby is a source of contention too. not just the real live, tooth-gnashing, dimpled crocodile that lives in my house right now, but also the emphemeral idea of Baby which dates back years beyond even meeting my husband. but let’s start somewhere nearer, because ancient history is so thick.

Yes, she was 19 and unmarried when she got pregnant and she didn’t want that for me. i get that and i appreciate it, but it doesn’t excuse the way she’s behaved.

It does not excuse the way that when i called her, at 26 years old, to tell her that i was going to marry the man that i’d been dating, living with, laughing at, loving for six years her first words were:

“Are you pregnant!?”

Punch in the gut. i could have cried. i didn’t even have words or breath to speak with for several seconds and i managed to hold back my angry retort once i did.

It does not excuse the way that, two months later, she responded to a facebook post where a friend jokingly told me “have a baby” when i spoke of having no model for the baby bibs i’d just made to sell. This i laughed at because only moments before the first pangs of morning sickness had passed–i didn’t know yet, not for sure, but i *knew*. and this wasn’t an accident, this pregnancy two months into our engagement. we’d been trying for months. six of them according to my calendar of counted days and color coded remarks.

“You better not, i’m not ready to be a grandma yet.”

Since when is this about you?

I did cry that time. and i revealed all to my aunt. my not-mom. my anti-mom. she was the first person i said the words “out loud” to; not even my fiance yet knew of my suspicions. I had to tell because i couldn’t keep all that hurt inside me where it would poison that bright, shining thing i had begun to craft out of bits of him and huge chunks of me (a clone of mama, the little crocodile is. Jango and Boba Fett we are).

It’s no wonder i told her last. i told her in a letter so i wouldn’t have to risk hearing that pause of disappointment over the phone.

I’ve tried to tell her about these hurts but it always comes back to the things i’ve already said; fights about the past. “Get over it.”

There’s one part i haven’t mentioned to her. that i’ve kept hidden safe, deep inside me now that the croc is out and it can only hurt me.

The day of the crocodile’s birth.

I had already decided and informed everyone that i wanted no visitors in the hospital. i realized later, once the time was upon us, that really i wanted no visitors waiting around in the waiting room while i was in labor. And after 37 hours i think i was perfectly justified in not wanting to entertain guests or share this little clone of myself with anyone but my husband. at least not until i’d gotten some sleep.

She was born at 3:26 in the afternoon the day after my due date; the day i’d been scheduled for an induction but she came on her own. Everyone knew where i was and what i was up to, just waiting for the stats.

I called my dad. I texted my anti-mom who’d once again been the first to know as i sat on the toilet at 2 in the morning too stunned by the water-breaking event to properly freak the fuck out (my husband did that for me, the dear).

And my mother? unreachable.

For that afternoon. for the entirety of the next day.

It wasn’t until the following day, the second full day of her only daughter’s first child’s life that my phone rang as we walked through the door to our apartment and our brand new life.

Her excuse, something about a no-charge battery and being out of town, was a glancing blow. i hardly had time to notice and it wasn’t as if i didn’t expect some subtle slight from her.

But that irk has festered. it’s rolled around in my subconsious hiding in dark places and cluttered corners growing quite fearsome.

The excuse did not excuse and the only way to expel the beast is with words on a page she will never see becasue she refuses to be open to the emotion turmoil her reckless words have caused within her daughter.