Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Why are People so Disrespectful of My Choice not to have Children?

In approximately a week, I get to pick up the conversation I started with my doctor a few years ago: sterilization. Realistically, and having been a member of childfree forums for years, I know that, while my doctor is cool with it, the OBGYN she refers me to will probably put me through a battery of questions including "what if you change your mind?" "what if your partner wants them?" and so on. I expect that from a medical professional (as shamey as they sound) because they're just trying to cover their ass in the event a woman changes her mind post-procedure and tries to sue. While I think the questions can be a little archaic and too gender-biased, they're still appropriate to ask. What's not appropriate are for non-medical people to constantly ask and question my decision.

One of the things I come across a lot and very recently is the "you don't like kids? You'll like my kids!" mentality of people around me. Listen. I don't like kids. I have never liked kids. I don't want them, and I don't want to see yours. You show me a picture on your phone and I will find something else more interesting in the photo to comment on. You insist constantly on showing me pictures after I'm clearly not interested and I'm going to be less polite. But when I say "I don't like kids" and your response is to force images in my face in order to "fix" me, to convince me that your kid is the special snowflake that will change my mind, that's just disrespectful and rude. Your kid is cute to you and not me. Nothing will change that. Ever.

Listen, I'm 34 years old. I've known I don't want kids since I was 10 years old. Nothing is going to change me and it would be a whole lot nicer if, instead of being so completely shocked that I, as a woman, don't want kids and trying to change my mind, you supported me instead. I am grateful that I have the reproductive rights that I do, that I am able to make my own decisions about my body, up to and including abortion if I ever got pregnant, and sterilization so I never have to worry about getting pregnant (never mind that I'm reaching the cut-off date for safely taking hormonal birth control). Any woman who is open about not wanting children shouldn't be made to feel as though they are less a woman, that they won't know true happiness because they won't have the love of a child in their life (don't even get me started on that one), or that they are being selfish in their decision. Instead, they should be supported and encouraged. Knowing you don't want children and dealing with the social stigma and the bullshit comments people make is difficult. Don't be an asshole to people whose life paths are different from yours, even if it involves not reproducing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Running Away

This weekend was... not good. Anyone that knows me knows that I run away from my problems, and I felt like I had nowhere to run to this weekend. One of the signs that I have an amazing and supportive boyfriend is that he recognizes my need to run away, so we got in the car and he just started to drive. We'd gotten about an hour away when he asked if I wanted to go back. I wasn't ready. So we just kept going, riding in silence while I stewed and processed and vacillated (and at times nodded off) until we found ourselves in northern New Hampshire. We stopped at a shitty Irish pub for dinner and made our way through the White Mountains National Forest on our way home. It was exactly what I needed, to be surrounded by mountains and trees and silence. By the time we reached somewhere around North Conway (and we still had a couple hours ahead of us) I was ready to talk.

We came in on Rt2, went through Gorham, Berlin, Lancaster, then down 302 and got back into Maine via Freyburg. Had we just kept going west for 10 miles, we would have made it to Vermont.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm a Miley Cyrus Fan

I know the Miley hubub was ages ago and I'm so late even talking about her, but I've had "We Can't Stop" stuck in my head and during my drive home this evening and it got me thinking (because I couldn't listen to it since I still have crappy T-Mobile service and there simply isn't any HSPA in my area). Remember the VMA performance? You know, the one where her ass kind of looked like a raw roaster chicken? Yeah, that one, the one everyone was so worked up about and it wasn't really that bad. Yes, she's appropriated Rachet culture and is using African-American women as props her in her videos, and the feminist in me says that's Not Okay. But you know what? She's 21. She is desperately trying to break free of the Disney-wholesome mold she lived in for her entire childhood and is trying to discover who she is and she's doing that with self-expression and by exploring her sexuality. Know who else did that? Me. Granted, I was 30 and barely had a fraction of her money, but I lived as large as I could, spread my legs, and settled on who I was.

I think people are so worked up over Miley because she used to have that wholesome image as Hannah Montana and they just can't handle that the little girl is growing into a woman with her own self-expression. I wonder if people even listen to her music, because honestly, she can sing. She's not a lip-synching Britney on stage, she's honestly singing throughout her performances. Seriously, this cover of "Landslide" is amazing.

Before we dismiss a young woman for trying to find who she is and slut-shaming her, let's instead judge by the quality of her talent. Don't like her music? That's cool. Don't like her costumes? It's not okay to call her a slut or a whore. Don't like the influence she has on your kids? You're living under a rock if you think they haven't already absorbed everything she's done, ever. I have a lot of respect for Miley as an artist, and she has no obligation to be a role model to anyone.

Keep on doing wild shit, Miley, I'll be watching.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Say Asshole Things About Weather, Okay?

I've been stewing on this a couple of days. Tuesday night I whined on Facebook that I didn't want to go back outside to take my trash out because I hadn't warmed up from my drive home three hours prior. We've been having an incredibly, dangerously cold winter this year. Anyway, someone who I am acquainted with from my previous job but was never close to responded with "you know you live in Maine right?" 

That is just the most asshole thing to say. I almost lit into this person but I'm working on controlling my impulses. But seriously, living in Maine doesn't mean I automatically love the bitter cold and snow. If I'm cold, I have the right to be whiny. Don't say such asshole things about the weather to people, okay? I stewed and finally unfriended the person yesterday. 

Anyway, rant over. I'm still fucking cold. Come on, spring!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bitches Be Cray

Last night I was reading A Dance With Dragons, George R. R. Martin's fifth installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, when I came across this line:
"Women were always the cruelest where other women were concerned."
 I've been thinking about it ever since, and you know, it's so true. Women will cut each other down so easily and in so much more of a damaging way than anyone aside from an abusive significant other can do. As much as I am a feminist, I am guilty of it too. What really made me think of this was I was [indirectly] fat shamed last week, by another woman. And I thought "how does my weight even affect your life?" As I reflected on this, I realized how critical of other women I am; I'm going to try to be more conscious of this when I catch myself doing it.

Why is it, though, that women attack each other so much? Is it something evolutionary? We have to put other women down and/or point out their flaws so we can get the optimal mate? Is it an insecurity thing? I honestly don't know. It's been on my mind and needed to write it out and ponder. Discuss.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Why I'm not Offended by Superheroine Costumes

I'm a total geek: I play video games, D&D, read comics (both American and Asian), and own more Batman shirts than any one person probably should. I'm always a fan of strong female characters in any setting, whether in a fantasy novel, comic book, or video game. I always play a woman in games. I even give them skimpy outfits.

*record scratch*

Look at Spider Man twerk it out!

That's right. Skimpy outfits. I dress my female role playing characters and video game characters in the stereotypical skimpy outfits that you see in comics, cartoons, and other things. When I was playing DC Universe Superheroes (seriously, the instruction books need to be rewritten... the rules are so ambiguous and disorganized!) I rolled a rogue-like, Bohemian Revolution-era corsetmaker that wore a Kevlar corset and some fun knee-high boots (her name was La Croix and could summon ravens because it's me playing). Even when I played WoW, I would run around trying to find the skimpy gear to equip my female characters with. If a game lets me modify bust size, you better believe I am giving my character the biggest tits I can (I want to play a character that has similar attributes to myself). So how can I, a feminist, even conceive of creating characters designed to objectify them?

Seriously. This is hot.
I really don't see skimpy superheroine costumes as sexist or objectifying. Growing up, I thought it was awesome. As an adult and a feminist, I see the impracticality of the outfits because really, they aren't covering much at all. Look at Wonder Woman to the left (and check out the artist's gallery, his work is amazing, and he has a lot of awesome Wonder Woman portraits!). She is still wearing the iconic Wonder Woman onesie, but she is muscular, strong, powerful. That's how I see my female characters; I don't see them as pieces of womanflesh running around on a screen or in a comic book, but as strong women that can wear those skimpy outfits because they are so badass that they can defend themselves and fight their own battles. Some feminists get offended by the costumes and would see them covered completely, like you can see in this article. Honestly, when I first saw those images, I thought they were done by someone who either hated their own body or wanted to body-shame other women. I thought the costumes were ridiculously dowdy and unempowering. I didn't see strong superheroines any more.

With the world of comics, cartoons, fantasy novels, and superhero movies I am able to lose myself in a fantasy world of strong, powerful women. Xena is my spirit animal, Wonder Woman my muse, Huntress my inspiration. Let's worry less about the costumes on these positive and strong female figures and more about the empowerment they can offer little girls and women.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Flip-Side of Bipolar or Depression and Self-Neglect

As I've written before, there have been certain symbols of the debilitating depression I suffered in 2012, and I am working to eliminate them and move on. Thursday, I took care of one of the big ones: my teeth. During that depression (and if you've been reading all along, you know it was severe) I had a hard enough time feeding myself, much less take care of myself. A year and a half of self-neglect really took its toll on my teeth. Specifically, my two front teeth, that had large, visible areas of decay right in front. You know, the place people look when they look at your mouth? That everyone can see when you smile or talk or laugh? I didn't smile easily and hid my laugh behind my hand. Drinking cold or sugary drinks hurt. I was ashamed.

Thursday, I got them filled, and I can smile again.

Part of really reclaiming myself post-depression is feeling better about myself, and this was a huge part. Now that I don't feel like I have to hide any more, I can move on. I feel so much more confident.

Moral of the story: even if you're depressed to the point that you can't even care about feeding yourself, still brush your teeth. Don't make excuses. It's an expensive process to get them fixed after.