Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shooting Myself in the Face

Maybe that's what I'm doing with this post. Who knows. With this issue of 'transgender identity' becoming a HUGE thing over the past few years over media and social networks I've been doing my best to duck my head and steer clear. Everyone has an opinion, that's their right, and people will do what people will do. I guess I only decided to speak up after that video with the 14 year old getting estrogen patches that haven't been properly tested for a 14 year old to use; and all the side effects that can come from pumping a little body full of hormones that can lead to real health issues later in life.

I guess to me it's no longer an opinion thing, it's turning into a health and safety thing. So here are my two cents. Here, I'll shoot myself in the face.

I identify as 'me.' It has never been about how the inside and outside have been incongruous. I am a woman physically. I grew up wanting both baby dolls and action figures. Micromachines were the best thing ever invented and Legos, oh my god the Legos! I wanted a lot of things and was told they were for 'boys.' Brownies (girl scouts) was probably the most boring thing I ever forced myself to do. And yet I make quilts for babies and am fiercely maternal.

I am simply who I am. A lot of things about me are masculine. I carry the need to be emotionally aloof, to be strong (by being strong I mean not crying). I carry the need to use my head equally with my heart, not one over the other. Hell, we even joke about me being the man in the relationship. You will never hear me say "honey we need to talk" and you will totally see me cringe when my husband says that to me. I prefer pants and jeans, and it doesn't hurt my feelings when I get grease in my hair. I feel like makeup can be a form of black magic, I'll never ever try that hard nor apologize for not liking to have my nails done. There are few female stereotypes that I fit into, and that's never upset me, it's never made me feel that I was 'made wrong' or 'put in the wrong body.'

There was a time in middle school I wished with all my heart I was a boy. Honestly, with the wisdom of hindsight, it was because I just wanted to fit in so badly and didn't. The boys saw my body and couldn't get passed that I was a 'girl' not 'one of them.' We won't talk about the girls and what they thought of me.
It was only when I let go of this need to fit into a mold that I finally felt free, not cutting my hair (which I've done), wearing masculine clothing (which I still do), talking in a deep voice, and getting testosterone fed to me to fit into a different mold. I AM ME! My body is mine, my mind is mine, and you can boil your head if you think there's something wrong with that.

I'm about to have a kid, which is freaking amazing! If this kid is a boy who loves dresses and high heels and makeup I'm not going to assume anything. He might like colors, patterns, and textures; lets face it guys clothing hasn't changed in... ages... and it can be quite boring.
Also, have you seen the things men wore in the Victorian era and just before the french revolution. Did you know that high-heels were originally a MASCULINE fashion statement?! In Japan it is still not a big deal for men to wear flowers on their clothing. Pink is not a girl's only color in most of the rest of the developed world! (I could rant here forever, so I'll move on while I still can)
I'll teach him to sew and teach him that it's fine. If he wants to make dolls and paint their faces, that's amazing! We'll be making some dolls. If he's a boy who likes to make pretty things, then he's a boy who likes to make pretty things. It doesn't mean there's anything 'wrong' with him. It doesn't make him a girl on the inside. It's how he's unique and awesome and himself; he should never apologize for liking certain colors or games. He should never feel like he's failing as a boy because he doesn't care about foot ball or feel the need to hide how he feels.

I don't get it! Are we so narrow minded a people that in trying to shatter these outdated ideals of 'masculine' and 'feminine' that we are grinding them in harder than we ever have before? Why does our 'sexuality' matter so much that we mark 11 year olds, 11 YEAR OLDS!!! as gay or straight or bi. They shouldn't even be thinking about sex or what they want out of it. These are kids; and kids are notorious for not caring for or understanding a lot of the arbitrary rules of society, it's why they're so awesome and refreshing.
And here I see people tying them down before they've even hit the god-awful place where we wrestle with and start solidifying who we want to be as people; middleschool.

If there is nothing wrong with a little girl wanting to be an Engineer and liking blue, there should be nothing wrong with a little boy wanting to be a Nurse and having a favorite flower. We shouldn't be thinking about these things in a way that makes people so very uncomfortable with themselves that they think there is something fundamentally wrong with how they were built!!!

I will highfive the guy who has balls enough to wear a dress to WalMart and it would never occur to me to label him as anything other than "A guy lost a bet, or likes that dress." If my husband told me that he'd feel loved if I bought him flowers once in a while the dude will be getting flowers! Why is who we are personally tied so close to what we are physically? Who decided that? It wasn't me.
In my mind it shouldn't be you, either.

So, I will probably continue to be flummoxed and frustrated by anything that pops up about transgender issues. Because dammit don't shove me into your box!

Maybe if our hearts were a little lighter these things wouldn't have grown to the proportions they have. Till next time my lovelies~

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Just around the Corner

Guys... guys... I'm going to be a mom. Two weeks from now it could happen at anytime and I'd be considered 'full term.'

I'm not freaking out. noooooo.
Ok so I'm totally freaking out a little.
Mostly because of how my life is going to shift. I'm afraid I'm going to fail at stuff, wifey stuff. My patience might die a horrible death. The dog might get really needy (I don't deal well with that). In laws that will suddenly feel more of a need to put their fingers in my life (so far they've been awesome, but there's this thing called 'baby rabies' and I fear this will infect them).
Everything is going to be just a little bit harder. Moving, travelling, shopping, getting ready, absolutely everything is going to be a little bit harder.

I don't even want to think about baby sitters and rates and money and school and, and... and!!! *deep breath*

It's not like I haven't LONGED for this day. There were times when we were trying to have kids that I broke down and cried because it wasn't happening. I really really want to be a parent. Maybe it's just because I haven't had really good sleep for a while now. Maybe it's just hormones. Who knows really? I just know I'm getting really nervous.

I'm also totally psyching myself out. There have been so many stories circulating around my groups of friends on the book of face about horrible things that happen just before, during, and after the baby finally arrives. I guess they're supposed to be inspirational stories or something. A 2 year old being struck by a car in a parking lot and dying, but the family totally forgives the driver and there's this weird happy ending scenario that I can't even remember because "Nooooo! not the baby!" *cries* Moms that have still births and how they overcome the grief. Horrifying stories of really bad OB's that do something stupid and kill a kid during birth or a C-section and that's why we need to over haul our medical care system or something. All in the last, month or so I think (I can't keep tabs on time), it's popped up and it's giving me nightmares and little panic attacks. *sigh*

It's going to be a change, regardless of what happens. No doubt my world will get spun on it's head. I'm told that it's an awesome adventure.

Till that day I'll try to keep my heart as calm as I can, because ~

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Hogfather

I knew there was a fantasy world known as 'disk world.' Honestly, though, I'd never pursued the series. The first time I heard of it the name didn't catch my interest. 'Disk World' uh... that's great.... ummm... so I think I'll go read about Pern and the dragon riders now.

Well now I'm interested. All because of a little web comic.

According to the internet the author is adi-fitri from his tumblr of the same name. I couldn't verify. 
This scene is supposedly from the diskworld book 'Hogfather' and I am now incredibly interested in finding and reading this series. 

For those of you who don't know I kinda don't like Christmas and I have a slightly morbid sense of humor. So the idea of Death taking over Santa's duties while ol' Saint Nick is MIA tickles me greatly. Also I don't like how people overprotect children; they need to have age appropriate levels of responsibility and consequence. 

Now to find a good used book store. And remember my lovelies~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Must be the Hormones

Science! It's wonderful, I love it! But sometimes it takes the magic right out of life. For one thing it makes love out to be a bunch of meaningless brain chemicals that alert us to a good DNA donor for the furtherment of the species. Bleh. Where are all the unicorns and roses?! I reject this!!! *laughs*

Other times it makes the intense reactions experienced by a pregnant woman a little more livable. What I'm crying, hard and loud sobs, over misplacing a book that needs to be found by tomorrow? This isn't like me, I'm usually way more rational than this. Must be the hormones! I love cheetos but they're full of hate and and give me the worst heartburn so I'm all depressed. Must be the Hormones! Exhausted? Hormones! Cranky? Hormones! Giggly? Hormones!
It's great to have a scapegoat that actually might be the reason you're acting so ridiculously.

Till next time my lovelies,
~The light heart lives long.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fighting a Losing Battle?

As with any season in life there are good days and there are bad days. Only during pregnancy it's been very different kinds of good and bad days.

I didn't really think of a good day as simply being able to get the dishes done. Because I didn't have this evil thing called 'sciatica.' Before my good days were getting more things crossed off my list than were added to it. Now my good days are getting any amount of anything done.
It's been a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Maybe the Almighty has given me this no so fun pregnancy to get me used to being "even worse" than I was before. I cannot keep my house Martha Steward tidy, I don't decorate, and most of the time I'm doing my best just to find permanent homes for our junk. But the house stays clean. The countertops get wiped down, the fridge gets cleaned out and sprayed down once a month, vacuuming kept the dog hair down a lot more than I thought it did, and the bathrooms were always clean.

Now I feel like I'm "losing a game of Jumanji" as it was so aptly said on a meme a friend shared on the book of face a while back. I don't know how long that basket of clothes has been on the love seat. There are little tribbles of dog fur in the corners of the house, and we'll not talk about how long it took me to get the sink clear. Things are buried under other things and I'm trying my best to help my husband with his homework, too.

I'm not being lazy. I don't think. I changed the sheets on the bed yesterday and came up huffing and puffing as if I'd jogged 2 miles. I did dishes today till my back hurt so badly I couldn't stand any longer and had to lay down, then I got back up and did more dishes. Towels got put in the wash machine and I don't know if I'll be able to get them back out and into the dryer. I bent over to pick up stuff off the coffee table and almost threw up so I sat down and made little piles of what should go where just so the entire surface isn't covered anymore.
It's really hard for me because I have this 'works based' thought process that was ground into my little skull by who knows who. Probably church people with good intentions, most likely my mother who struggled with that kind of stuff, which was passed to her by her mother. Regardless of why I'm this way, I am in fact this way. If I don't do enough, if I don't earn my way, my right to be alive is suspect. I cannot be a failure, it simply is not an option.

And I look around my house and that's what I see. I see failure on all the surfaces collecting 'stuff.' Failure in the carpet that desperately needs vacuumed. It's in the bathroom sinks that haven't been cleaned out in only god knows how long. The mess in the fridge mocks my right to stay at home instead of going and finding a job to help with finances. None of it is right. I know that, I know I'm doing what I can in my situation.

It just feels like I'm fighting a losing battle. People have told me "Oh it gets worse when the baby is born." So, I sit down and cry when that thought crosses my mind. It simply cannot get worse. There are really only two options. Hire a maid service or shift my perspective. We don't have the money for the first so I'll have to struggle with the second even more than I have to this point.

Now, I make lists of things that I have done that day, rather than looking around and getting overwhelmed by what needs to be done. I do what I can when I can. I let myself take naps. When I realize I can't do something that day, like say bending over without throwing up, I find things that don't involve that thing I can't do. Most of all I'm learning to give myself grace, to forgive myself for not being perfect or doing near enough to be a 'successful' Homemaker.

No, I'm not watching youtube all day or giving myself a free pass to do nothing. Psh! I'm just not beating myself up if I can't do much more than get up at 0500 to pack Jex's lunch, or crying in frustration because pregnancy brain won't let me remember hardly anything anymore. I do what I can that day, I do it and let that much be enough.
It's hard, it's so difficult. But it's the first step.

My need for 'earning' my value through what I get done isn't going to help my be a good mom to this baby. It's not going to help me deal with marriage issues that come with such a huge life change. Having an empty sink isn't going to make my life better. Cleaner, sure, but not necessarily better.

Letting go of that driving insanity (dude, anything that sends you into a downward spiral to the point that you cry yourself to sleep is bad for you, trust me) can only be good for my family. If I'm more content my husband will feel like he's doing a good job (which he totally is). If the chores mean less to me then babybell won't ever feel like s/he is just in the way (which I've felt as a kid and it was aweful). If I can be ok with simply getting done what I can that day, doing my best that day, then whatever gets done will be enough and by my twisted logic I will be enough.

Letting go of this will lighten my heart, and as we all know The Light Heart Lives Long.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Babies aren't cute

Guys, I have a confession to make.

Babies aren't cute.

In the first few weeks of life, sometimes the first few months, I just see this squishy faced little glow worm. A little red human larva if you will. My brothers were squishy faced larva, my nephew (sorry Q you're cute now, but you were the froggiest newborn), I'm sure I'll look at my little bundle and think "oh your face is so... squishy. Don't worry, in 3 moths you'll be the cutest."

Very, very, few babies are born 'pretty.' But even then. Nope, brand new little humans just don't hit the cute button for me.

The best I can do is say "Oh he looks healthy." or "strong" or "ready for a nap." I don't find anything wrong with this. However I can clearly see that I am in the minority. Unless all ya'll are lying through your teeth when you tell a new mom her baby is 'adorable.' So, I feel this is yet another area where I fail as a woman.

Which brings me to an issue I'm not going to touch with a 30 foot pole.

So, moral of the story. If you don't follow a certain pattern of thought, it's probably not too bad of a thing. It may make you feel a little bad and 'off' somehow, but I'm sure if more people were more honest more often you'd find out that you're in good company. And most of that company is completely sane! Hahaha!
Or are we? *evil grin*

Till next time my lovelies,
The light heart lives long.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Baby Weight and Stretch Marks, Eeeee Gads!

Let's just start with the fact that I am absolutely loving all the positive body image stuff that's been tossed about on the internet recently. I feel like people forget to add the tagline *as long as you're healthy* but I guess the pendulum has to swing hard at first if it's going to get anywhere at all. So Yay!

That's probably why it makes me sad how absolutely obsessed a hefty chunk of women are about baby weight and stretch marks. How do I get my old body back? How do I make stretch marks go away? What diet, cleanse, wrap, oil, product, miracle should I buy to be what I was before but better?! 

Pregnancy is crazy; you don't know how your body is going to change. Chances are you'll have to combine a lot of advice and mix and match story bits from others to match what you will go through, and if you are blessed enough to have another baby that pregnancy will probably be completely different than the first one was. It really grates on our modern sensibilities, our need for solid, unchangeable courses of action. Our need to become this unattainable ideal of what a human body should be.

As women we have it bad. I don't know who did it to you, I don't know why they did it, I can't tell you when it happened to you, but I remember the moment it happened to me. When the 'self image' monster ate my courage and logic and left me with an issue I might have to carry and fight till the day I die. 
I was 5 or 6, my sister had just cut all the hair off my brand new barbie doll that I'd gotten as an Easter gift. As a poor kid I didn't get a lot of new toys, this doll was the most awesome and beautiful thing to me and my little sister had ruined it. While crying and yelling at my little sister my grandmother came in the room and tried to console me. I would not be consoled; I was justified in my angry sadness and I would cry! She turned me to face the vanity mirror over the dresser and said words that are burned into my mind in perfect clarity. Even now almost a quarter of a century later I can hear her voice as if she still had her head over my left shoulder looking in the mirror with me. "Look at that ugly face. A pretty girl like you should never make a face that ugly."
To this day I cannot cry in front of another person without hiding my face. I will run away to be alone, I will hide, I will do the ridiculous to keep people from seeing my 'ugly face.' If Jex and I are arguing and I get upset enough to cry I cover my face with my hands so we can keep trying to resolve the issue but so he can't see my ugliness. 

Pregnancy is the great inflater. It takes these things and makes them more real, harder to ignore, bigger and heavier than they are. Women who would like to have lost a pant size and eat healthier are now absolutely horrified at their waist measurement even though that waist has another human being growing inside of it! They loose their minds when they have to eat saltines and coke for a day because they're too nauseated for anything else. These perfectly sane women are distraught over the marks that will forever 'ban' them from cute swimwear for the rest of their lives. They focus so hard on the weight they're gaining (Is it too much? Too little?!) and the flaws they're getting, or might get, on their skin. It almost becomes an obsession. 
It breaks my heart. 

Baby weight and stretchmarks, the price we pay for precious babies, become scars instead of badges of honor or rights of passage. Sure, if we lived where we could afford good food and traditional diets we might not be so bad off. But the fact of the matter is we don't. We live in our world, however imperfect. We need to remember that a little extra weight makes our laps more inviting to sleepy children and comforting to our hurting and confused middle-schooler. We need to remember that our stretch marks are proof of our babies' life inside of us and the strength we had to carry them for as long as we did. We need to remember that we are human and there is no such thing as 'perfect.' 
We need to allow ourselves to be good enough and let go of the idol ideal that screams at us in magazine adds and covers, that people fight against in strange and extreme ways, and be who and what we are without shame. Doing our best to be better every day. To let our hearts be lighter than before. 

My mom's lap is a comforting place to be, she is soft and warm with arms strong enough to protect me from anything. Her stretch marks look like fire, and remind me that if she loved me before she could see me or know me, she can love me even now. 

Remember my lovlies, The light heart lives long.