in case someone is confused and needs it simplified:
you are still confused and need it explained again
(which is ok, there are a lot of misconceptions out there):
a Feminist does not mean that I think women are better than men, it
means I believe they are equal.
does not mean I think men and woman are the same, it means I believe
they should be treated equally.
does not mean that I think there are no differences between men and
women, it means I believe that everyone should have the same
opportunities, regardless of gender.
again, it does not mean I plan to burn my bra (though I have
considered it) it means that I believe that I should not be
discriminated against based on the fact that I have breasts.
does not mean that I believe all women should be climbing the
corporate ladder, it means I believe that if climbing the ladder
is something that a woman wants to do, she should be
encouraged to do so. It does not mean that I don't think women
should be stay at home moms, it means that if staying at home with
kids is something that a woman wants to do, she
should be encouraged to do so...see what I did there?
- this is where I get a little passionate, so for your safety, remain
seated with your arms, hands and feet inside at all times, sensitive
groups and those with neck or back problems may wish to not ride. And
if you find yourself disagreeing, I want you to stop for a moment and
look up again at the picture posted just above and remember, I will
fight just as hard for your right to think differently than me, as I
will for my right to think differently than you. THAT is what being a
feminist is to me.
been standing at the edge of the water
as I can remember
really knowing why
wish I could be the perfect daughter
I come back to the water
matter how hard I try
the light where the sky meets the sea
one knows how far it goes
the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
day I'll know
I go there's just no telling how far I'll go
I guess you could say this is the real start to my post today - quote
heard the music for Moana way before I actually saw the movie. Most
of that was just lack of good timing on the part of Disney in
releasing their movie at a specific point in time that worked with my own personal schedule. It
is almost like they don't pay attention to that, can you believe it?
They dare to release a movie that I want to see, when I have
absolutely no time in my schedule to go and see it! I know, terrible.
I first heard this song, it made me stop and listen. Because I
understood so very much the feeling behind it. I have very strong
memories of standing on the balcony of my house, looking over
the edge into our box of a backyard and thinking "this is it.
This is all the space I get." We had a great backyard, full of dirt and rocks, very little grass. But I longed for open air and space to
run. (One down-side of growing up in Los Angeles, not much running
space unless you actually get into the car and go looking for it.)
a child I had the amazing opportunity to travel for a weekend
(twice) on a small sailboat out to Catalina Island. We ate when
we were hungry, slept when we were tired, laughed at the
dolphins racing our little boat, watched the flying fish, collected
beautiful shells on a tiny sprig of an island, dipped our feet into
the ocean, fell asleep in the sun and adventured to our hearts
content. I cannot put into words how amazing it was. But I am sure it
is one of the reasons I love the sea so much. To me, the sea has no
limits, no expectations, no obligations. It is simply The Sea. No
strings, nothing. That was freedom to me. It is probably very closely
linked to why I have always loved pirates, and for those that are
always asking - why I chose a ship as a tattoo.
Because of the adventures.
have three girls. No sons, just girls. People like to point that fact
out to me, you know, in case I have not yet noticed it, or maybe
forgotten. Being mom to a significant amount of the same gender makes
random people feel like they should give you advice/their opinion on
that particular gender and the stereo-types they adhere to...a lot.
I'm talking about strangers, acquaintances, the check-out person at
target, the lady in line behind me at the bank, the eye doctor, the
other parent on the field-trip...well, really anyone. I know some of
that is simply a "having kids" thing and usually the reason
is simply someone trying to find something to small-talk about, but I
get it every time I take all three out in public with me,
almost without fail.
of this, it has made me stop and pay attention a little more. I watch
how little girls are treated vs. little boys; in classrooms, at
parks, at the grocery store, really everywhere. I pay attention to
what is/is not said. I notice the gaps, the discrepancies, the subtle
messages or lack there-of. I was the mom buying T-shirts from the
"boy" section because my girls loved super-heroes, Star
Wars and TMNT and there weren't any in the section I was "supposed"
to shop in (to give credit, there is now. But I would say only just
now, for the first time...ever). I make constant mental notes of
those differences, and specific mental notes when the differences are
uniquely absent with a particular person or environment. Sometimes
the differences in how boys vs. girls are treated is needed, most of
the time, it is not.
am an analyzer, it is how I live, how I view the world around me. So
when my girls started getting old enough to ask real questions - old
enough to start creating hopes and dreams, I started doing my best to
shape their world into something that was nurturing to that. When
they started developing a sense of self outside of our close-knit
family circle, I started paying attention to where they were getting
their messages and what those messages were saying. The result was my
present die-hard feminism - I watched their world and decided that for me, if
I was going to raise strong girls, I had no choice but to
bring that into my parenting. Equality needed to be threaded through all parts of our lives, however much I could.
a feminist parent has meant that there are things I actively do and
do not do. Sometimes I am curious how my language would have been
different if I had all boys instead of all girls, or perhaps a mix of
them both. I would like to think that I would parent the same
way...well, as much as you can when kids are so unique unto
attention to the world around my kids has also made me stop and take
a good solid look at the world/culture in which I grew up, and what
messages spoke the loudest to me. Some of those messages were
life-giving and have made me a stronger person, such as body image. I
have zero memories of my mom complaining about her weight growing up.
I do remember a few times when she made an added effort to eat well
and exercise, and now I can look back and assume that weight loss was
likely at the root of it. But wanting to be healthy over-all was
always the message that was presented to her kids.
believe that attitude is directly linked to the fact that my siblings
and I have all grown up with solid, positive body-images. Sure I have
my days where I am certainly not happy with what I see in the mirror.
But it does not affect my self-esteem much, those things are not
really connected. All it does is give me motivation to fix what I am
not happy with, and thanks to being taught how to eat well and
exercise, I know how to do that.
growing up in the eighties in the midst of conservative culture has
also given me insight into some things I do not want to pass on to my
give you an example: M*A*S*H is one of my favorite TV shows. But I am
not ok with my kids watching it - not now, not as teenagers, maybe
not until they are adults. Why? Because my oldest daughter wants to
be a zoo-ologist, my middle daughter wants to be an entomologist and
my youngest daughter a doctor. And you know what? I believe that they
will - if they continue to desire it. I also believe that watching a
show, (you should have heard the disclaimers I would add when we were
watching the Andy Griffith Show!) no matter how brilliant that show
may be, that only ever shows men in dominant roles is not healthy
for their future aspirations. I believe seeing these cultural norms,
however outdated they may be, creates habits in the brain that are
hard to reverse. I believe for myself, growing up, where every single
adult female in my close, personal circle was a stay at home mom was
not good for me. I grew up assuming that was what I would be – that
was what I SHOULD be, even though a part of me screamed in protest.
No one told me this, but it was all around. And it created a culture
where when I had my own kids, I felt incredible guilt when I wanted
to do something for myself, as if the fact that I was not fulfilled
just being mom to my children made me wretchedly broken. That
guilt was all-consuming and I had no tools on how to manage it. I
truly believed that there was something wrong with me. Sometimes I
know everybody on this island
so happy on this island
is by design
know everybody on this island
a role on this island
maybe I can roll with mine
can lead with pride
can make us strong
be satisfied if I play along
the voice inside sings a different song
is wrong with me?
want to be clear, I do not necessarily regret staying home with my
kids, I cannot say what challenges we would have faced had it turned
out another way. When it comes down to it, I feel that me being a
stay at home mom was a good thing for them. However, I do not think
it was the best thing for me, and I wonder sometimes how much of that
bled through. When you are forced to re-live the same childhood
routines over and over again for years, there is a part of you that
stops growing. I had to put myself on hold, because in order to give
the best for my kids 24 hours a day everyday, I had to be able to
relate to them. I'm not saying this was healthy, but it was all I
knew how to do. I lived in “coping” mode for 10 years. And now
that I am moving out of it, now that they are all in school full-time
and I can slowly unwrap the layers of "coping" and start to
re-learn how to be a person again – I feel I am paying for it.
Somewhere along the way I have developed what is sometimes crippling
social anxiety - I battle depression, a lack of emotional response, a
lack of empathy, I cannot relate to other women, I've forgotten how
to talk to adults. I can't always recognize nuances in
conversation, I simply don't have the experience - which can lead to
some very awkward conversations and has in the past led to some very
If I think about it, there is not one time that I was actively discouraged from working outside the home. I have no doubt that if it was something I desired, my husband would support that 100%. The idea to do it (outside of a handful of MLM "businesses") just never occurred to me.
Because if you CAN stay home, you do...right? That is the culture I
was raised in, like my mother before me and her mother before her and
on and on and on. And I am not in any way saying that being home with kids is wrong, for many many
people it is exactly right, just what they need, perfect for their
families and I am so very glad of that...but now, I can look back and
see that I think it was wrong for me.
of these things have become shockingly clear as I try to re-enter the
"real world" by going to writing conferences,
attempting critique groups, selling myself to agents and
"shmoozing" as the term would be, with publishers and
editors. So the cycle establishes itself: Sign up for a conference,
get physically ill knowing I will have to be in a group of people, go
to the conference/group meeting, stumble over my words hoping I am
making sense, try to make eye contact while my heart is beating out
of my chest (because real people make eye contact right? I can't
remember!) but not too much eye contact or they will think (know?) I
am a crazy person. Laugh in the right places...I think. Take a
thousand notes, submit my work for brutal and honest critique, grasp
desperately at any shred of encouragement I can catch, return home to
yet another "we regret that your manuscript is not right for us
at this time" form letter.
Cry. Write, Cry (in that order).
anxiety never gets better, but I am sort of getting used to it now as
the cycles repeat over and over. I have only been doing this "for real" a year or so, still a beginner. Lots of time to work
through it all. Perhaps it is a mid-life crisis. Perhaps it is a
psychological breakdown. I'm not sure – but it has this weird
feeling of swimming through mud to get to the air that I KNOW is
there, that I have forgotten about for years. And now, finally it is
in sight and it is all I can think about. But I am not sure I
remember how to breath it.
What do I know for sure?
My kids are turning into the most spectacular people, despite my blundering as a parent. Perhaps I even helped a bit? I do not miss the baby/toddler phase, at all. AT ALL! despite what I was told by all the old ladies at the grocery store. I love that they grow fast, because it means we can have real conversations now. I love the people they are growing into, and so far...they still seem to like me. I'll call that a win. Watching them grow into fantastic people, that is so fulfilling. I can't wait to watch them wade through the deep waters of teenage-hood. I think they are going to rock it. (Did I sound old right there? I did didn't I...)
get a paycheck every month because I did some work to establish
myself in a MLM business (I know) a few years ago, and I was in the
right place at the right time and it payed off. The fact that I can
help out financially, even a drop in the bucket - is more fulfilling
to me than I can express.
got my first acceptance letter for one of my poems last week!
and thank you for submitting "I Think That I'm a Dragon"
for our consideration. I’m happy to report that we would like to
accept your delightful poem for publication in SPIDER magazine"
words filled me with a life, with a joy that I have never before
experienced. Someone who is not my family, not my friends,
someone who is not invested in my life in any way thinks that my
writing is worth paying for?!? I cannot even describe the
feeling (which as a writer may be a bad thing. I'll be working on
that one.) But I am pretty sure that this is air, this is breathing!
Sure, they added this:
this time, I am unable to tell you when your poem will appear in
print. Due to our rather full poetry files, it could be two to three
years before the poem would be published. Please be assured that we
will make every effort to see that your wait is as short as
got a yes!!!
think I've got this...I think I'll be ok. This, this is what I was made to do. I just had to go through some hard things first...as do we all!
the light as it shines on the sea
no one knows how deep it goes
it seems like it's calling out to me
come find me
let me know
beyond that line
I cross that line?
all of this make me a terrible stay at home mom? Does the fact that I
have to ask that question mean that I am still hopelessly broken,
that there is something tragically wrong with me? Maybe, probably -
we all are broken in our own unique ways. But I am trying to shift my
thinking to see that as simply being human. Our broken-ness does not
define us, but it can be a part of who we are, and that can be a
positive thing. It's ok that even after almost 11 years, I still suck at the "stay at home mom" thing. I think someday my kids and I will be able to laugh at all the blunders, they are a part of both of our stories.
hope you can read all that, if not let me know and I'll type it all
out. Jenny Lawson is my spirit animal. If you have struggled with
anxiety or depression, (or know someone who does and want to understand them better) have a good sense of humor and do not get
easily offended - READ HER BOOKS. I cannot recommend them enough.
am a Feminist. I'll admit - I don't always wear a bra, I can't
remember the last time I shaved my arm-pits and I truly believe that
if it is legal for men to walk around topless, that women should be
allowed to do it too. But that is not what makes me a feminist.
am a feminist because I teach my girls that they matter beyond their
girl parts, beyond their ability to reproduce, that I want them to
dream big and I will do everything in my power to make their dreams
am a feminist because I teach my girls that their opinion matters,
politically, socially, economically. That their ideas are just as
valid as the boy sitting next to them, just as his ideas are just as
valid as theirs. That they both have the right to fight for what they
believe in, no matter who tells them to sit down, shut up and let someone else with more experience, education or authority do it.
am a feminist because I teach my girls that if they want to get
married someday, they can. If they don't want to, that's fine too.
If they desire children, that is great - if they don't, that
doesn't make them less of a woman. If someday they wish to devote
their lives to working a job that they love, that sounds amazing - if
they wish to be a stay at home mom, that is great. If they want to do
both, and find a balance that works for them, they can do that. The
important thing is that THEY get to choose and they feel zero
pressure either way.
am a Feminist because I no longer have to place clauses around the
line “you can do anything you want to do” while speaking to my
kids. They can, and they will change this world, and they won't be an
exception, because they will have the support of thousands of other
woman at their side, changing the world right along with them.
am a feminist simply because we are still having these conversations,
and that breaks my heart. Because the numbers reflect that we have
not come as far as we should have by now. I am a feminist because
there is a movement to fix it, and that makes me so very happy! I am
a feminist because I can now buy superhero t-shirts in the "girls"
section of Target, and that feels like a huge step foreword. Because
my kids have an amazing world that they are growing up in, a world
where changes are being made for the better. A world where they will
get more opportunities than ever before. A world where their hopes
and dreams and ideas are encouraged and even requested!
am a feminist because I believe it to be the right thing.
the light where the sky meets the sea
no one knows how far it goes
the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
day I'll know
far I'll go