Monday, June 8, 2015

When Words Aren't Enough

My mom is dying.

Just typing that doesn't seem real. Doesn't feel possible.

My smart, funny, beautiful, loving, humble, gracious mother sang "Happy birthday" to my twin brother and me for the last time tonight.

Barring a miracle, today was my last birthday with my mom.

I'm only 28. My younger brother is only 23. I secretly feel guilty about how much more time my twin brother and I had with her. Mom went back to work when I was in middle school. I had a SAHM for the first 12 or so years of my life.

I cry at the most random times.

I also suddenly understand maybe how family members can fight over family possessions. I'm sure my mom's sisters won't all be thrilled that she's leaving me most of her diamond and sapphire jewelry, although I did suggest my SIL (twin's wife) receive one of the two necklaces. I'm also sure my mom's sisters won't believe that I care about the stories behind her jewelry. I don't want the jewels; I want the ring my parents picked out together when they got engaged. I want the earrings Daddy gave Mommy for their first anniversary, especially since he totally faked her out. I want the bracelet Daddy used to break the news to Mom that we were leaving sunny California for small town South. These are the stories I've made my parents tell me time after time, year after year. They're the stories I'll tell anyone who will listen when I want to share how much my parents love each other.

I want to know all the stories, and now I'm scared that I  won't know which questions to ask my mom before it's too late. I went through a few old battered pieces that I knew had stories and wrote them down with her the other day.

My mom's mom, my last surviving grandparent, died last September. Which of her stories are  now lost?

I'm home for a week, and my goal is to help my mom write her book, The Gifts of Brain Cancer.

While I love how loved she is, and how so many people want to visit her, I also want to shoo everyone away and just let me sit with my mom and get her book on paper.

I know where to go to get it formatted. I know where to look to hire a book cover designer. I know the entire process of getting her book on Amazon as a self-published work.

But she has to write it first, and I have to help her.

She's lost total mobility on her left side. She's still doing what she can with her right arm, but she's so incredibly weak. At least she's write-handed, so she can write things if needed. But her handwriting is atrocious, and there just isn't time to let her hand write the rest of her book. She's already spent a few hours with a good friend of hers, going through the handwritten pages she's done so far, and letting her friend type them up.

I hope one day I can be surrounded by bouquets of beautiful flowers for a happy reason, or no reason at all. I'm not even sure how many we have now. Five? But it seems like you only get showered with flowers when your world is falling down around you.

I feel like I've been so callous and uncaring in the past when people my age lost parents. Yes, I knew it was sad, and tragic, especially one neighbor who lost both of her parents to cancer within a few years of each other. But I didn't get it. If I met someone who already was without a parent, I spared a short thought, "That sucks" and moved on.

My dad was around my age, if not younger, when his dad died. I always knew my grandfather died young, in only his 50s, and I always wished I could have known him. But I was thinking about my grandmother. I never thought about what it was like for my dad to lose his dad in his 20s.

It doesn't seem real. It can't be real. Only my grandmother could out-sparkle and out-purple my mom.

I feel like I'm going to be the only one left. Yes, I'm my father's daughter in many ways, but I'm a Norwegian woman. I've always felt a special bond between me, my mom, and my grandma. I call us by my grandma's maiden name, not her married name aka my mom's maiden name.

I wanted so much to have my mom with me whenever I have a baby. I've wanted my own baby for so long, but Beau and I wanted a few years to adjust to married life. Plus my Crohn's has been so bad that my body probably couldn't healthily gestate a fetus right now if I tried.

My grandma stayed with my parents for six weeks when my twin brother and I were born. I always hoped my mom would stay with me for a few weeks when it was my turn.

I wish I could stay with my parents longer than a week. But I have to start Remicaide (an IV infusion of several hours) next Tuesday. At least I'll be back, with Beau and his parents, the last weekend in June.

My parents accept planning that far in advance, so I'm very cautiously optimistic that I'll have my mom for a few more weeks. The doctors wouldn't or couldn't give us a timeline.

If you've read my ramblings all the way through, thank you. Please keep my mom, my dad, and our whole family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

No Offense, But Your Reading Comprehension Sucks

No offense, but your understanding of modest culture is very wrong. you're judging all of us based on what a few people have said. modesty is for BOTH men and women, so it's not sexist. If it really was about "women cover up so men don't get tempted" then THAT would be bad. But no, it's about both men and women dressing appropriately according to location, both saving themselves for the person they love, and all the rules are appIied for both sexes. It's balanced that way, unlike the western culture, which has women so routinely naked and men covered. That it sexist, is it not? It's just as bad as calling a girl a slut and praising the boy. And shaming us for being modest and assuming our reasons is just as bad as slut-shaming and assuming their reasons for dressing a certain way. Modesty is nice. It's our choice. Please stop bashing it. Thanks.


Yeah, okay.

Let's break this down bit by bit.

No offense, but your understanding of modest culture is very wrong. you're judging all of us based on what a few people have said. 

Countless people have shared their stories at No Shame Movement of how religious people shamed them for their bodies. I've featured guest posts on my own blog from women who grew up in Christian cultures that taught them harmful messages about their breasts causing men to sin. Not to mention I've shared my own experiences of the Christian church objectifying me.

Oh, and literally just a few days ago, another Christian dude-bro decided to chime in and tell women to cover up so we don't cause our brothers to "stumble."

No offense, but a hell of a lot more than "a few" people preach that women must dress a certain way, or we're responsible for men's lust.

modesty is for BOTH men and women, so it's not sexist. 

Bull. Shit. Remember the hypocritical mom who judged teenage girls for being sexy online while posting pictures of her teenage sons shirtless at the beach?

And the countless articles that come out every spring admonishing women not to wear bikinis? Why don't they ever tell men to cover up at the beach?

If it really was about "women cover up so men don't get tempted" then THAT would be bad.

At least you agree with me in principle. You're just blind to any reality other than your own little bubble.

Go read another one of my posts on modesty and lust and the misapplication of Romans.

But no, it's about both men and women dressing appropriately according to location, both saving themselves for the person they love, and all the rules are appIied for both sexes. It's balanced that way, unlike the western culture, which has women so routinely naked and men covered. That it sexist, is it not?

If it was about people dressing appropriately according to location, people would stop having conniption fits about women wearing bikinis at the pool or beach. 

I'm criticizing Western Culture. I'm assuming you're not American. I am. I am writing from the perspective of an American Christian feminist who thinks Modesty Culture and Purity Culture promote harmful, sexist ideas. While the choice in the media to have scantily-clad women alongside fully-clothed men (like in Blurred Lines) is one that objectifies women, the individual choice of women to wear bikinis on the beach or shorts in the summer is good.

It's just as bad as calling a girl a slut and praising the boy. And shaming us for being modest and assuming our reasons is just as bad as slut-shaming and assuming their reasons for dressing a certain way. Modesty is nice. It's our choice. Please stop bashing it. Thanks.

I assume English is not your first language. I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say here. This is my best response. 

Yes, the slut-player dichotomy is wrong. 

Don't put words into my mouth. Tell me where, exactly, I wrote a SINGLE WORD shaming anyone for their choice in clothing. You can wear whatever you want. I don't care.

The problem is when society pressures women to dress a certain way for the benefit of men. In Modesty Culture, that means Christians and churches often shame women into dressing a certain way for the sole purpose of protecting men. "Don't cause your Christian brothers to stumble" is a frequent admonition to women. 

Again, don't put words into my mouth. Where did I assume why an individual person dresses a certain way?

I am critiquing a culture that shames women into dressing a certain way, and punishes them if they don't.

So, no offense, but maybe you shouldn't leave condescending comments that indicate a clear lack of understanding of the issue at hand.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guess Who's Having a Baby...

Not me.

Made you look.

But Beau and I do have exciting baby news.

We're going to be an aunt and uncle!!!!!!

Beau's brother and SIL are expecting a wee one!!!!!!!

They told us before Christmas, along with all the other siblings and their parents. They didn't publicly announce it until last Friday, after her latest doctor's appointment.

Everyone is very excited. This will be the first grandchild for Beau's parents.

Also there's less pressure on Beau and me to have kids, although it honestly hasn't been too obnoxious since we could always say, "Well, Beau's brother and SIL have been married longer, so they should have kids first."

Yay for a new baby in the family!!!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Why Do Stupid People Comment on My Blog?

I don't have time tonight to address in detail the latest incident of stupidity in the comments, but rest assured, I will.

And rest assured, if you are polite when you disagree with me, or you are polite when you are confused with what I write, or you are polite when you ask a question for clarification, I won't publicly humiliate you like I plan to do to someone else in the next few days.

But if you're an idiot AND your comment is dripping with condescension, "No offense, but..." then I'm going to take you down.

Let's start with some basics of reading comprehension, shall we?

A single word, like "person," has one meaning. The word "person," by itself, is fairly vague, and applies to a lot of living beings. 

Two words, like "smart person," has a more specific meaning. The word "person" could apply to a "smart person," but "person" also applies to a "stupid person." 

Thus, "person" /=/ "smart person."

Let's move on to some basics of reading a blog.

Blogs have links. These links provide additional and/or supporting information to the blog's content. 

Like this link to the Wikipedia article for "person." 

Bloggers provide these links in case our readers are interested in the topic and would like to learn more.

Bloggers also provide these links for clarification, in case our readers need more information to understand our topic.

Inbound links are links to previous writing by the blogger, on the blog. 

Like this link to my "blog readers" tag.

Inbound links are particularly helpful when a blogger has already written extensively on a topic, and doesn't feel the need to rewrite the same damn thing with every subsequent post.

Tags are words or phrases that bloggers apply to blog posts to help our blog readers find related content. As seen in the example above, sometimes we provide inbound links directly to a tag within the text of a blog. Otherwise, you can find the same link at the bottom of the blog post.


Don't tell me that I don't know anything about "modesty" in a post on MODESTY CULTURE. Because "modesty" is NOT the equivalent of "modesty culture." 

No fucking duh.

Especially when I include LINKS GALORE to all the shit I've already written on this topic.

Thus concludes today's lesson on How to be a Fucking Idiot.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stop Blaming Technology for Your Problems

A former colleague of Beau's, and a friend of both of ours, posted an article from Thought Catalog to Facebook.

Like basically everything else on Thought Catalog, "This is How We Date Now" is full of generalizations while taking zero responsibility for your own life choices.
We don’t commit now. We don’t see the point. They’ve always said there are so many fish in the sea, but never before has that sea of fish been right at our fingertips on OkCupid, Tinder, Grindr, Dattch, take your pick. We can order up a human being in the same way we can order up pad thai on Seamless. We think intimacy lies in a perfectly-executed string of emoji. We think effort is a “good morning” text. We say romance is dead, because maybe it is, but maybe we just need to reinvent it. Maybe romance in our modern age is putting the phone down long enough to look in each other’s eyes at dinner. Maybe romance is deleting Tinder off your phone after an incredible first date with someone. Maybe romance is still there, we just don’t know what it looks like now.

Bullshit. Beau and I met on OKCupid. I moved to New York, where I had every intention of dating women via OKCupid, but I chose to see what would happen with Beau. And if I had decided to keep dating casually in New York? It wouldn't have been my need to order up the perfect human being, but my need to explore my attraction to women and become more comfortable with bisexuality. 

Beau asked me to be his girlfriend over email. I accepted over text. This worked for us. Then we had the next month to wait in agony to see each other in person to say, "I love you," since we didn't want to first say it over skype. Romance isn't dead. We have reinvented it, just like it gets reinvented every time the world changes. That's life.
Open up Instagram and see the lives of others, the life we could have. See the places we’re not traveling to. See the lives we’re not living. See the people we’re not dating. We bombard ourselves with stimuli, input, input, input, and we wonder why we’re miserable. We wonder why we’re dissatisfied. We wonder why nothing lasts and everything feels a little hopeless. Because, we have no idea how to see our lives for what they are, instead of what they aren’t.

Most of my friends and family are pretty darn happy. Hell, my mom has cancer, my twin brother is in remission from cancer, my Crohn's has been really shitty lately (ha, literally and figuratively), and my last grandparent died this year. ETA: Beau just reminded me that he lost his high-paying job in October, just a week after my grandmother died. I'm still pretty darn happy with my life. My little brother is a little moody and drinking too much, but he's also channeling that post-collegiate, stuck-at-home taking care of Mom, angst into some truly amazing songwriting. I don't know if he's "miserable," but if he is, he's at least doing something about it.

Instagram is not the problem. Stimuli is not the problem. Other people's happiness is not the problem. Aside from being clinically depressed, which is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from general unhappiness or sadness, then your happiness is up to you. I'm not saying you need to be a ray of sunshine every single day, but your misery is your own problem, and your own choice.
And, even if we find it. Say we find that person we love who loves us. Commitment. Intimacy. “I love you.” We do it. We find it. Then, quickly, we live it for others. We tell people we’re in a relationship on Facebook. We throw our pictures up on Instagram. We become a “we.” We make it seem shiny and perfect because what we choose to share is the highlight reel. We don’t share the 3am fights, the reddened eyes, the tear-stained bedsheets. We don’t write status updates about how their love for us shines a light on where we don’t love ourselves. We don’t tweet 140 characters of sadness when we’re having the kinds of conversations that can make or break the future of our love. This is not what we share. Shiny picture. Happy couple. Love is perfect.

Actually, a shit ton of people share the 3am fights and tear-stained bedsheets, and then another Thought Catalog article will include them in their round-up of "Most Annoying Behaviors on Facebook." I mean, most people call that TMI or overshare. In fact, I'm actually surprised at the amount of (shitty) relationship advice out there that says to NEVER complain about your spouse to other people. Apparently you can ONLY work on your marital problems with your spouse, and maybe a marital counselor. You can't ask your mom for advice, or confide in your best friend, or anything like that.

So basically, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

And sorry, but you're an idiot if you think the happy portrayal of a couple on social media is the equivalent of a perfect relationship. Beau and I rarely fight. That is the honest-to-goodness truth. But we have to work through small issues and big issues, just like any other couples. I'm just pretty sure no one is interested in hearing a summary of how I convinced Beau to eat carrots twice a week, or how we divide up housework. And frankly, the last time we DID fight involved people other than the two of us, and even if I'm comfortable sharing the nitty gritty of our relationship, I think it's inappropriate to talk about how other people affected that fight.
We realize that this more we want is a lie. We want phone calls. We want to see a face we love absent of the blue dim of a phone screen. We want slowness. We want simplicity. We want a life that does not need the validation of likes, favorites, comments, upvotes. We may not know yet that we want this, but we do. We want connection, true connection. We want a love that builds, not a love that gets discarded for the next hit. We want to come home to people. We want to lay down our heads at the end of our lives and know we lived well, we lived the fuck out of our lives. This is what we want even if we don’t know it yet.
Actually, I don't like talking on the phone. I enjoy it with some people, but it's usually not my thing.

I'd love to see the faces of people we love not on my computer. Except that requires the money to fly to France, to Australia, to Canada. Just getting enough vacation days to visit my parents is difficult enough. Skype and Facetime mean I can see my loved ones in real time, not matter our distance.

I don't want slowness. My life is balanced. Some weekends are relaxed and slow and leisurely. Others are busy and fast-paced. I want both.

If your life requires validation on social media, that is YOUR PROBLEM. Don't blame the existence of social media.

True connections can happen online. I fell in love with Beau over text messages, emails, gchats, and skype. We're still together, more than three years later. I've taken Internet friendships and turned them into real-world friendships. Some of my blog readers, Twitter followers, etc. have become my friends. I haven't met them yet, but I want to, desperately. Amanda, Betsy, Lola, Carolynn, Elle, Dana, Jess, and so many more.

If you're unhappy, if you're lonely, if you're unsatisfied with your life, I am truly sorry.

But technology is not to blame.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2013 Finding My Virginity | Design By 2317studio | Powered By Blogger