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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh Internet! You just keep doing you. Thoughts on #unplug

Let me go on the record as saying that I'm as about as old school as you can get and still be even mildly NOT 78 years old. I have Facebook. I have a blog. I even have my own [never updated] web site. But I don't tweet, skype, tumblr or any of that crap. I probably should if I want to get my business off the ground, but I'm kind of lazy and it seems like figuring out what the hell the hashtag is for would take up more time than I'm willing to give it.

Besides, I'm pretty sure the lifespan of anything on the internet is about 35 seconds. So I'm holding out for the day that Twitter becomes Myspace.

But then again, the Internet is hopelessly self-absorbed and Twitter hit the nail on the head by pandering to that element.

Dammit. I guess I'll have to figure out Twitter. But not before I get fully vested in the newest Internet meme: #unplug.

Let me throw an addendum to my previous on-the-record by saying that I REALLY love the concept of this. In case you're not familiar with the how to, here's the premise:

1) Realize that you're hopelessly addicted to anything Internet-related and powerless to your addiction.
2) Seek to make amends to anyone you've wronged.

Oh... wait. That's AA. Moving on...

The premise behind unplugged actually IS acknowledging how hopelessly plugged in we are and how we've kind of lost touch with reality. For instance, every night, The Fiancee™ and I sit on the back porch having a chat and a smoke theoretically catching up about the day and figuring out what the game plan for the night is. But if you were to look through the sliding glass door, you'd see both of us more engaged with our devices than each other. Neither of us are big Internet addicts, but the Internet has kind of stripped us of our ability to have a meaningful dialogue. Or even an unmeaningful dialogue.

It's made it impossible to have an uncomfortable silence.

That's not right, y'all. Not right at all.

So  point of unplugging is to pick a time frame (a day, week, month, etc), pick a day to begin it, let all your peeps know you're going off line and then DO IT. Only use your phone for calls and texts. Leave the TV off and your laptops unplugged. Go out and explore a city.

Talk to real live people... in person <---that's the part that terrifies me the most. I live in Florida; people are scary here.

Afterward you can plug back in, but maybe not so much this time. Or maybe you can plug all the way back in, but schedule unplugged moments. Or maybe you'll become a hermit and never plug back in again... until the History Channel shows up with a camera crew to film you for an episode of Mountain Men.

I'm totally down for this because, for real, I'm not that plugged in ANYWAY... and maybe unplugging will help me get over my agoraphobia (I'm pretty sure the only way I'm getting over that is by moving out of this shit hole of a state).

But the irony... the supremely delicious irony of #unplug is that it's an INTERNET MEME. Unplugging has a damn hashtag and people have been tweeting about it. I'm blogging about it. It's a Google+ discussion (or whatever they call it on Google+ I can't figure Google+ out). I expect it'll be showing up in my Facebook feed any day now.

Oh, sweet precious Internet. Never change.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vagina. Vagina. Vagina. Uterus.

That blog title is likely to get me some hits, don't you think?

I come from a long, long line of fiercely independent women. I wouldn't go so far as to call it entirely feminist, since we were "feminists" long before that was an actual thing. On my mother's side, we were frontierswomen, blazing trails and breaking laws as we saw fit. My great-grandmother graduated summa cum laude and was a Fullbright scholar and Guggenheim Fellow. On my father's side adversity was overcome and my grandmother, despite having to leave her beloved church because of it, divorced her abusive husband. Before that, she raised six kids while working three jobs to support them.

None of us has been dependent on a man. Ever.

When I first became a mother, I wanted sons. Girls are a pain-in-the-ass (we really are) and I wanted nothing to do with them. I was and am determined to raise my sons to be feminists, to understand and appreciate womanhood and the strength that women possess; to be in awe of it instead of lusting after it.

Aside from the occasional booby jokes, the evidence shows that I'm doing OK in that department. The Monkey is friends with more girls than guys and has a healthy respect for girls. The one girl he has a serious crush on, he won't ask out because "he'd rather have her in his life as a friend than ask her out and risk losing her." The Nugget says things like, "I'm going to make sure my sister only has boyfriends that love her."

Not that she'll need protecting, but it's nice to know that The Nugget is already polishing his guns.

Anyway...

As I got older and American society has degraded back into thinly veiled misogyny, and after birthing a daughter, I realized that merely teaching my sons to be in awe of women is not enough. To raise them to be feminists is not enough. To be loyal and good to their mother and sister is not enough. But I don't know what "enough" is.

Because I'm scared, y'all. I'm scared that women are allowing themselves to be subjugated again. I'm terrified that my daughter's reproductive choices will no longer be rights that she can decide on for herself. There's a distinct possibility that we're heading back to a time when women went to college to find a husband rather than get an education and have a career. As it is, more often than not, women have to choose between having a family and having a career.

That scares me. To no end.

I'm going back to work full time on Friday and leaving The Lady Gray with a nanny. It breaks my heart to have to do this because I'd so much rather spend all day trying to make her smile and now I'll be paying someone else to do that. But that has nothing to do with not wanting a career. If I did end up quitting my job to stay home with her, I'd spend her nap times trying to start up a freelance copywriting/advertising business with a side of hand-made goods on Etsy. Shit... I'd do that even without a baby at home.

Here's the thing, I go without sleep to get work done. I wake up with the baby in the middle of the night. I cook. I clean. I pay my bills. I make more money than The Fiancee™. He gets home from work and waits for dinner to be made. He spends a few precious moments with the baby and then he's in bed and asleep, usually, by 9:30 every night.

This isn't to say that The Fiancee™ is lazy or I'm better than him, but more to say that, as a woman, I'm more capable of getting shit done than most men. Countless studies prove that the tendency for men to think linearly puts them at a disadvantage to women, who can think in broader terms and tackle more at once.

Either that scares men or it makes them think, "Shit. Well, I can just sit back and let her handle it all." Or maybe it's a combination of the two. And it's the fear of the almighty vagina that has the collective man figuring out ways to shut our power down. They're starting with our right to choose what to do with our own bodies -- as if we're so much breeding stock for their holy seed. And now they're going after our right to work, saying that women going out to the work force began the degradation of American society.

The Fiancee™ wants another baby. I don't. I'm not having another one. End of discussion. If, perchance, I did get pregnant again, I would terminate the pregnancy. Because it's my right to do so and I don't want to put my body through that again. Carrying The Lady Gray took a huge toll on my body. I'm still recovering from it and it's not an experience I'd like to relive. He'll be pissed and it might be a breaking point for our relationship, but my right to choose not carry another pregnancy to term is mine alone to decide. As soon as he stops masturbating, I'll let him have a say in my reproductive decision-making.

But here's the really scary part -- women are allowing this shit to happen! We're more concerned with looking good to men than we are about being relegated to the kitchen. How in the hell did that happen? Actually, I know how that happened. 

All of this disjointed blogging is to say that we need to raise our children to fight for the equality of the sexes. It's not enough to raise our sons to be feminists. It's not enough to teach them that a woman's reproductive choices are hers. It's not enough to teach them how to cook or to love their sisters. We need to teach our daughters that the fight for our rights is never ending. We need them to not be complacent. We need to teach them that pink was originally a boy color (it was. Look it up). And we need their first word to be vagina.

 

If I click my heels three times...

The only downside to going home for a visit is the raging homesickness that I feel for weeks afterward. Sometimes, like after my last visit, it doesn't last terribly long. Other times, it'll take weeks for it to ebb. Methinks this is one of those times where I'll be longing for home long after I've left.

Sweet Lady Gray was thoroughly doused with much love by her extended family. She also got to spend some time in the hands of the women (her great-grandmothers) who are so important to me and, hopefully, have enough life left in 'em to last long enough for her to actually remember them. I hate the thought that she might only know them through pictures.

The Trolls are still up north for an extended visit with their side of the family and I miss them terribly. I miss their noise and their smell. I even kind of miss their mess in the living room. OK, I'm lying about that last part. It's actually quite nice not having to fight with them to pick up their mess.

But on the topic of homesickness, part of me doesn't want it to go away. Part of me wants it to hang on for dear life so that the fire of my "Two Year Plan" doesn't turn into a slow burning cinder. I want the fire to rage. I want to be motivated to scrimp and save so I can get the hell out of Dodge. That's the hardest part for me. I'm such a hedonist that depriving myself of instant gratification for a long term goal is incredibly difficult. And every time I go home, I come back to Florida thinking that THIS time I'll get my shit together and save some money, but then something shiny tempts me and there goes the Massachusetts fund.

But not this time. This time I'm determined to get back home for good. No, seriously. I am. If I have to, I'll drag The Fiancee™ kicking and screaming with me, but we're going. Because who wouldn't want to be surrounded by this all the time:

My cousin, KadyRose, my Aunt Moe, The Monkey, my Aunt Kathy, and the Nugget at Mt. Tom Ice Cream

Sweet Lady Gray enjoying real grass while watching her brothers play wiffleball. Notice her monkey toes?



"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!"