Thursday, March 28, 2013

anti-abortion laws in North Dakota

Now that I am a woman with a uterus living in a state that has pretty much banned abortion completely, I am horrified. Of course emotions run high. Of course they do! These motherfuckers passed a law that says I cannot make a decision about my body that they have NO say in. NO SAY IN. I could die from my pregnancy and couldn’t have an abortion if the pregnancy is pass the 6 weeks mark. What am I going to do? Let myself die? Where would my daughter go? Her father isn’t involved. What would happen? Why do I have to even think about this? Why?

Honestly, I don’t want to hold myself back from being emotional. Tuesday, March 26, made me question why I lived in this state, made me scared of becoming pregnant (even more so than I usually am because I do not want a child now), scared of raising a daughter in this state, scared of being forced into pregnancy. This is 2013. This is not 1952. This is not the days of the woman Demi Moore played in “If These Walls Could Talk” where she gets a botched abortion in her own home and bleeds to death. This is a time in which I can go to college, vote, divorce, have a child without being forced to marry the father. This is where women are getting half the graduate degrees and going to medical school. Things have changed and now I feel trapped and terrified. I feel that I am not a person, an autonomous person.

Of course, there are the courts we can rely on, right? Be optimistic, right? Why? Why do I have to fucking feel that way? I don’t think I should have to be that way. I think I should have the right to an abortion no matter what. I don’t need a partner’s permission, the state’s permission, a man’s permission, another woman’s permission, no one’s permission but my own. The Right attempts to guilt me about any situation I am in. I am not married, I am a single mother, I was a teen mother, I am poor, I am on welfare, I’ve been in school too long, I am pro-choice, I sometimes use birth control, I have sex, I had sex before marriage. And then I have people on my side who are telling me to be optimistic, to not express my anger, to not engage with the other side. They are telling me to be civil and respectful. Why? That just buys into what the Right is doing. I refuse to respect those who are abusing me. Why? Because they don’t deserve it.

Since Roe v Wade passed in 1973, we've continued to fight for abortion, birth control, and other reproductive rights. Maybe we need to rethink what we're doing. What are other things we can do? I think we need to shy away from making sure we don't make the right mad. I know that this is a controversial topic. The right doesn't care when they pass laws regarding transvaginal probes, birth control bans, abortion bans, sex bans, sex education bans, and so on. They don't care if we need to have an abortion because we might die. They don’t. They don’t care if the fetus has abnormalities. They don’t care if I have cancer and need an abortion. And people can be mad after reading this. I'm just sick of my life, body, and uterus, literally, being in the hands of the Right. I’m sick of being scared about this. I don’t tell the Right what to do regarding their penises and vulvas. Why? Because I don’t give a shit. If they want to have children, they can. If they want to have an abortion, they can. If they want to fuck a million people I don’t care.

The Right calls abortion murder. Fine, fucking call it murder. Call the embryo a person. That embryo in a dish is the exact same person as me. It is autonomous and can live on it’s own just like I can. It has gone through life the same way I have. It is raising a child on it’s own. It is going to graduate school as a single parent. Call that embryo a child who is exactly like the child I’ve had for almost 12 years. With this, I won’t change my mind. I won’t change my mind because abortion is always going to happen, no matter how restricted it is. And we will find ways whether these ways be through herbs, hangers, knitting needles, medication, or throwing ourselves down the stairs, or pushing our stomachs in. Women have sex and get pregnant when they do not intend to. Even if they’re on birth control, even if the man pulls out, even if they use condoms, no matter what. The feeling of an unplanned pregnancy is scary, take that back: it’s horrifying. Women don’t just step into the mothering role. They may panic and feel terrified and those are okay feelings. When I got pregnant at age 18, I had these terrified feelings. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t go right into “save this baby” mode. I went through many scenarios in my head about what to do, whom to talk to, where to do, what would happen if I did xyz. I even visited an adoption clinic and thought about abortion.

I am sick of pandering to the fucking Right. They don’t care about us. They will shove through whatever crazy fucking bill and law they want without batting an eye. They will call us murderers to our faces. They tell us to make better choices when we’re raped or when we get pregnant. They tell us we can’t take a birth control pill, when that is a responsible decision, because we’re whores or going against God and Jesus. They will tell us to wait until marriage because of their beliefs on morality and religion. They will tell us we’re shitty women for having sex with however many people we have sex with.

I don’t care if we “get down to their level.” This fucking passive aggressive bullshit doesn’t work. This “being nice” and letting them abuse us is not working. They’re like abusive partners, making fun of us, calling us names, and telling us we’re wrong for being women. They do not want us to make our own choices about our own bodies. They are controlling us, making us feel weak, making us feel we aren’t worthy. This is what an abusive partner does. THIS IS NOT FUCKING FAIR.

So what can we do? I’m sick of this. I’m sick of being wrapped up in this. I’m sick of being scared of getting pregnant and not having the options I may want. I’m fucking 30 years old. I’m not 15. We can’t keep letting them win. Some of us might die.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

mixed tape for singls moms

I made a mixed tape a while ago about being a single mom:

click here

Find that making mixed tapes for specific topics in my life is very therapeutic and I can share it with people. Sometime I can't comments or "love" clicks on my mixed tapes. I love it.

Of course, I have to have the anthem, "Baby Mama" by Fantasia. Thank you, Fantasia.

"Lord, I'm Discouraged" by The Hold Steady. Need I say more? Some days it's so discouraging, this road, that is. Some days it hurts and feels awful and I feel so discouraged by everything.

"Sea of Love" cover by Cat Power reminds me of having my baby. I carried her inside me for 9 months and pushed her out of me after a few hours of an amazing birth. My emotions were wild and she was so small and had huge, large eyes. She recognized my voice and I couldn't fucking believe it.
"Do you remember
When we met?
That's the day I knew you were my pet
I want to tell you
How much I love you"

Some specific lyrics from one of the songs,

"right the impossible
you still come through
roads wide enough you built
my heart was shaped by you
oh nights that heard those tears unearthed
a starry sky
and days that match your smile passed
a wink, a hand, my life

*Life likes to throw boulders and stones
reasons for doubt
and the hardest things you’ll ever know
a smile does the rest
finding dreams in a test
but what you see how far
you are

I guess life knows me more then I’d ever would
choices made but are they really ever understood
living day to day but with tomorrow always in sight
light blue skies whisper dreams to us all in time."

I also put Eminem's "Not Afraid" on it. One specific part that calls out to me is, "I'ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who look down on me I'm tearin down your balcony"

I think I lived into the expectations of others too fucking much. I wanted so much to please everyone because I thought I totally fucked up. I had to make sure that everyone was okay. Two people specifically were my dad and his girlfriend. They really put me down so much about everything that I have done and I've never really felt true support from them. Mostly just pure rage and shame. Every time I hear that above lyric, I think of them.

Some of the songs I put on there are kind of cheesy, but they fit. Some of the songs I don't really like, but they fit. Like, the Christina Aguilera song,

"I am beautiful no matter what they say
Words can't bring me down
I am beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can't bring me down
So don't you bring me down today"

From that, I think of the people from my past that have abused me, shamed me, and brought me down. I stopped giving them power. While I still fucking struggle with that, I still fucking believed that I do not have to give that shit power anymore. Those people and that shit no longer deserved my time or energy.

The Chuck Ragan song, "The Boat" has the following lyrics:
"Some days we're ripped and torn away
From the shore and tossed to a watery grave
Set adrift in the depths of the drink in the hands of the gods we curse"

Because this is truly how I feel some days. Some days I feel so defeated and I feel that everything I have done is pointless and that I am just overwhelmed and done with everything. Or that I wish everything was done.

When I left my baby-daddy over 5 years ago, I was so fucking depressed. I remember listening to, "Between the Bars" by Elliot Smith. I listened to it over and over. The first part sticking in my mind, "Drink up baby, stay up all night
With the things you could do
You won't but you might
The potential you'll be that you'll never see
The promises you'll only make
Drink up with me now
And forget all about the pressure of days
Do what I say and I'll make you okay
And drive them away
The images stuck in your head"

I struggled with substance abuse (now almost 3 years sober). Drinking red wine by myself was so amazingly self-medicating for me. It helped drive away the images and make me forget about the shit going on in my life.

In the song, "for the widows in paradise, for the fatherless in Ypsilanti" by Sufjan Stevens, he ends the song with, "I did everything for you" over and over. This reminds me of trying so hard to make it work with my ex, but it also reminds me of being a mom and doing everything for my kid to make things work. I deeply care about her well being and in the best way I possibly can, I try to make things okay for her. Coming from a domestic violence background, we have had to have the courage to work through so much shit to feel okay. I desperately hope my interventions NOW prevent her from getting with abusers in the future. She doesn't deserve that, she's already gone through that in her almost 10 years on this earth.

In Feist's "Feel it all", she says, "I know more than I knew before." Exactly. Even though some days, I really shame myself for absolutely everything I have done and I focus on every mistake I have made and I think I have totally fucked myself and my kid up forever. I seriously have to remember that I have done the absolute best that I kid and yes, I know more than I knew before.

In Kanye West's "All Falls Down", it just reminds me of some of the struggles and it came out around the same time I left my ex and became a single mom.

"You Da Shit" by Lil' Wayne is fairly self explanatory. "Show em what you got baby
Show em you the shit
Go on throw it to the wall, something gonna stick, believe that
F-ck these other bitches, don’t trip
You’ve been working too hard, tell em n-ggas cut the check"

Thanks, Lil' Wayne. I'll show them I'm the shit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

love: being in love

When I first got sober, I was terrified of love. The last love I had had fucked up over, was abusive, and every fling after that wasn't that serious. I dated a few, but the relationship never went anywhere. I fucked a lot. I was really good at portraying the "sex positive" side of myself, while feeling really insecure and off. I proclaimed myself as anti-marriage since I can remember, even refusing to wear a ring on my "ring finger." With my pregnancy, it was never pushed which was good. I would have refused it, anyway.

Now I'm changing and it's rather terrifying. When I first got sober, I also entered a relationship with someone I am still with. This was new for me. It took me a long time to call him my "boyfriend" as I felt this need to use gender-neutral, more feminist terms (or something). I used "partner" or "person I'm in a relationship", etc. I finally started using "boyfriend" and it was rather refreshing. I felt more genuine.

Anyway, back to being terrified. I put up a face on being against monogamy. For some reason, I felt as though my politics pointed to that or to be a better feminist or queer, I had to be against monogamy. I wanted to prove how radical I was by saying that.

I had to put a lot of that aside when I started developing feelings for my boyfriend. I knew him as a friend, but I knew I also liked him more than a friend, somewhere inside me. To be able to start a relationship with him, I had to shut off a lot of the shit that was in my brain. Because I felt happy with him and I cared about him.

Lately I've been really angry at how I've been changing toward these types of things. I'm not anti-marriage, anymore. I'm not against monogamy. I like getting flowers and gifts. I said I didn't like those things before, although I do think I did like that stuff, I just had to portray something. Now I find myself being a hopeless romantic, listening to love mixes on 8tracks, making my own "fall in love" mixes, and doing cutesy things.

Where did this come from? Is it from sobriety and I let some of my walls down? Is it my age? Is it socialization? Did I conform without knowing it? Is it sensitization? Is it just exhaustion?

I'm not sure, but all that other shit was utterly exhausting. I need/ed to figure out a way to understand where my happiness comes from and whatever this is: is fucking okay. It's okay if I like to get flowers even though some feminist or queer theorist said it was sexist to do so. It's okay if I think marriage is a cute thing people want to do. It's okay to celebrate one's love for another.

Regardless, I'm changing and I need to deal with it. I'm still the person I've always been, just changing. It's okay if my opinions change and if I change. I'm still a feminist and still bisexual. I'm still a Leftist. I'm still a human being.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Externalized contradictions, internalized pain.

I am educated and so passionate about sexuality, health and sexuality, sexuality identity, body image, eating disorders, and so on.

I am so open about telling people to get HIV tests and STI/STD tests. Or being open about annual pap smears and mammograms after reaching the age of 40. Like, I know the times when people should start doing these things. I know where to get pap smears at and if they're poor - I have the resources. I have been open about my pre-cancerous cells on my cervix and the treatable STI I got from an ex-partner.

I am open about use of condoms, birth control, dental dams, and know so much about each type of female birth control such as the pill, Nuva Ring, IUD, etc. I am fairly knowledgeable about the percentage of protection in regard to pregnancy. I am open about sexual partners and being safe. I am supportive about rape issues and sexual abuse and assault. I have resources and so much information for people. I hand out condoms and dental dams, for fuck's sake.

I am open about being bisexual to most people. I support LGBTQ issues. I educate myself about these issues.

It's funny how I desperately try to teach my daughter to love her body AND to eat healthy. Or that I have always been interested in eating disorders and I never want anyone to go through them. I read books and watched movies about them growing up. I know they cause death and other issues. I know they can kill the esophagus and the teeth. I know they can cause infertility and many other awful health risks.

However, I am reading a book about sexuality for women in recovery. And I realized that ALL of this stuff that I am SO educated about and so passionate about - I NEVER applied it to myself.

The truth is, I have an awful hard time with my own sexuality, myself as a sexual being. I have been sexually abused by dad (and I even have a hard time writing or saying "molested" or incest). This has impacted me WAY MORE THAN I ever thought.

I hated my body (and I sometimes still do). I never touched myself until I was 19. I never even thought of doing that because I thought my vulva was gross. Even when I did finally masturbate, I was ashamed of myself and didn't do it for a long time afterward. Almost every partner I have had, I have not had an orgasm. Because everything was for THEM. As long as they finished, whew, I could be done with it. I have never really known what I actually like, sexually, because I've never given myself to chance to figure it out.

When I was thinking, I was having unprotected sex at times and didn't care. Thankfully, I was going in every year for STI testing. But here I was, telling people to USE CONDOMS and DENTAL DAMS and I didn't every time I had sex.

The other night I told my boyfriend some things I had never told anyone to the detail I told him. I told him I hated my body sometimes and these thoughts have been burned into my mind since I can remember. I was specific. I hate my stomach because it's fat. I hate my thighs because they're fat. I hate my calves because they're too big. I hate my the lower part of my shoulder because there's too much skin. I hate my arms because they're too big. I hate that I might get a double chin. I hate how my hands have dimples on them. I hate my hair sometimes. And even more, now that I'm typing: I hate that my face is changing and I'm getting wrinkles because of my age.

What.the.fuck. How could I claim to be body-positive when I hate my own? While I strive for health and don't want people to have health consequences based on their size, weight, etc, I hate my body. But I'm telling others to not hate their body? Why?

I used to wear clothes that were too big for me. I remember visiting my kid's dad in jail with a black shirt and jeans on. He looked at me and said I looked like a slut, put down the phone that we spoke over through the glass, and walked away. That was a turning point. No more form fitting clothing for me. I bought jeans and pants way too big. I didn't know how to dress myself. I wore things that didn't really bring attention to me, but also did at times. I wanted to dress "cool" enough, but also didn't want to look sexy.

I remember thinking I was fat when I was 6 fucking years old. SIX. I remember restricting my food when I was that young. Feeling good when I didn't eat, feeling bad when I did eat. I felt guilty when I ate. When I was 17, it got worse. I was exercising a ton, eating a granola bar a day (and bragging about it), making myself throw up when I did eat. A year after I left my ex, I started taking "natural" laxatives everyday. I didn't like feeling like I had food in my stomach. I'd much rather eat and shit it out. That's what I did for months. No one knew. It felt good. I felt cleansed. When my rabbit died last summer, I started taking these natural laxatives again. I remember being in amazement because my younger sister did not seem to have this issue. I put pillows or sweaters over my stomach when I sat. I still do this. I don't want people to see my nasty stomach. I sit with my hands across my stomach.

When I got sober, I realized almost every partner I had sex with (except, sometimes with my kid's dad) involved alcohol or drugs. I also realized that I honestly didn't have that good of a time with most of them. I didn't get off with most of them. Some of them I used. I had/have such fucking low self esteem, that I would fuck these people and then try to figure out if we had a relationship without actually asking. Then I would be upset when our relationship just ended up being sexual. I DIDN'T WANT THAT, BUT I DID. I didn't want it because I felt used and I wanted it because I realized that if I didn't close to them, then I wouldn't get hurt. Fuck relationships! Fuck monogamy!! Good fucking wall I had so carefully put up. Sometimes I used politics to validate this wall. Example: monogamy is patriarchal and sexist. So fuck it.

As far as my bisexuality goes, I've only been with one woman. So that's not good enough? I constantly judge myself on that. Or think I'm not bisexual enough. God fucking dammit, I can't help it if I like men, too. This is fucking okay. But I also have a hard time with dealing that.

In some ways, this has all been incredibly contradicting. However, in some ways, this is the only way in which I knew how to deal with my own shit. I externalized everything. Absolutely everything without looking at my own issues in the mirror. This was a way for me to be safe. To stay safe. To not get hurt. I could ignore my own shit, while focusing on everyone else. I could pretend as if I truly believed in these ideas, but deep down inside, I never really did accept them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I never write because I never have time, but lately I've been really annoyed with the concept of privilege. Not out of denial because I have it. I know I have and have no problems saying I have it, but because the constant focus on privilege does not change how things structurally occur in society. In fact, I'd say it's a distraction from the actual issues in society.

So I came across this white rapper who did a piece about how he's white, a raper, and the dynamics of this and so on. Here is a more specific example:

His name is Guante and he's from Minneapolis.

This piece of his explores his experience of being white and what that means in the hip hop community. A lot of people like it. In fact, a lot of people love it. It has also been posted on some blogs aimed toward people of color.

So, my concern and/or question, thoughts, whatever is ...

Basically, Guante put himself in the SAME position of power. Because now, everyone loves him and is applauding him for calling out his own privilege. This puts him in a safe and comfortable spot. His whiteness grants him privilege (privilege & oppression is everywhere and everyone experiences both), but because he speaks out on it, it places him the same position of power and it doesn't change anything.

Then people applaud him for speaking on this. He's posted all over the Internet. People think it's SO COOL that he did this.

Why? Why is it awesome for him to put himself in the same position of power that he is already in. He's a white male in a society that has racism, sexism, so on. He hasn't changed anything structurally to take away privilege. His piece on his own privilege doesn't take away his privilege. It keeps him in the position of power.

Can he relax now that he's called himself out?

Does constantly focusing on privilege do anything to change how things structurally are?

Does his piece liberate anyone?

Does it get rid of racism? Sexism?

Here's a couple article to go along with what I am saying:

Realizations: Identity politics

The past couple of years I have questioned identity politics. The ideology has gaps. I would see parts of the ideas go so far and extreme, that there was no way out.

For example, I could discuss each identity of mine (gender, mother, sexuality, race, ability, so on) and call out for inclusion into society and culture of each. Basically, identity politics theorizes that identities reflect one's politics. Unfortunately, inclusion does not change structural problems.

Another person who has more oppression (based on gender, sexuality, race, so on) than me could call me out for not including them in one of my ideas and/or arguments. Thus, the central focus of identity politics is focused on the marginalized person whoever that is.

This may sound like a favorable way to approach things. However, I think it becomes so convoluted that nothing makes sense anymore. New identities are constantly being added. Of course, I recognize that everyone has different experiences, not everyone is white or male and so on. But when do the identities stop? Is there an ending if I simply focus on identities?

When I started to re-think identity politics, I reflected on how much I called out men on male privilege. Usually, I wasn't responded to with many answers. In some ways, I can understand why. What do I really say to someone who tells me "you have privilege!" out of anger and frustration? I can understand the anger and frustration (yes, it angers me off that men make more than women, for example). But when I tell a man this, what can he say? That he's sorry? Can he make his privilege disappear? Not in our society and culture, unfortunately. As a white person, I know I have privilege, but I also know that simply because of my awareness, I can't get rid of it. It's a structural issue.

When I started looking at the underlying issue of why I was constantly calling men out for their privilege, I realized I had a lot of anger toward men. Mostly it was based on past experiences I had with a couple of men. I also realized that I was jealous and resentful toward men. I wish I had what they had. I wish I wasn't treated differently because I was a woman. I wish my gender didn't experience more violence. I wish there weren't policies and ideologies based on my gender.

Recently, in my feminist theory class, we were talking about the idea of resentment, that philosophers like Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche first wrote about. Slavoj Zizek has expanded on the idea, more recently. Honestly, I thought the realization of my idea of my resentment toward men was a new idea. Nobody ever discusses resentment when discussing identity politics and privilege.

Basically, the idea of resentment is creating an illusion of an outside evil or an enemy. This evil or enemy is what to be blamed for one's inferiority. There is clearly pain associated with being oppressed (I would argue that all of us, in this culture and society, is oppressed on some level and yes, even straight, white men). One creates a way to deal with the pain, they create an external scapegoat. When I was dealing with the pain, my scapegoat was straight, white men. There are many other scapegoats. I can be considered a scapegoat for others.

I could tell everyone that I acknowledge my many privileges, however, as an individual, I cannot escape this privilege. If I could, I would. Oppression needs to be looked at from a structural standpoint.

Once I realized that I had resentment toward men, most of my anger disappeared. My energy was focused on structural issues, instead of individual men. I accepted that I am a woman in a sexist culture and radical structural changes need to occur in order for sexism to disappear.

Lastly, I don't have an answer on how to change these things, but I think these issues need to be re-directed in more constructive conversations.

Language and fines

Recently the NBA commissioner David Stern fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using a homophobic slur.

While I do not support what Bryant said, do not agree, and am a part and an advocate of the LGBTQ community, the fine shocked me.

Many LGBTQ organizations applauded the fine and demanded an apology from Bryant. He did apologize.

He is however, appealing the fine (honestly, I don't blame him). Once he apologized, it seemed as though there were sighs of relief, as if, homophobia was erased because Bryant apologized and got a fine.

$100,000 will do nothing (where does that money even go? To help the LGBTQ community? Probably not). My first thought was that Stern fined him to make the NBA "look better" by trying to "combat" homophobia.

When in fact, fines will not make homophobia go away. It only sets up a situation in which people will fear saying that word because of the fine.

It doesn't set up a situation in which people actually communicate how they feel when they hear that word.

In other words, the fear of the fine is why people won't say the word, as opposed to discussing how it impacts them or actually doing something about homophobia.

How about the many players who have been accused of rape? Some of them are not fined as much as Bryant was. One example is Garrett Wittels, a baseball player who got a $10,000 bail for being accused of rape.

He also was cleared to go to practice for his team and the court case is still pending.

He raped 17-year-old girls. Raped. He did not say an offensive word; he changed these girls' lives forever.

Wouldn't it be more productive to have conversations about how one feels when they hear a word or phrase, instead of throwing fines at celebrities and/or sports figures and creating laws to not use certain words?

Ironically, while writing this article, I came across an article critiquing the constant onslaught against language called "From Redistribution to Recognition: A Left Critique of Multiculturalism" by Anis Shivani. Shivani discusses a similar argument I am proposing here, so I only thought it was appropriate to cite him in this article.

His argument and where I am going is that politics have started to focus on language and other superficial and surface problems.

Talking about and focusing on language does not change or really challenge systematic oppressions. Basically, it sets up a situation in which people feel this need to constantly not offend people without ever being told the reasons why.

There is a constant response of, "that's offensive! Don't say it!" Followed with a fine (in some situations) or an urged apology (as if that erases sexism, racism, homophobia and so on).

Supposedly, these fines and apologies have become acceptable and only creates a growing internal resentment of the person who said the word or phrase.

A quote from Shivani's article states, "Liberals, rather than changing the economic conditions leading to subjection of women and minorities (a project they gave up on a long time ago), sought to attack some forms of speech, limiting it at times and abolishing it at others. Not economic reorganization but speech performance became the center of attention."

As I was saying, the constant bombardment of language has become the central focus of Liberals.

Instead of doing something to actually change the systematic oppression and economic situation of the oppressed, groups and individuals are constantly calling out people for words they say.

Sure, what someone says may hurt me, but an apology does nothing beyond an individual level.

In fact, I feel more assertive and empowered when I tell someone what they said personally hurt me, as opposed to living off of assumptions that people shouldn't say certain things because it may/may not be offensive to me.

An apology does not change the systematic oppression that sexism has created for being a woman. I've already accepted that our culture is sexist, why do I want to try to reform it?

I'd rather live in a world in which sexism (and other oppressions) don't exist.

Do I have an answer on how to do that? Honestly, no.

However, as a Leftist, I'd much rather see real change occur instead of fines being slapped on celebrities or soft Liberal groups (such as the Human Rights Campaign) publicly demand an apology.

These types of actions take away energy from what is truly going on. It hides true oppressions and the reality of people's lives.

As Shivani said and I am also arguing, speech and not offending people has become the center of attention for Liberals, instead of focusing on the reality of true oppression and economic disadvantages.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not feeling happy in capitalism.

I haven't posted in forever because I AM SO FUCKING BUSY.

And I HATE being this fucking busy. I get so busy that sometimes I just end up sitting on the computer at night doing nothing because I become so apathetic. I end up posting shit on facebook or reading stupid shit. I am just so ... I don't know. I am very apathetic right now. I want it to be May 2012 and I want to be graduated and down and hopefully trying to find a job. But yeah ... who the fuck knows. I want to stay in school so I didn't have to work, but school is driving me mad because I am so busy.

So, I have been thinking about capitalism, working, motherhood, being a woman, feminism, happiness, etc. I really resent the idea that 40 hours a week is a reasonable amount of hours to work. I wish it was less. Yes, I completely understand that, sadly, people had to fight to get 40 hours a week (and not more!). But my day is totally eaten up by this time. Then I only have a few hours with my kid and by the time I get home, I'm rarely up for playing (even though I desperately try to), and then I just want some time to actually do something for myself but I don't even now what that should be. Is this life fair? Honestly. Of course, I made the decisions I made but I never really felt I was truly free and liberated in any of these choices. I know that I pull myself together and get shit done, but do I really want to? I want a life full of freedom, choices, and I want to feel liberated. Getting a degree, a full time job, a career, etc is really not on that list. I have $80,000 in student loans, a $6500 car loan, and some miscellaneous debt building. I will probably never own a house and if I do - when the hell would I have the time to even work on it? What if I want more kids? Do I have the time/energy/resources/money/mental sanity for that? I feel I've missed out on my 9.5 year old kid's life because of school, work, my mental health.

Then I wonder if I am feeling this way because this is my time of sobriety or something. This is where I am at. Maybe it is, but FUCK. I desperately want to not be busy and I want to feel okay with where I am at and my choices. I don't want to be scrapping by.

Being on public assistance the past 10 years has been SO FUCKING draining. Mygod. Talk about the complete opposite of empowerment. It's so disempowering. I have to turn in sheets every month about my income and other things to get money for food. Granted, I realize that's reasonable, but fuck! I hate not being able to support my kid and myself.

Maybe I'm feeling this way because I've been on poverty for fucking ever?

I don't know how and where to feel happiness. Is it in myself? I suppose. But how? I am a slave to debt and will become a slave in the world of work someday soon (again). I want a total systematic change.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

teen mom

I started watching the show on MTV, Teen Mom online a few months ago. As a former teen mom, I was intrigued that such a show existed. What? Talking about the realities of teen parents?! Yes, please.

Backup. I got pregnant December of 2000, my senior year of high school. I turned 18 a few months before. The dad was 17. I gave birth to my daughter on September 25, 2001 at the age of 19. Her dad was 18, just got out of jail for selling drugs, and I seriously had no fucking idea what I was doing.

So ... since watching the show, I started reflecting on my own experiences. This show has brought up a lot of pain I went through as a mother. Struggling between the roles of teenage-hood and motherhood was FUCKING hard. And now at age 28, I realized that I DID miss out on being a young adult, a young 20's something independent woman. Because I was a mom. I went from high school to mom. I felt like a freak when I was pregnant, I hid from everyone. People talk shit when girls in high school are pregnant. Never did I want to be one of those girls. But I was.

In season one, Farrah struggles between being a teenager and a mom. FUCK, I totally can identify. I feel that way at times, still. I am envious of my non-parent friends, who literally can go to the store, no questions asked. My friends who can leave their homes whenever to do whatever. I never experienced that because I have been a mom since I was a teenager.

Maci struggles with it, too. She is really grounded in being a really good mom, too. She wants to make Bently's life as good as she can make it. I can totally identify with that, too. When my daughter was 4, I cut her dad out of our lives. He was abusive and neglectful. This reflected on my daughter, that was not fair for her. It's taken me 4.5 years to work through the shit I went through with him and I am STILL going through it. Like, only recently I realized it is NOT my responsibility to make her dad know her school schedule. That is HIS responsibility, he needs to call me or the school and figure out when parent/teacher conferences are. Honestly, I can't imagine not knowing who my kid's teacher was. While I can see parrallel's in my baby-daddy and Ryan, they do not have tools on how to be a parent. Ryan is way better than my baby-daddy, but it's similar, as well.

Amber needs to have her child taken away. She reminds me of my ex. She is putting HER shit on Gary and Gary, as the abused survivor, in the relationship reminds me of myself when I was with my ex. He apologizes to her for "everyone" he's done. While, of course, he has made his mistakes, he is not abusing her like she is. Gary is the sane parent in the situation, just as I was for my daughter. I've taken responsibility for many of my choices, have gone to counseling and got sober, went to parenting classes, and so on. I can see Gary benefitting from a lot of the same thing while being a single dad.

Finally, Catelynn. She's very mature and comes from a shitty family. Her mom is an alcoholic, I do not know where her dad is, and her boyfriend's mom seems to be the sane parent out of all of them. I feel for her and Tyler's pain. The whole show and their role in it is how much they miss their daughter. The feelings of giving her to the adopted parents seem to relive every time they see Carly or hear from. While I understand their intent completely, I think it will be something so painful they will deal with for the rest of their lives. I looked into adoption when I was pregnant, and while I had a lot of shame for that - I am glad I chose to keep my daughter.

I have been on some sort of welfare ever since my daughter was born. She is 9 years old now. I am still one of the youngest moms of the kids her age. I am still thought to be her sister or an aunt. Being in poverty has gotten so old and no matter how much I make, I seem to not be able to get ahead. Having a high school diploma is hardly enough to get a job to survive on. It's SO FUCKING hard with a kid.

Last night I was watching the check-up with Dr. Drew for season 1. Dr. Drew stated that 2% of teen moms graduate college before they are 30. And I am one of those 2%. 2 fucking %. I cannot believe it. I did it. At the age of 27, I graduated with a 3.533 GPA from a university with a BA in sociology and feminist, women, and queer studies. Within a month, I was accepted into a Master's of Arts counseling program, and started that this past August. This made me reflect on how fucking hard I have worked, how much sacrifice I have made, and how it was not easy. I have faced many barriers head on and I fucking did it. WTF? Seriously I hardly believe it.

I'm hoping this show continues. While I may get sucked into the drama, this show contains the true realities of teen moms. It's SO FUCKING HARD. I do not suggest becoming a teen mom but I also want there to be support and encouragement for teen moms. I would LOVE to work with teen moms to support and encourage them, but to also talk about the realities of it and how hard it really is.

The show has really opened my eyes to my own experiences and other's. I want to support and encourage, and I also want to present the real realities of the situation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

why radical parenting didn't work for me

Radical parent has not worked for me. However, to clarify I do not necessarily mean the gender aspect of it or letting my kid explain how she feels. Telling my child that just because she's a girl doesn't mean she can't play with trucks and boys can play with dolls. Teaching her about transgender people and things as such have been a good thing. Not to mention race, class, disabilities, and so on.

But the radical parenting in which I treat my child as an "equal" or do horizontal parenting, letting my child have a say in everything, or letting her do whatever she chooses. These things have lead to my years of parenting =ing hell.

This does not work.


Because my child is almost 9 years old and I am 28 years old. She does not developmentally, have the same brain as me. She has not been in the world as long as me. This is not ageist. This is reality. I cannot expect her to make sane decisions, honestly. I cannot expect her to do things without being told what they are, what to do, or even the consequences of her own actions. She needs to learn these things.

For too long I allowed her to have a save in things. Honestly, I was doing everything opposite of my mom and step-dad who were very authoritative and strict. What I did was not good enough either. I needed to find a middle ground because radical parenting was not working for me.

The reality is I am her parent and she is my child. This is not oppressive. This is reality. I am responsible for her and how she grows as a person. I can be supportive and let her enjoy the things she does, but I can also teach her about respecting others, respecting their boundaries, setting her own boundaries, and not being an all around mean person. These things I teach her make her into a person. She is not born to know what boundaries and respectful behavior is - I, as her parent, have to teach her.

This also means telling her what to do from time to time. For too long, I asked her to do things or gave her a choice in EVERYTHING. Reasonably, I let her have choices from time to time. But I also can guide her and give her advice and support. When I let her have a choice with everything, she started controlling what was going on with everything. Even when I was giving away extra bicycles we have - she freaked out, asking why I had not discussed it with her (honestly I do not have to) or when I mentioned getting a new car, she did not want me to do and needed to talk to her. Letting her have a choice in all aspects of our lives was leading to extreme frustration and a lot of stress for me (and for her I'm sure).

A lot of this lead to a power struggle between her and I. As a parent, I am in charge and I can be in charge without being oppressive. As a child, she does have to follow guidelines I have to set up because she was not born with life skills or behaviors that helped her grow. My daughter wanted to constantly be in charge of what was going on and started developing a very entitled attitude toward everything. She also was beginning to be disrespectful to me and others, especially when we would tell her no. She expected to negotiate with everything.

Now, I let go of letting her have choices in everything. Sometimes I have to tell her what to do. For chores on the weekend, I tell her she has to do them on the weekend, but she can decide what day. She used to come out all the time during bedtime for water, bathroom, extra hugs, etc. I used to give in because I did not want to tell her what to do but now I say "no" and bring her back to her room. Now she rarely comes out of her room.

Since I started making choices with my parenting, things have become so much smoother and I feel less like wanting to curl up in a ball under a rock or jumping off the roof. Bedtime has been less hectic and now she listens. I give her time limits, as well. I have also been more consistent and have set more routines. Sometimes I have to tell her no so she doesn't hurt herself or do something unhealthy. Telling my child no also prepares her for reality. She is not going to live in a world in which she can choose everything for herself, have choices with everything, and/or negotiate.

In the end, I feel way less stressed out and feel far more sane. I feel I can be around my child more because it is not a constant power struggle. She is realizing I am in charge and responsible for her and she can also focus on being a kid. She's also learned to trust me more and less focused on "making decisions" and more focused on again, being a kid. She, as a 9-year old (almost) is not capable of making choices the same way I am.

With all this, I can still listen to her and be supportive of her. She is allowed to voice her emotions and feelings and tell me when she is mad or happy. She can still ask me questions and develop her own interests.

I can be an authoritarian parent (not authoritatve) and allow her her own autonomy, choices, and emotions but at the same time I can still tell her what to do, give her reasonable boundaries, and trust her. This leads to better choices as she gets older and allows both of us sanity.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I haven't posted in a while. Things have happened. I've had a change, politically (more to come in a later post). My rabbit, Ramone, died on June 17 - very hard for me to grieve him. I've also decided to go back into counseling to deal with recovery more, but also because I have had a lot of emotions come up on my eating disorder I've had for years. I want to write about that more and I will later. This summer has not really turned out so far, how I thought it would. So while it has been a huge rollercoaster of emotions ... I know it's what I need right now. And I am okay exactly where I am (and fuck you, phrase. That's hard to grasp!!)