Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boys - To make or break

There is a very pretty song for girls by John Mayer called Daughters it tugged at my heartstrings when I heard it the first time and I had warm fuzzy thoughts of my daddy and what a wonderful man and father he is. But the more I think about it the less I like this song. I have recently been faced with the incredible injustices that are being done to our sons. For example, take the John Mayer song that I mentioned before:

"Boys, you can break
You'll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on..."

I have also heard these sentiments from mothers "I quit bathing with my son when he was a young toddler because he started asking questions.", "I quit breastfeeding my son or am having a difficult time because it just feels weird nursing a boy, too sexual.", "I don't know what to do with his "junk".", "It just feels weird being pregnant with a boy, I mean I have a penis growing inside of me!".
At first glance you might think that these are just comments from ignorant people but they are not, these are comments from regular, every day mothers.

From the beginning our sons are made to be aliens, strange that they are growing inside of us. Soon after their birth they are whisked away to have part of their penis chopped off, we mutilate them for life, violate their rights, without ever asking their permission. We feel strange about spending time with our sons not fully clothed, we don't know how to deal with their private areas and so we don't lean on our motherly instinct but instead we defer to those that "that have that kind of equipment". And what about breastfeeding? How is it that breasts have become such a sexual object to us as a culture we can't even enjoy nursing our sons without feeling like we are doing something dirty?

I don't blame mothers. I know I may sound blunt but I am not aiming to heap guilt on a group of people who already feel guilty a large portion of the time, mothers who are constantly worried about whether they are making the right choices. But I do want to point out that there is an incredible injustice being done to our boys! Boys are breakable! Boys tend to be hypersensitive to criticism and their mothers are emotional havens of safety for them, if they are allowed to use them as such.
This has all been germinating in my mind for a while but came to a head last night as my husband, after receiving pictures of his childhood, told me story of horrific story of his childhood. Now my husband is a fairly extreme case but under it all I saw the damage that had been caused in his life by him being treated as "unbreakable", I saw confusion, hurt and shame that he didn't do something to stop his own suffering and the suffering of others around him, the guilt of responsibility weighed so heavily on him. He had in some ways "soldiered on", he never told anyone his story, he became a good man but it hasn't changed the fact that there is a damaged boy there that hasn't forgotten his story.

So many times you hear boys called "mamas boys" and I say "But of course they are!" We are their mothers, they are our boys, we are one of the two most influential women in their lives. We have the power to make or break our boys.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hope's Daughters

“Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” St. Augustine

This is what happens when you have an unending cold that you can't seem to get rid of and yes, before you ask I have tried all kinds of things to get rid of it, sometimes you just have to settle in for the long haul, such it up, something. The worst part is that this is a whiny cold so there really is no sucking it up, all I do is whine, it's disgusting really, I can hear myself but I can't seem to stop, I probably sound something like my 2 year old, ok, so maybe not quite that bad but you get the idea.


I am sure that you are wondering what crying about my cold has to do with the awesome Augustine quote at the beginning of this blog. It has nothing to do with it honestly this is just a large open forum to whine to.

Hope. Anger. Courage. St. Augustine says it beautifully and with complete poetic power, I can almost see anger and courage, their hair a flaming mass, anger is dark as a storm and courage is bright as a flame, they are clothed in flowing clothing and their eyes see in to your soul. I'm weird like that, I always see pictures as I read words.

I am angry. You may have noticed. I mean, who names a blog "screed" something like a diatribe isn't really mellow, it is angry. My posts generally ring of something angry. It is not that I am an angry person per-se except that I am. Content and angry. Content with my life and how beautiful it is and angry at the way things are. 

Lately I have heard some things that have made me good and angry. People being degraded, that angers me. I listened to a story of a young girl stolen from her car and made to be a prostitute, held by shame and fear she will die a slave. I heard a story of someone who was abused by a social group, no one did anything about it, drowning in shame and fear it took her years before she told anyone. but she isn't the only one. I have heard stories of women who are afraid to have any more children, they think that their bodies have betrayed them and that they are weak they are afraid and ashamed. I have heard of women who quietly suffer as the struggle with feeling attached to their baby because of their rough start together, they are full of shame and afraid.  I am outraged. The list could go on. I am outraged because there are people holding other people down, destroying them, putting them under a cloak of fear and shame so thick that they can't even see the hem of light that Courage wears. 

And my courage? I am making things the way they ought to be. One day at a time. One person at a time. It doesn't matter that I am strange or that I feel lonely while I do it. This isn't just one cause or really a cause at all it is life. Courageous life.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A old fashioned feminists manifesto

So how is it possible to be "old fashioned" and feminist at the same time? Well first off lets just start with what it means to be feminine. To be feminine means nothing more or less than being female! Having female attributes and character. So in the true heart of a real feminist who loves the fact that she is a woman and embraces every (or at least tries to!) quirk and the full blown power that it is to be female... here is my manifesto of sorts.

I am a woman. I am powerful creative and beautiful. I am a safe harbor in society a nurturing shelter and a rampart for safety. How do I know that I house this power? Because it has been this way for thousands upon thousands of years! Women have birthed the nations, they have nurtured greatness and created monsters. And I as a woman state my manifesto here today because I was created to be feminine and will (try) and embrace all that it entails, every part, without shame.

I will be sexy, mystical and alluring to my husband, my one and only, who I have saved myself for, I will be his satisfaction and he will be mine.

I will use my vagina to birth my children.
I will use my breasts to nourish them and I refuse to hide when doing so.
I will use my voice and my presence to comfort my children and quiet my husband in their distress.

I will choose to raise my own child, my own way.
I will use my strong mind and will to block the barrage of questioning that will try and shake me to my foundations about the choices I will make for me and my family but I will stand firm and I will know that I am right because I am a nurturer, it's in my blood, in my DNA, I know what is right.
I will look at myself and I will see...

That I am beautiful and I am worth spending time on. I won't let myself fall apart or become frumpy.
I will choose to be pale in the winter because I am white and that's ok. I refuse to tan because I refuse to opt for skin cancer.

I won't wear a bra for any other reason than for the occasions that call for it for fashion sake and then I will make the decision knowing that it is fashion and there is no piece of fashion worth my health (check out the connection between bras and and breast cancer).
I will choose to love, a lot and laugh really loud.
I will choose not to be embarrassed about my foot-in-mouth moments.
I will choose to sing and run and cycle and enjoy having an active body.
I will choose to live in a community because I like it.

I will choose not to explain myself.
I will remain teachable. 
I will choose not to be silenced.
So help me God. Because He is the reason I can do any of it.

The end.