Chuck it in the F#$% It Bucket…

If “winning” at motherhood is getting approval from a majority – the attempt to win would be futile.

I was a few weeks pregnant when I was told breastfeeding was stupid and breasts were “for my husband.” I was 34 weeks pregnant when I was told that if I did not breastfeed my baby would be unhealthy. When I mentioned I might use formula one person gave me an audible gasp. You know what is best? A fed baby. However you feed your baby – I support you!

One person told me epidurals were for the weak. Another told me if I got an epidural I would hate it. And two other women told me an epidural helped them go through labor successfully. You know what is best? A mother and baby alive and healthy. Natural, epidurals, water – I support your choice.

One nurse said that childbirth should be all natural and that she’d prefer no one gets a c-section. Yet, I think of my mother and my mother-in-law – who both had c-sections. Without that medical intervention who knows what might have become of Del, our mothers, or myself? Thank God for c-sections, because they save lives!

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, but the majority of the time I did not ask nor seek the opinion of everyone in the village. I’m 39 weeks pregnant, and no choice I could possibly make is good enough for any group of people. If I google it, I’m wrong. If I ask advice, there are 10 different opinions. It’s a losing battle in a war that can never be won.

Against all of these odds I’m taking the best advice I have ever heard a co-worker doll out: “Chuck it in the fuck it bucket.”

I have a doctor and a husband and a brain. I’m going to do me – and you just do you. Every person is different, every pregnancy is different, and every family has different needs. Let’s all agree to let each other be adults and trust that we are making the best choices we can with the information we have. I know I’m making good choices, and I’m sure that you are too.

And if you don’t like what I’m doing – well – quite frankly my dear…. I don’t give a damn. I just took your advice/opinion/thought and chucked it in my fuck it bucket. Support in an era of tough decisions is the thing for which we should all strive. Motherhood is hard enough, so let’s not make it any harder on each other.

On #MeToo and Aziz Ansari…

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably read the Babe article about Aziz Ansari.

And if you’re reading this, you may have read different takes from The Atlantic, the New York Times, a few other smaller blogs, and perhaps even a few fascinating Twitter threads.

In this blog, I’m not going to do one thing: judge the guilt or innocence of Aziz Ansari or ‘Grace’ (the anonymous woman in the Babe piece).

This morning, my husband and I were talking about how quickly discourse on sexual assault has changed in our culture. A few years ago there was detailed evidence that Bill Cosby spent decades drugging and assaulting women – and to date – Cosby has spent zero time in jail for his actions. Now, within a few days, people openly discussing sexual assault is enough to bring down the careers of men such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacy, and Louis C.K.

Like most people reading about the Grace/Ansari account, one question keeps swirling in my mind: What does this add to the current dialogue about the #MeToo movement?

What I appreciate most about the #MeToo movement is that for the first time in my adult life there has been more open discourse about sexual assault. As with other movements, we are not all going to agree. While I champion open dialogue, many others disagree with me – as is their right.

The power dynamics implicit in the Babe piece deserve to be noted. Ansari is a racial minority, which adds a deep layer to the conversation on speaking up about assault. Although he is a racial minority, Ansari is a well-known and well-liked celebrity, which likely gives him some power in one-on-one encounters. Women in our culture are often socialized not to speak up for themselves, and to go along with the crowd. So although Grace has agency, her sense of being able to speak up for herself may have been diminished due to her gender.

We talk about sex a lot in our culture; and the conversations seem simplistically binary. On one hand, we have boobs and butt cheeks on billboards giving the message that women are sexual objects whose value is determined by how much men want to have sex with them. Then, on the other hand we still have states that promote abstinence only education – because obviously talking about condoms leads to people doing it (rolls eyes).

Amidst the imagery and the lack of safer sex conversations – one thing is obviously getting left out: having open and fluid conversations about sexual consent.

Like many, Grace seems uncomfortable speaking up about her discomfort at Ansari’s actions. Like many, Ansari seems oblivious to the fact that the person he is about to stick his penis into is totally uncomfortable.

Hindsight is 20/20, power dynamics here are crazy, and I don’t want to diminish Grace’s voice. Yet, to me, this article adds to how we need to have more and better dialogue about adults having consensual sex.

“Hey Grace, do you want to have sex? It’s your body and I respect you if you feel uncomfortable.”

“Aziz, can we discuss what we’d like to do tonight – sex wise? I think I’m okay with our shirts being off, what are you ok with?”

I’ve brought up to others that I find our lack of discussing sexual acts to be strange – especially once we’re in our mid to late twenties. I’ve gotten responses like “Yeah, but it’s weird” or “Yeah, but it kills the mood.”

I get that, but you know what else really kills the mood? Feeling like you were sexually assaulted after a date – or getting day after texts knowing someone you went on a date with was uncomfortable with your actions.

My friends James and Carrie taught their three year old about consent with a simple phrase, “This is your body – and you get to decide what happens to it!”

By the time we move into teenage years and adults years, I suggest we start having better and deeper conversations about how we share our bodies with other people.

My husband and I have been married five years, and we’re expecting our first child in April. Yet, we still talk about the sex we’re okay having. It’s a dialogue we should be having with our partners – from the first time we hook until the last time we hook up.

 

 

 

 

On the boundaries of my body…

Sometimes I think about how hard life can feel.

Flooded house. Celiac disease. Neck pain. The list goes on…

In those moments, I often wonder about one question: “What is my own?”

I’ve thought about this for months. I’ve lost sleep over it. But one day, there’s only one thing that came as a consistent certainty.

My body. It is mine. It is always my own.

As a child, I was molested. That impacts you. But what it stole from me is this notion that my body was mine.

That followed me. When I dated boys, they took advantage of this weakness of mine. I thought my body was not mine, but it was for them to be used.

But this extends beyond physical pleasure.

My husband tells me I’m beautiful. But in my life, I’ve had maybe three days where I’ve believed that to be true.

My outward appearance has never satisfied me. I work out six days a week. I do it out of fear that if my body is not pleasing to others, I am a disappointment.

Again, my body is not my own. But it is all I will ever always have.

Yet this thing that is my own, is often the most threatened.

Women upset men online. A common male reaction is to threaten rape. A man wants to take from me the one thing I have.

A Disney princess is always beautiful. A Barbie is always thin. Name three ugly actresses?

When will it ever be enough? Why is external beauty even important?

Because somehow the devil has beaten me in this.

He took a culture, and convinced us the outside of our bodies are more important than our heart’s desires.

He took one whole gender, and convinced them that physical assault – or threatening it – is an option (1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted – these are our sisters and daughters).

And he took children, like me – and put us in situations where the one thing we ever really had was stolen.

Well, today I declare the one thing we must always say to the devil: “Go fuck yourself.”

This body is mine. You cannot take it. It is my own, and no matter what you put on me – you will not win.

Because regardless of what you take, oh Devil, Jesus gave up His body so I could love this one.

So fuck you. Today and every day after. Because this body is mine own.