This is a Woman

Tips for Dads: Don’t Marry Your Daughters

photo-020

PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY: Sometimes I forget that the internet is a vast place comprised of many people. I wrote this post yesterday quickly and only after having discussed it with people who pick apart the various levels of society’s collective psyche in the same way that I do. So to clarify, keep in mind the following as you read.
1. I am in NO WAY AT ALL unsympathetic to this family’s struggle and grief. I feel strongly for them. I guess that aspect of the story is so obvious to me that I did not specifically mention it in this piece I’ve written. My sympathy for them is very real and not at all related to how I feel about this particular action.
2. I do not believe that they consciously intended this to be possibly psychologically damaging for their child. This is something I actually did state in the article, but apparently it needs to be clarified up here at the top. I believe they were aiming for something beautiful. What I am picking apart here is not the family’s intentions, but the fact that such a thing isn’t considered problematic in our society at all. I am not writing this to attack anyone. I am writing this to try to expose a societal problem that we need to all be conscious of. The more we become conscious of things like this the sooner we will reach true gender equality.
3. This is written with my own personal brand of insightful snark. If you have a hard time with snark, don’t bother reading this.

Okay. Now you may begin.

So there’s this story in the news today about a father, dying of cancer, who wants to walk his daughter down the aisle before he dies. It sounds lovely until you get to the part about how his daughter is only 11 years old, was never asked about this (it was a birthday surprise), and that they modeled this after an actual wedding complete with rings and a lacy wedding dress.

It’s reminiscent of those purity balls (heh. balls), where a father signs a pledge to act as his daughter’s protector “in the area of purity”. (The creator of this pledge swears it’s not about his daughter’s vagina, but I’m betting it’s not NOT about his daughter’s vagina, you know. Like. I’m willing to bet that her being pure of intent but sexually liberal is probably not okay. Therefore? TOTALLY ABOUT HIS DAUGHTER’S VAGINA.) In the instance of purity balls, it’s a disturbing trend not only because it’s disturbing, but because it encompasses an entire community. Yet that community is relatively separate from the rest of our society, at least in this habit. Those who are not of this ultra-conservative mindset look on these people as kinda wacky, to be honest. The majority of the world tends to see it for as fucked-up as it is.

And perhaps the father of this 11 year old was really entirely innocent in his own desires here. I can believe it. Sometimes we’re merely products of the fucked world we live in. It depends on how deeply you want to dig into the psyche of what’s really going on here. And, I assure you that I always want to dig as deeply into the psyche of shit as I can. And, frankly, this should be everyone’s goal – how else can we solve societal problems if we don’t try to understand their many layers?

On the surface of this situation, we want to believe the father is honestly just trying to share a beautiful moment with his daughter. And that’s a lovely sentiment that I can get behind. I think, perhaps, a letter written to her to be shared at her future wedding or other life-event might have been vastly more appropriate, though.

It’s irrelevant, though. No matter how sincere the intent, the world we live in is fucked up and even if he doesn’t realize it, what he is actually saying is not only that his daughter MUST marry (he’s not really giving her the option of how she will choose to live her adult life) but also that women are the property of the men around them and, in absence of a husband, a father will be the owner. If you check out the clip linked in this Jezebel article on purity balls (haha. balls), you’ll see the creator explain that the point of the purity ball is to teach daughters “how they should expect to be treated by men.” So, in this case, a literal child is told she’s going to pretend-marry her father without any consent on her part (it’s all planned ahead of time – even if she LOVED the idea, I argue that it’s without her consent). Is that how he wants a future man to treat his child? I’m guessing no. Probably because he considers her his property and doesn’t want another man controlling his property. But that’s just my guess.

Quite the opposite of how the majority of the world sees purity balls, in this story, this one incident involving the 11 year old, anyone questioning the appropriateness of the ceremony is considered to be the pervert. Just read the comments on the Facebook page where I originally found the article. This disturbs me because not only are we doing this thing to girls, but now society is not only supporting it, but we are also condemning anyone who questions it. Ew.

Further, this wasn’t about creating a lasting memory for HER, this was about what HE wanted. While I do think it’s important to do things for parents in the sense of creating memories and supporting them as people and in their parenting roles, the very point of being a parent is to raise people. We don’t have children for our benefit. That’s why we get pets. If you want a dog, get a dog. If you want to create a new person in the hopes of leaving this world in the hands of a competent and amazing new generation of people, have a child. This “wedding” isn’t just a nice, sentimental thing for her, this is his selfish desires warping her psyche. Even with the VERY BEST of intentions. As the creator of the purity ball says about 607 times in the above linked clip, “this is about fathers.”

Dads? Dont marry your daughters, okay? Instead consider treating them as though they are humans capable of intelligent thought and real feelings. And with that plan I bet you’ll get a pure-of-intent adult daughter and you’ll never have to pretend not to laugh when you hear the phrase “purity balls.” It’s basically win-win.

Homeschool, Things We Do

KPBS

We took a tour with our homeschool school last week. (What do you mean a homeschool school is an oxymoron?) Here are the pictures. Pretties.

sound board

mic

green room/dressing room

pledge drives happen here

Untitled

Untitled

Someday I’m gonna work or volunteer there.

I Own a Home. WTF?

Where you get to decorate my house!

Well. Kinda. Basically only if you suggest things that I like/can afford/can make happen without much effort or skill. You can think of this as a sort of contest where you don’t win any actual prize except the knowledge that I picked the color curtains you suggested.

Clicky on the photos to go see larger versions at Flickr.

Exhibit A. My living room.

living room panoramic

living room panoramic 2

I am hoping to get curtains up really soon and I’m leaning towards a dusty kind of teal to offset the red and tie the living room in with the colors in my bedroom. But what I can’t figure out is what to put on the walls. I have these cool vintage hanging lamps that I think I’m going to put at staggering heights behind the TV there (but first I have to get them rewired). You can see one in this picture next to the desk. So I’m not planning to hang anything behind the TV. And in the space between the book case and the shelf the TV sits on, I’m not really sure what to hang there because in the future I am hoping to get a fish tank that will live in about half of that space. I’m hesitant to put things up knowing I may move the room around and not be ready to totally repaint (I’m worried that patching the paint after a couple of years won’t match). So if there are amazing, yet flexible ideas for that space share them, but I may be just happy with the plain red, too. Because it’s gorgeous. Really.

But that tan wall behind the couch – no clue. It leads down the hallway which has two more large spaces that want me to fill them with something. I’m thinking at least one will be old family photos. But not hanging from a mural of a family tree because A) no skills and B) no effort. Anyway, right now the cat tree is against that wall and so I have to be careful what I put there. I thought about buying cat shelves, but I’m not sure I want to encourage them to climb. I am actually less sure that they even WILL climb. Lazy bitches.

Exhibit B. The hall bathroom.

hall bathroom panoramic

I originally chose to paint the walls sage to go with the striped towels I already had. But I loved the walls so much and the towels could never live up to them. Also, they are roughly 100 years old now and I’m thinking maybe time to aim for something else. But I don’t know what color? I hate that brown rug on the floor b/c it’s too dark for the room (I think?) and shows every damn piece of litter ever. The tan(ish?) curtains there dividing the laundry closet are a good color, but that feels so bland I don’t know that it works. So you tell me: what color towels do I need?

I don’t need much art in here because I will eventually have one of those shelves that go over the toilet there against that wall. Because this house has very little in the way of places to keep toilet paper and towels.

Exhibit C. My bedroom.

bedroom panoramic

I love this room so, so much. You know how much I love my red walls in the living room? I think I love this room even more than that. A little bit. Cause those red walls, man. Is is possible to have a crush on walls?

ANYWAY.

I need major help with the curtains here. What color curtains? My bedspread is that same dusty teal I was talking about but in here that feels too heavy for curtains (I think?). My bedsheets are “elephant” gray and I LOVE them and they looks GREAT with the orange, but I’m not sure that would make a good curtain color? Would turquoise be too bright? Should I go with the aqua color to match the towels in the adjoining bathroom? HELP ME.

To complicate the curtain issue, I’m pretty sure I’m going to hang another curtain rod behind my bed and drape fairy lights behind it for a beside light (the current bedside light will probably wind up on my future sewing table). So the question is – do I fully pretend I have two windows and make them a matching set? Or do I go with something totally different?

Exhibit D. My bathroom.

bathroom panoramic

bathroom panoramic 2

That bottom one there shows you the VAST AMOUNT OF WALLS I need help with. I’m going to put another above-the-toilet shelf in here so that wall is spoken for. And I have an idea for an art piece I’ll hang on the wall in front of the toilet (abstract, comprised of the color scheme of the two rooms: oranges, teal, turquoise, and purple), but I’m not sure about that other wall behind the door. Ideas?

I wanted to go into all my plans for organizing and situating, but I think this entry is long enough for now and I need to go and do some homework anyway. So I’ll do that another time. For now just tell me what colors I need to focus on for each of the rooms? Once the curtains are up and ready I’ll come back with more future plans.

Can I get a group SQUEE? No? Too weird. *ahem* Never mind, then.

Depression/Anxiety, This Shit is Thursday as Fuck

Where I get all overdramatic about things.

I am always surprised by the sound two cars make when they try to share the same coordinates in space and time. It’s a BANG, not a CRASH. The word crash is too gentle, and too long-lasting. Crash ends with a shush, much too peaceful for the meaning, particularly when applied to large chunks of metal colliding. Cars don’t crash. They BANG. Begins and ends before you realize what’s happening and all your brain can come up with is, “NO.”

Fuck you, too, Friday.

The good:

It so far seems like the guy’s insurance is covering it and making my life easy(ish) (KNOCK WOOD).

I’m relatively unharmed and my foot that got shoved under the gas pedal is gonna heal just fine.

The kids weren’t with me.

My frappuccino didn’t spill. Although I left it in the car until my car was actually being loaded onto the flatbed because it just felt too First World to be calling the highway patrol with a frappuccino in my shaky hand.

The less good:

My car may take up to four weeks to fix. And while rental cars are novel in some ways (and while this one is like brand-spanking new which smells nice), I really just want my car back. I used to grumble about back-up cameras and how they were stupid but I was so wrong and I want mine back. So I can back up.

The accident also seems to have sort of kick-started my anxiety again. I mean, to be honest, it was lurking there, threatening, for awhile now. But this is a little different. My emotions aren’t necessarily connected to my anxiety which is a new thing for me, and I wake up with unconnected feelings of anxiety at nights now. I don’t really know how to handle that. Except to watch a lot of Scrubs. Which is mostly okay except for the few episodes which convince me I’m dying and I have to remind myself that this is a sitcom and not actually a diagnosis.

Last week was ridiculously difficult to get through. It was already going to be busy, but then I wound up having to deal with various accident-related issues for hours and hours on top of the good stuff like birthdays and the tour of the public television station (Steven Keaton shout-out!). I actually thought that if I had to do one more thing I would literally turn into butterflies like Movie Voldemort did at the end of Deathly Hallows. And then the anxiety was there, complicating things. I couldn’t keep my attention on things, and I forgot details and the poor insurance adjusters had to remind me like six times to scan a copy of the receipt for the new booster seat. It took me literally half an hour of being lost to finally find my way to KPBS. I was late to everything by at least 20 minutes. Perhaps as evidence of what I am trying to express here, I have forgotten what the point of this paragraph was. Except maybe to brag about how I got to tour the PBS station here. Cause I did. In case you missed that detail.

Oh I think my point was just that I barely functioned last week. I was a huge mess. I’m still up and down. And I’m so sick of the word “depression”. I feel like I should have new and exciting problems rather than the same old ones that bore everyone to death. Basically, I feel like I’m terrible at picking problems to have? I don’t know. I’m becoming incoherent and I have two weeks of school to do this week. You know what helps depression? NOT SOCIOLOGY. People are the absolute worst. But that’s what I’m going to do now.

I was talking to a friend and telling her that this is the third time that this has happened to me. I mean, the third time I’ve been rear-ended and it was a big enough deal to go through insurance. She has not, apparently, had the same experience. So the question is, am I a magnet? What is a normal amount of times to be rear-ended? Readers, I need your answers.

Lady Links, This is a Woman

Lady Links 3.6

The clouds stop here.
this photo came out extra hipster so pretend it’s really, really motivational

I’m not gonna make excuses for why I haven’t posted one of these in like 100 years. I’m not gonna make excuses for why I haven’t posted one of these in like 100 years. I’m not gonna make excuses for why I haven’t posted one of these in like 100 years. I’m not gonna make excuses for why I haven’t posted one of these in like 100 years.

~TIAW on Pinterest and Tumblr.

The Bullshit:
~Get your barf bag ready because WHAT THE FUCK, MASSACHUSETTS? Update: Not everyone in MA is living in the dark ages.
~The story of one abusive relationship.

The Awesome:
~This guy basically let his life nearly completely fall apart in order to improve the lives of Indian women.
~Nicki Minaj being basically gorgeous, even straight out of the shower without any makeup.
~Buzzfeed asked Kevin Spacey the same questions women usually get asked and he is baffled.
~At some point Cracked became the new educational source online and Buzzfeed seems to be the new feminist one. I’m not sure what’s happening to the world, but I might be okay with it. Five things more likely to happen to you than being falsely accused of rape.

The Zebra, Throwback Thursday

That time I accidentally listened to a sex call.

This is an entirely true story.

Sunday night on January 16th 1994.

No, really. I remember the night.

See, cause it was going to be the world premiere of the new Smashing Pumpkins video, “Disarm,” on 120 minutes that night so we were staying up. And I know the specific date because I woke up a few hours after falling asleep thinking a cat had jumped on the bed, but it had actually been the Northridge Earthquake. (This is life in California where you mistake earthquakes for cats sometimes.) (This is because I am several hours away from Northridge. I am fairly certain the people living in that area were able to tell the difference.) (But since the vast, vast majority of earthquakes are small ones, I really do often think it’s just a cat or a really big truck outside.)

But the point is that it was the 1990’s and I had not yet developed phone phobia (although answering machines gave me panic attacks) and so I was on the phone ALL THE TIME ALWAYS. And I had a cordless phone very similar to the one pictured above. It had different “channels” so that if you got a bad connection you could try a different channel and hopefully it would be clearer. And it might be. If you were within 6 feet of the base. Life was hard in the 90’s okay?

Occasionally, when I’d change the channel I’d accidentally switch to a neighbor’s channel and hear their conversation. 90% of the time that this happened to me, it was to a Spanish conversation which I could not understand.

Except this one time.

120 Minutes was one of the few worthwhile things on MTV at the time. There was also Daria and… No, those might have been the two. I think VH1 was arguably cooler than MTV even as early as 1994. And this particular night was an important 120 Minutes and because it was the Sunday night before a school holiday, I was allowed to actually stay up to watch it and not set the VCR to record it onto a tape. I mean. I totally ALSO recorded it. But staying up not only allowed me to watch it live, but also to press pause during commercials and therefore optimize my recorded copy.

So Kathy and I chatted all night. We usually told each other stories about how we’d meet Natalie Merchant (me) or Morrissey (her) after a concert some night and become besties. Somewhere around 10pm my phone started to go fuzzy so I told Kathy to hang on and I’d see if I could change the channel and get a clearer connection. Only when I changed the channel, instead of Kathy, I heard, “Press 1 if you want to talk to a sexy girl.” And because I was 15 and extremely innocent and naive I definitely did NOT want to hear someone talking to a sexy girl and this is where this story becomes anti-climactic and I am very sorry for that. However, if you followed my cordless phone drama on Facebook while I was writing this post I hope this will help ease the lack of resolution here. This is almost exactly the phone in question:

I found this image in a Google Search and it originally came from an Etsy item that's already sold so I can't link to the source. If you own the picture and want me to link it (or remove it!), just let me know and I happily will!

I found this image in a Google Search and it originally came from an Etsy item that’s already sold so I can’t link to the source. If you own the picture and want me to link it (or remove it!), just let me know and I happily will!

And these, my friends, are the things that I remember instead of what my kids’ first words were.

Just Life, The Zebra, Throwback Thursday

My Thursday was a Thursday so I’m inventing Throwback Friday.

My Thursday was a Thursday so this is throwback Friday.
Me. In the 80’s. Not in a poodle skirt, but rocking the hell out of my Alice dress and flip flops.

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with the 1950’s. I think all of America still is, to be honest. But particularly in the 1980’s I remember a significant amount of 50’s themed things – 50’s day at school, watching Grease at sleepovers, 50’s diners, Barbie even had a 57 Chevy. The same era a Sonic drive-in opened up briefly in town. I made a personal goal to drive there in a 57 Chevy of my own someday while wearing a poodle skirt. And then Sonic closed only a few months later and basically ruined everything. Also I got bored of the idea. But mostly it’s their fault.

Someday you should ask me about how I also planned to have my sweet sixteen birthday on this one floating castle that turned out to be the kind of party boat that’s not really apprioriate for kids. The world conspired againt my childhood dreams.

My mom was born in 1950 and so the 1950’s were her decade in the same way the 1980’s are mine. 30 years apart, each. And, just as the 50’s did in my childhood, the 80’s are making a comeback now (god help us all).

But the thing is that the 1950’s were FOREVER ago when I was a kid, but the 1980’s were basically just a few weeks ago if you ask me now.

Is this how it was for my mom? Did the 50’s feel like last week to her when I was obsessed with them? Do my own kids think the 1980’s are a million years ago? For research I asked them and I got insightful answers such as, “The 80’s were like 100 years ago, right?” and “You mean people from the 50’s are still alive?” Ah, youth.

It’s not news to say that time is relative and that it gets shorter as you get older, but I still can’t wrap my brain around it. This year it’ll be 20 years since Kurt Cobain died (the marker by which I organize everything in my lifetime). But it feels like just a couple of years ago.

As Einstein once said about time, “What the hell man?”

I Own a Home. WTF?, Just Life, Random

Because Rainbow

rainbow fairy lights

I wrote up an entire post just now about a weird electrical thing in my apartment (THAT IS HARMLESS AND WILL NOT KILL ME) and then I realized how very boring the entry was. So I deleted it. But I’d already taken this picture and uploaded it so I’m posting this here without the boring bit. I know. You’re welcome.

Just Life, Onwards, The Zebra

36

family <3

So it was my birthday more than a week ago and I haven’t even blogged about that yet. Someone should take my temperature.

I was pretty much brokenhearted* that I couldn’t responsibly make Disneyland happen this year so I was trying to heal my soul by finding a suitable alternative. And then I realized I could go to Julian, a tiny historic mining town in our local mountains. If I crossed my fingers hard enough, it might even be cold like actual winter (or, as my frister calls it, a theme park winter). And I crossed my fingers hard enough, I guess because it was about 45 that day. My San Diegan blood was beside itself with excitement over such a dramatic experience. The children on the trip with us were less pleased. They were all, “I’m cold” and “This weather is cold” and also “Can we go inside now because it’s cold.” We even saw snow:

snow
theme park snow

My family and I visit Julian on a fairly regular basis. It’s the place (the only place, really) to go pick apples in the autumn, and there are some good campgrounds in the mountains nearby. But I’d never gone for one of the carriage rides. I was raised by grandparents who had lived through the depression and we were never allowed to do frivolous things like have fun because they were too expensive. Sometimes I stop suddenly and think, but wait. I’m a grownup now. I CAN DECIDE TO BE FRIVOLOUS IF I WANT. So we went on a carriage ride.

kids in a carriage

Did I mention that Bethany and her family were there, too? Cause they were. Which was extra fun because they’d never been before and we took them on the grand tour of important things like the candy store and the cemetery and pie. (What? We like cemeteries, okay?)

What do you mean you don't hang out in cemeteries on your birthday?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here but for about 10 years I couldn’t consume cow dairy. I discovered that it gave me emotional reactions which would cause me to turn into the Hulk and yell and throw a lot of things. Eventually I figured out that I could tolerate dairy from other animals without the same issues. But back when I moved in September I ordered pizza to “pay” people for helping me and they didn’t take the extra home so I had a lot of cheesy pizza around and very little self-control so I wound up eating *cough*anamountofpizza*cough* and didn’t even throw one thing. So, after ten years, apparently I can have dairy again. I FEEL SO FREE OKAY.

clouds

The point of this all is pie. Julian is famous for their apple pies and they top it with cinnamon ice cream. And it is the literal best food in the entire galaxy. And it had been so long since I’ve had any. And I don’t want to go saying anything too crazy here or anything, but it might have been almost as good as a trip to Disneyland.

Cinnamon ice cream. Best.

In the evening we headed back to town and had dinner with some friends where someone may or may not have misheard my story about the farting carriage horse as “whores” and we all laughed until we peed a little.

a good omen on Imbolc, I think

Last year I had high hopes for being 35. I mean. It wasn’t 33. 33 was a load of shit. It was, to quote myself, a fucking motherfucker. And 34 was pretty good. So I figured 35 would be nice, too. And I won’t ever say that 35 was as bad as 33 because no one died, but it sure was harder in a lot ways. So I’m over having expectations for years or ages. I just hope I can survive 36. If it’s not too horrible then it’s all the better. My friend Claire texted me early in the year and asked how my new year was going and I was just all, “Whatever. Who cares. What even is happiness. Joy is overrated.” Because I have partly evolved into a french art film, apparently. And I don’t think I’m depressed, really, I’m just jaded. Life has been relentless and I am tired. I’m taking each moment as it comes and just trying to keep swimming. So I don’t know if 36 will be better – god, please don’t let it be worse – but I’ve let any expectations go. Here’s to another year which will hopefully suck somewhat less! At the very least I can expect to giggle until the end of time about the farting whores of Julian.

Chalked.

*Not EVEN exaggerating. Checking my SoCal privilege. Ahem.

Lady Links, This is a Woman

Lady Links 2.10

Um. So. This is late. Because last week I maybe kinda forgot a little? *cough* thank god I’m cute.

I feel like this isn’t timely since this is what everyone was talking about last week and not so much now. But it’s not like these issues have gone away.

So this little thing with Woody Allen happened and polarized the world, basically. His daughter, Dylan, came forth after his appreciation at the Golden Globes and reminded everyone about that time he was accused of molesting her when she was a child. Then this guy who sort of knew Woody Allen professionally made a reply to Dylan’s accusations and I won’t even link to it because it’s disgusting. The author very carefully used words and phrases and reasoning that people ALWAYS use to silence victims. Girls are lying liars who lie! Dare not question the Artist! He’s the victim here! (I paraphrase for the snark.) But good things have been written in Dylan’s defense as well. This is an excellent piece which I would quote for you but all the best parts are the entire thing and I think that might just be plagiarism. And there’s this one: Are Children Supposed to Document Their Abuse? Because. I mean. Really. The title speaks volumes. But it goes on to point out that, if indeed, people in America are considered innocent until proven guilty, and if indeed, we will never know what really happened – why are we demonizing the child here and making the potential abuser out to be a saint. If we truly cannot prove who is lying then lay the fuck off Dylan. Because when you disregard her abuse, you simultaneously disregard the abuse of every other victim in the world, too. When you demonize her, you simultaneously demonize every other victim in the world, too. So don’t do that. Just don’t.

And then there’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And I know he’s not a woman. But it’s not like addiction doesn’t ever strike women. And what it is about is changing the way we think about things which is one of the fundamental aspects of the Lady Links. So we’re talking about this today. We heard this news while visiting a tiny mountain town to celebrate my birthday. To be honest I’m still kind of in denial about it. But then Jared Padalecki tweeted out that Hoffman’s death wasn’t a tragedy and we discussed this. And I don’t know why, maybe it was the wine, or the sugar high combined with the higher altitude, or maybe I just really like the sound of my own voice more than being reasonable and compassionate (I do tend to process things slowly in my mind, but my mouth never gets the message to hold off), but at the time it seemed like a good thing to agree with, although I felt like it was a shitty way to have put it. But as I was driving home that night – even before I’d read the opinions about this on Tumblr – I realized how stupid that is. And as much as I tried to make excuses for my own stupid agreement with the comment, I just could not figure out how addiction isn’t a tragedy. Lord knows I’ve seen it enough in my life. And some people can recover, but they struggle every single day with it. Russell Brand once wrote a really great piece about this. But some people don’t ever conquer addiction. My grandma had lung cancer twice and wasn’t ever able to put the cigarettes down. And I don’t honestly know if that even compares to hard drugs – I just know that it’s a fucking tragedy when addiction rules your life. And it’s a fucking tragedy when the entire world blames a person for their own struggles. Because the thing is that no one sets out to lose control of their life. No one consciously chooses to struggle with addiction every single day for the rest of their lives. Whatever led them to that point is a tragedy and it is heartless and inconsiderate and unacceptable to not try to understand that. Again, Brand speaks up and poses this question, “Would Hoffman have died … if we weren’t invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer?”