Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potential hostage situation

Or, "A day in the life of an emotionally unstable, painfully sensitive, and probably premenstrual housewife." 

I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret.  I might have a slight tendency to become just the smallest bit irrational.  A little sensitive and somewhat reactive.   Even approaching, sometimes, quite unhinged.  The timing of these events may, or may not coincide with what some might consider a hormone fluctuation known as "P.M.S."  Personally, I think this is largely an urban legend, and that a more believable explanation is that everyone and everything around me suddenly becomes an asshole once every month...




Frightened cat:  O.o

Frightened husband:  I think your son ate all the chips.

Me:  "DAMMIT!  HE'S the reason I can't have nice things!" 

Dear kid, don't be an asshole. 


Me:  "JEEZUS, you're working late AGAIN!?" 

Frightened husband:  "I work nights.  It's just my shift." 

Me:  "What am I, too fat for you now?"

Frightened husband:  "I don't even..." 

Me:  "Are you having an affair with that woman in the office?!" 

Frightened husband:  "You mean the old lady with cataracts?" 

Me:  "Hey, bring me some chocolate when you come home, ok?  I love you so much!" 

Confused husband:  "I don't even..." 

Dear husband, don't be an asshole. 



Malfunctioning TV Antenna:  (Does not respond, due to being an inanimate object with no lips or vocal cords.  Also, probably, because it is an asshole.) 


Dear malfunctioning TV antenna, don't be an asshole. 


Me:  (Uncontrollable sobs)

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias:  (Dies.)

Me:  (continued sobs)

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias:  (Ignores my desperate wailing, either due to the fact that she's a movie character and can't hear me, or because she's an asshole.)

Dear Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias, don't be an asshole. 


There is also an entire conversation that takes place between my frightened husband, myself, and my bra, but I kind of come off looking like a weirdo, and the story usually ends with more of my sobbing, so we'll just save that one for another time. 
But, bra, don't be an asshole. 
Seriously, it would all be so much easier if everyone, and everything on the planet would stop being an asshole at the beginning of the month.  It's not nice, and it gives me headaches, and makes me crave chocolate like a Jerry Springer guest craves meth. 

This message is brought to you by the letters P, M, and S, which I assume stand for "pummel", "murder", and "stab." 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanks, Mom.

Our mother never spoke harshly about our fathers.

She had reason to do so.  She had plenty of ammunition, and would not have had to lie to us if she wanted to put our fathers down, and take away our admiration and love for them.

She didn't.

Our fathers did not live up to the patience and tolerance our mother showed them.  They did not deserve the kind words she spoke to us about them, and they did not deserve the veil she pulled over their failures and indiscretions.

But, she did that for us.

Ultimately, we grew up, and we decided for ourselves what kind of people our fathers were.  We came to our own conclusions, made up our own minds about whether or not we thought they were "good" people.  Their own actions, and not the musings of our mother, helped us to decide how we felt about our fathers.

My grandfather, who I adored above all others, would sometimes criticize my mother in front of me.  Regardless of my agreement with him, and even tho I knew he was entirely justified in his feelings, I defended her fiercely.  I became angry with him.  I knew he was right, and yet I felt hostility and resentment at his decision to voice his opinion about her, to me.
I believe that whatever is at the root of this angry reaction, is the very reason parents must not disparage one another, regardless of the situation.

Regardless of my current opinion either way about my fathers, I am grateful to our mother for giving us the choice, and for not working to sway our opinion one way or the other.    

It's important.
If I can sing praises of my mother for such a thing, it must be important.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

An uncomfortable truth...

Sexual assault.

Five syllables that have the capability to make a person cringe in awkward discomfort.

The act, I assure you, is infinitely more uncomfortable.

This isn't easy to write.  It's squirmy and weird, and will probably be just as squirmy and weird to read.  Still kicking around the possibility that I won't publish it.  It's scary...

It shouldn't be scary.  I did nothing wrong.  But such is the nature of sexually motivated crimes, that the victim can sometimes feel partially, or even entirely responsible.
I  am not responsible.  Partially, or otherwise.
The attacker is responsible.  The bystanders are responsible.  The victim is never to blame.  I am not to blame.

The ripple effect from this type of crime is infinite.  In an effort to understand some of my odd and frankly, unflattering behavior, I have often wondered if it isn't the result of this particular series of events in my past...the result of a combination of gross neglect at the hands of my mother, and the complete objectification, devotion, and sexual affection of my abuser...
There is the fear that, while I refuse any ownership in the crimes against me, it may have left an undeniable footprint in the path to the person I am today.
There is an inherent, and oftentimes subconscious need to be pleasing and accommodating.  A need to behave in a manner that is sexually welcoming, to the point of completely ignoring someone's inappropriate behavior, thinly-veiled manipulation, or  complete lack of respect for my personal boundaries.   There is a fear that I have subconsciously connected the dots, to reveal that the path to love and acceptance is sexual accommodation, at the cost of my own personal boundaries.

A dear friend revealed to me that since the day she was attacked, she doesn't feel particularly "allowed" to say no.  That submitting to sexuality against her better judgement or desire, is somehow less frightening than saying no, and risking the anger or hurt-feelings of the other party.  Allowing a person to objectify, manhandle, and otherwise misuse her person, is less personally offensive than the potential backlash of the other party.
Heartbreaking.  The feeling of loss of ownership over one's own personal boundaries.

Equally unnerving is the intense sense of inadequacy and neglect, when the immediate requirement of my sexuality is not apparent.  When there is the slightest sense that he might "have a headache", a wave of loneliness and fright wash over me, as does the violent sensation of being absolutely neglected, and useless.
Because, after all, this is why I'm here, right?

Rationally, no.
However, because of this...thing, this crime rooted somewhere in my past a hundred years ago, there is a constant struggle to place the rational above what feels real.  There is a constant inner argument between the two sides, forever trying to determine my role in every single relationship from then until now.

This said, I am not a victim.  This cliche is true.  I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor.  I hold no ownership in what happened.  The man who attacked me holds the responsibility, along with the adults around me, who looked the other way.  I am blameless.  This is true of any survivor of sexual assault.  Regardless of their manner of dress, their decision to allow some level of sexual contact, regardless of their level of intoxication, their prior sexual history...

I still hold every right over my own sexuality, whether I choose to display it overtly, whether I choose to keep it solely for myself, or whether I fall somewhere in the middle.  I still hold every right over the power of "no."  I still hold every right over my body, and it holds immeasurable value, whether or not I behave to accommodate.  This is the reality.  I know this.

My hope for myself, and for my fellow survivors of these heinous acts,  is that, while we may continue to struggle on some level with the ripple effect, we will more often be able to place the rational above what feels real.

Monday, November 14, 2011


If you visit Twitter this afternoon, along with "GotAids" and "ChelseaClinton", you'll find "FatGirlStripperNames" as a trending topic.
Basically it means that enough people are talking about a specific thing for it to become a popular subject on the website.  Apparently, the Fat Police are in full force on Twitter this afternoon, and have all come together to apply stereotypes, ridicule, and downright nasty names to fat women, who choose exotic dancing as their livelihood.

Because fat people have no feelings.  Because it's ok to make fun of fat people.  Because a fat person deserves our ridicule.  Especially those who dare to express their sexuality and confidence in a way that is normally only acceptable for "normal" people.

Because a body shape that drifts too far away from the accepted norm, deserves to be dehumanized and devalued.

Because "fat" is an ugly, bad bad word.

I've said it before, and I'll continue saying it.  Anyone who ridicules another person has their own issues to attend to.  It's not anyone's responsibility to look a certain way in order to please anyone else.  A fat person is entitled to their fat.   They are entitled to be fat in public places.  They are entitled to be fat in revealing clothing.  Even a step further, they are entitled to be fat sexually.

Being fat doesn't always mean a person's ass is super-glued to the couch, while they mainline gravy, and snort powdered doughnuts.  Sometimes it means "regardless of a healthy level of physical activity, and healthy food, my body is meant to be a fat one."
And sometimes, being fat means "I don't like exercise.  And I like spoonfuls of sugar and syrup on my  foot-high stack of pancakes."
Sometimes, being fat means a mixture of both scenarios.
Either way, the fat person in question has the right, as anyone else does, to either scenario.

Being fat doesn't mean "unhealthy."  Because, as much as the Fat Police would like to believe otherwise, fat is not an indicator of health.  It just isn't.  No amount of ridicule will make it so.
Even if fat were a sign of gross internal sickness, fat shame and fat ridicule is still unjustified.

No one, regardless of whether they're 800 pounds or 80, deserves to be defined by their shape or size.  No one.   No one has the right to decide the "right" shape or size of my body.  No one has the right to make assumptions about my health or happiness, based solely upon the plumpness of my back side.

Being fat does not cost non-fat people more money, regardless of media hype.
Being fat does not insulate a person from normal, human emotions.
Being fat does not, in any way, affect a non-fat person in a way that causes damage or discomfort.  If it does, it's the problem of the non-fat person, and means they should take the stick out of their asses, and grow up already.

If I choose to cover myself from head to toe in frumpy burlap, or if I choose to dance a strip-tease on my dining room table, it's my right.  Whether I'm fat or thin, it's my right.

It certainly doesn't warrant anyone nicknaming me "Quarter Pound-her" or "Notorious KFC".   Ultimately, those names have nothing to do with the fat person, and everything to do with the insecure dickhead who assigns them.

My fat is not your problem.  Even if I'm scantily clad in public, my fat is not your problem.  I promise.  Really, really.

If all else fails, and reasoning is lost on such people, use the damn swivel on your neck, and look away.  Preferably into a book, because your ass could use some learnin'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am not this

Most of the time, I am above it.
Greater than.
Moved beyond.

Most of the time I am free from it, far removed, and lifted up by my triumph over the past.

Most of the time...

And then, without warning, it becomes all I know.  It becomes all I am.  It defines me.
I am this.
This is why I'm here.  This is what I am for.

Less than a person.  Less than an object, even.  Less than.

The ripple effect is endless.  And violent.

The insomnia will pass.  I'll be silly and squirrely again.  And I'll know better.  I'll be free from it, far removed, and lifted up by my triumph over the past.

I'm not eight years old.  And I'm not helpless.  And I'm loved by someone who will choose to protect me.  And I am more than this.  It does not define me.