I’d gotten my first period when I was eleven. Granted, I was almost twelve, but my dad had died recently, I’d gotten glasses for the first time, and stress in general brought on early menses. When I was fifteen I went to the bathroom one day, and when I stood up the room suddenly looked like a crime scene. I was off to the doctor. The man who’d delivered me.
He prescribed birth control pills. When I went to Rite Aid to get them the pharmacist refused to let me have them. My mother then flipped the hell out on him. He was appropriately contrite, and he apologized, but I still wonder how many other women he’d automatically branded with the phrase, “slut.” Even if in his head. I spent a lot of high school sick a lot of days. Throwing up. Feeling unwell. Doc said my body thought I was pregnant due to the pills. At least I wasn’t practically hemorrhaging anymore.
I couldn’t find my go-to brand of birth control pills anywhere. A pharmacy finally ordered them. Insurance didn’t cover them since they weren’t generic. They were the only brand that worked to reduce the bleeding and pain. It cost about $32 a month, or more than a dollar a day to keep myself from wanting to die once a month. Was it a plus to have some prevention against pregnancy in my early 20s? Sure. I was underinsured a lot once I moved to North Carolina, though.
Jenest-28, the birth control I’d relied on for years, is gone. I bopped from one brand to another trying to find some relief from my, “female problems.” I am now divorced but an adult female who would like to not get pregnant as well. Periods and pain are still not as bad as before, but because I smoke I try to not take the pill if I’m not in a relationship. When I don’t- the hell days are back.
I meet the man who is going to end up being my husband and the love of my life, and I go back on the pill. Insurance doesn’t cover what the doctor determines I need. Is it MY issue I didn’t put my own health before a man? Depends on how you look at it. I wanted breaks for my circulatory system, and there were other health reasons that made me take a break, too (smoking). Once again it’s about $30 a month. $30 we don’t have easy access to, but the cost of bearing and raising a child is much greater. We know we want children together, but there’s no money for them. We are still adult humans who find each other attractive.
My husband finds a better paycheck, we get married, and within 30 days of going off the Pill I get pregnant. Did the multitude of years I’d spent on the Pill rest my system enough to have little trouble? I’ll never know. In 2006 we have a daughter, and we couldn’t be more delighted. In my mind I’m thrilled that in her youth she won’t have to listen to the crap about her sex that I heard in the 70s, and I know that nothing is keeping her from doing anything she wants. Not now. It’s the 21st frigging century.
The doctor puts me on the mini-pill because I’m still a smoker, but due to the psychiatric drugs I’d been taking they’re less than effective. I get pregnant with our son and his twin. I lose his twin and go through pain for months while my body absorbs the fetus. Our son carries so low that my mobility is compromised, and I require a cane to walk. In-
Our son is born, and as he’s in crisis I have to have a C-Section. When the OB asks me to sign the consent to surgery I tell him that while he’s in there I want a tubal ligation. He tries to talk me out of it, telling me that if they can’t resuscitate our son I’d be sterile. I told him that I am never going through this hell again. And I certainly wasn’t going to “replace” him. My son is born sucessfully, my tubes are tied, and-
Every single month I think I’m bleeding to death. Every single month I get horrible migraines and back pain. My cramps want to keep me in bed for three days. I have two children. I can’t stay in bed. I double up with tampons and pads, and there are nights when I get out of bed and change myself, including my underpants, because my body is STILL fucked up. I got lucky. I had two kids that I wanted and adore. I knew enough to know that this was even beyond what we could afford, and I had surgical sterilization. I don’t have any intention to be a burden on the government. It’s been tough. Because I’m over 35 and I STILL smoke- I can’t take birth control pills to control my issues. Every single month there are moments when I want to die. Every single month I have the permanent option to not get pregnant, thankfully, but that doesn’t help with the physical issues. Every single month I thank the maker that I only have two children because of advances in medicine that will let me have a-
Normal Human Female Sexual Life
My daughter asks me if she’s going to be a mommy someday. I tell her, with sincerity, only if she wants to.
My daughter asks me again if she’ll be a mommy someday. I have no sincerity when I tell her only if she wants to.
I didn’t tell her that family history might make it a pain in the ass. I didn’t tell her that the government is fighting over who is and who is not allowed to become a mother. She’s five. But every single day I look at her, and I know that this shit is worse than lying about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.
I also didn’t tell her that apparently I am now a slut.
But you know what? If using modern medicine gave me less endometriosis long enough to have my children? And let me enjoy my female body when I was young and active enough to do so?
I’m proud to be a slut.
Fuck you, to anyone who thinks this is about morals. I’m a good wife, a good mother, and a good human being.
And my family appreciates that I’m not spread too thin. So does your income tax.
My daughter started horse-riding lessons about five weeks ago. She’s five. We’d been thinking about getting her into ice skating, because she always pretends to skate in her socks around the kitchen, and she’s fabulous on roller-skates.
We drive past a horse farm very often, though. She loves horses. So one day before the holidays I made a phone call, and then I took her out there to watch a lesson as a surprise. I asked her if she wanted to learn. She said yes.
This might be the best idea I’ve ever had in my life.
I’m forty, and until last week I had sat on a horse exactly once. I was ten. It didn’t go well, I never rode, and as I’ve aged I’ve become more leery of heights and aggravating existing aches and pains. The first day I took my kids out there, though, we met an 1100 pound horse named Ginger. My kids had no fear. I thought she was fabulous, and I also thought she was enormous.
Ginger ended up remembering me, but we’ll get to that later.
The instructors at this farm teach the Parelli Method. Essentially what they do is to modify herd behavior for humans (simplifying here totally), and they teach riders to follow the horses’ cues rather than be overly forceful. Not to say that the rider isn’t taking the lead. Not at all. But what they seem to teach is that the rider shows the horse that he or she is someone to be pleased, and only after making sure the horse is totally cool with that idea.
So you have these 1100 pound animals, and you have my, oh, 40 pound daughter. And my daughter doesn’t listen to a dang thing I tell her, because I’m mom and I’m a moron. And now, after five weeks, she climbs out of the car. Her instructor (who is a completely wonderful human being) says to her, “Livvie, I want you to go get Honey and lead her to the hitching post.”
And my tiny girl walks over, takes the lead rope, and tells honey to, “walk on,” and Honey follows her.
My heart has been known to explode in certain situations, but watching my daughter not over-think a damn thing, just do the job without second-guessing herself, I could have died on the spot. The confidence my kid has when she’s out with those horses is something I have never had in any situation. Ever. Not once have I been so sure of myself that I could just walk into a situation without running a thousand scenarios around in my head.
And see, horses know that.
Ginger basically looked at me like I was a moron and stayed where she was.
I talked to her, and I know she called me an idiot. I could see it. I had the, “carrot stick” in my hand, and I lifted it to show her it was time to move. She ignored me. I gently poked her on the behind with it, and finally she sighed at me and followed me to the grass. I swear this horse had turned down food just to show me how ridiculous I am.
When the time came for my lesson, and I finally had a chance to learn, Ginger decided I was okay and deigned to follow my instructions. When I finally mounted up she behaved like an angel. I already know that the next time I see her I’ll be able to give her what she needs so she feels comfortable following my lead.
And I’m forty.
My daughter is five. Today she rode at a trot for the first time, on a horse named Belle, and the joy I saw on her face was something I will never, ever forget. I’ll also remember how proud she was of scooping horse dooky and dumping it in the muck bucket for the first time. What will shine brightest, though, is the image of those giant mares walking along behind her with no argument. Because she’s got this.
“This” is confidence.
Today I stood next to her, and we groomed Belle together. We chatted about her, about her coloring, about the weather, and there was an easy, relaxed vibe between the two of us as we brushed. She’d curry, and I’d hard brush. Then we went over her with the soft brush until she shone.
I think, now, I know how to connect with her over the years.
One day recently my daughter smiled at me, and I saw Johnny Depp. My first reaction was a double-take. Then my brain kicked into gear, and I started wondering.
He’s part Cherokee. Livvie has it from both of her parents- more from her father. In fact, that Cherokee lineage is how my husband and I are apparently related. Looking over the family tree we got a bit of a shock. Luckily it was well over 100 years ago.
Features are one thing. Features and expressions together are kind of crazy at times. It’s kind of cool, really, to be dark, throw a dark daughter, and then toss out a son who is described as, “white,” by his own sister before she even knows from white, brown, tan…
My son is white. Luckily he’s my mom’s variety, meaning he doesn’t sunburn. I was surprised he did anything this past fall, but lo and behold he’s still got a “tan” neck from the sun he got.
When my son was born, and for awhile, he resembled my daughter. In some ways. People said he looked like me. Maybe. Not quite. As he got older I saw my grandfather and my uncle. Mostly my grandfather. It’s in his expressions, sure, but it’s also in his features. My grandfather is where the Irish comes into the family. It didn’t really ping my brain a bit, until Jonas found his favorite book.
Awhile back my beloved friend sent me a jewel of a book called, Ireland, A Sacred Journey. Turns out it costs like, $80 in hardcover on Amazon now. Too bad my son destroyed it for resale, right?
I don’t dump many books anyway. This was a no before he got hold of it. The thing is, he’s been carrying this book around for over a year now. He tore the fly leaf, and he tore a page in the center before he figured out how to turn pages. I removed the dust jacket and stashed it away for him. He flips and turns. Takes the book around the house.
And then sometime, maybe two months ago, he started leaving the book open on a specific page. Pages. 144-145. Part Four: Connacht. A photo of White Horse Hill in Clarinbridge and a photo of The South Cross in Clonmacnoise. If I shut the book he flips until he finds those pages. They stay. He’ll come back and flip, but again he returns to those photos.
He did it again tonight. I’d hidden the book for a week.
Ordinarily I’d just assume he likes the book. Makes sense. But tonight my daughter watched a movie she hasn’t requested in awhile. Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure. During the credits a song by Méav Ní Mhaolchatha plays. Sometime in November my son started sobbing whenever that song ended. He’d be inconsolable. I finally downloaded it on iTunes so he could listen whenever. One night the week before Christmas I ended up asleep on the floor of his room with that song playing on repeat on my laptop until he fell back asleep.
Tonight he didn’t sob, but he whined when it ended. So I played it for him again. Sat down with him and sang it while we listened together. My voice caught while singing, because, I’m sorry, It’s beautiful, and he was sniffling, and I was sniffling. Song ended, repeat. Sang again. I’m an alto. She’s a soprano. I can sometimes manage it. He didn’t care. He moved his hands in the air, and when it stopped, finally, he motored on into the living room and went back to the book on Ireland.
One of my strongest memories was a desire to see Ireland. I don’t resemble my grandpop a bit. I was still drawn. Hard. I don’t know why. I don’t care. Call it land memory, call it what you will. I only know I NEEDED to go. I also know I need to go back. I think my son needs to go, too.
I’ll take him. I know from experience it never goes away.
I mean, I knew the Internet was full of vitriol on the best day, but really? During a week when some asshat cruise ship captain pretty much yelled, “Everyone for themself!” and the US government was about to finagle a loophole to destroy free speech online and various other horrible things happened on this planet-
Some of the biggest nasty I saw online was directed at a Southern woman who has a cooking show about Southern food.
Now, I’ve scanned through Paula Deen’s recipes on The Food Network site. Oh sure. A lot of them are rich. Yes, the butter thing.
Has that woman EVER once said that people should be eating those recipes every day?
Let me explain something, if you’re just having a knee-jerk reaction to this story:
The recipes she makes on her show are occasion food. They’re for entertaining. They’re for brunches with friends and family, Sunday dinners, parties. There’s no difference between the stuff she tosses out there and what that Barefoot Contessa person cooks other than region of the country.
Ms. Deen, in my past viewing, has never once told anyone they should eat like this every day. Every meal.
I’ve seen arguments that she should change her dietary habits rather than shill a pharmaceutical, “fix.”
Ever known a diabetic? Or three? Count on your hands. I’ll wait.
I’ve known many a diabetic who’s not been helped by diet and lifestyle alone. I’ve known diabetics who’ve been so careful over every last damn bit of sugar or calorie, and they needed insulin to survive. NEEDED it to survive. Know what?
At least two of them were skinny as hell.
The last I saw online- people were bitching about fake foods. Fake sugar. Fake fats. Chemicals created in labs that do terrible things to the body, as we’ve learned over years of ingesting them.
Ms. Deen cooks real food. Sure, a lot of it is really heavy, but not all of it is.
I never once saw a show of hers that recommended anything manufactured by science over anything manufactured by nature. I’d also be willing to bet that the adoring bite she’d take for the benefit of the cameras was as far as she went for most shows. This woman has given up Sweet Tea, and laugh if you will- but people down here- this is what they drink. When the spewage started the other day I wondered if everyone would be so hard on Anthony Bourdain when he’s finally diagnosed with lung cancer or emphysema. Shilling drugs for COPD.
I’d bet not.
I’d also be willing to bet, whether conscious or not, that if Paula Deen were not a full-figured, Southern woman the pissyness wouldn’t be nearly as rampant.
The Internet, very often, is like a river full of piranha waiting for the next unlucky animal to fall in. Here’s a paraphrased quote from comments on CNN-
“She needs to learn to speak English. I heard her pronounce ‘BREAD’ with at least three syllables.’”
Here’s an actual quote- not edited-
“I never like her, she looks and talks like a trailer thrush.”
“Is anyone really surprised? I mean, I heard her next episode was on how to deep fry your diabeetus supplies from Liberty Medical into a delicous butter rich paste.”
I know I said that before, but, really?
Is it because she’s a woman, because she’s an older woman, or because she’s Southern? Because I really don’t think the shit would be hitting the fan so hard if Gordon Ramsay revealed that he’s got an endocrine disorder. Would it?
Know what really burns my butt? The people castigating this woman are always on the search for some novel way to incorporate bacon into something new. The bacon meme. Everyone loves bacon. Put bacon on some tits, and call it good.
Here’s a woman whose shtick is Southern Occasion Food. Didn’t reveal her disease to the gossip-slavering American public for three years.
Because it was really none of our goddamn business.
Look at how fit and trim her sons are. Even though they likely grew up with her televised food, “on occasion.”
Then go see your doctor and have YOUR CBC and endocrine levels checked, and get back to me.
I’m going to keep cooking with real fats and real sugar. Food-food. Sunday breakfasts. Richer foods for special occasions.
And if the shit hits the fan for me, and clean living doesn’t make a damn bit of difference, you can bet your ass I’ll hope science helps me.
And I’ll let everyone know it did.
January 5, 1936- January 15, 1983
Happy Birthday, Daddy.
Man. You wouldn’t even believe what’s what with 2012.
1)The Shuttle Program ended this past year. Thank you for waking me up in the middle of the night to watch the first ones go up.
2)I still won’t eat octopus.
Thanks for helping to make me who I am, even in the short time I had you.
Thanks so much.
Read your Catechism.
You’ve stated that only procreative sex is acceptable- within a marriage of course. While I do know that The Church is anti- artificial birth control, some couples actually do have the luxury of regular cycles and using the rhythm method to boink like mad without popping out kids every eleven months. Some of us, though, we don’t. And some of us had difficult pregnancies, health issues, or were so old and feeble that our eggs would probably be cracked in half before a sperm even hit them. Some of us love our partners and are happy without children, for many reasons. Yes, even married people. While I do understand that The Catholic Church views no marriage as valid unless it takes place within The Church, it’s not up to you to make that judgment.
Says so in The Bible.
I was confirmed when I was 13. I’m 40. Twenty-seven years? Yeah, I had to Google the specifics, but-
The Catechism of The Catholic Church states-
2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.
2361 ”Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.”143
- Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.” So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Tobias began by saying, “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers. . . . You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the race of mankind has sprung. You said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.’ I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.” And they both said, “Amen, Amen.” Then they went to sleep for the night.144
2362 ”The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude.”145 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:
- The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.146
2363 The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage: the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life. These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the goods of marriage and the future of the family.
The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.
Just a reminder. In case you’ve forgotten. You’re older than I am. Yes, The Church does want everyone to be populating like crazy, but maybe, just MAYBE, this Just God you kneel to is more concerned with the health and happiness of those that are already here?
-And we’ll see.
Having been on the Internet, what there was of it, since the beginning of the 90s, I’m pretty sure there are folks out there today bitching about the cost of the pyrotechnic celebrations in Sydney and all over the world.
I, myself, was watching them and thought, “Holy shit. That cost a fortune.”
Like, yeah, feed a bunch of starving people fortune.
Know what, though? People need these celebrations. Me? I stayed at home with my family, we ate junk food, we set off poppers out back, danced in our pajamas, and sang songs. But I made sure to get on the Internet and show our daughter the way the world sends the old year out with a bang and welcomes the new with an even bigger bang.
It was beautiful. It’s like watching a billion explosive hopes and wishes flashing in the skies. The time zones click forward, and nation after nation takes a foot and steps into the next with moments of joy and glee and big see ya laters to the old. Whether or not the new is better isn’t important right as that clock hits zero. Because it CAN be.
2011 was pretty shitty in a lot of ways- for me and mine- for the world…
So this is what I leave you with as the calendar flips-
See that path? It wasn’t there when we moved in. Over 2011 my kids wore that path into the yard by running and walking from the front yard to the back yard, over and over, on each day it was nice enough to play outdoors. When I was small parents would get ticked at kids doing that type of thing, and I’m sure some still do. But when I look at that path right now I have memories of this past year outdoors. Little moments that trump every damn-big-horrible when you add them together.
My wish for 2012 that I’m sending up with the fireworks is for everyone to have enough little goods to at least balance out the big bads, if not punt them aside.
Have a very Happy New Year.
And go wear yourself a path.