Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A little late on this #yesallwomen bandwagon

After going on vacation for a week to a remote spot of the Pacific NW with no cell or internet service,and then rebelling strongly about rejoining society until I had to go back to work today, I had no idea about the murders in CA, or the #notallmen/#yesallwomen hashtag battle.

First, let me just state that I am a feminist.  I believe in equality for everyone.  That is the crux of that word. Feminists believe that everyone should be treated as equals, not just that women should be treated as equals to men. I am also a girl that likes a strong man.  I like to feel loved and cherished and yes, even protected.  I like to cuddle and I feel better in a large group of people with my boyfriend by my side.  I have always loved boys.  So for a the small group of people who read this and think that a feminist hates men, that isn't true, I love most off them because #notallmen are bad.

I'm not saying that I don't need men, I do, but hell, I need other women too.  I can't do everything, let alone do everything better. BUT that doesn't mean that I shouldn't be treated like I can do everything just as well as anyone else, male or female.

Being treated as an equal is something that is taken for granted by most.  It's not something that we analyze on a regular basis.  As a white, middle class women even I don't feel the brunt of discrimination the way that a lot do.  I don't recognize a lot of the time that being a woman puts me at a disadvantage.  And then something like this happens, it pisses me off and it makes me realize that the inequality is definitely something that I put up with every day.

I don't realize how being a woman puts me at a disadvantage until I realize how uncomfortable I am when talking to a male resident because the ring that usually resides on my left hand is in for repairs. I read a tweet that stated that telling a guy that you have a boyfriend is more effective than just saying no. Unless you are a woman you don't understand the knowledge that "no" isn't good enough. That it takes the threat of another man to solidify the rejection.

My biggest fear has always been being kidnapped and/or raped. I am a little person. If someone wanted to they could pick me up, shove me in a van and you would never hear from me again.  I would be sold or dead in a ditch. That is something that most men never fear, no matter their size.

I won't walk into someplace that I have never been before, alone or first.  I chalked this up to social anxiety for a really long time. But recently I realized that this a vulnerability issue.  Don't walk into a bar alone and look vulnerable, like you don't know what you are doing, because there is no telling what might walk up to you if you do. When I told my Dr. about this peculiarity of mine he asked if I had ever been sexually abused because that is something that women who have been do.  No, I'm just a little girl that knows bad shit happens.  I don't have to have been sexually abused before to know that I could be, easily.

Also, as a woman, make sure to park under a light, have your keys out before you get to your car and know the fastest escape route out of any building "just in case".

Always, worry about who you are with if there is a chance you may get a little tipsy.  If it's the wrong group of people, or one person is wrong, you never know what might happen. And more than likely you'll be blamed in some capacity.  Because you had been drinking you would be "asking for it".

Be leery of any relationship you might get into because he's bigger than you and there is no telling if a switch is going to flip and your going to be verbally or mentally abused.  Or heck if one day he's going to get mad and slam you against a wall or yank you down the hallway.  And if that does happen of course it would be my fault that it did.

"What did you do?"

"If you hadn't made me so mad..."

The blame is always placed on someone besides the abuser.

Heck, maybe it isn't something as extreme as all of that.  Maybe it's just the simple fact that my male employee doesn't respect me because I am a 30 something female.  That happens to me on a daily basis. What do I do about it? Become a "ball busting bitch" because I can't just be respected because I'm the boss.

Unfortunately, for the #notallmen hashtaggers, you are guilty until proven innocent because a woman can't take the chance.  If you aren't the misogynistic asshole that #yesallwomen think that you are, you are going to have to prove it.  Because all women operate under the knowledge that it is better to be safe than sorry. Too many of us have been sorry too many times to operate any other way.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Sweet Story About Puke

Recently someone asked me why I never write about my relationship with Josh. I mention it when talking about general life.  But I don't discuss our relationship. I am a firm believer that one of the reasons we are so strong now is because we don't discuss our private lives in social media very much.  However, there is no harm in telling a story from almost seventeen years ago.

How often do you hear a sweet story about puke.  Next to never.  There is no situation where vomit should be cute or sweet.  Puke in general is disgusting.  This however, is one of my favorite stories and it's all about puke. 
It was that first summer. It couldn’t have been too long after we met.  Probably just a couple of months.  I was 13 and he was 15.  Granted, he wasn’t a normal 15 and I probably wasn’t a normal 13.  We both had a lot more life experience than we should have.  He grew up in a neighborhood riddled with gangs and my mom coined the phrase 13 going on 30, in reference to me, long before there was ever a movie.
We also lived in a neighborhood where there were five homes that housed a total of twelve boys and two girls, me being one of the girls.  That also meant there were five sets of parents to look after the fourteen of us.  Keep in mind that this lead to all fourteen of us having full run of the neighborhood because one parent or another was always on the look out.  We were used to going over to each others houses to hang out wherever everyone was, just because we could.
Somehow, on this infamous summer night, all of the parents were gone.  Seventeen years later no one can remember where they were but all five sets of parents went out for the night.  Not together, that didn’t happen, but somehow the stars aligned and there were no parents on the entire block. Which meant in the boys teenage brains, PARTY.
I was not a partier.  I may have been old for my 13 years but the most I had ever had to drink was a sip or two of my dads beer.  The older boys all had a lot of experience with the whole drinking thing, and the younger boys probably had more than I did, but that night, with all the parents gone, I decided to drink.

I don’t remember a whole lot about the evening.  I remember my first beer, if we can even call it beer.  Mickey’s Grenades. Malt liquor.  Whoever decided that was a good idea was sadly mistaking.  To this day I still am unsure how I drank as much as I did.  I remember bits and pieces of the evening, making out with in the back bedroom, smoking in the backyard, loud music.  But thats it.  The next thing I know it’s the next morning and I have a note on my dresser, from Josh, telling me to check the closet and do a load of laundry before I went upstairs.  So I did.  Every towel that had been in my bathroom was in the closet, covered in puke. 
I had no idea what happened and I realized that my brother, who was 10, almost 11, had been at this party too. I had no idea where he was or what had happened.  I was panicking.  So, I gathered my wits, tossed all the towels in the washing machine and went upstairs to get in trouble.
THERE WAS NO TROUBLE!  My brother, had made it home fine. Mom and Dad were none the wiser.  But I was still confused.
Later that day, or weekend, Josh came to check on me and I asked what happened.  This is where it gets sweet. 
I obviously drank too much and at some point in his 15 year old brain Josh realized this, so he decided to take me home.  He gets me to my house, puts me in my bed and just as he’s about to leave I sit up and puke on the floor.  He still claims that it was like the exorcist. He KNOWS at this point that he has to get me and the bedroom cleaned up, otherwise we’re all going to get caught. So he puts me in the shower, washes my hair!! (which at that time was about waist length), cleans me  up, puts me in pajamas, gets me in bed and proceeds to clean the puke off of my bedroom floor.  All before cleaning the puke off of himself.  He then puts all the towels in the closet and leaves me a note telling me to do laundry.

Now, most people would hear this story and think “Oh, he just didn’t want to get caught”. I am sure that that was partially the case, he is a boy after all, However, I have said for years, whenever I tell that story, that you can’t help but love someone who, at 15, will clean up your puke.  There is not a 15 year old boy on this planet that would do that for someone they didn’t have feelings for. 
Funny thing, we never did get caught.  I told my mom after I turned 18 that the stain on my bedroom floor wasn't from spilling chocolate ice cream, like I told her, but was from puke and told her the whole story.  About a year ago Josh and I were discussing this particular incident with my mom and dad and it wasn't until then that he told me that he had put me in the shower. I was mortified. He had seen my pubescent body NAKED and I spent 17 years with no clue.  And then we told his parents the story for the first time.  They thought it was hilarious and we all wished we could figure out why there were no parents anywhere on the whole street.
One of my favorite things about us is the 17 years of stories that we can share.  How many people can say that the beginning of their love story started with Mickey’s Grenades and puke?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Summer Sunshine

Today is May 1st.  May friggin' first.  How did we get here already.  That means in 52 days it will be the first day of summer.  June 21st.  Although I L-O-V-E summer more than any other three month stretch of the year, I kinda dread June 21st because that means that the days are going to start getting shorter.

May 1st is a different story.  Although it is technically still spring and it still rains and it isn't always warm May just means the beginning of everything that is Summer.  People say that the unofficial start to summer is Memorial Day but I think it's May 1st.

I love that it is usually warm enough, and sunny enough, that you can open the windows well into the night.  May 1st means shorts and tank tops during the day and hoodies at night.  May 1st means that the days are continuing to get longer and longer.  May 1st means that summer is actually closer.  September is the beginning of the end but May is the beginning of the beginning.

I love May in the way that I dread October so much that I have to write a blog about it.

May is sunshine and flip-flops.
May is summer dresses and fires in the fire pit.
May is new, fresh, bright green.
May is baseball.
May is long days and short nights.
May is eating outside and reading outside and drinking outside.

May is the reason that I stick out October through April in the Pacific Northwest.

May is Gin and Tonics :-)

May is the beginning of all of the good that is summer. Summer is for making memories and I want to make sure this summer, the whole thing, May through September, is full of amazing memories.  The kind of summer that you look back on with reverence because you know that it was special in a way that can't be recreated.  That's a lot of pressure to put on one season but maybe if I looked at every season that way I would like the other three as much as I love summer.