Sunday, July 25, 2010

Where's the Change?

Congress didn't pass an energy/climate bill. Not even a wishy-washy Republican half-assed version of anything. We did get health care "reform," but it was basically a mid-1990's Republican version of health care reform, and it still supports greedy private insurance companies. Our long-awaited Democratic president who ran under the auspices of change is now considering off-shore drilling, and when he mentions green energy often speaks of nuclear energy, "clean" coal technology (oxymoron!), and other green-washed forms of energy. We have a Democratic president AND Democratic majority in congress, yet they don't seem to be able to affect much of that change we heard so much about. More and more democrats are becoming fence riding moderates, while the voices of right-wing nut jobs get louder and louder. I could go on for some time.

Let this be a lesson to my liberal and progressive-minded friends. What have we learned from the last year and a half?

1. Being Black doesn't make someone liberal any more than being a woman makes someone a feminist. (Meaning: Obama is about as moderate a president as we could get. He's no more liberal than Sarah Palin is a feminist.) Our Republican brothers and sisters really need to realize this, because every time they call him a socialist and compare him to historical socialist figures they make themselves look like the ignorant racist hillbillies they are.

2. People on the left need to forget about voting for who they think can get elected and start supporting candidates who have a strong record of making real social change. I hope Dennis runs again next time around. Or Al. I love Al. We also need to pay attention to our state and local officials and elect real movers and shakers.

3. Lefties need to get off their asses and start being seen and heard just as loudly as the *choke* *gag* *hurl* Tea Baggers and the like (only more intelligently and peacefully). If all they were doing was signing online petitions we'd hardly notice them. Get me?

4. We need to BE THE CHANGE. Our elected officials have proven that trickle-down government change is not going to happen. We can hope, we can vote, we can and should speak our minds. But ultimately our lives have to reflect our values. Care about women's reproductive rights? Volunteer at and/or financially support your local Planned Parenthood, independent midwives and local women's centers. Care about the environment? Stop eating animals, grow your own food, reduce~reuse~recycle (in that order!), carpool, ride your bike, etc. You get the picture. And hey, if you're really into politics, run for local office!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why I Dislike Mother's Day

There are lots of good reasons not to like Mother's Day. Some of them may be found here. The latest issue of Bitch Magazine also has a great article about it. Here are my reasons...

I am not a mother. I am not a mother by choice. Many women do not have children because they were not able to have children. It's simply uncomfortable to have this day that makes motherhood out to be the noblest and best thing a woman can ever do. I actually had someone wish me a happy Mother's Day this year, perhaps assuming from my age that of course I am a mother. How could I not be? Who would choose not to have children? Mother's Day reinforces the idea that to be a woman one must bear a child, and there must be something wrong with us if we don't.

I don't have a good mother. I have a mother who neglected and abandoned her children. One who allowed her husband to verbally abuse her children, and who herself verbally abused her children. Mother's Day thanks mothers for all the cooking, cleaning, and caring they do for their children throughout the years. My mother laid on the couch reading Harlequin novels while she made her children clean. I was cooking for my family before I was 10. I was rarely cared for by my mother. I remember trying to find my mother a card on several occasions throughout the years, and feeling like all these cards were rubbing my less-than-pleasant childhood in my face. To give my mother any of those cards would have been a lie. I would either leave empty handed, or with some humorous card that masked the truth of the matter, that I had nothing to celebrate or honor.

There's nothing inherently noble or saintly about squeezing out a kid. In fact, most female mammals have the ability, and most of those who can do it, do it. Many people do it because it's what they think they're supposed to do, it's what's expected of them. Maybe they are trying to fill a void in their life or save a troubled marriage. Some do it to keep up with their friends or family members. Some women actually do it because they like the attention they get while pregnant.

Choosing to bring a life into this world is a responsibility and privilege that too many people think of as a right, and too many others don't think much about at all. It requires real sacrifice and hard work, and you must be willing to put that life ahead of your own. It also means choosing to forgo many other possibilities for your life, some that might bring you more happiness and some that might make the world a better place.

And let's not forget that just because a woman CAN have a child, doesn't mean she SHOULD. It is not the defining quality of womanhood. I am a creative, intelligent, passionate woman who has a world of choices in front of me. Choosing to own a business, to be an activist or any other choice I make in lieu of procreating are just as valid, and perhaps moreso, depending on my situation in life and what I have to offer the world.

Children need to be loved, cared for, educated, and mentored. Anyone who does these things well should be honored and celebrated, but not because Hallmark says so. Just because you gave birth doesn't mean you have done any of these things, and you do not have to be a biological mother to nurture and love a child.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Tea Party Douchebaggers Rant

I've seriously had about all I can take of the Tea Party Douchebaggers. They are the most ignorant and dangerous group of morons I think I've ever seen. Their blatant racism, general lack of any knowledge about anything they're talking about and overall stupidity are astounding. I have a few things I would like to point out and questions I'd like to ask...

1. How is it possible that these idiots can show up to peaceful discussions with loaded weapons, threaten to kill people, spout racial slurs, etc. and NOTHING happens to them for it? All of this, when I know peace-loving liberals who have been thrown into jail for making puppets. Yes, making puppets for a parade. Similar peaceful liberal/progressive types have had their homes raided and been arrested for having gray-water next to their toilets. Gray water, as in dishwater being reused to flush the toilet. Puppets and dishwater are grounds for arrest, but threatening people with violence and spouting racial hatred is okay? WTF country is this?!

2. The health care reform that passed was pretty much Republican health care reform. As in lame-ass, take away women's rights, support large corporations health care "reform." In fact, what passed is strikingly similar to the 1993 Republican Health Reform Plan. These morons who don't bother to educate themselves and simply enjoy yelling "fire!" in a crowded building are basically bitching about something their own party sponsored a decade and a half ago.

3. The current Tea Party movement has NOTHING to do with the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party was a reaction to being taxed by a government with officials they didn't get to elect and an ocean away. The current Tea Party movement (whose members I like to refer to as "douchebaggers") are protesting the government of their own country that was elected democratically by the people of this country, a government that's trying to put taxpayer dollars to work for the taxpayers.

Basically, they're just a bunch of childish, violent, racist sore losers.


End rant.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Adventures in Bleeding: My Bloody Valentine

I'm obsessed with my blood. I'm not sure exactly what brought this about at this particular time. A few weeks ago, I was doing my weekly shopping at a local health food store, and as I passed the little section devoted to reusable menstrual products I had a sudden urge to stop flushing and trashing and start washing and reusing. I dropped a hefty wad of cashola for 3 GladRags pantyliners, 3 day pads, and a Moon Cup.

But let's back up: Several years ago I read Cunt and was mesmerized by just about everything in it, and was specifically affected by the chapter entitled Blood and Cunts. I took to heart the idea of getting my body and my cycle in sync with the moon, and I'm happy to report that I now bleed with the new moon, like clockwork. Other gems were tucked away in the back of mind. Many months these thoughts would pop up, I'd ponder them for a few moments, and tuck them back away, because this month certainly can't be the month... maybe in a few months I'll have the time...

For years now I've been using Instead softcups. They're technically disposable, claiming you need to pitch it and start clean every time you take it out. But I knew there were other cups out there that could be used over and over again, so I split the diff. I would use one cup for one period, washing it thoroughly with soap and water before using again, and when my period was over I'd throw it away. I'd used it for years and was pretty satisfied. I had gotten to know it so well that I figured out little tricks like bearing down on the john so it would dump itself without needing to be removed. Pretty cool, huh? I was still, however, using disposable pantyliners, as these cups are prone to leakage, (if bearing down can dump it, sneezing and coughing understandably pose a problem at times) and a pad or two at the beginning and end of my period. Not a lot of waste, but too much for my taste. I had gotten so comfortable using the softcups that I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get the kind that I could use for a decade or longer.

Enter the Moon Cup. Having a latex allergy, the Moon Cup was the logical choice as it's made of medical grade silicone. It's otherwise identical to the Keeper, a cup I've known friends of mine to use and love. Its shape is obviously different than the type of cup I was accustomed to using, but I figured I'd get the hang of it. Uh... no. It was much more difficult to insert than I thought it would be. Lots of people say it's tricky the first few months, but that you eventually get the hang of it. Okay, I can deal. It took a couple of cycles for me to get the hang of the softcups, too. But the real problem came for me upon removable. As difficult as it was to get in, it was twice as hard to take out. If your vag is of the tight-n-tiny variety, beware! The cups twist and bend and fold to go in, but coming out is another story. No bending or folding--that would defeat the purpose. My husband could hear me two rooms away and rushed to the bathroom door in concern over all the yelping coming from the other side. No amount of convenience is worth that kind of pain and discomfort. Of course, women come in all different sizes, and these cups work just fine for many of them. I've always been of the aforementioned tight-n-tiny variety and I haven't popped any kids out, either. But the makers of the Moon Cup are so confident in their product that they give you 3 months to check it out, and if you just can't hack it, they'll give you a full refund. Nifty!

My other new experiment were the GladRags. Reusable pads sound too icky for you? Do yourself a huge fave and get over it. I adore mine. They're soft and pretty (I got the the pink ones with dots) and just plain make me feel good. After the ouchy-cup debacle, I was a bit sore and decided to forgo putting anything else inside me for a while. The cool thing about these pads is that they come with two inserts, so you can use one, two, or even three according to your flow. I realized that I was very out of touch with mine, as I'd been using cups for so many years, and only used one insert. Oops. But I was okay with it. There was something about letting myself bleed, and bleeding on fabric that was incredibly freeing. I felt so in touch with my body and my flow, and it felt so good not to be throwing anything away. There's something very fem-zen-ist about taking the time to soak your pads, see your blood, watching the water in the sink turn red... pretty swirls of red in the sink in celebration of V-Day... feeling yourself bleed, letting it flow naturally rather than holding it in until it fits into your very unnatural schedule. In case you couldn't tell, I've also been feeling compelled to live more naturally, in touch with my body, the earth...

I currently have 3 day pads with a total of six inserts. I'm planning to get myself 3 more holders, maybe 2 more inserts. I like using the holders by themselves as pantyliners, as my experience so far with the pantyliners is that they tend to slide back, although after a year of saying I need to do it, I'm actually going to buy myself some new underwear, which may remedy the situation. I'll update next month. I've also decided to try sea sponge tampons. I've thought about it enough that I think I'm over my original aversion to putting a sea creature in my vag. And after the cup fiasco and my love of all things naturale, I've decided I don't really want to put plastic inside me anymore. As Inga points out, these little creatures once lived in the ocean which, like our blood, is rule by the moon. It sounds pretty cool to me.

Stay tuned for more Adventures in Bleeding! Next month's episode: The Spring Sponge Spectacular!