Friday, July 24, 2009

Family Values

[a revised version of this post is at the exponent.]

I've had several conversations with individuals who continue to attend the LDS church, even though they may have serious doubts about the theological/doctrinal claims, because they like the church's emphasis on family.

It finally clicked for me (yeah, took me a while) that it was the church's particular emphasis and teachings on family that first cracked open my nice comfortable safe belief in the church.

To be specific;

I think the church's focus on gender rolls and the spiritual mandate to marry and have children are extraordinarily damaging to individuals who do not fit so nice and neatly within that lifestyle. Those who are single or childless are treated with tremendous pity, except if they are single or childless by choice, then they are the recipients of condemnation. Likewise, the church, ignoring it's own history with unconventional and controversial marriage practices, continues to promote homophobia as a way of propping up their "family values" claims (also trying to earn a place at the table of the Religious Right).

Even for those who fit nicely within the heterosexual nuclear family model, I find the church's practice of extending labor intensive callings to parents with young children a harmful tendency that particularly adds to the stress of the wives/mothers in the family. I'm remembering a conversation with a ward member who counted it as a mark of his faithfulness that he rarely had an evening that he could spend at home with his wife and kids. This remark of his was concerning a "less active" member who had stated his desire to spend evenings home with his family (selfish unenlightened man).

Particularly damaging is the teaching spread around (especially amongst the singles) that any two people can be compatible in marriage as long as they have a firm testimony of the Gospel. This rhetoric is stultifying (intentionally I'm sure) to any sort of spiritual questing/questioning as partners risks being legally and financially tied to someone with whom the only things they have in common are a bunch of children and a hefty mortgage. (Likewise, I think the imperative to not put off childbearing is an intentional step to lock couples into a situation in which it is harder and harder to get out of. Especially considering how many very very young kids at LDS collages get married within months or even weeks of knowing each other.)

And that's just the stuff off the top of my head at this moment.

So, yeah. I think the church's record on Family Values suck.

Granted, there is much about the culture and teachings that encourage strong family bonds and togetherness, but these things are not at all particular to the Church. (of course, neither is a lot of the aforementioned damaging stuff.)

Now, having said all that, if individuals (thinking here particularly of the ones I have had conversations with) find participating in the church is a good thing for their family, more power to them. And I wish them well. There are a lot worse things you could do.

(I'll do a more family-positive post later, one about how my DH and I got down on our hands and knees together to scrub each tile in our kitchen floor by hand. Whoa, that was fun!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

killing arachnids

John doesn't kill the wolf spiders in his desk.
(Yeah, that's not what the post is about, but he does mention this fact. And it's a good post, you should read it.)

Here I must try to expunge my guilt.
I kill the spiders.
The big hairy ones.
If they stay in the garage, they are okay, I let them live.
But if they cross the threshold (well, if i see them that is)...

Just the other day it happened and the pacifist in me, the person who values life tried to reason with the arachnophobe in me: "Just catch it, let it go back in the garage"
The arachnophobe in me tried... she really did, but catching it requires getting so much closer to the big ol' quick-crawling eight-legged thing than just killing it.

After a few heart-pounding attempts to capture it in a jar, I gave in and killed it. Not in a nice way either. It took almost a minute for it to slowly writhe it's way to death after I sprayed it with Raid.

I feel horrible every time I do that.
Killing a spider. Especially when I use Raid (poisoning the very home I live in.)
Every single time I do this, I get this horrible thought in the back of my head, that his spider is actually one of my friends who has somehow been TURNED INTO a spider and has crawled their way to my home in the hopes that I can help them turn back to their human form.

(As I watched this latest one die I am thinking "oh, please don't be Mel, Please please please")

The thing is, spiders ARE our friends? Even if it wasn't Mel (she's still alive, it wasn't her), this eight legged eight-eyed thing is my friend, right? (/Cringing!) Right?
And harsh chemicals are Not our friends.
And I respect life...

I'm working on it.

Anyhow, for your viewing pleasure, here's the Camel Spider (ironically, not even a spider but a solpugid, but close enough) who thought my casa could be it's casa. (And who died in a spray of nerve destroying gas.)
Camel Spider

Thursday, July 16, 2009

more adornments....

About three weeks ago, I had a few more holes put in my head (as my mom would say). It's been about a year since my last piercing, and I thought it was time for another.

I've also been doing some pondering about whether my birds should fly over my arm, or under my arm. Or both.

Anyhow, while I continue to ponder, I though I'd share with you some stats about tattoos that I gathered from this article:


● 36 percent of those born in the U.S. between 1975 and 1986 have tattoos.

● 24 percent of those born between 1964 and 1974 have tattoos.

● 15 percent of those born between 1953 and 1963 have tattoos.

● 37 percent of people with tattoos have military experience.

Ethnic breakdown

● African-American: 28 percent

● White: 22 percent

● Hispanic: 38 percent

● Other: 36 percent

Income breakdown

● Those who make less than $40,000: 32 percent

● $40,000-$75,000: 24 percent

● More than $75,000: 19 percent

Jail time breakdown

● Three days or more: 58 percent

● Fewer than three days: 20 percent

Education breakdown

(ages 24 and older)

● Did not complete high school: 40 percent

● Completed high school: 29 percent

● Some college: 25 percent

● Bachelor's degree: 14 percent

● Graduate school: 14 percent

Source: American Academy of Dermatology

And, of course, the all important political breakdown: "According to the study, Republicans and Democrats are about even when it comes to tattoos, with Democrats only sightly more (24 percent) than Republicans (22 percent). Independents (27 percent) and "others" (29 percent) were a little higher."

There you go! Now you know just that much more about how rare or average you happen to be in your particular socio-economic-inked state.

Oh, and just because, Here is one of my favorite images of a pierced ear.

{updated...} Just wanted to add a few more links about tattoos, here's another (pro-tattoo) site with an even more extensive Harris Poll breakdown of tattoo wearers. And, just because I found it hilarious, here's a fundamentalist Christian's rant against tattoos (and homosexuals and witches too)

{updated again...} adamf informed me that I needed a link to a Christian's for tattoos site. And, of course, he was right. so here you go: Needle for the Nail. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

to cover their nakedness....

Cabaret sensation Amanda Palmer last week took a bunch of pics of herself nekkid and put them out for folks to appropriate for artistic purposes.

Last week I went to the gym but forgot my workout t-shirt. I decided to not let it stop me and worked out in my sports bra and shorts. And felt so completely exposed.

I have several years worth of life drawing experience under my belt (yah, very punny,) including (but not limited to) a few years at BYU where the models wear bathing suits and students and teachers can get in trouble for going to undraped sessions off-camps (what a joke. Seriously)

Recently I have been considering applying to be a model for the local drawing studio.

In the privacy of my home, I walk around practically naked all the time. Always have.

When I first took off my garments I didn't really notice a difference until I went to a family dinner and fully clothed in modest clothing, felt so very very vulnerable.

I'm trying to find a way to draw this all together in a cohesive way, thoughts about my body image, nakedness (particularly female nakedness), LDS moral standards, the temple, garments, etc... But cohesion and witty examinations will have to wait for another day (how's that for optimism?) For now I will just leave you with my rendition of Amanda's nekkidness, which worked it's way out of my brush as a sort of a tribute (rebuttal?) to The Garden of Eden and the root of all ashamedness at being found naked.

amanda f. palmer

Thursday, July 2, 2009

matrimony and money matters

I just got back from the bank. Set up my own separate checking account and deposited this week's check into it.

But let me back up.

For my hubby's birthday I bought him this watch. A sweet little training aid. All sorts of cool bells and whistles.

And I bought it with the money I earned through my part time job as a receptionist and from photographing a wedding.

The past few years I have never known what to do around my husband's birthday, or Christmas, or whatnot. I didn't earn any money, it felt weird to buy him a gift with HIS money. Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be OUR money and yeah, the unpaid work I do as the stay-at-home mom has monetary value blah blah blah...

But, yeah. Financial dependence weighs heavy on me. And heightens my tendency to be ignorant of the family finances. Not sure why; I was obsessively aware of my finances as a single, and other (non-wage-earning) women I know exert complete control over their families financial matters. Me; I felt dependent, overwhelmed, out of the loop, and infantilized.

I've had this little part time job for a while now and have just been adding my meager earnings into the pool. But I've had the recurring thought to get my own account.
Well... to use it on all the little personal "just for me" expenses (like books and visiting friends). To save it. To watch it. To maybe gain a stronger sense of trying to increase the revenue flow (hmm, in this economic climate?) To regain the sense of watching over my finances. MY finances.

That's all. Had to share.