Saturday, March 27, 2010

owning the womb

The first 29 pgs of Stephanie Coontz's Marriage, a History has been a refreshing reminder that once you look outside the box of Judeo-Christian History, there's a good collection of culturally acceptable couplings that are NOT about controlling female sexuality (with the incumbent taboos for feminine virginity/fidelity etc).

Hope to write more about the book later, but wanted to share this segment:

"When Jesuit missionaries from France first encountered the North American Montagnais-Naskapi Inidans in the early seventeenth century, they were shocked by the native women's sexual freedom. One missionary warned a Naskapi man that if he did not impose tighter controls on his wife, he would never know for sure which of the children she bore belonged to him. The Indian was equally shocked that this mattered to the Europeans. 'You French people,' he replied, 'love only your own children; but we love all the children of our tribe.' " (pg 28)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

women who are not married by 30, and are lawyers.

At one of those big Young Women meetings we had when I was a 14 yr old Mia Maid, there was a speaker who talked about finding herself 30 and unmarried. She also talked about her career as a lawyer.
It was a great talk (obviously still memorable years and years later).
Maybe it was made memorable by the conversation with my father after the meeting.

The conversation probably had a lot more words than this, but these are the ones I remember:

me: [something about the women woman speaker who was unmarried into her 30's]

dad: "What?! 30 and NOT married?? What was WRONG with her?"

me: [something about the woman's decision to pursue Law]

dad: "A LAWYER?! Oh, well that explains why she's not married!"

Monday, March 22, 2010


One of my biggest fears is that I will turn up pregnant.

I have an IUD which has been faithfully turning the tide of semen for 5 years and mostly it goes about it's work with me even forgetting it's there. But occassionaly, I'll feel different, a slight weight change, a change in my eating patterns, something... and I'll panic.
OMG I'm pregnant, am I pregnant? What will I do.........??
(My sister-in-law got pregnant while using the same IUD I am using. It's not a 100% guarantee.)
Therefore, I keep a stash of pregnancy tests so I can discover that no, I am not pregnant and I breath easy again.

My IUD expires this month. When we switched insurance plans the saleman assured us that BC costs for an IUD would be nothing more than the copay for an office visit. He was wrong. We are looking at a charge 15 times the amount we thought it would be. And so, we are also looking at other options.

The health care bill passed yesterday and that gives me a tremendous sense of hope for the nation.
But I don't feel any personal relief from the worry clawing at the back of my head about birth control decisions that we must make right now, immediately.

And, god, feeling so silly for the worry. We are in a position to be able to absorb the hit, it is a very inconvenient surprise, but not a financial disaster. For many people, this might be a financial disaster.

For us, for me, it's just a little scratching worry and fear, and the unexpected need to look at all the options. (Of which, we have many.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

bad women...

Part 2 of today's Creative Group Experiment. (Here's part 1.)

Bad Women.

I took a trip when I was first married (pregnant, in fact, with my son).
I stayed in a youth hostel.
(To save money. Also, because I had always wanted to.)
I found myself fascinated with my roommates, mostly young women (some American, some not) just out of school and taking time to travel the world a bit. We talked till late into the night. Well, they talked, and I mostly listened, enthralled by their courage, their experience, their independence, etc...

After returning home, I was talking about my trip with family and mentioned the world-traveling women I had met. The Patriarch of the family got a look on his face (still have a hard time explaining that look~ sort of like deer-in-the-headlights, but not quite). Then He made his pronouncement:
"Those women do NOT want to be mothers!"

[bad... unnatural... evil...]

And then the topic was closed.

getting out

This is my submission for the Mind On Fire Group Creative Experiment. The card for today is The Devil. Yesterday, Sean posted a short fiction as his submission and it brought up some stuff for me; being uncomfortably close to some of my own realities. The following is an excerpt from a journal entry during a particularly dark time:

Her eyes opened and she was disoriented by the light. What time was it? Mid-morning. Oh yes, now she remembered crawling back into bed earlier to escape his need. A noise from the next room, the TV was on, some kids show. That was what had woken her. Also, the sounds of things being moved around. He was probably hungry, looking for something to eat. (In a corner of her mind she tries to think of what was in the cupboard that a 4 yr old could access.)

She pulls the blankets higher, close around her head to shut out the light, the sounds from the next room.
The dog tries to snuggle close to her, tries to stick it's wet nose in her face. Rage flares and she grabs the dog's muzzle, hard enough to make it whimper. Go Away.
The dog slinks to the other side of the enormous bed and curls up in a miserable ball.

There is a thud in the next room and in a panic of guilt she springs up out of the bed, running to check...
He was choking,
He had fallen,
He had eaten something toxic...
But it was none of that. Just some item accidentally shoved off the filthy cluttered table. However, now he saw her, she was there and he latched on with excitement. So many things he needed from her.
A softness brushed her calf; the dog slinking along next to her, keeping close (in an unobtrusive way).

They needed to get out, out into the bright desert sunlight. Out of the staring walls of the house (she hated those walls, wanted to punch holes in them, scribble black marks all over them).

Yes, out.
A trip to the store (always an errand that needed running). And lunch, at that fast food restaurant with the child's play area (to make up for leaving him to scavenge his own breakfast).

Grabbing keys and purse, and summoning faith in the power of "getting out" she loads him in the car.
Hoping it will be enough to draw back the internal tides of thick black waves, enough to ease the scratching of those thousand little claws...

also from the pages of my journals:

dark days

monsters in the journal

(this creative experiment has a second part: before the child was born, a lesson about bad women.)