Where's the village?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Screw Body Image.

Dearest Dajamou,

Today you put on a stretchy halter top with stripes (and sparkles! your favorite! It could only be better if it were stripey sparkley rainbow colors!) and I noticed how it made your belly look a bit on the chubby side, like the girl in Little Miss Sunshine. And simultaneously going through my head were two things:

1. When Greg Kinnear's character told that girl, in a roundabout put-down way, that enjoying food and eating ice cream after dinner would make her fat and make her lose the Little Miss Sunshine contest. And nobody likes a loser.

2. When your pediatrician, at your last checkup, harped (yet again) on the fact that you were on the high end of that stupid Body Mass Index chart for girls.

And I started to worry. I started to worry that my little girl would be teased in school. That she would never be picked to be on the kickball team. That all the bad things I experienced in school and all the bad things I've ever heard about anyone ever experiencing in school would happen to you because you weren't the perfect body shape and size.

And then I got really really REALLY mad. Mad at that stupid damn doctor (who is very neat and trim and thin so I naturally assume, fair or not, that she's putting her cultural biases on you, and whom you love so it will be a little dicey if I decide I'm mad enough to drop her) for adding another worry to my anxiety-ridden brain that will probably never go away, never mind that it would have cropped up from some other source eventually. Mad at everyone ever who teased someone for not fitting in for whatever reason. Mad too at Society In General which perpetuates these stupid body-image-anxiety-stereotypes, blah blah blah-de-blah feminism blah.*

But mostly I got mad at myself for giving in to that anxiety and asking you if you didn't want to maybe change your shirt.

*I'm not dismissing feminism or rolling my eyes or implying that these stereotypes and body image issues are not important. They truly are. But for the past four and a half years (oddly, since I became a mother) I have not had the brain power to even win a debate with the dog, much less write a pithy, witty, coherent, heartfelt paragraph on all that's wrong with women's sense of self in the 21st Century. I refer anyone interested instead to Body Impolitic.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another self-misconception down the drain

I used to think that in the face of a threat of physical harm, I would fight back. Regardless of its effectiveness, I would fight. I now believe (I have yet to be threatened thank God) that I would whimper like a kicked puppy.*

I used to think that if I saw an injustice I would stand against it, would speak up, would do something to work to make it right. I now know that I am an ostrich with my head in the sand, and the only stand I have taken against injustice has been a slight frown of silent disapproval. Oh yeah, and I'll come up with rapier-sharp, witty things to say about half an hour later.

I used to think that my custom Tshirt with the phrase "Communist Garden Party" on it was clever and funny, and I would be proud to wear it anywhere. (It's an in joke...don't even try. Or, maybe, do try! I'd love to hear guesses about its origin.) I now know that if I forget that I'm wearing it until I'm at the grocery store, I will spend the whole time pretending to hold my purse strap on my shoulder and cover up the words so some wacko middle-aged war veteran won't corner me in the dairy aisle (cornered in an aisle...there's an odd visual) and lambaste me with my ingratitude for my God-given rights in this great and glorious country. Or something.**

*This has yet to be tested, so perhaps that protective mother instinct would kick in if the threat were to the dajamou. One never knows.

**This didn't actually happen either. I just imagined it happening in the 30 yards between the car and the front door of the store, where I decided to do the false purse-strap-clutching thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What does this mean?

During playtime with the dajamou, we went from being chased around the house by monsters to playing "Family" in which I was the baby and she put me to bed. Then she told me to wake up and I was a grownup and my parents were dead. Then all my friends came to give me hugs and kisses, and then she pretended to be my favorite friend who gave me three hugs and kisses. And then she said she was my true love and we had to get married. But she had been married before and had a sweetie but she said her sweetie died. I said I was sorry but she said she didn't like the sweetie anyway because she grabbed and hit a lot. Which was weird but whatever. So we started getting dressed for the wedding, and she took off her pajamas and diaper (finally) and put on her red velvet dress-up dress. And I wore a hat. And we walked across the living room and sang "dun dun da-dun" (That's her title for the wedding processional song) and I said some things about loving and honoring and cherishing. Then I tried to get all child psychology on her, and address the underlying issue that came up when she said she didn't like her sweetie who died. I said stuff like "Even when we're mad I'll love you. Even when we're sad I'll love you. Even when we're disappointed I'll love you." Stuff like that. Then it was her turn and she didn't know what to say. I said "Just make stuff up about loving me forever and stuff." And here's what she said.

"I'll marry her for 30 years, and then we'll have a kid, and I'll ship him off with me to Antarctica. Amen."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

slippery slope

I sit here and watch myself become one of those bloggers who doesn't keep up their blog. Who starts with the best intentions and just lets life get in the way.

I started this as a place to vent, but if I'm brutally honest with myself I was hoping to find a community as well. And I know I haven't put much effort into joining the community besides waiting for people to come to me. So in that I think the blog has failed so far.

But I have vented here and there, and it has helped sometimes. So it hasn't been a total waste. But I'm not inspired to write every day anymore. I'm in this weird place where I don't think I'm as down as I was, but I'm not exactly up either. I'm just kind of here. Which doesn't make for great content.

I'm taking my vitamins, I've found these exercises that help my back to not hurt every morning when I wake up, I'm watching a lot less TV, spending less time online, trying to be a more present mother, joining some local groups to try and develop a social life. And most importantly, I'm really really trying to figure out what in the world makes me happy. Because the dajadaddy and I are sick of me being sad.

All of that leaves not much time or mental energy for blabbing on da blog.

So for all three of you who may be reading this, I'm sorry. I don't intend to let it fall completely by the wayside, but I'm not going to make any promises. Maybe when spring finishes with jerking the entire North American continent around and gets down to some serious sunshine, I'll have energy for more than the bare minimum of daily routine.

Til then....