Links of the Week – June 12, 2015

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* Planets Of TOS – (The background paintings were the best!)

* Mom Dresses Cat In Daughter’s Crop Top To Prove How Small It Is

* Week-Long Camp Teaches Intellectually Challenged To Ride Bikes

* 17 Times The World Wasn’t All That Bad

* NASA Marks 50 Years Of Mission Control, Plans Apollo Room Restoration

* Learning To Leave The Past Behind In 5 Steps

* What Self-Love Means: 20 Ways To Be Good To Yourself

* NASA Aiming For Multiple Missions To Jupiter Moon Europa

* Winged Greek Leather Sandals – (Woot!!!)

* Lionel Richie T-Shirt – (Brilliant! 😀 )

* If You Love The Duggars But Not Caitlyn Jenner, What Credit Is That To You? – (Post of the week. All Christians in particular should read.)

* This Dad Took Some Incredible Color Photos Of His Hipster Daughter…In 1913

* There’s A Drive-Thru Waffle House In Stone Mountain!

* Saltine Ice Cream Sandwiches

* No, Your Favorite Food Is Not Like Crack – (Take note…)

* South African Veterinarians Intervene To Save Hope The Rhino

* 7 Habits I’m Breaking Now That I’m In ACOA Recovery – (Me too! I’m not ACOA, but I’m lots of other acronyms!)

* 53 Of The Best Opening Sentences In Literature

* The WNBA Finally Recognizes Its Lesbian Fans
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* Peach Cobbler Cupcakes – (!!!!)

* Man Treats Mother To Detail About His Personal Life

* Ghosts of DC: Walter Johnson Hosts Event For Hunting Dogs On His Germantown Farm – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )

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“A good question to ask myself frequently is: What am I looking for – advice or approval?”

– Anonymous

“We must challenge all who assume that feminine vulnerability is a sign of weakness. For when we do open ourselves up, whether it be by honestly communicating our thoughts and feelings or expressing our emotions, it is a daring act, one that takes more courage and inner strength than the alpha male facade of silence and stoicism.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“If we truly want to be taken seriously in our identified sex, then we must not only refuse to indulge cissexual people’s compulsion to pigeon hole us in our assigned sex, but call them out on the way that they continuously objectify our bodies while refusing to take our minds, our persons, and our identities seriously.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

“Unlike gender dissonance, which is only experienced by trans people, gender entitlement can affect anyone. It is best described as the arrogant conviction that one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and assumptions regarding gender and sexuality are more valid than those of other people. Gender entitlement often leads to gender anxiety, the act of becoming irrationally upset by or being made uncomfortable by the existence of those people who challenge or bring into question one’s gender entitlement.”

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman On Sexism And The Scapegoating Of Femininity, Julia Serano

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Snapshots of Joy

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There must be something about happiness, comfort, safety and love that particularly imprint long-term memories in the brain. I have these moments frozen like snapshots in my head.

  • My mom sitting in a living room chair holding me and singing a Christmas song to me on a dark December morning after my brother had left on the school bus.
  • The first time I had a dream, told my mom I’d seen a story in my brain in my sleep and said to her, “That’s what a dream is, isn’t?!?”. (It was about my white German Shepherd, Prince and the circus.)
  • My brother speeding me down the hill in our backyard on the handlebars of his green Schwinn bicycle.
  • My daddy coming home after being out of town and bringing me my own tiny softball cleats. (This was UNHEARD of, a girl having cleats!)
  • Anything in the Douglasville Public Library.
  • Sitting in my mom’s lap looking at the Sears Christmas catalog the moment it showed up in the mailbox! (We still did this WAAAAY after I was too big to be in my mom’s lap!)
  • Standing in the driveway and punting a football again and again over the electrical line that ran to the house.
  • Standing behind the house and throwing a softball against the house and catching it – over and over again.
  • Playing H-O-R-S-E with my brother in the driveway. (Fare thee well for I must leave thee…)
  • Making a fort during the summer with my canopy bed, a jump rope and a bunch of sheets. Laying in there in front of an oscillating fan and reading all afternoon. (We didn’t have air conditioning.)
  • Going to Granny and Aunt Jo’s and getting to go and pick out a drink in the glass bottle from the wood crates the man delivered to their house every week.
  • Spending the night with Granny and Aunt Jo. Granny making hot fresh biscuits every morning.
  • Book fair day!!!
  • Riding in the backseat of Daddy’s car and listening to WPCH “easy listening” music while Momma rested her hand on the back of Daddy’s neck.
  • Making the varsity softball team as a freshman.
  • Getting fouled under the basket by cross-town rival Betsy in the 9th grade basketball tournament. Laying on my back on the block and seeing my shot go in!
  • Blocking the same Betsy off the plate in a high school softball game, tagging her out and looking at the black cleat mark on my pants afterwards! Awesome!
  • Riding in the car with Daddy and listening to Willie Nelson’s “Stardust” album.
  • Watching “The Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” series for the first times.
  • Getting to stay up late by myself during the summer to watch Braves west coast games. On the couch, in the dark with the attic fan running, listening to a tipsy Skip Caray bemoan the pitiful team.
  • Eating cheese grits and chicken sandwiches at Cuz’n Catfish in Rome.
  • Looking out my office window at Oxford during a pouring rain an imagining the squirrels running up and down the tree outside are fish. *shrug*
  • Sitting in my car under a shade tree during the summer at Oxford, eating my lunch and reading a book.
  • Sitting on the porch of a house in the North Georgia mountains while the man I loved worked. We listened to old country music on the staticy radio. I don’t think I’d ever felt safer as an adult.
  • Running in the pitch black dark at Hinton Rural Life Center hoping I won’t run off the side of the road. After my eyes adjust, I realize I’m was running under a canopy of fireflies lighting the trees overhead.

It’s funny to realize nothing big makes the list. It’s the little things.

Happy Barren Womb Day!

I always approach Mother’s Day with mixed feelings.

I have been blessed to have the best mother anyone could have, even if she does does drive me bat shit crazy sometimes.

Momma taught me a love of reading. She set an example for me way back in the 70s when it wasn’t so common, that women could raise a family and still have a successful career and excel academically all at the same time. (Doctor of Education! Woot!)

She passed along her knowledge and love of music which has allowed me to enjoy singing in choirs for many years. (Although I’m sure she wishes she had all the money back she spent on those 10 years of piano lessons. When she finally let me quit, all I could play was Fur Elise and the Star Wars theme.) Along with all that I don’t think she ever missed a ball game I played. And there were LOTS of ball games.

But most importantly, bless her heart, she continues to show me unconditional love no matter how many fucked up things I do.

So I really do appreciate that there is an extra-special day each year set aside to recognize mothers. Frankly, I don’t know how they do what they do.

And that points to the reason Mother’s Day is always somewhat painful for me and lots of other women.

My husband and I decided after a year of marriage it was time to start having children. We tried for years, but I never got pregnant. (It probably would’ve helped if we weren’t angry with each other half the time and had more sex.)

Nevertheless, after five years of “trying” we started having THE tests. His sperm was good. My cervix had an adequate opening, my uterus was fecund and my ovaries were laying eggs on a regular schedule. The next step was going to be fertility drugs. And the minute I heard that, I realized that I didn’t want to go through all that.

I was starting to wonder if I wanted to have a baby at all, or was it that I was beginning to quietly think that I didn’t want to have a baby with this husband. I was also coming to suspect as my husband and I came to the end of our pregnancy quest that he would be the fun dad, taking the kids to the ball field and for ice cream and I would get stuck with all the actual dirty work of wiping butts and doing endless loads of laundry.

I decided if God wanted me to have a baby, I’d have one. And I didn’t.

Most days I’m OK with that. Being childless has allowed me to mostly do what I want. I can come home after work and read or watch TV. I can cook dinner when ever I want – or not. And I can lay on the couch all day Saturday with no responsibilities and nowhere to go. It gives me a lot more disposable income that I wouldn’t have had if I were spending it on kids. And I’m very happy that my husband and I didn’t have kids to drag though a divorce. (Although maybe we wouldn’t have gotten divorced if we’d had children.)

I actually don’t even think I would’ve been a very good parent. I generally feel like I’m 14-years-old every day. I don’t know if I could’ve handled the incredible responsibility of raising kids. And I have always seriously, really, no kidding, felt terrified and pretty certain that at some point my child would make me so angry that I would literally kill them.

But despite the benefits and the escape from my parenting doubts, there are times regret sneaks in. How many joyful experiences have I missed by not experiencing childbirth and child raising? What kind of love will I never know? Who will look after me when I get old?

It all makes me feel like a failure sometimes. It’s just something else I quit. Something else that I didn’t achieve. Something else that makes me less of a woman.

We used to do a ceremony at church on Mother’s Day called “The Blessing of the Families.” There was a liturgy of blessing the congregation read in unison for each “type of family.” The different groups could come down to the altar and be prayed for as their blessing was read.

The service was written to be very sensitive to the realities of all our different experiences. There was a reading for singles, a reading for families of our choosing, there was a reading for families with children…. Everyone was included. But it all just made me feel empty and made my heart ache. (Sorry, Mandy!)

Then one year it finally broke me. I was in the balcony and the families came down for blessing. I looked down at the altar and there was my good friend, our Associate Pastor, her beautiful husband and her three awesome, baseball playing children.

I suddenly realized that she was living the life I thought I’d be living. She’d graduated from seminary where she’d met a wonderful man who fathered her children and now they all camp at the baseball field. She was successfully living out all my failed goals, dreams and expectations.

Something in my brain snapped. I actually felt it. I knew I could either lose my shit right there and cry forever, or I could stay in that mental fracture and feel nothing. I felt nothing at all for 18 months after that. It was so much easier than dealing with the pain.

So know this Mother’s Day, that it’s not just a day of joy and celebration. “Mother” doesn’t have happy connotations for everyone. There are women like me who couldn’t have children. There are women who’ve lost children. There are people whose moms have died. There are people whose moms deserted them.There are people whose moms abused them physically, emotionally and/or sexually.

So be sensitive to those for whom Mother’s Day is a day of pain and regret and loss. Don’t forget us. Don’t discount us. Don’t pity us. Just try to understand us.

Scribbles & Crumbs: 7 Ways To Remember Hurting Mothers This Mother’s Day

An Open Letter To Pastors {A Non-Mom Speaks Out About Mother’s Day}

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Starting Over

I made the mistake of giving my mom the link to my other blog. I like to overshare my thoughts and feelings; and now my mom wants to discuss the “meaning” of everything I write. She thinks she’s my personal therapist. I have someone more objective I pay $60 every 45 minutes to do that.

It’s killing me dead and, anyway, she would be much better off to live in ignorance about my life and my struggles and my language. (“That’s not how we raised you! What will people think about me and Daddy?”)

So I’m starting over here. And if you tell my mom I will hunt you down and kill you dead. (You goddamn motherfucking shithead bitches.)