She woke up outraged at 5:40 and immediately ate
- a pancake
- a container of yogurt
- a container of applesauce
- a serving of oatmeal
- two more pancakes
She woke up outraged at 5:40 and immediately ate
Back in the day--May, I think, before I came to realize how incredibly busy May and June were going to be for me--one of my funny, thoughtful friends asked me what I do when men on the street tell me to smile. She wanted a good feminist comeback. She wrote:
I've actually said once--this was in a bar, way back when, "it's not my job to smile for you." But that didn't have the impact I was looking for. The person followed up with "but you have such a pretty smile." Which, of course, he couldn't have possibly even known having never seen me smile....so annoying.
When I've talked to male friends about this--none of whom would ever say such a thing--they insist that the guy is just trying to "cheer me up." I've even gone so far as to speculate that I have a naturally turned-down mouth and it can look like I'm in a foul mood when I'm really not....but no, I don't think that's it because too many women have this same experience. And what stinks is that these men actually think they're being nice with this comment! Ugh.
If you do come up with any interesting comeback, let me know. And of course, feel free to blog about it.
Biffle is responsible for the very useful concept of complementary neuroses. He advises that, when you're seeking a partner, you try to find someone with neuroses that complement your own. In other words, if you're an anxious, controlling person who is very effective at managing the various components of your life, you might not want to pair up with someone like that. Far better to have a partner who is--to quote a friend's father--high thrill, low anxiety: someone who might not be so good at keeping the bills paid, but who has a good time and can seduce you into doing the same. Same neuroses = overwhelming anxiety (or no bills getting paid). Complementary neuroses = balance.
I'd like to complicate this concept by adding the notion of aligned vulnerabilities. Although I think it's great if one partner is calm while the other one is freaking out, I've also learned that it's often a real gift if both partners can share moments of vulnerability. This can add additional depth to the relationship.
Here's an extended story that will lead to an example: Maybelle has started camp this week. She's at Camp Baker, which is a great kids' camp noteworthy for the fact that they have trained Red Cross swim instructors, and the kids are in the pool twice a day. You can see Maybelle here, sporting her new frog backpack. (As a completely unrelated side-note, when we gave her the backpack, she immediately knew what it was, said, "Backpack!", put it on, and then said, "Go to work." Her mother, as it turns out, wears a backpack when she goes to work, and Maybelle is paying attention.)
At any rate, she's going to camp. And the first week of camp is transition time for everybody--including the adults. On Monday, when Biffle and I went together to pick her up, he got teary, wondering how her day was for her. On Tuesday, when I was taking her to camp, I got teary (and by "got teary," I mean, "Anybody looking over to my car would have seen me crying"), wondering how her day was going to be. Since then, I've been reflecting on how nice it is to have a partner who sometimes shares your vulnerabilities--even goofy ones. Biffle and I didn't have to worry that our partner would think we were being ridiculous, or would tell us to suck it up, or would comfort us while kindly rolling their eyes. We got to share a moment of connection through our vulnerability.
The important ending to this story: Maybelle is having a great time at camp. She's not eating at all while she's there, but rest assured there'll be another blog post about that.
Here's my final post about the Berks. It was a great conference, but actually--and I know this is a controversial point to make*--I think NWSA is better.
Here's the breakdown, as I saw it:
Here's a quick middle of the day post, loosely related to the conference--in particular, to one comment made at the conference. Here's what I would have said, had this been a conference all about me:
Stop talking about the biology of parenthood, about the fact that giving birth to a child changes things, changes your perceptions of the world.
I have a biological connection to my daughter, in the sense that thinking about her while I'm here at the conference sometimes makes me tear up a bit, in the sense that I wake up in the middle of the night if she makes a noise in her crib, in the sense that her giggles physically alter how my body feels. These biological connections do not come from the fact that she is a person who was cooked up in my body. They come from the fact that she is my daughter, and that's a status, a position, a location, a lived experience.
Why is this important to me, so important that I started fuming, silently raging this afternoon? It's important for several reasons:
Claire informs me that I have to tell people I’m going to the Berkshires, not “the Berks,” but it is the case that the conference at which I’m presenting this weekend is called the Big Berks. It’s a very cool, triannual conference for women’s history, and since this year’s theme is “Generations,” Astrid Henry pulled together a roundtable on third wave feminism, and I get to take part. I gotta say, when Rory Dicker and I took the opportunity to include Astrid in Catching a Wave, we made such a smart decision! Not only because her piece was great, but because she’s been a fabulous professional resource for me, as well as a friend.
My mom has been here this week, taking care of Maybelle in the week between the end of her school and the beginning of camp season. They have had a great time together. Maybelle has been quite talkative, saying (and reading) "Nonny" and learning that her grandmother is a person who will do just about anything Maybelle can ask for. Maybelle's lengthiest sentence in her life so far emerged this week:
"I ready to go walk."