In less than two weeks, Minion and I will be celebrating 4 years of marriage. Though, really, it still feels like every day is already a celebration for us. I guess in that respect, most folks would probably consider that makes us effectively still newlyweds. And maybe we are. I don’t know when that feeling wears off, but maybe it’s the side benefit of marrying your best friend, the person you’re most comfortable with, and the one you most want to spend all your time with. If that’s the case, maybe it will always feel that way for us. I hope so.
But we haven’t done much to make a big deal about our anniversaries since the first one. That year, my gift to him was a “Congratulations, Papa!” Father’s Day card along with a copy of my test results, showing “we” were becoming three. I don’t think I’m going to be able to top that for a while. And, of course, every anniversary since has been with a little one in tow, and not a lot of time or sleep in our lives, so we just haven’t been making that big of a deal about them.
Our 2nd anniversary — our first with Firebird — was the first time someone in public mistook us to be our baby’s grandparents. It won’t be the last, I’m sure. Not much we can do about that, though, except to laugh at ourselves, and be grateful Firebird keeps us young at heart.
In some respects, I feel like being married has changed so much about me. Not just in the sense of who I am now, but even who I thought I was. I don’t think I realized before how much “sex appeal” had been such a vital element of my own sense of self. And, I’m not saying I can’t be sexy anymore — it just isn’t as important these days as it once was to even bother to try. I guess maybe I don’t come across like an obvious “catch,” now that I’ve been caught. I have Minion to thank for that, and I make sure I do. Often.
Minion thinks I’m sexy. He calls me his “Pretty Mama,” after the Eagles hit, “One of These Nights.” He says he always felt a connection to that song, searching for that woman in white, and he found her, in me. That’s as sexy as I ever need to be. These days I don’t have to care what anyone else thinks about my sex appeal. Minion’s opinion is enough for me.
Minion naturally creates a nice “safety buffer” between me and the rest of man-kind. I like that. I’m so grateful not to have to be “out there” in the meat market of the single life. When I was dating, I wouldn’t say I had a great perspective on men in general. I imagine that’s fortunate, because if I had, I’m sure the perspective wouldn’t have been favorable. At all.
But you can’t really judge an entire gender based on the limited frame of reference you get in pools of options available to ladies seeking male companionship.* (*And even gals who are not, as prowlers and players are not great at “staying in their lane,” and many seem to think all women are “fair game.”) I expect the types of men most women are constantly barraged by “out there” are most likely not the best cross-section of the male of the species to fairly represent men as a whole. Or at least, one would hope not, anyway.
I contend, if you’re looking to settle down (for the record, I wasn’t, and didn’t think I ever would, when I did), you’re better off looking a little closer to home than putting yourself “out there.” Lifelong partners are best made from lifetime friends, and “out there” is a crazy place. You’d think most men must see themselves as hammers, the way they act like their primary function is pounding, and every woman just needs to get nailed.
I’ve never formally come out and said # metoo, partially because I’m not looking for sympathy, partially because I don’t want to be seen as just as statistic, but mainly, to some degree, because I figure it pretty much goes without saying. If you’re living as a woman, in this culture, we can probably all just safely assume # metoo, in some respects. And then some, for some of us.
I won’t go into details. They aren’t relevant now. But it was enough to have impacted my development, my adolescence, my adulthood, and possibly even my perspective on my place in this world. That kind of trauma can be consequential enough to significantly color every aspect of your life. It was enough to have created deep-rooted, inveterate patterns, putting out signals like a homing beacon alerting victimizers, manipulators, gaslighters and abusers to take advantage. Enough that those patterns were difficult to break free from. Enough that I lost at least 15 years of my life to trying. Enough that breaking free took getting into my 40s, and finding someone exactly opposite of everything I’d ever been drawn to. Even enough that when I was pregnant, I desperately wanted a girl.
That’s why Minion and I determined we had to know beforehand. I was so emotionally invested in having a girl, it was imperative I find out with enough time left in advance to become enamored with the idea of bringing a man-child into this world. I figured if there was any chance I was going to be disappointed, I didn’t want it to be on the day I delivered our bundle of joy. Shortly after I got the news, when I was still trying to adjust to it, I had some private time with my Mom, who helped me to put everything in the right perspective.
Mom asked me why I wanted to have a girl. I told her, because this world is so complex to navigate for little girls, and even still more so for women, I wanted to be able to help guide my baby from infancy through the danger zone of culturally institutionalized social conditioning, chauvinism and misogyny she could not escape, into becoming a strong, independent young woman able to stand up for herself and make her own way in life. I wanted to be the force that would protect her, the way I hadn’t been — the one that saved her from having to endure what I went through.
What my Mom told me in response that day changed my life. She said, “Honey, if you bring up a little boy to become a strong, independent, kind and loving, respectful young man able to think for himself and stand up for what he believes, even when it goes against the flow... you’ll save a lot of little girls.” In that moment, I began to realize some small semblance of scope of the magnitude that task truly carries. I cried tears of relief and gratitude then, for having been raised by such a wise and loving maternal figure. And from then on, I could hardly wait to get to work on what will surely be the greatest responsibility of my life.
Pregnancy is an emotionally turbulent time, but the issues looming before you are immense, and even without hormonal upheaval, it shouldn’t be any surprise when your reaction to them becomes overwhelming. I remember the day I was on my way to work, about six months along, when I had to pull over on the side of the road just to cry, because, during one of the many “conversations” I had regularly with my internal mini me while driving, I realized, I was absolutely, completely, totally, head-over-heels, madly, crazy, bonkers-in-love with the tiny little creature growing inside me — my sweet little baby boy.
Last week, a billionaire investment guru at a wealth management summit lost a $6M contract to backlash and outcry over disgusting sexist comments and other generally offensive remarks, when a number of CEOs in attendance were willing to break the secretive code of silence at the exclusive event in order to expose his crude behavior as unacceptable.
I’ll say that again.
People of power at a Billionaire Boys Club summit banded together to draw a line in the sand and say,
“This is not okay,”
. . . about one of their own.
It’s historical. Groundbreaking. Momentous.
It’s inspiring, and potentially a positive catalyst for change.
But even so, sadly, it’s only barely a drop in the bucket.
A brave 16-yr-old girl stands up before the United Nations to say, “How dare you” to a collective of powerful leaders more concerned with maintaining the wealth of antiquated fuel sources than about its impact on this planet, or the health and well-being of our children. She is mocked, ridiculed, and threatened with violence and even death for speaking the truth, by the types who believe god would never allow his people to have a negative impact on their surrounding environment in the land he promised to them. She speaks of science, and the need for change for the future. They attack her looks, her clothes, her behavior, and her mental health.
This is not okay.
Leading this affront is the Gossamer-In-Chief, who left the climate summit to attend a gathering of religious zealots seeking government sanctioned “freedom” to impose their version of morality on this abomi-nation. Whether or not they will be granted the power to exercise their “right” to restrict and deny the basic rights of others will be determined by a group of conciliators as divided as their domain. They are supposed to represent the best among us, blameless and above reproach. But their number includes members confirmed amid the scandal of sexual assault, where actions spoke louder than words, and told the world, it’s not that we don’t believe brave women willing to speak up — it’s just that we don’t care.
This is not okay.
This month, a former white police officer was sentenced to prison for killing an unarmed black man in his home. He was sitting on his couch, eating ice cream. One might be tempted to call a singular case of accountability in an ocean of impunity a promising breakthrough. But two days later, the principal witness in that case was shot and killed, execution style, in the mouth — a tactic generally reserved for snitches.
Just yesterday, not 35 miles from the same spot, an unarmed black woman was shot to death in her home by a white cop. She’d been up late playing video games with her 8-yr-old nephew. Police had been dispatched to her location in response to a wellness check, based on a report from a concerned neighbor that her front door was open. In Texas. In 70 degree heat.
This is not okay.
Stories like this make me want to close my eyes and wake up from a nightmare, to believe these things don’t happen in the land of the free, that they would never happen here. But that’s not the reality we live in. So we have to be prepared.
Our mixed-race boy will grow up having been firmly ingrained to uphold the laws of the land, and always keep your nose clean. And when you’re unsure, when you’re scared, when you need help, reach out to your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community, your own. Folks who get you will be there to support you. But whatever you do... never, ever call the cops.
This is not okay.
We’re making some progress, I won’t discount that. It just isn’t enough. Not by a long shot. Not when for every ounce of ground we gain, regressive forces are working to oppose justice, inclusiveness, and the basic human right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
These days, it feels like every time we wake up, some new societal corruption has arisen to pivotally drive home the point that our rights don’t matter. The law doesn’t matter. Women don’t matter. Our children don’t matter. Love doesn’t matter. Science doesn’t matter. The environment doesn’t matter. Sanity, reason, logic, and critical thinking do not matter. The future doesn’t matter. Humanity doesn’t matter. None of us matter.
We’ve got a lot of issues in front of us right now. Really. The world is a mess.
The road to fixing it is not going to be easy.
But when, finally, titans of industry are willing to take on and fight with other titans, that’s a good start for all of us. And perhaps, even, in a world where the illusion of wealth and the power to maintain it is more important than anything else, and nothing makes sense anymore, maybe a battle between giants is the only way to ever achieve real change. So maybe we need to keep making them take notice.
Keep speaking your mind. Even if your voice shakes. Keep them paying attention.
Let them know we are the majority. We are outraged. And this is not okay.
It’s a deplorable tragedy that we as a people have regressed to still be fighting the same great battles hard fought for in the 60s over basic human rights. Back in the days when protesters were crusaders for peace and love, and champions of the oppressed, and Peter Paul and Mary immortalized, “If I Had a Hammer,” it seemed then like there was hope for the future.
And yet, here we are.
So, if I want my son to grow up in a world worth living in, I’ve got to pick up my hammer and get to work. Because everywhere I look, everything’s a nail.
We’ve got a hammer of justice
We’ve got a bell of freedom
And we’ve got a song to sing
about the love between our brothers and sisters
All over this land.
LJ Idol | Season 11 • Week 3 - Topic: EVERYTHING LOOKS LIKE A NAIL
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