Archive for the ‘You are worth more than this’ Category

Don’t they know this is America?   Leave a comment

There’s a poem I think most of us know the last four lines of at least. I’ve been thinking about it lately. It goes:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

That’s what I think of when I hear the words “United States of America”.

At least, it was.

You see, I have been here for four and a half years. Not very long, all things considered, but long enough to have encountered a problem with this ideology.
People here – and I do mean here, where I am living right now – seem to feel that huddled masses are all ok… as long as they are white, English speaking, and christian. I hear things all the time. A 50 year old women mimicking Cantonese. The word ‘chinks’ used in polite conversation. ‘Go home’ shouted from a car window as a woman in a turban walks along the street.
This is normal. Somehow the idea that America was founded on the ideology of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness seems to exclude those who conform to a different norm. I hear ‘Don’t they know this is America?’ a lot. I may be an outsider, but from my perspective the problem is that these people who use such casual racism have failed to realise that they are in America. The melting pot. The country founded with colonies and immigrants from the world over. Many places have strong cultural differences that they have kept from the very beginning.

This America is a place built on the ideal of ‘E pluribus unum’ – from many, one. America was founded on many ideals, the principle of which was freedom. A freedom which many Americans seem to feel only appropriate if it is the freedom to speak, look, and believe as they do. This seems so far removed from the America that Americans themselves have been selling for generations that I find it hard to reconcile the ideal with the fact.

Why is it so easy to dismiss those who are different as less? Why is it ok to joke, insult or even harass them? I find it sad. America is supposed to be more. It could be more. It should be more.

Armpits4August. It’s a thing.   Leave a comment

So, this came up.
Most of what I could say is in this article. Please do read.

What I’m going to do is tell you why I don’t shave, and it’s not because I’m a feminist.
It’s because I’m a mother.

I first stopped shaving when I was 3 months pregnant and nearly slipped in the shower. Anyone who has a baby knows how terrifying those first few months are. There is a constant, and somewhat valid, fear of doing something and loosing the baby. Shaving became one of those things I just did not have the guts to do.
I’d been shaving for years. The menfolk in my life seemed to prefer it, and I always thought of it as cleaner. Who wants smelly armpit hair? As for my legs, well, I have PCOS myself. They look like dude’s legs. I also have a small beard.
I was very, very self conscious. I still remember crying many, many times because I just felt so self conscious about it. Once my husband even stopped on a trip somewhere to get some razors, because I would freak out about it.
Then I got pregnant.
Everything changed. I stopped shaving my legs and everything else, too. I was still self-conscious, but at least I no longer feared being mistaken for a cross dresser (which I also feel guilty for, because there is nothing wrong with actually being a cross dresser ). A Pregnant belly is an unmistakable mark of femininity. Suddenly I was confident in my gender identity as never before. I am a woman. I like being a woman. I am happy being a woman. Finally, I am secure in being a woman. It doesn’t work that way for everyone, but for me, it did.
Then i had my baby.
Getting out became a goal in and of itself. Who cares what I look like? If I got my hair brushed every day it was a miracle; shower once a week was impressive. Everything became about pushing through those hard, hard first months. I had to refocus on what what important: Getting my hair brushed, and wearing my shirt right way out. I stopped caring about my hair. I didn’t even notice. I was so wrapped up in caring for my baby that some how I stopped worrying about how other people see me.
Then I was showering every second day and even got out for walks with my baby. I could walk without pain and my mind felt clear again. It happened some time around the six month mark that I woke up.
I realised that I didn’t hate myself anymore. I actually feel *good* about myself. I am happy being this way! There is nothing wrong with arm pit hair and a bit of a beard! I have nothing to prove. Not to the world. Not to you… and not to myself.

Then came the next realisation.
I am my daughter’s model. When she looks at me, she will see what she will look like when she grows up – even though she may, in reality, look nothing like me she will still think this way. If I show her that I am not happy with my body, then how can she be happy with hers? In her mind, I am judging her when I judge myself. Mother is the model of all things to daughter. I can teach her self love. This is my opportunity to make her happier than I ever was. I can teach her to love herself by not changing myself. By saying ‘I’m fine as I am’ I can teach her that so, too, is she. I can teach her to be healthy instead of thin; by happy instead of shaven. I am going to. If she chooses to shave later on, that’s her choice. But I will not have taught her from her youngest days that she has to to be a woman. She will not know how much self doubt I was tourtured with because I had a few hairs on my chin.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is where I will now explain something even more mind blowing than my journey to self acceptance with the help of a litle baby.
There is not a single part of your anatomy that does not serve a purpose.
Even your hair.
I know. I know. Pubic hair is icky, right? Wrong. As icky as public hair seems, what it actually does is keep the skin underneath clean and free of harmful bacteria. When you shave, you actually cover your skin in harmful bacteria and open it up with micro-tears in to which the bacteria can travel. Other removal methods are just as harsh. You actually make yourself more dirty by removing it.
It also makes things more comfortable. It reduces friction when you move your arms… and during sex. It cushions one against bacteria carried by one’s partner during sex, too. If you’re having casual sex, keep in mind that those micro-tears that let bacteria in also make you more likely to catch STDs. I found my regular UTIs disappeared after I stopped shaving. Nothing else worked.
So yea. It’s there for good reasons.

Put some though in to Armputs4August ladies – and gents. See if you like the freedom it brings. I sure did. You might be happier – and healthier.