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Live and let decide

Since today seems to be the day when people would like to push their values and opinions on others regarding the subject of abortion all over Facebook, I decided I will push my values and opinions on those people, too.

So. Abortion. Always a tricky subject, right? I know my opinion on the matter has changed probably a dozen times, according to age and perspective, religious beliefs, situation in life, etc. It’s OK for your opinions to change — that just means you’re growing as a person.

But here is my personal stance:

Due to every life experience that I have had up until now, and due to the fact that my religion disagrees with abortion, I can comfortably say that I would love to live in a world where abortion does not exist. However, I also look forward to a world where women are not judged for their decisions (and not just women, anyone), where women are not judged for having extramarital sex (premarital and otherwise), where family units are strong and supportive so that if an unwanted pregnancy occurs, a woman or a girl doesn’t feel alone. I look forward to a world without violent crime; a world without rape, a world without molestation and abuse. I look forward to a world where due to healthy relationships and medical advances, proper diets and healthy lifestyles, we have eliminated mental health problems to the degree where a mother having a child would not harm her psychological well-being. I look forward to a world where that same medicine has advanced to a point where we better know how to deal with ectopic pregnancies, with birth defects (whether helping correct these in utero or having a better understanding of them to where we can offer a child a healthy and full life with disabilities), and with so many things we don’t yet fully understand.

I also look forward to a world in which we don’t judge other people’s choices. No matter what your faith (or lack thereof), I think that we can all agree that our choices are up to our conscience and our understanding of right from wrong. I also understand that there is a fine line between a blanket statement like that and people committing crimes and feeling justified in doing so.

I fully understand equating abortion to murder, trust me. I believe in the soul, I believe a baby has one the moment of conception. I also believe that that soul is pure, and if it passes due to a miscarriage or due to an abortion, the soul itself never suffered and is somewhere much better than we will ever be able to grasp.

When it comes to legislation, how about this: if there is a ever a bill or a law that seeks to criminalize abortion, how about you vote on it in the privacy of your voting booth without the need of pushing your values, for or against, on others? This will allow us to be unified, peaceful towards each other, and allow the democratic process that we value so much to work out any disagreements we may have.

You never know who has been through what in this life, and what may have led them to make a tough decision one way or another. Your friend, your neighbor, your sister, and even your mother. Do you honestly think you know whether they have ever been put in the awful situation of having to choose? How do you think it feels to not only judge yourself, but feel judged by others? Have a little compassion, and remember: you’re not perfect, either.

September 30, 2011   8 Comments

Brats (and I don’t mean the children)

Every so often I will run across posts/comments on blog or Facebook that just make me angry. I know, little even-tempered ol’ me? Angry? Lies and calumnies!

I get particularly upset when these posts have to do with certain aspects of parenting. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Are you freaking kidding me? You don’t even have children yet, just wait until you do and then try being all holier than me!” But see, the thing is, it’s not even that. I don’t care if you co-sleep or if you put baby in the corner, I don’t care if you breastfeed or formula feed, I don’t care if you stay at home or take your child to day care, I don’t care if you cloth diaper or disposable it up. I may have very defined ideas about what I plan to do when it comes to decisions like those, but that doesn’t mean I’m inflexible or incapable of realizing that when the time comes, I may change my mind and that many things depend on the patience you realize you have, your child’s personality and temperament, and your life circumstances at a given moment in time. There are no two identical mothers, and even if there were, their husbands would be different (if they were even in the picture) and vice versa. We, and our life experiences, are all unique snowflakes.

So what are the parenting statements that bother me? Gems like these: “I was going to go to Bonaroo, but I couldn’t find a baby-sitter for this kid.” Or, “After two hours of trying to feed Mikey and him just spitting everything up, I gave up. And now that I have to go to my nail appointment, he decides he’s hungry. GREAT, CHILD.”

Look, I understand and appreciate that when you have a child you are exhausted, hormonal, and that it’s an emotional roller-coaster dealing with your tot’s moods, rhythms, and needs. I understand that sometimes we all need to vent. I understand that sometimes a parent may suddenly feel like they stopped being an individual and are just “Jonie’s mommy” and are frustrated that they always have to put someone else’s needs before their own (or… at least I hope they do).

What I don’t understand is this concept that a child, a toddler, and even an infant has to conform and fit around the lifestyle you were accustomed to, and any deviation from that pattern is seen as a discomfort or a nuisance. You had a child; your life will naturally change. (“Organically”, one might say. Erin, I’m lookin’ at you!) Your child did not ask to be brought into this world. Your child did not nag you to pop open those knees and lay back and enjoy the show — and I don’t mean childbirth, I mean the nine months prior. Your child did not choose you as a parent, it got you.

And he/she is a blessing… remember? Remember 9th grade biology and awkward high school health class when your gym coach had to talk about conception while everyone uncomfortably shifted in their seats? The likelihood that a woman happens to be ovulating AND fertile AND that a particular sperm fertilizes that egg AND that it implants AND that it develops into a baby that grows to term? Those odds are NOT THAT DIFFERENT from the odds that there are planets in our universe inhabited by sentient beings. So, blessing indeed.

George laughs because I often say that it frustrates me that people are logically required to obtain driver’s licenses to operate a hunk of metal. No one disputes that little law, right? It’s to ensure the safety of all of us as a society. Well. I think people should be required to obtain baby-having-licenses before procreating. First, you should be a certain age. Second, you should have certain skills under your belt… I’m cool with people having a learner’s permit while they acquire the aforementioned skills. Third, you should pay every so often to renew that license to make sure those skills are still sharp. If you do it wrong, do something that recklessly endangers others (a.k.a. YOUR CHILD) then you should get a ticket. And if you drink and parent, you should just get your license taken away. (And by drink, I mean do anything stupid.)

I recently read a Jezebel article entitled, ‘Isn’t a baby supposed to cramp your style?‘ I’m normally a little weary of any family-related Jezebel articles, but it made me super hopeful to realize that there are parents out there that put their children first and don’t lament (or resent) their lives changing.

All this to say… next time you’re rolling your eyes over having to find a sitter, having to clean poop off the seat of your car, or not getting enough sleep, remember that you chose to have sweet sweet love making your child.

August 29, 2011   3 Comments

My mom needs a new hip… I mean, is so hip!

I’m currently in Cancun interpreting for a conference having to do with law enforcement. During breaks and at lunch time, we play music from our iPods in the room. I keep making fun of my mom for playing music that is too ancient and boring to keep even old people awake.

Today she grabs her iPod at lunch time before I was able to beat her to it. She’s like, “Hey! I’ll play this! Who is Ham-eero-kai?”

Laughing, “You mean, ‘Jamiroquai’?”

“Oh, whatever!” The music starts, the organizers are pleasantly surprised in the change in music and even remark on it. My mom smiles smugly. “See? Now you can’t tell me this song isn’t even from this millenium. At least I’m playing something current now.”

More laughing, “Mom, I think this song is from 1993… it just sounded futuristic 18 years ago…”

She can’t help but laugh, shrug, and just give up.

August 15, 2011   3 Comments

PSA: Reverse Racism

I’m sure you all have things that just annoy the ever-loving crap out of you. I sure do! Tons. But few make me as angry as when people make serious comments about “groups”, ethnic or otherwise, because they themselves have at one point or another felt targeted, so they feel justified “getting back” or because they are related to someone who is OF the minority (I will occasionally jokingly say “retarded” and mention how my retarded aunt called me a retard, but I’m not serious, so don’t include me in the Pioneer Woman category, I beg you). For example, when a minority says, “All entitled white girls look the same.” First of all, bitter much? (Note: I am not a white girl.) Secondly, how would you feel if you were say, Korean, and someone from another ethnicity said you look just like every Japanese person they’ve ever met? Pretty insulted, I’m guessing, and there are a lot more “Asians” in this world than whiteys.

“Reverse racism” is never OK, especially not to teach someone a lesson in a passive way. How in the hell do you expect people who are lumping you into a category to reflect on their words/actions if you behave in exactly the same way instead of taking the high road?

My annoyance here, though, is that reverse racism doesn’t ACTUALLY exist. It’s just freaking RACISM, people.

*hops off soapbox to continue studying, humming that “The more you know!” tune*

June 29, 2011   2 Comments

The Picasso of Dance

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Happy Birthday, Martha Graham.

May 11, 2011   4 Comments

Who needs to get pretty for men? a.k.a. Wow, women are forward.

I spent the entire day running errands in 90ºF. As one would imagine, by the time I got to my last stop, the grocery store, I was red-faced, my ponytail was coming loose, I was all sweaty, and my tongue was wagging. To give you a complete picture, I was wearing no makeup, George’s oversized Zero G polo shirt, pijama jeans (haters gonna hate, but they’re ridiculously comfortable), and Crocs. In my defense, they’re ballerina Crocs, so they look like shoes.

So I’m cruising the produce section, a vision in sweat stains, singing to the grocery store 90s pop, and I bump grocery carts with a peppy girl about my age, singing to the music, too. We laugh, do the “you first no you first” thing, and that’s that. Except that’s not that. I keep seeing her pop up next to me everywhere in the store. I start wondering if I’m just paranoid and having persecution delirium, when I feel a hand on my arm.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to weird you out, you just look so full of life that it caught my attention.”

What. Do you. Reply. To that?

“Um… thanks!”

She proceeds to ask me a couple questions about items in my cart (?!) and comments on how healthy I eat from what she can see (?!) and asks if I’m a good cook (?!).

“I don’t know. My husband seems to think so!”

She cocks her head to the side, half smiles, and says, “Lucky man. You know… you really should wear a ring. Have a nice day!” And then she walks off.

I just stood there trying to process what had just happened and trying to not to start laughing. Biggest WTF moment of the year so far.

You heard ‘er, George. Go buy me something sparkly!

April 20, 2011   8 Comments

Blind as a bat

I love my yearly visit to Brevard Eye Center. This time, I went knowing full well that I have finally reached the age when comfort trumps vanity and I am giving up on contact lenses and on ONLY wearing glasses when I’m home or in a dark movie theater. Bring on the four eyes!!!

The only thing I absolutely hate is the pupil dilation. I never knew why it bothered me so much (and I mean, to the point where I alternate between feeling high and wanting to vomit, all while feeling like I’m underwater and half blind) until this last visit. And here’s why:

I have artificial 20/20 vision. What does that even mean? In the words of Dr. H, “You basically have Superman muscles in your eyes. They are overcompensating so that you have really amazing vision, when your vision actually kind of sucks.” OK, he didn’t say the sucks part. That’s all me. But my vision does suck… a lot. A lot more than I’m prepared to admit.

So when my pupils are dilated and those muscles are relaxed and my eyes can’t force themselves to focus, my brain starts freaking out. FREAKING OUT. And that, apparently, is what my REAL vision is like. I can barely see a hand in front of my face. Awesome. So I picked out some frames (not that day, two days later, I couldn’t even see well enough that day to grab the frames I had already CHOSEN).

I feel old!

March 26, 2011   7 Comments

heart.

clawing at the surface
desirous of a scar
that will somehow prove
it really happened, it’s not in your head
blade etching out a name
letter by
l-e-t-t-e-r
– halting prematurely
when your mind goes blank
monochromatic images; fantasies?
“almost” and “could have been”
blinding brightness, deafening silence
smug, mocking witnesses
of that unspoken goodbye

heavy, so heavy
so heavy, heart

March 22, 2011   3 Comments

August 16th

I’ve been a jumble of nerves, a mess of emotions, for the past few days. As a testament to the power of the mind and how it shields us from the things we don’t want to think about, it didn’t dawn on me until just this moment why I’ve felt, as cliché as this may sound, “sick to my heart”. Today is a date best forgotten… but I just can’t seem to let go, to forgive others, to forgive myself.

It’s taken me months to write in here again, even something as obscure as that. Everything has seemed too personal and too “mine” to want to share it or to even rehash it for myself by putting it into written words, but I haven’t felt this overwhelmed and flooded with thoughts that need some sort of an outlet in, perhaps, years.

I guess that makes this my re-introduction into the blogging world. Be gentle, Internet!

August 16, 2010   3 Comments

It’s the most wonderful(ly busy) time of the year…

Huge chunks of the past year have been… well, frankly… a little boring!

I don’t mean the parts that have to do with George: I was lucky enough to marry my best friend, someone who makes me laugh so hard my sides hurt on a daily basis and who finds me equally (although he claims much more) hilarious. Life is happy. The “boring” parts have been the parts where I have had to be unemployed because before you’re a resident, you’re not legally allowed to work here, and I only got my residency in October. What is that, you say? You can file for a work permit while your visa is being processed? Yes, you can! I got mine three days, yes, THREE DAYS, before my visa was authorized. Useful!

With such an uneventful year, I expected it to remain that way… and remain that way it did until I was hired as part of a team of translators working on the files for a legal case in Mexico… hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages. Hundreds of pages to try and work through while being sick. And Thanksgiving. And my aunt Maria Luisa and Coquito coming to visit. And my mom’s upcoming (tomorrow!!!) visit, as well as the arrival of our friends Lauren and Mojdeh for the SED conference. Did I mention devotionals? And Ruhi circles? And regular chores? And work?

My mom always said, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.” I spent the better part of this year begging and praying to be busy and occupied and to have consistent work and visits from friends… and there you go.

So, I guess, thank You? :-)

P.S. Who doesn’t like freebies? I am currently obsessed with Annie Little’s “Fly Me Away”. You know the girl who sings the song on the new Kindle commercial? Well, it seems Amazon is giving the mp3 away. You’ll love it. Click here.

December 16, 2009   2 Comments