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In generations past, there was far less talk about “compatibility” and finding the ideal soul-mate. Today we are looking for someone who accepts us as we are and fulfills our desires, and this creates an unrealistic set of expectations that frustrates both the searchers and the searched for.
In John Tierney’s classic humor article “Picky, Picky, Picky” he tries nobly to get us to laugh at the impossible situation our culture has put us in. He recounts many of the reasons his single friends told him they had given up on their recent relationships:
“She mispronounced ‘Goethe.’”
I’m a longtime Hunger Games fan and have followed many conversations on the internet concerning the casting of the film. Whenever the conversation comes to Rue there is always (1) person who is surprised to find out Rue is black and (2) another person who is upset that Rue is black. Upset as if they have been tricked or as if something has been stolen from them. Upset as if they now have to reevaluate how they feel about Rue–a character many fans love dearly because of her incredible courage.
“OMG, THERE IS A BLACK PERSON IN MY BOOK!?”
Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.
I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.
If if I had one hope for newer moms, it wouldn’t be to try to wish away the Chronos moments, nor would it be to ignore the hard stuff, pretend it doesn’t exist, or to enjoy every single moment – because yes, that is impossible.
Instead, it would be to lift the Kairos up. To make a little extra space for them in your soul. To make them count just as much as – more than – the hard parts, even if they don’t seem to come quite as often. To give yourself a little credit for the fact that you have them at all and to give them more credence in your memory and the way you feel about your parenting.
In my mind, I’ve typically projected some tangible goal or goals out into the future, and then proceeded to torment myself by way of the process of trying to achieve it. By x date this year I’m going to weigh x amount, be x size in clothing, be able to fit into my “skinny jeans.” It’s a kind of sickness, this ceaseless dissatisfaction with the reality of my own body, whatever that reality is or has been. It’s degrading and deflating and demoralizing to never be good enough in your own mind.
He said a rising black middle class is promoting a growing belief among some black conservatives that problems of the disadvantaged are now rooted more in character or cultural problems, rather than race.
However Mr. Harrison said most black Americans maintain a strong racial identity, focused on redressing perceived lack of opportunities.
In One Second Everything Changes | The Girl Who
Yesterday our house caught fire. We all made it out safely thanks to a good samaritan who banged on our door and told us the house was on fire. Panic. What do you take when you only have seconds? Your kids and your dogs and that's it.
One second you're arguing over bullshit and the next second you don't have a home.
As a mom by international adoption myself, I am constantly battling what seems to be a common view in our society — that there’s something wrong with your family if you’ve got a child that you didn’t create the old-fashioned way. But the larger question for me that’s raised by this negative campaign ad, is this — when will our society stop viewing families formed by adoption as something that’s “other.” News reports dealing with families generally don’t make a point of commenting about whether children are biological members of their families. So why do so many people feel the need to point out if adoption was involved? Are they scared? Nervous? Uncomfortable? I think it’s a combination of all those things, but most of all it’s just wrong.
Kindness | Uppercase Woman
At night we share our bed, each on our side, feet rarely crossing the line between us to tuck toes under knees to keep them warm. The ends of the days feel like the time after a battle has been fought, when there’s nothing to do but hunker down, him with his poetry and me with my vampire fiction, each of us alone together.
It will still be Christmas. As always. There will still be joy and love and happiness and cheer — and annoyance with extended relatives and the other “junk” the comes along with a family holiday. It is still Christmas, both here and there. We celebrate. Separately. With those we love. Apart from those we love. It is what happens at Christmas tables the world around, touched by adoption or not. It is, as they say, what it is.
Tightrope walker | The Bloggess
They remind her to smile and enjoy those perfect moments whenever they arise, because life without fear is not a life fully appreciated. She smiles – not because she’s unaware of the alligators – but because she’s aware of them and because she knows how wonderful it feels when they release their jaws from your ankles.
that is not what working out looks like | O My Family
There are photographs out there floating around the interwebs that are referred to as “fitspiration” or “fitspo”. They are pictures of fit, well toned women in athletic apparel seemingly in the throws of a hardcore workout. Their purpose is to inspire the viewer to work like the woman in the picture is “working” so that you can look like she does.
K, but here’s the thing.
THAT IS NOT WHAT WORKING OUT LOOKS LIKE.
If America is a family, it’s a family that has tacitly agreed to never speak again — not with much honesty, anyway — about the terrible things that went on in its divided house. Slavery has been taught, it has been written about. There can’t be many subjects that rival it as an academic ink-guzzler. But the culture has not digested slavery in a meaningful way, hasn’t absorbed it the way it has World War II or the Kennedy assassination. We don’t feel the connections to it in our bones. It’s hard enough these days to connect with what happened 15 minutes ago, let alone 15 decades, given the endless layers of “classic,” “heirloom,” “traditional” “collectible,” “old school” comfort we’re swaddled in. But isn’t it the least we could do? What is the willful forgetting of slavery if not the coverup of a crime, an abdication of responsibility to its victims and to ourselves?
So I was standing in line, eavesdropping, over this mom and her four-year-old daughter who had crammed themselves around one of these tables. The mother was beautiful, in a seemingly and annoyingly no-effort kind of way, and she was dressed in the area’s mom uniform…fancy workout clothes. The ringlet child next to her was wearing some kind of pink and red fancy dress. It was 8 a.m. They didn’t have any food or beverage on their tiny table. They were just sitting there, waiting for something maybe, and the daughter was begging for a cookie. The mom said, “Sweetheart, no, no cookies, you don’t want cookies. You need to lose some weight.”
And then I stopped breathing.
Seriously, World.| Her Bad Mother
Can we discuss for a minute how horrible the word ‘tolerant’ can be, viewed from certain angles? The children come from families who tolerate difference, and so they have certainly learned how to tolerate people who are different! How wonderful of them to put up with things and people that undermine their comfort! How lovely they must be, to straighten their backs and stiffen their smiles and tolerate others who are not like them, when doing so surely strains their aesthetic fibre! Tolerate is something you do in response to icky, unpleasant, discomfiting things. It is not a marker of being a good person. I tolerate cold weather, I tolerate the taste of eggplant, I tolerate assholes – I do not expect to be lauded for these things. Tolerating minor inconveniences is how I get by in the world as a functioning human being; this is what distinguishes me from puppies and toddlers. THIS IS NOT PRAISEWORTHY. WE SHOULD DO BETTER.