Sunday, August 13, 2017

Carrying On

Lately, I've been reading ebooks from the library system like it's going out of style. I found that I can, when we have down time, read like crazy and enjoy myself and I am re-finding my love of reading (that wasn't really lost, just slightly misplaced).

Currently, I am reading Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. It is beautiful and brutal. My heart soars and my heart aches with some of these stories.

And it's reminded me that I need to be my authentic self. People seem to like that person. She's nice and caring and admits mistakes and loves all sorts of things that make me so very happy. She's a bit of a mess, but she's trying. And she has opinions, which is something I've usually tried to avoid expressing unless I am sure about other people's opinions. So that I'm safe from arguments or disagreements or people yelling or just talking loudly.

I wish I knew what exactly started my hiding my opinions about things. I think it had to do with my mother. I don't want to make her a scapegoat for all my problems, but she did seem to cause quite a few of them. It wasn't safe to have opinions other than hers around her. She didn't like that, and I wanted her to like me so that maybe she might love me in a way I needed loving. But it didn't happen. That, of course, did not stop me from keeping up that habit, in case it might start working (and yes, I know that's insane, but you do insane things when dealing with insane situations).

And by the time I was around someone (Ace) who I could be completely free to share opinions with, I had stopped forming many opinions. What was the use, if they weren't going to be able to be expressed? (This terrible habit is one that annoys him still, because sometimes he wants an opinion, and I don't have one to give him. Some habits are harder to break than others.)

But, lately, I have been realizing that I need to start having opinions again. And expressing them. That I need to be able to express myself, even if I'm slightly broken and dented, because I do have opinions and I need to be okay with the fact that people aren't going to agree with me all the time. I need to be okay with the idea that I'm not supposed to please everyone.

I like Glennon's writing, because it pushes me to think about my faith. And to grow, mostly closer to God, but sometimes closer to myself. And it's nice to remember that I'm allowed to mess up and be messy and the world will still go on. I'm important to God, but I'm not the center of the universe. And that's good.

I don't really know where any of this rambling is going, just that I'm working on carrying on, forgiving myself, loving myself, and not just stalling out because things don't go how I expect them too. Life is messy, even when I'm together. And things have a way of working out, generally for the best.

So, I invite you to carry on too. And maybe if we practice the things we want to see in the world, it will get better.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Double Standards

I know that in my last post I was wondering what women were protesting on International Women's Day, (I never have found out.) and this post is probably part of the answer.

I am tired of the double standards for women. I am tired of the implication in the world that I am never enough if I try to please the masses. There is no right weight or clothing style or whatever to keep me from being a prude or a slut or at fault for being assaulted in some people's minds. I can't make people happy, and I am finding out that collar bones are somehow too sexy for schools these days (I would be completely lost at finding shirts that cover my collar bones, and I wear pretty plain t-shirts. Collar bones are pretty high up on the chest. Why are they supposed to be covered?).

Part of the problem, at least in some schools, is that teachers are probably finding their students attractive. I'm not saying that none of the boys might find shoulders attractive, but I doubt that teen boys are too distracted to focus in school because of girls wearing sleeveless shirts. And if girls should wear sleeves, so should boys. If the teachers are having problems focusing on teaching because the girls are showing shoulders, the teachers need to figure out how to be an adult.

But I am tired of the idea that women can only be extremes. They can only be prudes or sluts. They can be butch or girly. They can be too masculine or too feminine. They can't just be, well, themselves. That maybe my haircut (currently a pixie cut, which looks awesomely cute on me) is a reflection of my life and my preferences, rather than some other, random statement about me.

So, I am ignoring any opinions about my style (which is actually a pretty casual and conservative style) that isn't mine, my husband's, or God's. As long as we are all satisfied, you can worry about your own style. (This is not particularly a new thought process for me. I've been wearing what I want for years.) And I'll not say anything about your style (I might tell you if your zipper's unzipped or you have toilet paper on your shoe or your skirt is not lying flat.). After all, my opinion shouldn't matter to you (unless you are Ace).

And maybe, someday, society will stop trying to judge people based on what they choose to wear. Maybe school dress codes (which I somewhat understand the need for) will be less restrictive (after all, shoulders and collar bones should not be scandalous). And I look forward to that day.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Woman's Day

To start off, I want to proclaim that I am for women. I am for men. I am for equality among genders. And I'm happy to spend a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime dedicated to honoring women in history. We should honor all the people who have made advances in things and made our lives better. If they only made one life better, it's enough for us to celebrate their life.

Having said that, what was the point of women protesting today? That is a legitimate question. Why were they protesting?

As a woman in a male-dominated field (truck drivers are mostly male), I can honestly say that I have never been discriminated against because of my gender, except in one specific spot (and I don't know that gender is what caused the issue, so I can't fully feel comfortable blaming that). In fact, I've mostly had good reactions to me being a female who drives a truck. Probably because I don't seem to fit the stereotype of a female truck driver.

I've never had someone act like I couldn't do my job because I'm female. They've been impressed and surprised, but not demeaning. I've never been paid less than my husband, which is more impressive because he's got a longer history of driving than I do. (This is mainly because of the fact that I came in as an owner-operator, which got a set pay no matter how long you had been driving. And the truck we currently drive gets paid x per mile and we make y% of that amount.) This is an industry that does not care what your gender is, as long as you can drive. Most pay is based off of experience, unless the company pays a set amount per mile for anyone.

Trucking, while not exactly female friendly in terms of cleanliness, is an equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, gender, or religion.

If it has to do with the government not helping to support the purchase of birth control, I'm not personally overly concerned with that. I might be willing to protest about not being taxed at a higher amount for hygiene products, as that is not something women just buy for fun. (Seriously, most of us would be happy to skip having periods, if that were an option without removing the option of having kids. Periods are not fun, but should be at least minorly understood by all.) I have options besides pills for birth control (including condoms, an IUD, and abstinence). I don't have a lot of options about having a period.

Anyway. Congratulations on being a human! I hope you make things better in the world! And please, explain what women were protesting today by "not showing up to their jobs", because that would just get me in a world of trouble with several people if I had done that (the trucking company and my husband, at minimum).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Grieving Is Not a 5 Step Process

Today, I want to talk about grief. Not for any particular reason, other than it has been on my mind.

There has been some popular idea, put on tv and in movies, that grief is a 5 step process and once you go through those steps, you will have successfully grieved. And it's based on a misunderstanding of what that 5 step process was about. It is the steps someone who is dying goes through. After all, it's hard for me to argue that Carrie Fisher didn't die when it's obvious that she did. I may say to myself, "No, this isn't real," when I first read about a celebrity's death, but that's more shock than denying what is true.

Grief, from the side of the person who survives, does not come all at once. It doesn't hit you just once that you lost someone. It comes back to haunt you, over and over. And then the loss is new again. And slowly, there are less things that bring the pain back as badly. You find ways to deal with the hard times and life continues, as always.

And sometimes, you grieve the loss of things instead of people. I've been dealing with a potential loss of my dream of being a parent. I've been dealing with this idea for a while, but recently it hit much harder and at a terrible time for me to even try to deal with it emotionally. I have to face the truth, at 36 it is unlikely that I will get to have my own kids and adoption isn't an option right now, and may never be a viable one. And it hurts so bad. As much as I know that it's a good thing, as any children would not be able to be with us right now, it hurts.

I recognize that I haven't faced much loss in my life. Not really. Both of my parents are alive and in seemingly good health (for an odd definition of good). One of my grandmothers has died, but the other is still alive. My siblings are both healthy. I haven't lost many extended family members, and most of those were through divorce, not death.

But that doesn't mean that I've never grieved. My junior year of high school, I knew 4 people who died. One of them was a classmate, one was a teacher. The other two were relatives, both old enough that death was less surprising. A year ago, my grandmother died. And I couldn't go to her funeral, because by the time I knew when it was, I was not going to be able to change where I would be in time to do anything. I lost the relationship with my mother, as unhealthy for me as it was. And I had to mourn the loss of the relationship I wanted and deserved. I still mourn that loss. Not as much as I did, but the pain is still there.

Grief is not a 5 step process. And we insult the grieving every time we pretend like it is.

Now, if you need me, I'll be over here, mourning my losses and trying to find my equilibrium again.