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.