Posts from the ‘Thoughts & Feelings’ Category

A Tale of Two Stores

So once upon a time, an employer and I went to check out this pottery outlet store. Walking in, it embodied everything I hate about certain American stores. The second we walked in, we were swarmed by a couple of women who claimed they were too busy to tell us about the product, yet one stayed and proceeded to blubber on and on. We said we knew about the product but she had to finish this prepared speech she had. We wandered a bit through aisles and aisles of a product that felt cheapened but the quantity they had available. (My employer is convinced it actually was a knock off but it’s hard for me to tell if it that belief was based from product or simply by presentation. I’m willing to trust her as she knows the product.) And we had to sit through a similar speech 3 times before we left 10 minutes later. They would not leave us alone. I will never go back because I hate being harangued by sales people.

Compare that with the experience I had at another Polish pottery store. It is a bit of a drive, about 30 minutes more one way than the other store, but I’ve been there twice so far. We walked in. There’s one salesman behind the counter. He nods hello and continues with what he’s doing. After we’ve browsed a couple of moments, he gets up and silently walks around the store a little. Not where we are, but it made him feel available to questions. My dad asked him about what different pots were created for and he was so knowledgeable about it all. Definitely products he personally used on a regular basis. No prepared speech. I went back this week to grab a couple of other pieces, including a jug to make sauerkraut in. Once again, he was talkative after I had initiated a conversation and he had so many practical tips for making sauerkraut. Talked about his own experiences. Things he had tried that were definitely right or wrong. All with a charming Polish accent, friends demeanor. Definitely worth the drive there. Plus his prices were actually the same or cheaper as the overstocked outlet. They do most of their business online, so if you’re in the market for beautifully created and very durable pottery, do visit http://www.polishpotterymarket.com/

Can we get back to this practice of letting people browse in peace. I promise, I buy more when I’m left alone. When you bug me, I grab what I absolutely have to have… or leave empty handed because you’ve made me so uncomfortable and violated. The best part is with that European approach – and yes, I have witnessed it in multiple places, particularly in Europe – it meets different peoples needs. I can have my quiet browsing time and, someone like my mom, if she knows to initiate contact, can have all of the conversation she prefers. There are plenty like me too and you’re doing your store a disservice. 

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Modesty and Assault

We have some teens staying at our church right now & stories about their leader have solidified some thought I’ve had lately. This man makes the girls wear t-shirts over their swimsuits if they go swimming so the boys’ thoughts stay pure. I have a couple of serious issues with this concept.

First, what message is this sending to those girls? Your body has issues & we have to make sure it stays covered. The female body in all of its photoshopped glory is so prevalent in culture, yet we can’t let young men see a real body because heaven forbid, they might get the wrong idea from seeing a girl in a one-piece swimsuit. Girls, your body is something to stay hidden. Let the boys enjoy the fake instead of the real, flaws & all. And it states that ” you (as a female) are at fault for every thought a boy has”.  What a terrible burden. No wonder we are having such issues in the society with consent and what exactly that means. (I love the tea analogy that has been circling social media lately.) Neither side is being taught the right lessons at an appropriate age.

Men have gotten the message that they are entitled to whatever they believe women are promising them. And depending on the guy, their definition of what is an invitation can be so different from what the other party’s is. Modesty is such a cultural thing. (Hold that thought. I’m coming back to it.) This is one of the problems I have with certain conservative Christians. That notion that I’m not responsible for myself. “The Devil made me do it. She tempted me.” Learn some self-control already. Decide that you either can or are going to work on your thoughts and actions, regardless of those around you. Deuteronomy talks specifically to rapes happening with no one else around. Is the woman blamed for it? No. Just the man is put to death and the assumption is made that the woman cried for help. Innocent. No question of what she did to encourage him. Why does our culture assume that women brought an assault on themselves instead of questioning the way we bring up our boys.

The internet has led to an increase of men seeing all women as objects. Let me rephrase that because objectification is nothing new. Rather, the internet has given all types of people a larger pool of subjects to objectify. We all do it. The movie star, the model, and everyday people whom we get to know on social media. And the distance through which we often interact leads to amplify certain parts of a person’s character. For example, I’m pretty quiet. I was practically non-existent on social media until I had my son, and even now, I limit what I post about him. I don’t want to live his early childhood out before he has any say on what he wants his online persona to be. I’m careful about the pictures I post and how often. I try to think about what I would have been comfortable with my parents posting about me. But someone who is an over sharer can take that route of going too far with what they choose to share to the detriment of their children’s futures. The guy who might be a little bit of a jerk suddenly becomes much more of one when he can hide behind the anonymity that can be found online. It removes our filters in way we could have predicted but didn’t think through the chance of losing that filter in real life. It amplifies us and that is starting to carry on into real life.

Now back to our notion of modesty. To me, it’s such fluid concept in society, especially Western society. Loved this post on modesty by Rachel Held Evans. I remember walking barefoot in France and being told it was shocking and immodest. Yet, no one batted an eye when I went barefoot at my wedding here in the States. Our perceptions on which body parts can show and which ones are improper is so arbitrary. We make a big deal about breastfeeding here in the US, but in other countries where breasts haven’t been sexualized, it’s not a problem. Christians should be the biggest proponents of breastfeeding yet they can often be the biggest critics. “It’s dirty.” “Cover up.” Give me a break! If we didn’t make our girls be overly “modest”, a baby eating would be seen more like the beautiful thing it truly is. And due to the internet, it’s become this battle. Do you or don’t you? And there is no winning, not matter which side you take, because it ultimately stems from problems in our society.

We will probably never know the answers, but might as well as the questions. Would porn be so prevalent if these conservative kids were allowed to see each other in appropriate settings without the “oh no” factor? Would our struggle with body image lessen if we didn’t compare ourselves to airbrushed models and weren’t condemned for showing a little skin? Would we have stronger mother and child bonds and less parents on government assistance if we encouraged breastfeeding instead of only allowing breasts to be seen as a sexual plaything vs. having multiple purposes?

Ultimately, it’s the duality that gets us.

Milking a… Lion?

As a new nursing mother, I’m coming to hate the comparisons to a cow. I know many of us do it, but I’m beginning to see as a step back in our social evolution.

First, the cow. The cow has been breed over generations to produce 6-7 gallons a day. I never will, nor do I want to, produce even a gallon a day. Can you imagine?

So why do we allow a comparison with an animal that has been breed to make milk for others? Their children are weaned early and this ability of their body is exploited for others. Meanwhile, our whole purpose in producing milk is for our child. Yes, many of us have to pump, but our objective remains the same – our precious baby. Some mothers have enough milk they choose to donate their excess. (But it’s not an obligation, or even an expectation.)

Attention all women of childbearing age. Due to the superiority of your milk, we will now require you all to be milked regularly. Even if you don’t have children. (After all, demand dictates supply to a certain extent.)

Would we calmly take that?

All mammals produce milk for their children. Lions, tigers, bears. Let us pick one of those for our example – if an animal example is even necessary. Let’s choose a mother who will fight for her child instead of allowing them to be removed without a fight. One who stands up for her child’s best interests (where, when, and how to eat). Not a fat, docile animal that few have any respect for.

So go for it mama lions. Nurture and fight for your children.

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Personhood

Why does a personhood amendment scare me so much? I’ve written occasionally on a different forum about my firm believe that God allows us to make our own choices, whether or not those choices fit His plan for us. If God doesn’t limit our choices, why should government. This holds for birth control, abortions, any aspect of family planning that a woman chooses. If she wants to have 10 children, or none. I will argue I believe that you do need to be able to support them financially without government assistance (unless brief support comes after unforeseen events).

As this year’s election is starting to gear up, I’m pregnant and this has changed my perspective to a small extent. Stay with me here. Now I am even more adamantly against a so-called personhood amendment. Sure, politicians may mean well, but depending on the wording of any legislation, I believe it could be even more dangerous for women than we realize. A dear friend has been on my mind lately. Her healthy baby recently arrived, but a while ago, she miscarried her first child. Every time I hear a mention of anything to do with personhood, she pops into mind. Imagine a day when a woman who loses a child has to prove that her miscarriage was natural. Think about that. If our definition of life begins at conception, will burden of proof suddenly be on a grieving mother to show that her baby’s loss wasn’t her fault? It can happen to anyone. Will a grieving father be able to take his partner to court and accuse her of killing their child? Will a comment that would have seemed innocent enough suddenly be cause for any woman to wind up in jail for murder? What would a trial to an already fragile psyche? Will women put off doctors’ appointments until later and miss out on early prenatal care to avoid the possibility of what might be? (This is particularly concerning when it comes to lower income families.) Can voters, or even the politicians foresee how far rules are going to be taken? I don’t know that medicine can precisely determine how many embryos are lost early on.  Just a few words, however carefully written may be taken a completely different way in the future.

I pray I’m wrong. First, such an amendment has failed several times already in my state. Perhaps if such a law existed, it would never be taken the way my mind is going. Why take that chance? I don’t even know if something  like this is even on the ballot this year. However, I will always hold my belief that God wants us to have free choice. Yes, we have to deal with the consequences, but I can’t, and won’t, make your decisions for you. And government shouldn’t try either.