Monday, June 25, 2012

{Girlytech on} Sexuality & Discrimination

I overheard a conversation between colleagues today... "Everyone's partying this weekend - my son was partying and kept sending me pictures, look here's him and one of his lady friends..."

And everyone chuckled like oh what a player...or something.'s the thing. I know that the party was pride and that yes, that lady was a friend - but she was most assuredly not a "lady friend"" unless something has changed dramatically. In fact, the son in question was the first openly gay man I met. (Is coming out so much easier for females everywhere or just in the NW?)

I don't think the misdirection was on purpose even, or perhaps even noticed by the speaker. Maybe it's just built in defense. There are so many people in this world that would turn up their noses and that would be judgmental had it not occurred. Yet, I see no reason for it. For me, it doesn't matter - and I guess that leads me to feel like it shouldn't matter to anyone. Because, well, it shouldn't. I'm not sure where the difference is drawn. I came from a house where, my father especially, was very anti-homosexual... well, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Hispanic.... it would be far more surprising for him to not be part of some skin head group than for him to be part of it, honestly. He's one of the most universally hateful men I've ever encountered. But... I digress.... That hatred should have seeped into me, right - I mean, that's the general consensus - hate begates hate.

Perhaps it was being surrounded by the love of the pacific Northwest. Perhaps it was meeting amazing people who were gay, perhaps it was my own love and desire of the female form... who knows. Whatever the cause for me, love is love regardless. I am a firm believer that labels shouldn't even exist - that love should be able to flow freely from all to all without a definitive border. I think that labeling oneself straight or gay tends to set expectations that if later broken can lead the person ostracized from their social circle. I've known too many people who were "straight" all their lives and then ended up with a same-gender partner, or those who were "gay" and ended up falling in love with opposite. Or "bisexuals" who very obviously had a preference one way or the other. For me, I've never been past 2nd base with a female, and I probably never will be. I'm in a committed relationship with a man, and I plan to honor that relationship and all its boundaries... even though I would like to be able to explore the female form, I'm not sure I'd go much further even with husband's permission. For me... I'm...
|                    |            x       |
gay             bi               straight

there-ish. But again, I think that varies depending on my mindset and has fluctuated much over the course of my life.

With the laws and society the way they are, it is safer to be part of the group, I suppose than outside of it. Safer to be "gay" and in that community than be "unaffiliated" and with someone same-gender. I  hope that within our lifetimes we can see the removal of labels of any kind - race, gender, sexual orientation. . . and just be. That we can remove affirmative action, remove scholarships from schools that are based on anything other than scholastic/extra curricular achievements. That wages will be equal across the board, that a middle-class white male will have the same chance to get into the school of his dreams as a poor black woman. Yeah... pipe dream, I'm sure. Though it's not without merit, not without possibility. Not so very far out of reach, is it? I suppose it is.

I've been thinking a lot about discrimination these days, about the way of the world in which we live. Oliver won't find it of much note if a black man is elected president in his life, as one will be serving when he's born. I can only hope that by the time he's ready to fall in love and form a real relationship that he doesn't have to worry whether the person he loves is socially acceptable or not. If he falls in love with a man, and wants to marry him, I can only hope that by that point it won't be a question of which state they'll have to go to for the marriage to have legal standing. If he falls in love with a woman, I can only hope that we'll live in a world where she has full control over her body, and can stand on an even ground in her career, or be a housewife, or whatever it is she chooses to be without judgement.

A wiser man than myself once told me advice to live by "where my toes end, another's begin" It's a good start. Realize that what someone else does, who they love, who they are... it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect you. If that person tried to step on your toes, to change what you do, who you love, who you are -- then isn't within our rights to fight back? But as long as no one's getting hurt or being imposed upon, then what's the difference to the world at large? What does it matter if your neighbors are gay, or smoke weed, or have guns? As long as they're not smoking and driving, or shooting folks, or hating on you because you're not like them?

Just some of my thoughts & ramblings of the moment....

Friday, June 22, 2012

23 months and 31 weeks

At 31 weeks pregnant, I feel like I'm more baby than woman. I cannot only just feel Oliver when he's trying to test his ninja skills, but all the time as a sort of pressure wherever he's laying. I can only imagine what this is going to be like when he's 7.5lbs instead of 3.3... I can't believe he's really going to over double in weight. I feel so giant already and like I'm growing inches per day. It's definitely going to take a while to lose all this... baby, I bet. Although if it took nine months to put it on, it should probably take nine months to take it off. Unfortunately.

While Oliver's due date is in nine weeks, full term is six to eleven weeks from now. Six tiny, little weeks and I could have my baby boy with me in the real world. I should probably get on getting a car seat, stroller, breast pump, nursing clothes/bra, bottles, & milk storage.

Yeah.... babies.

What else is in Stephanie's life lately? Not much, really. I don't feel like doing much other than putting my feet up and relaxing. I want to go out and do something on occasion, but have been too broke to really do anything about it. Which... really worries me. We'll make it all work somehow I suppose. At least for the first few months Oliver will have clothes to wear and, as long as I get a breast pump and milk storage, food to eat without us having to buy much more than diapers.

I'm mostly just feeling blessed these days. Amazing friends who are there to help us out even when we tell them not to. Family that is there to throw an awesome baby shower and help Oliver get what he needs before he's born. A husband that will meticulously paint my toe nails because I can't reach them anymore. A job that's cool with me taking however long I want off with the baby and is giving me a promotion when I get back (if only I could get that raise now!). My only concerns are financial - like how on Earth am I going to afford the $300 /month health insurance while I'm not working, not to mention all the other bills...


In other news, Johnathan and I have been "married" 23 months today! This past year has flown by in less than the blink of an eye. Two years isn't that terribly long (my aunt/sister Melissa is celebrating 10 years today with my uncle/broinlaw Steve!) to be married - it feels like we just got married... but also like we've been married as long as I can remember. Like John's always been there. It seems the older I get, the quicker time moves. Being married for ten years with an eight year old son seems a life-time away, but it's right there on the horizon.

♥ 18 months ♥ 23 months ♥ 39 months ♥ Eternity to go 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh baby!

This weekend my grandma-ma and auntsters hosted a lovely baby shower for me. I neglected to bring my camera, but there were a few floating around, I'll be sure to add some pictures when they're uploaded.

We had a candy bar, cake, cupcakes, all kinds of fruits and veggies and juice drinks. I somehow felt busy and overwhelmed and yet completely removed. It was strange. I feel like I spoke to no-one, I ate a handful of carrots and that was it out of all the tasty goodness. Although afterwords I did nom the heck out of some candy and red pepper hummus. Which, by the way, I am in love with.

Oliver received a whole plethora of presents over the past couple weeks and yesterday. Our total haul thus far:

642 Diaper Wipes - Woo!
40 Diapers
31 onesies
11 blankets (1 swaddle, 1 hand crocheted)
9 bibs
9 washcloths
7 pairs of socks
6 burp cloths
6 pacifiers (1 with clip and 1 with stuffed animal attached)
4 books
3 care/grooming sets
3 towels (2 hooded)
3 boxes cotton swabs
2 diaper rash ointments (1 called butt paste! :P)
2 containers of bath soap
2 containers of baby powder
2 track suit outfits
2 button up shirts
2 "monster footies" (slippers w/ dragons on them)
2 sets silverware & travel case
1 sweater
1 no scratch mittens
1 bottle brush
1 bottle baby lotion
1 bottle baby oil
1 security blanket/rattle
1 carrier
1 diaper bag
1 portable crib
1 portable crib mattress

My unborn son now has more clothing, care products, blankets, and washcloths than I do. The vast majority is for 0-3 months, so I'll definitely have some shopping ahead of me (yay and boo in the same breath) - but it will be able to wait a while. All that's really left is breast pump/storage/nursing bras, a car-seat, and bottles. I have not a clue as to who got me what (beyond those who went through the registry) because there was some miscommunication about how you're supposed to write down gifts received. However, it doesn't really matter. I want all those that helped prepare me for Oliver's arrival, decorated a onesie for him, or just supported us with love and well wishes to know how very deeply thankful I am to have you in my life and to have your love/support as we go into this 18+ year adventure guns blazing.

Johnathan's face during opening some of the gifts - his confusion at diaper rash ointment and hooded towels made the whole room laugh... and me think I should probably find a new parents class for him to become acquainted with everything. He's never changed a diaper, for example.

Oliver put on a show for some of the guests that stayed later. I found their reactions pretty entertaining. Amazement, slight horror... ah, yes. I found a mix of both in myself the first time I saw him dancing around. Now it's just amusement, and a good feeling knowing that he's getting stronger and bigger and is still healthy enough to pack a punch. I can't believe I've only got 74 days to go! Just ~2.5 months until we'll officially be parents. Craziness.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All of this, everything I know and take for granted and cherish - it's all about to change.

Will I still be able to sleep in until 9, snuggle cats and John for an hour and then go downstairs to think about breakfast? Probably not.

Right now I'm just laying in bed with my netbook, smelling the new barkdust from outside, watching Murr play with her mouse toy - flipping it high into the air and catching it. I haven't gotten dressed for the day yet, and it's almost half past noon. I haven't done much of anything. I went to the club house to "help" set up for the baby shower. Really, I just organized some candy jars and sat on a couch. Hard knock life, right?

I'm so uncertain as to how things will be over the next few months, it's hard to do anything but take it one day at a time. We've got baby stuff in the garage that needs to be cleaned and assembled into it's rightful location, but it seems like we have all the time in the world to get that done. What's the rush? I need to deep clean our room to get it all shiny for the baby, but again...what's the hurry? It seems like Oliver is still years away... Yet, here I am in  month seven having a baby shower. Gathering friends and family to celebrate the soon approaching new life that will be joining us here on this earth.

I am so excited to meet Oliver, to wrap him in my arms and cover him with kisses. To learn all about him, and how to be a mom and to find out just how much my life is going to get flip turned upside down. The hardest part is going to be taking the six+ weeks off of work. Without my income, I'm not sure how all of our bills will get paid. I guess we'll just do our best to pay everything in as much advance as possible. I'll just have to take the shortest time I can off of work and leave Oliver with....

Right, there's another thing we haven't figured out yet. Where Oliver is going to go when I go back to work. Who will he stay with, who will take care of him? There are daycares in the area, but I really don't want to leave him with a mess of other babies and with someone I don't know. Which narrows down the field quite a bit. I think that former coworker of mine's wife is still doing daycare for a reasonable rate - and I know them enough to feel safe-ish with leaving Oliver with them. There's always my grandma too, which I would prefer - but she's already got so much on her plate. Although I'm sure it'd be nice for her to have some extra cash on hand.

For now, I'm going to continue cherishing these quiet moments I have to myself. Love on my kitties, spend time one on one with my dear husband - and be thankful for the sweet moments. I don't know how my life will change once Oliver's here, but I know it will be busier, more chaotic, and more full of love than I can know.