exactly that

On Mother’s Day

I am not the world’s most enthusiastic member of the Mum Club in that the concept of Mother’s Day grates on me horribly. It comes around every year and people begin falling all over themselves to “remember Mom”. Cards and flowers and perfume and brunches … it all comes out in droves. There are usually whispers of giving Mum the day off, because she works so hard and deserves it.

I don’t really hate any of those things, specifically. As a mum, I sort of enjoy people remembering and appreciating me and the work that I do, because it is a grossly underpaid industry. Any mum out there knows that there is quite a bit of work involved. Most mothers I know work the Second Shift. The amount of free time to herself is almost always balanced with the needs of everyone else in the household. For the most part, it’s a thankless job, and for a lot of mothers, it was one they chose enthusiastically (hint: I am not one of those).

The thing is, we don’t respect mothers. We don’t value them. We raise up and sing praise to what we think motherhood should be. We romanticize it to the point where actual motherhood — the jobs and sacrifices that come along with it — isn’t what we are celebrating. We are celebrating specific kind of motherhood. The idealized vision of the white, cis, straight, privileged, stay at home mum who is able to wile away her time making cupcakes and taking her kids to the park before she is home to have the roast on the table. The ideal mother we see is married to Mr. Breadwinner, and they all have the kind of faces that can be sold in picture frames.

Motherhood is this fantasy of white, class, straight, cis, able-bodied privilege. When women dare procreate outside of the norm we judge them. We chastise and point out all their flaws. One day a year we talk about how wonderful mothers are, yet we live in a world that refuses to give all of them the support they need to do the job we take for granted. We take away the choice to not become a mother if the woman feels she doesn’t have the tools she needs to bring a child into adulthood, but we damn her when she has to fill out those government forms for assistance. We tell women that they shouldn’t exist in public by insisting that the “civilised” world be protected from crying children, because motherhood is glorious so long as we don’t have to see the messy sides.

I am not opposed to Mother’s Day, not outright. We should be valuing and appreciating mothers. It’s not an easy job. It’s one I tear my hair out over daily (literally). It’s one that I worry constantly if I am doing right. It’s all-consuming. That, however, is the point. Motherhood doesn’t happen one day a year. The unpaid, undervalued, unappreciated work of mothers goes on even when we refuse to see it. You can’t balance that with a pink flowered card one day a year.

To truly celebrate Mother’s Day, we should be thinking of ways to make that job more acceptable in its reality every day of the year. We should be finding ways to take the burden off of the over-worked and underfunded. The mum who works two jobs to keep food on the table (the same one we demonize for choosing to make that food takeaway between shifts). The mother who has to stay home with her kids because daycare would cost the entirety of any wage she could earn. We should be working to remove the stigma of assistance, and finally, we should be fighting to make sure that motherhood is a choice that can be freely made only by those who really wish to become one. Becoming a mother is too savage and life-altering to be entered any way but of your own free will, and yet we can’t seem to grasp that. We can’t seem to agree that the best way to respect mothers is to make sure they were willing to become them in the first place.

Love your mothers (if they are deserving of your love). Send them gifts and call them and tell them how much they mean to you, but I hope you are doing that more than one day a year. At the same time, though, honor your mother by examining the world we live in and looking for ways to make it better. For all mothers, irrespective of gender, race, class, ability, or other privilege.

Originally Posted on Tumblr

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On Feelings

I can’t help but wonder why people go to so much trouble to apologize for feelings. I see and hear, again and again, people who are dealing with something emotionally who feel they have to say “sorry, I am just ____”. It’s such a bizarre thing to me, even though I am a chronic apologiser and guilty of this very thing myself.

It’s no mystery to me why we feel this way. Little surprises me any more, whether that makes me jaded or simply of a clear mind, I am not sure.

From a young age we program children as a society. We give them, whether conscious or not, cues as to what is and is not acceptable. We tell them what to like and how to behave and even how to feel. We project that girls should act one way, and boys another, and presume that all of life fits neatly into those little packages.

Life is far more complex than that.

One thing that seems to span, no matter what, is the idea of “good” and “bad” feelings and who is allowed to feel them. As they grow older, girls and women and female identifying people in general, are chastised for their more aggressive emotions. We are taught that being angry is unjust and means that people don’t need to listen to us. Our tears, while presumed because of our gender identity, are a weakness and at times merely manipulative tools. When we are sad or angry or frustrated, I see time and again flocks of people ready to tell us “oh, don’t feel that way” or “you shouldn’t be so angry”.

Balderdash.

At the same time, boys, men, and male-identifying persons are taught that they are allowed to or are even supposed to react to life with anger and aggressive emotions. It’s not until they show vulnerability or even dein to shed tears that they are ridiculed and considered weak. They are called whingers and whiners.

Hogwash.

The thing is, emotions make us who we are. The world around us insists that it doesn’t have to receive or accept anyone who is outside a very narrow definition of normality, and can be hostile to anyone who deviates from that. For people living on various axis of oppression, life can be especially enraging or depressing. It is only natural that we react to that hostility with feelings and emotions. It is part of being human.

Peeps, all of you, never apologize for your feelings (unless you really want to). I so dearly wish that no one out there ever had to say “I am sorry that I am sad and rambling” or “I am sorry but this just pisses me off”. Your feelings, your emotions are not hurting me or anyone else. You have a right to your feelings. You have a right to the way you perceive and view and react to the world around you. No one should shame you for having feelings. We all have them.

What does hurt people is what we do with those feelings. That is the point where we need to gauge ourselves and decide whether our reactions are going to help or hurt. Expressing your feelings, telling someone how you feel and why isn’t a hurtful act. It isn’t harming anyone. If you use those emotions to do harm, that is a different story. Simply putting voice to how you feel, how life has made you in this moment? That isn’t harming me or anyone.

Sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves is to simply say “I am hurting” or “I am sad” or “I am angry”. Sometimes, just knowing that someone will listen and validate your feelings, or even just let you express them safely is all you need to work through them.

You have a right to your feelings.

Peeps. I am here for you. I care about your feelings. I validate your anger or rage or frustration or grief or helplessness. I have an Ask box and email and if you really need to engage or need help, I am happy to connect via chat. Never ever worry that your feelings are unjustified in my presence. I may not always agree with the reasons, but they are not my feelings to agree with. If you need to express them, I am willing to let you if it means that you can possibly heal. This even includes (I would hope that it especially includes) if I have somehow caused those feelings. Personally, I would rather know if I have harmed someone and try to work it out than to wonder why it is that a person would rather not speak to me any longer. You can’t fix a thing if you don’t know it is broken, and I value my friends enough to hear them out. I don’t hold back expressing mine.

You have a right to your feelings. Always, always know that.

I love you all.

Originally posted on my Tumblr.

(Forgive me, Peeps. It’s been more than a while. I’m getting the itch again.)

I can’t help but wonder why people go to so much trouble to apologize for feelings. I see and hear, again and again, people who are dealing with something emotionally who feel they have to say “sorry, I am just ____”. It’s such a bizarre thing to me, even though I am a chronic apologiser and guilty of this very thing myself.

It’s no mystery to me why we feel this way. Little surprises me any more, whether that makes me jaded or simply of a clear mind, I am not sure.

From a young age we program children as a society. We give them, whether conscious or not, cues as to what is and is not acceptable. We tell them what to like and how to behave and even how to feel. We project that girls should act one way, and boys another, and presume that all of life fits neatly into those little packages.

Life is far more complex than that.

One thing that seems to span, no matter what, is the idea of “good” and “bad” feelings and who is allowed to feel them. As they grow older, girls and women and female identifying people in general, are chastised for their more aggressive emotions. We are taught that being angry is unjust and means that people don’t need to listen to us. Our tears, while presumed because of our gender identity, are a weakness and at times merely manipulative tools. When we are sad or angry or frustrated, I see time and again flocks of people ready to tell us “oh, don’t feel that way” or “you shouldn’t be so angry”.

Balderdash.

At the same time, boys, men, and male-identifying persons are taught that they are allowed to or are even supposed to react to life with anger and aggressive emotions. It’s not until they show vulnerability or even dein to shed tears that they are ridiculed and considered weak. They are called whingers and whiners. 

Hogwash.

The thing is, emotions make us who we are. The world around us insists that it doesn’t have to receive or accept anyone who is outside a very narrow definition of normality, and can be hostile to anyone who deviates from that. For people living on various axis of oppression, life can be especially enraging or depressing. It is only natural that we react to that hostility with feelings and emotions. It is part of being human.

Peeps, all of you, never apologize for your feelings (unless you really want to). I so dearly wish that no one out there ever had to say “I am sorry that I am sad and rambling” or “I am sorry but this just pisses me off”. Your feelings, your emotions are not hurting me or anyone else. You have a right to your feelings. You have a right to the way you perceive and view and react to the world around you. No one should shame you for having feelings. We all have them.

What does hurt people is what we do with those feelings. That is the point where we need to gauge ourselves and decide whether our reactions are going to help or hurt. Expressing your feelings, telling someone how you feel and why isn’t a hurtful act. It isn’t harming anyone. If you use those emotions to do harm, that is a different story. Simply putting voice to how you feel, how life has made you in this moment? That isn’t harming me or anyone.

Sometimes the best thing a person can do for themselves is to simply say “I am hurting” or “I am sad” or “I am angry”. Sometimes, just knowing that someone will listen and validate your feelings, or even just let you express them safely is all you need to work through them.

You have a right to your feelings.

Peeps. I am here for you. I care about your feelings. I validate your anger or rage or frustration or grief or helplessness. I have an Ask box and email and if you really need to engage or need help, I am happy to connect via chat. Never ever worry that your feelings are unjustified in my presence. I may not always agree with the reasons, but they are not my feelings to agree with. If you need to express them, I am willing to let you if it means that you can possibly heal. This even includes (I would hope that it especially includes) if I have somehow caused those feelings. Personally, I would rather know if I have harmed someone and try to work it out than to wonder why it is that a person would rather not speak to me any longer. You can’t fix a thing if you don’t know it is broken, and I value my friends enough to hear them out. I don’t hold back expressing mine. 

You have a right to your feelings. Always, always know that.

I love you all.

Originally posted on my Tumblr.

I have a special place in my heart for Arlessa Isolde.

Arlessa Isolde, a pale woman with blonde hair in a high chignon and her son, Connor, a pale red-haired boy.

I feel like Isolde gets a ragingly bad rap from fandom for the most part. I hear a lot how people choose to let her sacrifice herself because of her annoying voice or because she as a “lying bitch”, which always makes me cringe. Yes, she did lie. Yes, she covered up something dangerous which had dire consequences, and yes, I get a little irritated with the over-dramatic Orlesian accent. That being said, though… I can’t help but wonder how much of the ire directed at Isolde is because she is a woman. A woman who *gasp* makes decisions out of desperation that have terrible results. She has flaws, but for some reason there seems to be a lot about Isolde’s particular flaws that are condemned for reasons that feel very dismissive and, frankly, a bit misogynistic at times. Read the rest of this entry »

In Spite Of…

There have been some things eating at me since I made this post yesterday. Something about the pushback against some of the things I said when writing it have been sitting wrong with. Not for the simple matter of disagreement, because certainly there is plenty of that going on, and I had one of the best discussions on the topic late last night while mulling this over.

No. The thing that is niggling at the back of my mind, and the left, front, and center of it too, is this pushback against the idea that we aren’t supposed to love and otherwise care for people with mental illness and disability in spite of said disabilities, or illnesses, or anything else.

Anders, a blond, pale, man in green robes with feathered pauldrons and a mages' staff, looks into the camera (so to speak) while Justice manifests as blue flashes and glowing eyes.

See? A perfect parallel! Mental illness always manifests so obviously.

Read the rest of this entry »

I was going to pick Alistair, but magesmagesmages already did such a fantastic takedown of that one, that I would only be rehashing what she already brilliantly said.

A pale blond man in green robes clutches his head.

I will have to go with Anders, and I say this as a person who almost can NOT resist clicking that little heart icon every time it pops up. I have completed the Anders romance more times that I have completed the others combined.

My issues with the Anders Romance have almost nothing to do with Anders as a character, his actions, or how I feel about him in-game at all. Once again my criticism comes down to mostly writing and game mechanics. Read the rest of this entry »

Sebastian Vael, an olive-skinned man (though that isn't apparent with the lighting here) with bright blue eyes and auburn hair in armour with a seemingly lambskin-lined hood.

 

I am expecting some real laughs for this one, but this thought is completely based on a random in-game bug that happened to me, where the game put me into a friendmance with Sebastian even though my Hawke was already in a friendmance with Anders.

 

My favorite love interest at the time of this writing is Sebastian. Read the rest of this entry »

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