Sometimes I get tired of flying the flag for feminism. Which I also find quite bizarre, because half the time I don’t feel like I’m arguing for feminism at all- it just seems like plain old common sense.
For several reasons I’ve been exposed lately to a lot of casual sexism. And I’m tired of talking, talking, talking, using such obvious facepalm logic to dispell people’s ridiculous arguments and MY GOD, how do these seemingly intelligent people spout this trash?
I used to try to explain about standpoint feminism as opposed to postmodern-feminism. Yeah, that went over really well. Now I try to keep it simpler – I explain what majority privilege means, about the right to bodily autonomy, I explain, talk, argue, explain.
I keep promising myself that next time someone (woman or man) says something idiotic like “Feminism has ruined everything” or I see a FB post saying “When women argue about xyz, they further the stereotype of all women being hysterical harpies” or I hear someone say something like “she was drunk, so partly responsible for her rape”, I’ll ignore the slap and the tiny adrenalin spike in my fingers, and figurately keep on walking. Because it’s not only tiring explaining to someone why (um, obviously) women have a right to a career, or that telling a woman when she offers an opposing opinion that she is being a typical, hysterical woman is actually the female equivalent of metaphorical castration, pretty much invalidating everything she says henceforth, or how ANYONE has the right to NOT BE penetrated unless said person, who is capable of giving consent, says some variation of “please, oh my God, yes”, but it’s also disheartening to realise that what seems to be obvious, common sense, the basis of decency and respect, is perceived as extreme. I don’t like being seen that way. I don’t like feeling sanctimonious, strident, lecturing. Worst of all, I’m often angry and dissappointed in myself for not just shutting up.
And then I come home. With Moran, I don’t feel opinionated, argumentative, extreme. This is the norm. We talk, debate, disagree, agree, argue. We often discuss politics, society, history, and what to make the girls for supper. I love how analytical and logical he is (although with a massive blindspot – coughmoneycough- that eludes all reason). He learned a long time ago that there is no point trying to argue dirty with me, like using pointless analogies to make a point (someone once said this to me: a woman is like a flower, and must be taken care of or she will die) because I will call that shit out.
He taught me not to make claims that I can’t back up (or at least to realise when I’m doing it) and to know when people are doing the same. He has shown me how to see things from the opposing POV. I used to hate it when he would play the devil’s advocate – now I enjoy the mental exercise. I keeps us sharp and allows us to analyze situations rationally from different angles.
These traits seemed so obvious to me – I mean, why wouldn’t he be like that? Why wouldn’t anyone be like that?
Nnow I see how exceptional he is. It can’t be easy to live with someone (man or woman) so opinionated, so full of impatience at the slowness of society to just bloody well catch up already with, well, logic and reason, so easily inflamed by casually-made, thoughtless comments, so obsessed with naval gazing. But he is (almost) always engaged, interested, ready to debate and discuss, agree or push back.
His intelligence, clarity and strength of conviction mean that he never feels threatened by me, in any way, and that is a relief. I don’t have to hold myself back, pretend to be less than what I am. Our life together is never dull – good, bad, but never dull. And he likes it that way. He is my biggest cheerleader.
Moran has taught me to be less petty and more understanding in my relationships with other people – to realize that we are all flawed, and that’s ok. When I’m down, frustrated, depressed, the things he says bring me up, up and out.
I have learned from him the value of taking responsibility, and saying sorry when I’ve done wrong.
And he loves us, his family, unconditionally. He was there for the <insert string of horrible adjectives here – they all pretty much fit) births of both our girls, and witnessed things that should not be spoken of. Ever. And his love, loyalty, and attraction to me has never waned. That’s exceptional.
He loves our girls more than anything in the world, and that brings me joy.
He is also really, really funny. His humor is just the right mixture of satire, quirk and pitch black darkness. And he laughs at my jokes a lot. Making Moran laugh, with his crinkly eyes and beautiful smile, is an awesome feeling.
After 13 years together, I am so grateful to be able to come home to him. He makes my world infinitely better and bearable in so many ways.
Happy birthday Moran.
If you’re my friend on FB you’ll know I’ve been ranting about this topic a lot lately.
And then my friend posted a link to this blog post (not hers) and honestly, I just cannot take this sh*t anymore. Not another second.
My comment in response was this:
I was watching this movie the other day where Jennifer Lopez’s character gets pregnant via sperm donation and then meets her Mr Right. Which is not the point of this post. Except to say that I think she’s just ridiculously beautiful.
And there’s this part where the guy is talking to a father in the park. He asks the father what it’s like having kids, and the father says something like “it’s awful, it’s awful, it’s so awful, it’s really awful, and then there is a moment where it’s just incredible, and again it’s awful, and awful, and awful”. Then the kid walks up to the father and hands him a piece of poo.
Of all the things written about parenthood, like, ever, it takes a silly romantic B movie to capture it so perfectly.
Here’s what I’ve noticed though as my girls grow up, especially with Niv maturing and Shai being a far easier 2 year old than Niv ever was – there’s less awful and more wonderful. I actually enjoy spending time with them. Not ALL the time. The urge to bang my head against a wall still surfaces often, but still….a bit…less.
It sounds obvious, right? That as they get older it gets easier. So many people said that to me. I just didn’t believe them. I have to live it to understand it. How when Niv asks for something and I say “no” she now sometimes says “ok Ima”. I’m all ready for the battle, and it’s just such a relief taking off the armor. She glows as I praise her for being so mature about it, and the rest of the afternoon goes smoother.
I still have one major issue, and for some reason, it’s mine. I’m sure it’s a sensory thing (always been super-sensitive to noise, made much worse after partial hearing loss in one ear when Niv was a baby), but the bickering between them is my breaking point. And the truth is that it’s really not so bad. Just typical sibling fighting over toys and stuck out tongues and perceived insults. Shai has a shriek that is reserved for Niv’s teasing, and Niv does this f******* annoying “di (enough) Shai….di……..di……di….” in a super low, creepy soft voice over and over again until I scream.
But then I think – I don’t want them to grow up not being allowed to have conflict and work through it because I’m so sensitive to noise. On the other hand I remember feeling how unfair it was as a child when I felt wronged and my parents told us they didn’t want to hear it, and to sort it out ourselves. And I can’t say I feel like it helped me in solving conflict. I’ve tried active listening, but Shai is just too small for it. And then it feels like I’m asking Niv to always give in.
Ok, so here’s how it played out. I had it planned down to the minute. Not sure who I could trust anymore and fearful of word reaching the wrong
person people, I confided in no one.
7am: woke up, got the girls dressed and off we left for gan. Things should have gone smoothly but then Niv, after months of saying goodbye without a whisper of a fuss decided that this morning was the perfect morning to throw me a curveball. Hell and conflagration! Precious minutes were lost providing nurturing motherly comfort and dire threats of punishment.
Got home, raced to meet a couple of deadlines. Changed my clothes into appropriate gear: stylish yet comfortable for the grueling marathon ahead. I needed sustenance too, but not just anything would do. I required something light and yet nutritious – just the right combination of carb and protein to provide me with enough energy to make it all the way through without a taking a break. In the end, it was a humble wholewheat turkey sandwich that proffered the perfect aliment for my arduous journey.
At 11:00 I left the Hod. My heart was racing with anticipation I am not even kidding you. By 11:20 I’d pulled into the parking lot. And there it was looming above me, filled with the heady promise of sweet satisfaction: approximately 20,000 square meters filled to the brim with flat-pack assemble-it-yourself-while-ripping-out-your-hair furniture.
Leaving the bright sunlight behind me, I hurried in. And oh! Klippan! How I’ve missed the sight of you in the entrance display. I took a moment to breathe it in before heading up the stairs. The breastfeeding room caught my eye. “Not today, old friend”, I smiled conspiratorially, “today, it’s just you and me”.
I headed up, chills skipping down my spine. How do I begin to describe it? How can I find the words to explain how it felt as I walked the floor plan free and unfettered? No oh-please-oh-please-why-won’t-she-stop-screaming baby in a sling, no chasing after feral girl children down the aisles. And hark dear friends, HARK! Do you hear the voice of my beloved? Can you hear him sweetly hiss in my ear “YOU DO NOT NEED THIS. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL YOU ARE GOING TO BUY THIS” and “25 NIS FOR A COUCH? WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?” and “DON’T. EVEN. LOOK.” and “DON’T STOP IN HERE WE DON’T NEED ANYTHING” and “OH MY GOD ARE YOU CRAZY? WHY WOULD YOU WANT THE 500 NIS CUPBOARD IF YOU CAN GET THIS HERE BUTT UGLY ONE FOR 495?”
Can you hear it? No? NO? Well, NEITHER COULD I. Because he’s sitting in an office as I write this blissfully unaware that our marriage is at risk. The only sounds around me were the rustle of flat-packs being pulled off the shelves and other couples engaging in some good old Ikea rage. But not me, not today.
Oh readers, it was heavenly. A glorious two and a half hour brisk and happy stroll through the Swedish version of heaven, with nothing but the very real threat of divorce between me and my Alseda, my Dragor, my Bran, and my Fillsta.
So now as I sit here at home, sated and exhausted, surveying my takings. And while I wait for the sound of Hiroshima turning the key in the door, I have to wonder: was it worth it? Were Eivor and Knuff, Skubb and Dvala worth that very specific and peculiar combination of hot and cold terror sweat now pricking my forehead? I’m afraid only time will tell (17:00 to be precise – he comes home early on a Tuesday). Do you think Ikea will pay my lawyer’s fees?
1. Today is my and Moran’s 8th anniversary.
2. A few days before I started working at the job where I met Moran, I got an eye infection. Then I got the flu. One night I went to sleep, and when I woke up in the morning my eye looked something like this:
This is the letter he wrote me today:
Our 8th anniversary!
I am so happy we met one another.
I remember the first day I met you. It was Sunday, April 2nd 2000.
You were sitting behind a desk as I entered the room, and when my eyes met your eyes for the first time I thought to myself: “WTF?! What happened to her eye? Is it permanent?”
That was our lowest point 🙂
Ever since, I noticed how great you are. I started to like you more and more, and then love you more and more. Today I love you so much it’s impossible to think what I would have done without you.
You (and both of your little x chromosomes) are my life!
I love you.
EDIT: Moran gave me permission to put in the rest…
Most sites will tell you that if you want a successful blog, you need to find your niche and stick to it: mommy blogging, design blogging, tech, auto, finance, etc. The key message? Stay on subject.
Thing is, I can’t. I can’t stay on subject in real life and I can’t do it here. I figure I’ll just continue blogging about whatever issue is currently making the most noise in my head: politics, design, family, start ups…
So if you’ve come for parenting anecdotes and you suddenly get an article about start ups that you find so tedious you’d rather be made to watch 24 hours of channel 1 than finish reading it, simply click on the x quick as a heartbeat and just close the window. There! Nothing to see here! Move along like it never happened! But please come back. I promise to write another sweet story about the terrible twos and f***&E*&$g-awful-really?-really?-please-stop-spitting-on-your-sister-don’t-you-talk-to-me-like-that-young-lady-OMG-I’m-my-mother-fives.
N: Ima, what are you doing?
L: I’m using this machine called a babyliss to straighten a few pieces of my hair.
L: I want to see how it looks.
N: Don’t you like your curls?
L: I do like my curls. But I thought it would be fun to try something different.
N: Oh. Ok.
L: (huh. that was surprisingly ea…)
N: What if your curls don’t come back?
L: They will when I wash my hair.
N: How do you know?
L: Because when a person who has curly hair uses this to straighten it, the curls will come back when the person washes them.
N: Have you done this before?
L: Nope, first time.
N: So how do you know for sure the curls will come back?
L: I just know.
L: Well actually a hairdresser has done this to my hair before, so I know once I wash my hair the curls will come back.
N: So you HAVE done this before? You said you haven’t.
L: (oh for f…) I said I haven’t because this is the first time I’m doing it. By myself.
N: You need to decide. Either you’ve done this before or you haven’t.
L: I did explain it. I haven’t done it to my hair, but a hairdresser has.
N: So you’ve done it before.
N: So if you’re doing it again, that means you don’t like your curls.
L: Niv, put your head down on that pillow, close your eyes, and go to sleep. Right. Now.
L: No buts. Now.
N: Oooof, you NEVER answer ANY of my questions!!! NEVER EVER!