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An essay on being awesome – for my husband on his birthday

April 12, 2013 Leave a comment

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.

How do you say “I’m screwed” in Swedish?

March 27, 2012 2 comments

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?

 

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