On Being a Bitch

domestication, Love, social awareness, soulfood, therapy

Take a seat, let’s chat about this, it’s long over due.

One of my many muses Erin Brown posted a snippet from her most recent book about not being afraid to embody the word bitch because no one knows what it means any way.

I have had a very different experience with this word. The meaning is always contextual. And I’ve been called it a lot. It comes in two varieties, “You’re being a bitch” and, “You’re a bitch”.

Being a bitch typically comes from those around me who are more emotionally evolved. They distinguish being because they understand that I am a person with a myriad of ways of being, hats I wear, tasks I do, and conversations I have. What they unconsciously know is that being a bitch indicates a behavior or behavior pattern. We are not our behaviors, simple. Our behaviors are our personality, and our personalities are the vehicles for our souls. 

Please consider this next time that you think someone is bitchy or a bitch. Actually they are acting in “that” way. It’s the “that“, that’s subjective.

[Sorry to nitpick the semantics, but words have power.]

So, let’s talk about that.

First we have to understand that our ways of being are adaptive to our environment.  Personalities are the way that we have found that works for us to show up in the world and receive the feedback that we want and need. From this place we can unpack the bitchy behavior.

Yesterday, I was asked to conceptualize my family of origin as a square, and each person in it took up their own organic shape with their personalities (i.e., means to met needs) My shape (and your shape) is thus the negative space. Here’s a little drawing to help illustrate the point:

Today, I wanted to stretch this a little further. Imagine the box as our entire society. Now sprinkle in patriarchy, gender scripts, financial power, politics, our education system, opportunities, shame, sisterhood, joy, race, your neighborhood, your inner dialogue and every single interpersonal relationship that you’ve ever had. Dang that box is crowded.

And where are you? You’re (I’m) that squiggly blue bit trying to make sense of it all, integrating, wanting to be seen or not seen at all. We accommodate and respond to every single thing around us in a fraction of a second always!  You might be going with the flow, you may be making waves and you might be chillin’ under the surface of the water. Or if you’re a human you flex in and out of doing all three.

These are usually unconscious decisions. We’ve laid down these patterns in early childhood, solidified them through our teenage years and are carrying those shells everywhere with us as adults. Seeing that can be insightful, it can be painful, but it can also be liberating.

Here’s what I know to be my truth. Sometimes people perceive me to be a bitch. And that’s their assessment of me that I’m not concerned with changing. Because I know all of me. I know the expansiveness of my soul. I know all of the roles that I step into on a given day and I hold loving space for each of those. So, when the environment is just so and I feel the impulse to express myself in a way that is strong and firmly rooted in what I believe to be true I do so. I step into my power. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not afraid of what “you’ll/they’ll” think of me when I do. 

The goal in life is not to be liked by everyone. I have a laundry list of other goals that will always, always be vastly more important than this one. 

Here’s the second part. Yes, we all wish that our childhoods were more ideal. Wish that our past and current situations demanded less bitch power and more along for the ride. But, you can come to respect that those and this situation were not that.

Many members of my family worked doggedly to break me down. Strip me of my opinions. They were massively confrontational. I spent too many of those formative years at war, screaming, hitting, crying, fighting for my voice and space. Fighting to simply be in a way that aligned with my conscious.

In those early years  I didn’t just learn to fight, I also learned to choose my battles. To be impeccably informed. To spit facts like fire out of my mouth. They taught me to tap into a deep well of inner strength. I also learned a lot of coping strategies that I’m actively dismantling. Yet I respect them, because they got me to where I am now, in tact.

The girl who you may call bitch, know that she is so much more. She is a fortress and a butterfly. She is who she needs her to be. She is perfect. 

Pivotal Conversations With Women

soulfood, therapy

I sat at her table drinking a cheap glass of wine,
The sweet hum of laughter and old times in the air.
I said, he wrote the most beautiful thing,
Women on both sides of me transfixed by poetry, declarations of love, the promise of commitment

He said, I want to marry you, there is no game, let’s have children.
I watched the long lost sensation of being desired well up in their eyes.
And it was all for me, alas a man who sees clearly.

 My best friend’s mother tempered, girl you’re not going to save him in the eleventh hour.
I swallowed that pit,
From which a sapling of love grew and twisted through my esophagus,
Peaked out of my throat,
Tickled my tongue and bloomed
Bore fruit for three years.

 1,095 nights I feel asleep knowing that I deserved this,
1,095 morning of waking up, reaching, just out of grasp.
The eleventh hour comes with a cold bed and a mounting pile of medical bills,
Overdue.

 We were in the car,
I recounted the inexplicable interactions of the past two days,
But he didn’t even want to have sex with me.
All of these months,
So much tension,
And nothing.

 He called it getting to know you,
Not jumping in,
Being a gentleman.

 

My eyes shellacked rose, maybe this is just different?
Like a good different? Maybe? Please?
The red haired M.D. from the back seat reported a cold hard
Best case scenario someone lives for five years after starting dialysis.
Wow, what a fucking buzz kill.

 

But we were there to celebrate,
And I love a good party.
I rallied. Plastered smiles over my crumbling infrastructure.

 

This reality was best left on the back burner,
Simmering on low for as long as it lasts,
Turn the fire down, pray that the gas doesn’t go out.

 

This woman- this woman, she has great friends,
Friends that withstood the fire, simmer and boil,
Steadfast, a hand placed at the bottom of my spine,
Keep me upright,
Hold me together.

 

I called my soul’s fraternal twin,
A customary, Hi how are you, to be polite and then straight into,
There are no wrong decisions.
You can’t make a wrong choice. What makes sense today may not make sense tomorrow.
And vise-a-versa.

 

She clutters my inbox on every front,
Filled with musings, tangible love, firm advise and big questions.
The woman is a push when I’ve slowed down,
A corset of words lacing me together when my insides have fallen to the floor.

And one day it all clicked.

 “In closing can we both- men and women- stop acting like the bare minimum,
being alive, not being fugly and not being abusive equates a good man.”

 The next day, I sat in a restaurant, lap full of babies,
Over a bowl of soup a waitress named Jessica or Jenny maybe,
She said, I have two boys 3 and 6 and a boyfriend who’s basically a child.
I’m leaving here to go to my third job, thanks I’ll take your check.

And I just couldn’t fucking do it anymore.

 I said, I see you hustling.
I said, I see you.

And I saw me.

 The eleventh hour is a cold bed,
Backseat commentary,
A well placed testimony of your strength,
A timely Instagram caption,
A woman refilling my breadbasket that I’ll probably never see again.

The eleventh hour is an internal hell,
Guilt and self-worth in the balance.
And I’m not going to save him,
I’m going to save me.

When life was different

Ever Sophia, Love, soulfood

This morning I rolled over, wrapped myself around my boyfriend like a baby sloth and moaned I don’t want to go to work. He countered- Don’t. Quit. I’ll take care of you.
Old Reagon would have protested. New Reagon savored.

I just got back from ten days of soul searching. Of beauty, tense situations, silence, giggles, music, reading, nature. From ten days of being alive, present in every moment. Life was still, my thoughts and emotions were congruent. I was one with the perpetual feeling that I am so fucking lucky to have my baby and my man. To have my family.
That was it. That was all that mattered.

Loving or at least having a deep appreciation for your life despite it’s real-lifeness is the goal.

That’s so very important for me to remember. To keep on the tip of my tongue. To carry in my hand bag for those days when self-pitty and exhaustion hijack my gratitude.
____________________________________

My mother very graciously gifted me a new car (I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop fortune and luck tend to evade me). That car was filled with totes, boxes and bags of my things.
Ohhh these things. How do I describe them:

Books. Books I loved. Books I learned. Books that I couldn’t take to the thrift store because at one point and time each of those books held the ticket to the other side of a course and another A. All of those A’s. So shiny and desired. As it turns out they’re rather hollow, transcripts long forgotten. All that lingers is a nagging sensation to correct someone when they miss label Existential  art.

Journals. Before I blogged I journaled. I love each one of them. But each one of them are tough to look at. Tough to face one page because I was young and dumb, the next because I invited in an unfortunate series of events launched by my grandmother’s death.

All of those mementos from Ever’s babyhood. I put her little plaster cast foot prints, her hand written birth story, her baby albums all in boxes and shoved them to the back of my mother’s garage. I would never throw them away they just had to be forgotten. For self-preservation.

I opened the trunk to that shiny new  car and was met with five years of agony. My initial reaction, I’ll just drop it all off at the Goodwill. My Mom insisted, “No you’ll want to go through this”. Fuck.

Last night I did.

I thumbed through journals, books, papers. I smiled, I laughed, I shook my head in disbelief of all of the years of college that I soldiered through. I put a few things in the throw that away don’t even look at it pile. The rest I saved for today.

________________________________________

Today, I cried for that girl that I was not that long ago. That girl desperately grasping at normalcy. The girl making the worlds hugest batch of lemonade. The girl that got pregnant at 20. The girl who pretended for four years that her ‘surprise’ family could hold water.

I cried for the girl who honestly believed that she could make anything work.

For the girl who saved apology notes- a cheap bandaid clinging to the scabs of abuse and betrayal.

For the girl who went through labor all alone because she didn’t want to be a bother.

For the girl who should have fucking left. And for the girl who wrote -check- done 7/8/11.

And for that exhausted, pissed, purging, self-denying, material girl, wonder woman.

________________________
Life gets better. You’ll do better. You’ll find yourself, it won’t be easy, but you will.

 

 

What it means to be exactly like your mother

Love, soulfood

Exactly.

My mom and I are different in a few ways. Yes, literally three I can count them. But they aren’t nearly as intersesting as the fact that we’re the same gdamn person one generation removed.  Most days lately I look in the mirror and my mother looks back. I’ve thought about the fact that I was born when she was 25 and how I now am the same age as my first memories of her.

I wonder if she noticed with every passing year that her face got less and less symmetrical. I wonder how different that are lives are and were. Or if they weren’t different at all. How do I feel about that? How does she feel about that?

My own baby is nearly 7 years old. Every day she becomes a little more resolved in who she is as a person. And every day I tease apart her actions and put them into categories from- me, her dad, my mom, carol. Those four categories is about all it takes. An alarming amount of instances fall under the ME header.

Two days ago I got home and Ev was absolutely breaking down about everything. The way the watermelon was cut, that the dog barked, that she was told to stop standing in the funiture. J and I looked at each other multiple times. Da fuck? I don’t know why she’s being like this.

6 is a year that has brought a lot more sanity. We now reason. Repercussions are real, iminantant and often (though not always) deturing.

But on Thursday for what ever reason she just needed to cry. And I paused. Because I know that face, that exhaustion, that defeat. It’s my own. I contemplated how hard it is to be a woman. And then how hard that it is to be a child. Come here baby. You just need to be held. To be vulnerable and caught for just a few moments. Then you’ll put your emotional mess in your pocket book and carry on. That’s all we ever need.

That’s a parenting corner to turn. In any given situation I just think what would I need in that situation and it works.

For instance if I get mad and yell it is quickly followed by an apology. She forgives but will never go first. If she eats it on the playground, we just need to go over every detail of how and why it happened to make the hurt disipate. When her tales get a little too tall I cut her down to size but commend her ability to tell a good story. We do love that about ourselves.

We are the most complicated yet simplistic though always beautiful creatures on this earth. We are women and girl. Mother and daughter. Linear and circle. We. One.


I love you baby bear and Mama. Being caught in the middle is some kind of place to be.

I call bullshit on #loveyourlines

your body

Okay I call bullshit on the media (buzzfeed, boardpanda, usatoday etc.) coverage of #loveyourlines #flawless #stretchmarksandidontcare #etc.

If you’ve been living under a rock and missed the big news then let me sum it up for you:

HOT GIRLS (LIKE REALLY HOT GIRLS) EVERYWHERE HAVE STRETCHMARKS AND THEY’RE STILL HOT AND NOW FREED FROM THE SHAME BY CHRISSY TEIGEN (SMOKIN’ HOT WIFE OF JOHN LEGEND AND SUPER MODEL). THEY’D LIKE FOR YOU TO KNOW HOW HOT AND REAL THAT THEY ARE ALL IN THE SAME HASHTAG. While being the latest (and hottest) of real women to jump on the body love train. Because everyone is doin’ it.

Here’s the series of my reactions:

1st: Ohh that’s awesome good for them, wow that’s really beautiful.

2nd: Wait why are all of these women a size 5 and below, above average hight with a very low bmi? Plus they’re all bronzed and flawless well except for the flawlessness featured. (Not that I’m hating on you if you happen to be all of the right dimensions and perfect shade of georgeous, more power to you, seriously. My point is simply that your/that shape is not representative of the whole and should not be misconstrued as such).

3rd: Okay I’m not mad, it’s a step allbeit a baby one. And one that overlooks the work of many fabulous woman who have built and nurtured this “movement” to get women to stop waging war on their own bodies and each other for a good long while.
Alert: here comes a super model with the standard of an ideal body and a few tiny little barely distinguishable stretch marks on her inner thighs to make you feel like a liberated woman.

4th: You know what is actually courageous and empowering work like this: jadebeallphotography.com. And this unapologetically flawless woman themilitantbaker.com. Plus tons of other women on the internet that are fucking owning their body and the space they take up in all of their own glory and I’m going to say it brace yourself…. imperfections.

5th: Let me look into this further. Do some real sound investigative research into this matter:
-Goes to instagram
-Types in #flawless
-Finds the following
-Completely change my mind
Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 11.19.04 PM

Well shit I was wrong. This is what I’m talking about. These are real women embracing their exterior and putting it all over the internet.

It’s brave and it’s freeing.

Unfortunately the major media outlets are still worried about the “unintended Diane Arbus effect” of putting ugly, fat, old, unsymmetrical, too dark or too light, abnormal looking people on the cover or content of anything. Big or small, Vogue or pulptastic.com. I mean unless you’re one of those so ugly that you’re pretty girls and then even so you must be stunningly tall and thin.
Vulnerability is poetry, terror and power.
I try and live there. It’s where I feel the most free.

Some mistake it for delusion, over confidence, my crazed nature. But really I know the secret, there’s nothing to be afraid of when you bring your story and your thighs (and right boob, and csection scar, and dimply butt, and jiggly bits) to the table first.
There I said it.
bathroom

Not only is this my ass but also my dirty bathroom. Honestly, I’m more embarrassed about the arrangement of my blow dryer cord than putting all of my #flawlessness on the interweb. I promise to clean tomorrow.

It’s noteworthy that I am currently too white (yes those are my veins that you are seeing in my cover photo) and pudgy for any of my stretch marks to show up in photography. That’s real. I really don’t have that many stretch marks due to some freakish resilience in my skin, and because of Murphy’s law, the only time that you can really see them are in the summer when I’m no longer translucent and have dropped some of my winter weight.
So, here are just straight up pictures of my thighs and ass, because that suffices as a real woman showing you her real body that US Magazine isn’t trying to headline any time soon .
Plus, I do what I want and you should too. 

booty

#loveyourself #ditchthefuckingmagazines #liftupyoursisters #nofilternotbecauseitwasntneededbutbecasueimbrave

give ’em hell

Love

You will always attract the kind of person you believe you deserve.

A few weeks ago I was blaring the Dirty Heads Pandora station whilst showering. White guys singing reggae is always good in my book. Then out of the speakers and into my enraged heart came this song.  Following are the lyrics from Best of Us by the Dirty Heads.

She takes my shoes off when I pass out in the morning

Dead asleep from a night out with the boys

If she came with us I’d have to send a warning:

She can drink with the best of us

She can smoke and she can drink as much as I can

She made me food and rolled a joint when I broke my hand

Fightin’ with her older brother, showed him I’m a man

And she’s as cool as the best of us

She doesn’t get mad when I’m out of control

When I’m blacked out drunk, at the top of my lungs

Man she just laughs and rolls

She’s my lady, baby I know this is always true

I see you yellin’ at your girlfriend,

Mine’s the shit, well how ’bout you?

Givin’ head and we were driving down the freeway

Comin’ home from San on a friday

We were laughin’ ‘cuz her body was in my way

She’s as cool as the best of us

Well she can rock and she can move it with me slowly

Nobody told me she can move it like that

I didn’t see it, didn’t buy it ’till she showed me

That she can drink with the best of us

Well she don’t get mad when I’m out of control

When I’m blacked out drunk, at the top of my lungs

Man she just laughs and rolls

She’s my lady, baby I know this is always true

I see you yellin’ at your girlfriend,

Mine’s the shit, well how ’bout you?

She likes the way I smell when I come home late

She tells me ‘give em hell’ before I come on stage

She likes her beer real cold and her whiskey straight

Stayin’ up all night and then we sleep all day

But if the sun comes steppin’ in early

And I’m waitin’ for my wallet to be empty

‘Cuz last night the stack’s level I was off my lead

I can still look at her with no anxiety because

She don’t get mad when I’m out of control

When I’m blacked out drunk, at the top of my lungs

Man she just laughs and rolls

Well she’s my lady, baby I know this is always true

I see you yellin’ at your girlfriend,

Mine’s the shit, well how ’bout you?

She don’t get mad when I’m out of control

When I’m blacked out drunk, at the top of my lungs

Man she just laughs and rolls

She’s my lady, baby I know this is always true

I see you yellin’ at your girlfriend,

Mine’s the shit, well how ’bout you?

I’m hoping that I don’t have to explain to the masses all of the ways that this song is degrading to women. It speaks for itself. I am worried because this seems to be the way of the future. Too many boys are given few if any expectations. Positive adult male role models that treat women respectfully are more and more a rarity. And have been for dare I say, ever?  And then shit like this comes out of their mouths and into popculture.

This isn’t necessarily the norm coming out of the radio. Though I am particularly fond of the musical masterpiece Talk Dirty primarily because of this golden line: Got her saved in my phone under ‘big booty’.  That pops out of the radio on the trek to preschool far too often. The absurdity makes me smile.  But the reality that we humans are merely monkeys imitating our dominant males, is frightening.

For the record: as a woman, as a mother and of the proud owner of a big booty, none of this rhetoric is getting anyone anywhere. It’s detrimental to the state of… humanity, love, relationships, feminism and decency.  It’s just for entertainment, you say. I can give you that for dance party remixes but a love song going on and on about how your girl doesn’t get mad when you get drunk as a skunk and are ‘at the top of your lungs’.  Oh, no sir.

Here’s the conversation that we should be having, why are you conducting yourself like this in the first place? Sure that’s your prerogative. But do so, in a manner that isn’t disrespectful to your lady. I get that it’s such a relief to have a woman who isn’t nagging you to be a responsible adult. Who doesn’t impose any expectations on you. Maybe at this juncture of your life that’s what you need, a good time, an ugly fist fight and someone to roll you a j and make you some munchies.
But let’s let your situation be yours and not flex, “Mine’s the shit, well how ‘bout yours”, on all of your listeners. Especially because your demographic isn’t exactly the most wholesome bunch. I know I’ve dated them. As the voice of their ex, current and future girlfriends: ohhhh hell no. We’re mad, we aren’t going to just laugh and roll. We need you to be a fucking man. Yes, I realize that the concept of that is ephemeral and may have completely disintegrated. If Best of Us encapsulates your fantasy then please pull together the pieces of reality and get a clue. If that’s beyond your capacity than stay the fuck away from me and mine. We aren’t that girl and we’re disgusted.

Within hours of each other I heard that song and read some article probably entitled, How To Find Your One True Love or some shit like that.

And, per usual I’m trying to teach myself how to love and be loved.  So I read it: manifest destiny, knowledge is power, curiosity killed the cat. Ha. My mind.

I didn’t write the following. I pasted it from somewhere. In my haste I forgot the citation. Or you know even a really broad reference. Bet my pinterest knows. Lo siento.

“The truth is that we all come with some sort of a price tag. We rely on so many superficial things to measure our value and our worth by: appearance, intelligence, success. But no matter how you choose to calculate it, your price tag is determined by one thing and one thing alone: Yourself.

I wish someone could have told me that you get to determine the price that you will place upon yourself. But more so, I wish I would have known the reality that the price I choose is also the price at which I’ll be purchased. I spent so much of my life undervaluing my worth, thinking I wasn’t good enough, smart enough or cute enough. I made decisions based on what I believed I deserved, and my inability to see my true worth took me down some roads I wish I never would have traveled.”

Most importantly: Ladies: Yes, it seems that the spineless roll over and laugh sort of girls are all the rage. But they’re wrong. And they’re only right if we allow them to be. I won’t stand for it. I may stand-alone as a consequence. But, at least I’m standing up.