2014. {part ii}

I seem to be averaging about two posts per year. As I was reading through the past couple of years’ worth of writing and pictures, I expected to cringe as you do when reading an old journal. But instead, I loved it. I love seeing the things I felt strongly enough about to share, and what I had to say about them.

2014 Wrap Up

This year has been a blur of hard things and wonderful things and some more hard things. When we moved out to Oregon over three years ago now, the fear in the back of my mind which would probably never happen but wouldn’t it suck? was that we would move across the country away from everyone who loved us, we would have a kid, and then Tim would get deployed. Leaving me with said kid and no support. You can see where this is going.

Tim has been away more than he’s been home this year. It has been, as my ever-so-tactful grandmother would have put it, an experience.

IMG_6022One of the hardest things has been finding a balance between trying to stay positive and holding space for myself to feel what I feel. Enjoying the moment while acknowledging that the moment is HARD. Not wanting to wish time away, but being ok with wishing time away once in a while. Basically, trying not to lose it.

Hat’s off to single parents everywhere (not that I call myself a single parent). Evie is all the things I want her to be – wicked smart, confident, feisty, outspoken, daring, assertive. It’s just that sometimes I don’t want her to be all those things at bath time when I’m spent and exhausted and she decides she wants to jump on all the bubbles but I can’t help and how dare I try to rinse her hair I’m a monster and did I mention her favorite beverage is warm bubbly bath water?

But then sometimes when I ask for a hug she will run at me and throw her arms around my neck and say “luh you so much, mama.” So it evens out.

We are fine, we are making it work. Evie is an amazing little person and watching her grow and learn blows me away daily. We have both made friends this year, and we’ve had fun and tried new things. We have traveled around Eugene, to the coast, Davis, Cincinnati, mid-Missouri. We love each other fiercely.

2015

I’ve been inspired this year by many women I know only from afar through their words. These women bare their souls through their beautiful writing. I’m not ready to bare my soul, but I think I’m ready to bare just a little more. A little patch of shoulder skin, maybe. That means telling more stories, even if they’re not perfect (whatever that even means for me). Maybe digging into my drafts folder and brushing off the dust and hitting ‘publish’ on something. Remembering that writing and taking pictures and sharing on this blog make me happy, and making time for it.

Onward.

jenn evie beach

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On Girl Monkeys and Boy Monkeys and Calling Every Animal ‘She’

“There’s a doggy! What does a doggy say? She says woof woof!”

Why does it still seem, in 2013, that male is the default and female is the other? It’s so insidious we don’t even notice most of the time. But usually, when we see an animal at the zoo, it’s a “he.” When we talk about a driver, or a pilot, or any other unseen person, it’s automatically a “he.” Last year at the UO rec center I remember seeing see a gigantic poster showing the muscles of the ‘human’ body. Right next to it, almost as an afterthought, was a much smaller poster showing the same of the female body. Come ON.

Just wander down a baby aisle at Target and look at all the animals. The gender neutral stuff is eerily similar to the boy stuff. For a monkey or a bear or a frog to be intended for girls, however, it must be sporting a pink bow and giant eyelashes or a purse. It’s either a girl monkey, or just a monkey.

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NOTHING wrong with pink bows in moderation, because she looks awesome in them

I know I’ve stumbled into a huge issue here, one I have thought and read a lot about, and one which others have written extensively about much more eloquently than I will.  Some will say I’m being too sensitive. But after much thought, I have to say I’m not. I’m really, really not. Because a monkey wearing a pink bow vs. not is sadly just the beginning of the crazy gendered messages that Evie will have to deal with pretty soon.

She’s going to have quite enough Patriarchal Bullshit thrown her way in her lifetime, and I’m damn well going to do my small part to counteract it.

When someone mistook her for a boy in her brown monkey outfit with no bows, there was no annoyance or frustration on my part. Instead, I was excited to have an opportunity to make someone think for half a second about why they assumed she was a boy – clearly it was the lack of pink. It’s not like she was even wearing a little blue construction worker onesie or anything. She was just dressed as a monkey.

I sincerely hope my daughter will grow up in a country where women are paid the same amount as men and are trusted to make their own healthcare decisions – frankly it’s embarrassing that we’re not there yet. But for now, sometimes I dress her like a monkey in an outfit that I got from the boys’ section. When we see or read about a new animal, it’s a ‘she’ (ok, if a lion has a mane, it’s a ‘he’). For every time I tell her how beautiful she is (because omg, she really is) I also tell her how smart and strong and funny and brave she is. And if she grows up to love sparkly pink princess dresses, fine – as long as it’s because they truly make her happy, and not because that’s what’s been foisted upon her.

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girlfriend rocks both looks

I’m not expecting to change the world here, but maybe to expand my little part of it and the minds of the people who love Evie.

And YES, she’s only 4 months old. But raising a little feminist to buck society’s gender norm expectations and think for herself? That shit has to start early.

*drops mic*

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