Monday, March 20, 2017

bossy love.

Sit in your seat
Chew up your meat
Just hands on the table and not your feet.

Wipe what is sticky
Eat, though you’re picky
If you take a bite you can say it was icky.

Don’t flick boogers on that lady
Or eat the candy you found that's so shady
(I mean, at least brush off the dirt and then…maybe.)

One butt at a time for privacy
But make haste, this porcelain isn’t your dynasty
And don’t pick up your poop up for all to see!

When a mitten’s lost I can hear your cries
But just look with your eyes
It’s right in front of your face - damn it – surprise.

No shoes on the couch
No chewed gum in the pouch
Of my favorite purse, its cost was no slouch.

Run but don’t slip
Pour but don’t drip
I’m sorry I’m such a hovering trip.

Don’t push, bite, or scratch
Or do - while I pour wine down my hatch
You’re identical twins, you’ve met your match.

And I’ve met mine too
Since the two of you grew
From the tiniest shock to make me brand new.

It seems like yesterday you both fit on my chest
And our daily accomplishment was just getting dressed
I remember tired beyond tired, trying to feel blessed.

These days I grin while you put on your pants
Either backwards with a dance
Or inside out with a prance.

You’re three now and tall
Running, biking, kicking balls
Climbing, hugging, and snuggling us all.

I’m much better for your noise and your laughter
And our messy house a whirlwind disaster

Being your mom makes me a better person and pastor.

Friday, March 10, 2017

life and choice.

Trigger Warning: Pastor who swears, loves, fights, lives, and chooses with all she's got. Like a woman.

We are failing women's bodies
when 97% of rapists evade conviction
leaving her to heal without justice.

We are failing women's bodies
when children's clothing stores insist
we cover little girls in sparkles and unicorns
limiting their imaginations and power
to pretty and nice.

We are failing women's bodies
when we teach college freshmen
how to avoid getting raped
instead of teaching college freshmen
do not rape.

We are failing women's bodies
when we mansplain the real problem
dismiss her experience
silence her voice
regulate her body
as though she is not fully human
and super human.

We are failing women's bodies when
the uterus is a pre-existing condition
and we elect a Congressman who doesn't understand
why men should also be covered for prenatal care.

Maybe he should ask his mom.
You know.
The one who carried him to term
while his male genitalia developed
in utero.

We are failing women's bodies
when we treat them like an operational loss.
No, we are people-bearing-power-houses.
Prenatal care is human care.
And if we all come from this care it should be
really fucking good.

We fail women's bodies
when we act like women get themselves knocked up
when we assume that housing a fertilized egg
is just a lady problem.
It confirms we are too often on our own

responsible for what is
dark matter parenting

but that does not mean we are
less valuable
more on the hook
in need of micro-management.

We go rogue every day
refilling our birth control prescriptions on time
paying out of pocket for health supplies
hoarding vacation days for maternity leave
pumping in closets at work
applying makeup in the daycare parking lot
getting laid off if we miss one more day with a sick kid.

We are failing women's bodies
when we assume
she wants to be a mother
she can get pregnant
she can stay pregnant
she needs our two cents
before making a profound and personal decision.

We are failing women's bodies
when we are foolish enough to think
pro-life is a stance for the unborn alone and
pro-choice a godless apathy.

We are failing women's bodies
until pro-life also fully considers
systemic racism
mental health

Feminine human life
will not
be categorized or set aside
from the rest of human life.

Pro-life begins when we stop making the choice
to fail women's bodies,
instead hearing the decisions she must make
in a system that does not honor her deepest

We are failing women's bodies.
And yet she refuses failure
with her beautiful life and her gutsy choice
every single day.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

the evidence.

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8, I will dedicate my March posts to a few ways I reject the cultural pressures I experience as a white married middle-class working mother. Lord knows there are countless other pressures that I don't deal with personally because of these categories, so I will spend time reading and learning about women from other perspectives this month, too.

For the Post-Partum Bodies
When Jasper was born I decided to give up saying negative things about my body. I didn't want him to hear me disparage myself because I have the unique opportunity to define feminine beauty for him early on. If he sees me treating my figure with respect and using it as a vehicle for movement and life, he will believe it's wonderful too. If he hears me saying kind things about other bodies, maybe he will learn to do the same.

It was painfully hard work at first. I noticed how often I thought ill of myself or had to bite my tongue. But six years later, I have brainwashed myself into thinking I look amazing 99% of the time. Refraining from speaking ill of my body caused my self-critical thoughts to get bored and, at some point, they gave up trying to make me miserable in my own skin. It's changed my relationship with the parts of me that were affected by the trauma of rape and recovery so many years ago. Now this lack of self-judgment can be a gift to my girls, too.

I pulled back the shower curtain this morning and one of my daughters was standing there looking at me. While she examined me slowly, I rejected the urge to cover up and shoo her away. I want her to see me standing up straight. I want her to know that the mother of three small children can carry her body with pride and love and confidence, even if she's several pounds heavier than her glory days weight.

"Do you remember where you lived, Solveig?" She came close to me and put her hand on the lower left portion of my torso, her home for 38 weeks. "That's where my tummy got really big to make room for you to curl up in there. And then, after you were born, it got smaller but stayed soft so you can lie your head down whenever you need to snuggle."

Carrying and delivering and nursing my children has been my greatest power as a woman. How strange, then, that society pressures women to lose every pound and become firm again as if nothing ever happened. We're conditioned to shred the evidence of miracles and ferocity. My soft core isn't a symbol of weakness or something to sweat away - it is a tribute to my strength and life and three unforgettable chapters. So I reject the narrative that says I should want the body I had at 28 because my body at 35 tells a much better story - even Solveig can see that. We are not postpartum bodies until we lose the weight or find our abs again. We are forever changed by these events in ways our bodies want to remember. And call me crazy, but I think it's okay if they look like they remember.

For the postpartum bodies out there:
You are lovely and strong. Your flesh and curves tell the story of your deepest power. May your shape be a vehicle for movement and life (soccer and Cheetos!) so that your children can witness your joy and strength as their first example of feminine beauty. For your sake and for the world, do not wish yourself away. We need you, standing up straight and being seen.