140838 Curiosities served
2014-03-03 12:52 AM
Normal rambling, hardly any swearing, I promise
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Son was up and out to see his mates before I woke up, having borrowed these two books:
which made me feel a very proud Ma. We had a long talk last night about feminism and its impact on his life.
He was born in 1984, when I was full of righteous anger about the wrongs done to women by men, and then here he was, my son - out of my body and into my arms, as pure and innocent of wrong doing as any baby ever born, and thus I gradually came to understand that the current gender nonsense is as damaging to men as it is to women, but differently so.
Now, "You can't do that because you're a girl" never had and never would be spoken to my daughters, which was easy, because that was the sort of tripe that I'd been brought up with, and anyone who didn't like it wasn't the kind of person I hung around with anyway. But surprisingly, "You can't do that because you're a boy," wasn't so easy to sustain, outside in the real world. The alcoholic, violent father had to be fucked off (don't ask what a feminist was doing with a violent, alcoholic husband - I didn't know (or forgive), myself till years later, when I read Maya Angelou's 'Heart of a Woman' - she did it too for a while, maybe it's a form of insanity, but if Maya Angelou could get past it, there was hope).
So Son grew up in a home where I made every endeavour to just let my kids be who they were - to expect the same from all of them in the way of good behaviour, but to let them all play with the same toys - which back then was revolutionary (seems to have returned to that, ffs). Boys who picked up dolls had them snatched out of their hands or they were sneered out and ridiculed - kindly, but still, directly or indirectly told that boys don't play with dolls, because people who don't watch kids play with dolls think it's all about mothering the doll, but that's only a part of it. They act out stuff that happens - you overhear one doll 'speaking' to another using phrases you had no idea you said that often. Boys do it too, of course, but they're only allowed to do it with animals or with 'masculine'-double-plus action figures. I have no memory of ever wagging a finger at a child as I told them off, but all three did that when their toys had been naughty. Son played with his sisters' dolls and when he asked for one of his own, I got him one. But I wasn't so sure about letting him take it out and about: me and a load of really old people were the only ones around my street during the day, so I had lots of long, leisurely chats, over a period of years with several of them and they were all cool in their way, but here's the thing.
We were skint as arseholes in those days and none of us ever had our hair cut. Not one of these old gits had ever mentioned it in all those years of me and two girls but when Son's hair passed his shoulders every one of the fuckers started on at me about getting it cut or people would think he was a girl.
And we muddled through it all somehow - I could tell them that boys could have long hair too now, and they knew that was true. Same went for ponytails - Status Quo were rocking all over the world by then, so they'd seen it on the telly - but when Son wanted to wear his siters' hair bands and slides, with all kinds of swizzy dangly ribbons and bows, I almost sat down and wept, because I couldn't let him go out there and fight my battles, he was just a little boy - I should say he spent a fair amount of time in the uni creche then nursery, where everyone thought like me and all the kids did what they liked. Jeez, I'm on a ramble...
Son's view on it now is that it gave him a cocoon he could return to, until he rebelled, consumed terrifying quantities of drugs and alcohol and embraced the worst excesses of 'masculinity', but that drove him mental, so he stopped and he's lately achieved a comfort with himself and ideas of masculinity that (fascinatingly) causes people to assume he's gay. He finds it all very interesting and is enthusiastically grateful for what he calls the 'privilege' of having that cocoon to come home to for so many years.
Which I have to say is a fucking relief.
Anyway, he'd gone when I woke up so I took myself over to Sis's. Her daughter was there with her family, including (of course) the new baby, who slept in my arms for probably two hours:
I'm not letting her head dangle in the breeze, by the way - the pic was taken just as she took an enormous stretch in her sleep. I sat on the sofa, where little dog came every now and then, to check that I wasn't hurting his baby:
and the family (Sis, two nieces, a boyfriend, nephew, a friend or two, a very drunk BIL, but he got sent to his room), ebbed and flowed through the afternoon. Baby's big sis - who looked tiny two weeks ago, but now seems old enough to go out and get a bleeding job - had a lot of fun with the other dog, who is her best pal, just as my annoying Bobcat was once pals with GS. Very hard to get a good pic as they both move so fast, but here they are playing bubbles:
and here's another one of baby, just because
Ah, it was lovely. Made me so sad to come back to this great echoing emptiness, but there you go.
I did my sympathetic breathing meditation (done it every day except yesterday when I was interrupted three times and gave up), had a little cry and remembered all the things I am grateful for, of which I only write five at a time, when I am sure I could reach a hundred. Clean water - how often does that get a mention?
Which reminds me that my intention when opening this page was originally to share the key points of the first chapter (Happiness) of my new book, '59 Seconds' by Professor (it says in big letters) Richard Wiseman. He's examined the self-help field, looking for properly executed scientific studies with replicable results, and presents some (carefully documented) conclusions, of which some are fab.
Research suggests that whatever your life situation, unless you are starving to death, your general level of happiness will expand if for one week you do the following tiny bits of writing, one on each of five days:
1. Gratitudes - like I do, but he's suggesting three from the past week
2. Spend a few moments remembering one of the most wonderful moments of your life, in detail, with feelings etc, then spend a few minutes writing about it - can just be phrases, no grammar or spelling requirements
3. A few moments writing about your life in the future, imagining if everything went as well as could be - won't necessarily bring it closer, but will feel good now and leave lingering, measurably greater good cheer
4. Write a short, not for posting, letter to someone you love and admire, telling them what they mean to you and the impact they've had on your life
5. Think back over the last week and note three things that have gone well for you.
Well, honestly, none of those seem like a difficult thing to achieve so I'm going to give it a bash. I know there is massive sadness in my life, but I think I could raise my game in the bits in between.
I'm going up to stay in the care home with ED on Tuesday, after a fortifying session of acupuncture, maybe till Friday, so I need all the strategies I can muster, for me and for her.
I don't know why I didn't watch this before, but if you haven't seen it, prepare to Wow and OhMyGod like a mofo:
Today I am grateful for: Sis and her family and for having a place in that family; the fab dinner she and non-mum-niece cooked; finding a parking space when I got home; yes, clean water and enough food and (still) a modicum of disposable income; having a blog to blog in and readers who read it - I mean, who'd've thought that would happen?
Sweet dreams xx
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