Monthly Archives: January 2011

the most noteworthy conversation i’ve witnessed in a while.

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[setting: an anarchist community space in NW philly. a five year old boy is busily telling my ex-girlfriend about the secret life of his action figure.]

5 year old boy:….and he lives in a pineapple, and…

ex-gf’s new gf: does he live in a pineapple under the sea, like spongebob squarepants?

5 year old: no. spongebob gay.

NGF: do you mean that he’s gay, like, he likes other sponges, or do you mean he’s gay like he’s stupid?

5 year old: gay like he’s stupid.

NGF: well, i’m gay, and i’m not stupid….

5 year old [thinks about it for a moment]: spongebob be gay.

8 year old who was listening the whole time but not saying anything: [in a pained voice, like everyone involved was being ridiculous]: a sponge can’t be gay!

ask me about my feelings about tubal ligation! and childbearing! and how i am not a bad person because i don’t want to have babies!

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holy shit. i just got an order from the excellent ak press which included a zine called “ask me about my tubal ligation“. the title caught my eye while i was perusing their catologue, as it’s something that i’ve been pondering for a while. it’s not really a super-pressing issue, as my long-term partner is trans & can’t get me pregnant, & historically i have not been very sexually active with anyone who can get me pregnant. but, i feel that, were i to become serious sweeties with a man who could knock me up, i would definitely be looking into it.

this zine was so good because it provided a step-by-step outline of how she made her decision, how she fought against many a sexist, condescending doctor until she finally found one who was willing to do this procedure. she wrote a little bit about the actual procedure itself & the recovery, and the rest of the zine was devoted to dealing with other peoples’ negative reactions to her new voluntarily infertile status.

reading this zine was SUCH a breath of fresh air for me. like the author, i don’t like children, i don’t want to devote my entire life to the many frustrations, both petty and major, of being a parent. i think that this planet has way too many people on it already, and, if my time at chld protctv svcs has taught me one thing, it’s that there are a TON of kids out there who really, really, really need safe, healthy, stable homes. (and i don’t even want to get into the whole i-had-an-unhappy-abusive-childhood-and-i-am-terrified-that-i-would-become-an-abuser-too bit, but that’s definitely a factor, too.)

but, you know, i’m such a horrible person for thinking that. i don’t like kids because i’m “heartless” and i don’t want them because i’m “selfish.” i care about the planet not having enough resources to support the people who already live on it because i’m “negative”. and if i bring up the dozens of really sad, cute children i used to work with, whose parents have died, whose parents are doing life, whose parents are too busy smoking crack or shooting heroin or just plain old fashioned not giving a fuck to take care of them–well, i’m just “bringing everyone down!”

seriously, people? just because i don’t particularly enjoy listening to the screeching of children all day does not mean i’m an awful human being who is deserving of your judgment and criticism. i would not ever criticize you for having kids; please do not criticize me for wanting to spend my life around adults.

and on the flip side, i don’t particularly like it when someone sees me doing something cute/nice/tender/selfless for someone else and says, “i don’t know why you don’t want children; you’d make such a great parent!” as if my kindness is wasted if i give it to an adult? as if lavishing love on my partner, friends, or even strangers has absolutely no merit, for me or for them?

anyway. the purpose of this blog entry is not to stomp on anyone’s toes. i know that most of the people reading this blog would like to have kids some day; most people do. i am not, in any way, criticizing your choices. i am merely stating that being child-free is also a valid choice and i am tired of dealing with people who don’t respect my choices (which affect absolutely no one besides me and my partner [who, if you’re wondering, does want kids some day, but is also a bit younger than me & wants to wait at least 5 years, so it’s a non-issue for now]). and reading this zine unlocked something within me, made me feel like it’s okay to talk about & gave me some backup. & i feel like part of the reason why i read zines is for emotional backup.

on a semi-related note, i recently learned that, in PA, a woman is eligible for TANF cash assistance if she is pregnant; but if she has an abortion, the money is cut off. because, you know, she totally couldn’t use that princely [$205/month] sum as a childless grownup, with rent and bills to pay. she’s only “deserving” of it if she’s doing her womanly duty of incubating a fetus. if she doesn’t want to do that, she’s shit out of luck. gaaaah! so fucked up! [in case you didn’t know, in PA at least, one can only get cash assistance if one is a) totally destitute (i believe if the household has more than $200 in resources they are ineligible. i don’t know because i work in heating assistance, not cash assistance, so that isn’t really my job, but i do know that the threshold is some ridiculously low # like that) and b) either disabled & with a denied SSI claim or taking care of/having children. things were different before the clinton-era welfare reform act, but for now, if you’re an adult without kids & you’re between jobs, if your unemployment runs out and you can’t find any more work, if you’re in any number of difficult situations and your money simply runs out and you can’t get any more–you are just going to have to deal with it, because the government is not going to help. not like the chump change they dole out is enough to live on, but it’s SOMETHING. ugh. of course, families should get as much financial support as they can, but what about the grown-ups? we need money too! i could rant about this literally all fucking day; about these fucked up policies and how no one cares; but i will stop here.]

slippy busses, pinchy nerves, new perspectives

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so, yesterday my boyfriend was driving home from his new job and was passing through downtown & asked if i wanted a ride home. obviously, i said yes, since riding the bus at rush hour is no fun, especially in the snow (& especially when your bus is full of mean-spirited middle aged women who whisper loudly about your gender & teens who make fun of your cute hat, but whatever).

so. we had a mostly uneventful car ride home, and then we finally got to stanton avenue, which is a steep, curvy road right next to the cemetery. it hadn’t been plowed yet, and as we were crawling up, a bus slid out of control, and for a second it seemed like it was going to slam right into us! it was so strange, how slow it all was. i saw the sign saying “87-FRIENDSHIP” and thought, “hmm, what’s the bus doing over here?” then “holy shit!!!!!!!!” i screamed, and the bus swerved, not hitting us, but nearly hitting the 10-foot high granite wall outside of the cemetery. when we got home, ray & i held each other, with the snow swirling around us, grateful to be alive.

this morning i was getting out of bed, stretching, and i heard something go ‘pop’ in my neck, and it hurt so much that tears came to my eyes. the pain radiated through my neck, back, shoulders and right arm, and as i struggled to put on a shirt i realized that there was no way in hell i could go to work today. so i called off and have spent all day lying around. it’s 12 degrees (fahrenheit) outside & i have a bag of frozen peas on my back. this experience has made me grateful for my health, & even more sympathetic to the 4 people i know who collect disability (3 friends + my dad, who was just approved a month ago after years of being in pain). i just hope that i *do* get better, because i don’t have health insurance, yet make too much money to qualify for much financial assistance at any kind of clinic. if anything is severely wrong….well, i don’t know what i will do.

i hate the amerikan health care system so much! & i hate the people in washington who want to do whatever they can to make life harder for the millions of uninsured people in this country. EVERY SINGLE PERSON i know who is opposed to healthcare reform has health insurance. EVERY SINGLE ONE. if they lost their insurance, if they had to deal with shitty free clinics, welfare offices, the daily fervent prayer that nothing goes wrong with your health because you simply cannot afford to get it fixed–if they had to deal with all of that, they’d change their minds. i bet you anything.

another place

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so. my sister and i (maybe even our bro, if he gets his shit together) may be going to lithuania this spring. she is working in france teaching english this year, her visa’s up may 21, which is around the time i’m going to be laid off for the summer (i work for a heating/energy assistance program for low-income folks, hence, there’s no work for us in the summer.). so, i was thinking of going to france, and then taking the train to lithuania with her. i’ve been saving up as much money as i can, and i really want to make this happen.

in case you haven’t figured out, we’re lithuanian, 100% on my mom’s side. (weirdly enough, my boyfriend is also lithuanian. our eyes are the exact same color.) my mom’s family is all dead or estranged, came over here in the 1920’s and 30’s, whitewashed and americanized. and we both want to go there & see where we came from.

i’m even more excited to go upon reading this (from the lonely planet eastern europe guidebook, which i checked out of the library today). it’s about a neighborhood in Vilnius:

“in 1998, the resident artists, dreamers, squatters and drunks declared the district a breakaway state known as the Republic of Uzupis. The state has its own tongue-in-cheek president, anthem, flags and a 41-point Uzupis Republic constitution that, among other things, gives its residents the right to cry, the right to be misunderstood and the right to be a dog.”

maybe this place will make me make sense.

 

p.s. credit where credit’s due: these pics were all swiped from flickr. links to the pictures in their original habitats: 1 2 3 4