A Day of Unease

Today has been a day ridden with anxiety and simply attempting to not burst into tears. I’ve been focusing on doing things that make me happy like talking ¬†to people I like, petting a puppy (thanks friend who brought her new furbaby!), wearing my onesie, sleeping, being alone, and so on. As it is, I’m likely going to wear this onesie to class and see how that goes.

My level of care is rather low, especially considering I didn’t make it to one class I actually like today. I woke up late and decided I’d just go back to sleep and try again. Trying again didn’t make the day better.

I wish I didn’t feel things as intensely as I do. But I can’t change that. As it stands, anything sad hurts my heart but if it’s something that is relatively common (even though it shouldn’t be), I don’t burst into tears randomly. Deaths hurt my soul, but shootings and wars and such are relatively ‘normal’ at this point so I don’t cry outwardly. Inwardly is a different story.

Today, on the other hand, is a major election day as most of the world probably knows due to the fact there’s a loud, racist, sexist, horrible excuse for a human being running along with another not so great option because of the general shadiness around some things she has done. Wish the first viable option for a woman president in the U.S. would be better, but, well, she’s what we’ve got.

But what has me so upset and prone to tears is that the loud one has a chance at winning. I hate how close they polls are showing and I hate that I actually have to have a contingency plan where I move my moving plans a few years early. It hurts. Today has got to be the longest day in my life so far. Now I’m just going to wait and see and hope that tomorrow won’t be worse. Either way, no matter who wins, something will happen. Something bad will occur. I can just feel it.

I hate that this hurts so much, that all of this is a possibility.

Since I cannot do much at this point, having already voted and begged the universe to be kind, I’m going to mess around with games and such until time for class. I could go harass my friends, but I’m just so tired and with how upset I am I wouldn’t want to bring anyone else into my mood. So my onesie and I will spend some quality time together before I struggle through this one last class of the day.

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Light and Dark

There’s a lot of darkness in the world lately.

People dying still, and new ones dying. Brutality from those you are supposed to be able to trust. Once more, people twisting religious texts, taking them literally, and killing over it, slandering the name of some religion. No religion is without flaws, but still, at their heart they all mean ‘be nice, don’t kill, bring light, bring your god’s word in some preferably peaceful manner’. But people always twist it. In small ways or big ways.

Then there’s the personal darknesses. Not the ones that affect the world, but the ones that affect only you and those in your immediate area. Domestic abuse. Depression. Even something as simple as fear.

With everything escalating, it almost seems like someone reopened Pandora’s box.

While I’m not so egotistical as to believe that I could change the world, make light reach ever corner (since, of course, there needs to be some darkness for light to exist), but I can try to do small things. Sadly, when I try to bring happiness, it only causes me and whoever I was trying to help be sad together. I mess that up a lot.

But I succeed often times as well.

When a friend laughs, smiles, or simply rolls their eyes but there’s an amusement there that they do not want to admit, I have succeeded. If I can make a stranger happy, then I have succeeded.

I might not save any one’s life, but if I can make their day better than I will be happy in my own way. Of course, making some people happy is more important than making others happy, but…still. If I can a few people who’s happiness doesn’t mean as much to me happy, then that’s good. If I can make one person who’s happiness means the world to me happy…then I am over the moon.

I’m not a happy person in general, so it’s not as if I’m giving my happiness away. I don’t have that ability as some do. But I’m still trying. If your my friend or else, I’ll hug you, let you cry (and probably cry with you), let you vent, make a funny a joke, send a cute picture and all that is just to make you smile. Everything I do is with good intention. I’m still learning how to make the good intention translate to the outcome, but I’m getting there. I think.

I know with one person who’s happiness means everything to me…we hadn’t had an issue with my tries for a long time. Only recently was there any issue. Now I jsut have to try and smooth that over, to get back to good happiness levels. Because I care so much, because this one person means so much.

With other friends, they mean a lot, too. I still do what I can. I still try to make them laugh with my odd humor, even if they don’t always get the joke. I hug. I smother them with physical affection, even if they don’t say they want it, because I like to think it helps. I don’t think a hug can fix all things, but I like to think it at least helps.

I have a big heart, I know that, that’s part of why I’m so ‘sensitive’.

But…if everyone could at least try to make one person happy, that one person that means everything to you happy, then the world would be so much better off. If you could try to make one person feel happiness to their core, it will spread out in a wonderful way.

I’m not naive. I know complete happiness is not always possible. But if there’s a chance everyone can make someone smile at least once every day, that would mean a whole world of change.

Fostering

I’ve come to some realizations about me, my life, and my future over the past couple years, most of them more recently found than others. I’ve come to accept that I may not get married or have children one day, but that my career is what I want the most and that marriage, or at least a ‘nonlegal’ marriage since marriage recognized by any legal system can take away more benefits than it can give (mostly monetary), is second but still sorely wanted as I crave companionship. I also have realized I might as well just admit some things to myself and fall full in. But I won’t yet because I’m stubborn and have issues. What I have realized, though, is that children aren’t a ‘need’ as some sort of long lasting relationship and career are. Yes, I want kids. Yes, I want to help children. But if it doesn’t happen? I’ll probably be sad and wonder ‘what if’, like with all things, but it won’t be something constantly at the forefront of my mind, only every now and then since I would intend to lead a full life anyhow. But, with that in mind, I’ve always known I have at least wanted to adopt one child of my hopeful two because 1) who wants to go through labor twice and 2) I want to help at least one child who lacks a family.

With this in the back of my mind, I had read something today that only briefly mentioned fostering due to it being relevant to the topic, but that had my think “Hey, if I don’t have kids, I could always foster some until they find a family.” And that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. When I’m better off, I won’t have to worry too much about the monetary cost of having children and fostering more or less would mean that the cost would be even less. I would make a difference in some kid’s life and, while it is vastly different from being a parent, I will still get at least a similar experience.

I still would like to have at least one child if fate would allow ti to be so, but if I can’t…there are other options. So if I can’t have a child because I have no one to have one with or if I am too old by that point that I physically cannot or some other reason, I could at least foster children. Like I said, I would so love to have one of my own little terror, but so long as I can help a child, not jsut with my hopeful career, I’ll be happy. So long as I can love and be loved by a child, I’ll be happy.

Yes, I know, ‘technically’ I shouldn’t worry about children or husbands at my age, I guess, but I like to know where I stand and to have all my ducks in a row before I do anything. So now I know that by the time I’m where I can have a family financially (unless something happens before then, because who knows) I won’t be to concerned with being legally married and I’ll be happy with foster children. Basically I won’t be too surprised if I end up with a really unorthodox family. But I’ll take it or a more ‘normal’ set up, because my heart will be filled with love in either case. More love than it already is.

Fears and Insecurities

A bit of warning: this is not so happy or anything, more introspective than anything else. And the only reason I’m posting is because, well, it seems relevant. Maybe someone will read it an relate, I don’t know, but it’s there.

Apparently something as simple as going out to eat and a movie with some friends makes me rather introspective. Granted this is something that has been tickling the back of my mind for a good couple of days, but I only really now am thinking of it. It’s really strange being introspective, since it makes a lot of things glaringly obvious. You know where certain hings come from and you know what they are, but that doesn’t mean that you can so easily fix them.

Let me start with how I am in platonic or romantic relationships, since it’s basically the same for both: It takes a while, as mentioned before, for me to trust people. And even then, something I read had me realize that I really only let them see small pieces of the puzzle; enough that they seem to have the whole picture, but not really letting them have it all. There are a lot of things I keep to myself that, unless you know me for many years, you will never see. There’s this guarded part of me that is such a rare thing to be seen, that I’m only half certain of what it is. I just know I hold back with people because I’m afraid of getting hurt. I don’t want to be hurt by people I grew to care about, so I keep a part of myself safe to put that off. If a friendship fades, I hurt, yes, but not as much as I could. And if a relationship doesn’t work out, it probably only lasted four months anyway with my track record (and that’s a whole other thing all together). I keep myself safe, and only because I very quickly learned the world is a cruel place and letting everything you are show is a quick way to be hurt. Sometimes the soft-hearted have to have brick walls put up.

One of those walls happens to be keeping people at an arm’s distance. Some people get closer than others, but I’m afraid of that happening when I realize it. Sometimes people sneak in, but if I know someone is getting too close…I guess I self-destruct the relationship. I hide away a bit. If we don’t see each other daily, I stop trying. Probably the other person doesn’t try but so hard. And, even if they do, I’ve been guilty of not always replying to text. I remember just last year I id this very thing. Someone was getting too close too fast, and…I just made it stop. I was afraid. I feel bad for having slowly cut off communication, but I was scared. I have enough friends, and having more just opens up more ways to be possibly hurt. That’s why I take my time, like testing the waters. I need to have people slowly ease into my life, otherwise I tend to run the other direction.

As wonderful as love at first sight seems in the movies and books, I would be the one to look like a startled deer and take off in the other direction as fast as my legs would carry me, as if I was being chased by a serial killer.

The few boyfriend-girlfriend relationships I have been in have all only lasted four months, all ending with friendship that either lasts or does not. Either way, we end on a peaceful note. All friendships I’ve had, if we don’t see each other often simply because we live close or attend the same classes, it’s likely to fizzle out. Apparently I don’t know how to manage relationships at all. With romantic ones, I think it mostly ends up being friends and all because of how long it takes me to trust people fully. You’re supposed to be open with your significant other, but how can you be if you’ve only been together for but so long? I don’t like to hold people back, and I guess a part of me worries that I’m not worth waiting for my trust. Actually, no, I know a part of me fears not being good enough. As much as I would love to welcome love into my life, it’s hard. And it goes with friendships in a way as well: if we don’t see each other often, I assume you probably didn’t want to see me anyway, so I just let myself fade. I know it’s silly to think that in every case, but it’s one of those thoughts I cannot help.

All of this can really trace back to teh fear of being hurt, I suppose, which is a surprisingly common fear I’ve realized. And it’s one of those that can manifest in many ways. Whether it is constantly apologizing when you perceive yourself as having upset someone (guilty) or just throwing up every wall possible that people have to work to get to know you and thinking that they will give up on the way. The fear of being hurt is a lot like a fear of death, it worms its way into so many aspects of life that it creates insecurities in its wake. I’m afraid of being hurt and I’m full of insecurities when it comes to my personality, my friends, my future, my relationships, my everything. I don’t make a step without detailed planning and ten backup plans simply because I’m afraid of falling into the abyss of emptiness, having a darkness converging on me as all my prospects and potential simply…fizzled out. I don’t want that. I want to reach my goals. I want to reach my full potential. Also I’m afraid of the dark, so that adds to that, too.

Hurt, the dark, and spiders. All of them have in common that one thing, fear. But only one of them creates insecurities.

And an update now that I’m fully awake and not procrastinating things: I know this all sounds like I don’t reach out at all to people I count as friends, when, in fact, I do. If I’ve known you for a goo amount of years and we’ve connected, I’ve probably reached a point where I’l reach out even if you go MIA from our normal meeting spots (classes, work, etc.) by text or whatever our means of communication is. And if I reach out that means you matter a whole hell of a lot to me. That also means the few people who matter that much to me hold the ability to hurt me, which is showing just how much faith I put into whoever. So, yes, I do reach out if you matter so very much to me. If we have only a blossoming friendship? I can’t make promises.

Body Image

Today my friends, who are constantly trying to do things with confidence as they have enough to go around, tried to tell me I have pretty much an hour class figure. Turns out they are a little bit right, as I noticed by looking at myself and thinking while changing into my pajamas. The only reason I do have one is because I have a naturally cinched waist, I think, and wider hips, the only thing that cause any curvy look. Though as I looked, I decided I also have better sized breasts that I thought, and then I realized my face isn’t but so bad. I’ve always liked my eyes, lashes, and added my brows onto that when I realized strong brows are not a bad thing. My hair even looks nice, even though it’s already growing back after only about a month of having been cut.

I’ve long been of the opinion that I’m average. It was more of an ‘acceptance’ than anything else, and I’ve accepted words from others calling me ‘pretty’ or ‘cute’ as, apparently like others, I have words I can at least halfways associate with myself. Some have hot or sexy or adorable; cute and pretty are mine it seems. But I still thought I was average. I’m not saying I’m overly above it, but I think I can at least start personally applying the word pretty to myself. Not jsut others applying it to me, but actually looking at myself and feeling like it. Some times when I get ready in the morning, if my skin is just the right shade of pale and my lips actually have some pink to them instead of blending with my face, I think I look nice. Other days I just go on.

But I think my friends may have a point. I have a nicer shape than I assumed originally, even if it’s not always seen by how I dress. But it’s there, and it’s something people tend to strive for while I have it naturally. Sure, things might be more focused on women with curvier bodies recently, but I do have some curves, just more on the slender side. And, I think, for once in my life, I can fully accept my body and call it pretty instead of average.

I’m not saying this to seem narcissistic or anything, more that I want to say that, if you feel bad about yourself, chances are there’s not so much of a reason to. Just look at yourself, think it over. Really look at yourself. It…can be a bit liberating. Sometimes taking positive comments in, not just negative ones, can be really helpful. Just listen and look. I’m glad I did.

Birthdays

So, I’m older today. The funny part is, I think this is the first time I ever actually¬†feel older. Any other birthday, even the ‘milestones’, I’ve never felt anything other than ‘oh, it’s my birthday’. I didn’t do anything today besides spend some quality time with myself, helped along by class being canceled, which is something I rather enjoy compared to being around people.

It’s definitely not my being alone that had me feel older for once in my good amount of years. I think the reason behind this is there having been quite a bit of change from how my life had been previously. Before, every year ticked off was rather identical to the last one with very few changes to my daily life. I’m not really speaking about having moved, even though that is a big change, but I think it deals more with my inner changes.

As I had mentioned, I am, in general, more happy. I also have managed to cultivate new friends, who have probably influenced me a bit in ways I cannot pinpoint. But it’s mostly the happy part that I think is important here. I say that because that is a major change, and growing older is supposed to be a collection of changes. Since I never had big changes in my life, my age didn’t seem to matter, but now it is different.

I think I like this feeling, though, the feeling of there being some sort of change is nice. I rather hope this keeps up for the coming years, even if I’m not optimistic on it, I still hope.

Dealing With Death

I’ve come to the realization that I tend to deal with death by practicing avoidance and apathy. Now, don’t get me wrong, death upsets me; I’m the person who was near to crying when I thought these two cats were left at a rest stop and waiting for someone but I couldn’t take them with me. (Turns out they are strays, live in some ventilation-thing, and have since had kittens from when I first saw them to the second time. Makes me feel better they know how to take care of themselves.) All that and I do not even count myself as a cat person. But when it comes to death…I sort of close off. The first death I dealt with was my Grandma’s, and, while that was good because it kept me from having to go to a Catholic school/having to hide my religion from a family member I adore, it was heartbreaking. Granted, I was little, about five, so I didn’t fully grasp the concept, didn’t understand the memorial at our church. I also didn’t go to the funeral. I think that may be because my parents thought I was too young yet to go to such a thing. When I did finally understand what this meant, what her ‘having a cut in her head’ meant (I only later figured that was explain-to-a-child speak for brain hemorrhage), I cried. I prayed. I believed fully she was watching over me, and I still do, only in a different manner than guardian angel and heaven. And I cried for years later, still trying to cope with that I lost the only grandparent I knew, someone who I really cared about.

The second time I had to deal with death was with a neighbor. She was elderly, her daughter staying to help take care of her, and I would go to the house often when the daughter’s niece and nephew would come over to play. She was nice, the older lady, though neither is/was young. I got used to her. She started to forget more, move less, and then she ended up dying. I think I may have seen my Grandma’s body, though I’m not sure, but I do know I saw the neighbor’s body at a viewing. I did not go to that funeral either, just viewing. I was ten, and still prayed. I even left a card in her casket. I didn’t really cry, since I had recently started thinking tears were bad and a sign of weakness basically, but I was rather sad. I still am, but I didn’t show it. I thought about it a bit, though.

Then my dog died. That was sad, too. I had her since I was maybe seven or so. I didn’t cry. I felt like it. But I didn’t. Instead I…more or less pushed it aside, choosing to ignore it once she was buried. I missed her, still do, but I ignored it. And most recently my chorus teacher from middle school died. He was absolutely fantastic, if strict. He always made sure we went on the trips each year to whichever state. He cared. He made my middle school life a bit more bearable. And now…I feel these sad feelings trying to come up, but part of me keeps them at bay. And every time I see a classmate who I haven’t spoken to since, well, maybe middle school or early high school, post something on Facebook about it, about the upcoming memorial and funeral and all, I…ignore it. I scroll on past, choosing to pretend I didn’t see it. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just I don’t think letting myself fully feel these things is to be helpful.

I know my current furry baby has maybe seven years left, if I go off his mother’s guessed age, and I know my parents are getting older. I know people I love dearly are going to die at some point, and even writing this hurts, but at the same time I can feel this part pushing back against the tide of emotion. I know I learned apathy from being made fun of in elementary school, but the ignoring of death? I guess it ties in to that in some ways. Certain things are not fun to process. The funny thing is, I more or less accept death as an aspect of life, but I ignore it. I don’t know how those two go hand in hand, but they seem to. I don’t know why I’m writing this, maybe the mounting feeling of dread deep in my stomach, or maybe it simply is from my forever-ago chorus teacher’s death. I don’t know. I just know that maybe I should work on how I cope with this sort of thing. Apathy and ignoring probably isn’t the best way to go in this case. Saying ‘nope, didn’t happen, forget it’ just doesn’t sound quite right.

All I can hope for, at the moment at least, is that no one I care about dies any time soon. I still remember the near panic I was in when a friend told me about a car accident she was in, that could have ten times worse than it was. I don’t like that feeling. And I don’t like losing people dear to me. I have this sense that my ‘wall’ against death can only take so many hits before it comes crumbling down and the floodgates open.

I just have to hope for now, hope for all to go well for a long time yet.

Holidays

I’ll admit to being lazy in most parts of my life, but there is one part that I absolutely loathe the idea of being lazy in. And that one area is religion. When I was little and called myself Catholic, I didn’t want to be idle, I wanted the God I believe in to know that I believed. Of course as time went on and I lsot that connection, I wavered, became a bit lazy since I wasn’t sure what I believed in, but then I found paganism. Now there’s this conflict inside me that’s saying I should do something…but most of my information is instinct, inference, and the internet. Do I know people I could ask? Oh, definitely. Have I gleaned some information from the nature-based religion group at my college? Yes, a bit. I finally figured out what exactly is up with the Yule log.

But today was Yule. I didn’t do anything active.

While I say that, I did do something. That something was spend time with those I care about, though I make a point to do that daily. So can that really count? I’m not entirely certain. I don’t know. It’s been a good while since I’ve been able to tell people (only a handful, since there’s some people who are better off not knowing. Unless I feel like upsetting them…but, well, harm none and all that…), but I still am flailing a bit, trying to figure out how to make this work with my limitations. This happens with every ‘big’ ritual time, but that’s partly why I call myself a pagan and not any certain sect.

I am what I am, though, So what do I do? I simply open myself a bit more to the energies, even if that comes naturally to me on certain days. I let myself mull over what is fitting for the holiday and all. I might be lazy, but, at the same time, I think that these sorts of things are just things I would do even without a push. Around certain days, I simply feel…something…and I give in to it, do what I feel is natural. I’m slowly starting to feel like I may be more inline with a kitchen witch, but we’ll see. Either way, I don’t feel guilt with not doing something.

What I’m trying to get at is that, whatever religion you are, you shouldn’t feel a need to go to church, rituals, whatever else (unless it’s specifically outlined, like praying five times a day, I think, if you’re Muslim, and even then only if you’ve time, which I think is mentioned in the Koran as well. But don’t quote me on that.). Having that need is a great thing, but if the pressure is from the outside or simply because you believe it is something you ‘have’ to do. Whoever you believe in, if they exist, they know. I’m sure the god(s)/goddess(es) you want to give praise to, aren’t going to reject you for not doing something. Just living within whatever the belief system is (and all are basically ‘be nice, don’t be an ass’) will appease whoever.

So, with all these holidays going on this time of year, all you have to do is accept their true meaning. And all tend to follow the same lines, as far as I am aware, and that is family and love and peace, or some variant. So spend time with your family, tell those you love that you love them (even if it’s implied, hearing or even reading the words as a text will make that person smile, I’m sure). Just do something, and it’ll be well worth it. Your deity will be glad you just do something good and loving.

The F-Word

I am a firm believer of equal rights across the board.

I am a a feminist.

Now, the reason I even mention this is because I’ve been thinking much about this ‘label’ recently due to some reading I have done. Yes, it has negative connotations and negative subsets and extremists, but so does everything. It’s like saying I’m white, so I must be racist. Or that I’m part German so I must be part Nazi. No to both. A label defines to a degree, but not completely. A label is more or less what you make of it. I follow the definition of feminism, at east the more ‘modern’ version which has been expanded a bit from women’s rights. If equalist was a thing, I’d call myself that. But it’s not, so I’m a feminist.

First thing you have to understand is that there has been mention of how there is a divide between ‘first world feminism’ and else. (The term so coined by Maisie Williams, or better known by her character Arya Stark in Game of Thrones.) The reasoning behind this is sound: women elsewhere than Europe and the U.S., like the Middle East which has recently become it’s own subset, face different problems. There are women still being stoned to death and having way less rights than women in so-called ‘first world countries’. That is not to have it thought that ‘oh, I shouldn’t complain because it’s worse elsewhere’, but just to put things into perspective. If you say feminism isn’t needed, you are completely disregarding other parts of the world where it most DEFINITELY is needed.

But I’m going to focus on the first world bit simply because it is where I live, and covering elsewhere would be much longer. You only have to look to see what is going on elsewhere, again explained by stoning and, also, female circumcision for the sole purpose of keeping them from sex until marriage.

I am not planning to belittle the issues that men (going off the binary scale of gender for the moment) face, since there are issues. I recently tried to explain to my brother that saying you would judge a guy for driving a pink car is sexist. It didn’t work, so I gave up instead of causing issue with my own family. But that does not erase the fact that such stereotypes for what is ‘manly’ is trying to fit men into a certain mold. And just as putting women into a certain mold is sexist, so is the other way around. Yes, there are differences between the two, but both of these ends of the spectrum should have a choice without being scolded. Boys should be allowed to cry and play with dolls. Girls should be allowed to get dirty and be ‘rough’. Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls.

We can keep the ideas of what is masculine and what is feminine, but if a boy wants to follows more feminine ideas and still identify as a boy, let him. The same goes for girls. Personally, I am a female who is a woman who is feminine in most aspects. I prefer smooth legs, so I shave. I prefer medium-length hair because it doesn’t get in my way, so I cut my hair. I’m too lazy for makeup, so I only sometimes where it. I like glitter and fruity smelling things. I like fruity drinks because the taste of alcohol does not agree with my tongue. I want to have kids someday. I would be bored to tears if I ever somehow ended up as a stay at home mom. I want to help people, work with children. I like video games because sometimes I am just in a mood where I want to shoot something or crash into things.

My mold may lean a bit more towards feminine than anything else, but my mold is…me. Deidre is my mold. I am so grateful to have parents who didn’t try to push pink and princesses on me, but instead let me play with what I wanted. They did the same with my brother.

Like I am my own mold, it reminds me of something a friend of mine, K., says sometimes. She likes to wonder why she has to be a race or anything, why she can’t be simply a person or K. She’s proud of who and what she is, she just doesn’t want it to describe her, for any stereotype to be what people think of when they see her.

I know I may have seemed to go off on a tangent, but I’m really not sure how else to describe how both sexes are being pushed to fit certain ideals. Then there are all those that are none or in between and it gets even more complex. And then the molds are definitely broken. I like the idea of the only mold one should fit is you.

But this is why I call myself a feminist, because I want everyone to have a choice of what to do and be and dress as and so much more. A man shouldn’t be thought of as less because they want to be a stay at home dad, just as a woman shouldn’t be expected to stay at home with the children. If we want equality, as much as can be had with how humans are, then we need to address issues on both sides of the argument. Apparently some men have decided to give up on women and instead stick to one night stands or pleasuring themselves. Part of the argument I read has me think ‘okay, yes, not enough thought is given to men’s issues’ the other part had me think ‘…well, that’s sexism at it’s finest’. (The latter due to the mention that women aren’t being women anymore because of feminism and that they need to go back home and other such things that had me cringe.)

I’m not overly sensitive, not now that I’m older at least, but a lot of things still have me think that this world has a long way to go. If you want to say men and women are equal, alright, fine, but I can point out a lot of instances, for both sides, that say otherwise. If you want to say that there are gender differences and they should be embraced; I’m not arguing, I’m just saying we all should have a choice of if we want to do one thing or another. And I mean a REAL choice, not one where we have a ‘choice’ but we’ll get odd looks and snide remarks if we choose what is not the norm. (Like not standing during the pledge, which is a legal right.) If you want to say feminism is not needed, look at other countries. If you want to say feminism is not needed in ‘first world’ countries, I circle back to I would be willing to point a few things out.

I’m a feminist. I am not angry. (Most of the time.) I do not burn my bras. (Even if I have a love-hate relationship with them.) I am not hairy. (Other than my head-hair.) And I do not want to be a man. (Really am fine with being a woman, that’s my gender-identity, thank you.) Even with all the negative connotations, I believe in fixing what the word and movement means instead of hiding and claiming to not be a feminist because of some extremists.

Surnames

While I should be sleeping as I plan to take one of my exams tomorrow, my mind is whirring because I rather stupidly decided to watch a few YouTube videos. What that led to was my watching a video on last names and how there’s this debate on if women should change their last names, at least in cultures that have women do that as a norm. Now, from when I was little, I never really thought about taking anyone else’s name. Whenever I’d have my little five or seven year old plans there was always a hyphen or, if I was feeling adventurous, my pretend-husband had my last name instead because why not? To this day I don’t know why I thought that way, I just know I did. I liked my name, my initials with how my middle and last name ones are the same. I liked it and didn’t plan to change it or, if I did, I would have a hyphen.

Now that I’m older, I’ve more or less come to the decision I will keep my name. Not because of what you might think, even. So, if the thought that I’d keep mine solely for the purpose of equality and all, it’s actually not. Partly it’s because my name is my identity, it connects me to the family that I love dearly. Partly because I like my name as is, especially with the ‘M.M.’ for my initials. And then a large chunk because I plan to become settled and have my career, where I will be ‘Dr. My Name’ before I marry. Granted things may happen before then, but even so… All my dreams are Dr. My Name, not Dr. Someone Else’s Name. Not to mention the paperwork. That sounds like too much work. It might be streamlined in this particular case, but still. My mail would have to be changed, and all my legal documents. I don’t want to become a new person in the eyes of the law; I want to stay me, with all my flaws. I do realize certain legal things may be more difficult because of my theoretical situation, but I’d rather be happy with my born-with name than changing to some other name I only knew for however many years.

Of course one of the questions in places such as the U.S. when a woman does not change, or hyphenates, their name is: what will your kids be called if you plan any? I’d like to have children, so this question does actually apply to me. In my happy scenario where I have a guy who doesn’t give a damn about my keeping my name, I see hyphenation for my theoretical children. The reasoning with that is simply because they are my kids and his, not one or the other, and it will keep a bit of unity.

For others they may choose else for some reason, but I think the whole name thing is generally a personal choice. Some are attached to their names, such as myself, others not so much. Some guys may want their wife’s last name. If a woman has a high-profile career, business cards, and else, then…it’s a lot of work to change your name. Authors, celebrities (you don’t see them changing their names that often), doctors, people with doctorates, and so on. It’s more hassle than it’s worth to simple go with what is seen as acceptable. With naming your children, the same rule applies: it’s your own choice. Yes, there are norms, but that doesn’t exactly mean they have to be followed. Normal is boring.

Of course I am only speaking in terms of heterosexual couples, as homosexual ones already have to make this decision name-wise. It’s a bit refreshing, too, to have the knowledge that not all cultures are for name-changing, but it’s still a wonder that people get side-eye, unless you are prominent in some field (including entertainment), if you hyphenate or change your name someplace where it’s the norm. But it’s a personal choice, as I’ve said, and it would be nice if people could just nod, smile, and accept that.

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