Every store has circulars and signs explaining how best to use your money to prove your love for your mother. Instead of being inspiring, these endless suggestions make Mother’s Day seem like an obligation.
And like Victory Gin, holidays of obligation leave a bitter taste.
After days of conversation and hours of introspection, my husband and I have decided that on our son’s thirteenth birthday we’re giving him a necklace. Unlike the “chains” that so many others boast about this necklace will be a locket. Inside that locket will be a picture of me.
More than just a lovely picture of his forever smiling mother, this locket will be a promise between my son and I. It will be a promise that from the day he receives it to the day he says “I do”, he will love no other woman as much as he loves me. This necklace will be a physical representation of the connection between us. And it will always remind him that no matter what, Mother knows what’s best for him. Every time he wants to make a decision on what to do, he’ll feel the necklace around his neck and will think of me and consider what I’d say in the matter.
What? Is that too Norman Bates for you?
If the concept of that Mommy Dearest necklace makes your skin crawl, then so should the idea of a daddy-daughter purity ring.
Purity rings, also known as promise or chastity rings, are typically given to a young girl in the Evangelical community as a commitment to chastity. A fashionable part of the abstinence-only sex education club, the purity ring is like a wedding ring but in a creepy incestual sort of way. Typically silver and simple, some of the rings have witty little mottos stamped into the metal while some feature a cross wrapped in a lazy sort of swoop way around the finger. Diamonds or their lower cost alternatives are also frequently used.
Instead of being between two consenting adults starting their lives as a wedded couple, the purity ring is typically between father and daughter. It signifies that the daughter will remain chaste until she marries. Since “purity” is all that is clean and beautiful in their world, the ring will help keep the girl on the straight and narrow. It’s a giant bubble of Godliness that protects her from the filth of premarital sex and the temptations of the secular world. Because of course, a young woman’s worth is totally dependant on how “pure” she is. Who needs brains, talent, or personality when you can say you’re morally unsullied?
Two of the high profile organizations responsible for the popularization of the purity ring in America are the True Love Waits* movement and Silver Ring Thing* movement. The mission’s statement on the Silver Ring Thing (abbreviated as SRT, cause abbreviated are cool) reads:
“To inspire sexual wholeness in this generation through the power of the Gospel.”
It goes on to explain a little bit more:
“Silver Ring Thing is a radical response to culture’s view of love and relationships. Our events inspire teens to defy the meet-up, hook-up, break-up culture of today and discover true life found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. This goes way beyond just ‘purity’ to embrace our identity and pursue a lifestyle that brings honor and glory to God.”
Sounds like some party people right? Part of the allure of groups like this is that they make their message seem hip. Most utilize a concert like atmosphere that rivals most rock bands. Some use comedians and celebrity testimonials to influence their audience. More than that, they understand how the teenage brain works.
Peer acceptance is a key element to a young person’s development. If you’ve known a young person for any amount of time, you’re well aware of how important being accepted is to them. So for this movement to prey upon youths desire to fit in is as genius as it is disturbing.
While young people who make pacts to lose their virginity is a topic for countless exposes, tv shows, and movies, the reverse is not true. The market for hive minded purity was largely untapped. That was until these movements began their “Purity is cool! God is rad!” message. Based on the way young people work, the message went viral. Not because it was actually believed but because it was believed in mass.
The creepiness factor of a father, mother, or organization stomping on a child’s bodily integrity is huge. Forcing a child to take a vow on what they do with their body is troublingly archaic. It’s a practice of eliminating the sovereignty of a child before they can fully understand the meaning. While the common joke is to call followers of religions sheep, that’s exactly what this causes. The children grow up not understanding that their body is their own. This causes a dependence upon a hierarchy that puts the child on the bottom with parents and the church standing tall above them.
The practice of purity rings is troublesome. It’s a restrictive, oppressive act that teaches children they are not in control of the only thing they truly have, their bodies. It is no wonder that we struggle with body autonomy in this country if this practice is so commonplace. So much time was spent wondering how to control what children do with their bodies, no one thought if they should.
* Call it shitty writing, but I’m not linking to the organizations mentioned in the text above. You’re welcome to Google them on your own. I don’t want to support them by sending any traffic their way. After cruising their pages for information, I feel mighty dirty.
She was a middle-aged woman. And her day was ruined.
But the thing is, it wasn’t just her day. It was a family day. And not just any random Sunday dinner type family day, but a day that was primarily planned for the children. Those children stood, silently defeated, behind the legs of their mother. Even an outsider could see that this event would be charred into not only their memory, but their future behavioral patterns. It was a lesson on how its perfectly okay to throw a fit when you are not happy. They will carry this event , and all the others like it from her, into every relationship they form as they age.
When having multiple events like the one above in your personal experience tank, it’s hard to distinguish between the ideas of selfishness and self-care. The word selfish ,according to Merriam Webster, is when one is “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentration on one’s own advantage,pleasure,or well being without regard for others.”
For people who grow up around abusive individuals , self-care often has the same definition. There becomes this idea that time spent taking care of one’s own self is time that could be better allocated to the care of someone else. This idea is planted in the person’s mind until sacrificial acts blossom into their modus operandi. Enjoyment is permanently set aside in hope of pleasing others. And this spreads to every single relationship. Significant others, children, friends, strangers, EVERYONE gets a slice first, until there’s nothing left but crumbs.
We’ll never get full on crumbs. And we’ll run on those crumbs until there’s nothing left to sustain us. Then the whole ship goes down. This is why self care is important. If we are the foundation upon which we build others, we have to take care of that foundation. If we crumble, they all do. In order to take care of others, we must take care of ourselves. To do this, we must change our understanding of what being selfish is.
Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
Working to feel better, physically and mentally, is not selfish.
Enjoying your favorite foods/movies/music is not selfish.
Napping is not selfish.
Doing your make-up,nails, hair, etc is not selfish.
Wanting alone time is not selfish.
Relaxing is not selfish.
Pampering yourself the same way you pamper others is not selfish.
A castle is only as good as its foundation. Remember to treat yourself with care.
Well, it happened,loves. It only took 8 days for it to, but it did.
I missed posting. But it was because I had a friend over and we spent most of the evening eating cheesecake and watching stand up on Netflix. So, under cheesecake consuming rules, I’m in the clear. No wrongs can be committed while eating cheesecake. Hashtag that as Truth, cause its fucking gold.
Anyway, here are the contents of my bag, which if I can boast for a moment, I made myself.
So we got a baby sweater, some diapers, my wallet, a compact of powder which is sadly no longer with us because the wearer of that pretty pink sweater threw it across a parking lot.There’s also my keys, a book I picked up at an Asian Market in a language I can’t read, and some trash I should really throw away. Also, the fabric I made my bag out of glows in the dark. So that’s pretty cool.
Ok, now that we are caught up, here’s today’s post. My worst habits. In no particular order they include
Over apologizing for slights real and imagined
Giving up on my interest and actions to make time for other people.
Asking if someone is okay. Over and over and over.
Picking at zits, scratches, any sort of flesh imperfection.
Scratching. Excessively. Hello stress rashes, let’s get raw!
Tailgating. Speeding. Pretty much driving in general. I am a horrible driver. Horrible.
Saying “Goddamnit”. The kids say it now because of me. I’m a great influence.
Caffeine consumption. Give me Monster or give me death. And by that I mean, it probably will give me death.
Listing all the horrible things that could,would,should, might happen over and over in my head.
Making fucking list.
There you go. A laundry list of my bad habits and yesterday post about my purse. It’s an odd combo, for sure. I hope not to miss anymore days. The photography challenge I’m doing on Facebook is almost over. I’m pretty sad about that. It’s been a lot of fun. Maybe I will do another one just for this blog? Who knows. I probably should just finish this shit first. That would be a good idea. Can we add taking on too much to the list of bad habits?
The closest mall to our house has a cookie shop. I actually think it may be called “The Cookie Shop” but I could be making that up because it sounds good in my head.
We were at the mall on Tuesday for the Mister to get his eyes checked. (Yes, theres an optometrist in the mall). I was walking the babies around when they were getting antsy. There was only one thing that would calm the savage beasts. And it was cookies.
We roll up to the cookie counter in the food court and I order some little sugar cookies for their little kid hands and a lemonade for myself. I noticed a sign near the register while we were waiting “Oops Bag-$2”. So I read the small text and found out that Oops Bags were overcooked, broken, a day old or otherwise less than perfect cookies. I immediately thought this was a great idea and asked for one.
It wasn’t just because it was cheap cookies. I mean, I love cookies and cheap ones are even better ya know. It’s because if people were cookies, I’d be an Oops Bag. I’ve been broken, I’m older, and I’m a far ways from perfect. There are pieces of me missing that will never return. There have been parts of me burned,blackened, and ruined. And even though my life has been filled with people who passed over me and chose another, I’m still good. I’m still worthy. To a zombie or cannibal, I’m still delicious.
Just because we’re not perfect doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough. Our flaws are parts of our story. Our flaws are part of who and what we are. We should honor those things in us that make us who we are. For good or bad, we are who we are. And we shouldn’t be ashamed.