Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Food For Thought

C. S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

What is it about the temple rec interview?

It’s been six years since I last had that interview. Ever since my difficult experience with the temple, I haven’t been able to bring myself to get a temple rec, even though I, in good peace of mind, could probably answer all the questions well enough to get one.

There would be some tricky questions, of course. Particularly that one about living up to my temple covenants. How does a woman who absolutely rejects the idea of hearkening unto a husband get past that one? I think I would honestly respond that I’m not perfect but that I’m trying to be a good person. And that I don’t understand or support the idea of a woman hearkening unto her husband. I’m relatively sure that most bishops/counselors would just nod sympathetically and move on to the next question. Another question that might give me pause is the sustaining my leaders question. But I know that I can answer yes to that one. After all, someone’s got to do the job, and sustaining them doesn’t mean I always have to agree with them.

So given that I doubt I would be rejected, I often ask myself why I just can’t make myself go into that office. I’ve come up with a few reasons why:

1. There’s something terribly intimate about discussing your deepest personal beliefs (and underwear wearing habits) with a man who you barely know. That makes me uncomfortable.
2. Confiding in someone, truly opening oneself up to someone else, gives the listener power. I haven’t exactly figured out what I mean by that, but I sense that this is true. And I don’t know if I like the idea of giving a stranger man that kind of intimate power over me. My confidence, my concerns, my fears, my faith are gifts I want to discriminately bestow.
3. The male over female power structure. The fact this it’s always a man who decides whether or not I’m worthy to enter the Lord’s house. This really bothers me. While I’d still have concerns about discussing my intimate issues with a stranger woman, I sure would love to have that option. (Temple rec interviews with RS President? Would anyone like that as an option?)
4. The isolated and possibly intimidating environment of the interview. There’s something starkly authoritarian about someone sitting behind that big brown desk in a power suit. Possible solution: make it known that people can bring a trusted friend into the interview with them. I think this would help some women who have been abused by men to feel more comfortable.
5.The focus on practice AND beliefs. I haven’t thought this one out too clearly, but I think I might be more comfortable with a focus on practice. After all, beliefs are so fluid. And if a person is acting like a good person, trying to practice Christianity, treating others well…. That just seems like it might be a better way to judge someone than on whether or not they know for sure that all the church leaders have been called by God. (But I'm sure there are tons of people out there who can come up with great reasons why an emphasis on beliefs and practice are important.)

I realize that there are also reasons to like the interview. I have a friend who sees it as a valuable way to mentally assess herself and see where she is with her faith. I’m sure others like the chance to talk one on one with their local leaders. But for me, at this point in my life, there's just something a little bit creepy about that interview.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Beast Walks!

Yesterday, Beast figured out how to walk. Very exciting. We're hoping that his new skill will make him happier and less prone to emotional breakdowns.

By the way, I am now officially 30 years old. I'm looking forward to my 30's. More self acceptance, less concern about what others think, more peace, less anger. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Update: My Child is an Embarrassment

After a few days' vacation in Santa Cruz, I am back to the grind and am actively trying to find ways to cope with E, otherwise known as The Beast.

Steps toward sanity:
1) Spend much time in Target, pushing E around and buying tons of junk.
2.) Join 24 hour fitness so that I can take advantage of their $1.50/hour babysitting rate.
3.) Never stay home for more than an hour at a time.
4.) find an outdoorsy place for E - tricky since The Beast eats grass, dirt, and sand.
5.) Push myself onto other young moms so that The Beast might get distracted by other kids and leave me alone.

I've already accomplished steps 1 and 2, but there has been a hiccup. E is totally embarrassing at 24 hour fitness! He spent the whole hour crying and needing to be carried around by the poor child care ladies. He was the only one out of the 10 or so kids having a sustained emotional breakdown. What did I do wrong? Why on earth did he turn out so needy?

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Kid is Driving Me Insane

What the hell is wrong with my kid? He just turned 1 a few days ago. And he spends most of his waking hours whining. Whining to be picked up. Whining to be put down. Then sobbing when he doesn't get his way. Then screaming with baby rage when I yank away the remotes, phones, and laptops from his reach.

I dread spending time with him in my house. The only way I've figured out to save my sanity is to throw him in the car and then push him around some type of mall. Now I understand why moms are always shopping. They have NO choice. It's either that or insanity.

Yesterday morning was one of the worst. He spent a whole hour crawling around and sobbing/screaming, and nothing I could do would shut him up. I told him a number of times that I was ready to throw him out the window. I went into the office at the height of my frustration and actually emitted an animal yell of rage. I even believe I yelled at him a bit.

So those are the bad times. And they are many. But there are a few moments when he's a nice baby. And he's started to kiss me on the lips which is really cute. Though it might seem creepy to others.

Here's to more cute, nice baby times and far fewer beastly awful baby times.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Conversation with my mom

Background info: My mom is a great woman. She was widowed with two young kids. She's been a homemaker for 30 years and has served in several RS and primary presidencies.

Me: Mom, I have a friend who has been going out with this guy for 4 years. They are perfect for each other. He's absolutely wonderful, he really loves her, but he just won't propose since he's concerned about finances.

Mom: (half serious) She should get pregnant. That would get him to the alter.

Me: Mom! That would not go over well with her family.

Mom: She could just tell him she was pregnant.... and then later say that she was mistaken.... that should do the trick.

Me: (laughing) Aside from the ethical problems of tricking a man into marriage, I like the way you think outside the box.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Stay At Home Mom Day From Hell

Mike leaves in the morning.

Dog promptly poops in the kitchen. E crawls through poop and gets it all over the downstairs area. I dump E in sink to wash poop off. He struggles and fights and won't sit still. I then try to clean up all the poop smears from the floor, but not before E crawls through them again.

E himself poops 3 times today. 3!!!! What's up with that!

E puts his hand in the toilet at least 2 separate times. (Luckily it's been flushed.) But he still then puts that same hand immediately into his mouth which creeps me out.

After 2 or 3 tries, I give up on the idea that E will take a nap.

Mike finally comes home at about 5:00. Salvation!