A Thankful Feminist

A couple weeks ago Tim and I went on a youth staff retreat for our church.  The retreat is designed to plan for the year, connecting about our goals, and bonding as leaders.  This will be our fifth year on the youth staff team and we both really enjoy the role.  One of the topics that we were talking about is coming up with some core things we would like to see become our identity as a group.  One of the things that was proposed was to BE THANKFUL.

BE THANKFUL…

The idea that you are thankful and not a complainer.  BOOM, it hit me hard.  I don’t want to be a complainer, I want to be thankful.

But…

How can someone always be thankful and be honest and be able to talk about things that are frustrating without complaining?  There is this idea that if you need to vent and not complain the difference is this physical HURT.  If something is going on that hurts your person so bad that you can feel it in your body.  That it is so hurtful that it makes your stomach clinch it isn’t complaining if you try and talk about it.  Having a messy house, being constantly on Kuhnau time (10-30 minutes late), or not being able to find parking are COMPLAINING things.

Feeling discriminated against because I’m a female during job assignments at Esperanza, when deciding who will drive, and feeling other people put limits on me are things that really…physically…HURT.  Those are the things that make me cry.   It has always hurt for someone who doesn’t know my ability to look at me and then look at a male counterpart and ask the male to do a task.  If they don’t know my ability and both myself and the male have no experience in, say, building a deck…why is it ok for the male to be the one asked to help instead of a blanket offer?  Sure, if I offered to help builded the deck it would be totally fine and ok…but…I have to ask…I have to FIGHT for my opportunity to do it.  And that is exactly why it hurts.

Discrimination- is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice.

Prejudice-preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

My question of why comes. Why is my male counterpart the one that is picked when, we as a society look at the two sex? Why are there such a vast income difference, any difference for that matter, between female and males with the same credentials in the same job? And why do I subscribe to the same gender discriminations?

IT IS NOT OK…IT IS NOT OK…IT IS NOT OK!

I have been so hurt and upset about this (just ask Tim) from people that are not meaning to hurt me.  There have been people that are really kind and carrying and frankly, sweet that I have walked away from feeling discriminated agains because I’m a female.  I’m hurt by their words or actions and want to see our society as a whole change our view point on things.  I have been so upset that giving up seems the only way to move on with a happy life.

…but I have two daughters and a son…I hurt thinking of them going through the things that have hurt me.  So I am going to try and pave a path that might put less limits on them.  I will continue to live and interact in my community that has an equality imbalance.  The only difference I can make is with in my own world view and living by example.  And maybe, just maybe, my children’s world view will be of equality and they will have a limitless full life.

"cousin" Jack and Finnian

“cousin” Jack and Finnian

When Chassé Makes You Cry

1993 Kindergarden-first dance recital

1993 Kindergarden-first dance recital

 

I still remember that first dance recital.  Walking the dark hallway single file behind my class mates towards the stage, the feeling of my stomach clinching as my brain brought everything into slow-motion, and the steady thump of my heart pulsing through my ears.  After the show was over and we had been reunited with our family, I collapse into my step-dad’s arms unable to walk as adrenaline left my body.

Dance became my life for 7 years.  I started out at five with ballet, tap, and tumbling later dabbled in modern dance and finally settled in ballet.  I ended my career on point in six grade after we moved to a small town that didn’t have any advance studios.  Apart of my heart will always be in the dance studios spending hours at the bar excited to start leaping across the room.

Last Tuesday I took the girls to try out a ballet/tap class at a studio close by.

Right before I took this video I burst into big fat crocodile tears as the instructor had them ACTUALLY chassé! They are capable of really learning how to dance with an instructor?!  Heart break came when I learned what it would cost for two kids to be in this class.  I called my mom that night and told her all about the girls and took a stroll down memory lane to my formative years.  After a feeble attempt to talk to Tim about how we could make this happen, I went to bed and dreamt about winning the lottery.

The next day I got a text from my step-dad, “I would like to pay for both girls to join dance.”  Talk about a torrential down pour of tears moment.  The dad who held me after my first recital, who gave me the legacy of the importance to be active in sports, is making sure his grandkids have the same opportunity.  I am so thankful.

Don't Drop Teddy Bear

Don’t Drop Teddy Bear

Go! Seahawks!

Because I was watching old home videos

and…

Because I live 30 minutes without traffic from the stadium

and…

Because the Seahawks just won…

I have to post this video again of my beloved little fan who was only 25 1/2 months at the time of this video.

She is in…I guess we all are now!

Bicycle

Being Seattlights

Being Seattlights

I have been wanting to get the girls balance bikes for a couple years now.  They LOVE bikes.  One of the first songs that they started to sing was Queen’s “Bicycle Race.”  One of their favorite persons just went on a cross country bike tour.  They gravitate toward anyone who has a bike and are always asking to ride them.

The hunt has been on…and we finally, last night, used some of their birthday money and bought some from a friend.

We told them we were going to get a surprise.  I wish I had captured the look on their face when we got to the house to pick them up.  Sheer unrated joy.  After picking up some helmets with their gift cards we got home at 9:30 pm.  Past their bed time but we still had to give their bikes a go (and eat dinner!).

Times like last night are why I love being a parent.  Seeing joy through new fresh eyes.

She Biked Like a Girl!

I got a text today with this picture.

Coast to coast victory

Coast to coast victory

I’m not sure that I’m going to do this picture justice and explain the past 54 days of the journey it took to get this shot.  As I stayed nice and toasty in the summer heat wave of Seattle, this lady got on her bicycle in Astoria, Oregon until she reached Portland, Maine.

THREE DAYS! That is how many days of the 54 were not spent on a bike…only 3 free days over the past 2 months.  Her lowest milage was clocked in at 30 and her highest a whopping 134!  That is an average of almost 70 miles on the days she biked.  I could go maybe a mile down hill with no gear.  She faced mountain passes and carried the weight of all her essentials on her bike.

Unbelievable…so UNBELIEVABLE.

She was able to pedal her body physically across the States.  The part that I find would be the hardest is the mental battles.  There is nothing but your feet pushing you on and nature guiding and hindering the way.  It would be interesting to see the internal dialog going on and how she really made it during the hardest times.

I’m honored to have her as a bestie.  I couldn’t be more proud of her journey this summer.  This is a moment in time that will stay with her forever.  Simply life changing.

Kiri’s Blog

 

My Calling?

A couple of months ago I had lunch with a friend of mine who is the writer of the Between series.  She has a handful of novels written and an expert when it comes to making your dreams come true.  I spent our four hour lunch digging inside her brain for the tools it takes to be a writer.  I’m sure she was exhausted after the first 10 minutes when I had already pressed her with 64 questions.  What does it take to be a writer? How do you have time to have a full time job, be a wife, a mother, and still write? Where did you get your ideas from? On and on and on I kept drilling her until her food was cold.  She graciously answered all my questions.  I walked away feeling empowered.

I’m currently in two book clubs.  I just read My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock for one of the book clubs.  It is another fad book where the author is doing one thing a day for a year.  What made this book intriguing to me was she faced a fear she had everyday between her 29th and 30th birthdays. It was about her finding herself with Eleanor Roosevelt as her mentor.  Sure, she wasn’t changing lives and making a huge impact on society by going skydiving but she was changing herself.  I found it really moving.  Why can’t I face my fears and leap, knowing this is my time.

So…here I go…

Anyone close to me knows this, but I WANT to be a writer.  I feel the flood of questions coming but to be honest, I don’t really know what that means.  My writer friend said that an important question to ask is, “Why do you want to be a writer?”  I was sitting in a crowed room of people days later and realized I have my answer:

So people can hear my VOICE.

I have a quiet voice that is muffled and I mutter. When I’m writing people will be able to hear what I’m trying to say without asking me a hundred times “huh?”  It is quite comical sitting around the dinner table with Tim’s family.  My brother-in-law and I are kindred spirits.  Sometimes we have private conversations sitting on opposite sides of the table in our decrescendo voices. It is a on going family joke among us and we end up laughing about it at every dinner together.

I can find humor in it but it feeds my insecurities of feeling invisible and unmemorable to people.  I’m sure this is irrational and not true but it is how I feel.  So here I go, I’m leaping off the boat…I’m going to make it happen even if the only person to read what I have to say is Tim.

Words Hurt

When I was younger my parents would come into my room and kiss me goodnight.  My mom would sing me a song and my step-dad would give me a hug and a kiss.  I remember one night as my step-dad was giving me a kiss his face was really scratchy from not shaving that day.  It tickled so much that I started to play a game with him where I would try as hard as I could to not let him kiss my cheek.  I would shake my head back and forth as fast as I could trying to detour his goodnight kiss.  I would laugh and laugh.  This game was short lived.  One night he came in and I started shaking my head and saying, “no you can’t kiss me!” He said, “Okay, fine.” and walked away to never give me another goodnight kiss again.  I can’t tell you how old I was but I remember being so confused and hurt at the time.

To recall the memory now makes me really sad.  There is so much I missed out on with a relationship with him because of miss read signals.  If only I could have told him no I do want your goodnight kisses and I’m not trying to hurt your feelings…I just thought it was a fun game.  It’s too hard as a kid to fully understand what is going on.  Looking back now, I know it was a loaded situation with a lot of things stacked agains us having a father-daughter relationship.

All this to say I don’t want to make the same mistakes with my kids.  The girls have hurt my feelings this week and it has been a harder few days. I really love how much they love their Daddy.  He is the best daddy after all.  But its still hard for me when I’m with them all day and try and put their needs before mine and I they make little comments that sting.  Kaia this morning crawled into bed with us and told me “I don’t want to snuggle. Can you go sleep on the couch.” I have NO idea where she got that from! Tim has never said that. I have never said that.  Ouch it stung.  Ari the other day told me to “Go away” when I was accidentally blocking her view of the TV.  I’m hoping it was because I was blocking her view and not because I was having Tim get up and help me get dinner ready.

Both times I talked to the girls about how they hurt my feelings and how we need to find nicer ways to use our words and express what we want.  Words hurt no matter the size of the mouth.

Finnian picking blueberries

Finnian picking blueberries

Being a parent is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  Being in charge of these three growing and developing minds and personalities is a lot to take in.  We are given the charge to shape and guide them to be people who can make it in the world.  I just hope we give them as many tools and resources as possible with this short time we have to influence them.

With great power comes great responsibility!