The cure for activism guilt

The cure for activism guilt

I was ten years old when I first took to the streets to protest the patriarchy.  Growing up, I was the kid who allowed to go to protest rallies but who couldn’t watch Adventures in Babysitting because of its PG-13 rating. (I snuck and saw it anyway at a neighbor girl’s house, the same one who taught me about eyeliner and George Michael).  I had no idea how to to save the princess in Super Mario or what happened last week on Beverly Hills 90210, but I could (and did) teach my elementary school classmates anti-Reagan chants in the lunch line and help organize a walk-out at my junior high to protest the Gulf War. Needless to say, my childhood did not exactly resemble that of Mallory Keaton.

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Believe it or not, I became Catholic because of Gay Pride

Believe it or not, I became Catholic because of Gay Pride

I became Catholic because of gay pride. 

My husband and I were recently married, and we were building a life together in a new city after his company moved us from New York City to Georgia. I was not looking for church to be a part of that new life. He was raised Catholic, and while not particularly devout, was clear that if we had children they would be raised Catholic. I was less than excited about this. I associated the Catholic Church with droning, dull services and the general oppression of women and other marginalized groups. High on the list of things I can’t stand are boredom and patriarchy.

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Jail time

Jail time

My first real encounter with injustice was when my drug dealer went to jail. Up until that point I’d led a pretty sheltered life. I grew up in a well-educated, middle-class family in the Midwest in a small town with little diversity. I went to college in the not far from home where I was surrounded mainly by more of the same.  This was the 90s, before the Internet enabled the viral spread of social justice movements or even the simple ability to have a window into other people’s lives.

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The silent treatment

The silent treatment

My husband and I spend a lot of time not talking to each other.  Not because we’re fighting or because we’ve run out of things to discuss, but because it’s a comfortable respite for both of us.  This is what happens when an introvert marries another introvert.

We introverts are frequently misunderstood to be shy, but many (like me) socialize easily. This means that we can “pass” for being an extrovert. I did this for a long time, mainly because I thought I was one. I assumed that being introverted meant you hated people and lived by yourself in a basement that smelled like cat food. Yet as I went about my “extroverted” life, one question always nagged at me: If I truly liked people, why was being around them so damn exhausting?

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The joy and inconvenience of having kids

The joy and inconvenience of having kids

My baby turns one today. Later I’ll probably post an adorable picture of him and write something about how I never knew what love was until he came along and what an honor it is to be his momma.  All true.  This morning, though, I’m thinking about the moment in the hospital when they laid him on my chest for the first time. I looked down at his tiny body and puckered face and thought, “Well this is going to be inconvenient.”

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Why my husband was the best part of my baby's first year

Why my husband was the best part of my baby's first year

This week I’ll celebrate my son’s first birthday. Looking back on this first year makes me want to sob with that weird, nostalgia-tinged joy that is motherhood. The kind that makes you say “Slow down time!” and "How the heck is it not bedtime yet?” in the same breath. Already the hard moments from the year have faded from memory or become things to laugh about: the panic of coming home from the hospital and wondering “What the $%*& do we do with him now?”  Or how long it took us to to put in the “easy install” car seat. I’m left with the highlight reel of his first smile. First steps. The feel of his little arms around my neck while I rock him to sleep.

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