I bet you’re dying to know how not to spend the weekend. Just Dying.
So here you go.
Don’t spend it puking — then cleaning up your daughter’s puke — then cleaning up your son’s puke.
Don’t spend it being nauseated at the thought of food.
Don’t spend it being annoyed at your male co-worker who upon finding out you’ve been puking your guts up all night, starts laughing and asks if you’re pregnant. Haha. Yeah. Cuz that’s so funny, right?
Don’t spend it being offended at your two-year old sons rejection of your affections.
Don’t spend it being angry that your $1ooo dining set has been scratched to oblivion by your oblivious but endearing husband as he attempts to re-string his guitars on the dining table. For hours. HOURS. Oblivious to the very fact that he is indeed covering 50% of the table in deep, jagged scratches and indentations.
I love him. I do. God, I love him.
Don’t spend it working at your job, on a Sunday, trying to train a new nurse whilst you’re recovering from a stomach virus.
This only makes for a very long, very bad, terrible, awful day.
Don’t spend it comforting your 12-year-old son. On his birthday. As he pukes his guts up.
And don’t spend it being an ungrateful brat, who stomps around the house, hollering about how everything is a fucking mess, kicking toys across the floor and injuring your big toe in the process.
The kids are in bed. You’re typing on the computer, enjoying the stillness. And your husband. Your lovely, bespectacled, plaid-shirt wearing husband is sitting on the couch next to you. Playing his bass guitar with the most heavenly look on his bearded face. And he’s happy.
So you’re happy.
Even though he fucked up the table.
It’s brilliant shit. Her honesty is refreshing, if not at times blush-worthy — and well — kinda gross. But I like her for that. Jess DC of Lost Girls wrote a recent blogpost about it and made a telling statement.
It is unfortunate that so many of us grow up not in wonder and excitement about turning into women, but horrified at all the changes and taught to hide them (out of shame) as much as possible.
Jess is so right. And this is why I love Caitlin Moran. She’s honest. She’s open. And that honesty and openness makes puberty seem “doable.” Scary — but doable. And comforting in the knowledge the we ALL as women will bleed out of our vaginas and get boobies, among many other things. If only this book were appropriate for adolescent girls.
I was lucky that my mom was very open with me. When I was 8 years old, I picked up a copy of Time Magazine with a picture of a teen mom on the cover. This confused me immensely as I was taught that only married women had babies. Yes, I had it in my sweet little 8 year old brain that when you got married you magically became pregnant whenever you wanted. So my sister and I went to my mother and asked THE question. Or rather, questions.
How are babies made?
How does the baby get IN THERE?
How can she be pregnant without being MARRIED?
My mom looked at us in her motherly way and sighed.
“Well, girls,” she said. “After dinner tonight I think we need to have a lady talk.”
Oooooh. This sounded enticing. Special. Secretive.
After dinner my mom gathered us into our bedroom. She had a chalk board. And the woman launched into the story of sex. The details. How babies are really made. And she drew pictures. This was the craziest shit I’d ever heard… or seen.
We would eventually have periods. Yes. We would, in fact, bleed out of our vaginas once a month for about three or four decades of our life.
Holy shit. This was some big mother fucking news right here.
But my mom made everything okay. She reassured us. And even made it sound special. Having a parent who is matter-of-fact with the details and supportive is so essential for any girl approaching puberty.
And Moran obviously had the opposite experience.
My mother never told us about them [periods] –“I thought you’d picked it all up from Moonlighting,” she said vaguely.
Which is funny, of course. But the lack of information is what probably made the idea of menstruation all the more terrifying for Moran. But either way. Puberty sucks. It just does. And I love the following Moran quote.
Sex hormones are a bitch that have turned me from a blithe child into a bleeding, weeping, fainting washerwoman. These hormones do not make me feel feminine: every night, I lie in bed feeling wretched, and the bulge of my sanitary napkin in my knickers looks like a cock.
Yeah. Periods. They DO suck. But they’re doable. And having a period is kinda nice — especially when you don’t want to be pregnant.
I thought I would expand a little bit on my post on how to leave your husband. From the search terms that are leading people to this site, I’ve come to the conclusion that so many women are in the helpless situation of not knowing if their husband is a jerk.
I know. You’d think it would be easy to figure this out. I mean, either someone is a jerk or someone isn’t. This ain’t fucking rocket science, right?
Well, sometimes the answer is a bit more hidden than you think.
Because love is blind. And fear is debilitating. What happens in a verbal abuse situation, is that you think you love somebody — and maybe you truly do. But the love only goes as far as your fear of leaving. Only once you move past the debilitating fear of leaving, can you understand that your self-respect far surpasses your love of the man who oppresses you.
We’re not talking about wife-beaters here. This isn’t a domestic violence situation. That’s why it’s so complicated.
I’m talking words.
Saying mean things to psychologically harm and deliberately hurt someone is abuse. And it sucks to be on the receiving end.
There are ignorant people out there who ask the inevitable question of, “Well, why don’t you just leave?” I was even told once that I brought the situation on myself for marrying him. That I should’ve known. That I should’ve had abortions instead of bringing children into the marriage.
And these attitudes are precisely why women don’t leave. They’re made to feel ashamed. They end up being too embarrassed to tell family members or friends what’s really going on. These women don’t need to hear a smug, “I told you so.” They don’t need to hear a, “Well I was wondering why you married him in the first place.”
Just some simple understanding and encouragement is all that’s needed.
So here are the reasons why coming to the conclusion that your husband is a jerk can be such a confusing process:
1. You love him. Or you think you love him.
2. You’re embarrassed that you married him and you think it’s a reflection of you. So you don’t want to tell people how bad the marriage really is because you don’t want people to think that you were stupid for marrying the guy in the first place — which means you put on a show and are not really facing reality.
3. He can be really nice. Really nice. He’s not a jerk all the time. There are many times when he’ll do things for you — make you dinner, buy you flowers, clean the kitchen, give you a back rub. For example, when I was pregnant with my first child, there was a pot hole in our driveway. It was always excruciating for me when we drove over it because my baby would bounce on my bladder. My ex-husband took it upon himself to fix the pot hole so I could be more comfortable. But does that erase the times he called me worthless? Does that erase the times he came home drunk and woke me up just so he could call me names? No. And unfortunately it took me a while to figure that out.
4. FEAR. Fear is the biggest of them all. Fear of never finding love after divorce. Fear of being alone. Fear of having no money, no support, no place to live. Because once you admit that your husband is a jerk, that’s when you know you’ll have to do something — and doing something means you’ll be facing your fears.
But once you admit that your husband is jerk. You’ll be free. A free woman who can DO this shit.
So how do you know your husband is a jerk?
Your husband is a jerk if he holds you back from becoming the person you want to be. He’s a jerk if he calls you names. He’s still a jerk when he’s nice — because anybody who can treat their life partner like shit then turn around and be sweet as pie is truly fucked in the head and is not worth your time. He’s a jerk if he disregards your feelings. He’s a jerk if he deliberately hides things from you. He’s a jerk if he tries to make you look stupid in front of your children and family members.
He’s a jerk.
You are valuable.
And you are stronger than you think.
Here are some more adventures in poetry with my 18 year old self.
Yes, posting what I wrote 17 years ago is slightly embarrassing. But it’s also a way for me to embrace my old self.
My young, stupid, old self from 1997.
So it rained again today
As the sun burst throughout the crystal sky
My soul wept again today
Tears as thick as black oil
As I put my mask on
And another gem.
I don’t remember when you apologized for being gone all those years.
I don’t remember when you held my hand and confessed your soul.
I don’t remember talking with you till dawn about everything and about nothing.
I don’t remember watching the stars with you.
But I don’t remember my heart being without you.
In case you haven’t figured it out, I was a bit of a depressive. A depressive who wrote bad poetry about souls, black oil, and skies.
I figured it was time for me to read a book about being a woman — about feminism — about vagina-having humans.
Impressed yet? Oh, you’re not? Well you should be. Because this is a good book (so far at least.) And being a woman means I gave birth (and yes, I know there are many women who choose not to do the baby thing) to three babies, and now I support those babies by working full-time, which means I don’t have much time to do a whole lot, so it’s pretty impressive that I can actually pick up a book and read it, much less write about it.
Now are you impressed?
So How To Be a Woman is Caitlin Moran’s book about well — being a woman — and feminism. In the prologue she laments about how feminism is becoming extinct — that feminism comes in waves — so many waves, in fact, that it’s now become an irrelevant “incoming tide.” Moran is not saying that feminism is irrelevant — only that it has become irrelevant in the eyes of society.
She opens with talking about her 13th birthday. Her changing body. Her reluctance to enter into that unknown terrain of womanhood.
…there is no crueler or more inappropriate present to give a child than estrogen and a big pair of tits.
And so it began. That foray into becoming a woman.
Then there are girls who do all they can to prevent womanhood from happening. Those who fly into denial.
There are those who try to stop it, of course: the teenage girls who try to buy themselves time by aggressively regressing back to their five-year old selves and becoming obsessed with “girliness,” and pink. Filling their beds with teddies, to make it clear there’s no room for sex. Talking in baby talk, so they aren’t asked adult questions. At school, I could see some of my contemporaries were choosing not to be active women — out there, making their own fate — but to be princesses, just waiting to be “found” and married, instead.
Then there are girls who physically try to stop their body from changing.
And at the most dysfunctional end, of course, there are the kamikaze girls who wade into war with their pituitary — trying to starve it or confuse it into defeat, with anorexia, or bulimia.
My god. She explains things so well. This battle with womanhood that we all as women confront at one point or another. The tragic part is that teenage girls are so busy battling it, that they don’t see that being a woman — as challenging and frustrating as it can be — is such an amazing, lovely, crazy experience.
But the problem with battling yourself is that even if you win, you lose. At some point — scarred and exhausted — you either accept that you must become a woman — that you are a woman — or you die. This is the brutal, root truth of adolescence — that it is often a long, painful campaign of attrition. Those self-harming girls, with the latticework of razor cuts on their arms and thighs, are just reminding themselves that their body is a battlefield.
But Moran goes on to say, that even those notable women who got it right — those women who mastered the battle cry — they themselves ended up being conquered and beat down by a society who abhors strong, leading women.
Show a pioneering hero — Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc — and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed. Your hard-won triumphs can be wholly negated if you live in a climate where your victories are seen as threatening, incorrect, distasteful, or — most crucially of all, for a teenage girl — simply uncool. Few girls would choose to be right — right, down into their clever, brilliant bones — but lonely.
It sounds so hopeless for a girl approaching teenager-dom — that cliff where you’re forced to jump full-force into that gravity pulling pit of womanhood.
This all sounds so bad. So negative. But I promise you it’s not. It’s just the prologue — the introduction. But here’s why being a woman can be so terrifying. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg:
…we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them.
And this my friends, is the broken windows theory of feminism. One neglected broken window on a house will eventually lead to trespassers, burglars and squatters. And according to Moran, that’s precisely what’s happening to feminism.
I’m done for now, because I’ve only read the prologue and I would like to read some more. But I leave with you this Caitlin Moran quote for you to ponder.
When the subject turns to abortion, cosmetic intervention, birth, motherhood, sex, love, work, misogyny, fear, or just how you feel in your own skin, women still won’t often tell the truth to each other unless they are very, very drunk.
So we must have a zero-tolerance policy on the squatters climbing into our broken windows — “a zero tolerance policy on ‘All the Patriarchal Bullshit.'”
Is your New Year’s resolution to leave your husband? Well you’re in the right place!
This how-to guide is in reference to my first marriage. My second marriage — which I’m currently in and forever shall remain because my husband is fucking amazing — has nothing to do with this post.
Step #1. Realize your husband is an asshole who will never change. This may take years to figure out because women have this romantic notion in their head that they can change a man — thanks to fairy-tales like Beauty and the Beast. And your husband may not be a complete asshole which makes leaving harder because he has other good qualities that blind you to his big asshole qualities that aren’t really worth putting up with — which was my situation.
Step #2. If you want to end your marriage and your husband isn’t an asshole and is a really nice guy, then that means you’re the asshole. So own it. Sometimes it takes years to realize you’re the asshole because human beings have egos and have a tendency to be assholes.
Step #3. Make a plan. If you have kids this is essential. To be serious for a moment, I was in a bad place. No college education to speak of. A spotty work history. No money. Two kids. BUT I had family. An amazing immediate and extended family to take me in and help me get on my feet. If you don’t have a supportive family then you need to take advantage of additional resources and websites such as singlemom.com.
Step #4. Get. A. Lawyer. And consult a lawyer before you leave him (unless you’re in a domestic violence situation — in that case you need to leave ASAP). I did not do this. I wanted to avoid coming across as a bulldog — as a mean ex-wife. I wanted to be nice. After all, I was breaking the mans heart. I didn’t want a scary lawyer to come in and make my soon-to-be-ex-husband feel bad. Bull-shit. If you have the financial resources — get that lawyer. My family offered to pay for one, but I wanted to play nice and that really did me a disservice. I went forward with a “do-it-yourself” divorce. DO NOT DO THIS. I essentially had no knowledge of my rights, no knowledge of child support requirements, how to split assets and debts, etc. I was basically stupid and stubborn — which is what got me into the dead-end marriage in the first place.
Step #5. After your plan is in place — where you’re going to live, making sure you have access to money, acquiring a lawyer, etc. — leave. Split. Get out (Unless of course you have the ability to throw his shit out of the house first.) Yes, it’s hard. You’ll cry your eyes out even though your husband was an asshole — because leaving your comfort zone is never fun. Willfully venturing into the unknown is terrifying. But it’s brave. And if your marriage is truly a shitty one, and if children are involved — then it is essential that you leave. Don’t let your little ones grow up around an unhappy, tumultuous relationship. Your daughters and sons need to see you be strong — to see you take the independent step out into the world — to stand up for yourself — to know women deserve respect.
Step #6. Get back on your feet — financially. And yes, this could take years. It took me five years because I had to go to college. If you already have a solid education and work background, then this will be much easier for you. Again, there are many resources for this. Use them. I was lucky enough to receive a Pell Grant that covered almost all my educational expenses — including full-time childcare for my daughter.
Step #7. Get back on your feet — emotionally. If you want to be a good parent, if you want to move on in the relationship department — you have to do a lot of soul-searching. Your husband may have been an asshole, but you also contributed some negativity to the marriage. What was that? What qualities about yourself can you change — improve on? And if you were the asshole in the relationship then you REALLY need to do some soul-searching. And the soul-searching can take years. But it’s essential that you re-discover your identity as a single woman. Because a failed marriage changes a person — but it’s usually for the better.
Now go on and git yerself divorced! And Happy New Year!