It is tempting to say something about how this has worsened in the age of the Internet, during which time friendship has yielded to ‘friending’, but I’m not entirely convinced that this is true. I’ve received much comfort and support from my online friendships; more importantly (because ‘comfort and support’ might be regarded as matters of utility, as self-facing goods), they have been sources of the kind of unrestrained joy that my daughter seems to experience with her friends (we play, we race, we share our treats.) Again, these might be regarded as self-facing goods – aren’t these just different forms of pleasure? – but I prefer to think of this as joyful in the purest sense, in the sense of the experience that extends out beyond one’s self (that is only fully felt if it extends beyond one’s self.) All of which is to say – putting aside the meat of the argument for another time – that I have experienced what I think is something close to complete friendship online. But it’s still virtual friendship, for the most part, which means that the sleepovers and playground races and hopscotch tournaments – or their grown-up equivalents – are thin on the ground.
I need to get things done around my house and I need to play with my kid more. I need to quit stalling on putting away the laundry. I need to take care of my health and pound my feet on the pavement. I need to write – REALLY write. I need to pick up my real camera and quit screwing around with the crappy camera on my phone. I need to quit talking about all the things I need to do and just go do them. I need to stop being a voyeur into the lives of others and get busy living my own.
First, season three started and we were all like:
Instead she began by announcing that she would take just a two week maternity leave, which might have been all she needed, but which sent the message that this kind of macho-never-slowed-down-by-the-pesky-realities-of-life-outside-the-office was expected of everyone. And now there’s this. Rather than championing a blending of life and work , she is calling for an enforced and antiquated division. She is telling workers — many of whom were hired with the assurance that they could work remotely — that they’d best get their bottoms into their office chairs, or else.
And this whole time, no one spoke of what happens when these things are taken. No one told me how to handle my body if I didn’t feel as if it were mine to own. No one whispered how breaking the bondage of abuse would hurt like hell and the mess would spill over into my marriage bed. No one told me that it was okay, that I wasn’t less than, that there was goodness and bravery in figuring out the dust of belief left over from His fire burning through the lies. So here I am, speaking it to those who were forgotten.
Nope, not happier [as a mom]. I was happy when Scott and I went to Japan every ten minutes. I’m exaggerating for effect here- I’m sometimes happier. I’m also more worried, stressed, exhausted, annoyed, et al. But I am certainly better. I am less selfish. I am stronger. And the world breaks open for me in surprising and transformative ways.
There is also something about how valued family is. Meals were eaten together as a family. Extended family was a priority. Honoring their parents and respecting them really meant something. Maybe we like watching that show cause it makes us miss our families less. Or for those of us whose family situation might not be the greatest…maybe you feel like you belong when you watch the show with their fierce family loyalty. Someone told me once that a psychological study was done on the popularity of the show Keep Up With The Kardashians…and it turns out that people watch the show because they like feeling like they are a part of a family unit. Each episode displays family drama but by the end they are always there for each other. Don’t we all want that feeling of knowing someone is gonna be there for us?
The caregivers love these kids. They honestly do. Both times we have been here I have been so impressed and so thankful with how nurturing they all to the kids in their charge. They are constantly kissing them, wiping noses, gently disciplining. But they have lots of wild little ones to look after and I doubt there is much time for lingering hugs. It’s just not the same as motherlove. Bethie watched me and Maggie so intently. It was like she was thinking, “Whatever is going on over there, I want me some of it.” Maggie jumped off my lap. Then I reached out to Bethie, and the same little girl, who last time would not let me hold her, would barely let me touch her, let me pick her up
I have seen porn. I have watched movies. Not many. Not much. It was all at great expense to be “open minded” and “sexually uninhibited” and “educational.” But it left me doubting my own inherent sexuality, in some cases it felt like an act of violence to my spiritual, sensual self. It took away my sexual empowerment. It left me in a fog of stupidity. Is that what I am supposed to look like? Is that the sound I am supposed to make? Is that the reaction I am supposed to have?
But satire reveals truths that are hard to hear. That triumphalist Savior many of us worship? He more resembles the sword and gun-toting DJesus who brings righteous vengeance than the prophetic vagabond foot-washer Jesus who preaches liberation and love of neighbor in the Gospels. The Savior we have created in our own violent images seems more like a character of a Tarantino film than the one at the heart of God’s story of eternal love.
But one particularly damaging form of bullying is unique to the African-American community — and one; generally speaking, we’d rather not talk about. It’s the “acting white,” or “not Black enough” charge — heard from Black children (and some adults) in neighborhoods all over America. Worst of all, it is used not to mock supposedly “white” speech patterns, music, or style of dress, but to decry intelligence itself.
What I’m Reading:
Kid’s Artwork: photographed, shrunk, and framed
Travel Wall: Buy a map or postcard from each place you visit and frame it.