Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In which I am a feminist now, I guess?

People say some dumb things.

On a cruise I went on last year with some bloggers I hadn't met in person before, a blog-friend who had followed me on Twitter for a while was telling another lady in the group that I'm really funny on Twitter.

"Really?" the lady gasped. "I would have never expected that from talking to you."

Um. Thanks. I'm surprising that way, I guess. Totally dull in person but hey look! I have clever thoughts 140 characters at a time.

When Jack took me to get a pedicure last weekend for my birthday, the lady who was doing my toes asked how old I was.

"25," I answered.

"Oh, you have baby?" she asked.

"No, no babies yet," I answered. "We're waiting a while." What I didn't say was that I just had 250 babies in the form of a taekwondo school purchase.

The lady looked at me shook her head, "tsk"ing a little as she did it.

"You need to have baby soon," she scolded. "You wait too long to have baby, it not healthy."

Really, lady who is filing dead skin off my feet? I didn't realize you were also an OB/GYN. Are you going to give me my pelvic exam after this, because if so, that $30 price tag on this pedicure/PAP Smear is quite a steal.

Maybe she thought I said 55 instead of 25.

Either way, she was an idiot.

There are some things you just don't say to strangers (or acquaintances or, well, friends and family), things that range from "your butt looks huge" or "you're much too skinny" to "you wait too long to have baby, it not healthy."

Most of the time, they are well-meaning. Many of our friends informed us that, since Jack won world champion, got his 6th degree, and bought a karate school, it was time for us to have a baby now. As if the "what's next for the Hornbuckles" timeline was up to them.

There are people who, upon learning that Jack is a taekwondo instructor, ask "Oh, and what do you do for a real job?"

Most of the time when I have good news to share, I am deflated from an excited "Oh! Are you pregnant!?" and when I respond "no" and tell them my real good news, they're kind of disappointed, like what I actually accomplished is a consolation prize.

These are statements which deserve an eye-roll at the very least, and the one thing that is becoming very clear to me is that it's not going to stop anytime soon.

I have heard of friends who adopted who have been asked whether they have any "real" children as well, and friends who have lost children who are "consoled" with the awful statement "at least you can have another baby." Pregnant friends of mine have been chastised for having the wrong due date, and friends with serious reproductive issues have been told that maybe they should just "relax and have fun trying."

We live in an infuriating world, but again, these idiotic statements usually come from unsuspecting (and yeah, probably kind of dumb) people who are just trying to say the right thing.

So here we are, having dumb things said to us and probably saying all kinds of dumb things to others. And I'm not sure I have a great solution to this other than...

We need to get over ourselves.

Pregnant women of the world: you are huge. When people tell you that you are huge, laugh. Because it's true. And because you will not always be huge.

Breastfeeding moms: don't worry if formula companies send you samples. Just throw them away if you don't want them. It's their job to market to you. It's your job to do what you think is best for your kid.

Formula-feeding moms: ignore the lactivists who are trying to make you feel guilty for the way you're feeding your kid. Millions of formula-fed kids are fine and yours will be too.

Divorcees, homosexuals, people who say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," people who eat tapioca pudding, Tea Party members, and "Real Housewives" fans: people are going to judge you based on how they think your life should go, but what it really comes down to is that it's none of their business and quite frankly not their place to judge you. (Unless you fall into the "people who eat tapioca pudding" category, in which case, you should be judged and judged HARD).

And I? Will realize that just because everybody else thinks I need to procreate RIGHT NOW to be successful doesn't mean that it's true.

When I expressed annoyance about somebody cheating in Jack's industry to get where he is, he just shrugged.

"Just because they're cheating to get where I am doesn't make what I did any less valuable."

He is wise, that one.

And that statement is true for him, and true for me too. Even if people say things that make me feel like they're cheapening my accomplishments, they can't.

I still created a non-profit organization. I still raised thousands of dollars for MS and led a BikeMS team and coordinated everybody in it. I still rocked hard at my job and received glowing reviews each year for my performance. I still learned how to design stuff and made it a pretty successful business with which I can help others. I still do a ton of work for my husband's business to help make that successful too. I still keep my house clean, my dog fed, and my husband happy.

I did a lot of somethings in the last 25 years, and I'll do many more somethings even if I wait another 25.

Even if you don't think so.
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