Sunday, February 27, 2011

We Haven't Always ALL Lived on Venus

Further to yesterday's blog concept about us all being individuals and not from different planets, I have some more thoughts on what this means and what is happening in society right now that is both affected by it and affects it. So, assuming I am right that same sex couples everywhere struggle with being able to find apropos language that is not rooted in the archetypal male-female relationship, and that society has been moving towards more acceptance of same sex relationships, this leaves us with a new problem. The problem of same sex relationship equality, once accepted outside of our homes and individual relationships, then has to be integrated into our private lives.

Movements are like this. They start in a very public arena before moving inside our homes and lives and, lastly into our psyches and language. Think about the Women's movement. Women fought to build the legistlative platform to give them equal rights to men and won. The movement was a success. It took at least a generation of children growing up in this new order to be able to carry the concept into their homes and personal relationships. Think about it. Moms still struggled to work and make as much as dads. Women often still catered to their men inside the home. I would argue that, until recently, we hadn't really arrived as true equals. Equality inside the marriage and parenting relationships was the last to arrive. The role models afforded by society and our own families just didn't give us the tools, language and concepts we needed to enact this change.

This move toward acceptance by society of same sex relationships (which is still far from complete) is meeting with the same challenges. The role models we all have grown up with force us to bastardize and jury-rig (I had typed jerry-rig until I did a search on it and found out I meant jury-rig which I didn't know...imagine that) traditional relationship advice so it fits our unique situations. This is as simple as changing pronouns when reading a relationship-themed self-help book, or as complex as trying to eradicate entrenched values we were raised with from birth.

We have here a group of people questioning everything, re-considering stereotypes and seeking to apply new understanding to their relationships. No bad will come of this!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Women Are from Venus and Other Women Are Also from Venus

I've been thinking lately about something. It's a little bit of a controversial topic, but I bet you'll humor me. I HOPE you will at least. So, this is the thing. As, you all know, I have dated both men and women in my life. I have recently been putting together a little theory about one of the challenges that women dating women face. See what you think.

When women date men, we say the women are from Venus and the men are from Mars. And here is where my theory begins. It's a very convenient construct, when you don't understand where someone is coming from or they don't "get" you, to think of them as from another planet. You don't have to work through every little disagreement, sometimes it's easier and healthier to say they just won't get it because they aren't from my planet...they're a "guy." In saying they're a guy, we forgive and forget many transgressions. We let slide, we acquiesce, we compromise.

When women date women, they think differently. Women are quite aware of the fact that they are from Venus...that they ALL are from Venus. They are very relationship oriented. A group of female friends, for instance, will say that all their friends "get" them. So, when we date women, we get very frustrated when our partners do things that we find confusing, or when they just don't seem to understand us. We get even more bent out of shape, "But you're a WOMAN! You're supposed to think like me! Be like me! GET me!"

Traditionally in relationships, because they have been mostly male-female in our society, it takes some work to extrapolate beyond the acceptance of a husband or a wife merely because they are from a different planet. It requires an active thought process changing thoughts of, "Oh, my partner doesn't get me because they are of the opposite sex", to instead, "Oh, you don't get me because I am me, and you are you and we are different."

We are different. We are not just male and female different, but individuals.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Matricidal Suspicions?

I'm starting to get a complex. First, it was the book selection, Babar and Bambi...the mother is killed off in both stories. Slightly odd, since we only read two books a night, that the subject of both would be the death of the mother.

But then, I listened in on their game of stuffed animal play today. The theme? Duckie's mother had died. It was a sad, sad occasion. Poor duck, no mother anymore.

Should I take this all personally? As a warning? Sleep with one eye open?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The American Dream

Rode with a cab driver in Fort Worth this morning to the airport. While at first I was annoyed by his chatty manner so early in the morning (it was barely 5 AM), I warmed to him. He told me, with great excitement, how happy he was to be here. In America. In Texas.

He told me a story of a time when his four friends from DC came to visit him. They were coming to Texas to play soccer, but he knew them from home. They kind of put down Ft. Worth as being too small, too disconnected from what they saw as "real America," big cities. These fellow countrymen were incredulous of his quality of life in Ft. Worth. He told me over and over that they just plain didn't believe him.

The four of them shared a single room apartment in DC. He encouraged them to move down South. They wouldn't dream of it. He said he encouraged them to remember where they were from. Then he told me of the quality of life in his village in Ethiopia (well, not Ethiopia, his country actually splintered off from Ethiopia, but I asked three times and couldn't catch the name of his country, so, let's just call it Ethiopia, ok?). Here's what he told me of his country...

"I lived in a two room place with a family of ten. Mother, Father and eight children!" He then peered at me, eyes wide, voice dramatic to be sure I understood the magnitude of his description. "Three of the boys slept in one bed, the rest on the floor."

Now this man drives a cab and makes enough to rent his own two room place. He lives, according to the standards by which he was raised, like a king. He recently drove a customer home and they were building a new house. He told me he realized that he would, in this country, be able to one day own a house.

"In this country, I live like a king. I will one day own a house. And, because I live here and work here, three of my brothers go to school! I buy them 'exercise' books and send them fresh packs of pencils that I buy for under a dollar." (I didn't ask, but later it occured to me that he meant "workbooks" when he said "exercise books."

My response to his continued exasperation about his friends who would never consider moving to little old Ft. Worth, who just didn't get it and wouldn't better their situation by moving somewhere where the cost of living was more affordable, was this...Maybe, when people dream of leaving their home, their country, for a better life, they sit and imagine how that new life will be. In their mind's eye, they see different visions. Some see monetary success and comfort in their living space, some see big cities with lights and opportunities.

Electric Heat Drains the Coffers!

What does my reading public (all four of you) know about electric heat? I just sent this note to the electric company and would love to know any experiences/help you all have...

I need help. There is no way our heat and electric should cost over $550 a month given that 1) we are heating a place that is 600 square feet and 2) we are always cold and keep the baseboards set at medium to low.

Please help me figure out how to lower this cost. Is there a better rate I can get? Is there a state subsidized rate?

I have spoken to three friends who have electric heat and pay only $250 a month. Please help me get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.

I am going to have to talk to my landlord about putting in gas or oil heat at my own this rate it would pay back in a year!