Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I am sensitive to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps it’s the four LONG years I spent in a rigourous collegiate journalism program. Perhaps it’s my hyper-sensitivity to the need to say what I want, when I need to say it. Regardless of the reason, I believe everyone has a right to freedom of speech, regardless of whether I agree with or am offended by what they have to say.* Imagine my chagrin when I heard an uproar about an art installation at a high school in my county. According to a news report (I’d love for more to exist, but it doesn’t seem to have been picked up by all of the local news outlets), students in an honors course “were given an assignment to create a display that shows what social justice means to them.” The result was on display in the high school’s lobby for weeks before it started getting widespread attention. […]
When I was younger, I couldn’t picture myself as a parent. It was a foregone conclusion, but not one I felt strongly for. I suspected that I’d eventually feel obligated to propagate and then *wham* I’d be raising some kids. But somewhere between my first “real” relationship and the start of college, the tide changed. I became the friend that everyone assumed would settle down and start pushing out babies. I mean, I even had it planned out: married within a few years of graduating college, then have a kid at 25, 27, and 29. Done by 30. Fool-proof, right? Entirely wrong. Reality was me, unmarried, and a mother by 23. Not the worst, but it stilted my plans a bit. I adapted, and adjusted my plans to include a new baby after a few years, when the timing and circumstances were right. The funny thing was that circumstances were never right.
Disclaimer: I love my child from the depths of the earth to beyond the stars. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Other kids, not so much. I read an advice column recently in which a woman was pretty much shamed for admitting that she and her husband don’t care for children. As in they don’t like the critters. Why is this something to be shamed for? I admit that interacting with people in general is a task for me. I tend to enjoy being in my head and find that silence is most comforting when in the company of others. Few things are more distressing to me than having to interact with unfamiliar children or those who, from experience, I find difficult. I’m definitely from the “children are to be seen and not heard” school of thought, though my actions are in stark contrast to that. Children are fickle beings. One minute you’re laughing and having a good time, and the next they’ve inexplicably burst into tears and you fear you’ve scarred them for life but don’t even know what you did. Or maybe that’s just my own. In either case, they’re innocently volatile beings and for me, it’s tiring to […]
Respecting people’s privacy means respecting the fact that (a) not all times will be opportune ones for a visit, and (b) they are not obligated to explain that to you in the moment just because you’re on their front stoop. In a recent column, Carolyn Hax offered the perspective above when a mother-in-law was upset that her son and daughter-in-law didn’t answer the door when she dropped by unannounced. Her response really focused on the concept of privacy and the misplaced entitlement that some put on access to other people’s time. This is a huge, ongoing concern of mine, and one that I’ve spent a great deal of energy over many years trying to subtly address without starting World War 3. I need my privacy/solitude and will go to the ends of earth to protect it. This tends to be at odds with how the rest of the world operates, but it’s a walk I’m willing to take. Most people in my life understand and respect my introversion and how that impacts my ability and willingness to engage with people. It’s taken a lot of time and conversations, but I’m fairly confident that they understand it’s not you, it’s me. Usually that’s […]
Miner’s canary: A caged bird kept caged in mine tunnels because its demise provided a warning of dangerous levels of toxic gases. (idiomatic) Something whose sensitivity to adverse conditions makes it a useful early indicator of such conditions; something which warns of the coming of greater danger or trouble by a deterioration in its health or welfare On a major road near my home sits a small medical practice. It’s an unassuming building, with a small sign touting its primary doctor’s name, yet it catches my attention nearly every time I drive by. Day or night, rain or shine, I see people — as few as 1 or as many as 10 — standing outside, protesting its provision of abortion services. The most prominent sign they display is “Pray to end abortion,” and I always get irked to no end, because they’ve got it all wrong. When I see that sign, I think “Don’t pray to end abortion; pray to end poor access to adequate health care and misinformation about contraceptives.” By that, I mean: abortion isn’t the bigger problem. Unplanned/unwanted pregnancies are. A “high” number of abortions is merely a symptom of the bigger problem, which is women being pregnant when they are not ready or […]