Friday, April 19, 2019

I Am A Feminist

I’ve become a feminist.

I’ve become a feminist and that is sad. Stick with me. It’s sad that I’m a feminist because realizing, acknowledging, and empathizing with a female is a noteworthy event.

I am a white male. I don’t like this statement and reality, but in our socioeconomic culture I am at the top of the food chain. I realize my white privilege and am not too proud to admit and acknowledge the wrongs in the history of such a thing.

My wife and I are trying to conceive. Not in a young and ignorant way of just pulling the goalie (this means discontinuing the use of contraceptives) and thinking conception will occur by simply not using protection. Ignorant is not a bash, but a proper use of the word. Miriam Webster defines ignorance as, “lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.” Most people are not aware of the complex nature of a woman’s body, much less the complex nature of what it takes to conceive and bring a live birth to the breathe a live here on earth.

I play basketball every Friday morning at 5am. Well, most Friday mornings, I do occasionally oversleep and miss it. My lower back was hurting that morning and was in constant pain. I had it in my head that if I was still in pain by that evening I was going to the ER. It was this constant nagging pain that would not go away. I was miserable and anyone within an earshot was very much aware of my discomfort.

I’ve learned about menstrual pain and endometriosis, more so than the average male. I’ve learned so much about conceiving a child and how much the female anatomy has to go through to create and carry life.

The most difficult part of this process for me physically has been masturbating into a cup and bringing it into the office to have analysis done on my semen. I’ve been to 3 appoints this week alone with my wife for a mid-cycle sonogram in order to measure the uterine lining and size of follicles before we know she will ovulate.  If you’re not familiar with a sonogram, it’s a stick put into the vagina for an ultrasound to see all the parts they need to see. 3 times this week the first thing she has done in her day is lay on a sterile table and have someone do this. Then you have the trigger shot injection she gives herself because I am too scared of giving it to her myself. She gives herself a shot so her body will be induce ovulation. If she does not get pregnant, until she reaches a certain age she will have menstrual pains each month for 4-7 days at a time, each month. To do some quick math, most females begin their period around 12 and average age of menopause is 51. 51 less 12 is 39 years. There are 12 months in a year. There are, on average, 30 days in a month. 468 months. Let’s be kind and say average menstrual cramping is only 5 days each month. I had that back pain that I considered going to the hospital for not even an entire day, but my wife will most likely have 2,340 of those days in her life.

Wow right? I play basketball pretty regularly. I played organized ball so I’m very well aware of when I am fouled or some other offense takes place. I’ve called foul before and been called a pussy. The implication of this is that a pussy is feminine and a female is weak. Can you go read the previous several paragraphs again?

Welcome back. Pussy is weak? What? Now, if you look at average pay of women versus men for the same positions and the women’s rights movement, doesn’t all this seem a bit unfair?

I’ve become a feminist and some think it’s great and admirable that I’ve become so aware of these things. That is what is sad to me. It’s like on a 1-10 scale the entire world operates at level 5 and we celebrate when we stop seeing people as 2s and 3s and bring them up to a 5. That isn’t something to celebrate, that should be a given. I think it’s sad we don’t learn more about the female anatomy and sex and child bearing. I think it’s sad I’m considered progressive for this post and many conservatives would view me as liberal right now when I’m literally just figuring out that women have it tougher than us males do.

I’m a feminist and I hope you become one too. I’m happy to discuss anything or answer any questions you may have. May you consider the reality of others and acknowledge the disparity between yourself and them. May you bridge that gap and be more compassionate towards others.
*Of note, my buddy and I now call people little penises when we want to insult them while playing basketball, which always gets a good stare of confusion.

Lost Heroes

Today I lost a hero…

Have you ever had one of those moments where something happens in front of you to someone else, but the underlying truth of the moment cuts your heart like a hot knife through butter?
That happened to me today and now I sit here and mourn a hero, or at least someone I revered as such.

I have a friend who has a family member struggling with infertility. In a casual way she said she would be willing to be a surrogate carrier for her. She said she would do anything for this person and giving her the gift of life, in spite of the complications and trouble it would bring into her own life, would, without any hesitation, do that for her. I hear and watch her anguish over wanting to be able to support her family member through the pain and struggle she imagines this person must be going through, even when and if she doesn’t understand it. You can see the love and concern for her family member and it’s inspiring, but in this moment, also heart breaking.

I had a hero once. Someone I could talk to about anything. Someone that I could be my true self around. Someone I looked up to and admired for their overcoming struggle and strife. I had a hero who I had to acknowledge in that moment would not and does not care for me that way. Maybe my hero never did. Maybe my hero was a capacity I had imagined because without it I would have crumbled under the pressure of life. This hero isn’t someone who even checks in on me.

My wife and I had to face a terrible & life changing decision to terminate a much wanted pregnancy due to medical complications. It was the most compassionate thing we could do, removing the pain and suffering from a life that would be over before it even had a chance to open his eyes. His name was James. It’s been almost 2 years since we said goodbye and even as I type his name my eyes fill with tears of anguish. James changed my life and taught me that reality isn’t always palatable.

My hero not once has checked in on me. Not once have they shown any concern. My hero came crashing down from the throne of expectations I had built them. Reality set in as I watched a family member truly care for another. I realized in that moment my hero was not a hero at all, but a person that did not stand up to those standards I had imagined. My hero was less than ordinary and someone that had not supported me and remains oblivious and apathetic to my pain. My hero is no hero at all. My hero is a memory that I laid to rest that day.

Although painful, trauma changes you, and sometimes for the better. This DOES NOT in any way justify or make sense of the trauma, but in a simple way, is simply a side effect of that trauma. That’s where I see god. Not a god that creates pain in order to fit some greater purpose. A god that in spite of trauma and pain can reveal beauty.

Although I lost my hero, I gained important perspective of reality and not allowing myself to believe something that is not supported in action. Action is the expression of the heart and soul. Without action there is no love.

I hope for someone reading this it can be a rallying cry of sorts to let go of false heroes and fabricated realities. May you give up any fictitious reality you’ve created to insulate yourself from pain and embrace actuality, even if it hurts. Painful reality is far better than a blissful ignorance. Free yourself from false heroes.