Okay, I’m into the whole love-yoself-sistah feminist self-worship thing and all that, to an extent.
This sort of thing blows my mind. Personally, if I was 12 or 13, and I had a granola-chomping mother who was foisting this “love your period, love your womanhood” crap down my throat, I’d spontaneously combust.
I hate when people take something that’s really inconvenient and annoying and try to exalt some greatness into it. Sure, having a period is a reminder that we’re female and a conscious realization of our ability to create and bear life. Nice, fabulous, wonderful. Will that get the stains out of my bedsheets, too, or is that just a lovely little inconcrete and essentially useless euphemistic piece of bullshit?
Oh, I say it’s the latter. These people are right up there with the fucking naive twits who think a bird shitting on you means good luck. People will tell themselves anything if it means pocketing the cash for another therapy session.
Fuck, man. All I need to remind me that I am woman, ergo I fucking rock, are my tits. That I have a twat is just bonus, okay? My whole fucking body tells me I am woman, ergo I roar. I don’t need to pull a South Park, bleed for seven days, and miraculously stump the odds by living just to know that I’ve got the DNA freebie strand, okay? My period is the bane of my existence. I fucking hate it. I wish I never had to bleed again. I’m presently in the middle of trying to suppress my period for three months at a time, but the three months has been split into six weeks thanks to an unwanted period this week.
Now, a bloody tangent. So, I’m, you know, there on my throne, unwrapping the first of a new pack of pads, and the Always “Wings” adhesive cover tab has “Have a happy period” written all across the fucking thing.
Happy? You want me to be happy about cramps, bloating, irritability, alcohol sensitivity, and the constant risk of staining undergarments, clothing, and sheets for the better part of a week? Yeah, sure, okay, and while we’re at it, you want me to be thrilled about losing my paycheck, crashing my car, and finding my husband in bed with his secretary? Fuck right off.
But back to the initial topic: I’d like to send a big fuck you out to all the women who try to make me feel guilty about the fact that I think having menses is the absolutely worst part about being female. It doesn’t mean I hate my femininity, it means I hate mood swings and pain and messes and feeling unclean. How is that wrong? Fucking sanctimonious crap is what that is. Get off your high horse and join the rest of us on this little plane we like to call “Reality.”
I’m a daughter without a mother, and anyone who’s read me awhile knows that it’s not only what you would read on the back of my collectible Bloggers-of-Now baseball card, but it’s a fact that absolutely defines me to my core.
My mother dying destroyed me – utterly, brutally, without a doubt, destroyed me. Every now and then, someone comes along and gushes, “Gee, Steff, how’d you get so darn smart?”
I couldn’t tell ya, honestly, other than those three or so years after my mother’s death left me swimming in alcohol and as fucked up as any person’s ever been. I was a wise, smart girl before she died, and I’ve come back to who I was, but when I was shaken off-course, I’ll tell you, I fell hard and I fell far.
Climbing out of oblivion can take a hella long time, kiddies. There just ain’t no compass for that climb. I did much of my ascent over the course of five years. It’s been nearly seven since my mother left for the great gig in the sky, but over those years I’ve come to decide that the woman I am now was worth the price I paid through my mother’s horrid cancer death. It’s unfortunate, this not-having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too thing, but if her dying is the only way I’d have learned to be this person, well, so be it. Like I have a fucking choice?
I’m not writing about sex today, because I don’t care about sex today. Today’s a mental health day. My loverman’s off to see his granny, since his mother’s dead as well, and maybe we’ll hook up tonight for a couple hours, and maybe we won’t; it depends on how much the alien mind probe (aka 20 hours OT) has messed with him. My day’s plans include being a rebel and barbecuing burgers for breakfast with my brother before we head out on a grueling mountain bike ride around the city and through Vancouver’s legendary UBC Endowment Lands, home to some 70+ kilometres of primo cycling and hiking trail within city limits. And THAT is why I live in the coolest fucking city in the world.
Y’know, probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned is that of knowing when to say “fuck you” to the world, when to unplug and go your own way. I don’t take calls from relatives on Mother’s Day, because as much as I know they’re thinking of me, they’ll never understand what I lost, nor what haunts me still. And that’s loss, pure and simple. It’s different, depending who the person was to you, and I think probably few deaths equal the impact of our mothers’. There comes a point when you just have to accept that other people care, but they just don’t know jack about what’s going on for you. Turn off the phones, ignore the emails, and do your own damned thang, baby.
We want to think we move past lost, but we don’t. We learn to assimilate it into who we are. It becomes ever-present in the back of our mindscape, like a shadow, or something we always know and need but seldom refer to, like a social insurance number.
Some days it hurts to realize who it is we’ve become in the face of such things, but some days it’s worth celebrating. I think burgers off the barbecue for breakfast with my big brother before a bitchin’ bike ride around this far is exactly what I’ve needed.
Do you ever have those moments when clarity comes up behind you with a baseball bat and beats the hell out of you?
You get up, groggy, woozy, disoriented, but shit, you know better now, man.
I’ve been avoiding getting into this Vixen thing. The problem with procrastination is that you avoid things so much that you fail to even become aware of why the avoidance is there in the first place.
But then clarity comes along with that fucking bat and, sooner or later, you clue the hell in. Like I did about 30 minutes ago. For some reason, today I feel like I’m Frodo walking across that marshland with all the corpses under the surface of the pondwater. I feel like I’m about to go under, like there’s some kinda tether wrapped around my heart and strung to the reeds below the surface, tugging me down and trying to seduce me into the dark.
It sounds really intense, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Sure, it feels like that, but it’s a really surreal feeling, like there’s a bubble around me, like there’s all these dead little faces floating around me of people who think they’re alive, but really just aren’t. That I’m sitting around in utter silence on a freezing day in February might be adding to those Dali-esque proportions, so maybe I’ll just browse my iTunes here and stoke up a change of pace. When in doubt, go with the Butthole Surfers, that’s my policy.
This week, the week that follows Valentine’s Day, is the least favourite of my year. In a span of six days falls the anniversary of when the docs found a grapefruit-sized tumour in my mother’s belly and her birthday. Yes, that’s been on my mind. She has been on my mind an awful lot, particularly in relation to this topic. I, more than anything else in her life, am my mother’s legacy, and that’s not arrogance, that’s the admiration of a daughter who had a mother deserving of it. I am my mother’s daughter – in most ways.
If you met me in real life, you’d see a lot of similarities to the person on these pages. I’m boisterous, brazen, demure, open, scathing — whatever you want to call me, I’m an awful lot of those things. But my mother blazed that trail, baby. She was a model in her youth, she was hot when she died, didn’t look over 50. She had red hair, green eyes, and she was a risk-taker and a daredevil. She sold real estate, raced yachts, and wasn’t afraid of a fucking thing (most of the time).
She was never open about sex. I doubt she ever became a vixen. I bet she never trusted a man enough. I don’t think she ever got past the shame of what sex symbolized in her demented little worldview on the subject. My father and I were recently talking, musing about whether she had been sexually assaulted at age 12. My father grew up in her neighbourhood, they were friends all their lives, and he remembered when she changed, as if she just broke. He said something was never the same after she was 12, that day they came home to find her scantily clad, rocking barefoot under the farm’s kitchen table, shaking and sobbing.
This Vixen thing… it’s a personal mission for me, really. I’ve been the legacy of dysfunctional views on sex. I’ve seen what a loveless marriage does not only to the participants but the children involved. I’ve seen what happens to men (including my father) who get neglected and taken for granted, what happens to women forgotten by their lovers, and it all breaks my heart. It’s a really sad thing to behold, the loss of someone’s sexual side.
When I was young, I fell for that fascist Ayn Rand, and one quote stands out after all these years, that “avoiding death does not equal living life.” We’ve somehow fallen into this trap of “surviving” life. Yeah, you go right ahead. Survive. I’m gonna live, thanks.
And that’s the problem, most of us are content to merely survive our jobs, survive our relationships, whatever it takes to make it to the other side with the least resistance.
Being a vixen, or in the case of the men out there, an attentive, daring, open lover who’s receptive to his lover’s needs, takes guts. It doesn’t happen from just thinking it’d be nice to go there. It’s about actively pushing your fears and apprehensions. It’s about saying you’re not scared about being judged. But mostly, it’s about trusting this lover of yours you claim you trust. It’s about putting your money where your mouth is, baby.
It’s too late for my mother, and I caught the bus last decade, man, so I’m good, but there are a lot of folks out there who must learn how much more fun life is when they learn that being vulnerable doesn’t necessarily mean becoming hurt*, it means sucking the marrow out of life and taking the chances you’ve been resisting.
Mostly, though, it’s about really having great new experiences. So, you know, like they says, you better get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’, but make your fucking choices and stop just letting life happen to you. Being a dead fish is simply the personification of all those other little fears you have inside. Confront them.
Me, being a vixen underlies EVERYTHING I do in my life. I take chances, I go with the moment, and I may not have the fancy car and the retirement package some of my conservative friends have, but I’ve got experiences. Very cool experiences. So far, dying tomorrow, I’d have few, if any regrets, and knowing that is the greatest thing I can say about who I am.
*And even if you get hurt occasionally by becoming vulnerable, I’ve discovered firsthand that the richness of everyday experiences far outweighs those occasional bumps and bruises along the way. Like mountain biking or something, sometimes you fall, sure, but at least you’re out there having the experience most of the time… and hurts always heal. I take my lumps and go again.