I Should Love My Body, But I Don’t

Reasons I should love my body:

  • I gave birth to two amazing human beings.
  • My curves tell a story.
  • At 35 years old, I still turn heads.
  • Every stretch mark and every sag is there for a reason.
  • My body is mine.
  • It’s the one thing I have complete control over.

Reasons I don’t love my body:

  • As soon as I started to develop, the older boys on the bus started inviting me to sit with them in the back. There they would grope and fondle me as they laughed among themselves, all the while telling me to stay quiet.
  • In 1994 a much older teen-aged boy thought it would be fun to get me drunk, have sex with me as I cried, and leave me in a pool of my own vomit, I was 14.
  • In 2001 a man in a bar slipped something into my drink, brought me to a hotel, took advantage of me while I was passed out, and then forced himself on me when I woke up in the morning.

Sexual assault comes in all forms, and beats a person down mentally and physically. It leaves scars that won’t heal. It brings us a lifetime of pain, and makes it difficult to carry on meaningful relationships. Many of us end up lashing out sexually, thinking it will somehow ease the pain. Sex becomes a series of motions instead of e-motions. We are angry. We feel alone. We are scared to open ourselves up. We end up in bad relationships where we don’t matter. You only have to be the victim one time to feel completely lost. One time to think you’re ugly. One time to hate yourself. As a victim I have spent time drowning my fears in drugs and alcohol. There was a long period of time where I used men for sex, and didn’t care who got hurt. I’ve been through years of counseling and therapy, but the scars sexual assault have left me with will never go away. Every time I look in the mirror all I see is ugliness and hate. Every day is a struggle, learning to love my body because of all the wonderful things it has done. I hope that one day I won’t have the constant pain I carry inside, that one day I will love myself again.

April is sexual assault awareness month. This month, take a moment to educate yourself on the facts of sexual assault and the affects it has on victims and their families. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the authorities, and get help. No one should have to live a life of pain and self doubt because they were taken advantage of.

Cock Swabs and Steamy Penis Creatures

I thought raising a penis person would be easy. I mean seriously, what’s there to know? Yes, there’s that whole spontaneous erection thing and wet dreams, but I didn’t think it would be much more than that. Now men, before you get your boxers in a bunch, I want to start off by saying women are complicated messes. We are like a magnetic compass, without the magnet. We tend to spin in circles, talking ourselves into a tizzy and crying because little Johnny killed a spider. With that being said, men…are simple. You grunt. You puff up your chests when another man looks at your woman. Do you even lift, bro? You compare penis sizes in the locker room. Girls do this as well, but with their boobs. It’s all so simple, or so I thought. What I didn’t know, is just how fascinated males, as a whole, are with their penises. Not to mention how literally they take the saying, “Reach out and touch someone (or something).”

As I’ve learned in my eight and a half years of raising a penis person, nothing about the penis is normal. Flash forward past the days of failed attempts with pee pee tepees, and watching my infant son pee in his own mouth and my eye at the same time. Past the point where I could trust my little guy to run around the house completely naked without the fear of him peeing in the cat dish. This is where I first started to notice just how fascinated with the penis these people are. There I was, a young mother of a two year old boy,sitting on the couch in the early morning hours feeling like death warmed over, and probably looking ten times worse. I watched as my son, completely oblivious to the fact it wasn’t even 5 am yet, joyfully frolicking about in the living room. I had since given up on drinking one cup of coffee at a time, and wandered into the kitchen to find a straw to stick in the pot. When I came back into the living room, coffee pot and straw in hand, I noticed my son doing push-ups in front of the tv. Baffled and amused, not to mention completely caught off guard, I couldn’t figure out why my toddler would be doing push-ups before the sun even came up. Of course I had also been trying figure out why his little mind thought it ok to be up for the day at 4 am for two years prior to this sudden oddity in behavior. Carry on, dear boy. Finish your push-ups and let’s have some breakfast. Then it hit me, he wasn’t doing push-ups. Oh, no! He was cock swabbing my carpet!!! I can only imagine this was all brought on by a quick tumble to the floor while I was in the kitchen, thus resulting in an unexpected “feel” of said carpet.

I have a vagina. I don’t “feel” anything with it. At least not randomly. It stays tucked away where it belongs. Away from random objects. Away from the elements. Away from, well, carpet. As my son continues to cock swab the perimeter of the living room,I can do nothing more than watch in disbelief. Perhaps this is why people call the penis a “third limb”. Either way, it’s gross and it’s weird.

Flash forward, yet again. Past the moment where little boys discover that nut shots are funny, as long as the shot isn’t on them. Past where they start pitching little tents in the morning, and you question why you have yet to buy them their own alarm clock. Let’s flip to last week. My son loves taking showers. The only argument we come across in the bathing aspect is what time of day to do it. He prefers night because it doesn’t waste his time in the morning. I prefer morning because it actually forces him to haul his carcass out of bed. Because I’m awesome and always win last Wednesday my son agreed to shower in the morning. Win! This is where I should add how he likes his showers so hot, I am amazed his skin doesn’t slough off while in there. As you all know, extremely hot water creates a LOT of steam. My bathroom often ends up resembling the Amazon Rain Forest in summer. It’s any wonder my son can safely climb out of the shower when finished, seeing as how one can barely see the edge of the tub through the steam.

I’m used to my son taking long showers. He likes to stay in to the point where the water starts to turn cold, and he knows he can’t go on any longer without the fear of sudden hypothermia. In all honesty, if I wasn’t the one paying the bill, I would probably do the same thing. However, this past Wednesday, something was off. Yes, his shower used all the hot water in the town, but for some reason he wasn’t coming out of the bathroom. I thought maybe I had a bad mom moment, and missed the sound of a dangerous fall, or perhaps the steam had swallowed him whole. So, yes, I had a slight moment of panic. I ran upstairs, threw open the door…..right into my son’s face! “Theo!” I said, “what are you doing?”

“Mommy! Nothing!” He then quickly wrapped himself back up in his over sized towel, and scurried out of the bathroom, throwing the door the rest of the way open. As soon as he was out of sight, I peeked around the back of the door to where he had been standing, naked. As I looked at the full length mirror, covered in condensation, I could see little marks all covering the area about where my son’s waist would be. Upon closer inspection I could see that the little marks were actually little penises. My dear sweet boy had been standing naked in the nice warm bathroom pressing his little penis against the mirror, so he could feel the coolness of the reflective surface and then get a chuckle out of the little shapes that resulted.

It is clear to me now that the need to stick penises places and feel things on it starts at a very early age. I can only imagine what else in my house has been cock swabbed and stamped. God help me when he figures out what masturbation is, and locks himself into his bedroom for hours. Boys are gross, boys are weird, and I am officially baffled by this thing called a penis.

Jack and the Penis Stock

I don’t know about other people’s kids, but mine are always chatty on the car ride to school every morning. By chatty I mean they don’t shut up from the moment I start the car to the moment I push them out the door as we slowly drive by their schools. There are mornings when I’m pretty sure they don’t even come up for air, and they become endless run on sentences. No punctuation. No structure. Just the longest word in the world. Needless to say, I often end up tuning them out. They could be talking about the affects global warming has on penguin habitats, and I would have no idea. Just me being blissfully numb to the run on sentences in the backseat.

As most mothers will tell you, we tend to be “ok” with all the noise kids make, even if it involves screaming. We shrug off the thumps and bumps, and we only listen a tiny bit after a scream to make sure no serious injury has occurred. The part that actually gets us to listen is silence. The minute it’s silent we start to worry. As much as I would enjoy a silent car ride in the morning, I’d rather all the jibber jabber than a brief spurt of silence. That spurt of silence means only one thing in my car, someone has done something inappropriate. Due to my keen listening skills ability to tune my children out, I have no idea what was said prior to this silence the other day. All I know is nothing audible was said followed by, “Pheobe, that’s not what I said. I said BEAN stock.”

Honestly, what on earth could a five year old get the word “bean” confused with? Why the whisper? Wait…another whisper followed by another “Pheobe! That’s NOT what I said! I said BEAN stock!” Spleen. Spleen was the only word I could think of that would drive my son through the roof. Duh! After stopping the world from ending the argument in the back seat, it was time to get to the root of the problem. The silence.

Me: What word did you think your brother said?

Pheobe: …..

Me: He said BEAN stock.

Pheobe: …..

Me: …..

Pheobe: *looks at Theo*

Me: …..

Pheobe: *giggle*

Me: PHEOBE!

Pheobe: *whispers* penis

So there you have it. She thought he said “PENIS stock” not “BEAN stock”. Suddenly images of Jack burying seeds in the ground in his back yard, only to wake up to a giant dildo that reaches the sky jutting up from where the seeds once were, go flying through my head. Jack climbs the giant dildo into the clouds, and comes upon a giant vagina with an appetite for destruction and doom! He searches for the golden egg as most men do only to find it hidden in the most obvious spot. Trust me men, it’s very simple to find. He grabs the egg, and slides back down the dildo, takes out his ax and goes all Lorena Bobbitt on it. It falls to the ground with a mighty thud as Jack rejoices in FINALLY finding the golden egg. <<<Obviously NOT the same image my five year old daughter had in her head, thankfully.

Love and the Single Mommy-Translated

I’m single again. Yes, it’s true. I will now wait for for the line of available men to form at my front door. Don’t everyone jump up at once, I will get to you eventually. Perhaps we can form this into a New Hampshire version of “The Bachelorette”. I will be beautiful and breathtaking from sun up to sun down, while 16+ handsome men fawn over me and have occasional fits of testosterone. By the end, three men will be down on one knee asking me to marry them. I will obviously pick the perfect one, and we will ride off into the sunset to plan our wedding, and live happily ever after.

Let me translate that for you:

I’m single again because I have can’t seem to grasp the fact that badboy/redneck does not mean a “good man”. In other words, I have shit taste in men. I will now sit home at night crying because the only men who tell me I’m “hot” are the ones online and don’t actually know me. Due to a fat ass and two kids in tow, I will officially make it to the bottom of the Upper Valley’s list of “Most Eligible Bachelorettes”. My hair will be a mess and my clothes dirty, every day except Monday. An 8 and 5 year old will drape themselves over me like human blankets on the couch every night. This will go on for an endless amount of time until I’m old, and greyer than I am now grey. Many sunsets will past as my kids grow and move out, leaving me alone.

Let me translate that for you:

I’m single again, and I’m ok with that. I know I’m a pretty awesome-ish person, and have a lot to offer. Although I live in a very small town, the people around me know how much I have to offer someone. It may take a while, but I know I won’t be a bachelorette forever. I will be happy and beautiful from the inside out. A very lucky man or two will notice this and want to call me his. I won’t settle, and I will end up married to my soul mate. We will have our ups and downs, but our companionship will prevail because everyone needs a best friend for life.

Dirty Filthy Animal

As a mom I like to pick my battles. “I’ve already told you not to jump on the couch, and I don’t feel like telling you not to trap your sister in the over-sized bucket. Carry on.” “By all means, eat your sandwich in the bathroom, but whatever you do, don’t draw on the table.” Perhaps I don’t always pick the right battles, but if I fought every battle I would have no time in life for the important things. Such as vodka, nachos, and sex. I would like to think this is a common practice among most parents, or this could just be me trying to make myself feel better. We’re parents, it’s what we do.

Even when I’m picking my battles, I’m not necessarily paying attention to what is coming out of my mouth. Perhaps I forget I’m talking to tiny people. Maybe I think I’m saying it in French. They would look at me with the same bewildered look anyway. Maybe I don’t realize I’m talking at all. I have been known to lack a filter from time to time. Either way, I turn into mommy robot. God only knows what is bound to be said, and I don’t always remember it. Typically it’s pretty standard. “Stop that.” “Don’t bite the cat.” “Put your pants back on.” “I will eat you if you don’t quit it.” “You want hurt? I’ll show you hurt!” “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Ops normal, and we continue along our merry way.

The other night, while at the dinner table, my elegant little princess daughter forced out a belch my father would be proud of. *robot mommy engaged* “Pheobe, we don’t burp at the dinner table. It’s gross.” *robot mommy disengaged*

“Ok mommy,” another loud belch.

*robot mommy engaged* “Whaw whaw animals whaw whaw. If you do it again, you can whaw whaw outside whaw.” *robot mommy disengaged*

“Ok, sorry mommy.”

Three minutes pass, and the tiniest, daintiest little burp escapes from Pheobe as she suddenly looks at me in fear. I desperately try to remember what I told her would happen if she did it again. I look at Steve for help, but he looks just as fearful as Pheobe. I know it was something about animals and outside. Shit! What was it?!?! Oh no….”Only dirty filthy animals burp at the table. If you do it again you will have to eat outside like a dirty filthy animal.” I’m going to hell. What do I do?!?! I had to follow through, or my entire dinner would be a series of belches. I’m sure I looked totally calm, cool, and collective not nearly as panic stricken as I felt when I looked at her and said, “Go get your coat, hat, and boots on, you’re eating on the porch.” Fuck! I am totally failing as a parent!   This is where all the helicopter parents chastise me for making my 5 year old eat outside like a dirty filthy animal in January. You know what, helicopter parents, I followed through and that’s what counts! Never mind the possibility of frostbite and hypothermia. There were no complaints from her before, during, or after this whole ordeal. She simply put on her winter clothes, grabbed her plate, and went out to the porch. Still at the table, I could see her little bundled up face through the living room window, taking bites of her burrito.  After five minutes, she was done. Inside she came, and I asked her if she was going to burp at the table again. She said no. Problem solved, all was well.

Last night, at the dinner table again, Pheobe burped. My eyes rolled back into my head. One warning is what she got, and not another burp was produced. Farts, on the other hand, were a different story. It may have been a musical dinner that night.

I live in the Twilight Zone where every day is Groundhog Day. I will now slowly slip into insanity and await the day I can comfortably rock in a corner. Please, don’t follow my parenting examples.

Zombie Elephants And Other Whatnots

As parents we want our kids to dream of wonderment and adventures. We want them to have dreams they are so excited for, they want to act them out all day in the back yard. This is honestly how I thought parenting would be. When I was pregnant I dreamed of waking up with my children and listening to them tell me all about the amazing things that danced through their heads while they were asleep. I knew there would be nightmares, and I was prepared for that as well. Nightmares are soothed with kisses and a quick snuggle.

Ah, the merriment of a new parent’s dreams; also known as: complete bull shit. This is not how it happens folks. At least not in my house. My children are special, all the way down to the dreams they have. This, my friends, is how my kids dream.

PHEOBE:

“Mommy, last night I had a dream.”

“Oh yeah, what happened in your dream?”

“We had a camper and we went to the zoo. At the zoo there were zombie elephants, and they were eating people’s brains,” She says with a huge smile. We obviously watch too much TV. “Because the people’s brains were peanuts.” Maybe I should watch what I say in front of my kids. “When they tried to eat our brains we ran back to the camper and drove home. When we got home there were zombie elephants there too. So, we got back into the camper and drove to daddy’s house.” All the way on the other side of the country, 3000 miles away. “There were NO zombie elephants there, and then I woke up like *gasp*!!!”

“Wow, Pheobe! That is quite a dream!”

“Oh yeah, and some of the elephants had long hair that was gray. Girl and boy elephants. No, no, no, no ,no….It was brown, and only the girl elephants had long brown hair.”

“Not the boy elephants?”

“Mommy, they’re boys, so no.” Obviously not the boy elephants. What was I thinking?

And so go the dreams of my daughter.

THEO:

“Last night I had a dream too! I was a knight fighting bad knights.” So far, we’re off to a good start. “I shot them with my cannon, and they flew up to the sky.” Maybe not as good as I thought.

“They flew up to the sky?” Why do I encourage more detail?

“Yes, because when I shot them with y cannon they turned into butterflies!” Leaning back to a good start. “And then I shot the butterflies!” WTF kid?

“Um, why would you shoot the butterflies?” Again with the encouraging of the details.

“Mommy, because they were bad knight butterflies.” Stupid question mom.

I think I’m doing parenting wrong….still.

Talk Shows And Parenting Don’t Mix

I’m not an uptight parent. I don’t over sensor myself in front of my kids, I don’t lock the bathroom door when I’m in there, and I walk around the house in my underwear when my kids are awake. They have heard me swear although I try not to and they have seen me naked they will be scared for life. To me, it’s life. It happens. Deal with it. In fact, the kids have basically learned to zone me out. They don’t pay attention to what I’m saying especiallly when they are in trouble, and they don’t broadcast the fact that they caught me in my underwear. It’s our crazy little life, inside our tiny little bubble. Outside of that bubble they are well behaved, even tempered children. In general, I am not worried about how they are being raised despite some of my major mom fails.

With that being said, I have a bit of an addiction to morning radio talk shows. An addiction in the fact that I get anxious when I don’t get to listen in the car on our way to where ever we are headed. It wakes me up, it makes me laugh, it causes problems with parenting. Wait….what? Problems with parenting?

Have you ever listened to a morning radio talk show in the car with a five year old on board? It doesn’t matter what else is going on in the car, singing row-row-row your boat for the millionth time or going on a space ship ride through the solar system, when an unfamiliar phrase suddenly fills the airwaves, they are going to pick up on it. Words like bitch, ass hole, and butt nugget usually cause a fit of giggling, but that is about it. The little parrot in the backseat will usually have to ask if I heard what they said, I say yes, they repeat it once, I remind them it’s a bad word, and we drive on. Back to the melody of that damn row boat row-row-row your boat, and the fact that John Smith is a butt nugget and his wife is a bitch is now null and void. Thank you radio talk show for your assistance in asserting proper language with my children.

This is all well and good until they start talking about SEX. For some reason the word sex turns my five year old into a broken record. “Mommy, what’s sex?” she asks as I want to hurl myself out of the car.

“It’s something adults do when they are alone together.”

“Like what?”

“Like something kids don’t do because it’s for adults only and horny teenagaers in the backseat of a car.”

“But what IS it?”

I now want to turn in my parenting permit and quit. I don’t want to do this anymore, parenting was a real shit decision on my part. Belay my last, someone take these damn kids before I ruin them for life. Fuck! “It’s when two grown-ups wrestle naked. Alone. In the bedroom or the kitchen counter, or the shower, or the backyard.” When in doubt, go with the old standby used in the past. Please don’t ask anymore questions. I would kill for another round of row-row-row your fucking boat! Alas, for some reason, this explanation just isn’t doing it for her. Either it’s not sticking, she’s looking for more detail, or she doesn’t believe me. Naturally, I assume she is looking for more detail. I told you I wanted to turn in my parenting permit. “Do you and Steve have sex?”

“Yes.”

“So you guys wrestle naked?”

“Yes.”

“A lot?” Oh my god, someone remove this kid from my car!

“Only when you’re asleep,” and now I’m the biggest liar on the planet.

“Oh.”

Every damn day the people in my radio have to mention sex. Every damn day I have to sit there and go through this conversation again and again. Stop it, just STOP! Isn’t there anything else to talk about? Gaza? Israel? Cheese cake? The fact that Pi has no end? Anything? Just PLEASE don’t mention sex again! Please, please, PLEASE!!! I mean, I guess I could stop listening in the car, but that would be too easy.

And then I would have anxiety. We all knows what happens when mothers have anxiety, they eat their children, and my children are far too filthy to eat without causing serious health problems. Therefore, I will continue to listen to my morning radio talk show, and continue to explain to my fucking dear sweet five year old what sex is. Maybe tomorrow she’ll get it, but probably not.