Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Wind

Winter Wind brings icey death
With long clutching fingers
And chill winter breath
The Snow blows over, like migrating sand
And buries the bodies under her hand
We see, we cry, we fall
We watch the seasons take their toll
Winter Wind brings peaceful death
To the tired and weak
The earth, longing for rest
Snow freezes in slumber the laboring ground
Giving life to the newborn, when spring comes around
We see, we cry, we move on
We live in spite of what has gone

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Anger Storms

Well you've all heard, of course, that a woman's emotions flow up and down with the tide. Since this is the natural state of a woman's cycle, I would assume that it's that way for a reason.
However every once in a while, an inexplicable surge of anger takes hold, (my "Anger Storm") and makes it really difficult for me to find the patience I need to take care of my son, husband, animals, and anything else that needs to be done. I'm not sure why the anger comes- I've tried to pinpoint a reason, but there really doesn't seem to be anything that triggers it, except the fact that I am a wife and mother which means most of my day to day living is spent caring for others, taking care of their needs, and sometimes my patience just reaches its end. However, usually I can be patient and caring for a long, long time. When the anger storm comes, I just want to fight anything or anyone that tries to hold me back. Today it came again, and I ended up punching the barn wall in frustration while doing chores.
I'm not really sure why this happens and what I can do about it. I do a fair amount of yelling and cursing and resist the urge to lash out at living beings and instead take my anger out on objects. Usually it passes quickly and leaves me with a worn out feeling, and I end up crying for a minute and then going on with my normal life. I do occasionally take a day off from my caregiver duties to go relax and hang out with other people, so I'm not rest-deprived (well I am, but no more than any other new mom.) It seems to be something that just comes and goes, like PMS. And I'm not sure exactly what I can do about it, but it does occasionally leave me scratching my head and wondering why do I feel this way?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Politics and Labels

As someone whose political views are... questionably defined, I spend a lot of time trying to define them. :P Many people mix the terms "Republican," "Democrat," "Leftist," "Rightist," "Conservative," and "Liberal", and it's amazing how many people have no idea what the original definitions are. I will attempt to post their definitions (from actual dictionaries, lol) here, and let you define yourself, or others, accordingly.

The first thing you should realize is that modern Republicans and Democrats actually have little in common with their predecessors. These definitions are very, very, very simplified. That being said,
A "Republic" is, "A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them." (American Heritage Dictionary), and therefore a Republican's basic belief is that we should elect representatives to make decisions for us.
A "Democracy" is, "The common people, considered as the primary source of political power. Majority rule." (American Heritage Dictionary), and therefore a Democrat's basic belief is that the people should be as directly involved with government as possible, and that the majority should rule.

(Personally I find Republics to be corrupt in that elected representatives very rarely represent the actual interests of the people, and Democracies to be nothing but mob rule. So I am neither a Republican nor Democrat.)

Next are the terms "Conservative" and "Liberal" which are used far too often to portray concepts they don't represent.
"Conservative" is, "reluctant to accept change: in favor of preserving the status quo and traditional values and customs, and against abrupt change." (Encarta)
"Liberal" is, "broad-minded: tolerant of different views and standards of behavior in others. progressive politically or socially: favoring gradual reform, especially political reforms that extend democracy, distribute wealth more evenly, and protect the personal freedom of the individual"

(According to this definition, I am a Liberal, as I am very pro-change and pro-liberty. However I will only go so far in identifying with the "extending democracy" and "distributing wealth more evenly".)

Next are the terms "Leftist" and "Rightist".
The political Left is, roughly, "
advocating political and social change: supporting liberal, socialist, or communist political and social changes or reform." (Encarta)
The political Right is, roughly, "
a conservative or reactionary position, esp. one varying from moderate capitalism to fascism, or a party or group advocating this: often with the: from the position of the seats occupied in some European legislatures." (Webster)

(This seems to be more Socialism/Capitalism... in which I do not identify with either.)

So basically, all I can tell you is that I'm a political Liberal, and that only goes so far. :P The problem with these definitions is they represent mainstream extremes, and I am neither mainstream nor extreme. Oh well, that's the beauty of labels. :P

What about you?

(P.S. I used onelook.com to find dictionaries. The reason I didn't reference the same dictionary is that some have frustratingly ambiguous definitions, proving also that our dictionaries cannot always be relied upon.) Augh!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Battle Scars

When I was younger, I had a lot of self-image issues. As I made my way into adulthood, I began to slowly let those issues go and gained some semblance of acceptance of myself and the way I look and behave.
Through pregnancy, a lot of those old issues came back to haunt me. I was no longer able to maintain my athleticism, no longer a fit and youthful-looking woman, no longer "sexy," but most importantly, not able to do things I had formerly taken for granted, such as walking uphill without having to constantly stop for breath. Things like not being able to walk fast or, later, not being able to walk faster than a turtle! Things like not being able to lift heavy objects or exercise vigorously. I had to watch in dismay as by body not only began to change temporarily, but also change permanently!
After the baby, I've had to deal with these permanent changes. I've resented my body for growing wider- my ribcage had to expand, my stomach still carries a "pouch," my boobs have started to sag a little, and my hips have changed shape. Even worse, I've gained some rude little stretch marks on my belly and thighs!
Slowly, though, ever so slowly, I've come to not only accept my stretch marks and wider hips, but actually enjoy them! I think I'm probably the only person who actually LIKES my battle-scars, but I really think they don't look bad sitting there on my tummy. In fact I take a certain amount of pride in them. After all, I had to go through a lot to get them! My newfound hips are even kinda neat. Yes I look like a MOM, but after all I'm SUPPOSED to. Even though those ads for slim stretch-mark-free tummies would have me believe I need to gain "perfection" in order to be attractive, I don't believe them. I take pride in the fact that I see beauty in uniqueness, not in sameness.
Slowly, but surely, I've been letting go of my need to be "perfect" and gaining pride and confidence in my "imperfect" self. What concepts do you need to let go of in order to be happy with yourself as a person?

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Hard Truth About Nature

Quite a few times I wonder why I choose to live on a farm. Quite often I am upset by, and stress over, the health of our livestock and pets. I've given names to far too many kitty cats who have met their demise when they were still kittens. I've even personally run over 2 of them, 1 of which used to be a favorite house cat. Just recently I've watched 2 favorite goat does waste away to practically nothing, wondering every day if today will be the day I go out to do chores and find them dead. Last year, I raised a buckling from a bottle, taught him to browse grass, let him hide behind me when the dog frightened him, and cuddled with him in the barn when all the other goats picked on him. 2 weeks ago he started dragging his leg, in a week both his legs were paralyzed, a few days ago he was on death's door, and I have to face the reality that he may not live, and, if he does, he may never walk again. For our wedding, I watched my husband slit the throat of a goat that never did anyone any harm, so that we could have fresh meat for our wedding. A month earlier, we butchered 2 roosters whose only crime was being male.

The reason I live on a farm is this. Before the goat died, he lived 5 or 6 years of "the good life," with plenty of pasture, hay, fresh water, space to roam, and a predictable herd. The roosters similarly had plenty of food, water, space to run, and protection from predators. The grass is chemical-free, the animals feel safe and are allowed to thrive, and death is as quick and painless as possible.

Death is all around me. But so is life. The sad truth of this world is, if you eat, you kill. Every person is responsible for the deaths of thousands of animals. If the meat was killed for you, the blood is on your hands. Even vegans are not without blame, because crops are living beings as well, and every field once was home to animals who have been permanently displaced, if not incidentally killed by the tractors, lack of cover, or pesticides used to cultivate crops. At least, as a farmer, I am also responsible for the quality of life my animals possess. Our meat was worn proudly by animals who had a good life. Even the "scrap" parts of the animal, like the skin, bones, fat, innards, are food for our dog, cats, and the ravens and other scavengers who happen to come by. Nothing is wasted, and, like the Native Americans of old, we hold gratitude for the animals who give their lives to feed us.

I've worked in a commercial dairy farm. The whole place seems haunted. The cows are pushed to their limit and half the calves die before reaching 2 weeks old. They live a bleak and confused life. I feel very bad for those cows, because they are worked so hard and die before their time. The mothers cry for the calves that are separated at birth, and untamed heifers run in terror from people, not knowing what's going on and why they are being chased into small, confining pens crowded with other cows.

Thankfully, our goats happily run to the barn when they see me coming with a bucket of grain, tolerant of my milking them while they happily munch on their treat. Weaning is still hard. Killing is still hard. It's still hard when animals die for seemingly no reason. But that's nature. Death happens as suddenly and poignantly as life begins. Sometimes animals suffer at the hands of the elements or each other. Sometimes confusion is inevitable, sometimes suffering is. No doubt the rats are not happy with arrangement, since they inadvertently drown in the animal's water, or their young are eaten by the chickens, or they are killed by the cats. The dog happily drags around the carcasses of some of our animals who didn't make it. Bones are strewn across the pathway to the barn. I cannot escape the reality of death, nor would I want to. I care for the animals here, I don't enjoy their death, but I do enjoy knowing that I am giving them a chance at a good life.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


why strangle little fireflies
that mourn with gladness in the night
why tear apart the moon that cries
for every little broken lie?

why sit beneath the strongest stone
while little children die alone
and faces of those once known
tear from the earth a broken bone?

can we? will we? will we? will we die?

i see the dance that's waved away
with dainty hands and wicked smiles
the blood that you refuse to touch
covers your feet
covers your lies

will we? shall we? shall we? shall we die?

why smile as flowers fade to ash
and words cut deep with every lash?
the walls we made of human flesh
are falling as the people laugh

i see the dance you wave away
with dainty hands and wicked smiles
the blood that you refuse to touch
covers your feet...

why dig a hole so cold and wet
with silvery threads the trap is set
why tangle feet in slimy nets?
we can't be that far gone yet...

can we? are we?

i see the dance that's waved away
while all the gods refuse to pray
hands folded over shallow graves
we live today, we die today

will we? will we die?

why strangle little fireflies?
the blood that you refuse to touch
covers up your lies

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Bare Naked Boobies

Why must us ladies cover our boobies?? This is something I've been wondering for a long time, because it seems like a great social injustice to me. Why are guys allowed to wander around topless while we have to cover up? It doesn't make any sense. My breasts serve a greater purpose than guy's. My breasts nourish my little baby. They have a function besides sex. Guy's boobies? They have no function other than sex! So why should we be the ones to cover up, especially when it's damned annoying trying to breastfeed when I'm not at least partially exposed.
Besides, many people breastfeed 2 year olds. If you can let a 2 year old see exposed boobies (and *gasp* suck on them!) why are they considered merely sexual for the rest of the population?
I think the idea stems from old chauvinistic tradition which states that guys can't control their sexual urges, so it's a woman's responsibility to "not tempt them" by concealing their god-given bodies. This idea is absurd, and denigrates not just women but men too. It implies that men have no self control, that they are unable to make the conscious choice NOT to rape women. And therefore women have the responsibility to control men's urges, because men themselves are unable to.
Um, sorry, this argument doesn't hold up in the face of logic. (Um, does it hold up at all??) A very small percentage of men would see a woman's naked body and rape her, but not because they *can't* control their body, but because they *won't*. Now some people would say, so what? If this saves a few women from getting raped, it's well worth it. But the men who would rape a woman after seeing her naked breasts would probably rape her anyway. If he doesn't see her breasts, then he will see her legs, or her neck, or her face, etc... and either way be turned on. If he can't handle being turned on, there really isn't anything anyone can do. Besides, a small percentage of people also get turned on by bare feet, or a pretty face, or fecal matter, or goats, or balloon animals, and the list goes on and on. (Not only that, but many men are also turned on by guy's nipples!) If we had to try and stamp out all sexual urges, we'd be so restricted that we couldn't breathe, and we would still fail in our purpose.
Not only that, but we *don't* try and stamp out men's sexual urges by covering our breasts! In fact we, as a society, often use it to tantalize them! Swimsuits are allowed if they cover up the nipples. The rest of the breasts can be bare. What? Since when are the nipples the "sexy" part of the breast? And if they are, then guys have them too! If we ban the sight of all nipples, we should at least be fair and ban them all. (Although I think that would also be rediculous.)
OK, enough ranting. I have to go expose my bare naked boobies to my 2 1/2 month old son, so that he can suck on them. (rolls eyes) How scandalous!

(This post is a suggestion by The Rambling Taoist to post something with a suggestive title and then not deliver, or deliver something else besides sex. Tee hee. Hence, this post.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Consciousness and Honesty

I have never met a truly honest person, a person who never, ever lies.
But then my definition of honesty is quite hard to attain.
I think it's important in life not only to refrain from lies told to other people, but also to refrain from lies told to yourself, or self deception.
Most people lie to themselves. They lie to themselves to make themselves feel better, to justify an action, to keep themselves from thinking something unpleasant, etc... and it's not always easy to tell if one is lying to oneself. It's fairly easy to know when you lie to another human. Occasionally a lie will just slip out of my mouth without my prior knowledge or consent and puzzle me greatly. Why did I tell that lie? What am I avoiding? Why can't I face the truth?
In the background of every lie there is cowardice and shame. If you are a truly brave person then the truth should not bother you, and therefore lies are never told. Lies are a cover up for some other problem in your life that you can't stand to face. The first step towards an honest life is to avoid telling lies to other people.
However, this goes hand in hand with desiring honesty within as well as without, and it's much harder to avoid lying to yourself then it is to avoid lying to another person! I don't believe that humans are fully conscious beings. We are conscious of some things, yes, but there are many, many things that remain locked in our unconscious state, that we are neither aware of nor able to control. Self deception is, for the most part, beyond our awareness, but it doesn't need to be. Some people speak and ask themselves, "is what I'm speaking true?" but few people think and ask themselves, "is what I'm thinking true?"
Most people take for granted the truthfulness of their thoughts, and yet humanity is full of rationalizations that are built as a mere convenience to the person, not based on truth at all but on desire. When we question the motives of our beliefs, it is called existentialism. I wish everyone would have an existential crisis, really look over everything they believe and ask themselves "why do I believe this? do i believe this merely to reassure myself? am i just taking the easy road in accepting this as true?" Many people's minds are due for a major housecleaning. This doesn't just apply to major beliefs but to minor ones as well. When your husband/wife/parents/children/friends ask you "why didn't you take care of this problem?" be honest with yourself and with them. Admit your difficulties, so that they can get resolved.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tolkien On Fairy Stories

I have just finished J.R.R. Tolkien's essay "On Fairy Stories" which, amazingly, I have never read until now. :P (aaah! There are so many pieces of literature which I have never read! I need to get going...) Anyway, in that essay he criticizes a great many things, one of which is educated criticism of fairy tales. I agree with most of what he has to say, and I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who is extremely fascinated with literature and yet who finds it tedious to employ common literary "dissections" which are often employed by English professors.

Yes, I find it worthwhile to focus on a limited section and try to figure out what the author is trying to say, what hidden meanings are there, what common themes, etc... however, most literary criticism goes much further than needed, in attempt to strip the whole book down to its skeleton. (I find their skeletons, especially fiction, to be completely beside the point of the whole book.) Besides, most critics cannot dissect the work without a great deal of arrogance in surmising what the author's intentions are... perhaps the author didn't intend the color red to symbolize blood, or use a circling bird to forshadow doom... you never really know, and it's foolish to think that every writer had "literary studies" in mind when s/he wrote the book in the first place. Most "fairy stories" are like many paintings in that you get a clearer picture when viewed from a distance... observing the different brush strokes and hues of brown aren't going to tell you much about the actual painting and what it's trying to evoke.

Besides, it's the flesh of the story that I'm really interested in, the pieces that make it unique, not the pieces that are easily labeled. I thouroughly dislike "stock" characters... I feel it's a cop-out for those who don't want to put in the work of creating an actually interesting character. I dislike them when they're written that way (probably why I get bored of Commedia Del'Arte), and I dislike them even more when someone has dissected a perfectly complex character and turned him or her into a boring stick figure. :P

But then, I'm also a creature of Chaos- I dislike trying to sift out patterns and labels where they are not beneficial to my interest in the book. I enjoy Tolkien's work, and I applaud him for creating a world where war is explored (without the whole piece being a political allegory) and with meaningful philosophical and religious thought (without the whole piece being overly symbolic or religious).

That said, there are some things in his essay I disagree with, such as his assertion that fairy-stories should not be dramatized in plays (I think a play can successfully represent fantasy, IF it is done right) and other minor quibbles which I won't list. I don't worship the guy, but he does write some awe inspiring stuff. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Being Grounded Vs. Interesting

It seems as if the more grounded and individual is, the less 'interesting' he/she is. After all, you can only talk about how nice and calm and contented you are for a short time. After that, you just end up talking about your wild cousin who crashed his motorcycle for the thousandth time and broke his arm... or about your adventurous friend who just moved to yet another foreign country and is learning how to skydive on her summer vacation... etc...

Also note how poets and artists, etc... tend to be less "settled" and more neurotic, quirky, and depressed. Personally, I tend to write and draw more when I'm angry, depressed, sad, or moody. Perhaps gloom motivates some people to be more "active" in life, to question and reflect on life. People who are contented and absorbed with day to day business don't tend to question or reflect, but simply accept their life.

There are disadvantages to being "grounded", such as failing to take new opportunities, thinking creatively and outside-the-box, and reaching above and beyond what you think are limitations. There are also disadvantages to being "interesting", such as discontent with life, mishaps and failures due to not thinking things through, and backing out of commitments when things get predictable.

And yet, finding a middle ground between the two proves to just be confusing. Perhaps some "grounded" people find ways to be interesting and bring out their personality, and "interesting" people find a few constants that make them happy. Perhaps it all boils down to finding what, in life, makes you happy. Maybe the confusing part is not that I try to find a middle ground, but that I don't really know what makes me happy in life, or when I do, I excessively question it.

For all my thinking, I might just as well be saying "blah blah blah"... :P

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I find myself strangely content with my life, and harboring no resentment or anger towards even the assholes of the world. No resentment or anger towards even myself.

This is new.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guilt, and Nostalgia

Today I started exercising! For the first time in a while... I got out the wooden box and did some step-ups and 5 lb dumbbell exercises. Of course I listened to old hard rock CDs while I did my workouts, and realized how much I miss just being able to hit the workouts as hard as possible, look at my body in the mirror while I'm exercising, and not be disgusted at all the flab. I don't mind not being "sexy" at the moment... sure I miss being "sexy"... but right now what I miss is having actual muscle, agility, strength, endurance, energy... qualities I sorely missed while being pregnant and now I'm anxious to get them back! Again, right now all I want to do is get back into martial arts... to have the feeling that I'm preparing and strengthening my body for something that is essentially intense and worthwhile. I've never been able to motivate myself to exercise simply to "look good" or "feel good..." I need to TRAIN my body, not just burn calories... and maybe I will make my goal to be in shape enough to start martial arts again in a year or two, when my baby is old enough to be left with friends for a couple hours on a regular basis. I miss my "workout high" and I miss the social interaction, the intensity of the training, and the acquisition of badass skills.

I pretty much started my day by going out to milk the goats and feed animals, but when I got back inside I had a healthy (ha ha) helping of ice cream and chocolate chips, and sat around surfing the web and reading for a while... then T (my baby boy) fell asleep and I cuddled with him for a while, but couldn't drift off. This guilt kept nagging at me. I'm being lazy. I definitely didn't feel guilty for spending time with my boy... I felt guilty for sitting around on my ass.

Most people think of guilt as a bad thing. We are told we "shouldn't feel guilty" about this or that. And, usually, I don't. I find guilt to be a waste of my time, and usually don't bother with it. In fact, I believed it to be completely useless, (after all, if you are true to yourself and make choices you believe in, there's no use feeling guilty about it) until this morning, when I realized that guilt can actually be an effective motivator when it's healthy to do something that I have no wish to do. (Like exercise.) Is it possible that every human emotion or instinct or feeling has a purpose and can be beneficial? Or are there some feelings that are completely devoid of benefit altogether? I like the idea that every human emotion/instinct/feeling has a purpose, and it's the utilization of that purpose that makes the "feeling" beneficial or an obstacle... in other words, it's our choices, not our makeup, that determines what kind of benefit we get out of life. Still, there are some "feelings" that I can't see as having any real benefit, such as aversion to people different than oneself. It's a common human tendency to avoid "different" people and co-mingle (or think highly of) only people who are similar to oneself. However I can't think of a present-day situation when that tendency would be beneficial. (I.E. the upsides outweigh the downsides.)

This poses an interesting philosophical question that I will have to ponder in more detail before I formulate an opinion.

The Hobbit Songs

Wouldn't it be cool if someone set songs from The Hobbit to actual music? (besides the animated Hobbit movie ones... although I admit that their version of the "misty mountains" song is pretty awesome...) And then put out a CD and sold it on the internet? And wouldn't it be cool if someone, say, me, bought said CD of Hobbit music and played it for my son as a lullaby??? :/ Why does no one think of these things?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Have You Ever...

Have you ever....

Wanted to fly, glide, maneuver, and dive through the sky?

Felt like wrapping yourself up a tree like a vine?

Dreamt that you could breathe underwater?

Felt like stretching yourself out and wrapping yourself around the whole world?

Needed to run faster than the speed of light just for the feel of it?

Itched to lift a dozen cars and throw them into buildings?

Longed to leap from tree to tree across the top of a forest?

Wanted to die just so that you can transcend the limitations of your body?

I often feel displaced inside my own body. I seem so much slower, more awkward, and weaker than I should be. I feel as if I weren't really meant to be chained to the ground like I am, or confined to this small of a space. Being human seems too restrictive to me. I want to be as unrestrained as my imagination.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Storm Is Coming

The clouds are dark and heavy, the sun dimmed. Visually, it looks like it's about to rain. But the windows are open in the house and even if I were blind, I would be able to tell you that a storm is coming.

The wind tells me. The air tells me. I want to use the phrase, "it smells like a storm" because there is something in the air that my nose picks up on. The wind changes, right before a storm, and, for some reason, humans can pick up on this.

But how to describe it? If there were a person standing next to me who had never seen nor felt a storm before, I would not know how to tell that person that there's a storm coming soon. I would say, "There! As that breeze wafts in from the window! Do you smell that?" And the person would say, "No, I smell nothing," because, of course, the difference isn't really a smell in the everyday sense of the word. So I would say, "As the wind comes in, can you feel how it's different from wind on a sunny day?" And the person would say, "No, it feels the same to me. What's the difference?" And I would not be able to say anything, because I don't really know what the difference is, only that there is a difference. I could say that it "just feels fresher," but "freshness" isn't very tangible either. It's not something that can be measured, only felt subjectively. And so this "smell before the storm" is something I can sense, it's something I know from experience.
But words elude me.

Living out here in the country has made me deeply aware of the weather. Farmers, after all, depend on the weather a lot more than most people. It seems to me that every cloud has a message, and the wind can often reveal things that go unnoticed by most people. I've even been more aware of how the weather can affect my mood. However all of this knowledge can't really be described. It's knowledge that can only be observed by living close to nature and by observing, or "listening" to the world around me. I'm the sort of person who often misses little details in my surroundings. I can pass my car keys sitting on the table 4 or 5 times without noticing they're there, but I am often keenly aware of subtle, intangible, changes in the environment. I don't think these changes are consciously noted, but simply picked up by my brain as somehow important.

And noting these subtle changes are a form of intuitive awareness without thought. It's a good exercise for meditation- silencing your inner monologue and just simply taking note of what IS. I don't know how many people "listen" to clouds or the wind or detect changes in the environment based on how the plants smell on a certain day, but honestly I think it's a valuable exercise. It also helps me appreciate the subtlety of nature, and some days it can feel as though I'm discovering or re-discovering a secret language, a language not of words but of smells and skin.

(BTW, I would love to know what this "smell before the storm" is, scientifically. I've heard it's ozone, plant spores, or bacteria. Let me know if you have any input.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finding the Tao While Giving Birth

I've had quite a few powerful experiences in my life, and I fully expected that childbirth would be one of them. Of course I was right- childbirth is a powerful experience- but I wasn't quite expecting it to be such a powerfully spiritual experience.

From the moment I had the first early labor contractions, I felt a kind of peace and compassionate acceptance settle over me. This is in direct contrast to the previous few days where I felt beaten down, hopeless that my baby would never come, and extremely irritated at anyone and everyone who got in my way. The change was dramatic. Often, days before the baby actually came, I would lie half-awake in bed as I was having contractions, reassuring the baby (telepathically, of course) that it was safe and ok for him to come out, that I was making my body ready and open for him, and that he had loving family out here ready to meet him. Early labor was vaguely calm and serene even though it was also very uncomfortable. I let my emotions wash over me and through me like a river, calm and centered and preparing myself for the ordeal that was to come. I felt myself draw into myself, pushing away all external feedback, going into what someone once acurately described as "laborland". I was more in tune with my body than I have ever been during meditation, feeling the ebb and flow of contractions, riding the waves of fire, for hours and hours... and, although my body was already working very hard, my mind was still. The contractions put me into a kind of trance, and I just went with it, letting the hours pass by unnoticed by me. But Tao does not necessarily mean serenity.

All serenity, calmness, and acceptance went out the window with the onset of active labor. My mind was still not in control, but there was no way I could remain serene. The world around me faded until there was nothing but blinding, agonizing pain. I didn't and couldn't fight my body or fight what was happening, and this sense of helplessness came over me. Nothing I did would relieve the pain, nothing would even dim the pain, all I could do was ride the pain, let it come and then pass and then come again. I let go of my need to remain calm. I let go of all need, all desire, all expectation. I was an animal at that point... naked and rocking back and forth, lashing out, breathing in pants, and screaming when I couldn't do anything else. Breathing became very important. Inhaling, exhaling. There was nothing else in the world except my breath and my pain. For 4 hours I labored like this, and then, completely exhausted, demanded pain medication. But Tao does not necessarily mean letting go.

And then finally it came time to push... and all my energy, all my effort went to opening myself up so my little boy could come out. There was no time for thought, no time for extraneous movement. I couldn't think, I couldn't prepare myself, I couldn't analyze what was going on, all I could do was simply become open. With every breath and every push I opened up. I would push with all the energy I had, pushing my energy down and out, becoming open. And then I would rest, letting my body become limp and still as i waited for the next contraction. I became the void out of which the universe is born. For that one hour, my body became silly putty, bending and stretching. I was no longer the mindless traveller, I was the gateway. I was the same as every other mother in this world. Every other human mother, animal mother, and the Earth Mother herself. I was being born just as my child was being born. Just as he had to travel through me to get to the outside world, I had to travel through myself. It was painful, a very painful sort of opening, because I was dying as well as being born. My body was breaking, but I didn't need my body. I didn't need at all. And then, suddenly, I was born, just as he was born.

It was very trippy.

Throughout the whole labor, I was completely out of control. My body knew what it was doing, and did it, no matter what I thought or felt or wanted. All my emotions- impatience, eagerness, dread, anticipation, excitement, all came and left like waves that never really penetrated me. I felt myself die and become nothing, I became empty space, because that was what I needed to do. There was nothing extra- no thoughts or musings, no extra movement to get in the way. I simply did. I simply was. And then, I simply was not.

And a baby was born. And so was a mother.

(Crossposted to the Rambling Taoist)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Pain of Childbirth

According to the Bible, Eve's sin was what brought God to introduce the pain of childbirth. According to the Bible, childbearing pain is a result of sin. "To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."" (Genesis 3:16)
OK... I get that childbirth is painful, and it's something I've been thinking over a lot lately considering I will be encountering that pain in the very near future. However, if childbirth pain is a result of sin, why is it that animals feel the same pain?
And don't tell me that, no, they don't feel pain in childbirth, or that their pain is less real or intense. I've seen goats, cats, cows, etc... give birth. Cows scream and pace around frantically. Goats scream, bleat, and kick at their belly. Cats don't really scream per se, but they do definitely act as if they are in pain as well. The pain seems to be multiplied by the fact that they don't know what's going on. A pregnant goat doesn't know she's going to give birth, so when the time comes, she has no idea where the pain is coming from or that it will soon be over. All she knows is that she's in pain.
All right, this isn't a scientific study. I don't have unquestionable evidence of this. However, if you've been around animals a lot you can figure out quite easily that what I'm saying is true. If a goat is old and has given birth many times before, she won't be as panicked as a first time mom.
So, my question is, what did the animals do to deserve childbirthing pain? What did they ever do to God? Most Christians believe animals are without sin, so why did they get punished along with Eve and every woman after her? And, furthermore, why are animals subject to death as well as humans? If death is also the result of sin, why were the animals punished as well?
Also, I've been reading a lot of posts from other women too, and it seems as if a few women feel no noticeable labor pain, just pressure, and they don't get all drugged up either. How come some women feel more labor pain than others? Why would some women be exempt from feeling labor pains? Granted, the majority of us will report that it hurt like hell, but for a few women it seems they have it easy.
It seems as if, in this situation, the correct question is, "Why, God?"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Rainstorm

Today I did something I rarely do, but enjoy a lot when I do it... I sat outside in the rain. I didn't get wet, because I was under the porch, so I sat out there for a while, simply watching the rain.
I had just come back from doing farm chores, and I was vaguely irritated at the thunder storm for interrupting my plans to go on a walk. In fact, this whole day I've been irritated and crabby, but as I sat and watched the rain slowly build from a trickle to a downpour, I felt myself calm down.
The rain listens only to the simple, unassuming rhythm of its own pattern.
The clouds simply drift, purposeful despite their lack of control, wherever the wind directs them.
The thunder and lightning herald the imminent chaos of the storm, lending percussion to its gentle symphony.
Meanwhile, a wall of rain pours indiscriminately over everything, heedless of its effect.
Yet the green grass, the dark, rich brown tree trunks and green tree leaves, all become more vivid and alive when seen through the veil of water.

My senses are unwittingly soothed by the rhythmic performance of mother nature. I realize that the reason I've been so irritated throughout the day is because I've been bothered by my lack of control pertaining to the pregnancy. I thought it would be best and most convenient to have this baby as soon as possible. Yesterday I had contractions throughout the day and also other labor signs, and got myself all excited about it. And then the contractions stopped, and I woke up this morning still pregnant. I was pretty disappointed, especially when I didn't have any contractions at all today despite my best efforts to get things moving along.

I thought, wouldn't it be cool to have my baby born during a solar eclipse (tomorrow)? And, sometimes the pressure changes caused by storms send a woman into labor. So where is my labor???
All these thoughts and desires made me very disappointed and crabby today. But as I sat there watching the wall of water pouring down all around me, I realized that I was essentially trying to control and impose my desires on a state of being that was never intended to be controlled.

In these modern times, mankind tries to impose as much control as possible on the pregnant woman. Doctor visits are scheduled, and incremental tests of abdominal measurements, ultrasounds, growth patterns of the fetus, the woman's weight, gestational age, pregnancy symptoms, and due date are all carefully monitored and compared against the "norm" to determine when, where, how, and sometimes if, the baby will be born. C-sections are regularly scheduled around people's vacation time, inductions are performed before a woman is even overdue, and routine interventions are, well, routine. :P Even in the "olden days" there was plenty of folklore giving the illusion that women could control when and how the baby was born.

This baby probably doesn't know when he's coming, but when the time is right, he will come. When my body is ready to give birth, it will. Pregnancy is the single least predictable life-changing event I have ever experienced. Thunder storms are more predictable to me, because I've at least experienced lots of thunder storms during my life and I can sometimes know what to look for. And yet, I can't do anything about whether or not it rains when I want it to. Why should I expect that I can do anything about when this baby gets here? At times it seems as if I am completely at the mercy of my own body- a feeling I don't especially like at all. I like to be able to control myself, to make plans and change them according to my will, not according to whether or not I'm throwing up, being "moody," able to think clearly, or in labor. Like the storm, the baby will probably just show up one day, heralded, or not, by other signs. My trying to speed things up isn't going to throw a wrench in nature's plans. Nature will simply do what she needs to do regardless of my wishes or efforts. And that's perfectly all right. My body was designed to be in control at this point in my life, not my head or my will. Like the clouds, nature has a purpose, although no real reason. And either way, the result will be spectacular. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So While I'm Re-Examining My Life...

Lately I've been wondering why I chose to live way out here in the middle of agricultural Wisconsin. Mostly because phil asked me that question and I never really thought about it. (Thanks, phil) :P Living on a farm had always been a childhood dream of mine... well not necessarily a farm... anywhere with lots of space, wildlife, room for animals, etc... mostly because I enjoy the company of animals. And I'm not really sure why. Maybe because they're more predictable than people? For the most part, they are no more and no less interested in me than other people. Like people, they tend to either ignore me completely, beg for handouts or favors, or run away in terror. Few seem to actually enjoy my company unless they're being fed or petted. (Not unlike human beings.)

You'd think that humans, having a deeper capacity for rational thought would differ more in behavior from animals. But no, the most startling difference between animals and people is that people are often embarrassed or judgmental about perfectly natural things, like defecating and fucking. Which, I guess, is a perfectly understandable reason for me to prefer animals. I like to live in a world where what shoes I wear, who I choose to fuck, what profane or nonsensical words come out of my mouth, whether or not I'm clothed, etc... doesn't matter in the slightest. I could do chores completely in the nude and the animals wouldn't give a shit. (But, alas, the neighbors would, which saddens me greatly because I often like to be nude. Oh well.) There's a definite freedom to being able to swear and kick things when I'm angry, or go out to the garden and pick some lettuce or raspberries when I'm hungry, or just sit on a hillside and swat at mosquitoes if I have the masochistic urge to do so.

Or light a bonfire. Or shoot a gun. Or throw knives. Or set up a tent and camp out. Or practice martial arts in the front lawn. Or drive on the lawn. Or listen to really loud music.

Oh yeah, I forgot about all those reasons.

I guess sometimes I take my freedom for granted. Not surprised, since everyone pretty much does. The truth is, I think I could adjust to life in the city pretty well. I pretty much hated Rochester when I lived there, but there are some things I miss. Like access to hobby-type stuff like martial arts, art, theater, stuff like that. I don't really mind driving 45 minutes to get to a Wall Mart or movie theater or resteraunt, but I do feel frustrated that there are no martial arts studios within reasonable distance, or with reasonable membership fees. Since there's no one around to dress up for, I don't often pay particular attention to my appearance. Who really cares? Then again, when I do something fun with my appearance such as color my hair or put together a nifty outfit, there's no one to show it off to. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on... whatever it is people do in the city. Drink? Attend fancy parties? Go clubbing? Text each other about the drama in their lives? Swear at people in their car? Go shopping?
I guess.
Yay for all the social interaction I'm missing out on... :D And since I feel out of place in most social settings, I think I'd get depressed pretty damn easily in any other setting but here. Nothing a little booze wouldn't fix, but I don't drink, so... that pretty much settles that. Oh I guess I'm getting better about socializing. I don't run to a corner and curl up in a fetal ball and snarl at anyone who comes near me... anymore... so I guess that's an improvement. Still, it exhausts me. I always feel like I'm being put on the spot, even if I'm not. Something I'm working on. But either way, my present life suits me just fine. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Love Healthy?

So I keep having this fear that my marriage will fail. In January, I married a man whom I had been living with for 3 years, we are madly in love, I am having his baby, we bought a house together, everything seems hunky-dory. However he has been married and divorced before, and he is 18 years older than me. He claims that he was never really in love with his first wife, he just got married because there was social pressure to do that, and she was a cool person until she had kids. Then she "completely changed" and it all went downhill from there. Understandably, I have the fear that once I have a kid, I will "completely change" and things will not work out between us. I can't promise that I will never change. I consider myself a constantly changing person, and even the simple fact of my falling in love with him has changed me WAY more than I ever thought possible. In a good, or bad way? I don't know. All I know is, I'm not the same person now that I was when I first fell in love with the guy.

I am still increasingly amazed at how much being in love has changed me. My priorities are all wacky. I used to be very much a "tough girl," outwardly confident with a limitless amount of energy. Inwardly, I have (and probably always will have) self esteem issues and struggle with depression. I used to focus very heavily on martial arts, physical fitness, my art, and writing. Now it seems I lack a lot of motivation for being physically active and things that used to seem so important are just kind of fall-back hobbies for when I get bored. But the most disturbing thing is, I've become DEPENDENT. Dependent on my husband to show affection, and horrifically sensitive to his moods. Sometimes if he comes home after a bad day at work I'll get very depressed and even cry just because of the simple fact that he is feeling bad. I don't even want to go into what my life is like if he is sick! Early on in the relationship, I've even considered breaking up with him JUST BECAUSE I was changing way too much for my own comfort, and wondering if being so intensely into a relationship was just "not who I am." I mean, why should I let any guy define my life, my personality? Or is this shift in priorities and attitudes a natural and healthy thing that happens to us all as we grow up?

And now I'm bringing a baby into this world. I'm assuming I'll love this baby like I've never loved anything else, and that my behaviors, attitudes, and personality will once again shift. But IS THIS HEALTHY? Is such an intense, all-consuming love for another human being a perfectly healthy thing, or does it represent a departure from the self, a mere fulfilling of the role of "mother" or "wife"? Can I truly maintain my own distinct personality while harboring such intense love for both my husband and my child? Or do I become even more immersed in the other people in my life, so much so that I completely change into the woman I DON'T want to be? Will I forever be dependent on these other people to make my life meaningful?

Regardless, I'm in this boat, now I have to paddle it. There's no going back, and I have no wish to. I'm very happy with the decisions I've made in this life. However there's a definite concern as to what kind of person I will be when this child does come, and as he's growing up, and after he becomes more independent. I'm assuming my life will be drastically different, but will I still be me?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Of Eve and Iktomi

Relatively new to this blogging thing. But I wanted to create a blog that is less about my everyday practical shit and more about my musings, insights, philosophical ramblings, and literary references. :P So I shall.
The title of this blog bears a touch of explanation. You all know who Eve is. She was the first woman on this earth, according to the Bible, the first wife, the first mother, and single-handedly responsible for things not being all perfect and heavenly around here, besides the obvious fact that she talked to snakes. People's reaction to Eve is mixed- cheuvanists use her as an excuse to claim that all women are weak and evil, because she led Adam astray. Most Christians do not look up to her, but relate to her... after all, do we not fall into temptation every day? She is sometimes reverenced as the mother of us all (and hey, she's better than Lilith, who I'm a huge fan of, but for different reasons) and sometimes despised as no better than Satan himself. But as for me, I applaud her choice.
I see it as strength that Eve chose knowledge over obedience. Eve was "perfect" (which is actually an impossibility- the fact that she willingly chose to sin either indicates a flaw in the elemental design or a self-creating nature, both of which undermines God's complete ominipotence and perfection, but that's besides the point). But even though she had all she could ever want, she wanted more. She didn't necessarily want more good food, because up until the snake talked to her, she didn't really give a thought to eating the "forbidden fruit." But after it was pointed out to her that God was holding out on her, she started using her brain. Why would a good God want to keep me in ignorance? Why would my creator want to keep me from being wise like him? And so she took the fruit, and defied God. She was essentially the first human rebel.

Most people don't know who Iktomi is. In Lakota (Sioux) mythology, he is a trickster god who was once the god of wisdom but was framed and banished to the earth and became a trickster. (Oh yeah, he's also a spider, my favorite animal) :) He is both the wisest of the wise and the most foolish of fools. He also personifies the Lakota culture, where wisdom is often intertwined with folly. Like Eve, there is a mixed reaction to him. To some, he is just a silly spider who can't seem to do anything right. To others, he's an unfortunate culture hero who was destroyed by both the gods and people, whom he served. As the god of wisdom, he's hardly mentioned, because the kind of wisdom he portrayed is largely inaccessible to common people. It was the kind of "high brow" wisdom which transcends every day life. However as a trickster, he becomes much more interesting, alternating between periods of extreme folly and selfishness and periods where he becomes a living symbol of the unrecognized teacher, a seeming fool who often helps mankind from behind the scenes. Both Eve and Iktomi are rebels. Whereas Eve made a conscious choice to pursue wisdom and knowledge over perfection and obedience, Iktomi evolved from the personification of an unreachable goal (wisdom) to an anti-hero who demonstrates the absurdity of life through his actions and antics.

I find it interesting that the first story in the Bible basically teaches us that questioning authority and gaining knowledge leads to damnation. Iktomi, on the other hand, didn't even make a conscious choice to rebel, and yet he was "damned," but his damnation actually pushed him to evolve.