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My daughter, Savannah Raine, and her bestie.
With my teens (14, 15, & 19), and with my 21 year old (when she was a teen), I found that it was impossible to continue parenting them in the same manner as when they were children. They WEREN'T children, and the dynamic had changed. In any relationship, when one person changes, every person they are in relationship with has to change as well; we are forced to choose between adjusting ourselves and how we perceive others relative to ourselves, or fight the changes in others to avoid having to adjust.

Teens are going to change, and as parents, in order to maintain a healthy relationship, have to change with them. In the same way that we could never communicate with a spouse or employer in the same way as a small child without experiencing a huge amount of resistance, our dialogs we share with our teens will be wrought with friction and resentments if we refuse or are incapable of responding within the relationship to our teen's changes.

The great advantage to changing our perception of our teens is that it creates a safe space in which we can non-invasively GUIDE our teens through this passage. Remember how out of control those years felt? How isolating? The feelings of not being understood?
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Quinn, at 18, now 19.
I've read that child psychologists have equated the teen years to those of toddlerhood- the fierce tantrums while fighting for independence, with the exact opposite, conflicting emotion that comes with clinging to their parents in need of security. Its okay to trust our kids when they're swinging out of control; when the pendulum shifts, they will come back to us for a safety break.

These safety breaks are a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the respect that we'd like to see from our teens, as well as acting as a sort of currency we can fall back on when we are treated with less respect than is acceptable by our offspring. We become an oasis from the difficult changes our kids are going through; an opportunity in which our kids have refuge from their own storm.

We can ask them about their experiences giving them a forum that may not otherwise exist to process their transition.

We can listen without offering advise or judgment,  empowering our teens to direct their focus, lessening their feelings of loss of control.

Its terrifying that as a culture, we have such a bias against those in their teen years that our kids have to walk through fire to make it safely through this stage of development. Imagine attempting to maintain any semblance of self esteem while simultaneously having to prove your worth to every person you come into contact with; every interaction filtered through the socially acceptable practice of judging you as being loud, obnoxious, rebellious, volatile, untrustworthy, dishonest, and promiscuous. Its blatant stereotyping.
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Felix @ 13

With nearly all social intercourse filtered through this perspective, it would be unnatural for our teens NOT to rebel against adults; its a matter of emotional self defense! It means our kids are fighting against an identity that's been foisted upon them without any justification. In this case, the chicken came BEFORE the egg.

What a valuable gift it is at any age, to be loved unconditionally and to have recognition of our precious value!

To be comforted when we're hurting and lashing out.

To be accepted and given respect.

There are, as with any close relationship, many opportunities to offend and be offended by our teenagers. The CAN be unruly and uncontrollable.

But, as parents, THAT'S WHAT WE WANT.

We want our teen to grow into adults who can control THEMSELVES. Who can rule THEMSELVES. Make healthy decisions THEMSELVES.

We need to create an environment in which our teens can identify their own feelings, needs, and personal boundaries in conflict situations; these are extremely valuable life tools that will prove necessary again and again, allowing them to maintain a personal sense of peace, precious conflict resolution skills, and the ability to maintain healthy relationships well into adulthood… and a family atmosphere in which all can breathe deep

Namaste.
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Felix @ 13
 
I've stepped into a war zone.

I've become guarded, wary; walking gingerly and with great trepidation, least I should unwittingly put my foot in it and set off an explosion.

As mothers, we have become militant. We are an army of one, and lord help anyone who cannot, for reasons of their own, share our ideal.

THIS IS THE EXAMPLE WE ARE GIVING OUR CHILDREN.

With the media attention given the recent measles outbreak (114 children from December 28, 2013 to February 6, 2015), social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest  have become incredibly volatile with forceful, angry opinions aggressively being discharged like missiles into civilian zones.

Parents, grandparents, and caregivers are scared. We share the basic human need to protect our loved ones, but if an innocent bystander is hurt in the process, does the end justify the means?

Overwhelmingly judgmental and militant, advocates both for and against immunizations defeat their own purpose by alienating those they wish to convince. Strong feelings about sensitive topics like vaccination are understandable, but the strong ideals seem to be overshadowed by the name calling, ridiculing  and insults.  ("You think you are protecting them through extracts and homeopathy and positive thoughts and Laws of Attraction and dancing by candlelight on a full moon?" and "Beware the VacciNAZIS!")
Again, I understand the strong feelings, but these kind of inflammatory comments do nothing to educate and win others over from one perspective to another, but only have the ability to create further friction.

Parents who choose to have their children immunized have a host of reasons to do so, as do parents who opt out. The good news there us that unlike twenty plus years ago when I had my first child, clear, concise information is available, and new parents are taking the time to make an educated decision, rather than blindly handing their newborns over to the on-call pediatrician for his first series of shots before they've even left the hospital. That's what I did. I had some idea that I needed to make a decision about vaccines, but had no idea it would be so soon. (I had counted on staying under the radar with a home birth, but had complications.)

Twenty years ago, it was extremely difficult to gather any information about potentially negative side effects from immunizations. Internet was only beginning to become available (dial-up), and most people didn't own computers. Hell, CELLPHONES were still bigger than the handset I now on as part of my landline. The limit to my generation's knowledge of inoculations was limited to a thick, triple-fold infograpic handed out at scheduled well-child exams almost as an afterthought.

Without the benefit of living in a progressive community, my only opportunities to learn anything of a bigger picture came from the rare, fringe groups of hippies passing through my hometown on their way to Rainbow Valley to drop acid, who just happened to stop in at my yard sale needing a new futon mattress for their VW bus, OR copies of Mothering Magazine that, unless you knew someone with a subscription card to get you started, you had to drive a hundred miles away to find a hard copy in a Portland health food store.
Because of a series of colds, I held off on allowing any further vaccines until my baby girl was eight months. I felt comfortable doing so because she was breastfed and I new she would receive immunoglobulins passed through my milk. Within four hours of her DPT shot, she had a bad reaction. I searched the CDC literature I'd been given, but could see nothing like the extreme reaction she was having. I KNEW it was the shot. COMMON SENSE dictated the that it was the shot. I did what I considered the socially responsible thing; I called my daughter's pediatrician and informed him of her symptoms, and that I believed them to be induced by her DPT, and OH MY GOD… WHAT SHOULD I DO!?

I was advised not to bring her in, but only to keep an eye on her. Further, I was informed that her adverse reaction would NOT be documented and forwarded to the health department, as was protocol, because it was not listed on the brochure as a symptom of a negative reaction.

After that experience, those unanswered questions floating in the back of my mind began to unfurl.

If my daughter's adverse reaction was not reported, then how many other ill-effects in recently vaccinated babies and small children have gone unreported? Isn't that something vaccine manufacturers would want to know? Do they already know?

So I began my hunt for information. I snuck into the computer lab on my town's college campus with my daughter tied to me in a sling to gain access to their internet and printer. I STOLE information. I subscribed to Mothering. I had clandestine conversations with midwives who imparted their knowledge in whispers. I was a renegade.
Ultimately, I made the educated decision to WAIT, indefinitely. I had more information than anyone I knew (including my daughter's pediatrician) about vaccines, but I felt the information wasn't enough. I didn't fully trust either side; the pro- immunization medical community used bullying, scare tactics and shaming rather than providing clear information to convince me to sign off on the next round of vaccines. They belittled me and asks me questions like, "Don't you care if your baby dies?"  Contrarily, the information I found on vaccines regarding side effects and their effectiveness was riddled with extremism, and I felt I had to take it with a grain of salt. The one thing that was clear to me was, the younger the child receiving their immunizations, the more severe and more likely they are to have long-lasting, negative reactions.

I am now the mother of five children. My oldest two are grown, and my middle child, now fifteen, has made the decision to experimentally live in Seattle with his favorite uncle. Two sweet babies left, no longer babies.

In my years of motherhood, I've been amazed by the advances in communications that have ultimately, empowered us. They have brought a world of knowledge to our fingertips. All those statistics I travailed for on the early 90's can be had in the time it takes for a page to load. The days of dialup are long gone.

We are given the incredible opportunity to educate ourselves and make educated decisions for ourselves and our families. Nobody, at any point in time, has had such unrestricted access to information.

And we know just about enough to be dangerous.

Let me be your mother for a moment, and embrace you. Let me tell you how much you are loved. You are uniquely you, and nobody knows your babies better than you do. You are fierce, and would do anything to keep your sweet babies from harm's way.

That mama, over there on the other side of the fence, she'll sink her teeth into your jugular if she senses you intend to do harm to her offspring. She knows a mother's love with a feral ferocity.

She is you.

The immunization decision is a terrifying one, no matter what decision you make. But it IS a decision, not a stance. Both decisions for and against vaccinations have as many pros as they have cons. We all want to protect or children from terrifying deadly diseases, and we all have moments when we second guess ourselves and the choices we've made. But it doesn't have to be a warzone.

Let us not be in enmity with one another.

Let us be Sisters, sharing in wisdom and community.

Let us share in joy and compassion, and celebrate our motherhood as one.

We ARE one.

Namaste.
 
Aloha!

Its getting dangerously near to Valentines Day, and Hallmark is closing on us with dollar signs in its greedy eyes!  If you're feeling the pressure of cupid's arrow, let me encourage you:

* You are perfectly lovable. Your place of creation was one of Divine Love. You are an expression of Source Love. Love makes up the very fabric of your being.  Your desire to fulfill yourself in Love has brought you to this planet, where you would have the rare opportunity  to be refined in Love and increase in your capacity for Love.

* The reason you have not met and fallen in Love with the One is because there is only One. You may have dipped your toe in the water and fought for dear life to force Love, but were never fully satisfied. This is because your Divine capacity for Love is calling out unto itself; the frequency of its high vibration, your Spirit calling out to be reunited with your Soulmate, as you were always intended to be, is so delicious that in your delight,  you have attracted other seekers in a similar vibration to you.  Don't give up; your Soulmate is trying desperately to find you!
* The negative experiences you may have gone through in prior  (transitional) relationships, with the right perspective, have the ability to work in your favor. Allowing them to chisel away the impure residue of this realm and using them as teaching moments will create growth in your practices of compassion and forgiveness; both beautiful offerings to lay at the feet of your Love.

* The joy you experience in the place you're rooted in is what will ultimately reunite you with the One. Living in this physical realm can be deceiving; we can easily find ourselves lulled into a spiritual slumber, or worse, fall into the trap of the cycle of acquisition and want, which is in truth, a cycle of lack, density, fear, and shame. This slippery slope has the potential to take us in a direction where we misplace our priorities and unwittingly utilize our powerful spiritual vibrations to attract the wrong things; namely what we DON'T want: we DON'T want to be alone. We DON'T want to live in conflict. We DON'T want to run out of money. We DON'T want to get sick. We DON'T want to drive this broken down old car anymore. By directing our energy on what we DON'T want, the Law of Attraction, obliging as ever, creates a channel in which to pull those very things we DON'T want right out of the Universe and into our laps.

When we stay authentic to our true selves and operate out of our Original Spirit, we create a vibrational energy flow that brings us blessing. We remember who we are, and conventional or not, we radiate Light and pure Love. We are in perfect sync and harmony with the Universe, and because we are living in integrity true to our Original Spirit, our Soulmate can RECOGNIZE US.  Our Soulmate can filter out all that other chatter in the Universe, hone in on our vibrational pull, and find us.
Be happy. Follow your bliss. Meditate on your Love and offer loving vibrations to encourage your Soulmate that you're ready, waiting. Build an altar to your Love and leave offerings of prayers, poetry, and song. That's what I'll be doing.

The longer I've lived and the more experiences I've had, the more I've realized when looking back that I just wasn't ready. I've matured and blossomed, increased in beauty and insight. Depth. I have so much more to offer now than I did twenty years ago when I came of age. I've ripened. I've become ready.

Had I been reunited with my Love at twenty-five, I would have been unrecognizable; how could I have been known by my Spirit when I could barely recognize myself? I would have been destructive to our relationship, and caused needless suffering.

My wish for you this Valentine's Day is to live ecstatically. Experience joy. Be recognizable.

And as for me, I will be looking inside, in the place of Spirit, singing songs of Love to my One.

That is my offering.

Love.
 
Well, good or bad, 2013 is officially over. Any regrets? Any love lost or lessons learned? I've done quite a bit of soul searching, and after years of wringing my hands, wondering what I could have done differently, or how I could have changed this or that, particularly in my relationships and in dealing with past trauma, I'm happy to say I'm feeling some definite closure; and it all sprung from this epiphany:

"Other peoples's crazy ain't got nothin' to do with me."



 
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My first "real" job I had (made all the more real by its lack of polyester uniform and matching visor and sturdy, black work shoes with heavy traction) was at a local bookstore owned by two pioneering women, one of whom was a graduate of women's studies. The shelves were stocked to well-over capacity with women's history, feminist, multi-cultural, and self-help books, along with our meat-and -potatoes, mass market trade fictions. In our small town, there wasn't a high calling for anything outside top-fiction and children's genres, but we made a go of it. I had all the books on women's issues I could eat, and could recite by the page sections from The Boston Women's Health Collective's famous book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, in addition to being inordinately well-versed in Ina May Gatskin's Spiritual Midwifery. I read Clarrisa Pinkola Estez' Women Who Run With the Wolves when we had a backlog of special orders for the title, and spent my down-time with my nose in Susan Fauldi's Backlash. I was so, so poor in those days, but was surrounded with a wealth of books to feed my early feminist ideals. Ahh, those were the days.  

The one drawback to my bookstore job was a regular customer who made the Women's Special Interest isles his own personal meat-market. Don't get me wrong; he did buy books; stacks upon stacks of books pertaining to women's issues, books he'd pull from our shelves and books he'd special order. Its just that if (and that's a pretty big if) he read any of the books he purchased, he certainly didn't apply any of the feminist messages to his own interactions with women.



 
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Women at Adolf Koch’s socialist body culture school, which drew on Reich’s ideas.
As a child of the 70's, I grew up right along-side the feminist movement. Feminism was in its second wave at that time, a new enthusiasm for the politics of that generation's grandmothers. In the early sixties, however,  
activists supporting women's rights were not so much standing on the shoulders suffragettes, who overturned legal obstacles making women's voting rights and property rights, as they were radicalizing their own ideals; namely reproductive rights and wage-equality in the workplace.  In 1967, San Fransisco's Haight-Ashbury district was rushed by 100,000 hippies during what was referred to as, "The Summer of Love," a period of time that can only truly be measured by the amount of LSD-25 dissolved under the tongue and the number of sexual encounters enjoyed during the season of free love. Occurring alongside the hippie movement of the sixties, new attitudes towards sexuality created a climate of accepted sexual freedom within the overlap of the two groups, and many women and men entered into a new-found open-market for satiating the senses. Ahhhh, orgies. In for a penny, in for a pound, I always say. 

My parents didn't meet in a joint-circle on the Haight, nor did either dance to keep the music out of their eyes at Woodstock. They met in small-town Kelso, Washington, right across the street from the old west Kelso brothel, where my father was protesting. He'd had his fill of filling his sexual appetites and of hallucinagens, and at that time was filled with a new high, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Every day, he'd march, blazing a sign that read, "Where are YOU going to spend ETERNITY?" My mother tells me that every day when she drove past his one-man march, she'd roll her eyes and think, "God! I f***ing hate that guy!"  At some point, they must have found common ground, because (as my mother tells it) the next thing she knew, she was pregnant with twin babies and married to my father and a living with a bunch of crazy Holy Roller in a Jesus Commune.


 
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I can't imagine that Fifty Shades of Grey, could possibly need another review, but as the filming began last week in Vancouver, Washington for the film adaptation of the book, I find myself doing precisely that.

E.L. James' erotic novel has drawn an impressive following, creating a rush on riding crops and blindfolds in every adult toy and book store in the nation. Adult toy sales must have gone through the roof, and companies fortunate enough to have contracted the rights to use the phrase, "as seen in Fifty Shades of Grey" have to be rolling in the green, thanking their lucky stars for author, E.L. James' ability to draw in newbies to the BDSM scene. Frankly, it gives me a little giggle to imagine soccer moms paired up to encourage one another on, tentatively fingering a plastic, shell-packed set of ben wa balls, whispering together, "Are THESE the right ones? They must be.. They say, 'Fifty Shades,' right here!" In my imaginings, I'm the twenty year old store clerk with pink hair and a bad attitude, snapping my gum and bored with the whole scene. "Dude." I'd say. "They're BEN WA BALLS. Ya look like you've dropped a couple of puppies, so just take the big, ugly, metal ones. They'll tighten you right up. Trust me, ladies... Your husbands will thank me" 

Uh... did I just take that too far?


 
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Microsoft Smart Bra image from the Microsoft research paper, "Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating" http://www.cs.rochester.edu/hci/pubs/pdfs/FoodMood.pdf
Microsoft's latest offering has me cringing. 

As if women aren't assaulted enough throughout the day with sexualy objectifying media images "representing" them (statistics show over 3000 times daily in advertisements ALONE), distorting our perceptions of realistic body images and leaving us with the distinct feeling that we are in some way inadequate, Microsoft has found a way to capitalize on our insecurities giving us with a false sense of control over our bodies. 


 
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New Moon Waxing Crescent

I'm feeling really not-so-goodish right now. When the moon drains of its light, she takes me right down with her, every time. I'm damn near ready to start leaving her little offerings of sweets and trinkets and song, just to appease her. She shakes me to the core until I bleed with her, emptying myself of built up negative energies that fester like a wound.  
Living in sync with the moon creates a spiritual aspect to our cycles as women, and creates the basis for understanding ourselves outside the biology of our bodies.  Focusing solely on the physical realm, we amputate the most central part of ourselves; our sacred beauty, our light, our femininity. The Holy Spirit, in traditional Judaic teachings, is refered to as YHVH's Goddess nature, and the only part of the Holy Trinity described in the feminine form. 

Culturally, so much heat is put on our gender during times of menstruation, and historically the belief that a woman's menstrual blood is dangerous; deadly even, and spans across otherwise unbreakable barriers between religions. And we are dangerous. We become very thin in our connection with the physical, and our thoughts turn inward. We are easily agitated when roused from our introverted state. We can turn waspish, snapping at anyone who interferes with our sacred meditation.



 
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The precise moment last summer when an Italian nationalst visiting England became a mother for the third time was the same moment her infant child disappeared from her womb.

The unnamed woman had been in Britain attending an airline training course at Stansted Airport in Essex when the strange string of events began to unfold; the woman, unable to the passports belonging to her children experienced a panic attack. The police were summoned (the police? Really?!), who then contacted the young woman’s mother back in Italy. The woman’s mother detailed her assumption that her daughter, who had previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was currently under a doctor’s care, surmised that she may not have been taking her prescription. The police claiming that her unborn baby might be in danger, escorted her to the mental hospital, where she was restrained by orderlies and held against her will sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Take a deep breath; things are about to go from bad to (Holy-Christ-I-can’t-believe-this-shit) WORSE.


 
Oh, waning crescent moon... why must I have this gargantuan pimple on my nose? Soon I will rest in your luteal darkness and wrap myself in introspect. Bring chocolate.
 
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These four beautiful women challenge the objectification of their adolescent bodies at the 2013 Brave New Voices poetry slam in Washington DC. During the middle ages, the only option a woman had for removing herself from the collective rape culture is to give up her dowry to the Catholic Church and become a nun, ashewing any and all evidence of their sexuality and committing to a life of poverty and powerlessness behind the veil.

Today, while women still struggle with marginalization and objectification from a young safe, the teens in this video step into their power as women and declare themselves to be "mother-fucking monsters."  


 
Every year in late fall, we bundle up in our warmer clothes and have generally gotten over the idea that we have to wear socks.  It's cold outside, brisk, I'd say, and the pleasurable crunch of rust-colored leaves sounds beneath our feet. 

Our lives have fallen into a predictable order; the spontaneousness of summer gone, and for those of us who are blessed to have a woodstove, we warm our damp socks by the fire, wiggling our toes as we watch ribbons of steam rise from or feet.

 
And we look ahead to Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving! A wonderful celebration of remembering the many blessings in our lives, spent in the company of family and close friends around the table; at its center, a Thanksgiving turkey, moist and delicious. (And hopefully still hot when Grandpa Don finishes carving it.)

This year, around the dinner table, we've picked up the refrain from last year's Thanksgiving. We're still singing about Black Friday; how every year it cut in a little closer to family time, and somebody has to wash Grandma Vi's china. And Lord knows, that football game isn't going to watch itself. 

But there's always that one... that ONE, who silently slips away from the unified grumbling, unnoticed, to begin leafing through the local newspaper, skillfully stalking her prey; the elusive Black Friday sale


 
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Feminism isn’t NICE.

There is no way in polite society I can discuss pro-feminist issues like a lady.

Imagine this scenario: a church potluck; families in their Sunday best, ignoring the slight discomfort of their full bellies , reclining, slightly in their folding chairs around long, out-dated banquet tables… to your left, Aunt Irma is starting to nod-off… on right side, a tired mother, holding a baby on her lap, watching lazily, as he throws his whole body weight into a failed grab for the food on her plate… children, running off their spare energy. The pastor has just given a very thought-provoking message on the blessings of tithing, and you feel inspired to study out the scriptures he used and increase your giving.

Just then, as you least suspect it, that crazy redhead across the table from you (that would be me) leans in your direction and says in a loud voice,

“Did you know that so-and-so’s daughter was acquaintance raped while walking back from the campus library last Wednesday? I understand she reported it to campus security, but after taking her report, she’s been on the receiving end of some pretty abusive comments and slut-shaming. I’m worried.  We should get involved!”

You won’t need to stretch yourself to imagine the abrupt silence that would follow.



 
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***WARNING POSSIBLE TRIGGERS***


Thanksgiving is one of those days that for many, well, sucks.

For victims of domestic violence, rather than being a day in which we're reminded of all we have to be grateful for, it's a day of remembering all that we've lost. Like most survivors of spousal abuse, my husband increased his control over me by the subtle, systematic dismantling of my relationships. He was, crafty, that one. It began with a series of discreet phone calls with my twin brother, inquiring, delicately, if I had any mental illness in my past that he should be aware of. Nothing wrong here, right? Except that early on in our relationship, I disclosed to him that I'd taken anti-depressants, so clearly, he was in the know (on both occasions I was postpartum with a colicky baby). The hesitant, almost awkward inquiry did exactly as it was intended to do; create an atmosphere of concern for my well-being and solidarity between my husband and brother, leaving me on the outside, looking in. Private details of my depression were discussed in secret between the two, and then my brother unknowingly disclosed his concern for me during that time, my husband collected an arsenal of negative commentary to be used against me in the pursuit of crazy-making.



 
Pictureimage from http://www.goldieblox.com
The launch of a Youtube video highjacks Beastie Boys hit song, “Girls,” and turning it into an anthem for young feminists. The video  promoting the Feminist toy company, GoldieBlox, which aspires to reclaim the traditionally male-dominated fields of interest in math and science and overcome antiquated (and inaccurate) stereotypes that limit girls to playing house.

GoldieBlox was conceived by Debbie Sterling, the founder and engineer of the company, who began by drawing a series of illustrations with strong characters, reminiscent of  Pippie Longstocking  or Punky Brewster. The girls’ toy line (while admittedly, bathed in the soft hues of pink and lavender) consists of building games with  her character, Goldie, figurines and expansion packs with a creative focus of inspiring girls to become future engineers and a small clothing line with the slogan, “More than just a princess” emblazed across the front.


Pictureimage from www.goldieblox.com/pages/about‎
The company creatively avoids marginalization in their advertising by depicting girls outside the golden Caucasian norm by representing little girls of diverse ethnicity, furthering GoldieBlox’s confrontation of the limits we, as a culture, put on those of us existing outside the realm of white, male entitlement. 

I sense a Princess revolution.


 
When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” WhichWhen I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, “What will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? Will I be pretty? What comes next? Oh right, will I be rich?” Which is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers' hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.


 is almost pretty depending on where you shop. And the pretty question infects from conception, passing blood and breath into cells. The word hangs from our mothers' hearts in a shrill fluorescent floodlight of worry.


 
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I admit that I may have a problem.

Let me first speak in defense of myself... I have had a pretty tough go of things when it comes to relationships. My last relationship left me somewhat bruised and in need of a lot of therapy. I warm up slowly to new people; its only because I can't look you in the eyes that I'm able to write posts on my experiences of spousal abuse that I am able to click "publish." 

That being said, I'm having a deeply satisfying love affair with my kombucha mother SCOBY, Beatrice. It's not what you think; I'm not going to be petitioning the courts to legally declare my love for her, nor are we going to enter into a commitment ceremony. I just love her. She’s really good for me.



 
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I started Naked Consciousness because I wanted to create a forum in which I could share my journey from living in an abusive relationship to freeing myself and finding healing.

I write from a Christian feminist perception... That may seem like a contradiction in terms, but nothing could be farther from the truth. God designed women to have shared value with men. When our Father created mankind, it was in His image. Just as the holy trinity is made up of three parts, existing simultaneously as separate individually and as a whole being, God poured not only his male, but female nature as well into Adam during his creation. In Jewish tradition, the Holy Spirit has always been referred to in the feminine form. As a co-existent being with the Father and the Son,  the feminine nature of God is not cancelled out, but ratified as one of the beautiful facets of the Godhead.  In the genesis of womankind, the Father put Adam into a deep sleep and pulled from him a rib (translated from the original Hebrew as meaning, more accurately half of him;) pulling out the feminine nature of Adam and creating the new, feminine gender. The female form was NOT a separate being, but was designed, like the Trinity, to co-exist as mankind. The female gender was pulled from Adam because God the Father saw that it was not good that Adam was alone. 



 
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THIS is what a feminist looks like! (Behold the spit bubble on his tongue... THAT'S a feminist guy thing.)
I had fun taking pictures of my little guy, Julian today. Its so great that at six, he's able to break feminism down to fit his child-size understanding: things should be FAIR. He takes his feminism to school with him on the playground when he takes turns pushing his best friend, Alexandra, on the swings. They play together every day at recess, because they share a mutual desire to be treated with kindness. When Alexandra first came into his life, he was enchanted. When I asked him to describe her to me, he went all dreamy, and said, “She has a very, very beautiful heart. And, oh! Mama, she’s so kind!”

Julian is starting to become aware that because his best friend is a girl, some of the boys talk over her or push past her to the front of the line, but they don’t do that to him. Its difficult for me as a feminist to avoid using phrases like, “male entitlement,” which, as a mama, leave a bad taste in my mouth; as if saying them in some way indicates an inherent evil in my sons. Instead, I let my son lead, giving him the opportunity to understand his feelings about how Alexandra is treated differently. I see him struggle with anger in defense of his female friend. He makes declarative statements about how he honors her as a woman-child; he stands straight as his resolve to protect her right to be equal… for things to be fair.