Talking about things I shouldn’t

I almost threw up last week and it wasn’t because of Marshmallow. It’s because I was driving and writing a blog post in my head. The blog post was about Christianity and Islam and mosque building and the idiots we’ve elected to represent us (both politically and religiously). That wasn’t what almost made me throw up either.

What almost made me throw up was that half way through my mental blog writing I thought,

“I can’t post this. I’m less than a year away from potentially (still not out of the 1st trimester, Guys) becoming a mommy blogger. Mommy bloggers have opinions on diaper quality and breastfeeding NOT mosque construction.”

That’s when I almost threw up.

I don’t know that I’d call myself a feminist, but I certainly believe that  last sentence is insane. Being a mom does not mean I no longer have a voice on topics that aren’t overtly “mom”. And I hate that there is even a small, tiny, whisper of a voice suggesting that I not share my thoughts on the mosque and instead tell you about how I almost accidentally OD’d on prenatal vitamins.

More than that, I hate that I’m not giving the women that I know primarily as moms the respect they deserve when it comes to certain issues. Like, I never even thought to ask my mom what she thinks about healthcare reform but I fight with my dad over every issue under the sun. Or with my best friend’s mom. I just found out that she got her degree in computer science stuff. Never knew that because in my world she’s limited to roles like “the mom who took us to tennis camp” and “the mom most likely to beat Lance Armstrong in a bike race”. The only thing I knew about her college experience was that it was where she met her husband.

Forget throwing up. Now I want to cry.

I’m so sorry, Mom and Janice and every other woman I know first as a mom and second as a human.

We all put ourselves in boxes. We give ourselves labels that make us think “Oh, I can’t say that” or “I’m not smart enough to have an opinion on that”. I do it all the time this is just the first time I ever caught myself.

So I’m going to start occasionally share things that I subconsciously believe I  shouldn’t. And I’m not just talking about poop stories…

I understand being afraid of things you don’t understand.

Truth: White people scare me. I remember being 6 years old and watching a Donahue like talk show where some KKK guy was talking about everyone going back to the countries they are originally from. I was a smart 6 year old. I knew that my mom, a Filipino, would go back to the Philippines if this guy ever got a say. That thought alone was scary, but not as bad as wondering where my biracial butt would end up.

Because of this single experience I’ve been afraid, to varying degrees, of white people. Was it fair or right? Of course not. A kooky member of the KKK does not represent anyone but himself. But that doesn’t stop me from getting panicky when driving through counties in Tennessee that seem to boast about the last lynching they had.

So I get being afraid of Muslims, especially when your experience with the religion is limited to the 9/11 attacks.  It’s hard, if not impossible, to control a gut reaction, especially when it’s rooted in fear. That part is called being human.

What I don’t understand is how people choose to stay in that mindset. How people choose to be afraid of what they do not know rather than take the time to find out whether their initial perception is true.

Mostly, I don’t understand how political and religious leaders feel justified in continuing to stir the fear pot. Mark always says, “Fish rots from the head down”. I don’t know if that’s true, but I know that he always uses it when he’s talking about churches whose leadership (and, ultimately, congregation) fail to grasp basic concepts of Jesus’ teachings, like love, forgiveness and mercy. If our leaders’ attitudes inspire hate and fear, can you really expect anything different from their followers? I’m looking at you, Terry Jones. Put the lighter down.

And I don’t think it’s just wishful thinking that if our leaders would practice open-mindedness and extend the freedom to practice any religion one pleases to others that the atmosphere of hate would disappear. I don’t think it’s wishful thinking because it’s happening in Memphis. A pastor felt the fear of having an Islamic Center being built nearby and extended his welcome anyways.

We need more leaders like that.

Feel free to agree, disagree, add on or take away. And all moms are highly encouraged to comment!

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10 thoughts on “Talking about things I shouldn’t

  1. Erica says:

    Beautiful post, but one thing that keeps nagging me is your reluctance to call yourself a feminist. Why is it that you don’t think women should be treated as equal to men? Or do you have another definition?

  2. Rock on, Marie. I’ve struggled with a lot of these same issues, and it’s heartening to see you address them so gracefully. I especially appreciated the sentence, “Being a mom does not mean I no longer have a voice on topics that aren’t overtly ‘mom.'” So true. And I could also use the reminder to see mothers as people first and moms second.

  3. SECRET AGENT "CT" says:

    2 things:

    1. What in the world does “fish rot from the head down” mean? Do they really rot starting at the head? That’s gross. I’m about to google it to find out the answer. Eww…

    2. I have mixed emotions about the whole mosque/Muslim thing. My gut reaction is not in my backyard!!! (I live in Murfreesboro, aka the scene of arsen.) I do not feel strongly enough to be in a protest on the square though. However, 1 of my nurses after delivering Macie was Muslim. She was nothing short of awesome. She would stay half the night in my room. Me=crying. Macie=crying. Her=comforting me and making my personal human siren stop crying. She was even skipping breaks to stay with me. She talked to me about basically being disowned by her family for divorcing her husband from her prearranged marriage. (Her father is a wealthy hotel owner.) Then remarrying and having a son. Her husband, an American guy, is in the US military. He’s been gone most of the year, so she’s raising their son alone. Her husband only gets to talk to her once every month or two. He can’t tell her where he is or anything. He can basically just tell her that he’s alive and he’ll call again next month or so. So she’s all alone…with her son. Then she said that people see her out in her scarf covering her head (I forgot what it’s called) and judge her. Little do they know…She told me lots more during our long nights but I’ll spare you. That’s why I have mixed feelings. Here is this Muslim nurse who is the best nurse/caretaker/person and yet I still judge the rest of the Muslim people. What’s up with that? I don’t know. My point? I have no idea. I just want to give my little insight on the one Muslim lady that I know. I guess to prove that they are not all trying to blow up something.

  4. Rebecca says:

    In the beginning of your post, I wanted to point you to Musings of A Housewife who writes about mom stuff and issues like food and the environment – http://www.musingsofahousewife.com/ – I read a lot of mom blogs for work and besides the obvious ones, she is one of my favs.

    At the end of the post, I was standing up and clapping. Beautiful post and insight. Your honesty and eloquence was tremendous. I love the funny posts, but I hope these make it into your rotation more often as well. Well done.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Just came across this bit of research after reading your post -http://www.bakadesuyo.com/do-we-cling-to-stereotypes-even-when-informat

    “Our results suggest that stereotypes play a considerable role in forming predictions about others’ risk attitudes and that these stereotypes persist even when individuating information is available.”

  6. Aurian says:

    You are right on, Marie – on all counts. I’m a professional who will someday be a mom, and I hadn’t even realized that I do the exact same thing. Way to go for putting it out there in a way that absolutely rang true.

    Also, thanks to @modite for bringing me here!

  7. Marie says:

    Kathleen, thank you. Yeah, it was pretty eye opening when I realized that I had such a limited view of the moms in my life.

    Erica, thanks! I don’t really know why I wouldn’t call myself a feminist. I definitely agree men and women are equals, I guess I just feel like it’s one of those things that sounds like you have to be really educated before you call yourself one. In my mind, there’s an intellectual elitist feeling that comes with the word that I don’t think fits me.

    CT, I have no clue if it’s true! Mark just says stuff with such conviction that I believe it, ha. You should ask a fisherman. I don’t know any. And thanks for sharing your perspective and your story about the nurse. I know there was a famous guy who once said that everyone needs one friend from every country/religion/etc. so that whenever we thought of being hateful to those people we’d remember our friend. I thought that was a neat idea.

    Rebecca, thanks and I checked out the Musings of Housewife. I love her and will be following. I’m definitely going to commit to being serious at least a little more often 🙂

    Aurian, thanks! I have definitely opened my eyes!

  8. Miranda says:

    Agreed on all fronts. You can discuss politics with this momma anytime. Motherhood is totally what you make it : )

  9. Angelia says:

    I have a teen and a tween. I can tell you that I have a big, fat opinion on just about everything. Ever.y.thing. BUT…I don’t always have someone to tell about it or even the time to tell it. The other moms at the soccer game don’t want to hear my tirade on green IT or religion or anything other than my recipe for meatballs. Hubs and I fall into bed at the end of the day totally wiped out and really only get a couple of times a month to ourselves to talk.

  10. We read blogs by mommy blogger. Taking about vomit is always encouraged! We love your blog!

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