Archive for August, 2008

A Good Weekend

On Sunday we went to Lake Superior, specifically in Duluth. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect, and the dog learned to swim! She was ridiculous; she’d swim a distance perfectly, then panic and flail in the water. She would also get worried if Sean and I were out too far in the water, and swim out to us.

Yesterday Sean made adobo. I finished two new books over the weekend, and am enjoying my last week before school and work yank me back into the real world.

Sean’s still looking for a different job. I wish he could find some sort of clerical or office job. The warehouse job leaves him so tired, and his skills with computers are wasted there.

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Rural Girl, Pt. II

I know I’ve said some harsh things about rural life. I’ve expressed all the negative things about living in my small, rural community: xenophobia, sexism, and religious fanatics.

You want to know the good things? Why does anyone live out in the middle of nowhere?

The food is a big part. Until I moved to Minneapolis at eighteen, I had never tasted a bad tomato. I didn’t know they COULD taste mealy, and like the water that fills their cells came from someone’s bladder. I also didn’t really grasp that they were available any other time than summer. I also didn’t know that you could…BUY tomato sauce. I thought everyone made their own. My mom makes the best, I must say. I spit out spaghetti the first time I tasted it with sauce from the store. I honestly thought it was rotten.

I might have not tasted real rice, cilantro, burritos, or adobo before moving to the metro area, but I have to say my palate was pretty well developed. I can identify different types of heirloom tomatoes by taste. I have sampled some of the finest organic produce, even if it was smothered in ketchup and sitting on tater tots! Haha!

You see, all this crap about the “Slow Food” movement, and “eating seasonally”…they’re what my family has always done. I remember anxiously anticipating cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers. I remember monitoring the strawberry patch for telltale red spots, and later doing the same for the raspberry bush.

Before I became a city girl, I didn’t know turkey could taste like a salted piece of cardboard. My family hunts wild turkeys. The flavour is unbelievably different.

I didn’t know anyone who didn’t know what a weed looked like, who didn’t know at least the bare fundamentals of gardening. Now? I actually met someone the other day who thought raspberries grow on trees! Hahaha!

I remember being surprised at the disgusting taste of store-bought potatoes, cucumbers, and especially, lettuce. I had never really eaten those from the store, you see.

I’m salivating and longing for the sweet taste of Wisconsin gardens (yes, eventually we break through the ice to briefly grow plants OUTSIDE).

Another thing to love about rural living? People really, really help one another out. Someone gets cancer? Their family doesn’t have to suffer financial ruin, because the local VFW, churches, school, and Girl Scouts have sponsored tons of events (mostly spaghetti dinners, pork raffles, and sometimes, bingo games) to offset their tragedy. Someone’s house burns down? That’s front-page news! (For the next couple months, honestly) Donations come pouring in. What people can’t afford to give monetarily, they give in time spent helping build a new house, expert advice, and countless casseroles.

I love going to my hometown during the summer. Almost everyone has some sort of flower in their front yard, and some people really go all out. Also, my family is always giving me bags of produce!

I miss the sound of the night there.  In all honestly, I think it’s probably louder than the Twin Cities at night. Once when we were there, Sean couldn’t sleep: “The birds won’t shut up! All sorts of shit is just buzzing around out there!” It also helped that my elderly terrier doesn’t like sharing me with anyone, and tried to bite and/or hump him every time he moved. Though really, I don’t see how that’s any different that sharing a bed with me normally.

Most of all, though, I miss seeing the stars. Light pollution in the city makes it really hard to see any but the brightest. One of my greatest memories is sitting on top of my car in a cornfield with my friend Andres, looking at the stars.  Andres, who lives in Medellin, Colombia, got spooked by the thought of aliens coming down and no one knowing how we had disappeared, so we booked it out of there. I got spooked, too, but I’m naturally afraid of the dark, and I didn’t grow up in a city known for its high murder rate. I mean, he recently got carjacked, with a gun put to his head, but he’s afraid of corn rustling?

Tsk, tsk.

Gives Me Chills

The Politics of Big Boobs

I have enormous breasts. 36E. No, that is not a typo. E, as in the letter after DD, and arguably, DDD. DDD never fits, even though it is supposedly the same size as E.

This bosom of mine has caused me pain. Physical pain in my back, neck, and shoulders. It has caused me pain in the way people perceive me because of their size.  A regular tank top  gets me hisses. A low-cut one gets me hoots and hollers of “Dannnnng Dose Some Big Titties.” Remember the “pencil test” in high school, where girls would stick a pencil under their breasts to test how perky they were? Evidently if the pencil stayed, your boobies were too saggy.

I could hold a whole pencil box.

I’ve had men compliment me on my vocabulary, surprised that I can string a sentence or two together. They seem to have the mindset of the bigger the boobs, the smaller the brain.

I’m not just calling out men, though. Women are just as bad about making assumptions. They are the ones hissing “slut.” They are the ones who make offhand comments about how my husband is with me for my breasts, that I got hired because of them.

Ha! I wish I could get hired because of them! In fact, I’m pretty sure they have hindered job interviews. These boobs of mine are right out there. They are confrontational. They DEMAND attention, even when I wear a turtleneck.  They present the wrong kind of image, one of a loose, motherly woman, perhaps, or when I was younger, a fast slut.

Grown men used to make lewd comments to 15 year old me, trying to proposition me. All sorts of preconceived notions come with this size, you know. Notions about what kind of background I’m from (white trash), my educational level (see prior category), my sexual orientation (If I don’t wear a bra I’m a lesbian. If I do wear a bra I’m a breeding anti-feminist, a slave to the patriarchy’s desires).

I wear glasses in part to make people take me seriously. I have always cultivated my vocabulary. I don’t wear makeup, and only recently have worn clothing that accentuates my body.

I think my breast size was a factor in the fact that I got raped. I think they sent the message that I was “asking for it.” I wasn’t. They weren’t sending that message. They aren’t sending any messages, unless they are in fact alien pods communicating with the mothership.  I didn’t ask for them to grow on my small frame, but I’m not going to beg to be treated respectfully. I’m going to demand.

Crapapalooza

I really am not as whiny as my blog makes me out to be.

In real life, I am described as “stoic”.

I come across as hard, detached, and stern.  Maybe it was my Lutheran upbringing, where ketchup is spicy and emotions are frowned upon. My family knows how to have a good time, but their idea of a good time usually involves sitting around talking about farm prices! Haha. Seriously, though, some of the best times I have ever had with my family have been on New Year’s Eve, when people get drunk and play Pictionary.  I see why so many from my community become alcoholics. It is the only time where emotions are acceptable.

Anyhow, I read an excellent book today while waiting for Sean to finish his placement tests: Outsiders Within

It is about transracial and transnational adoptees, their stories told from their fingers.  It felt good to feel validated, to read about the rage, sadness, and confusion that plagues other adoptees. It is not that I wish for them to feel that way, more a feeling of solidarity, of community.  I sometimes feel left out even from adoptee groups. The Korean Adoptee network is HUGE in Minnesota, and there is even a student group at the U of M for KADs. Unfortunately, it is for KADs only.

I am thinking of organizing an all-inclusive group for adoptees.  That will have to wait until after the bone marrow donor drive, which is proving to be a beast of a task to organize.  That’s what I’ll have to focus on for the next month or so.

Anyhow, what I meant was for this to be a short post. Fortunately, years of flute training have made me into quite the windbag.

To explain why I’m pathologically afraid of being stinky:

I lived across the street from a large field as a kid. A field that was spread with cow manure quite often. Kids at my school who came smelling of “farm” were often teased.

Hence, I often sniff myself and worry about smelling bad. Like somehow the manure smell followed me to the metro area.

Also, I don’t want to air ALL of my family’s dirty laundry on a website. If you want to know about my history with my adoptive family, just email me. I’ll tell you the whole sordid story.

Pissed

I have a meeting scheduled with someone I believe is my biological aunt.

I’m excited and nervous, even though it isn’t for another 2 weeks. A little part of me is pissed.

Okay, that’s a lie. A HUGE part of me is pissed. I don’t want to meet my AUNT, I want to meet my MOM.

My aunt has given me this little nugget: “I just want you to know my sister loved you when she was pregnant, and loved you after you were born.”

Thanks, I mean, that’s great and all, but I would really like to hear those words out of her mouth. People have been telling me that she loved me my whole life, but I don’t believe them.

Want to know the real reason I’m pissed?

I got discarded. Thrown away like a piece of trash. Because of that, I have a hard time forming relationships with people. Real, honest relationships. I tend to throw myself at people, to become whatever they want me to be, just to get a little affection, a little affirmation that I am a worthwhile person, that I’m not the garbage I am convinced I am.

Oh, I was too young to remember, right?

Funny how research now shows that babies need affection and attention right after birth. I was an incubator baby before they knew to touch incubator babies. As an incubator adult, I don’t know how to hug people. I stiffen and pull away. I don’t always know how to approach people. It’s not that I’m shy, exactly. I’ve gotten over the crippling shyness of my childhood. It’s more that I really can’t interpret people’s intentions toward me. I constantly question the state of my friendships, worrying that they really think I’m some sort of stinky weirdo. Well, stinky I can handle. Weirdo? Please, please, anything but that.

I’ve clung too long to relationships that are toxic, just because I can’t stand for people to leave. I cried until I was sick when each of my cats died.

I worry about my dog’s emotional health.

Do you see why I’m pissed? Irate? FUCKING MAD!

Part of me wants to totally fuck up the meeting, to go in there the bitter, angry adoptee I am. To say right out what everyone knows, but no ones says.

“If she loved me so much, why did she throw me away. If she couldn’t take care of me, what was wrong with YOU?! Now it’s convenient to let me back into the family. NOW I’m a smart, humourous, successful college student, not a premature baby with club feet.”

I won’t, though. I should be GRATEFUL, after all. That’s my natural state as an adoptee. I already feel the guilt coming on.