Princess Leia

T, “Mommy? Is Princess Leia your favorite?”

Me with deadly seriousness that should have served as a warning, “Why would Princess Leia be my favorite?”

T blithely unaware that he was inserting a knife into my heart, “Because she’s a girl!” He twisted the knife, “And a princess!”

Jesus fucking christ, where, oh where did I go wrong with this child?

“No. Princess Leia is not my favorite. Listen, dude. I don’t like people because they are girls. That is ridiculous. Just like I hope you don’t like people because they are boys. You would be missing out on so much. I don’t even like princesses. I don’t want to be a princess. Honestly, Leia is really cool. But she isn’t cool because she is a girl. She is cool because she keeps a level head in really tough situations and she doesn’t need anyone to save her, she can save herself. Dude, she kills Jabba the Hutt.”

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For several years T’s favorite color has been purple. Suddenly he doesn’t like purple anymore. I asked him why. “Purple is a beautiful color. I don’t like beautiful colors. I like cool colors. Like black.” Yes, black is his new favorite color.

He doesn’t play with the girls in his class. He and his friends tell the girls that they are not allowed to play with them outside.

The gender role shit is coming from our culture fast and furious and there are not enough episodes of Doc McStuffins in the universe to stem the tide.

I’m frustrated and pissed off and really sad. But I’m not going to give up. I am going to question him every time he wants me to be the only girl when he plays Jake and the Neverland Pirates. I am going to push back when he assumes that the token girl in any piece of pop culture is my favorite. I am going to teach him about the Bechdel test. Both Z and I will show him it is fine to show emotion, to cry, to be affectionate. Just like it is fine to be strong and rough and tumble. We will teach him that everyone has all of those qualities inside them. That those qualities are not gender specific.

And we will be loud about it. We will be constant and unrelenting. We will have to be in order to compete with the messages he will get from school, from friends, from advertising and the media and pop culture. We will be fighting to teach him that women don’t need to fight amongst themselves to fill the single role of token female or girlfriend availible in a movie. Forget about in a movie, real life–in a workplace or group of friends. That women can actually take up more than 50% of those roles being they are more than 50% of the population.

I know that his exploration of gender norms is completely normal. I know a lot of people consider it to not be a big deal at all. But you know what? It shouldn’t be normal. It is a big deal to me, and I believe it should be a big deal to everyone. And normal or not it isn’t going to fly in our family.

boy with curl

This fetching curl hung out below his eye during dinner tonight. Man, I would kill for hair like his.

quiet C

C has been having a rough couple of days in the behavior department. This is the calm between the tantrums.

gray and white

Silhouette.

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A Little Advice For Fellow Crazies

Last weekend I finally got to see Silver Linings Playbook. I’d read the book which captured the feeling of being out of control crazy so well. Reading is my drug, my escape from reality. I’ve been obsessive about it since I learned how. And I can still become completely lost in a world on the page. In fact, when the real world became to hard to deal with as a kid, when the anxiety issues were developing I escaped to the worlds inside books because they made me feel safe. Um, perhaps not the healthiest reason to become a voracious reader, but still way better than a heroin addiction or alcoholism.

This is probably low-brow sacrilege, but for me it is less about the quality of writing and more about if the author has been able to perfectly capture a piece of what it means to be human. Did I enjoy Twilight? Hell yeah. Was I kind of horrified and embarrassed by the writing? Yup. But getting caught up in the love story, no matter how stupid it was, enabled me to get over the painful prose. I’m a big rereader and Twilight doesn’t make the cut in that department. The Harry Potter series will be read by me for the rest of my life. I’ll return to Ann Patchett’s world, or Geraldine Brook’s, or Michael Chabon’s, or John Steinbeck’s. The beauty of the writing doesn’t matter to me, the beauty of the story does.

Um, sorry. Major tangent. Back to Silver Linings Playbook…the movie was great. It wasn’t a particularly faithful adaptation, in fact the father character was completely different, but it still communicated that feeling of unbridled crazy in which you are making no sense, but feel like you are totally lucid. It scared me to remember living that, but made me feel better about where I am at the same time. Ok, things are bad right now. It is important to remember that they are nowhere near as bad as they were back when I had my breakdown. I mean, I know I’m being crazy. The problem with crazy people arises when they have no idea they are nuts.

Going to the movies was a good couple of hours, I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the hell out of Robert De Niro. But here’s the thing, folks. And I’m not giving anything away, but this is the story of two crazy people falling in love. I told one of my dearest friends about it, someone who also deals with the crazy and he immediately knew what I was talking about. “Oh no.” he said. “There can’t be two crazy people together. That’s breaking the rules.” And it’s true. Every crazy person knows you can’t be in a relationship with another crazy person. You just can’t. Because….that is bat shit crazy. It’s in the handbook we get when we are welcomed into the club. There needs to be one person in touch with reality at all times in a relationship. If you are the only crazy do you run the risk of always being the bad guy? Might the whole world pity your spouse for what s/he puts up with? Yes. So…speak up for yourself. Being crazy doesn’t make your partner right all the time. Your illness isn’t an excuse for that other person to not work at the relationship. No matter how bad things get your husband (or whatever) is not your parent. But two crazy people? That is just fucking insane.  Good movie, though.

Yes, please find someone who is completely and totally normal.

T would spend all day every day getting tickled if he could. It is really rather strange.
All of a sudden he isn’t a baby anymore. Not sure I’m comfortable with that.