Tag Archives: acceptance

marketing, mommy blogs, and cuss-pot soup

Today was a day destined for book marketing. I spent the whole day trying to figure out how I could get my latest ebook into the hands of the parents who need it. The target audience is all parents, regardless of whether their children are gender non-conforming or not, so how tough can that be? The book is really just a reminder about unconditional acceptance of your children, so I figured I’d go out and buy a little advertising in parent communities.

So there I am, out there surfing the interwebs looking at mommy blogs and checking out parent magazines—and the more I read, the more I realize—I’m in trouble. I mean, big trouble. Who are these parents in these magazines? Who are these moms that can clean a 4-bedroom house in 20 minutes, put in a full day at the office, and then prep a 7-course meal before hubby gets home—all the while blogging about it with a set of twins dangling from her breasts? Is that fiction? I also came across an entire parenting blog dedicated to storage. Um, OK, what? I mean, I can sort of see how organization might be catchy, but is that real life? Do these people actually live like that? Because if that’s my audience, I’m not going to sell shit.

I’m not a twenty-something perk-fest who smiles in her sleep and spends her days engaged in home-made crafts for her curious toddlers, and then spends her evenings mapping out the storage of lego pieces in colour-coded bins. I actually want to slap mothers with that kind of energy and committment across the face. Hard. The kind of slap you only see in old movies when someone is acting hysterical.

slapping

I’m gritty. I’m the kind of mother who scares other mothers. I’m aggressively unfancy and  socially handicapped by severe facial expressions. I blame the children for my deep scowls and twitchy temper. Yes, I said it. I’m not ashamed. It’s their fault. I was a beautiful woman once.

I kept a clean house once too. I think. Well, fairly clean. No, actually, I mean tidy. And that was only for about 10 minutes in 1996. Now, I name the dust bunnies that scoot across the hardwood floors when I enter a room. There are fingerprints on my mirrors that read like a childhood growth chart and yes, there is a styrofoam container in the back of my fridge with takeout from a restaurant that closed 2 years ago.  I do laundry on the schedule of mom-I-don’t-have-any-clean-underwear and I wash dishes when I run out of spoons. That’s gritty living right there.

I also cuss in front of my children and have been known to walk around in ratty underpants. I spend one hour a week fangirling over the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries—during which the only interruption I would allow is an air raid siren signalling the onset of the zombie apocalypse—and then for 15 minutes after the show while I have inappropriate daydreams about the Salvatore brothers. I’m not proud, but that’s the reality.

I’m a loud, moderately controlling, socially awkward, opinionated cuss-pot. I’m not the perfect parent, but I’m the perfect parent for them. We exist together happily. (Most of the time, anyway.) You won’t find organization, clean towels, or a place to sit in my house that isn’t covered in crystalized dog spit. But there’s laughter, love and acceptance here. If you don’t have that in your home, buy my ebook. (Or share it with someone you know.)

#grittymoms rule. 🙂

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Awesome, parenting

The secret transgender games

The older I get, the less patience I have. Or is it less tolerance? Maybe it’s both. Let me clear something up…

I’m just your every day Jane. I work for a living and raise my family pretty much like everyone else. I have bills to pay, dishes to do, and dog poo to pick up.  The fact that my daughter is transgender is kind of a non-issue. We help others when we can, with questions, suggestions for resources and those sorts of things, but we don’t have a show that we take on the road or anything like that. We’re not this odd entity that is different from the rest of the families who are working for a living and picking up dog poo. There are no secret transgender games going on behind our closed door. Disappointing, I know.

transgender-cereal

We are not keeping secrets from you (unless you’re the government and/or I owe you money), and there is no mysterious secret transgender life. You see, there is nothing really to tell. Unless you want to hear about how we argue over her lack of time-management skills with homework assignments, or how I’ve asked her for the 1,oooth time to pick up those dirty clothes, or maybe you’re interested in the endless hours she’s logged creating a virtual world in the Sims4?  Sound kind of teenagerish? That’s because it is.

She goes to school every day. It’s a regular public highschool. It’s not a school for the transgender. She wears 16-year-old clothes—jeans, leg warmers, sweaters, t-shirts, boots with heels higher than I would like—the kind that were bought at a regular old store. Not a store for the transgender. Sometimes she wears her hair up in a ponytail clip that we got at Walmart. Not the Walmart that is specifically for transgender, but the one just down the road—it’s closer. She occasionally wears cola-flavoured Chapstick, not the transgender flavoured kind. (I think that might be a special order item anyway.)

trans cake

And while we don’t play the transgender games, there are folks around us that are constantly trying to suck us in to theirs, but we resist. We refuse to let others define us.

Last week a new student started at my daughter’s school for semester 2. She is also a transgender girl and the teachers (in their infinite wisdom) thought the two should meet.

You know, because they’re the same.

Oddly though, they don’t introduce dark-skinned students to each other. Something like, “Hey Tyrone.. yeah, come meet our new student DeShawn, he just transferred here and you two should meet because, well, you’re both black.

wtf face

Also, I’m pretty sure there are a couple of kids with diabetes that go to the very same school and they have yet to be introduced.  An oversight maybe? And while I’m dragging you down into this hot mess of politically incorrect fuckery—do I even need to mention the plus-sized students? They certainly don’t get pulled aside to meet each other. Well, obviously, ’cause that’s just plain wrong.

Here’s the thing. Don’t label us. Actually, don’t label anyone. I know you’re trying to do a good thing, your heart is in the right place. But sometimes one step forward… is two steps back. Focus on making our communities a safe, positive space that is inclusive for everyone. Different skin colours, religions, and yes, those with diabetes (those poor souls) and the trans, and non trans, and yes, those struggling with weight issues… ’cause we’re all mixed up in this great big world together. Let people seek out other people on their own terms. And because they have more things in common than some label thrust upon them through social cataloging.

I may just be grouchy today, but, whatever. (Oh, and apologies to all of the Tyrones and DeShawns out there… you don’t have to be friends.)

8 Comments

Filed under Awesome, parenting, transgender, world news

the mother of all things—acceptance

Last night I was lucky enough to be able to speak to a large group of students studying Social Sciences at McMaster University.  I’ve done many public speaking gigs before, so the size of the audience wasn’t intimidating, it was the nature of the lecture that I found paralyzing. I stood before them not as a business woman—but as a mother.

As with everything that is to be taught and learned in our lives, I behooved these students to be as objective as they could be, while listening to a subjective story-teller whose passion was animated enough to convince them the sky was green.  I was speaking from personal experience and the subject matter was the single most important thing in my life. My children; one of whom is a transgender girl.

I stood before them explaining that throughout time, nature has given us two kinds of mothers. There are those mothers who will stop at nothing to protect their young, or the young of others. And then there are those who will abandon or eat their own young.  I reduced this battle of altruistic versus egoistic behaviour to it’s simplest—without getting into a philosophical debate with regard to perspectives of the beneficiary—as the basis for my introduction.  Although, in person… I’m not quite as refined. I can never remember, is it always cuss in front of the students or never cuss in front of the students?

the mother

So what kind of mother am I?  I’m a T. Rex.  Top of the food chain, baby.

I explained that in no way was I faulting the mothers who abandon their young.  They are the opposite side of the maternal coin in a tricky balance of nature. In earlier periods, this behaviour was self-preservation from the world they lived in; where predators of all sizes loomed above them.  With mortal danger imminent, they would sacrifice their young to save themselves.  And, although the nature of those dangers have long since disappeared for us humans—the evolution of this continued fear of “being eaten alive” by predators has perpetuated the fight or flight mothering divide.  Abandon your young to save yourself.

Humans could not have survived in nature without the charity and reciprocity of a group or individual. For the young that have been kicked out of the nest, that’s where these students will come in. One day they will be part of the necessary support system that will show these individuals that altruistic behaviour does exist.  They will help these people understand that they are loved, accepted and necessary—regardless of the reasons they were abandoned by their mothers.  The mother’s choice to abandon is ALWAYS about the mother.

acceptance

Part of the adaptation into a happy and “normal” lifestyle for all those condemned as different will be based on how they are treated.  How we react to the needs of our youth—right here and now today—will set precedents for future generations.  Do NOT segregate people into boxes of conformity. Do NOT place labels of identification on our young that will later be used for discriminatory injustices against them—and Do NOT fix what isn’t broken. (Can I get a hells yeah?)

This is the opportunity to re-define “normal” and trip the natural balance to praise the uniqueness of ALL people, instead of pointing fingers at the differences. Let “normal” become the outcast.  Burst forth into your lives with passion and focus your educated eyes of therapy on those who need it—the mother who abandoned her young and the judgmental predators who stalk her.

abandon

Many thanks to Will Rowe of The Well, who invited me to speak to the students and also for all that he does in his work in social services and support of youth.  The force is strong my friend, the future is ours.

8 Comments

Filed under non-fiction, parenting, transgender, world news