Winter Women

 

Summer sylphs repel me,
Slip away as though they were never a certainty.
I prefer winter women,
Fat with autumn and
Soft as snowfall
Their bodies as deliberate as shadow,
As lovable and mysterious as cloud.

Advertisements

Chasing Accolades

All my life I have been ambitious. My ambitions have changed a few times, but I always have them. Being a wife and mother was always on my list of goals, but I have always avoided the thought that motherhood might be my only job. How we define ourselves as women has changed over the past 40 years, and now many women don’t derive enough satisfaction from their own lives. They need careers and ministries and awards and promotions to feel full, to feel satisfied.

I have given up my goals of becoming a professor and of being the worship arts leader at a church, but I still have dreams. I long to get a second chapbook published, as well as a full length book of poetry. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with dreams and ambitions. But my fulfillment and satisfaction should come from my God-ordained roles as wife and mother. I am reading a book called Girl Defined. For the most part it is written for younger women, a book I will save for my daughter. But in it the authors do pose some interesting questions that have given me much to ponder.

Why do I feel so strong a need to get published, and how will I feel if I don’t get published? If my poetry is good it is good whether anyone publishes it or not. If my poetry is bad it is bad whether anyone publishes it or not. And there have been many good poets that went unpublished and there have been many bad poets published.  Most importantly, I can enjoy writing poetry whether anyone publishes me or not.

Poetry is an act of  communication, so it is natural to want readers. But I have my blog for that, and I value each and every visitor and comment.

But underneath a healthy desire for communication with other people, is a culturally instilled sense of inferiority. In our culture it is not enough to be a wife and mother. Rather than being purely motivated to share my art as an act of sharing beauty with the world, I am also motivated by competitiveness, and a deep-seated need for worldly approval. In someone who is not a Christian, such an attitude can lead to messed up priorities and low self esteem. Ditto for Christians, but it is also completely unacceptable. Our highest calling (with the exception of childless women or women gifted with singleness) is as wives and mothers. Being a wife is enough. Being a mother is enough.

It is fine for women to have ambitions. It is okay to have hopes and dreams outside family life. But family life should always come first, and any ambitions should be held up to careful scrutiny. Does this goal glorify God? Am I striving for this to share beauty or wisdom or knowledge with the world, or to exalt myself? Accolades are not bad, but should never be the goal.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is that it’s okay to have dreams for the future as long as those dreams for the future don’t arise from dissatisfaction with the present. In all things we are supposed to give thanks to God. My problem is that I am chasing satisfaction where I should not be. I should be wholly grateful for my life at home with my family. I should not let the world’s definition of success define me.

Pro Ana Eating Disorder Websites, AKA Thinspiration

Olivia

 

Bridges of rubber band

of twine                                               do not bend under your emptiness

the handsomeness of starvation, of Ana has you blind.

She is a surgeon

She will remove you piece-mail.

I am collecting the hair that falls exhausted from your head,

to bind a textbook,

a book I will write in your name about control

having it and losing it and needing it

and the freeing beauty of being human, of need, the pleasantry of a satisfied hunger.

Let shame bleed out under the table.

This is your body. This thinly flowing soup your blood.

 

This is our last supper.

Dine.

*There was a time in my life where I used to pour over pro Ana, thinspiration websites. I bookmarked pictures of girls so thin their bones would show and would use those photographs as inspiration not to eat the next time I was hungry. The pro anorexia world is dark, lonely, and evil and I feel pain for the girls and women who are lost in its vortex.

I am on the Spectrum

I’ve never written about this before, but I am on the Spectrum – the autism spectrum. Autism often presents itself differently in females than in males, because women learn to mask it and copy social cues from other people better than most men do.

As a kid I would do what is called finger posturing, which is similar to hand flapping. Sometimes I would contort my hands in weird shapes for hours. As I got older I learned not to do it in front of other people, but the drive to stimulate or “stim” as autistic people call it, with my hands was still there.

I have other stims too. It is common for people on the spectrum to listen to the same song over and over again, or even the same 20 second section of a song, because it stimulates them. I’ve been doing this for years. I can play one song hundreds of times. My music library is small but well played.

Although I love feminine things like makeup, I have a hard time relating to other females and I always have. Autism is said to be an extreme male brain, and as a child I used to say I had a guy’s brain.

Special interests are important to most people on the spectrum, especially those on the high functioning end that until recently was called Asperger’s. I have always had special interests. In elementary and middle school I used to spend summer breaks researching history online all day long. As an adult, I still research certain parts of history meticulously, like art history and marriage. I’ve also always had collections. As an adult I collect Swarovski crystal figurines. As a child I collected toothpicks from Friendly’s. The staff actually knew me and would ask what color toothpicks I wanted when my family would come in.

I have a lot of anxiety and I get overstimulated, which is common in people on the spectrum. If I don’t get enough sensory input I get anxiety, but if I get too much I get overwhelmed and have an anxiety attack. The quiet dark is my friend.

Making friends has always been a struggle. I don’t relate to other people, particularly other females, that naturally. I’ve also been so obsessed by my special interests that it has sometimes been hard to connect with other people that aren’t interested in the same things. I’ve often preferred books to people.

I’m a poet, and that is actually commonly noted among high functioning females with autism. They like to write and they especially like poetry.

When I was a child, my mother suspected I was autistic and took me to the doctor. Many doctors were called in to look at me and it was obvious something was wrong given what I was doing with my hands, but in those days doctors were even worse at detecting autism in females than they are today, and no one knew what was wrong. So they sent my parents home with no help and no guidance, and throughout my childhood it damaged my relationship to my parents because they had normal child expectations of me but I was not normal. I used to get in trouble for being in the shower too long, but the problem was I’d get in the shower and start stiming and I’d forget where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. I was a hard child.

Now more information is coming out about autism in females and how overlooked it is and the info is right out there on the internet and it is pretty much certain that I’m autistic. This is a long, but only partial, list why. I’m approaching my doctor about it and she seems like she thinks I might be as well. In doesn’t change the past, but it does change the future. Maybe I can look at myself with more love. I’ve been wired differently since birth (I was stiming in my crib as a baby) and I’m just a little different. Finding out I’m autistic answers so many questions I’ve always had, helps me understand myself better, and can maybe help me be more okay being just myself.

Enter

The hot tub is a cauldron of desire.

You slake my thirst for you in the dark

while the neighbors burn in their beds.

The Saturday thrill and Sunday chill

of you sliding my bikini bottoms off,

undoing my top

makes a furious steam.

Enter.

You own this place.