My kiddo is biologically male, but when kids ask him if he’s a boy or girl, he says, “I’m me. I’m a person.” Kids, however, don’t accept this answer and pester him to the point of tears. I don’t know how to tell him the difference between boys and girls, or if I want to tell him that there is a difference at all (besides anatomically).
How do you explain gender to a four-year-old?
During yoga last night, I was instructed to look inward, to close my eyes and only see myself. To look inward toward myself for satisfaction. I spent the entire hour with my eyes closed just doing what felt right in my body and not trying to compete with the girl on the mat next to me. That simple choice to keep my eyes closed and look inward was incredibly awakening. It inspired me.
It happens all the time. Someone will look at me, ask for my name, and I’ll panic. What is my name here? My doctor and my library know me as Ms. My-Last-Name. Our dog groomer and favorite restaurant know me as Mrs. His-Last-Name. My bank knows me as both. And at some point, my gym changed my name to match my husband’s, but I forget and give them the wrong name every time. Who am I this time?
My daughter wanted a “fairy princess birthday party,” so I was making wands out pink glitter-glue and pipe cleaners and cutting the crusts off fairy bread while obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed for more news about the extent of Weinstein’s depravity. The invitation to her party was a photo of my daughter wearing a tutu and crown, Photoshopped to make it look like it appeared in the pages of a storybook. She loved it.
After the invitation went out, I received messages RSVPing to the party, but they also asked a question, the same one over again: “Are you okay with this?”
What’s the thing that you MOST identify with? If you had to pick one quality that most defines who you are and everything you do, what would it be? And then what’s the opposite? And then what if YOU’RE TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT THAT?!
Here’s the favorite thing I learned at my midlife crisis workshop…
Halloween may be a day permitting mitigated inhibitions, but our ethical responsibilities do not get a day off. I speak on this point as someone personally guilty of this specific kind of oversight. At one point in my young adult life, I costumed-up for the holiday as a cultural stereotype, and to this day I look back at what should be cute pictures of fun memories, but instead… I cringe at my offensive choice (and rightly so). I am guilty of perpetuating the social norm that appropriating cultures to which we do not belong and of whose complexities we do not comprehend is somehow acceptable.
Defying gender binaries with Alok Vaid-Menon — a gender non-conforming writer, performer, & fashion icon
Alok feels that the concepts of masculinity and femininity shouldn’t have relevance in this day and age. “We need to be much more colorful, expansive, and precise about what we mean rather than defaulting into ideological catchalls that do more harm than good,” he tells me.
Being that Alok is a person of color, I wonder if they feel that ethnicity/race ties into the equation in a meaningful way. Their reply is so profound that I’m still sort of reeling from it…
Hedonists are labeled as greedy pleasure-seekers with no moral compass. But that’s such an archaic stereotype! In fact, the Church’s Seven Deadly Sins (lust, pride, sloth, greed, envy, wrath, gluttony) are basic human feelings that, as a hedonist, I feel we shouldn’t be shamed for.