Ya can’t have it all, because all is an illusion

One of the greatest blessings I have had in my life was to know many women we would call senior citizens, some were family members like my beloved Granny and others were friends I made on my own. For some reason even as a child I enjoyed sitting around listening to older women talk, I suspect that was the universe preparing me for the fact that by the time I was really a grown woman, all these wonderful women would no longer be earth side. The universe made sure I got a heavy dose of elder wisdom in my late teens to mid-twenties and thankfully so much of what these women shared with me has stayed with me.

Another blessing granted most days I don’t see it as a blessing is losing my mom early in life; after all I would rather have her here. Yet between the many women who helped raise me and the death of my mother, I know that our time on this rock is short. Sure, we may get 70-90 years but in the grand scheme of things, our time here is just a blip. It was with that knowledge in my early 30’s that I changed my life plan not long after my mom’s death from reaching arbitrary goals on a list that I thought I had to accomplish to focusing on the shit that really matters to me. In the end my mom’s professional choices and life didn’t matter to me once she was gone but the moments and times we shared together are the memories I hold tenderly and share with my own kids. Funny thing is when we talk about my mom, her professional life never comes up.

When I came across The Atlantic piece on “Having it all” that is making the rounds, I almost skipped it, but I am glad that I read it. First off, how many times do we have to hear privileged women complaining that they can’t/don’t have it all? Don’t get me wrong, as a mom who has a job outside of the home in addition to the one in the house, I know it’s a constant juggling act. We do need a culture that is more attuned to modern day living and that doesn’t assume there is an adult at home that can grab the kids from school at 2:30pm. Granted the idea of making school days longer to accommodate our work days is scary to me. How about we flip that around…make the work day line up with the school day? After all how many hours at work are wasted in pointless meetings that frankly could be conducted using modern day technology?

What I really want to say though, why are we still searching to have it all? The truth is no one has it all. Not even men who many of us see as having greater flexibility to put their careers first. Spend some time with an old guy who put his career first when he is getting closer to the end of his life and more times than not you will meet a man with grave regrets. A man who realizes being the company man wasn’t worth what he ultimately gave up, connection to his family, friends and the stuff he thought he would eventually make time for. Hell, talk to anyone whose time is limited on this rock and one common theme you will hear is, I wish I would have made time for what was really important. (Most often, what was important was the family) No one ever wishes they had worked more. Death has visited my life more times than anyone at 39 should ever have to bear and I always hear the same thing.

Work is good, it can feed our souls as well as put much needed money in our pockets but rather than living to work, I would rather work to live. I want a world that values that desire, one that allows all parents to be a part of their kids’ lives as much as they desire without being forced to ever choose work over family. If we can ever get our collective heads out of our asses and recognize that work is only one part of living life, I suspect or at least hope that having it all will have value for all of us, not just some of us as it currently stands.  That we will have a world that knows having it all is not even feasible but instead balance that allows us all to live well.

No more bushes!

This post is probably best avoided if you are a blood relative of mine or a tad prudish.

Hey kids! It’s a New Year!  Now put that tree away, don’t worry about that extra five pounds you have gained from too much baking, it will come off.  Let’s kick the year off right here in BGIM land by talking about bushes or shall I say the lack thereof. The other day I came across this piece in The Atlantic and well it left me stunned. If you have been with me for a while, you may remember this piece I wrote when I was contemplating the plunge and getting my first Brazilian wax. I never did follow up that piece, after all it seemed a tad awkward even by my standards to write about the process, but I will say I did it.

Yep, I paid $75 plus a tip to get scalding hot wax smeared over my nether regions and ripped off with cloth strips. Turned out it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be, but I will say the process is ummmm, strange. I don’t know, usually when my nether region is that exposed and I am putting myself into positions, it means Mama is about to get happy. Now many women will tell you once you get a Brazilian, you will never go without one…hate to tell ya, BULLSHIT! Sure it’s an interesting feeling and yeah you do notice a difference when you are getting your sex on, but the reality for me it simply wasn’t worth adding that type of expense to my budget. I mean shit, I already have to wax, my eyebrows, upper lip and occasionally spot work on the chin and neck. Sorry, that’s enough regular waxing just to make sure I don’t start looking like that scary clerk at the local grocery store who proudly rocks her stache.

Now after I took the plunge, I asked the Spousal Unit what he thought about the whole Brazilian thing and he was basically of the mind, that sure it’s nice but no need to do it monthly or even quarterly for him. I mean we are adults here, but he’s been getting my goodies all these years and the goodies are the same whether I am bald as an eagle or a hairy lioness.

Well based off The Atlantic piece, it’s a good thing we are a couple of old heads. Apparently today’s young man does not appreciate a woman with hair in her nether regions. To paraphrase some of the thoughts expressed by men, a woman who isn’t bare down there is seen as weird. Really? It’s weird to have hair in an area that traditionally has hair? Of course young women aren’t exactly fighting the sentiment when they express that being bare in their nether region makes them feel more attractive. In almost 39 years on this rock, the state of my pubic hair has never had much impact on how I felt about myself. In fact any time I have been in a deep mental or emotional funk, my pubic hair situation had zero bearing on the situation.

I admit even before I read this piece I occasionally found myself thinking about this, but unlike college kids or younger women, most gals in my age group aren’t necessarily talking about the state of their pubes with one another. Hell, until one of my besties a die-hard feminist who often railed against the idea of being bare down there, took the plunge and was so surprised about how much she liked it, I never gave it a second thought. I do know that since I wrote the piece a while back, I have heard from a few gals in my age demographic on the matter. In my small very unscientific sample, women either are Brazilian devotees or frankly pretty repulsed by the whole thing. I haven’t heard from too many who fall into my take it or leave it camp.

I admit the thing about Brazilians as routine that bugs me is that it feels like it places yet one more unrealistic expectation on women. Can we talk cost? Look, these things aren’t cheap, even here in Maine, the cheapest Brazilian will cost you $40, and basically you are taking a risk. The cheapest ones are offered at the Asian nail salons, where every time I go to get a pedicure, I notice the same dingy looking towel on the table as I walk pass the waxing room. I don’t know about you, but I am not stripping down and laying my bare ass on a less than sanitary table all to have a bare vulva. Never mind the fact that at my local nail shop the language barrier sometimes means my foot soaking water is the wrong temperature, I am either freezing my tootsies or being scaled.

Why is it, men don’t have silly unrealistic burdens put upon them when it comes to their bodies? A man get older, develops a paunch, loses his hair and he gets to be himself and probably can still get a woman if he is reasonably attractive with a personality and some teeth. Yet let a woman get a little gray, develop a little potbelly and have some hair on her vulva and she might as well just snuggle up to her Hitachi Magic Wand.

Maybe I am just in a cranky mood, but the fact that younger women play along with these ridiculous standards created by the media and men, just piss me off. It’s one thing to do what you want to your body because it’s something you want. In other words if you like to be bare, go for it! But if fear of a man ridiculing your body or judging it when you are willing to share your deepest self is what keeps you tethered to hot wax, I say bullshit!