(CNN) — My daughter occasionally goes on a hugging and kissing strike.
She’s 4. Her parents could get a hug or a kiss, but many people who know her cannot, at least right now. And I won’t make her.
“I would like you to hug Grandma, but I won’t make you do it,” I told her recently.
“I don’t have to?” she asked, cuddling up to me at bedtime, confirming the facts to be sure.
No, she doesn’t have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn’t have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me. I will not override my own child’s currently strong instincts to back off from touching someone who she chooses not to touch.
I figure her body is actually hers, not mine.
It doesn’t belong to her parents, preschool teacher, dance teacher or soccer coach. While she must treat people with respect, she doesn’t have to offer physical affection to please them. And the earlier she learns ownership of herself and responsibility for her body, the better for her.
(More at the source.)
Look how your children grow up. Taught from their earliest infancy to curb their love natures — restrained at every turn! Your blasting lies would even blacken a child’s kiss. Little girls must not be tomboyish, must not go barefoot, must not climb trees, must not learn to swim, must not do anything they desire to do which Madame Grundy has decreed “improper.” Little boys are laughed at as effeminate, silly girl-boys if they want to make patchwork or play with a doll. Then when they grow up, “Oh! Men don’t care for home or children as women do!” Why should they, when the deliberate effort of your life has been to crush that nature out of them. “Women can’t rough it like men.” Train any animal, or any plant, as you train your girls, and it won’t be able to rough it either.
Voltairine de Cleyre (via petitefeministe)
The best part of this essay is when she advocates for children to be brought up with no gender-role stereotyping, and gets in some not-so-subtle digs at heterocentricism and heterosexism in the process.
Did I mention this was written over a hundred years ago? Because it totally was.
- Everyone: Oh, Michelle, you're so funny.
- Baby, I know.
I’m just … I’m so beyond the point of caring about my job.
I’ve put seven years of my life into working for this company, first as a work study, then as a receptionist. That’s my entire adult life. For a year before that, I was a student, so technically, I’ve been here eight years. I’ve seen it go from a relatively small company that actually cared about its students and employees, so a shady, fucked up company that is so desperate for money, they will flat out lie to students and prospective students.
I work my ass off here. It doesn’t matter that I hate this place and all of my bosses, I can’t just sit on my ass twiddling my thumbs. It’s a thing. Yet, no matter what, it’s never enough. I very, very rarely get a “Hey, thanks, Michelle.” Even if it’s off-hand, I don’t get a thanks. I get a “Well, since you finished so much, could you take on the work of your coworker, who works twice as long during the week and gets half as much done?” There’s no appreciation for all the time and effort I’ve put into this place.
They know they have me stuck. They know that this is one of the few jobs that will let me work in the evening and give me my Fridays off so I can take classes. They think I would never quit because I could never get a job like this.
But the truth is, I’m at the point where my career (even if I am at the very beginning of it) is way more important. It’s more important to me to get a job that will allow me to swing my shifts around so I can take classes and be a part of plays. I’m at the point where a job at Starbucks or some fast food joint would benefit me ten times more than this shitty job.
I just … I don’t get it. It doesn’t matter how many times I go to them and tell them my workload is getting to be too much for a part-time position and that I am the only one up here at the front who does her work. It doesn’t matter that I have been the one constant in this department because the turn-around is so huge. No one cares because, as long as they can enroll as many students as possible, nothing else matters to them.
So yes. I’m giving up my nice office job to go work in a coffee shop. I don’t know what’s gonna happen from here, but it can’t be any worse than this.
I wanna fall in love.
And have it reciprocated.
I guess I should probably add that little bit in there.
Because I’ve been in love before, but the other party didn’t feel the same. So yes. I want to fall in love with someone who is falling in love with me.
You know, I noticed something. I tell people I’m picky and I think that automatically puts in mind the idea that I’m picky about looks. And that’s not it at all. I actually pride myself in the fact that I really do fall for people’s personalities. Like any hot-blooded human, I have looked at someone and felt attracted to their looks, but more often than not, I don’t feel anything for someone until I really know them.
Which would explain why it’s so hard for me to fall for people. Like I’ve said before, I’ve only reallyfallenfor people who I knew first, and I think the total comes to four. And that’s not a lot for twenty-seven years of life.
I used to say things like “I want the person I’m with to be taller than me, I want them to have scruff, I want them to have brown hair” and a myriad of trite, superficial requirements, but honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care if no one else in the world finds the person I fall in love with beautiful. I don’t care if they’re shorter, I don’t care if they’re taller, I don’t care if they’re awkward, I don’t care if they’re nerdy. All that I want is to fall in love with someone and if I find them beautiful, inside and out, nothing else in this world matters.
Okay. I have a confession to make.
I’ve never been kissed.
That’s weird, isn’t it? I probably shouldn’t admit to that, should I?
Oh, well. It’s out there now.
It’s not that I’ve never had the opportunity. I’m not hideous, I like to think I’m personable, and I’ve had people who were interested in me. The problem, I think, is that I’m very introverted. Very introverted. To the point where my persona as a receptionist at work and the person I am the minute I clock out are two completely different people.
People confuse me. Social situations drain me. Strange situations terrify me. These are all things I’ve come to terms with and learned to live with.
I’m not necessarily embarrassed by my lack of romance. I have no problem telling people that I have never been in a relationship. And maybe it’s easier for me because I am confident in who I am. I know that it’s not because I’m revolting, it’s not because no one wants to be with me. It’s a combination of social ineptitude and my being rather picky concerning partners. I can count on one hand the people who I’ve been willing to fully be with and most of them were in high school (which was, undoubtedly a very, very awkward time period for me), the other two being strange circumstances that didn’t allow for anything beyond a casual friendship.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. My age doesn’t seem to terrify me as much as it does others (“Aren’t you worried about hitting thirty in a few years?” “Don’t you want kids and a husband before you’re thirty?”) and I’m content for the time being.