Poetry: “Real Love”

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Real Love

I choose to soften

to feel your lips

on the curve of my neck

every so often

 

though now I am alone in bed

curled up and warm

on the side by the door

reading a book instead.

 

You accept me whole

when you can

being a man

not like the Mother.

 

Sometimes I realize her

like my love for you

though I shift and slide

in her muddy wet hands.

 

I hope to receive you

with white-flagged courage

in ecstatic glimpses

of the eternal truth:

 

I have what I lack

present in each moment

like the safety of your strong thick hands

on the small of my back.

Art: Early Drawings

I rarely tell people this, but when I was young, I was on track to become a visual artist. I studied drawing in high school and was accepted early-admission to a prestigious art college (VCU).  I chose to focus on the performing arts instead, and now my artistic skills are rusty and undeveloped. But I am determined to get back into it. The following drawings are from my early teens when I was just getting started. I’m revisiting them so I can get myself inspired to learn how to draw again.

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Why I Quit Yoga, Part 2

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Predators, Hypocrites, and Weirdos, Oh My

The yoga community is similar to other religious communities in that there exists a moral hypocrisy that I find intolerable. I experienced it first-hand while living in Los Angeles and attending various yoga events, including workshops, kirtans, pujas, retreats, and other spiritual gatherings. Initially, I was impressed by what seemed to be an inclusiveness and egalitarianism in the community. Yoga teachers were motivated by love and compassion and espoused transcending the lust for status, power, and sex to ultimately achieve enlightenment. The yoga community was like a safe haven, where no one could be hurt, only healed. I entered the yoga scene vulnerable and hoping for all this to be true, but I eventually learned that was a facade.

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Why I Quit Yoga

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photo from http://www.liberalrev.com/?p=5854

Yoga studios in America are ubiquitous. Lululemon-clad yogis have overtaken our cities and gyms with their pseudo-spiritual form of exercise. I used to be one of them, and I still have an impressive stash of Lulu gear to prove it.

But over time, I’ve realized that yoga is not for me. First, I became turned off by the yoga “scene” and the new age weirdos that thrive in it (though there are tons of lovely people involved in the yoga community as well). Second, I became tired of all the recovery periods I had to take because of yoga injuries. I also felt like I was never flexible enough to get the most out of the yoga poses, and that the two-minute meditation (savasana) portion of the class was never long enough to be meaningful. Ultimately, I discovered a more effective way to get fit, a more grounded group of friends, and a deeper way to practice mindfulness.

Below is a more in depth look at why after 8 years of practice, I turned my back on yoga:

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My Decision About Kids

While these past several posts may seem focused on only the negatives of having children, I do believe that being a parent can be one of the most rewarding and positively life-altering experiences a person can have. Studies may reveal that kids won’t make us happy on a daily basis, but they will undoubtedly give us a sense of purpose, and isn’t that more important anyway?

Our children will compel us to grow as people and face the parts of ourselves that could use development. They will teach us about patience, compassion, and unconditional love. There are other paths in life that can inspire people to develop in these ways, but being a parent is one of the few routes that requires complete commitment and is (hopefully) motivated by love.

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What To Consider Before Having A Kid Part 5

Ethical Concerns

Nurture: Are you fit to be a parent?

When you go to adopt a child in the U.S., the adoption agency will first do a background check to see that you are eligible to be an adoptive parent. In order to qualify, you must first meet the age and income requirements. Then you will be put through a licensing process that entails the following:

  • A completed Resource Family application
  • State, federal, and local criminal history checks for all adult household members

  • Child abuse record information background checks for all adult household members

  • Comprehensive psychosocial evaluation

  • Reference checks (personal, medical, employment, school/child care center) for all members in the household

  • Pre-service training for resource family applicants

  • Life-safety inspection

  • Interviews with household members

  • Review of required documentation

  • Life-safety inspection

Even the ASPCA requires that you meet certain criteria before you adopt a dog or cat. To qualify, you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license, and have permission from your landlord. They also have an extensive application that asks you about your employment history, pet ownership history, landlord’s phone number, your daily work schedule, and more.

If a license is required to become an adoptive parent to a person or animal, why is our society so adverse to requiring licenses, or at least some sort of screening, for birth parents? Currently, our society operates on the assumption that we have the right to reproduce without government (or any other) interference. But we’ve all seen parents who behave in ways towards their children that make you cringe and think “they should have not been allowed to have kids.” But procreation in our country goes unchecked, and you end up with some parents who are responsible and deserving of the task, and other parents, like Nadya Suleman, who feel no shame in bringing 10 children into the world as a single mom dependent on welfare.

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What To Consider Before Having A Kid Part 4

Psychological Concerns

Kids Won’t Make You Happy

If you thought that having kids would be mostly a joy with some stressful moments, you have it backwards. There is an abundance of research showing that parents are less happy than their childless peers. The Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman surveyed 909 working Texas mothers and found that they enjoy parenting just about as much as housework, exercise, and preparing food. On a day to day basis, mothers aren’t happy taking care of their children. They are stressed and tired, and fathers aren’t faring much better.

Generally, mothers are unhappy because they have no time for themselves and are overloaded with chores. And fathers are unhappy because they feel sex-starved, neglected by their wives, and guilty that they don’t get to spend enough time with their kids. Consequently, marriages suffer because of disagreements over the kids as well as the endless responsibility, worry, fatigue, and financial strain of having dependents. Every time I read another article depicting the crushing reality of parenting, I wonder why all my friends with kids are encouraging me to join the club. Are these parents truly happy or does misery love company?  Continue reading

What To Consider Before Having A Kid Part 3

Logistical Concerns

It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have a village helping us raise our kids. We don’t even have government support like France or Canada. Some people are lucky to have family nearby, but many don’t and either have to move closer to family or rely on professional help if they can afford it.

My husband and I don’t have family within 1700 miles of us (which is how we prefer it). If we had a kid, we would most likely hire a nanny and additional babysitters for date nights. But we would have to be careful how much time our kid spends with the nanny or daycare, because too much time away from the mother, especially in the first year, can have detrimental effects on a child’s cognitive and behavioral development. Also, the quality of the childcare better be excellent, or else our child will suffer a worse outcome later in life.

Once my kid is a year old and off the breast, I’d want to get back to writing full-time. This would not only be best for my career, but also my mental and physical health. But that would mean that I would have to live by a strict schedule and give up some of my hobbies, such as photography and ballet classes. Here is a sample of what my daily schedule might look like if my child was a toddler, and I had a part-time nanny (20 hours a week):  Continue reading