My Mother’s Health, and a Small Origin Story

My mother has been diagnosed, partially, with necrotic liver abscesses.  The infection has been unresponsive to antibiotics, and the bacteria has been difficult to culture.  This is a painful and slow process for my mother as she goes on week two of her hospital stay.  Our hopes were raised when the doctor said that cancer could be ruled out as a participant of the attack on her liver, that she  could be discharged soon with at-home infusions via picc line to her heart, and that the infection would be beat within a matter of four weeks.  The next day, we found out more masses and necrotic spots were found on her liver, that cancer is still a probable cause, and that the infection has been immune to antibiotics.  She will not be going home for a long while.

It is the strangest thing, to see your mother in this state, and to see your father struggle with feelings  of helplessness.  I hold onto every bit of positive news we get, and I feel confident that my mother will be okay with the help of intensive treatment.  There is a certain clarity I experience when realizing the magnitude and mortality of my mother’s situation, as if I can channel the feelings she had for me when she was raising me, and finally understand them.

My mother had two sons eleven years prior to having me, with my father.  My father took on the responsibility of her preteen sons from another marriage, and was ecstatic to start his family with her.  Prior to having me, she was nearly killed by a failed pregnancy in which she carried twin fetuses.  She waited so long to complain about the pain of blood filling her abdominal and chest cavities that her doctor was shocked to see she was still  alive!  After further attempts to have children, all complicated by the fact that my dad had broken his pelvis in a terrible car crash and was told he would never walk or have children, and the fact that my mother had only one ovarian tube left after her miscarriage, I came along…  followed very quickly by my brother.  Thirteen months later quickly!

We started in a poor area in a trailer.  The plus side is that my brother and I had plenty of space to roam and we learned  to enjoy nature at an early age.  That wanderlust and curiosity almost ended us on a number of occasions, and yet my mother was always there to thwart fatality.

In one amazing display of a bonded connection to her children, my mother simply ‘felt’ that something was terribly wrong with my brother.  She got up from her desk, where she was busy sending bills and filing paperwork away, and ran to check on the children in the backyard.  My three year old brother, in all of his arsonistic glory, had managed to find a gas can and was carrying it to the bonfire my dad had set up to burn up excess brush from the yard.  If not for her intervention, I cringe to imagine the outcome.

Growing up, my mother was always supportive of my tomboyish ways.  She never once told me I should only play with my dolls, which I owned in abundance, or that I should stop pursuing my love of “boyish” things such as sports, video games, and Bugle Boy pants.  Clear into my teenage years, my mom encouraged me to trust myself.  The concept of trusting oneself, I feel, is lost on many young women.

With this concept, I was empowered to survive without the approval of boys or men.  I found it easy to reject unwanted advances, but unashamed to express myself.  She educated me, instead of shamed me, and I put that education to good use.  Because of her, I knew how to look for respect in a partner.  I married a good man after avoiding what would have been disastrous with ex-boyfriends.

I recall the period of my teenage life in which I insisted on wearing short skirts and revealing, edgy clothes.  My mother asked me once if I wanted to cover up, and I asked her why.  She told me it looked “uncomfortable”.  Again, she never shamed me, and because of that I respected my mind and my body.   She was right, too.  Those clothes were very uncomfortable and I learned how to dress reasonably, without sacrificing my sexuality.  In fact, I never had  to sacrifice my edge!

When I could not take the pressure of religion anymore, I came to my mother and we had that conversation.  I told her, fearful of hurting her feelings, that I simply did not believe in God the way Christians do.  I explained that the words in the bible gave me nightmares, that I love everyone, but that I could not resign to the oppression of the religion I was raised with.  My mother, after a few silent moments of thought, simply responded “That makes sense.”  I asked her, “Will I burn in hell?”  And she told me, “No, that’s an unnecessary fear.”

Unnecessary fears. She taught me to disregard those, even at the expense of her own deeply held belief system.

My mother taught me feminism as a plight for equality and not a weapon of oppression.  She taught me to think, question, and analyze.  She showed me how to respect myself and how to identify those who respect me.  Now I am the person I am today, and I’m so happy with that.  Is that not successful parenting?

Now, my mom has trouble with her own unnecessary fears.  The monumental burden of medical bills pending for her treatment has made her feel as if her life is not valuable enough to afford them.  Despite my dad’s lifelong work effort, my family has never had much to rely on in terms of savings due to numerous unfortunate circumstances ranging from healthcare to criminal exploitation.

If there is one thing I wish I could show her this Mother’s Day,  it is that she IS worth the price.  She deserves to live. And that’s why, for the first time in the history of anything, I ask for donations to afford the intensive treatment she needs.

Donate to Deborah Davis’s Medical Fund on GoFundMe

Click here to go to Deborah Davis's GoFundMe donation page.

My mother on my big day!

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The Indianapolis Star “Pets at Risk” Articles and The AVMA Response

I read the Indianapolis Star articles on “Pets at Risk” and the AVMA’s response, and after doing some more research, I am disappointed in the AVMA. Their response was emotional and although they accused the Indianapolis Star article of not citing enough experiences (personal experiences, maybe?) the article did cite a long list of pet symptoms/reactions to popularly prescribed drugs. The AVMA’s response did -not- cite any “experiences” to refute this, and instead said that they are waiting on a Reuters article with an alternate tone to follow up with. Not only does that seem lazy, it is very unconvincing.

Indianapolis Star articles: 
Article 1
Article 2

AVMA response:
AVMA Response Letter

Which doesn’t surprise me, actually. The AVMA feels offended because they read the article as an attack on veterinarians. I personally read the articles as an open question for information that is being withheld from pet owners, and as a simple warning to do something very logical: research and question the person you trust with your pet’s life, as you would with your own doctor!  Doctors for human patients will often tell you to seek a second opinion or do some personal research on what you are consuming and/or medicating with.

If they really feel it is offensive to call this idea into question, then that is a good reason someone might question the integrity of a veterinarian. Many veterinarians are professional, DO care about their patients and their human clients, and work very hard to secure happiness and health for your beloved pets.  These veterinarians do need to keep their business running, but will not over-prescribe or promote based off of kickbacks.  However, the reality is that, like with any human being in a position of medical authority, not all Veterinarians are 100% on board with putting your pet’s health as a top priority when money is being marketed to them in the form of product kickbacks.  In fact, it is legal in the veterinary industry to do this, but illegal in the human health industry!

Take into consideration that in my area, there are over twenty-five 24 Hour Vet Clinics and zero comparative clinics for human health. This alone should tell you how many veterinary clinics are out there, especially in places where owning animals is overwhelmingly common. The chance for at least ONE of them in a given area to be more concerned with the monetary kickbacks they receive from selling products like Science Diet or Trifexis is pretty high. To ignore this as even a potential problem is irresponsible and delusional.

I personally have had several negative experiences with money-focused veterinarians through out the course of my animal-raising lifetime. This is partly what lead me to want to become a veterinary technician and go to school for it. I felt that I could do better than charging a child on their birthday $300 for a beloved pet’s euthanasia that cost the clinic a total of $20 (maybe $50 for the room in the freezer for the corpse and disposal of the body). I felt that I could better explain to a mother of four, busy but concerned for her dog, that the reason she had to sign a release form for the use of anesthesia during a routine neutering was not just to keep her dog from feeling pain, but because anesthesia is even less of a perfect science for animals than it is for humans.  This way, if her dog never woke up from the anesthesia (it happens more commonly than you may think), she would have been aware of the risk and not caught off guard, then fed a load of cheap comfort regarding the situation.

So, I went to an accelerated, accredited Veterinary Technician college program.  I was excited to learn, but quickly saddened to see that I was being taught by emotional opinions and that actual science and factual evidence was not a primary concern for several of the instructors.  For example, one instructor went on a tirade about how evolution is entirely false.  Another instructor, an actual veterinary technician, spent an entire forty-five minute session complaining about how whiny clients are in the clinic and making fun of the efforts of a woman who tried to find a more natural means to control potential flea infestations…  only to reveal at the end that there are a few natural ways to help prevent fleas in the household!  These sort of lectures were common.  Instead of simply learning about the medicines we would be dispensing by the Veterinarian’s request, we were inadvertently taught to judge clients harshly and mock their opinions when the doors were closed.

I found this to be absolutely disgusting.  I thought to myself, “What if the owner lives with someone going through chemo, or has an auto-immune disorder, and harsh chemicals hurt them, but they still want to care for their beloved pet?”

There will be plenty of clients with opinions that are not based in facts and putting their pets at risk because of this.  Unfortunately, there was a large amount of hypocrisy here in which the veterinary staff were doing the same, but taking the holier than thou approach to it.  Even when a method was taught with factual evidence, which was sadly hard to decipher in these classes due to poor presentation, an emotional opinion was almost always present to persuade the students to act a certain way.  I learned more from personal research and reading than from these lectures, and felt genuinely awful for clients who dared to ask questions that were even a little bit outside the box.  Likewise, I felt awful for the veterinary technicians that work so hard to legitimately care for their patients, only to be tainted by this attitude from their co-workers.

[There were a few great vet tech instructors at this location who taught with actual scientific evidence, and interjected personal experience for the sake of enhancing these facts.  The veterinarian working there was also extremely professional and invested in the well being of not only the animals, but the students.]

I ended up leaving this school for a number of reasons ranging from poor organization, nonfactual based teachings, personal reasons, and an over all disappointment in the local industry I was hoping to work in.  While I recognize my college experience in a Veterinary Technician program was personally negative and does not reflect the experience one may receive at another college location, it was very evident that I would be facing a lot of the same disappointments in the work place.  In some ways, it became a moral decision to not subject myself to, or perpetuate the money marketing based techniques used to sell medicinal products to loving pet parents.

It is important to question and research procedures and medicines that will be used on your pets.  This does not mean that clients should take an abrasive know-it-all stance with a veterinary staff who is trying to help them.  It means that you, as the pet owner, have the right to know why your pet is being prescribed a certain medication, the risks involved, and what your options are.  You also have the right to decline a treatment  you feel was not made in your pet’s best interest and look for a second opinion.  You have the right to ask questions without judgment.  There is nothing offensive about that, and if a veterinarian is truly looking out for your pet’s health, his/her integrity is not under attack.

The AVMA is not an evil organization.  I respect the AVMA’s mission statement and studied it well enough while in school for veterinary technology.  This is why I am disappointed in their response to the Indianapolis Star articles.  What could have been a wonderful opportunity to impress upon the public the standards the AVMA holds for veterinarians, and promise to better enforce these standards, turned into a shady showing of weakness.  Any veterinarian guilty of failing to educate a client and prescribing solely based off of kickbacks could be better spotted by the public if the AVMA chose to take a stronger stance against the issues in the veterinary industry, while professional veterinarians (and often times business owners) would receive the respect they deserve.

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Stop Telling Young Women to “Remain Pure”

What you are really saying when you suggest that women should wait until marriage to have sex because it keeps her “pure”:

  • You’re worthless if you’ve had sex.
  • You’re worthless even if the sex was forced on you.  Purity lost!
  • You should be very concerned with how others view you.
  • You should be very concerned with how others view your sex life.
  • You should fear your own body.
  • It’s best to not know what you’re getting into with the man you plan on spending your life with.
  • Men do not have to follow this rule because they are incapable of controlling themselves.
  • Your role in life is ranked by someone else’s values concerning your body.
  • You should probably get married young before you’re actually ready for it.
  • You’re out of luck if you do marry your husband and have to divorce him for any number of legitimate reasons.
  • Once married, you should fear leaving your husband if even it is necessary for your physical or emotional survival, because now you are tainted.
  • You’re free from persecution if you did wait til marriage, but you’ll never be as highly valued as you once were as a nubile, virgin woman.
  • If you’re a lesbian, you’re automatically impure, and you can’t get married anyway–so repent!
  • Furthermore, there’s a good chance you’ve actually already secretly ‘rebelled’ and had sex, so you better pretend this never happened and judge other women based on their sexual past.

Do you not see the control factor here?  Take a long, hard look at this list and ask yourself is this is what you want someone you love to obsess over in fear of social alienation.  You are not teaching a woman to value herself by threatening a loss of purity, also known as human value in this instance.

Countless articles about the Duggars or the Robertson men and women’s plight for “true values!” are circulating these days.  While I understand that both examples identify as Christian, and it is a Christian rule to abstain until marriage, I am disgusted with how this  idea is used to dictate what makes a woman valuable.  Some may argue these are their personal values, and while I agree a person should have their own *personal* values to live by without judgment, I vehemently disagree with the act of preaching these views as superior.

Before I am accused of doing the same, let me be very clear:  My only purpose in writing this article is to enlighten potential readers on the damage of perpetuating the “pure virgin” role for women to follow.  In no way do I hope to instigate premarital sex, nor do I care what a man or woman does in his or her sex life.  What I do care about is the stigma that is forced upon women for even entertaining her right to sex.

There are plenty of viable reasons to wait until marriage or committed unions ranging from the avoidance of STDs, unwanted pregnancy, general disinterest in relationships had thus far, to simple, personal preference.  Purity is not a viable reason to teach others abstinence.

Purity is an intangible, invisible concept, and subject to interpretation.  If you want someone to go crazy, promote an idea like this for them to live by.

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An Appeal for Doctor Strange’s Marriage

It is no secret that fans of Dr. Strange are feeling quite unnerved by the way the character has been written in current comics.  Seemingly out of no where, Dr. Strange fell from grace, and not just from his title of the Sorcerer Supreme.  Whereas Dr. Strange used to be written as a man with integrity and dignity, he is now portrayed as a womanizer and borderline pervert with no reasonable transition from one characterization to the other.

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“A nubile grad student trying a little too hard…” Dr. Strange, your portal to an easy 4.0

Clea, the main female love interest of Dr. Strange, has been done a bit of injustice in recent years.  Although she is a character who notably fought and prevailed against the Dread Dormammu with the likes of Dr. Strange and even on her own as she lead a rebellion in the Dark Dimension, Clea was suddenly removed from marital status with the lead male Dr. Strange for a most confusing reason:  she was tired of fighting ghouls and goblins. [Illuminati]  For those who are not familiar with the character, Clea’s home world is the Dark Dimension, where she has insisted on leading a rebellion against the likes of ghouls and goblins employed by her evil uncle and most notable magical villain, Dormammu.  For her to want to divorce Dr. Strange over something she clearly enjoys doing seems to be quite an oversight.

To further add insult to injury, Dr. Strange and Clea’s longstanding, loving, and well developed relationship was tarnished in the Fearless Defenders #9 when he was portrayed in a flashback committing various infidelities with call girls.  While Dr. Strange is not a perfect man, and his flaws are just one reason we enjoy the character, the idea that he would lose all sight of respect for his wife as well as self control seems not only out of character, but forced.

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The look on his face actually made me shudder.  I mean, I laughed.  But I also shuddered.

To clarify, I am not claiming that a man must be married to be viewed as a man with integrity.  Unfortunately in Doctor Strange’s case, we see a man suddenly retconned as single, having cheated on his wife in a back-logged event, and developing a habit of boning college-age women who look up to him as a teacher.  While Clea once started as a disciple, let’s make no mistake:  their relationship did not start a shameful thing of regret, and Clea may be thousands of years old to boot.  Furthermore, as alluded to in the Illuminati comics, Clea’s character suffers the trope of a bitchy woman who could not stand up to her husband’s great responsibility and power…  regardless of the fact that she had grown more powerful than Strange himself (potentially, okay?!)!

What bothers me most about Dr. Strange’s current characterization in the Marvel Universe is not that he is no longer Sorcerer Supreme; surely he could lose that title and struggle with his new role.  It is that he, as a character and as a man, has degenerated to a disrespectful husband and a womanizer.  This sudden twist of character feels like a plight to lure in new Dr. Strange readers by interesting them with the imagery of a powerful man capable of obtaining numerous women.  Perhaps it was an attempt to call back to his origins in while the promise of a movie, featuring the talented Benedict Cumberbatch as the title role of Strange himself, is in the works.  Regardless of the behind-the-scenes reason, the transpiration of Strange’s character not only confuses me as a longtime fan, but insults the very reason I loved the character in the first place.  The same can be said for his powerful, beautifully developed wife, Clea.

Let us muse on this fabulous page of Dr. Strange riding a Pegasus with the image of Clea in his mind.

I have written about sexism on this blog before, but in no way do I believe sexism only exists toward women.  I see it affect men in various ways.  The very idea that a married male character could not bring in readers, let alone money from comic sales, has been expressed as a concern already for the likes of Spider-man.  [*Ahem* Spider-man and Mary Jane]  The insinuation that a man somehow loses his interest factor because he weds a woman is just as detrimental to men as it is to women, and in some ways it is even worse for the male gender;  women are considered a “good woman” when they settle with a man, however men are considered “whipped” and “weak”.  How is this fair to the married male comic book readers?  What sort of message does this send?

As far as the endless stream of failed or retconned marriages of comic book continuity goes, I am already used to the message I receive as a woman.  I am but dead weight to the man I love now that I have been “obtained”, I am a source of forced tragedy, I am a ploy for furthering his plot in life, I am unworthy of my own story.

Why are there such few relationships in modern comics that display the success of compromise, growth, and respect between a loving married couple?  Is it because such a thing is perceived as boring?  If so, why do we not challenge ourselves to create interesting stories that happen to involve this theme from time to time?  Just browsing through my digital collection of 80’s Dr. Strange comics shows me that it has been done before.

Furthermore, the idea that a man who has spent years upon years studying and mastering the Mystic Arts with the unbreakable discipline of a Tibetan Monk suddenly losing so much self control implies that men are simply incapable of having such a trait.   So many men do have self control, dignity, and practice respect toward women in their lives, and yet they seem to be rarely represented in favorable forms of media such as comics.

It is not that I cannot perceive or approve of a single Dr. Strange who hooks up with many women of his desires.  A beautifully illustrated graphic novel, [Into Shamballa], once portrayed a pre-Sorcerer Supreme Strange unable to control his lust for a harem of women and engaging in an orgy.  While he had his fun, this resulted in a failure of a test of restraint, and was a well learned lesson for his training.  Prior to Clea there was Victoria, a woman unhealthily in love with Strange, but understandably wronged by him.

When Strange was married to Clea, however, he was most faithful despite the women who expressed interest in him…  including the sexy Enchantress!

Then there was Morgana Blessing.  Clea, certain that Morgana would be a better lover for her beloved Stephen Strange, left in a state of emotional distress so that he may explore a relationship with her.  This act, although hugely insecure on Clea’s part, was both selfish and selfless at once; an incredible story that true lovers may encounter when they doubt their own self worth next to their beloved.  While Stephen did attempt a relationship with Morgana, it simply was not fulfilling, and he longed for Clea to return.  Fortunately, she did, and their relationship continued under the premise that she promise one thing:  do not ever do such a foolish thing again, and know that I love you!

Through out Clea and Dr. Strange’s long relationship, we witnessed a disciple become a lover, develop an extreme magical prowess, face reasonable jealousy, overcome insecurities and inequalities within the relationship, and grow not only in their relationship but as their own, separate characters.   We also witnessed the duo overcome cultural tropes as they evolved with the times, such as the time Clea tried to apologize for saving Dr. Strange from Arkon and Enchantress because she worried he would feel emasculated–and he responded with bountiful laughter! So, how does this result in Dr. Strange’s backlogged infidelity, Clea’s illogical reason for leaving him prior to the writing of his cheating, and Dr. Strange’s creepy penchant for hookers and college students?

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Correction: His penchant for… taking advantage of young college girls who wear his wife’s tights (yeah, I saw that!)? UGGHHH.

I also understand that Dr. Strange has not had a consistent book in many years, which may have helped lead him to this strange new path by ill-researched writing.  His powers are difficult to summarize and the series of events of his background are also difficult to follow.  I am also not so unreasonable as to accuse writers of being intentionally sexist or offensive.  However, I think it is very reasonable to accept that these cultural tropes are so present that they can easily, if even incidentally, be woven into common stories.

So, I appeal for Dr. Strange’s character, for Clea’s character, and for their marriage!  I can only hope the movie portrays a multi-faceted Clea we saw in the comics decades ago.  The movie-verse of Sharon Carter has given me hope for this, but anytime I open a comic with Dr. Strange in it these days, those hopes are quickly diminished.

See:  Dr. Strange & Clea More about the two characters.

Also:  Brian Michael Bendis once inferred that Clea could not be taken seriously as a character because of her pants.  I’m sorry, how seriously were we supposed to take Dr. Strange’s frilly blue tights?

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Ferrets are freaking adorable.

If you don’t have a ferret, that’s okay, because I have two, and I took a bunch of pictures and video for you to enjoy.

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You will find them sleeping in your undies.

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They will play dead and it will be precious.

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You can bathe them.

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And it will be adorable.

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They WILL devise escape plans.

Ferrets do EVERYTHING with their WHOLE HEARTS.

They are amazed by SO MUCH.

They will help you with your daily chores.

They are so compact and cute.


(I enjoyed the wine, she enjoyed the bag.)

They will strive to undo all your hard work of keeping them clean and your heart will melt.

Chances are, if you own any cat toys, you also own the best ferret toys ever.

They will steal stuff and they will hoard it somewhere.  Really, they’re just very smart preppers.  I mean, how are they not to know when the kibble apocalypse will happen?

They will make the best frenemies out of your Furby.

There are not many negatives to owning a ferret.  If you do not leave valuable items laying around on the floor (*ahem*, kar keys), can take the time to litter train them, and have always wanted to install cable/cord management in your home anyway (Seriously, you’ve thought about fixing that mess of wires under your desk already), they’re great pets.  Check out a ferret rescue!

…Though, there was that one time I had spent roughly 3 hours modding my Skyrim game and finally got around to playing it. Right in the middle of this awesome crit-kill scene in which my archer was executing a bandit, the power to my computer shut off.  My fluffy white ferret was sitting on the reset button on the surge protector.  Said surge protector is now mounted underneath my desk.

But, how can you stay mad at faces like these?

But, how can you stay mad at faces like these?

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Waking Up With My Cat

I love animals.  I have two ferrets, two cats, and a young fahaka puffer.  I was so heartbroken when my last fahaka puffer fish died while in the process of moving into a new apartment that I cried for days.  I put his healthy sized body in a finely crafted satin jewelry box, which then served as his casket, and my husband and I gave him a burial.  I cried then, too.

While I adore each of my pets equally, there is one whose personality commands more attention than the others.  That would be Moby, my yellow-and-white rescue.  He is named Moby because my husband already had a rescue cat named Starbuck.  We figured that we could be perceived as slightly intellectual for having animals named after characters in a Herman Melville book, but also immature when we inevitably find ourselves yelling, “Moby, you dick!” when he grows up and knocks things off counters.

helloladies

He was a starved, sickly little kitten.  No one at the clinic expected him to survive.  Alas, never underestimate the healing power of gravy wet food to my little Moby’s appetite.

He was three pounds then, bleeding from the nose, unable to jump, and walking bow legged.  He is fourteen pounds now, still a clumsy jumper, and still walks slightly bow legged in the back.  Moby is a talker, constantly responding to conversation with loud meows, howls, yowls, and weird grumbling noises.  In fact, Moby hardly sounds like a cat most of the time.

He plays fetch.  He freaks out about his auto feeder.  He is afraid of the ferrets, but never lifts a paw to them.  He prefers to sleep on his back and let it all hang out.  He demands cuddles, pets, and conveniently places his large body in front of my computer screen while I am involved in intense dragon battles in Skyrim.  Despite what some say about dressing cats up, Moby does not mind wearing costumes–apparently because the attention he receives while dressed as Boba Fett overrides any nervousness of wearing people-clothes.  Best of all, Moby loves everyone.

I'll take the bounty payment in kibbles.

I’ll take the bounty payment in kibbles.

Oh, and he loves to sleep on, or extremely near me when I am sleeping.  It is not uncommon to wake up with him on my chest, rendering me unable to move, or with him on my head and his tail on my face.

This is not unusual for cat owners, though.  I think we have all had trouble sleeping at some point thanks to our feline housemates.  Some cats sing the song of their people at night, or paw at their human’s face until they wake up.  Some are like Moby, and would be content just laying on your face all night for comfort.

So, I have been taking selfies of myself and my cat each time I wake up with him invading my personal space to document my life with my cat. As you can see, Moby doesn’t care what state of unfabulousness I am in.

 

Even when you have days you wake up finding it hard to love yourself, just remember, Moby loves you.

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The choice to not have children is not a result of immaturity

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Children.  When the stork delivers them to your door, he also arrives with a two ton shipment of responsibility, with little gift wrapped packages of love, growth, and happiness scattered about.  For me, there simply are not enough positives in that shipment that apply to my life to convince me to want children.

That’s right.  I simply do not want to have any children.  That should be considered a neutral, personal, and logically decided perspective.  However, after years of interrogation from those around me–especially other women–I feel like most people who engage in this topic with me consider it a negative, immature, and incorrect choice that I am making for myself.

Somehow, my decision to not have children renders me lower on the totem pole of womanhood in the workplace, school, and sometimes peer relationships.  I emphasize decision, because it is not the fact that I do not have children that bares a stigma, but the choice not to.  Despite it being a personal decision for my life and no one else’s, and one made out of much thought, research, and internal reasoning, not having children is almost obscene to some.

Here are some situations involving an unemployed womb that women, and sometimes their male partners, run into.

1. “Oh, you’ll change your mind.”

This comment grates my nerves because it is only a possibility that I could change my mind, not a certainty.

2. “You’re missing out on so much!”

So are you.  Sleep, personal freedom from responsibilities involving the entire life of another human being, personal time, money, etc.  It is my choice to “miss out” on wonderful things like the bond between mother and child, not only because I have no desire for it, but because I have other priorities.

3. “But you’d make such beautiful children!  Don’t you want to carry on the family name?”

It is a big deal for a lot of people to have children so that their genetic line continues.  This makes perfect sense.  Humans have a basic need to survive, and having children helps sustain the human race as well as prolong your lineage.  While we are on the subject of passing on our genes to beautiful human larvae, have you ever thought that some people may have good reason not to do that?  I am not ashamed of my family or the family I married into, but if I did want children, I would not want them to suffer from the hereditary blood disorder I have.  From a less emotional point of view, it is actually better for the human race that the gene, carried in my family, stops here with me.

4. “Wait.  You don’t ever want children?  Are you like one of those people who hate kids?”

I do not hate kids.  I like kids.  I like talking to them, entertaining them, and making them laugh.  I would even babysit your kids and we’d probably be good buddies.  Alas, I do not want my own children.  I never actually had the maternal desire, not even as a little girl when I played with my baby dolls.  While my little friends got really into the roleplay of being the doll’s mother, I felt bored by it, and really just considered the dolls my “friends” more than my “babies”.

So, tell me, would you really want someone who does not desire children to really have children?  Would that not be a little irresponsible on my part?  How would that be fair to the child, to have a mother who really just… never wanted him/her?  What if I went through with a pregnancy, certain that I’d change my mind about wanting kids like everyone told me I would, only to find out after having the child I have trouble bonding with him/her?

5. When on the subject of something you are struggling with: “Well, I did it, and I was raising a [insert small number here] year old when I did it.”

In my opinion, this is the worst offense against people who do not have children and do not want them.  This point of view can easily cross the lines of being just a comment to being a harmful hindrance to progress in someone’s life, especially if the person expressing this view is in a position of authority.

A little under a year ago, I was attending a college as part of an accelerated Veterinary Technology program.  It was very challenging for me, but for all the wrong reasons.  The actual material was extraordinarily easy for me, initiative was easy, my interest in the subject matter was high, and I never had any problem with my assignments.  What I did have problems coping with was a very disorganized academic staff, very limited/broken technology and sources, lack of healthy food choices on campus, irregular and unnecessarily long class hours, extremely inconsistent scheduling of necessary in-class activities, and a plethora of other issues that were promised would not exist when I enrolled.

There I was, a twenty-seven year old, married woman trying to manage a life altering health condition while attending a school that was stuck in the 1980’s.  I knew this was an accelerated course going into it, so I was okay with it being my full time job, but my ability to keep up began to wain when I found myself having to transcribe definitions pen-to-paper for four hours for one class while receiving very inefficient communication from my instructors over important matters regarding my attendance and work.  I was facing very serious issues that were threatening my progress in the program despite my excellent grades, interest, and initiative.  These issues poured into my personal life, affecting my marriage and health.

You would think that when I tried to reason with an instructor that enforced a hand-written only assignment policy, she would understand that narrowing a task down from 4 hours to half an hour would be the best practice for my situation.  That is exactly the opposite of what happened.  From her perspective, she had “been there, going through a veterinary technology program, while raising her eight year old son” so it was absolutely necessary that I, another human being in a completely different circumstance with a completely different set of life challenges, must spend hours on simple tasks that did not help me learn the content any better or better me as a potential veterinary technician.  Because, damnit, she had children!  That’s why!

In the end I actually left the program, which was a very emotional and tough decision for me to make.  It is very hard to walk away from a program you have put 6 months of continuous, hard work, thousands of dollars, and brilliant grades into.  There were plenty of reasons for my departure, but the simple ability to free up time to fix the loads of other problems without compromising my grades due to someone’s experience with their eight year old kid may have actually been my saving grace.

Citing your own parenthood as a reason for someone to perform a certain way is neither supportive or justified.

6. “It’s not that hard raising children.  I raised mine alone!”

I have never met one person who claimed raising children to be easy that did not actually have the consistent aid of their family, or another significant outside resource, when raising their young.

The choice to not have children is not a result of immaturity.  Making the choice to have children does not make someone more mature, responsible, or righteous.  Those are all things that are personal choices on their own, not something an act brings about by default.

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