Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rationalization

I should be putting all the furniture in the tiled areas because we've got the carpet cleaners coming tomorrow...but I'm taking some time to blog because if I don't do it right now it will just spill out of my memory and be lost forever.

Lot's of thoughts in my head. Recently Compulsive Writer had a discussion about standards - how far is too far in a physical relationship for someone who is older ...working a a second marriage possibly.

Then there was this discussion posed by Amy about good enough.

Then there is this constant crab like behavior I see... so I'm trying to get it all down into words so I can at last... sleep easily at night. Ideas I don't get down just haunt me in my thoughts day and night. So ...here's to some nice snoozing tonight.

When someone asks a question... "so, how far, is too far?" I'm of the opinion that we aren't looking for a real answer - we're looking for someone to help justify the guilty feeling/action we're planning on or doing. I think that we inherently know. We just do.

I used to get annoyed at this one boyfriend who would stop a particularly enjoyable kissing moment by saying, "I need to stop, I would be uncomfortable doing this if my Mom was around." I was a girl who loved to kiss. I didn't kiss a boy until I was 19 - so by then it was like - this is what I was missing baby...let's get it on. I used to think in my head - "HELLO. Your Mom isn't here..." BUT I was missing the fact that in general, guys and gals are wired differently. I didn't realize this until I was married. I was that naive - yes. Guys can't just turn it on and off easily - they are easily turned on...yes... but I, in my naivete didn't have a clue. I feel bad for those poor boys I must've tortured with my love of kissing and playful teasing. I had no idea...until after I was married just what I was doing. (you may laugh...)

Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine, we were talking about raising boys ... she said she really felt bad for those young boys in Jr. High. You see all these young girls dressed... too tight, too short...too skanky for anyone...and they had no idea what they were doing to these poor boys who looked like they couldn't stop shaking. They tried not to look but couldn't help it and the girls would just bump and brush up against them innocently... and these poor boys were just in a complete craze of hormones.

I was that girl at church that was annoyed when they gave chastity talks. I was annoyed because it seemed to me that they were putting a lot of emphasis on our role, as young women, in maintaining chastity for us and the boys. That annoyed me. It wasn't until I was married that I realized what a large role we play for these hormone driven boys. Men and women are just wired differently. We have different trigger points...

So when someone asks - if the guidelines the Church recommends to youth apply to someone in their 40s... I'd have to say... well if you're asking - then yes, yes they do apply. It's almost like that talk John Bytheway gave about kids asking ..."well how far is too far". Geez, if you have to ask - you know...and isn't it better to be talking about the opposite? About how to maintain a good conscience?

The truth is... I have no faith in adults. I grew up wearing rose colored classes... I thought with age brought natural wisdom. That was until I found out that adults I had thought had it together turned out to be complete messes. Just because you can have kids - doesn't mean you are mature enough to have them. Just because you have had sex - doesn't mean you have the will-power to resist it when you shouldn't be messing around.

It is disappointing to see fathers - who ought to be acting like adults - turn out to need their own children to remind them of who they are. Sad that there are adults who still don't know how to function as responsible humans. It's frightening really.

I've found that for some reason...these people all find a way - no matter how "nice" they are... to rationalize themselves out of doing the right thing. There's someone I know who is ... considered "nice" but has always been in my opinion - just weak. This person let his children take the rap when he was caught with porn...this person is now abandoning his children to start up another life with the money collected on his first wife's death. The kids are stunned, hurt and disappointed...but all I can think is... doesn't surprise me. He has no character and in my estimation - never had any character. This may or may not be an extreme case - but to me this type of person is disgusting. I believe you choose to be weak. You choose the road of ease, of least resistance. Weak people are easy to flit with wherever the wind blows them. True strength comes from standing against the challenges, the temptation and overcoming. We will never know how to fight if we always run.

I suppose that's how I feel about our best efforts. La Yen made a great comment in this discussion. It's how I feel about motherhood in many ways. I think I'm blessed in some respects - I just don't give a damn how someone else is raising their kids. I may make a comment to be sympathetic to others - but... to be truthful - I'm doing my thing it's mine. I don't wish to compare or compete. If I learn something from someone that I like - I apply it to my own family. I never realized what a weird thing it is not to feel guilty. I don't feel guilty. I figure we won't feel guilty if we know we're doing the best we can. If we are - we don't care about what others think of how we parent. We only care about how our kids think of how we parent. Because... isn't that what matters most? Our kids? Not what our neighbors or ward members or even family members think of us? I treat other Moms as an opportunity to learn something new...not as competition. It reminds me of this post my friend Pia posted about letting go... I think it applies to our concept of motherhood.

What does this mean for me? Well - it means that I have no problem with my kids watching Little Einsteins during breakfast. I'm selective about what they watch...I will not leave the TV on to some kids channel all day or all morning. I will monitor and limit TV. BUT... if I'm having a rough day and need a break - Einsteins or Charlie and Lola save the day.

This means that because I can buy local and organic I will. It means that because I value what goes into my own body, I will not give my kids any less because if I won't ingest it, why should I make my kids? It's all about our values. What do we value most.

This also means that I do not live vicariously though my kids. I will not sign my daughter up for dance because I was a bad dancer as a kid. (FYI, I was a rockin' dancer ...hahahah) It means extracurricular activities will be extras... that work for her schedule - not my desire to be able to say... my daughter is in soccer, karate, dance, violin, gymnastics, and math tutoring. Again, the focus is on the kid. Not on how you look to others. I believe a kid needs down time. So... we have three week-days of down time. LOVE that.

It also means I will NOT let my daughter wear clothes that "I wished" I wore. Is that why these teeny boppers are dressed inappropriately? Or is it because the Mom's have finally gotten the body they wanted all these years and the kids are treading in their footsteps? I dunno - it' frightens me for these girls sakes. I will not be that mother that is dressing inappropriately for her role as a woman. This doesn't mean I dress in sacks. ;-)

This also means that I allow play dates - with kids I think are good influences on mine and vice versa. This doesn't mean I'm leaving my kid with whomever, whenever.

These are just some of my values as a parent. Which means, it's mine - not necessarily someone else's way. We all have different personalities, goals, families... so we do what works best for us.

This is why La Yen's comment about "Pride of the Poor" was so interesting to me. I'd never been able to figure out how to articulate something that bugged me...and she did it in three words.

It's like crabs... because you aren't where you like to be ... that doesn't mean you need to drag someone else down to feel better about yourself. It's the whole idea of - who's opinion do you care about? That's what it comes down to. If you care more about what other people think of you - you'll always come up short. But if you care only about doing your best and understanding that life is NOT a competition or about reputations... you'll always find happiness...or at the very least PEACE (which is dang good).

I am by no means saying I don't have my bouts of insecurity - I do. But ... something about college changed all that for me. I became even less insecure with kids. It's almost as if... well screw them - if they can't be happy for me or supportive... don't need them. So I wonder... if those of us who do give a damn what everyone thinks of us...needs that... maybe we should be working on some quality self time...to overcome that insecurity.

But I do have a question... is curvy the new chubby? Because I get that "you're not fat - you're curvy" from my girlfriends a lot. (because... ok... the weight thing...that's a little insecurity I have... it is so annoying that I am bothered by it too)

CHEERS!

ps. Sorry I couldn't find a picture to go with this... if you think of one - let me know!

10 comments:

AzĂșcar said...

So many thoughts on this one....

I agree.

There you go :)

Amy said...

Ok, first off, can I just say that you are cool? Because you are. I am loving this new blog of yours. I was drawn to your other blog because of how passionately you wrote about your daughters and your family. It just said a lot about you as a person. Your integrity and forthrightness. Your honor for the roles of motherhood and womanhood.

That being said, I felt like this post just perfectly framed my thoughts on these issues. The title "Rationalization" summed it up perfectly. And it all goes back to the plan of salvation. What a perfect thing for Satan to attack. It is so easy for people to get wrapped up in the webs of rationalization and righteous indignation. It blurs the lines between what is inherently good and bad. If you don't see yourself as making a "bad" choice it's much easier to keep making bad choices.... or to not make any choices. Either way, not progressing along the path our Heavenly Father would have us on.

The other word that I think could fit this title is, perhaps, accountability.

Julie said...

Your thoughts on young girls and the way they dress...wow. So timely. We had a huge issue with this just in the last month in my family. (Hopefully, the parties involved won't find my comments here or there could be major trouble. I'm pretty sure I'm safe, though.) So here I go, climbing your mountain top, in order to vent. Consider yourself forewarned.

About two months ago, my sister was talking to one of our SILs about a sensitive situation with our niece, "N," this SIL's stepdaughter. Something happened with "N" and a boy at school that was inappropriate (the kid wanted "N" to sent him nasty photos of herself). My sister mentioned that perhaps "N" might want to consider the way she dresses--that some people in our family had mentioned that they were somewhat uncomfortable with the way "N" dresses at times, and perhaps her manner of dress was inviting the kind of behavior this boy was exhibiting. Oooooo boy. Wrong thing to say to this particular SIL. She hung up on my sister, who tried immediately and then again several times over the next week or so to call back and explain her comments so that SIL wouldn't take them out of context. SIL wouldn't answer calls or return messages. Bad sign.

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. SIL left a letter for my sister at our parents' house. She used a permanent black marker to write, in large letters, my sister's FULL NAME, not just her first name, on the front of the envelope. I thought that was a bit odd. But guess what she stamped on the back of the envelope?...... A black skull. Are you kidding me? And this SIL is 39... Dude. Can we grow up now?

It gets better: the letter pulls the whole victim thing and all this feminist crap (not that I'm against standing up for women's rights and so forth, but it was overboard). She tells my sister that she's been in therapy since their conversation, trying to work out her feelings about how my sister is questioning her parenting skills. (Huh? That wasn't the issue at all.) She also played up the whole "if N has a great figure, why shouldn't she dress in a way that shows it off? If the men/boys have such a problem with knowing where to look, why don't they look AT HER FACE? Males are wired differently as far as physical arousal and should be aware of that weakness and plan accordingly. N shouldn't be responsible for their sexual perversions." While I agree that individuals are responsible for their own actions, her words made me choke. Why can't we help each other? Why NOT ask girls to be sensitive to the weaknesses that their male peers have? If we teach our girls to expect men to treat them with respect, then we need to teach our girls to dress in such a way that men are able to treat them with respect.

So I was absolutely flabbergasted that this SIL could honestly not see the reasoning for having her stepdaughter dress modestly. Pulling the whole "she has the right to dress however she chooses and if the men in her life react inappropriately then it's ALL THEIR FAULT and they should just keep their zippers locked" seems so immature to me. Surely, as an adult female, she can see the connection between how women dress/act with the way men respond to them? Apparently not. I still cannot believe she reacted this way. And the whole skull & crossbones thing stamped on the envelope...I'm not sure whether to laugh or roll my eyes. Probably both are appropriate.

Well, I know that was really long and rambling, but I had to share it with someone, and your post triggered my "overshare" button. Thanks for listening, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was exactly what I needed to hear/read to know that I'm not completely off track.

Amy said...

I just loved the comment by Julie, so excuse me for comment hogging and not posting my own blog. But this is just such a rich subject!!!

Two things come to mind on the modesty/dress issue.

First off, every action has a consequence. So this attitude of "I'm gonna dress this way and so there" is just so ridiculous. You're going to dress that way then you're going to have horny guys give you inappropriate attention. Period. You can't decide how they will act or respond. You only have control over how YOU act and respond. So girls and women (apparently MOMS, even!) need to get over this "feminist" crap and OWN their actions and decisions. If you do "A" you will get "B". Over and over and over again. Quit trying to do "A" and make it everyone else's obligation to give you the result/consequence "D". You didn't EARN "D". If you want to get the result "D" than you must do "C".

Comprende?

Second of all, LOVE the skull and crossbones. Is that a death threat?????

Queen Scarlett said...

Amy - thanks lady. ;-) Blogging makes me feel like I'm not alone meeting ladies like you.

I agree - Accountability... is totally missing in people who rationalize. That's something that is a HUGE gripe with politics... they never focus on accountability and it just makes me want to scream.

Julie - SIL sounds cRAzY. ;-) All I could think of was "WHAT THE HELL??" The best way... ok...not the best way to deal with her...but the entertaining one is to flash the skull sign at her whenever you see her. But ...I'm being childish.

Some forms of feminism... are just irresponsible. I'm all for bra burning... well less so now that they want to point south...but I get irritated with the lack of accountability (thanks for the reminder Amy).

compulsive writer said...

May I clarify? The question wasn't "how far is too far?" It was "should adults be held to the same standards as the youth--which standards include no passionate kissing?" And believe it or not, some people thought there shouldn't be any passionate kissing period. I kinda wanted to ask those people if they ever made out when they were kids because I couldn't imagine telling a grown woman she couldn't be passionately kissing. You know? But it was an interesting discussion--which was just what I was hoping for.

In any case--I get your point and the modesty issue struck a nerve. I remember driving carpool to jr. high and gasping out loud, "Where are these girls' mamas?!" And I overheard my boys said on more than one occasion, "I wish they wouldn't do that." The wiring is different for boys than for girls and it does no one any good to pretend otherwise.

As for the mom thing. It's hard. You try to be secure in your choices, but it gets even harder when your kids question them. I just keep telling myself my kids got it better than I did growing up and now it will be up to them to take it to the next level, you know? I really can't worry about anyone else.

Queen Scarlett said...

CW - I get not wanting to tell someone who is older how much or how little they can kiss... I wouldn't want to - but she did ask. And... I don't know her but in general people...when they ask that are asking...well can I use tongue? How much tongue? And is there groping? My bishop from BYU said one thing. KEEP it above the neck. And... we were good. I think - that after you know the power of passion...that kissing for men needs to go somewhere or they get blue balls... we have a greater responsibility - not less in regards to passion. But hey, that's me in the peanut gallery. I'd rather have an opinion than none at all...so there you go. ;-)

And... what your boys mentioned regarding dress... is exactly related to the kissing ...of "mature" adults (mature meaning older - not necessarily wiser). For women we can revel in just kissing - guys are usually fighting all the human impulses not to show you how much at "attention" they are. TMI I know...but whatever we're adults. hahahah

compulsive writer said...

You're great--I do appreciate your comments. There were just so many people who immediately thought she was asking permission to have sex and I wanted to make sure it was clear that wasn't what it was about.

I agree that a lot of women seem oblivious to the effect of their actions--on so many levels--on men. Of course both parties are responsible fo9r what does and does not happen, but I think women should at the very least be aware of the signals they give, too.

cabesh said...

I vote for a picture of your curves!:)

Great discussion--I was like you...had no idea until I got married.

Great post!

Queen Scarlett said...

Cabesh... um... you first. hehehe Or I might just take one of the rumpus area..hahaha