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Fun Fact: My Big Fat Family

My office puts out a monthly “Fun Facts” on the department website. Given that I work for a home health care agency, and that we deal with the ¬†evaluation and analysis of patient data, these posts can be interesting, but I would hardly call them fun. So, I decided to put together fun facts about myself. Hopefully, they’re entertaining, and it can turn into a series of fun facts in the weeks to come. This is all in the spirit of keeping me writing, despite my suddenly very busy life.

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When I tell people that I have five younger siblings, their eyes usually pop out of their heads. I suppose it’s impressive, but for me it’s just a fact of my life. The age differences between us is what I find more shocking. The youngest of my siblings, my little sister, is 19 years younger than I am. She just turned 13 a couple months ago, and a couple weeks after that, I turned 32. Needless to say, there was always a battle for my mom’s attention at home, one that I usually lost to my younger and more demanding siblings.

But, there were some benefits to being the eldest sibling, and I would say the most significant was being able to watch my younger siblings grow up. I have a ton of great memories of them doing and saying hilarious things. Like the time the youngest of my brothers got a battery stuck up his nose, and then expelled it by using what he called “the force.” Or the time the middle brother became so upset after getting a haircut which he felt made him “look ugly.” He must have been 3 or so years old, but even then he had a sense of style. And then there’s my little sister, who hasn’t stopped chatting since the moment she learned to talk, and somehow always manages to be hysterical.

One interesting fact is that they see me as an adult, and not just a big sister. When we were younger, this meant that they were fascinated by everything I did and were especially intrigued by my belongings. I once asked them in a rage why they insisted on sneaking into my room all the time and touching my stuff, and they told me: “It’s because you’re so cool!” and really meant it. It made me laugh, because I realized that I had never placed myself in their shoes and imagined what it would be like to have a much older sibling. It was a very strange setup indeed.

I lived at home until I was about 27. The lack of privacy and the incessant sound of children playing drove me bananas. Nowadays, I miss my siblings seeing me as a “super-sister,” (like a super-senior in high school) before they became teenagers way cooler than I am. Thankfully, I have a bunch of memories (and pictures) of their less cool days to deflate their big heads. Above is my youngest sister during her Hannah Montana phase, which she is now so over. The picture was taken on her 8th birthday.

This, Too, is What a Feminist Looks Like

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No Regrets!

Last week I had a conversation that left me quite disturbed. I became incensed when a male acquaintance of mine casually referred to one of my female friends as a “loose” woman. Later that day, I decided to really sit with that feeling and try to understand why it bothered me so much.

You might think that perhaps I was just standing up for my friend–that I was demanding respect for my girlfriend. But my anger felt much bigger than that. I guess my main concern was, if this young woman was judged so harshly for her sexual conduct, what does that mean for me? This and other questions ran through my mind, such as: What exactly is the criteria used to make such a judgment? Is it the number of partners she’s had? Is it how quickly she jumps into bed with a guy?

In asking myself these questions, I realized what the real problem was: There is no way to judge my friend for her sex life without also insulting me and, for that matter, countless other women who are not afraid of their sexuality. Furthermore, no one–especially not this particularly promiscuous male acquaintance–has the right to pass such judgment. And it really is a shame that in the year 2013, women are still having to deal with such archaic ideas.

I came to several conclusions after that conversation: First, that I have no regrets about taking the stand that I took in defending my friend. Second, I am not sure that I want to maintain a friendship with anyone who holds sexually liberated women in such contempt. Third, that I am incredibly fortunate to have a man in my life who loves me exactly as I am. And last, that I want to surround myself with like-minded people. As a result, I created a Meetup group in my city that is focused on redefining what it means to be a woman. I am not at all extroverted, but when I feel passionate about something, it can be highly motivating.

I am happy to report that, as of today, my group has about eight new members. I am hoping this can be the start of something positive and meaningful.

Forever Young

Daily Prompt: Forever Young: Would you drink the water from the fountain of youth?

While I was walking into my office building this morning, a high rise in Midtown Manhattan, I overheard a conversation between the UPS delivery man and one of the building facilities custodians. UPS mentioned that it’s been 27 years since he started at UPS. Facilities said he started working here as a teenager, and look at him now (a bald man with a pot belly). “Where has the time gone?” said UPS. “It flies.” said Facilities.

Their conversation reminded me of yesterday’s Daily Prompt, regarding which question you hate to be asked. I had a response for it: “Where do you see yourself in X years?” I don’t like this question because it forces me to lie. My real answer is that I don’t know. If you had asked me five years ago where I saw myself in five years, I would not have guessed my current situation, especially considering how challenging this past year has been for me.

But would I take it all back for the chance to be young again? No, I think not. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind sprinkling a few drops from the fountain into my moisturizer, perhaps, but I wouldn’t want to be young again. Though I sometimes miss simpler days (who doesn’t), I wouldn’t want to relearn all the life lessons I’ve struggled to learn. Plus, I like myself much more now than I ever have, and it took me a long time to get here. These are things I value more than youth.

Time travel: Now that’s something I’d be interested in doing. I’d absolutely love the opportunity to go back and change some of the things I’ve done. But change myself? No thanks!