Intent Matters

I’m not going to lie, there has been a decent amount of negativity in my life the last few months.

The results of the presidential election continue to be difficult to fathom.

I am struggling with my full-time job – the one that pays some of the bills and gives us health insurance.

There has been a lot of poor health in the family – which, admittedly, makes me grateful for the aforementioned health insurance.

To say that there’s been a lot to process is something of an understatement. But nearly a month after President Trump took his oath of office I feel compelled to try and say something. It’s like Shawna over at The Honeyed Quill says, “We don’t need to be afraid because. . . writing is an excellent tool for personal healing.”

What I’ve come up with in these recent months, and really as I think about it this has been brewing for years, is that your intent matters a lot in the decision you make.

One of the first courses I took for my undergraduate degree was “Gender, Race, and Popular Culture.” You can’t get away from a course on popular culture without talking about marriage, especially in a pre- legalized gay marriage America. For weeks we talked about the history behind marriage. That it was a business arrangement, that women were treated like property, that we change our names because we went from being our fathers property to our husbands property. My professor would often say, looking right at me (this was before N and I were married) “These young girls don’t know what they’re doing, changing their names.” I was insulted, as I planned to change my name. Yes, I was young but I was not an idiot. A lot of thought went into that decision. Six years later, I’m still glad I made it.

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I have wanted, for many years, to be a stay-at-home-mom. This is something I recently realized was not really going to pan out for me. Too much has happened for me to give up the security that comes with being a 2-income household. But still, sometimes I’ll entertain the thought, and for a long time I felt like a failure to the women’s movement. Then I realized, if I was going to stay home with my children it would be a feminist victory because I chose it and was supported in the decision.

I choose to breastfeed my babies. I choose to have babies. Both of these are radical because I am a woman choosing what to do with my body. Because I (partially, both girls have had a little formula and I’ll talk about that) reject capitalism and feed my babies with something that is free. It is radical to give them formula because I know that despite the laws in my state I’m not really supported in breastfeeding (pumping at work is a bear) and rather than kill myself over it I say “No, I matter. Here’s a little formula.” Fed is best.

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We had originally planned to go to the Women’s March in St. Paul. The day of the march, the weather was not very nice. We felt uneasy about bringing our girls out in that. That day, self-care won. Being a person who values taking care of yourself and listening to your gut is radical. We support those who did march, but our decision to engage in self-care is important and is not easily diminished.

If you want to be radical, be yourself. Even if something you’re doing is “normal”, know that if it’s the right decision for you it is radical. You do you. Your intent matters.

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