Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is why I love dance...

life happens...

It's been a long time since I've engaged in this form of public self-expression. So long in fact that my web browser no longer identified or automatically remembered the site address. So here's an update on the many things that have happened over the past couple of months:

Soccer. Lots and lots of soccer. Faith had an excellent season and really demonstrated her athleticism and potential in this sport. She was scouted out by a competitive coach who invited her to play in a tournament with his team prior and then asked her to tryout for the 2011-2012 year. Needless to say, she made the top team and now we are working extra jobs to pay for her soccer. Yes, we have become "those parents." I figured, "What the heck, I already have the soccer mom vehicle." Bailey had a sad season (where they lost every single game) but it was fun having her dad as the coach. She is still too young to play competitive but she tried out for the developmental league (where they prepare you for competitive) and is excited to play on a team that may actually win a game or two next year.

Krisalyn decided to forego soccer for a season and take another dance class this year. It was rather difficult for her to do something other than what her sisters were doing...but every time she'd slip into that tutu she'd transform into a mini Kayla Radomski (a former contestant on SYTYCD). I'm trying not to be the mom that lives vicariously through her daughter...but she's got something special.

The girls and Brian finished up yet another school year. It's hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we've been back in CO for nearly a year. Bri just started his Master's program yesterday and he's extremely excited to further his education now that he has 5 years of teaching under his belt! I'm so proud of him.

In the last few months we've watched a pile of dirt transform into a house. It's been such an awesome experience being able to be a part of design selections for all different aspects of this construction. I don't think there have ever been two people who've been as excited as we are to get into a home. A real home. A home where we'll actually stay for longer than two years. A home we've carefully selected and lovingly tended to throughout this process. The love and life that will be housed in that red cozy house on Silver Swan will be a significant part of our story as a family. July 20th is our closing date. 34 days from today. It feels like it's still a ways away...but it's been worth the wait.

That sums up the big details of our life over the past few months. Now maybe this re-entry into the blogosphere will spark some more substantial posts.

A few pictures updates as well:
Christopher returned from bootcamp only to leave ten days later for combat training and schooling to be an air traffic controller for the Marines.

The Gauthier Girls dominated at field day this year!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I want my body back.

It's been awhile since I've processed in this space. I have a list of blog-worthy topics, but little time for the labor and delivery necessary to produce an actual post. But after taking some time to read a bit of Engendered Lives: A New Psychology of Women's Experience by Ellyn Kaschak this morning, I couldn't defuse the urge to write something on the topic.

"From the masculine perspective, women are defined by their bodies. Everything about a woman is both grounded in and defined by her female body and, in particular, its sexuality, defined in masculinist society as the ability to arouse, rather than to experience, desire. The measure of woman's sexuality is man's tumescence. What about her is arousing, and even whether she intends to arouse, is also designated by the male. It may be her legs for a 'leg man,' her breasts for a 'breast man,' her resistance or her nonresistance for a rapist. His feelings become hers, his desire her desirability, his admiration her measure of worth, his disdain her degradation, his ridicule her humiliation." ~Ellyn Kashcak in Engendered Lives

I recently conducted a workshop with the CCU women's soccer team where we discussed why it's essential that women reclaim their bodies for themselves. We live in a culture that perpetuates the pervasive myth that women's bodies are primarily for men. Statistically, 1 in 3 women are sexually abused by the age of 16. For these girls, it is not just culture that strips them of a sense of ownership over their own bodies.

A few weeks ago I read a news article reflecting upon the stigma of breastfeeding babies in French culture. The article highlighted the possibility that the low rates of breastfeeding are connected to the mentality that a woman's breasts are for her husband and not for her baby. What would happen if we declared that a woman's breasts are really for HER. What if HER breasts are for her and can be a part of her own experience of pleasure and intimacy in relationship to her lover. What if we viewed breastfeeding as a source of mutual gratification - for a woman to share her own sustenance with the child she brought into this world. Breastfeeding can exemplify the beauty of attachment and the power of being able to freely offer nourishment to another human being.

Just last night I heard the story of Eman Al-Obeidy, the East Libyan woman who reported being kidnapped and gang raped by Libyan soldiers just a few weeks ago. She has since indicated that the rape was a tactic by these soldiers to convey a message to the rebels about what they will continue to do to "their" women. Currently, CNN is reporting on the 9 or 10 women whose remains have been discovered in Long Island. It seems that no country is free and clear of the continued oppression directed specifically towards women and their bodies.

I have this new theory that all women are in some way indirectly traumatized by this cultural reality. Maybe someday I'll be able to conduct research and explore this hypothesis more academically. But for now, my own pondering is all that I can leave you with. Perhaps the trauma has resulted in a numbness or the dissociation of our own desire. Maybe the trauma has been so severe that we have nearly lost the ability to imagine an Edenic experience where men and women are free to feel grounded in their own bodies, their own ability to be aroused and compelled to use their bodies to create an experience of mutually honoring pleasure.

I'm left wondering what it is about female desire, feminine beauty, that is so threatening to this world. Why has it been so violently attacked for as far back as history allows us to explore?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bedtime chats

Are we the only people who talk like this?

Me: Bri, I was reading about the female brain today. Did you know that the prefrontal cortex doesn't typically develop completely until the age of 22 in women?

Bri: Really? What's the prefrontal cortex?

Me: It's the part of the brain primarily responsible for executive functioning and making sure that a person's behavior or actions sync up with their internal sense of self.

Bri: huh.

Me: So...I'm thinking that you kind of took advantage of my under-developed brain when you asked me to marry you. Heck, we were married and had 2 kids by the time I was 22. You just wanted me barefoot and pregnant before my brain was fully developed...didn't you?

Bri: Whew. It worked out for me. (Long Pause). Actually, I don't think I was that concerned with your brain.

Me: Oh. I'm guessing there were other body parts you were more concerned about when you proposed then?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A grief observed

I've been following this woman's blog since shortly after Christmas. Her husband died suddenly just before the holiday and now she is trying to pick up the pieces of her life with their two young sons. Her words are tragically beautiful and captivating. I wonder about my faithfulness to reading her blog - a stranger to me (I was introduced to her blog by a dear friend who thought I'd appreciate her writing style). I feel voyeuristic each time I click on my bookmark to her blog, yet as soon as I arrive on her page I am reminded that it's not voyeurism for the sake of voyeurism. Rather, she enters into her own pain in away that my heart resonates with. She grieves deeply, honestly...all the while grasping onto hope and trusting that even if she can't hold onto it, that "it" won't let her go.