Friday, August 13, 2010

Some thoughts on Identity.

First read this quote from Mai'a

i did not say if you are a good person, then you are a mama. i said, these people identify as mama. and so do i. it wasnt an invitation to join us. it was an invitation to think about why you identify as you do, what does it mean to be feminist, and why do you think others should identify as you do in order to respect them.

Now I couldn't read the majority of the comments from her posts at Feministe I just couldn't. This quote is from her post about some thoughts on her time blogging there and I read it about an hour and a half ago and this stuck with me.

Particularly the bolded bit.

Why I identify the way I do is something I think have been thinking about constantly in one way or another for more than a decade. It has rarely been an action of searching, I have known who I am for a long time rather, it's been a process of stripping away the shit I don't need.

I've looked inwardly to figure out what makes me want to identify in whatever way and what is it in me that makes a particular identity fit or not fit.

My identity is complex and weird. It is cantankerous and often downright contradictory.

When Mai'a talked about Mamas I had an instant huge blast of synchronization because that part of that entry absolutely made perfect sense to me in that moment.

I often identify as Mama.

Not just with children but with loved ones. With strangers. Not just the nuturer and healer of booboos, but the one who will tell you not to act up in public.

Now I am motherly towards children. All children. I don't intend to have my own children but I (and in my belief system ALL OF US) have a vested interest in children.

I want to be old in a good world.

I don't want to be too old to care for myself in a world run by people who were not cared for as children. All of us who are adults now are not going to run shit forever as the generation before us is realizing and they probably wish they were nicer to us.

So the next time you wanna call some kid a little bastard think about when you are too old to wipe your own ass, do you want that kid to be the one to have to do it?

I got sidetracked.

Children, I love them. A lot of them love me and sometimes I forget how weird people can be about kids in America. Yesterday while I was on the way to work this man from I'm going to guess the southern part of Mexico-ish by his coloring and face shape had this gorgeous little girl.

She was almost two and had the prettiest big smile and chubby little hands. We played peekaboo, we waved at each other, when I put my hand on the rail so I didn't slide out of my seat she played with my nails.

I slid over in my seat at one point to get off of the bus and she (toddlers are natural acrobats I tell you) lauched herself up out of her Daddy's lap arms out stretched, over the seat partition lips all ready for smooching.

I caught her and let her smooch all on me despite her runny nose and the man was mortified and trying to apologize but I shook my head and just gave him back his baby. I gave her little fat cheek a tweak and told him in my (awful) Spanish that she is a beautiful beautiful baby. I tried to tell him that he is blessed but my Spanish isn't that good and I had to go.

That is the kind of Mama I am.

I am also the kind of Mama who when I see certain addicts on the street I will ask if they've eaten and maybe give them something out of my purse. I am the sort who has read the riot act to a young man who elbowed a little old lady out of his way.

I am the kind of Mama who made a stranger cry because I saw her do something really mean and humiliating to a homeless man.

I give hugs.

I give love.

I give The. Look.

I give advice.

I listen.

I laugh.

And sometimes I even have to be a Mama to myself because unfortunately, I'm not always as good to myself as I should be and need to be a parent not a friend.

All this is to say thank you Mai'a for helping me put this into words. I appreciate you deeply and hope your Ramadan is fantastic. Your little girl has an awesome Mama.


Anonymous said...

What a charming and inspiring post. I love the story about you and the toddler on the bus.


Rachel said...

I loved this. It brought a tear to my eye. I feel the same exact way about the punk and hardcore community I'm in; I don't plan on having any children of my own but the people in the scene are who I look out for, and having a band is a lot like having kids...except I'm picking up 30-something drunk men from wherever we left our gear rather than a 7-year-old child from school!

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