May 28, 2011

creating the perfect human race ...

I am feeling a bit good about my writing today as I just had one of my comments highlighted at the New York Times online. I can't honestly say that I am completely proud of my piece, seeing as it borderlines on abusive hateful language, but what I had to say came out the way it did and I really wanted to honour it.

So, first, this New York Times Sunday Magazine story is called Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind? written by Susan Dominus. It features a local British Columbia family who are together raising conjoined twins born about the time my youngest son was born.

The hate-filled comments, some masquerading as concern for these pre-school girls adjoined at the head, suggest with disdain that the very young mother should have aborted. This did not take me by surprise so much as shook me to my core. After all, who says who is normal and who lives a life worth living? I am a pro-choice woman, so it is not that. I am not going to parade out all of the geniuses who, in today's environment may have been aborted because, well, we're all pretty much aware that genius comes with its own parameters.

But I want to point out the people in our own communities who live their lives as if they were normal and truly, I ask, how are these girls' lives less normal than the woman who allows a man to beat her (should she have been aborted at birth?) or the man who's returned from war with less ability, should we have left him on the battlefield? The issue is this: If we cannot allow for imperfect infants to enter the world and live their life, whatever life that is, how will there be room for those who are injured later to exist? At what cost perfection?

As a case in point I want to highlight a childhood friend of mine. Her parents were told in no uncertain terms that her life would be a life better lived in an institution, and not a nice one. I believe her cerebral palsy was a birth injury, so they would probably not have been guided toward abortion. But this family chose to educate their daughter, and insisted she never allow her disability to hold her back. Visit her blog, and then decide for yourself whether or not Glenda has made her mark on our world.

Without further ado, below is my comment for the story. I hope you take the time out to read the actual article. It is well and carefully written and tells the story of a family with values that fit my idea of variety in a healthy society. And by the way, I am a taxpayer who is subsidising their choices and am very happy to do so until they find their way forward. This makes me much happier than that I must subsidize big business as per our government's decisions, whether I agree or not.

I was pregnant with my third at the same time as these girls were in their own mom's womb. My own girls were 4 and 2.5 and the three of us watched as the drama unfolded.

My girls love babies and these two were no exception. I wondered if my children would feel disturbed by the differences, but held my tongue and waited. They asked questions, which I answered in a matter-of-fact way.

I think the way the family accepted Tatiana and Krista and the way that I kept any hint of my own learned prejudice out of the conversation allowed my children to recognise the normalcy of these two girls. Our baby, a boy, came out quite average.

Those of you who think these children should have been aborted have been sold a bill of American crud. We are, each of us, quirky and unusual in our own ways. Surgery, mimicking what is displayed in the glossies and on television, and a whole slew of pharmaceuticals have made a horrendous number of you judgmental freaks. If the Hogan twins entered my child's kindergarten class, he'd be as likely to chat them up as he would the kid with the ponytails because they are people, as real and as precious as the next.

My perfect human race includes people who are disabled from birth or since; people who have survived incredible hardship and/or abuse and strive on; people in the depths of despair; and people who got it "easy" and who's job it is, in part, to financially share a tidbit or two with those who will never make the dosh it requires to live a swank and easy life. What does your perfect human race look like?

May 27, 2011

Agonised Bystander

The words are leaking out of my every pore: my fingertips, my mouth, my nose, my eyes.  I rant, I roar, I screech, I bleed.  I want the bullying to stop.  It affects the staff, the families, the children -- both abled and disabled. It upholds the weak and ineffective, and destroys those who dedicate themselves to bring the very best of their craft to the table.  It is fucked up.

But how, without wreaking havoc on all, do I step out of the observer’s role and into the driver’s seat?  I am starved for answers; I fear there are none.

May 20, 2011

100 Word Challenge -- Chasm

The way he told me was ice cold.  He announced he was remarrying.

Six months previous, the stock markets had failed miserably.  His blood pressure was up, way up, and he fretted that no one would discover for days that he’d died.

Email me, even with a mundane ‘I woke up,’ I suggested gently.  And in came the poetry, the philosophy, the introspect.  Everyday.

But nothing of a girlfriend.  Not a whisper, until that email.  It ambushed me late on a Thursday night, too late to call.  I’ll be at a silent retreat till Tuesday, he wrote without a care.

May 15, 2011

what multicultural really means, 3 generations on ...

Standing in the line at the grocery store. Elderly white woman in front of me has the veggies required for a stirfry, complete with hot Serrano peppers and baby bokchoy. (I invite myself to lunch.)
I turn to the couple behind me, also elderly, and say (in Cantonese) Oh! You're having pasta! And she's having a stirfry ... We laugh as the checkout guy eyes us as crazy ... 
I love East Vancouver!

May 13, 2011

Lost in a space

This week's prompt word for the 100 Word Challenge?  Forgetting:

Maybe I am an addict again.

Years ago, I escaped my problems using food.  Stuffing my body numbed me.  Forcing food up gave the relief I craved.

Therapy and intensive actor’s training taught me how to cuss out my anger, cry out my pain, how to laugh and play.  Such relief!

But now?  With three young children and a busy life not my own, I cannot let it out the way I used to.  My house is a mess. But when I come for a recipe and turn to a blog, I lose time, forgetting what I’m meant to do.

May 2, 2011

The Fear of Rejection

In an effort to write more than less, I have joined a writer's challenge at Velvet Verbosity.  I came across it after reading a couple of examples in the beautiful wanderings at Seeking Elevation, a blog I'm really enjoying these days.  I love to live vicariously through other people's experiences, especially if I can find the familiar in them.  The blogger at Seeking Elevation is moving her family to Hong Kong, a place I lived and worked for six long, interesting years.  I am looking forward to seeing a current Hong Kong through her eyes ...

Anyway ... back to the challenge ... 100 words, with an specific word that must be used.  This week's anchor is the word, Family.  Here goes:

The Fear of Rejection

I comment at great length and frequency.  I’m not ever sure if this is appropriate but I cannot stop.  I fear that one day a blogger will finally send me that email:

“Hey!  Stop leaving such long comments.  Those kinds of remarks belong on your own blog, which I’ve noticed is sadly neglected.  Back off.”

But I cannot write regularly on my own blog despite my best intentions.  Writer’s block?  Perhaps.  But my family know that I write here and may not enjoy what I have to say.

Besides.  I truly love the back and forth of a good conversation.