Feminism—What does it mean? To me?

By Alathia Paris Morgan

The definition of Feminism from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feminism

  1. “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
  2. organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests”

I continue to have conversations with my family and others about why I’m so set on equal-ness between women and men. Don’t I LIKE men? Liking or hating men is not really the issue for me. I grew up with a dad and a mom, grandparents who loved us and now I have an amazing husband who is also the wonderful dad of three daughters. Don’t I respect him? Absolutely. Do I submit to him? Well that is not something we ever discuss because we are in an equal partnership where submission has no place. Now before anyone runs away screaming let me explain.

At my wedding, (come on we all know the wedding is for the girl), my guy asked to have all the guys wear Converse shoes. Yep and they did. He also wanted to have a few certain songs played that meant a lot to him. There were several who asked why I did that? Was I submitting to him before I even got married? No, he asked and because I loved him it wasn’t even a question of could it be done, but how. I got to pick my dress and shoes and even had my favorite songs played, but that didn’t mean it was only because he let me. It was because he loved me and wanted me to have whatever I wanted. It is a partnership. We do things together. He is there beside me to check my ideas and make sure I’ve got all of my ducks in a row. When he has an idea I try to make it happen. Again, it’s because I love him and want what’s best for him, me and our family.

So because I like men, love my husband, and try to give him things he wants how can I be a feminist?

Aren’t all feminists bra burners? Well if you have ever met me, then you will know that burning my bra would be bad for the “girls”, not liberating.

If I’m a feminist, don’t I want to have equal pay for women and men? Of course I do, but I’m more worried about the safety of women at the moment.

Do I agree with the women’s marches? Absolutely yes!! Do I agree with the p****-hat wears? Hmm. I don’t have one on my head, but does that mean it’s wrong? Nope, just not something I’m doing, but others may certainly go for it. Why?  Because we have been subjected to men touching, looking and assuming that our body parts belong to them. Is it offensive to some people? Yes, but so is having the male anatomy constantly talked about in our work places and thrust into conversations all the time.  Now before you tell me that you don’t hear these kinds of things or a man would never say something like that to you, you might be right, but do you work from home? Are you a church goer? Do you normally have a man as your companion in social circles where other men and women are present?  Just because you have managed to protect yourself doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen to women all day, every day. Ah what was that? Do they have laws against sexual harassment? Well of course, but women don’t always have a chance to report it because of the way it will affect their income, or the repercussions of making a report are so much worse than listening to a coworker talking about his anatomy. While I might not have gone about it in the same way, I think it definitely made a point that needs to be made. Men don’t own women’s bodies and it’s time that others take it seriously.

Domestic Violence is one the main reasons that I believe in feminism. Women deserve a chance to be free from harm and their stories not be taken for granted. I have seen and worked with a lot of women over the years, but there was one story that has impacted me so greatly over the years. The woman was telling me her story, about when her husband would come home drunk and beat her every weekend. She took it because she didn’t want him to start on their children, but she told me that every time, “I screamed. I yelled. I could only hope the neighbors could hear and call the cops. I was hoping to be rescued because I didn’t know how to support myself and the kids without him.”

So I am a feminist because I believe in equal rights that will help stop Violence against Women. I am a feminist because I believe a woman should not be taken from her family against her will and sex trafficked. I am a feminist because I believe there are amazing men out there that love and make strong women stronger. I am a feminist so that my daughters can chose who they get to love for themselves.  I am raising strong daughters who have amazingly wonderful women and men role models in their life. We can’t change the world by ourselves, it will take men and women to change things and if that means going to marches or trying to help women leave a dangerous situation, then that is how I will change my portion of the world. Ripples on the water change things in small ways, so begin your own ripple in your own way and help change the world.

Why I love Reading!!

AdobeStock_63336841.jpegThe only way to explain why I love reading is to explain my journey and how I got to where I am today. So hang onto… well a rather boring recounting of how it all got started.

I’ve read since about the age of eight. I was a slow learner to start with partly because of the required reading book I had– McGuffy’s reader, but when my mom realized it was difficult for me, she found another method.

Suddenly the words weren’t as overwhelming, I found it to be a challenge instead to read every learning reader she put in front of me. For extra practice I began to read the Hardy Boys out loud to my brothers because they didn’t want to read girly books like Nancy Drew. My first book set was Little House on the Prairie and we couldn’t wait for Mom to read each chapter. As the Prairie she described matched the t.v. series it wasn’t hard to “see” the story come alive from the page of that book.

By book #4 I was on my own and reading anything I could get my hands on. I entered a study where you worked on lessons and mailed it in to them. ( Yes, people it was the 80’s  and there were no emails back then for most of us since AOL hadn’t been invented yet.)  Then they shipped me my prize– a new book. Many lessons later I had started my library.

Growing up I had two choices; playing with my brothers or reading, since there weren’t many children in the area we lived in. Books became my friends, the most immediate problem became finding age appropriate books for me to consume. Bookstores gift cards were my only requests for gifts over the next few years. When I could spend $30-$50 and come home with boxes of books I was ecstatic. I not only read them, but counted the days until the next shopping trip. By high-school I was reading 200-300 books a year, finally unable to edit my books before I read them, my mom made a few rules for me to follow. No cuss words allowed and romances could only have chaste kisses. I felt free, there were so many books to read from now, but I mostly stuck to biographies and Christian romances. (No judgement please. Wink, Wink.) Then one day my mom picked up a biography of a WWII general I was reading and found cuss words in it. “What? Where?” I questioned worriedly. Then she explained ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ were bad words. ( Yes, I was very sheltered, but I turned out okay. Although I have a term for it now, Christian PTSD). Mom and I worked out a compromise, real life would have some language in it and as long as there was only a few cuss words it was okay. So I reluctantly took Patton off my reading list.

My clean and sheltered world took a huge turn when I went to college and my reading choices changed. School reading filled my first few weeks, but then a friend recommended LOTR to read, (Before the movies fyi.) and I had a moral fork in the road. See magic and wizards were considered evil and the LOTR’s was full of it. So on the advise of a wise friend, he suggested a the guideline I still follow today. “Does good win? Are you rooting for the good guys or the villain in the story?” Whoa!! So if the good wizard or witch beats the bad guy then it didn’t bother my young soul anymore and opened up an entire worlds of new books. LOTR’s came first, then the Wheel of Time and the abhorred Harry Potter books. HP entered my world as a movie theater manager and I couldn’t watch the movies without reading the books first. They did fit the basic rule of good wizards and love winning the day.

After my magical break-through, I learned to read non-Christian fiction and more romances. As my college years drew to a close my hubby introduced me to Ann Rice and the paranormal led to mystery and thriller authors such as Nora Roberts ( J.D.Robb.), Mary Higgins Clark, and Lisa Jackson. Then one day after several recommendations, I tried Laurell K. Hamilton and fell in love. I started in the middle of the series and a mutual friend lent me the next book in the series very cautious because people tended not to return them to her. She was amazed when two days later I returned it and borrowed the rest of the series. Sherrilyn Kenyon followed and suddenly my world was filled with vampires, werewolves and spicy romances.

After accumulating over 6000 books, ( yes, my walls are bookshelves), I discovered the kindle and indie book communities. While leery of switching over to only digital books, I now have a new set of book friends in the motorcycle club, paranormal, erotica and romance areas. Some over the years many have thought I couldn’t possibly remember every book I’ve read and no I don’t. If  it was a great story and kept me reading and wanting more I’ll remember it. I go back and reread occasional books, but only once have I started a book not realizing I had already read it until the scene in the middle re-jogged my memory. They are standing at their respective windows and the girl looks out and sees the guy, but can only stare because he is naked. Now that was a memorable scene!!

Through the years my taste have changed, but sometimes I’ll pull out an old friend like Anne of Green Gables, because you can never have enough of the Anne girl, to read again. I disappear for a short while into their world, but mostly I love the friends who are always calling my name from my shelves, kindle and local library. Come visit us for a while. We miss you. You haven’t been on an adventure in a while.  Down the rabbit hole I’ll fall into a brief respite from adulting.

I never know where each adventure will take me, but I’m always up for learning new things and making new friends. To say that books fill my world is putting it mildly. So may your shelves never be empty and your adventures never end.

What do you consider to be the start of an apocalypse?

 

So this question hasn’t been in use by the average person for quite a while or at least until the start of the zombie craze. While there are have always been theories thrown around about when or why an apocalypse would begin, it wasn’t until The Walking Dead comics and t.v. show that it became the most common theory.

At last my job which was at a convenience store, the running joke when the truck delivered supplies was, if  bread and toilet paper were fully stocked then the Zombie Apocalypse could happen anytime because we were prepared. It was a normal way to joke around and talk about what we would do if it really happened. In just a few short years, society has gone from laughing at doomsday preppers to curiously finding out how to be a little more self-sufficient in case something does go wrong. nuclear-disaster

As I was cleaning out the filing cabinets at my current job as office manager, I found a file labeled “Nuclear Disaster”. I was very curious and opened this file expecting it to be from the 1950’s or 1960’s, what I found instead were instructions on how to insure your immediate survival from the year 2010. While grossly mis-filed, this reminded me that everyone has an idea of what they consider to be an apocalypse. The person that put this file together was certain that nuclear disaster would be problematic to their immediate survival.

I grew up in a home where the idea of prepping was common placed, but not from zombies. These days while I know an actual zombie event wouldn’t happen, the idea of how it might go is not that hard for me to imagine. Is it something I worry about on a daily basis? No. An apocalyptic event could happen through terror attacks, illness/disease, riots or simple zombie bite, in the end it doesn’t really matter how it starts, but how you plan to survive.

 

What is my earliest childhood memory?

Blog #2 of April’s writing challenge

So here we are again for a question that made me really think…What is my earliest childhood memory?

There are two instances I vividly remember and I think it is the 1st one is the earliest because of the time line involved.

  1. Watching Star Wars—Return of the Jedi on the big screen when it first came out. Yes, I am that old and my brother was just a little baby (oneish) so I had to be three or less. My mom took us out when Jaba the Hut had Leia and we went out to the lobby for something and had to wait until the movie was over for my dad to come out.
  2. My other way back memory was when my baby brother was being born in December of 1983. My grandparents took us to see the double feature of Mickey Mouse’s Christmas Carol and Rescuers Down Under. While it may seem that we watched a lot of movies, it was a big deal for us to go to the movie theater so that is probably why I remember both of these in such vivid detail.

I know my memories are over thirty years old, but they made a distinct impression on my life. I still love Star Wars over thirty years later. In fact I totally geek out to it and Star Trek with my entire family.

The arrival of a baby brother was cool, I guess. All right he grew on me, okay? I still get the chills when the skull from the Rescuers Down Under comes on and that horrible woman makes Penny go down in the watery hole.

Some things will stay with you throughout your life and those of your children so make the best memories you can with your family because they can last you a lifetime.

Five problems with social media

Blog #1 of April’s writing challenge: Five problems with social media.

 

Well, I had to think about this statement for a while before I could actually comment on problems with social media. I personally enjoy social media and see a lot of good uses for this type of communication with people who are scattered all over the world. So I will try to find some of the more unusual problems to discuss in today’s blog.

  1. Nosy-ness – Yes, I said it. Being in each other’s personal lives for absolutely no reason. When did we need to know where everyone was going that day or what they had for dinner?
  2. Addiction – We are addicted to all forms of social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and YouTube. It has become a living breathing instrument of we must know what is happening all the time. Everyone has to check in or post so that the world will know exactly what is going on every minute.
  3. Drama – It is a very real problem. We all know a person that posts their extremely personal problems online and then invites the trolls (their friends) to comment with their opinions on what they should or should not do about the situation. EVERYONE has to weigh in because if we don’t then that poor person will have absolutely no idea what they should do with THEIR LIFE.
  4. Oversharing – By telling everyone that you are leaving for vacation, you are inviting the crooks to come visit while you are gone. Announcing that you are drinking or going to do illegal things while calling in sick is not really recommended when you are friends with your boss on social media. This problem of blurting out too much information can cause loss of jobs, friends and in some extreme cases jail time
  5. Time-consuming – It sucks the time out of your life. There is no other explanation for this except that there is a time sucking demon that constantly says… “Oh, she liked this post, now I can send her 200 more cat videos or memes of superheroes. HEHEHE.” We are constantly using all of our available time and effort to monitor a social media channel while we miss doing other important things with our families. We all know it happens, “I’ll just pop in and see what’s going on or I’ll just be a minute.” Three hours later we wonder why we are sore from sitting in the same position for so long.

So there you have it. Five problems with social media and for each problem there is also an upside as to where and how we spend our time. I’m sure you can figure out what those could be and I would love to hear your comments for a follow-up on the good things about social media. TTFN

My slice of Peace on Earth.

12358301_10153334324177643_411884743_nIt’s that time of year, Christmas and Thanksgiving followed by New Years. I love it because while hectic I really do enjoy the hustle and bustle that being with extended family brings. Both sides of my family are large with 25-35 on each side, while my husband’s is smaller, but just as crazy. I am always late putting up my tree because my business/ job is centralized around Christmas time so I have my own version of crazy.

My oldest daughter couldn’t wait to put up the  tree so I let her go ahead while I was at work with my poor hubby had to oversee the ordeal. When I got home it seemed like Christmas had exploded all over the staircase, bookcases and every stocking that we own hanging in the hall. (I have several extra to change things up each year.) There were at least 10+ stockings and we only need 5 for those in our house, but they were all out and proudly displayed. One year she decorated her personal tree with the wiggly sprinkler as her garland, not my idea of decorations, but she was only six at the time.

Now, I’m old fashioned in that the day after Thanksgiving I must start listening to Christmas music to get me in the mood. Shopping, while fun is not what makes the holidays for me, they can only really start after we arrive at Granny’s house.

As the years pass the home has moved once or twice, but it’s the people and the atmosphere that make it home. I walk in and breath a sigh of relief that I’m home and among those that love me. From being grand-children to having children of our own, the type of responsibilities may have changed, but somehow the core remains the same. “Christmas Eve” could be held days after the actual date, but it begins for our family as we unload vehicles full of food, presents and ourselves until the hallway is full of hugging, happy people glad that we are all there. Snack food is quickly prepared and eaten as we all wait for the big moment. The Presents! Garbage bags and scissors at the ready, while seats are found on the floor wherever a spot can be found as we wait for the matriarch to read us the Christmas story from Luke 2. Old and young listen to the story of a baby’s birth in a stable, the mothers are teary as they imagine a birth taking place so far from home while the dads are contemplating how they could have found something better for their son to be birthed into the world. While the children listen quietly for a  change. (Okay, they are just waiting for the presents.)

Our tradition to read the story began after a disastrous trip to the Christmas Eve service where hair was singed by the candles for the service. Deciding it w as safer for everyone to have our own moment with the story read at home so that all candles and flames could be monitored.

The children help hand out gifts and the opening starts with the youngest and continues until the oldest have all opened one each and then we go around the group again until all gifts have been opened. After the mess is cleaned up and the gifts are stored, the adults sit around trying to decide which new movie the group should watch. Eventually all have fallen asleep and Christmas is concluded to be over. For me the faces have grown older and we have added new ones over the years, but the traditions have been passed down to another generation of Paris descendants who will be eagerly awaiting next year’s travel to Granny’s house. So I have my Thanksgiving at the end of Christmas each year because I have such a loving, caring place to call home for the holidays where there really is peace on earth until the children start fighting over if they have to share their new toys. Oh, well maybe next year the peace will last just a little longer. One can always hope.

 

The Star Wars Marathon at the Paris Casa.

12219342_10153281142972643_178855554165656241_n We began the day at my uncle’s house to start watching Star War’s Episode 1, The Phantom Menace around 10 am on Saturday, November 7th. Many shirts and slogans worn as everyone claimed their seats on couches and beanbags around the room. We started out with 10 in attendance and made it through in great time with a wonderful sound system that gave the feeling of being present when the races began. Young Anakin Skywalker was so cute as he gazed in wonder at the beautiful Padme’ the whisper around the room was “underage much”. JarJar Binks was pronounced annoying and we were all sad that he didn’t die at any point to relieve our frustration at his stupidity. As the movie ended we rushed to the kitchen for our food during our break.

As we scrounged around the donuts and chips with salsa, it was decided that only ten minutes would be allotted for breaks so that we could finish the marathon on time. As I sat back down in my beanbag chair with my current craft project the theme music began as we all hummed along with start of the second segment of our marathon.

Episode 2, The Attack of the Clones was met with great enthusiasm. As Anakin and the Queen became closer, there was a sudden exodus from the room to ignore the awkward moments as their love on screen could not be ignored. Heaven forbid we fast forward as that would have caused the overall authenticity of the event to be compromised. So a food refill and restroom break ensued while we check on the activity on screen until it was deemed safe to return. The movie was finished without any further cause for alarm and we raced to the kitchen to start the oven for the pizza rolls and chicken balls along with other finger food to be consumed as the next movie was started.

Episode 3, The Revenge of the Sith began and we all began to get restless. During the break we lost two of our number as they had dates for the evening, so we continued on without them.

12140768_10153281578507643_2879331486016927036_n Emotions were running high as (spoiler alert) Skywalker began to turn to the dark side. His anger grew as we waited for the moment when he made the fateful choice to embrace his fear. Comments were made about the poor younglings and how this act sealed the direction Darth Vader would follow. Unbeknownst to several of our number, a secret texting group was started to include the missing matriarch. (We didn’t want her to feel left out since she was out of town. The reason for the marathon’s creation.)

20151107_171110 “He’s here!” was the first text and the incredulous reply, “I know. I’m in the same room”.  And so it begins…

Star Wars, Episode 4 was starting as I left for a short while to attend to a family obligation, I was called back as the text messages continued and I couldn’t afford to miss much of this movie I have seen multiple times. (Sarcasm intended). When the battle station was destroyed, a scream of joy erupted, loud enough to ensure everyone was wide, awake. The feeling of exhilaration was enough to motivate the group to hurry for re-enforcements of food.

Episode 5, The Empire Strikes Back A short break later I arrived back to the scene, my chair had grown cold so I snuggled into a blanket and prepared to be wowed. I was but in a completely different way than I had expected. As they were surrounded by ice and snow, one of our crowd burst into song with “Let it Snow, Let it Snow…” The text messages and remarks continued to grow as we watched Luke with Yoda, who by the way grew old and began to show his age by hitting Luke with his cane in the way of all true geriatrics. I don’t remember there being this many snakes being here on the island. It just had to be snakes. Ugh!

The text began to fly fast and furiously between the members…

Our missing member stated, “Please stop.”(the texts) to which the group replied, ” I hope they stop the Galactic Empire as well.” (smirking to the member several states away.)

“Be mindful of asteroid fields when trying to impress a girl, it can be rocky”

“Hans will have to get the princess out on his Falcon. I’m sure he’s devastated by this news.”

“Han ‘likes’ this comment.”

“He’s rethinking that choice at the moment.”

(Missing member) “I’m getting concerned about you guys.”

“As well you should. 😉 ”

“VADER IS LUKE’S FATHER!!!!!!!!”

“OMG!!! Spoiler!!!”

“Spoiler alert!!!” A little too late to bring that information back, I think.

“I married the dark side, but I will not join it!”  (Speaks the missing member.)

“You will, you will.”

“Now to find Han.”

12187866_10153282115082643_6607231094471779315_n Before we began the last Episode, Return of the Jedi, we chose to have dessert, ice-cream since BlueBell is back on the shelves. As the sugar rush settled in, a quiet fell over the group as we waited for the end to occur. The cuteness of the Ewoks was discussed and everyone groaned when they died heroically. Where was Legolas when you needed him to take down the AT-ST’s?

The tenseness could be felt as Han’s jealousy became evident as he sensed the bond between Leia and Luke established firmly.

Finally the emperor is dead. DarthVader is dead. Luke is Leia’s brother. Sighs of relief can be felt…or a few snores from those who have simply closed their eyes. The cheers began to erupt on screen and in the room.

Six movies and fourteen hours later it is over. The empire is dead. Now to wait for Episode VII.

(Whispers are heard of a LOTR marathon in the works.)