Day: August 20, 2011

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, this sounds like a well-made piece of television heading our way: MTV is debuting a new reality show in October in which a small town girl moves to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams in the fashion industry. The…

God, Dogs, and Self-Care – Balancing Social Justice and the Self

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, what the fuck do those three things have to do with one another. It works…I promise.

A lot of my screwed up sexist programing came from the Christian Sect I was raised in for the first several years of my life. Some of it I was able to defeat with shear cussedness, some with reason, some with empathy, but some of it lingers in my psyche and worms its way out from time to time. This is particularly true of the culture of giving. It’s something I’m not sure that non-Christians or more progressive Christians are familiar with. The phrase “give till it hurts” was common. The minister often spoke eloquently of how Christ gave away all of his possessions and how everything we gave would come back to us “10-fold” (ahem…of course the minister was “receiving” these gifts).

My parents were big proponents of giving and volunteering. So often my stuff (what little I had given that we were periodically homeless) was given away to those “less fortunate” (query who *those* people were). And at least twice a week we spent the evening volunteering, at prisons, homeless shelters, food banks…yada, yada. It didn’t matter if I were ill, or had homework or wanted to hang out with my friends any more than it mattered that I really, really loved that doll. My -self-, my needs, wants and desires were unimportant in the face of the needs, wants and desires of others.

When I walked away from Christianity, I walked away in some senses from this culture of giving. I no longer give with intention of getting anything back. And I thought I no longer gave till it hurts. I mean, shit…I’m not giving you my xbox (Mr. Kristen probably will tho…he’s a total sucker for big, sad eyes) or my tempurpedic slippers.

But this culture of giving is more than just a Christian thing, in some senses its a woman thing. Many women have been socialized to believe that we are the caretakers of society. While I left one source of that programming the pressure to care for others to the exclusion of my self remained.