Friday, April 6, 2012

No, Really. I Hate Shakespeare.

Admit it. You are guilty of stereotyping. We all are. Generalizations are just human nature. We make them, and they are frequently reinforced, because there is usually a grain of truth somewhere. Stereotypes aren't always such a bad thing, but of course they can be. I think as long as you are aware that you are stereotyping and realize that they are generalizations, not facts, it's not a problem.
We also all fit into someone else's stereotypes, too, even if we don't see ourselves as part of the same group other people do. Usually, we know we belong to a "type," and we seek out other people of the same group. It helps narrow down the billions of people in the world to a manageable number, so we can find like-minded people who we are more likely to agree with or get along with.
But no one fits into on profile perfectly. Personally, I break a lot of the generalizations people make about me.

Confession 1: 
I'm a vegetarian, but I don't like animals. Really. Keep them away from me, please. And don't ask me for money supporting animal rescue or no-kill shelters. Or assume that I belong to PETA.
Obviously, animal abuse is wrong and horrible, and the people who abuse them should be arrested and prosecuted. I'm totally on board with that. BUT, when there are so many HUMAN rights being violated, trampled, or ignored right here in the USA, I really don't care how many unwanted kittens are being euthanized. When kids in this country are going to bed hungry every night, I have no real compassion for dogs who need thousands of dollars worth of surgery so they can survive with just three legs and one eye. Don't like the way animals are being treated when they are raised for food? Stop eating meat; but don't expect me to get teary-eyed over the factory chicken photos.
I am glad that there are people who are responsible pet owners, and who help rescue otherwise healthy but unwanted animals...but don't assume that just because I don't eat animals that I am one of those people.

Confession 2:
Not to brag, but I'm really pretty smart. I have an above average IQ, and I'm well read. But I have actually had the following conversation:
Me: Ugh, I don't want to read more Shakespeare.
High School Classmate: Why not? I mean, I don't want to either, but that's because I don't understand any of it.
Me: Oh, I understand it. I just don't LIKE it.
HSC: But you're so SMART!
Me: Yeah, I'm smart enough to know I don't like Shakespeare!

I'm also lousy with computers, reading poetry makes me sleepy, and I stopped taking math and science by senior year of high school, because physics is booooring. I did well in school, but it was a means to an end; I never particularly enjoyed it.
The worst part of this particular stereotype is that for a long time *I* bought into it, too. I really made an effort to get through Anna Karenina when the other honors English students and I were assigned that for reading instead of being made to sit through grammar with the rest of our 10th grade class. I TRIED. And I was disappointed with myself that I hated every word of the 90 pages I read. I even forced myself to read Shakespeare that hadn't been assigned, thinking that maybe if I found the right story, I could say I liked his plays. It never happened; all it did was waste a lot of time I could have used for reading something I enjoyed. It continued through most of college, too, before I could admit to myself that being smart didn't mean I had to like all of the stereotypical "smart people" stuff. And it was a relief! So, now I'm perfectly comfortable with admitting that I liked reading Twilight, but I have to space out my Jane Austen novels, or they all sound exactly the same.

Confession 3:
I'm a baby-wearing, co-sleeping, occasionally cloth diapering, homeschooling, long term breastfeeder, but have ZERO interest in homebirths, or even natural childbirth. Bring on the epidurals! I completely enjoyed all three of my childbirth experiences (although not the 9 months leading up to them!), and that is largely due to the wonder of epidurals. Also, when I think of homebirths, all I can think of is that *I* would be the one who had to clean up the resulting mess, which is not something I want to do immediately after giving birth. No thank you! The three days I spent in the birth center after my youngest was born (mostly due to a broken air conditioner at home and 95+ weather) were like a little vacation. As soon as I got home, it's just back to life as usual. I liked the little break, where I could pretty much just lay around and hold the baby and get spoiled. Eventually I got bored and was ready to go home, but it was nice while it lasted.
This approach to childbirth horrifies a lot of moms who agree with many of my other parenting choices listed above. The moms who agree with me on hooking up the epidurals are usually horrified by nursing a toddler or cloth diapers. Well, to each her own. Do your own research, make up your own mind, and try to ignore the other side telling you what you're doing wrong, because you will never make everyone happy all of the time.

Confession 4:
I admit to making my own baby food, and that I (unknowingly) did child-led introduction to solids (I didn't know it was a whole philosophy at the time), but it had nothing to do with making the best foods for my kids or going organic or any other parenting philosophy. I had two reasons: food allergies and money. All of my kids have had some type of food allergies, and it is easier to figure out what they are allergic to if you are making your own food with no added ingredients or worrying about cross contamination during processing. It's also easier to avoid allergens once you do figure it out. Also, making your own baby food is cheaper. And the child-led solids thing came about for the same two reasons, plus a third...laziness. Spoon feeding an infant is messy, time consuming, and creates more dishes to wash. Breastfeeding doesn't even require you to sit up. So, there you go. My reasons for following this whole parenting movement that I knew nothing about were purely selfish. Honestly, I have to wonder if this is true for a lot of the child-led weaning advocates, but they try to cover up their selfishness and laziness by making themselves sound like super-moms. 


  1. I hate Shakespeare, too. For me, it's mostly because they revolve around bad people doing bad things. Or good people doing stupid things, with bad results. I do enjoy the comedies more than the tragedies, but not a lot.

    I enjoyed the Twilight books, more than the movies for sure!
    I love Jane Austen's books, but I love many of the movie versions even more!

    Some of my favorite books are non-fiction, especially science, and science fiction. Aah, Isaac Asimov, David Brin, Arthur C. Clarke! Steven Gould, too!

  2. I am so with you on the homebirth thing! I embrace many of the crunchier parenting choices out there, but all three of my experiences were really messy and I can't imagine that in my house. Blech. Body fluids are not my thing.