March 8, 2015

My Issue With Public Breastfeeding

For the past several months actress Alyssa Milano has been the celebrity 'voice' of normalizing breastfeeding. Honestly, I find her so annoying and I think she's an attention grabber. Ok, you breastfeed your baby and you take pictures of it so that people can see that you breastfeed in public... Anyway, this whole public breastfeeding cause has been on the rise in the last few years. Women are tired of not being able to nourish their babies while out in a packed shopping mall without getting scoffs and disgusted stares. I'll be honest, I wasn't on board to this cause initially, and while I'm still not totally in support of it, I know that it's an important thing, but it will never be normalized and here's why...

I was reading an article about how Milano posted a picture of her breastfeeding while getting her makeup done. I scrolled down to the comments section of the article, just to get a feel of what other people thought. Like me some people believe she only wants attention but most people were giving her kudos for displaying herself as she was. Her breast was completely uncovered and the only thing we couldn't see was her nipple because it was in the baby's mouth. Although there were many comments supporting her and praising her, there were even more comments that were really disturbing.

One person said "Thanks Alyssa for giving me something to whack off to tonight" another said "I have always dreamed of seeing her like this, I'm posting this on my wall. Thank God for breastfeeding" and there were other variations of the same statement. It disturbed me because even though she had a baby girl attached to her breast, her body was still being objectified and viewed in a sexual nature instead of a maternal nature. This really bothered me because it's just gross to think of some guy gaining some sexual pleasure from a woman with a baby at her breast. In my opinion, as long as woman's body is objectified breast feeding will never be normalized.

One argument is that at one time in history, women were allowed to breastfeed with little to no stigma. In modern tribal cultures, women breastfeed in public and even walk around with their breasts uncovered (National Geographic anyone?). In past cultures and in tribal cultures breasts were/are not viewed as sexual objects. In many modern developed, non-tribal cultures, breasts are a symbol of sex and pleasure not maternity and motherhood. The issues people have with breastfeeding directly stems from the fact that a woman's body is considered an object. Alyssa Milano has used this to her advantage for a large part of a career but now she wants public breastfeeding to be normalized? I understand that people change and evolve especially after starting a family so I won't even count that against her. What I'm saying is that you have to start at the foundation in order to build a house.

We still live in a rape culture, where men think that women don't understand what they want and that women are temptresses who want men to force them into sex. I think there are so many things that need to be tackled before normalizing public breastfeeding. Personally, I don't care if a woman decides to breastfeed in public, it's her body and her baby...But is it safe? I believe that there should be more accommodations for breastfeeding women in public places, such as private, clean rooms that are designated for feeding. Does breastfeeding need to be public? I don't think so, but there should be more accommodations for it. Breastfeeding is for the purpose of nourishing your baby, does it matter if everyone sees or not?

It's a very hard thing to tackle because the objectification of the female body (and the rape culture) has ties to many things even religion. Anything is possible, but I don't believe you're going to encourage the masses to join the cause by posting pictures on social media and by not dealing with the root of the problem first.

March 4, 2015

How Do I Stop Being Clingy?

I'm always giving advice and opinions but this time, it is I who needs a little help. Ok...Little known fact: I'm a clingy person, I admit it. That's the first step, right? I just figured out this trait of mine within the last few months. I don't think I've always been this way, it might be a rather recent development and I don't like it. Maybe it's not new, maybe it's just something I've only recently noticed...Whatever the case may be, I don't like it.

Actually, thinking back on it, I have always been this way. I'm not clingy with *everyone*, in fact there's not a lot of people that I'm clingy with. I'm only clingy with people I feel super comfortable around and I feel that they are super comfortable with me. And it has to be someone I have an interest in or connection with. Those kinds of people are few and far between so when it does happen, it's exciting.

When I was a child, I had a cousin who was like a sister to me. She lived about an hour or so away from my family and I. She spent the school year at home and spent holidays and summers with us. This started when I was about 3 or 4, and the hardest part was not sharing my toys or sharing playtime with my brother, it was letting go. Every time she would have to leave I'd get really sad. Once she got out of the car and said goodbye I would burst out into tears and couldn't stop crying. I didn't understand why it was not a big deal for my family. No one else cried, no one else seemed as sad as I was. It took me years to stop crying after she would go home, and even sometime after I stopped visibly crying, internally I still cried.

I didn't know it then but I was very attached her. She was my sister and best friend while she lived with us, so of course I was attached. I think that was the ultimate supreme level of being clingy though. With my friends it's sort of similar but not so dramatic. If I like someone as a friend and I feel that they like me too, and we have lots in common, I'm hooked.

I googled 'how to stop being clingy' for some answers and a lot of the results did not pertain to me. It seems that many of the articles put confidence and clingy-ness in the same category. People who are not confident and have low self-esteem seem to be more clingy than those who are confident. I don't think my clingy-ness has anything to do with my confidence or self-esteem. I'm also not the type of person that doesn't get it when someone doesn't want to be bothered. I've very good at perceiving emotions, body language, and context clues, I don't chase and I'm not oblivious to those kinds of things. I think my clingy-ness relates to my need to connect deeply with the people I care about.
It relates more to my INFP personality than anything.

Sad thing is that most people aren't like me, most people can easily detach from people and think nothing of it. When I find someone where the connection is mutual, I latch on to them. It actually sounds worse than it is. It's not often that I want to engage with people, so when I do find someone engaging I want to keep that connection,build trust, and understanding. Some people have lots of friends because they can simply pull the plug and move on to the next person, it's no big deal to them, but of course it's the opposite for me.

Are clingy people always visibly clingy? Since I know I'm clingy I try my damnedest to NOT appear so. I don't think many people know that I'm clingy because I try so hard to keep it under wraps. I try to act uninterested and unbothered but in my mind I'm screaming "Spend time with me, talk to me, listen to me, relate to meeeee." Oddly enough, I'm not a jealous clingy person as long as our friendship is the same it definitely doesn't bother me for my friends to have other friends. If I notice that our friendship changes then I do find it easier to back away, because the strong connection isn't there anymore. In romantic relationships, it's the same. If he doesn't seem interested and the connection turns weak, it's easier for me to move along.

My best friend in high school was the thin, outspoken, outgoing version of me. Once we clicked, we were inseparable, I'd never met someone so much like the 'inner me'. We exchanged numbers and the first time we talked it lasted about 3 hrs. At that age, I hated talking on the phone but that was the best phone conversation ever. A couple weeks went by and since her phone was pre-paid she had depleted its minutes. We would talk sparingly, maybe once a week, which was fine because I saw her at school everyday. After a couple years she transfers to a new school and the calls dwindle to maybe twice every few months. I missed our friendship and our closeness, but to her the distance didn't make a difference. Anytime she'd call, it was like picking up where we left off, which was great, but I felt strain where she didn't.

I wrote this because today I felt sort of offended that someone that I'm friends with didn't interact with me like normal. There's more to the story than just that, but you guys don't need to really know the tea. Anyway, I'm trying hard to detach myself from this friendship and friendships in general because I don't like this feeling. When I say 'detach' I don't mean to end or sever ties, I just mean to loosen or unlatch myself from holding on so tightly. I don't like other people controlling my emotions. Or in other words, I just don't like feeling so dependent on anyone as a source of my happiness. Other people don't see what I feel, so it's not their fault. I know, It's complicated, huh? It was so much easier when I didn't have friends.

Also, sometimes because I don't want people to know that I'm clingy, I get used. I don't like initiating things so I always wait for the other person to start things up. People will talk to me or hang out with me when THEY want to talk to me/hang out with me. I'm so receptive and even if I don't have time, I make time for the people I really like. On the other hand, I'm not so sure they do the same for me.

I don't like attention but I like attention from people I care about, because I put so much into caring about them, I give everything, 100% nothing less. I like being the listener, but sometimes I want to be heard...But I just don't want to seem clingy because I am clingy. Is that crazy?! The question of my lifetime...