i saw a friend i hadn't seen in about a year or so on Sunday, and when i asked how she was/where she'd been, she looked at me and said "honest?" and i said "of course, honest". and she said she/they had a child (with her husband), who is now almost 1, and that the last year of her life has been the worst year of her life. she said no one ever tells you how horrible it can be. how it's not just the sleep deprivation but all the other "shit you have to go through". she said she'd never really wanted children (she is...40ish?) but that her husband convinced her. it's getting better now, that the child is older, but the year with the infant was horrible.

obviously this is her own experience and i would not use this an an "example" of anything other than 1. don't let someone convince you to be a parent (man or woman) and 2. not everyone loves it and they shouldn't be made to feel guilty if they don't.

i will say that for me it was a relief to have someone admit this. i wished her the best.

i was born in a small town

(i've had this account set up forever just to read all my LJ friends, but i sort of have a mental block against writing things online that i wouldn't post on my regular blog, and thus, no 'secret' blog posts here. transparency and no talking behind people's backs...blahblahblah. but i wrote up this blog post in response to something else i'd read earlier today, but then realized that posting it on my www would result in probably some not nice emails about me being an elitist snob, esp considering my blog feeds into my facebook page, where all my old HS friends can read it, and that a fair number of my family in Michigan reads my blog regularly now, so here it is, the first occassion to use LJ for something i want to rant about but am censoring from my main blog. it feels bad, and i'm not sure if it's b/c a) i really am being bitchy and judemental or b) i am censoring myself in order to protect the feelings of those i love. or both. anyway......)

"I think the thing that pisses me off so much about Palin–and let’s be honest, I do have a visceral dislike of her–is that I and many of the people I care about deeply thought we made some kind of deal with small town America. “Fine, Small Town America,” we said, “You want to make sure we never forget that you think that we’re fags and freaks and whores and improper and not right and not like other people and just in general so weird to the point where we can barely breathe, fine. We’ll stop fighting for room here to live. We’ll go live somewhere else, somewhere cool, where there are more people like us or at least where people don’t give a shit what we’re like. But, if we have to give this up, then you have to take it. You stay on your side. We’ll stay on ours.”

And I feel like, yet again, the unspoken agreements we make to get through really don’t mean shit. The deal is, if folks like her want to turn small town America into some seething conservative hell-hole, fine, but leave the rest of us alone. But no, here they come, hell-bent on doing to the rest of the country what they’ve done to the small places–and that is, I think, to run the rest of us out.

I just can’t abide by that. It makes me so damn angry.

I’m not going to concede my whole damn country to those fuckers."

--Tiny Cat Pants

this "small town" rhetoric has been seeping into a lot of discussion, political and otherwise, and for me it's a really personal topic. i'm from a very small town, and i left a very small town. this is a hard subject for me to really talk about openly because i've had a number of uncomfortable disagreements/conversations with people when the subject of small town v. urban living has come up. while i always feel bad talking shit about small towns while most of my family still lives in one, i left for a reason. smalltowners defend their way of life, and accuse urbanites of being a) elitist and b) socialists, not to mention try to make a point out of things like crime and pollution associated with urban areas. i like to point out that i know way more people who've been arrested/served time back in my hometown than i do here in oakland. most my personal community here doesn't have a record.

liberal/conservative politics aside, the weird cultural chocolate-vanilla twist between "everybody knows everything about everyone" and "leave me the fuck alone"/libertarian bent is super dysfunctional. there is a weird thing in small town culture, where people feel like everyone should just leave them alone, even if they're doing something wrong, like part of living in a small town is having the right to be an asshole and everyone should mind their own business. it's often painted as a "liberal" thing to do - to tell your neighbors when you think they're doing something wrong. i don't understand this, just like i don't understand how wanting to enforce accountability in government is a "liberal" thing. the government should be left alone to abuse our system just like your neighbor should be left alone to abuse his wife? i don't think so. (a cousin of mine recently wrote about intersecting a woman abusing her child in public and being told to "mind her own fucking business" when she intervened, and i sent her a link to this, also by Tiny Cat Pants.)

as much as i sometimes can't take the noise and crowds of urban neighbors, it definitely seems like people in urban settings don't tolerate people being fucktards nearly as much as they do in rural places. maybe it's because we live on top of eachother and everyone feels empowered to keep everyone else in check, i dunno. maybe it's the "urban liberalism" that results in living next to people NOT LIKE YOU.

in any case, back to the beginning - the idea of someone who views small town mentality as the pinnacle of the american dream having the 2nd most powerful position in the world scares the hell out of me. the majority of the world's population lives in urban areas. more importantly, that dream of andy griffith-style small town community only works in homogeneous places, where no one dares step out of line. it seems like a large part of the conservative agenda is to promote homogeneity, and for those who aren't the same, separatism. no thanks. like Aunt B., i won't allow christian conservatives to take over all of America. if you want to live in your small town and still call people fags, go right ahead, but don't you dare try to take over everything and tell those of us who moved away from there to create our own diversity-celebrating communities that we should now conform to your conservative ways "for the good of America". conservatives like to argue that this country is going to hell in a handbasket because of liberal "san francisco values". given the current state of America (particularly rural America) under this conservative administration, it seems like the evidence argues to the contrary.

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