Laura G Owens ~ Writer

Humanity. Health. Happiness.

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Full-frontal breastfeeding in public. There’s room for middle-ground.

A breastfeeding mom told to cover up took a creative approach to her response.

Mom told to cover-up takes different approach. (Facebook/Carol Lockwood)

This won’t win me any friends but I agree with Orlando Sentinel’s David Whitley‘s view on women breastfeeding without covering up (at all). He gently thinks out loud about his own discomfort.

“Breastfeeding is normal, nurturing and nobody should be shamed for doing it. On top of that, it’s a legal right in all 50 states.

To breastfeeding moms and their supporters:

Feed your babies whenever and wherever the need arises. I just have one small request, and I don’t think I’m alone.

Please do it discreetly if possible. Or is that asking too much?

I fear it is, though for the male chauvinist life of me I can’t understand why.”

Of course breastfeeding is natural.

Of course no one should shame a woman for breastfeeding anywhere, anytime. But if full frontal breastfeeding makes someone a little uncomfortable, I get it.

We can berate our culture because we lose our minds when we see full-frontal breastfeeding on a plane, in a coffee shop, at Disney, at church. Plenty of cultures don’t think twice about mothers openly baring their breasts to feed their babes.

But our culture isn’t that culture, yet.

In all honesty I’d prefer, when possible, moms breastfeed with a teensy bit of modesty. Does that make a bad person? Or am I the product of our nation’s uptight (yet hypocritical) mores?  (We sure love to see naked breasts in this country).

The message I’m hearing from full frontal nursing mothers and their advocates is:

Breasts are for feeding!  Get over it!

Yes breasts are for feeding babies. But they’re also sexual. That I can say both in the same breath isn’t perverse. It’s factual.

Perhaps our culture will shift in time. And it should. But until then I’d suggest a bit of discretion when possible and comfortable. If not. No problem. At least for me.

Babies are unpredictable little buggers. A nursing mother might be caught unprepared. Or maybe it’s stinking hot and she doesn’t want to feed her baby under a sweat tent. Maybe she’s not interested in the clothing acrobatics it takes to be discreet. Or maybe she’s making a “I dare you to judge me”  statement by baring all.

No matter her reasons for not covering up, I’d urge anyone who sees a full-frontal breastfeeding mom to just leave her alone.

Don’t glare.

Don’t tell her to cover up.

Don’t tell her to find a more discreet place or to leave.

Don’t complain to management and so, embarrass the poor woman. Now you’ve got management and other people staring.

Look away if you’re uncomfortable. Problem solved.

Nothing in your life will change if you see a breastfeeding breast. Oh, and your kids will be ok too.

But if your gawking toddler yells, “Look Mommy she’s naked!” explain that breastfeeding is natural. Tell her it’s one of the many ways mommies feed their babies. If your school-age child stares, tell him or her the same thing. Then remind your kids that staring under any circumstances is rude.

This brewing culture war could be diffused if people would realize tolerance is a two-way street says David Whitley.

Yes. But in a head-to-head debate, the people against full frontal breastfeeding need to ease up more than full-frontals need to cover up. Sorry, Mom and baby win.

P.s. I breast fed for 6 weeks. I preferred to do it only at home and only in front of my husband. But hey, that’s my issue. 

Supreme Court rules for baker in same-sex wedding cake case. Not a clear win for either side.

Marry who you love.

Marry who you love.

This is an interesting yet ambiguous Supreme Court ruling. It’s not a clear win for social conservatives or the LGBTQ community.

A baker in Colorado refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding citing religious objections.

He says he has no problem selling a gay customer baked goods. But he refuses to bake a wedding cake due to his beliefs.

The Court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was intolerant and hostile towards religious beliefs based on comments the CCRC made while they reviewed the case.

They did not however, rule that refusing service to a gay person was Constitutional. Same-sex marriage is legal in all states.

This leaves room for future lawsuits by LGBTQ citizens refused service, but it also demands a tone of respect and religious tolerance by lower courts and commissions.

“These disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Justice Kennedy.

Okay I’m all for religious tolerance. Believe what you want. Until your belief stomps on Constitutional rights.

Because in no world is it okay to deny service to a gay couple who want to purchase items for their marriage. That’s not a religious belief without consequence. It’s discrimination. Period.

So let’s for a moment pretend I’m a baker.

My faith tradition happens to include doctrine that says HETEROSEXUAL marriage is sinful. Why? Because my God/god said so, as recorded in my faith’s sacred text.

Feels wrong, doesn’t it?

But forget that for a minute. Let’s look at religious objections to gay marriage. What’s the core belief?

Because God through sacred text, the Bible, commands that sex is for marital procreation. To make babies. Same-sex couples can’t make babies, therefore same-sex — sex, is against God’s will, against “natural” law.

Fine.

Then anyone who has religious objections to same-sex marriage for the *above reason (see footnote) should stop using birth control or stop having sex.

Right? Sex as commanded by God is to make babies.

Seems reasonable (note sarcasm).

Come on.

Younger generations are laughing, not out of disrespect for religion or lack of faith, out of disgust over an archaic belief that views a LGBTQ person as less inherently (and Constitutionally) deserving of marital rights.

Younger generations (and people who believe as I do) are saying, who cares if gay people get married, it’s not affecting your connection to God, or your marriage, or tax rate, or income or health or…..

My deep thanks to clergy across all denominations who always have, or eventually, embraced same-sex marriage. You get it. Or you eventually got it. Either way. THAT is Godly.

 

*It’s noteworthy that some socially conservative Christians believe homosexuality on its own is a sin.

And that’s loving, how? I’m born this way but it’s a sin? Hmm. Seems the anti-thesis to a Jesus message.

Is that like if my sacred text (for argument sake), says that blue-eyed babies are Godly, but brown-eyed babies are not? Or blond hair vs. blue?

From Focus on the Family website: “Further, we are convinced that the Bible leaves no room whatsoever for confusion or ambiguity where homosexual behavior is concerned. The Scripture both explicitly and implicitly regards it as falling outside of God’s intention in creating man and woman as sexual beings who bear His image as male and female.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/04/supreme-court-rules-against-gay-wedding-exemptions/1052989001/

 

‘I’m still waiting for an answer, Senator Rubio’

From Miami Herald Columnist, Leonard Pitts:

(Senator Rubio) I specifically asked you three questions: “What do you stand for?” “What could Trump do to make you say, ‘Enough?’ ” and “What’s the functional difference between being a bigot and just voting for one?”

You gave me cricket arias in response. So let me offer some thoughts. Because space is limited, I’ll leave the first two questions aside. But the third deserves exploration, speaking as it does to issues larger than your slipperiness.

Trump’s bigotry is, of course, a given. Between his housing-discrimination suits, his contention that black people are naturally lazy, his birther nonsense, his assertion that an Indiana-born jurist of Mexican descent was unfit to judge him and his support for neo-Nazis, any argument to the contrary must be regarded as asinine.

And despite your claim that people voted for him “despite” all this, a mounting body of research says just the opposite.

Trump’s bigotry was a big part of his appeal for white Americans scared spitless by the notion of a nation where Muslims, people of color and LGBTQ people play ever larger and more visible roles.

In an analysis based on data from the 2016 American National Election Study and published in the current issue of Critical Sociology, University of Kansas professors David N. Smith and Eric Hanley put it as follows: “The decisive reason that white, male, older and less educated voters were disproportionately pro-Trump is that they shared his prejudices and wanted domineering, aggressive leaders …”

Read the full piece here….

 

Getting into college

4 parent myths about college admissions

Originally published on Mother.ly

If you have a college-bound kid, I know you’re feeling it. The anxiety. The competition. The intensity. The bombardment of well-meaning but sometimes conflicting advice from other parents. I almost lost my mind trying to keep up with the list of do’s and don’ts of college admissions.

The fact is, requirements vary radically across campuses. Some schools focus on the SAT, some on the ACT, some on both. Some want stellar essays, some really don’t care.

But there’s a few general parent misperceptions swirling about that are worth correcting.

Want the full article?

I know it’s annoying that I’m re-directing you, but I have to send you where the article was originally published. 

More: How to Choose a Major: A Complete Guide [25+ Expert Tips & Advice]

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HuffPo: 6 ways to cope with Trump’s win (or how to avoid nasty conflict with your Trump loved ones)

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Posted November 19th, 2016 on Huffington Post.

My husband was worried about me as the election returns came in. “Why are you so damn calm? She’s losing in some important states and you seem fine. It’s scary.”

“Because she’s going to win. I know it.”

I knew it the day she announced her run.

I knew it because despite well-funded, anti-Clinton machines that told us a million times across dozens of media outlets why we shouldn’t the trust facts, I counted on enough people to dig through the lies and add up the truth.

I knew past any red hot issue, jobs, immigration, that voter conscience would shove aside party, fear and Hillary-hate. America has self-respect. We know when enough is enough.

Grabbing crotches, fat-shaming, mocking a disabled journalist, inciting violence, feeding alt-right nationalism, disrespecting a war hero.

I knew our nation wouldn’t hire racism, sexism, misogyny, and bullying.

Voters felt long before they ever decided, that can’t be our President.

When Trump appeared millions of angry voters said this guy will turn the establishment on its cozy head, shake hard and man, oh, man, my life will be better than it is now.

Soon shocking numbers of people habituated to Trump’s horrible and pretended the vile he said never happened or was taken out of context or he “didn’t mean it.”

But I knew a tipping point of undecided and Republican voters would eventually say, “You’re not a good enough person to be my President. My kids are watching for God’s sake.”

And the fact is most voter voters did, because Hillary won the popular vote.

So when I hear “the people have spoken,” I think yes they have, but the electoral process told them to shut the hell up.

At about 3:30 am on election night, I moved out of denial and into the bargaining stage of grief. I sat on my bathroom floor and pleaded “Please, pleeease, God, no. Do you know what this means? My daughter just voted for the first time.”

About 4am, my husband came into the family room and saw me still watching the election returns and sobbing on the couch. Blurry after too much wine, shock and despair, I almost couldn’t get the words out, “This can’t be happening.”

The last stage of grappling with grief is acceptance. Acceptance is the place where you don’t agree with the outcome but you make peace so you stop feeling so shitty.

But I’ll never accept that *61,336,159 Americans decided racism, sexism and misogyny weren’t deal-breakers. I shouldn’t have to explain why in 2016.

Now all I can do is ask what’s next? What do we do? Where do we start?

My suggestion is to start by not making things worse.

1. Remember why you love your friends and family.

People you loved on Monday, November 7th are still those people. Your cousin Frank is still smart, a damn good storyteller and funny. Your best friend Lisa is still warm, a beautiful friend and generous. Good doesn’t disappear overnight. Forget their politics. Separate them, from him.

2. Stop mentally dividing people into Hillary vs. Trump.

This election viciously divided our nation into two mutually exclusive people piles. Now all we feel about our Trump friends is shock, disappointment and anger. Now we see our Trump neighbor as one word, Trump, and the antithesis to all we hold sacred. Now we wonder if the guy at the gas station or gym is one of them. Our deep tribal division is sad, dangerous and regressive.

We think we know everything we need to know about Trump supporters from disgusting chants by pockets of devolved people. We don’t. Trump pulled votes from almost every demographic, including a disappointing number of women. I heard a man tell Michael Moore, Prince of the Progressives, that he voted for Obama, loved Michael’s movies, but that Trump was his guy. This election isn’t about good people vs. bad. Trump won for a long list of complex reasons that have nothing to do (for plenty of voters) with the hate that came out of his mouth.

3. Don’t knee-jerk piss people off or excommunicate anyone.

If your anger is in danger of glaring at some poor unsuspecting Trump tee-shirt-wearing guy minding his own business, by all that is right in the world, stop yourself. Look away or give him the half smile you’d give any stranger in your path.

But if the Trump tee-shirt-wearing guy says something stupid when he sees the safety pin on your collar, breathe, then walk away. Yeah, go high. You’ll wonder how the hell you did it.

Don’t unfriend or boycott anyone unless he or she insists on being an a-hole. Sometimes you have no choice but to shield yourself from toxic people or nice people who won’t back off. If you hate your friend’s political rants on Facebook ignore her posts or hide her feed. If someone brings up the election, tell her “I love you but let’s not go there.” If she goes there, say it again and shut down the conversation. There’s thousands of other topics in the universe. Kids. Football. Dogs. Career. Dating. Movies. Books. Food. Travel. Her cool boots. Anything that won’t divide you into two angry piles.

4. Learn to actively listen.

Okay for some masochistic reason you want to confront the roaring stomping elephant in the room with friends and family. Your anger is who you are right now and you want people to understand why you can’t just “get over it.”

Fine, but set the stage to learn something from a Trump supporter. Ask friends and family to explain without bashing Hillary, why they chose Trump. Then explain without bashing Trump, why you chose Hillary. Stay off the controversial and personal. Focus on issues. Let them speak without interrupting. Don’t debate. Debate time is over. You might want to slam your head against the wall or you might learn something. This act of bravery will be damn near impossible which is why I don’t suggest you try it right now. Emotions are too high.

Post-election town halls are cropping up all over the nation so a better idea is to vent your anger in a moderated setting instead of railing against your loved ones. Your precious relationships matter far more than this election.

5. Focus on your election wins.

I lost a lot this election, so much that if I focus on the meaning and impact, I’ll go fetal and become a useless citizen. So I’m trying to focus on some state and local wins. Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy beat John Mica. Mica wasn’t my choice for Congress but he has an impressive record on mass transportation. Tapped for a possible Whitehouse position, maybe he’ll keep Florida’s transportation needs on the front burner. Medical pot finally won in Florida and a solar amendment designed by the utility companies to confuse consumers lost. My town of Orlando picked Hillary. It’s only a symbolic win, but I’ll take it.

6. Stop reading and watching political news for a while 

If you’re a seething mass of negative, go under for a while. Turn off all news. Get off Facebook and Twitter. Go the movies. Watch sitcoms. Head to the pet store and pet puppies. I promise you, puppies help. Personally I don’t have the willpower to get off the grid, but you might. Get away from the slow drip-drip-drip of 16 months of soul-sucking election stress. It’s hurting you more than you think. And for a while, you might pretend the impossible never happened.

And when you’re ready to come out from under the madness, depression and anger, activate.

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*running total

The anti-anxiety chemical phenibut. Benefits and dangers.

smiling good-bad

Excerpted from Corpina’s article, “Phenibut’s INSANE Benefits and Brutally Awful Side Effects” 

Phenibut is commonly used as a nootropic, an anti-anxiety medication, and sleep aid. Everyone’s always asking me how much they should take.

Here’s my answer…

 

Everyone’s phenibut experience is unique, but in general, men should take about 2 – 2.5 grams and women 1 – 1.2 grams of Phenibut in a day.

Yet even if you take the proper dose, the phenibut hangover can rear its ugly head the following day.

Positive Effects: The Benefits of Using Phenibut

First time users often pose the question, “what does phenibut feel like?”

Before I dive in, it should be noted that I only take pure phenibut crystals, which I buy here.

Sensations on Phenibut – How Does it Feel?

The effects of phenibut simultaneously combine mild-to-moderate sedation with mild-to-moderate stimulation, allowing one to feel physically relaxed and mentally focused at the same time.

This increases sociability, lowering stress and inhibition levels, without impairing judgment.

While some people have compared the primary effects of phenibut to that of a light dose of GHB or MDMA, it’s really just an effective anti-anxiety, antidepressant medication, with few side-effects and remarkable health benefits.

Phenibut gives some users the sensation of mild euphoria, tantamount to a mild “high”. As such, it can be abused if not used correct. Yet, the euphoric phenibut high is not intense, and taking more of it doesn’t intensify the high.

After consuming a dose of phenibut–usually between 250 milligrams and 1000 milligrams—how long it takes to feel the effects varies considerably from person to person.

Personally, I’ve found that phenibut works most consistently when taken on an empty stomach, and I feel it’s effects in around 15 or 20 minutes.

However, it takes longer for most people to feel the effects.

People generally report that the effects start to kick in around 1 or 2 hours after oral ingestion, and then the primary effects usually last for around 4 or 5 hours, although pleasant lingering effects can last for another 24 hours.

Read full article

 

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HuffPo: I miss the days of presidential dignity

The problem isn’t just about politics anymore, it’s about Trump, the very-bad-no-good person in the Oval Office.

It’s about the impenetrable bond between Trump and his most loyal, rabid fans who refuse to see this guy as anything but their nation’s over due bad-ass savior, and a victim of a media witch hunt. Perhaps to admit Trump’s grave character flaws after all this time and tribal division, would be too hard to mentally reconcile.

Unlike any other presidential election in history that I know, for the first time the losing side needs more than a run of political wins, we need Trump voters to see their guy for who he really is, and then and only then, can we begin to close the bitter divide.

We’re called almost daily by pastors and pundits and politically weary friends and family to reach across the aisle, and of course we must.

But first I need to know that my fellow American acknowledges who Trump is as a person. Then I need to know my fellow American is willing to courageously and relentlessly call him out, again and again and again. Wear him down, which with Trump’s shield of arrogance and narcissism will likely take a while.

Want to read my full post?

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The first amendment and what it means for free speech online

free speech

Written by Sam Cook

The internet as we know it is nearly 30 years old. Sure, the web is a bit more complicated — and more intricately connected — than it was 30 years ago, but it’s no less of a modern Wild West today than it was in the 90s (although you may need to dig deep into the darknet to experience the real gun-slinging). The freedoms and anonymity we enjoy online are, however, constantly under scrutiny, by both governments and businesses alike.

At the heart of the issue many have with the internet in its current form is the aforementioned anonymity. That freedom is in no small part is guaranteed by the First Amendment, but it comes in direct conflict with the distinctly gray legal areas the internet seemingly creates with ease.

On the surface, online freedom of speech seems simple enough. The words inscribed within the First Amendment appear to be fairly straightforward in covering the topic:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We see all of those freedoms expressed on the internet with stunning regularity. Religious websites of all kinds abound; people can and do say almost anything, sometimes with reckless abandon; newspapers are now surviving almost exclusively because of their internet presence; social media websites and online forums allow anyone to “assemble”; websites, such as petitions.whitehouse.gov, exist to streamline our legally-required right to petition the government.

Yet much of what happens on the internet falls more specifically under the broad concept of “free speech”. However, the definition of “speech” has expanded in the past 200 years to now include far more than just written or spoken words. Actions themselves can constitute free speech. This broad definition makes interpreting the freedoms, and subsequent limitations, all the more vague as some actions are certainly harmful to others in ways that infringe on their rights.  Full text

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Jesus

Losing her religion

First published on Purple Clover.

I have no doubt I helped destroy my daughter’s faith in God, although I still believe.

As Tina grew up, my higher power shifted from a His Will Be Done Christian to a genderless “divine force in the universe” with good intentions and a wry sense of humor. It’s pretty hard for kids to grab on to God when God is radiant healing energy crossed with Mother Theresa and George Carlin.

Tina insists losing religion isn’t my fault, that she started questioning back in middle school. She tells me not to worry, that she finds hope and comfort knowing she can “question everything in the universe” and then sit back and “consider the infinite possibilities.”

Wonder is her worship now, and I’m thrilled she has the same unquenchable awe I had at her age. But when Tina told me she didn’t believe in God anymore I was heartbroken. I felt like I’d stolen something from her, like I gradually chipped away at her faith until she had nothing left but skepticism…

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Fluid gender identity. I don’t understand, but I’m trying.

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When I say confused I’m not saying anything is wrong with the spectrum and fluidity of gender identity; I’m saying I don’t understand how someone can feel like a man one day, female the next or at any given moment, somewhere in-between or entirely genderless?

But to quote my 19 year-old daughter, “Mom you don’t need to understand something to accept it.”

Clearly my ignorance and age is showing.

I’ve been socialized in a culture that lives and breathes by the construct of two genders, whether as cis or trans. No where in my upbringing despite liberal parents and my lifelong need to understand “the other not like me” was I introduced to gender identity across a moving spectrum. This is a new and complex conversation even inside my progressive circles.

Writes German Lopez, “It’s now more accepted if someone is a man and loves a man, or if someone is designated a woman at birth and identifies as a man later in life — or perhaps during childhood. Seeing this progress, others are trying to expand concepts of gender even further — to directions many Americans may not be used to.”

Actress and model Ruby Rose explains what gender fluidity means to her:

“Gender fluidity is not really feeling like you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other,” she said. “For the most part, I definitely don’t identify as any gender. I’m not a guy; I don’t really feel like a woman, but obviously I was born one. So, I’m somewhere in the middle, which — in my perfect imagination — is like having the best of both sexes. I have a lot of characteristics that would normally be present in a guy and then less that would be present in a woman. But then sometimes I’ll put on a skirt — like today.”

My daughter who identifies as cis gender told me that yes it’s all very confusing, the genders and associated matrix of pronouns (he, she, they, ve, ze…) but that her generation just isn’t hung up on labels.

But I feel old and stuck and I admit, a little uncomfortable with gender fluidity as it relates to privacy in public changing spaces.

What if I walk into the locker room at the YMCA and someone walks by who appears to be biologically male but who self-defines as a woman that day? Of course this is all wildly hypothetical. I’m not going ask the person’s gender identity.

But does the fact that my stomach drops when I see a presumed man in the locker room mean I think he might be a straight guy sneaking a peek at naked women?

Well, yeah.

But then we get into the issue of sexual orientation which has nothing to do with gender identity. Sexual orientation is the gender you are attracted, and like gender identity can be fluid. It can change.

And the reality is in any given moment in a locker room, on the beach, in the sauna, we have no idea who is attracted to who. We just go about our business…..

Want to read the whole post? Here it is.

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