Miss Representation

Love this film. I’m sharing it here because I have a daughter.

It’s a film worth seeing no matter what your gender or that of your child’s. It was really well done in explaining how women’s portrayal in the media affects their social treatment.


My interview with filmmaker Jennifer Siebel-Newsom for The Chronicle

My coverage on the Girls Inc. screening of Miss Representation at The Regent for The Chronicle

My coverage on the Girls Inc. screening of Miss Representation at The Regent for Downtown Oshawa News

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMennca.com

Musical chairs

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Parenting seems to be like a game of musical chairs.

You think things are going smoothly before you are suddenly left standing alone. Thoughts go round and round searching for a place to settle. Is calling my daughter beautiful giving her confidence or a sense that she is only worth her good looks? Is a cupcake a fun treat or gateway drug to a sugar addiction? When people stop to offer their unsolicited advice, are they speaking from their own past mistakes, or finding an opportunity to be relieved that their sitting this round out?


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Bullies and the baby belly

Me when I had a lot less tattoos, and a lot more belly.

A friend and co-worker of mine is pregnant and has a beautiful pregnant belly to show her entrance to her third trimester. She, like I hadn’t, does not wear maternity tops. Her non-pregnant self is a tiny girl with a model’s body (she really was a model.)

We work in an informal office with an all-but-one female staff. After this lovely lady came in to pick up her pay cheque the two office bullies could not contain their resentment to the belly that peaked through her top. This was not untypical of their behaviour but it still irked me to hear about it.

It was unprofessional attire in their eyes. One gossiper is openly and wildly racist, professional indeed. This workplace is not at all professional, which has its ups and downs. The downs being the allowed behaviour of these women the ups being there is no dress code.

Another argument was it would be different if she were skinny. Neither of these women is thin themselves, but apparently this was a valid point to them. A pregnant body is not fat; it is the body in which another human is growing.

When their initial arguments did not sway me the final attempt was, “It would be different if it were you.” I am gossiped about constantly once my back is turned or when they think I am out of earshot. Also, if my tummy is showing it is because lasagna is amazing, I don’t have the pregnancy card anymore.

“We’ve known you longer.”

We’re not talking about going all the way ladies; we are talking about a fellow mother’s (Everyone there is a parent) pregnant tummy. To allow comments like these would open doors to dictation of what a woman’s chest size should be or how they should reconstruct their face. I say high five the girl and say, “Hell ya! Our bodies are capable of this!”

Say no to bullies and yes to bellies!

Dang noisy kids

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Lazy mothers are why children tantrum! Harumph!

If you take public transportation, you’ve been there. If you’ve been outside your home you’ve likely been there. There you are, happy, enjoying your day, then- BAM! You hear a child crying/screaming/tantrumming/running around. And what is the mother doing? Well that lazy woman is doing nothing. For she seems to enjoy the noise, surely she is immune to the stress it causes her in addition to her immunity against the angry glares of others and under their breath comments of judgment. Why, if it were your child …

On a flight to BC my sister and I were seated next to a man who changed seats after seeing a then one-year-old Patience on my lap. He was honest as he told me with a smile he would be unable to cope with having to sit next to an infant on a plane for over three hours.

His actions were not rude, but honest. I did not expect him to move, I do not believe I deserve preferential treatment because I have a child (K, I do a little. My kid is awesome; I did a great service to the world for having her if I may speak honestly)
These actions were made based on maturity, acknowledging each other’s differences, and resolving a problem. Maturity? Solving an issue instead of passive aggressive complaining? How avant-garde. Maybe he was European.
Truth is, though the benefits of parenthood outweigh the bad, parents don’t actually like their children acting up in public. In fact, they deal with it not only in public but inside their homes as well.

All. The. Time.

Crying, screaming, fighting, all the time And at some point they need to get outside, do their groceries, get from Point A to Point B.

The people sneering were once those annoying children, and they still haven’t overcome their anger issues it seems by their sneers.

These outbursts hit the parent themselves longer and harder than they do you, the complainer. So take a deep breath and take solace in the fact it’s not you, the parent is indeed being punished.

If you’re still annoyed make an angry blog about it or something (If you do help a girl out and add me!)

I’ve posted this Louis CK video before but I love it, I take refuge in it.

Here’s the first part but watch all of it … or else.

“Here’s the thing, I never, never, never, never judge other parents now. Never do, I used to, but I never do. Like, you know when you see a mother in a McDonalds or someplace or in a toy store and she’s just melting down on her kid, she’s like ‘Shut up, I hate you, you’re ugly!’ And people are standing around going ‘Oh my goodness, she’s a horrible mother!’ Well guess what, those people aren’t fucking parents, they don’t have kids. Because any parents who are in that store are thinking, ‘What did that shitty kid do to that poor woman? That poor woman, I wish I could help.”

PS

“Tantrumming” is not a word according to my spell check. You know how many stupid slang terms are now considered words in the eye of the dictionary? I will not rest until tantrumming is in there!

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMennca.com

Pickett and Johns

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Imaginary friends can be frightening.

Pickett and Johns are my grandchildren. Every once in a while Patience will tell me a baby is in her belly. I forget to keep track of the time before one of her creepy imaginary children are born. Pickett came first, she is not always the oldest.

Pickett came to be in a somewhat terrifying manor. One evening last year Patience pointed to a spot on the wall and said, “There she is. There’s the girl that scares me.” This was stated in the matter-of-fact spooky spawn voice used in horror films.

Pickett is a little girl who is the same age as Patience with black hair, orange eyes and a yellow dress – the dress colour varies. Patience compares Pickett’s appearance to my own at times and Boo from Monsters, Inc. at others.

Johns is a recent development. He ages at rapid speed and frequently dies of old age. He has brown hair, blue eyes, watches hockey and skateboards. She invented his appearance and personality while sitting beside my boyfriend who is of matching description. Johns used to live on his own, though Patience assured she would visit him frequently. He has since moved into our new apartment.

The kids freak me out and I hope they do you too.

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMennca.com

“I sound like my mother.”

She sleeps in my bed almost every night.

Every morning I wake up to her tiny cherub face, cheeks so round they force her eyes to squint when she smiles. She kisses my cheek and giggles.

“That kiss is for love,” she whispers, her voice in that half-a-second phase where it isn’t yet able to boom throughout the halls of the house. Her vocal chords gain strength and that blissful moment flees so quickly it is taken for granted. Her three-year-old feet are soon thudding down the stairs.

The warm sweater I am scrambling to wear hangs from my left arm as I hear a crash in the kitchen. I rush down the stairs still unable to act out the simple motions in wearing a sweater. I find her lying in a pile of broken ceramic.

As maternal instinct dictates, my first reaction is to get on my knees, cutting the left one just enough that blood slowly starts to trickle. She hops up like an acrobat, laughing hysterically. She runs off, arms flailing. Bits of tiny, ceramic shards fly off her cotton pajamas like a harsh rain.

I yell her full name and mutter dark language.

The small house seems like a mansion as I chase her up and down the stairs. Threats, pleas and promises of sweet surprises alternate in my choice of words. I finally catch her and tell her we need to get going, we are going to be late.

Screaming begins, and then tears. She wriggles out of the captivity of my arms and escapes to her bedroom, slamming the door.

As I hear the objects in her room being thrown against the bunny-themed walls, I pause to leaf through pictures of a smiling little girl I keep on my desk. Blonde hair like a halo, cupid bowed lips that only this morning kissed my cheek so sweetly. I hear another smash and realize there are pieces of my favourite coffee mug I need to pick up downstairs.

I was sitting at the kitchen table twenty-two years ago. My mother had purchased a limited edition glass Disney-themed ornament. Being three years old at the time, I hadn’t realized this special purchase was made for my benefit. All I knew was she left to quickly use the bathroom. Before leaving she spoke in what I remember to be soft voice.

“Please don’t touch them.”

The same instant the sound of the bathroom door closed rung that of Mickey Mouse’s face smashing against the kitchen floor tile. It reached my mother’s ears in record time. I swore it wasn’t me as she sighed heavily.

I’m not sure if she went to her own bedroom after cleaning the mess to look at photos of me, dark ringlets, wearing a smile where my cheeks forced my eyes to squint.

If she did, that was the same bed where weeks later I sat watching her take her large earrings off in her dresser mirror. There were tears in her eyes as her brow furrowed and she informed me I had embarrassed her. There was a pain in my stomach after hearing those words, then anger.

I had acted up in a department store when she didn’t get me that toy I wanted. I can’t remember the toy now and doubt I remembered it in that moment on the bed. The pain in my gut outlived her. She died three years later but the questions from that statement didn’t.

Was I a bad daughter, or she an awful mother? What did that statement made in front of a bedroom mirror mean?

Thirty-six hours of saying, “I can’t wait to meet her,” were endured before I heard my daughter cry for the first time. I thought she was meowing and questioned aloud if I had birthed a kitten.  After the commotion of friends and family crying, hugging and expressing congratulations, my daughter and I were brought to our room.

We looked at each other, in the quiet, in the dark. It was perfect.

My mother, though unseen, was there too. The love I had for my daughter was the love my mom had for me.

A moment so intimate it gives me goose bumps when remembered.

My mother is there for all these moments. For all the laughter and all the moments where I break down and I cry out to my daughter, “You embarrassed me!”

The first time I uttered that sentence the guilt in my belly was replaced by an understanding.

I say these words because I am honest and human. I say these words because I love my daughter so much I can not understand the emotions, good or bad, she evokes in me.

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We roll on the floor laughing at silly rhymes. When she is sick I will cuddle her and stroke those blonde curls from her forehead. When I am sick she will do the same after bringing me a carefully selected stuffed animal.

This overwhelming love is how my mother felt about me even in the roughest times.

That is how my mother feels about me now. It shows in how easy I find it to parent this child. I unintentionally do the same things my mother had shown me in the six years of life we shared together. The craft box in my closet, the fancy outfits and the mommy-daughter dates we have.

My mom’s adoration shows when my daughter’s tiny arms wrap around my waist.

My daughter’s blue eyes stare so intensely into mine at times; I am convinced they are those of my mother telling me she is with me always.

Every morning she kisses my cheek and whispers, her voice in the half a second phase where it isn’t yet able to boom throughout the halls of the house, “That kiss is for love.”

I write other stuff too! Check out HillaryDiMenna.com