Tag Archives: Identity

Identity in flux – again

What a moment

The internet has been a powerful tool for me in my journey into motherhood. It has given me the possibility to be in touch with (mostly) women who inspire and inform me on topics that I am passionate about. It has also triggered me to reconsider who I am and what my values are. Many of the choices I have made as a parent and a person are considered to be way outside the realm of what is acceptable.

It has been hurtful to read some of the scathing and bitingly rude opinions that exist on topics that I am passionate about. It has also been humbling to find very solid and sound support.

I am still somewhat naive and somehow hope for a reality where people are tolerant of differences in opinion and do not feel the need to attack with quite so much viciousness. I think I need to let go of that ideal. There are people who will wish me ill, question my intelligence, question my reasoning/judgement, question my decision making ability. Essentially my choices will intimidate some and there is nothing I can do about that.

Through this process I have learnt that I too have been judgemental.

There is no right or wrong. Although it pains me to write that. I desperately want there to be a right and wrong. It makes life so much easier.

However, there just is not a categorical right or wrong that can be applied in every situation when it comes to being a parent. Short of parents being true to their abilities and doing the best they can in any given situation.

Why all this contemplating my belly button?

I feel the need to check myself and the more unorthodox choices I have made. Have I just been brain washed by forums on the internet? Am I loosing my ability to think for myself and subscribing to ‘group think’?

On the issue of vaccinations, I wrote about a year ago on my suspicions for not using vaccinations as my preferred choice of preventative medicine. Today I am still not 100% confident in my choice not to vaccinate my son.

My choice lies mostly in my concern with the lack of long term safety known on the practice of artificially stimulating the immune system, as well as the missing data (and curiosity) on the safety of injecting common vaccine ingredients. I also am concerned about the efficacy attributed to vaccines. I do not think enough is known about how vaccines work in the body for there to be a clear enough understanding on what the side effects could be.

I also do not think vaccines are ‘causing’ anything, from diabetes to autism. I believe they can be a trigger for some babies/children/adults in some cases. The individual make up of the person: their genes, their nutritional status, their overall health. These things make a difference with regards to how people respond to vaccines. And unfortunately this seems to be little appreciated by some people who like to shroud themselves in science and say that they are 100% certain vaccines are safe and effective for pretty much every baby, child and adult – bar the odd very unusual case.

I don’t know if I am making the right choice or not. At the moment my choice is based on a hunch that the medical scientific community are not necessarily telling the whole truth when it comes to vaccines and diseases. They put all the benefit on the vaccine and all the risk on the disease. It is a very biased and overly simplified approach.

Being told I was too stupid to make the choice for myself, that my baby would die without the vaccines and to stop reading on the internet only piqued my anger and curiosity. It did not make me trust the people who were insulting me, and it did not make me think I should do as they say. It made me think that I need to understand just why they are so scared that they are prepared to bully me.

So, today I am in a situation where my 21 month old son has yet to be vaccinated. I check myself constantly. And for now I have yet to find a compelling reason to go ahead and vaccinate my son. I might find that reason. I am open to a sincere discussion. I might need to ask many more questions before I have a firm enough handle of the issues.

It is not easy to make choices that are ridiculed. It is horrible to have people mock and insult you, like what I have seen on the internet. And yet, as in the playground, that is not a good enough reason to just do what other people are doing, just to get the bully off my back



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Identity in flux

Photo credit http://www.bugbios.com/ced4/freedom.jpeg

I have written a bit about my conflict in my identity between my more groomed defined sense of self and my more free flowing sense of self.

I feel two changes are imminent.

One: I want to dreadlock my hair. Which for anyone who knows me, they would be rather surprised by this. However, I have a long standing tradition of changing my hair when I go through personal change, and I don’t want to cut it all off or dye it. And I want my hair to say something about who I am and the choices I make in a bold kind of way – not in a trying to hide behind elegance kind of way. I am quite concerned about how the IL’s will respond – which in a sense is what is driving this idea. I feel like by making my hair into dreadlocks I am saying “eff you”. I guess I have to figure out what else I could do to achieve the same effect. I know that breastfeeding my son in their company would have the same effect – but I do not feel comfortable using DS like that. I want this to be about me.

Two: I am looking into starting Nia dance. I have always longed to dance and loved folk dancing as a child. I wanted to do ballet, but was given Eurythmy instead. So, now I am going to try Nia and see if I can overcome my huge insecurity when it comes to moving to music in the presence of others.

Yay me – life is happening.

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So who am I?



Since I can remember I have had two images of myself in my minds eye.

One is a woman with long flowing hair twirling in a field full of flowers wearing a light cotton swirling skirt and a knitted cotton top, bearfoot and smiling. Somehow this image has captured wholesomeness for me.

The other image is of me in a suit with my hair tied up, face made up, nails manicured, high heel shoes and my briefcase in hand. I look much more stern in the image in my mind.

Both of these images have been equally appealing to me at different times, and I think also equally confusing, as they seem so contradictory. And I know that within myself there is a huge conflict about just who I am and what are my values and what values do I want to nurture in my family. Yep, motherhood once again demands of me to be honest with myself and be the best person I can be.

At the moment I am feeling like the flower woman is who I am at heart and the manicured woman is whom I sometimes feel I have to be in order to be respected (one day I’ll look at why it is just so important to me to be respected ).

Somehow, in my mind, the flower woman does not deserve the same respect the manicured one does. In the culture in which I live, image means a lot and free flowing cotton does not inspire the same respect that tailored suits do.

I guess this is essentially about me and my confidence in myself. Do I really care what people think of me? Can that be important enough to me to not be true to my values and the things that I hold dear? Why can I not be both flowing cotton and tailored suit whatever I wear?

Today I am in shorts and a nursing tank top. It’s comfortable and practicle.

I guess what I am trying to tell myself, is that I need to make peace with the fact that my family eats organic local food as much as is possible, that we clean our house with ecological products, that I am raising my child at home myself, that I have a healthy suspicion of all things modern medicine related, that I find sense in a Waldorf approach to educating children, that I have religious feelings etc etc.This is part of who I am and it isn’t working for me to try and pretend these things are not important to me when in the company of people who belittle these choices or do not understand them. Somehow I need to make peace with the fact that I am a little bit out of the ordinary in my choices, and not feel defensive or apologetic about it. That just is who I am, and others might find it easier to accept if I accept it in myself.

And this

And this

(I hope to move out of this stage of defining more clearly who I am and what my values are and be able to focus on actually building those values 😉 )

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27/12/2008 – 17/01/2009

I am mortified.

Just absolutely mortified.

The horror that is happening / has happened in Gaza haunts me all the time. I am quite sick with it. And beyond confused.

What I have been reading is too awful to even entertain as the daily reality of so many people. And my life has carried on, my daily walks, cooking, care of my darling child. I cannot wrap my head around this.

I have been thinking and thinking and thinking. And I have found myself quite bewildered. One the one hand I am devasted that so many women and children have been killed, maimed and traumatised. I do not understand how this can be explained. In my heart I cannot find an excuse that says it is what needed to happen. I cannot justify it. And then, I also wonder about how else this could all have played out *in the current situation*. I honestly do not know what other options Israel had to stop the rocket fire. Which is not a small detail. And so when my heart is aching for the unbeleivable suffering that is the daily reality of a people living not that far away from me, my head is trying to find another solution. How could this have been prevented.

And my answers take me back…. essentially back through the whole modern history of Israel and the struggle of the Palestinian People. Pretty much at each and every juncture where decisions were made, the conservative decsision was made, a decision that held no promise for peace.

And, as critical as I am of Israel, and as much as I demand of my husband to entertain leaving Israel – I have become Israeli in this conflict. An outcome I never would have imagined. The trauma and suffering of the people of Israel has ceased to be a detail for me. It is part of my story. And yet, I still feel able to critisize Israel and the IDF. I still erupt into spewing rage when I see injustice. I just no longer see it happening in a vacuum and I no longer fall into the trap of thinking if only Israel would stop it would all be better. If I follow that line of thought, it takes me down a road that could easily mean the end of Israel. Just as I am sure that if Israel continues down the current path – it will in the end not be sustainable and essentially threaten the very existance of Israel.

I have found myself falling into a specific group of people that critisize some of the actions of Israel.

It is a completely different protest when someone critisezes Israel, knowing the Jewish story and identifying with the Jewish story. When Gideon Levy critisizes Israel, he does so in context. When someone who lives outside of Israel and is not familiar with the broad and deep history cries ‘genocide’ – it freaks me out a little. I am not sure where that person is going with their desperate cry. Do they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, or does their cry come from a place of wishing Israel did not exist? It is not always possible to tell.

During this most horrific assault on the people of Gaza, I found myself wondering who was to blame. Could the blame be laid squarely at the feet of the IDF? When it is the ammunition of the IDF killing and maiming, and the technology of the IDF terrorising, can it be said that 100% of the blame lies with the IDF? I am not convinced. Obviously this would not be happening if the IDF were not there, but when the IDF is targeting Hamas and Hamas is deeply embedded in the civilian population, does Hamas not bear some responsibility for the death and destruction? What would I do as a mother if Hamas was launching rockets from near my home and I knew the IDF would retalliate? I think I would be spitting mad at both of them and terrified for my life and the life of my family and loved ones. I would feel so trapped, so angry, so desperate, so beyond hope. I would feel like the most unlucky person in the world. No one to defend me or mine.

In all this conflict I have to hope that somehow the international community will take it all a bit more seriously and take it upon themselves to put a stop to the violent bloodshed from both sides. I have to hope that both people can learn to see the humanity of the other and stop painting each other as the enemy. I am devasted that 92% of Israelis see what has happened as justified. This is not a topic of discussion for most people I know as I just cannot bear to hear the justification and moralising. The people in Gaza are human beings too, not some faceless enemy.

I hope that the Israelis see what has happened there and face what has been done. I am not too optimistic – but I am hopeful. I wish with all my heart that Jewish Israelis would stand up and say “not in my name”.

An honest critique is needed. And honest look at what happened. Not just the praise of a job well done. Although somehow critising Israel and the IDF became antisemitic and traitorous.

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