Tag Archives: women

Eyed Up

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Standing at the edge of the soccer field
She swung her rope
Jumped
Jumped again
Varying her speed to vary her heart rate
Intense bursts followed by leisurely hops
She kept her eyes on her son’s practice
His perspiring brow mirroring her own
As he sprinted towards the goal

Other eyes were on her
Some of the moms
Some of the dads
Some dads’ eyes lingering
Assuming she performed for them
Versus her health
Her form fitting yoga pants and sports shirt
Selected by her for comfort
And to insure her clothing didn’t obstruct her workout
Kept her safe and cool
Moved well with her
And made her feel confident
Must really have been slipped into
They believed
To entice men to stop and stare
Excite a biological imperative to ogle each curve
And assess her attractiveness
Her motives
Her worth

How shameful for a busy mom
To multitask on a beautiful day
Attend her son’s practice
And still fit in some exercise
Before stopping at the store
To pick up her family’s own groceries
As well as those of her elderly mother
Swing by her mom’s place to drop off the bags
Carry them all in and unload them
And encourage her sweaty, antsy son to sit by his grandma
And swap stories about their day
As she threw out the expired yogurt and milk in the fridge
Print so small her mom could never spot the spoil
Change her sheets
Fill her mom’s pill box for the week
And make sure she had everything she needs

Finally, setting out her trash cans on the curb
Before climbing back in her car
To rush home in time to prepare dinner
For her two hungry boys and hungrier husband
Put her own groceries away
Then run her other son to swim practice
And remain poolside to praise his progress
Before heading back home and throwing in two loads of laundry
Paying the bills
While helping both boys with their homework
Fill out permissions slips for upcoming field trips
Clean up after the dog in the yard before the sun set
And throw a ball for their ancient spaniel to chase
Scratch her belly and giving her a treat
Pack everyone’s lunches for the next day
Fold the now clean laundry and set it atop appropriate dressers
Load the dishwasher
Wipe off the counters
Ask her husband about his day
And talk about his frustration with his boss
And the state of the country
And their shared distaste over the unfathomable resurgence of high-waisted jeans
Finalize the schedule for the upcoming weekend
To determine which parent is taking which child to which game
As they perfectly conflict on Saturday
Before she set out her clothes for the next day
So when she gets up before the sun rises
She won’t need to turn on the light
And disturb her husband as she gets ready for work
Sets out the cereal boxes and bowls for the family
Rinses blueberries and places them in the center of the table
Along with a note, “Love you all. Boys, please turn in the signed permissions slips that I put in your folders in your backpacks or you won’t be able to go on the trip to Philly. Have a wonderful day!”
And heads out the door in the still dark
To go make money
To help pay for the team fees and the groceries and the gas
And veterinarian bills

Please
Let us judge this mom
Let’s put pictures of her jumping rope on social media
Let’s assume she chose to stand where she stood so everyone could best see her
Instead of where she had room to jump and still see the field
And let’s talk to all of our friends about her disparagingly
Criticize her for her ostentatious show
Of fitness and a concern for her own health and wellbeing
As she carries the weight of her family
On her capable, well defined shoulders every day
With enthusiasm and love

Why I Don’t Want to March…

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Why I Don’t Want To March in Washington D.C. On 1/21/17…

• I’m fairly short and can get claustrophobic in big crowds.
• My knees need to be replaced and have this inconsiderate habit of dislocating easily.
• I’m not fond of cold despite having grown up in Minnesota, or maybe because of growing up in Minnesota.
• I am acutely aware of how excruciating it can be to need to use a restroom and not be able to access one for hours and hours and hours to the point where peeing in a cup in public seems preferable to holding it one more second – and I never wish to experience that dilemma again.
• I, minute by minute, navigate an incredibly complicated and stressful life as a working mother of two children who both have very demanding, and time consuming to manage, special needs.
• I don’t really have the spare minutes that make the hours that make a day to devote to fighting traffic and crowds to get into and out of DC.
• I’ve had MS for 25 years and when I get really, really cold, I can become incapacitated, like quaking-statue-fixed-to-a-spot-incapacitated.
• There is enough on my plate already every day to make the dish split under the weight and rain the messy contents to the floor.
• My heart is pinched with worry about the actual survival of my children because of their health issues (that is not hyperbole).
• What would happen to my special needs kids if something bad happened to me?! It would be awful, scary, and a time suck to be arrested for protesting – or even worse, to be a victim of violence while I participate in my civil right to march.
• I don’t want to draw attention to myself or my political beliefs and thereby draw ill will from anyone and jeopardize relationships or employment.
• I wish I could just stick my head in the sand and avoid the news and wait these next four years out – hope for the best – let people with healthier bodies, who are younger, with less demands on their time, not as much at stake, and more resources, to do the heavy lifting politically.

Why I Will Be Marching In Washington D.C. On 1/21/17

• Because I am a mother of two children with special needs. The Affordable Care Act, although far from perfect and in need to revision, guaranteed my children could be covered on my private insurance until they were 26, that they could not be turned down for insurance because of pre-existing conditions, and that there would be no life-time caps on coverage.
• Because no person deserves to lead this nation who is so insensitve,  and lacks the emotional and political savvy, that s/he mocks anyone with a disability.
• Because women know best, in consultation with their doctors, about decisions related to their bodies and when, if, and if ever, to become a mother. I am horrified by the thought that my developmentally disabled daughter may be blocked from having access to birth control that prevents her from getting periods, which she cannot manage on her own. Or that, an even more terrifying thought, if she were to become pregnant, all options regarding her health and well being would not be available to her. Abortion needs to be safe, legal, affordable, and accessible for all.
• Because I am a sexual assault survivor and will not accept excuses for the perpetuation of a rape culture by dismissing vulgar, objectification of women and girls as “locker room talk” and something that is acceptable and normal and to be tolerated.
• Because I am a woman and should be paid equally for my contributions to the work force as any man might be paid for the same job.
• Because I value and celebrate diversity and acknowledge this country is mostly made up of immigrants. Our cultural differences, various religious beliefs, numerous ethnicities makes this country stronger.
• Because I believe the best path to our future will be forged through diplomacy and cooperation instead of amassing greater arsenals, threatening military action, or engaging in war.
• Because our Earth home has finite resources and we need to protect the environment for current and future generations to be able to thrive…and survive.
• Because I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give tax breaks to the super rich and subsidize corporations when citizens of the United States are going hungry, do not have safe and warm homes, or good healthcare.
• Because it doesn’t matter who you love, but that you love. Everyone has a right to be just who they are without fear of judgement and marry who they love and have equal protection under the law.
• Because I believe in supporting great pubic education for all, which includes access to affordable higher education.
• Because guns are used to kill people, not just for hunting or self defense, and there needs to be sensible regulations restricting assault weapons, and stockpiling guns, etc.
• Because Islam is not our enemy. Muslims are not our enemy. Extremism is the real issue – whether that extremism is expressed under the guise of Islam, Judaism, OR Christianity…
• Because Black Lives Matter. That does not mean Blue Lives don’t matter, or All Lives Don’t matter, but our black citizens, friends, family, coworkers, are being profiled and abused and killed and we should all care and speak up and not tolerate bias and discrimination.
• Because the PEOTUS has repeatedly shown he is quick to anger, vindictive, untruthful… all qualities that could cost us all dearly and lead to many people dying.
• Because the only one who can make anything better, ever, change things from bad to worse, is all of us taking the time to speak up and let our voices and concerns be heard.

I have a heart full of love, not hate. I believe in our democracy. I know our country can do better and be better.

I’ll be there. I’ll march. I’ll advocate. I won’t give in or give up.

Yellowed

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Curled and quiet
She lay on her side
Watching the yellow wallpaper age
Wondering if the shadows
Playing there
Were only shifting light

Too tired to lift her arms
She lacked the will
To peel the paper back
And change her view
Instead preferring to seethe
At its daily sameness

Once she’d been a painter
Every wall a potential
Mural or statement
Bold and fearless
She’d shaped the world
To her perfect vision

Now she sighed
And shifted from side to side
The view the same from right
Or left
She suspended in the bland
changeless nowhere

Weary of hoisting paint brushes
She dreamt of a match

 

Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 27

Data Driven

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A recent study reported that when women were asked at what age did they think men were most attractive, they listed an age that correlated closely to their own. If the woman was 42, she found men 40-45 to be at their physical peak and appealing. Women who were 20, thought men in their early 20s were handsome. Your 57-year-old women preferred the look of men in their mid 50s. And so on. The pattern entirely uniform. Predictable.

Men surveyed were equally predictable. If the man was in his 20s,
he thought a 21-year-old woman was the measure of perfection.
If a man was 32, he found a 21-year-old most appealing. As did a man
who was 44, and 56, or 72, and 85. Every age male surveyed reported
with certainty that a woman is most attractive to him, most desirable,
worthy of pursuit and adoration, the person they would want to date
and mate, when she is 21-years-old. Even if the man was 107. This
pattern entirely uniform. Predictable.

So women admire and enjoy someone who is likely to be their emotional
and intellectual equal, whereas, men prefer, above all else,
tits that ride reasonably high.

April 2015 

Julie Ayers 

NaPoWriMo Day 6

 

 

Threshold

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He hadn’t expected to feel her bone
under his palm, or the way her head
moved fluidly, pivoting in response to the force
of his calloused hand. Another day,
earlier, there had been flowers in a vase
by the window, waiting as she walked
through the door. Pork chops sizzling
in the skillet. He’d remembered a vegetable
and to set napkins under the forks
after a moment of hesitation, wondering
if it should be the spoon with the napkin,
or the spoon paired with the knife. An effort
to make her smile and love him caution-free,

drop her defenses and stop
looking at him like that, out of the corners
of her eyes, gaze a question mark floating.
Her purse on the straight-back chair pushed
hard into the wall by the front door, leaving
marks, no gouges, in the beige paint. His answer. If
only she hadn’t.

September 2013
Julie Ayers

Being More Like Lee

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For my Aunt Lee, who recently took her final flight, and left us all the better for having known her.

Waking to the jarring crunch
of ice in the blender
the startling edge of sound
not even slightly muffled
by the bananas and protein powder
whirling into the mix
my Aunt Lee has made us breakfast
served neatly and without fuss
in a glass
all we could nutritionally need
to fuel us for a productive day of learning

She stands in our small kitchen
in place of my mother
who is on a vacation
from the sharp and deep Minnesota snow
and from her four sleepy children
Lee
in her black turtleneck
and black pants
helping us on with our mittens and boots
patting our shoulders
as we shuffle out the door in the morning dark

Rather than tell
Aunt Lee showed me
what any girl can do
by riding her horses
and leaving bad relationships
flying small planes
moving into a very modest size boat
in a Ft. Lauderdale marina with her son
becoming captain of a yacht
that she chartered out of the Bahamas
not renovating the condo she purchased
from a former 60s star
leaving the flocked wallpaper and round bed
the ashtrays dangling from macramé holders
crashing her airplane in the ocean
and standing atop its submerged wings
patiently waiting for a rescue boat
then leaving the surface of the earth again
as soon as possible
buying a house in France
flying a restored WWII fighter plane on a movie set
sitting on the deck of a boat in Chub Cay
pushing a plate of lobster my way
urging me again
to try something new
not fear
the unfamiliar
embrace it

April 19, 2013
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo #19