At the end of every month, I share my favorite comments from that month's posts, and you're invited to do the same and link up below!
The end of this month snuck up on me, so this is going up a little later than usual. Happy Easter!
This month's posts talked about Lent, unemployment, romantic persistence, discrimination, and heteronormativity, among other things, and you were right there with me with some long and thoughtful comments about the issues at hand. Some comments here are excerpts of longer ones so I have room to share more of my favorite comments.
On my post about Mindfulness and Meat, Mollie commented:
I don't eat a ton of meat, and it's not a big deal for me to not have it (though it's always funny to me how all kinds of meat comes out of the woodwork when you're trying not to eat it). So, on Fridays I probably take it a little far, but I abstain from meat, fish, and sweets. Sweets are the most difficult for me to give up, and I do my best to remember the other two. I don't think any of this necessarily brings me closer to God.
For me, this sacrifice is a reminder of how fortunate I am that I can eat whatever I want whenever I want. It's a reminder of all the folks around the world (including in my own city) who do not have that luxury. It doesn't fix anything, but it's something to get me outside of myself and that, to me, is the bigger spiritual practice. I mumble and groan to myself on Fridays or Ash Wednesday, but ultimately, it's one day, and I get to go back to eating whatever I want the following day. I need that reminder that other people live very different lives than mine. Maybe it's a tiny bit of solidarity. A tiny bit.
In Our Love Story Revisited (Or, My Husband Is Not a Stalker), I talked about why I need to be careful about saying Mike "pursued" me when I didn't want to date.
Sarah had an unpleasant experience with a persistent guy:
When I was in college, I dealt with a "persistent" friend who I would've probably considered a stalker had we not been friends first. It took four separate conversations over a year and a half where, each time, I said "I do not want to date you" for him to finally understand that when I said "I do not want to date you," that's what I meant.
In one situation that's become known as the "Disciple to Date" conversation, he told me that I a) wasn't allowing God to run my love life by not giving him a chance b) was giving him all the "signals" that I wanted to "turn the page" in our relationship so I obviously must want that and if I didn't I was horrible and misleading him and c) he was a good Christian guy and I was a good Christian girl and I might never get another offer from a good Christian guy, so I might as well take him up on it. ((facepalm))
Rachel liked knowing the details of our story:
I'm glad you posted this. Even though I didn't need the clarification of your story, per se, I'm glad the story of how respectful Mike was when pursuing you is out there on the web! It's a great example of something that's very much counter to our culture. I especially loved this endorsement from you: "Rather than stepping over my boundaries, he took them as law." What a wonderful basis this laid for your relationship. I hope your encouragements will help your readers hold out for partnerships that are just as much based on mutual respect and communication.
And Lozzz123 has a similar story to mine:
Hmmm, interesting. This has made me reconsider the way I tell my story about how I ended up with my husband, since it was a sort-of similar situation. What I usually say is that I wasn't sure I was interested at first but he wore me down. Of course it's a very abbreviated version of events and I say it in a joking way, but it could certainly be taken the wrong way! In reality he definitely wasn't pushy and took the time to show me that he honestly cared about me, and similarly to you by the time he actually asked me out I had been a bit impatient for him to do so for a while!
I explained why Protection by Discrimination Is Not a Solution for Bullies and got a few long comments.
perfectnumber628 said, in part:
Wow, this is a really good post. It reminds me of some blog post I read once about how girls shouldn't ever be allowed to play sports with boys, for their "protection." (And also because we have to teach boys not to hit a girl and they'll never be able to understand that the way you should act in sports is different than normal interactions... wut?)
And it made me SO ANGRY! Like, "we're protecting women by not letting them do things they want to do." If that's your "protection" then NO THANKS! I think the individual girl (or her parents, if she's really little) should decide if she can handle it or not, based on HER OWN INDIVIDUAL SITUATION.
And Becca shared her own experience:
As a shy child, I sometimes experienced discrimination from teachers, Girl Scout leaders, camp counselors, etc. who would assign me a non-speaking role in a play, tell me to sit out an activity, move me to the back of the group before something exciting happened, or otherwise "protect" me from being visible or exposed to stimulation. There were a few times I appreciated this, but typically they were misunderstanding my needs: I'm much braver when I have a role to play than if I'm speaking ad lib to an audience. I wasn't skittish of everything--I would have liked to meet a horse up close instead of being held back. Sometimes I need to try things to see that I can, too, do them and nobody will laugh at me.
Finally, I appreciated Q's thoughts on Is Heteronormativity Always Bad?:
What I find interesting is how the prominence of heteronormativity (or any other type of privilege) can change with a shift in the culture of a time/place. For example, here in New York, where the LGBT community is much more visible and mainstream, you are more likely to find those speed-dating events tailored to different orientations, or dance classes divided into groups of leaders and followers rather than men/women.
Nevertheless, there's still a long way to go, even in NYC. One example in particular springs to mind: musical theatre. You're generally more likely to find a gay man than a straight one in this field, but most roles, especially the "leading-man" type of classic musical theatre, are of straight characters.
I love having these conversations with you each month, and look forward to more in April!