Adventures in Alternative Parenting
“Picture time,” Michael said. The five of us had just tumbled out of the car after a few hours in traffic on our way from Boston to Provincetown, the famously gay tip of Cape Cod.
We stood in line outside of a French bistro, waiting to order lunch. I smiled when he pointed his phone at me and took a picture. He took separate pictures of all of us then said, “I’ll make a collage of the five of us for a family photo.” Jerel laughed and said, “make one like the Brady Bunch.” Michael used one of his iPhone apps to create a Brady Bunch-esque collage of all our faces, Li in the middle surrounded by her four parents.
So maybe by now you’ve read about Emily Yoffe’s article in Slate, “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk”. The “Dear Prudence” advice columnist counsels college women to avoid being the victims of rape by staying sober. Her advice wants to sound like its warning against the perils of binge drinking; instead she’s just blaming women for being victims of rape. MsFit’s own Lynne Marie Wanamaker had this to say.
As a self-defense instructor, I feel obliged to respond to the blow-up on the blogosphere regarding Emily Yoffe’s (also known as Dear Prudence) article at Slate.com, “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk.”
As I’ve written elsewhere:
…there is a self-defense argument against getting falling down drunk. A big piece of self-defense is being the worst potential victim possible. I live in a world where one in six [current statistics are closer to one in five] women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Since that’s the world I have to move in, I don’t feel safe being sleepy, pukey, distracted and uncoordinated. I’d prefer to stay sober and be alert, strong, aware, and prepared.
Part Three of Three
When I was seventeen, I graduated high school a semester early and moved from the Chicago suburbs to Madison, Wisconsin. My desire to escape my problems—depression, drug-addicted and troubled friends, an emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend—was so intense I couldn’t even wait the nine months until college started. My mom and my best friend helped me move into my new apartment, I completely broke down the moment they left. As badly as I wanted to escape all of the drama I was leaving behind, I was terrified to be away from the people I was closest to.
Sixteen years later, that heartache remains a vivid memory, so before we set off on the journey to Seattle, I warned my husband, “I’ll probably cry when we get there.”
A year ago I told my therapist about my long-lived dream to move to Seattle. She asked, simply, “Why does it have to be a dream? Why can’t you just go?” I recited my usual litany of excuses—How would I sell our house? Where would I find work? What was I even qualified to do?—but she shrugged them all off. “Just go,” she insisted, “and trust that it will all work out because you want it to.”
This was a fucking revelation to me. After all, wasn’t I in therapy to learn how to trust in myself? In others? To learn how relinquish control? Stunned, I called my mom and said, “Liz told me I could just go to Seattle. And you know what? I think I can.”