Oh, America

I was reading this article, and honestly, I don’t even know where to begin. No, seriously, I read through this wondering what the heck was going on with the US government. And more to the point: how the hell has this gotten so bad.

I mean really. Forced to carry a stillborn to term, because cows and pigs do? State sanctioned rape?

What the fuck, America. What the fuck.

I’ve spent my entire life knowing full well that I won’t be as good as a guy in several respects. Hell, my own parents are guilty of sexism — accidental, I’m sure, but it’s there. I’ve been passed over for things that I can do because there was a male around. I know, it sounds like bitter whining, but it’s true. In some cases, I’d done similar things, and I’d done them better than the end product of whatever guy who’d been around did.

These things happen. It’s not right, and it sucks that any woman who complains or even mentions the discrepancy about how men and women are treated is labeled a feminist — which is then immediately equated to man-hating bitch. Let’s face it: though a feminist wants equality, the feminists that get heard are the bitter ones who want a chance at being top dog, at the expense of men, who the rest of us just want to be equal to. Personally, I just want the same paycheck as the guy who does the same job. Currently, though, I’ll have to count myself lucky if I make even 80% of it.

But let’s ignore that. Let’s not take into account glass ceilings, or paycheck discrepancies, or any of that. Let’s talk about the body, and who has rights to what.

Let’s talk pregnancy.

Now, let’s face it — men aren’t carrying kids. If they did, this would probably not even be on the table right now. We wouldn’t be having this discussion. This being said — what the hell gives any man who isn’t my boyfriend, my husband, my father, or my brother the right to tell me how to live my life? And what gives any man who I don’t have such ties to the right to tell me how to be pregnant. Because that’s what’s going on, really. There are all these rules about it now, and more that are trying to crop up. And frankly, I think the whole thing is stupid — and dangerous.

Abortion. Under 18? Need your father’s permission. Rape? Doesn’t matter. Incest? Doesn’t matter. Having the child might kill you? Well, at least the kid will probably have a father. You aren’t ready for a child, and have no faith in the adoption system? No worries, babies are usually adopted quickly, if someone’s looking around that time. The child is dead or dying? Eh, carry it anyway — at least you won’t have to feel it kick.

I don’t know. That’s probably harsh of me, but the more I read about this shit, the more I dread the thought of being pregnant, to the point of being on the pill or carrying condoms for the sole purpose of in case of rape seems like a good idea. After all, if you do end up pregnant after being raped, well, that isn’t a good enough reason to not want to have the kid. Hell, you can’t even commit suicide over it if you’re pregnant — because that’s murder.

I don’t get it. Before birth, all a fetus is is a parasite. It sounds bad, but it’s true. We feed off of our mothers until… well, we still feed off of them, but it’s a different sort of feeding, a different sort of reliance after birth.

Look, at the core of it, I don’t inflict my religious beliefs on you. Why do you get to do that to me?

We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill, Shoot to Kill, Men

Dear God, I want to move. I’ve been in this apartment for a year and a half, and quite frankly, I regret resigning the lease. It has been one issue after another recently, and I am so, so sick of it, I can’t even tell you.

My apologies: this is going to be one of those blog posts that is pretty much a rant. I just need to get my frustration out somehow, and the party concerned (my landlord) isn’t really someone I can yell at.

See, it began with the ceiling. I looked up one day to realize that there was mold and water damage, and so I send my landlord an e-mail.

No reply.

Some time later, there was an issue with the shower, so I called about it — and while I was at it, I mentioned the ceiling again. They asked for photos, so I took some, and then I tried to send them.

Tried. It bounced back. So I tried again, and again, and then gave up and made tea.

The next day, though, they sent someone to check it out, and as I wasn’t home, asked my flatmate to have me call them. So I did.

The phone rang and rang and rang.

So I sent them an e-mail — and it bounced back, just like the others.

I thought to myself, well then, I’ll just call them tomorrow. Again, no response.

I still haven’t heard from them on the topic.

However, two days ago, the toilet clogged, and nothing we did fixed it. Oh, joy. So, we called yesterday and they said they’d stop by.

Today, I got a lovely e-mail. Here’s a bit:

Yesterday we confirmed with your roommate that the actual problem is not the pipes as

you said but toilet drainage, the water goes very slowly. (It should be noted that

the only time I’ve mentioned pipes to them, it was with regard to my ceiling, as I think there’s

some sort of issue with the pipes, because I’m not on the top floor, and I don’t see

how else water damage could possibly occur on the ceiling.)

After our maintenance checked yesterday we concluded the following : the problem is

most likely by you because probably you throw something in the toilet other than toilet

paper , this clogging is caused by your negligence. (It should be noted: this

occured once, it was a cockroach, and it was in December of 2010, so it is,

in all likelyhood, probably not the cause of this particular trouble.)

Then there was general bitchiness about payment. According to them, they sent be a bill for the last problem (the shower), but I never received it. I’ve checked. Either they never sent it to me, or they e-mailed the wrong address. I had thought that that bill had been paid already — that the flatmate of mine who was home at the time of that fixing had paid it and just not mentioned it (she had offered to pay the bill in its entirety) because it had been taken care of. Apparently, this was not actually the case.

So, after receiving this e-mail, I thought I should call them. You know, try to straighten out any misunderstandings, and figure out where the first bill went, because honestly? I’m so, so not comfortable with the fact that they might have been sending out my information to someone else. Because, no. That’s just not good on so many levels.

The phone rang, and then it was picked up. Of course, the woman didn’t speak English, so she passed me on to someone else. I was looking for the woman who we’re supposed to go through, but I guess she wasn’t there. The next person I spoke to told me she’d call me back — and then hung up on me. Without taking my name, my phone number, or my reason for calling.

I can’t help but feel like something isn’t right here. It doesn’t help that the e-mail ends with a threat to kick us out. It worries me, more than a bit, but I don’t know what I can do about it. I honestly don’t feel like I’m in the wrong here — not for not paying a bill that I never got in the first place, or for asking about the ceiling (“Japan is a special country. You have to keep the windows open or the condensation will cause mold.” …No. No, I’m pretty sure that condensation doesn’t cause damage to this extent.), or for getting help when things don’t work — particularly not when we can’t fix them after we try.

So, I don’t know. I’m terrified that they will kick us out, but also, I can’t wait for the day when I don’t have to deal with this stuff anymore. I’d like to think they’re the exception, not the rule. And if that isn’t true?

Well, shit. I guess I better prepare to buy a house.

~Ekhlami

Every Moment Counts

In one moment, everything can change. Someone is born, someone dies. Someone gets hurt, or upset, or overjoyed. A family can be destroyed.

A family can begin.

Today’s Daily Create was to create a photo that represents the happiest or most memorable moment of my life. I chose to reinterpret that. Instead of doing the most memorable, I’m doing the moment that literally changed my life.

Allow me to explain, before I post the picture.

My name has not always been Alison. Indeed, when I was little, my name was Alice. But I wasn’t wanted. Or perhaps I couldn’t be wanted. I don’t know. I’ve never met the woman. I don’t ever need to, either, unlike other people in my position.

When I was a little over a year old, I met these two adults who would change my life. I didn’t know it then, of course, and I certainly don’t remember it — I was too young. But that moment is the most important one to me — closely followed by the one where they decided to keep me. If it weren’t for these moments, I would in the most literal sense not be who I am today. I’d be Alice, with a different personality, living in a different country. Let’s face it — if I didn’t have my parents, I wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of what I’ve done. I owe them everything, though I know they’d say I owe them nothing.

After all, what is family for?

Alice

This is Alice, the day she met her parents.

(Of course, I played with the picture — it isn’t actually black and white with a postage stamp border. In case you were wondering. Also, I’m not apologizing for the picture quality this time — I like it just the way it is.)

Have a wonderful day.

~Ekhlami

It’s Worse Than That He’s Dead

At the end of the day, family is family, right? And you love your family, and they love you, and death is the saddest thing in the world, because you’re losing someone you love.

Wait, wait — let’s back up. There’s no sense starting in the middle like this. But where is the beginning?

I could tell you all some sob story, about my extended family and how we don’t have the closest of ties. I could tell you how they don’t care much for me or my brother, and I could tell you why. I could provide all sorts of evidence showing their disdain (or at the least, lack of care) for us, from both sides. I could tell you about how we “aren’t really family” — but at the end of the day, there isn’t much point in these tales except to depress people. So this is not that story.

I’m sure you’re wondering, why is it “worse than that he’s dead?” And who, exactly, is “he?”

My family, my immediate family, is made up of my mom, dad, and younger brother (who is about to have a birthday, and this makes me feel old, but that is not this story either). My dad has three siblings: an older brother, an older sister, and a younger sister. He has two currently living, still married, parents: a father and a mother. His older brother has no children, his older sister has three children (two boys and a girl), and his younger sister has one child (a boy). My mom has one living parent, her mother, and four siblings: an older brother, two younger sisters, and a younger brother, each of them with two biological children (all girls, except for her older brother’s first child), and one has a stepson.

None of that is important, really, at the moment — except for the part where my dad has two “currently living” parents. You see, the “he” in question is my dad’s father.

And he’s dying.

This is no surprise, of course — he’s been dying for months. He’s also in his early eighties, so it’s not as though he’s dying terribly young. He’s not even young-ish. So, really, it’s not unexpected.

So why is it “worse than that he’s dead?” Well, the answer to that makes me seem rather cold, but the thing is — that’s not the part I care about. It’s the dying that’s bothering me — primarily because the entire thing is upsetting my own dad, which is perfectly reasonable. But I can’t help, here, so far away from home. All I can do is call every few days and talk about inane things, comparatively, like school, or what I bought from the store today, or the price of fruit here and how I hope I don’t get scurvy.  There are other things going on at home that we talk about, of course — something occurred last Thursday, which was great fun to deal with, let me tell you — but there’s this undercurrent of sadness that I can’t help with, and that makes me feel like a terrible daughter.

The thing is, though, he’s going to die soon. This week, maybe, or the next — most likely sometime this month, judging by the events of this weekend (Sunday, apparently, was a terrible day). And when he dies, the grieving process can start. But now, we’re stuck in limbo, with a half-dead man who is no longer mentally sound, his wife who is cleaning because she has no idea what to do, and their son, my father, who is the one they keep turning to because he’s the most stable of their four children. It’s killing him, having to watch this, having to make decisions regarding his father’s medical needs because neither of his parents can/will make them, and someone has to.

I know that, no matter what, things are going to change. I don’t know how, but it will really hurt my dad when his father dies. I don’t know if this means my family will actually spend time with them for a change (we just do holidays, really), or what, but this is going to break Dad’s heart.

If nothing else, though, I hope Dad remembers that his father is a part of our lives in a rather important way. In 1964, Dad’s father built the house Dad owns now, that my brother wants to buy someday. In that sense, his father will never be gone.