Teen Moms in Yearbooks: Yes or No?

NBC is running a story this morning about the reactions by some parents and students over a yearbook spread that features teen moms.

Some people feel like featuring students who were pregnant and raising young Aaron Hannibalchildren while in high school glorifies teen pregnancy and is a bad practice.

I disagree.

There are high school students who get pregnant. There will probably always be teen parents. I was a teen mom — 19, with a year of college in, and married, but a teen mom nonetheless. Leaving them OUT of the yearbook is unacceptable. Recognizing them for the achievement of being parents while finishing school is better.

Anybody that thinks that there’s ANY way to glorify teen pregnancy is just nuts. There’s nothing glamorous about it. Telling the story of the total makeup of your high school population, their whole lives, challenges, successes, bad hair, silly outfits, ridiculous quotes, sports and arts involvement is the WHOLE picture of high school. Don’t leave any of it out.

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Nature Bites

It surprises some people to learn that I like to camp. I guess I don’t seem all that outdoorsy. I’m not a Birkenstock-wearing gal. My family, as in my mom, dad and sisters, didn’t camp, but they managed to send me off to camp as a kid, and I fell in love with canoeing, campfires, and the freedom of wide open skies and the beauty of the countryside.

A couple of weeks ago, we camped in a cabin, which feels like cheating to me, but in early May, the weather has a pretty darn good chance of being freezing. It was ideal — a perfect outdoor weekend with glorious weather, lots of biking on mostly flat trails, sailing in the Chesapeake Bay, wonderful food easily prepped in a real kitchen, hot showers and real beds. It was still cool enough to not be buggy, but warm enough to happily sit on the beach.

This past weekend, we headed out again, this time to camp in a tent. It had rained a lot in the previous couple of days and the damp leaves, the mildew and mold that goes along with that, did a number on my allergies and respiratory system. Ticks were everywhere! Trails were washed out, making trail biking and hiking rather unpleasant. The company and food was super, which made it all worthwhile, but I felt a little less like a camper, this time, and I’m wondering if I’ve gone soft.

There’s so much about camping I love, that even with less than ideal conditions, I’m still eager to get out there, to see new parks and camping sites, to get out on the water in some way, and to conquer the challenges of roughing it triumphantly, or at least with as much comfort as I can manage.

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Sleep Wanderings

I had that dream again last night; the one where I’m in an underground shopping mall, or an enormous airport (sometimes a university campus, or a parking garage, or an unknown city). I’m trying to get where I need to be, but there are so many detours and stops, elevators and escalators, buildings and doors that are not where they are supposed to be. There are often other people in and out of the dream. I can spend, seemingly, a whole night trying to get where I’m going and never reach my destination. Last night, Oprah and Tina Fey were in my dream. I’m not sure why. I also had my car towed from the dream parking lot.

I know dreams like this are my brain’s way of trying to work something out. I’ve read that these dreams are often related to business or one’s work life — makes sense that I would have the dream on a Sunday night, as I subconsciously ponder the navigation of the work week ahead.

It’s unsettling, though, how often I wander in my sleep. In the dream I’m clear what I’m looking for, but on waking, that is gone, and I’m left feeling a little lost.

I hope whatever is happening there serves a purpose and helps me to figure out what I need to. Shopping with Oprah is not as fun as it might sound.

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Do All Bloggers Get Divorced?

Over dinner, my friend Trish and I were dishing about Dooce’s divorce. (That’s not even really how that went; Trish had just asked me if I’d heard that the biggest blogger ever had gotten divorced. I hadn’t.)

In an insta-minute, I recalled that another big blogger had gotten divorced. Or permanently separated. Or something.

And then, of course, there was the gag-worthy “conscious uncoupling” of this dubious online presence.

Still at dinner with Trish, I turned to her and said, rather un-calmly, “DO ALL BLOGGERS GET DIVORCED?!”

And we discussed it and yes, of course that’s silly, and I didn’t get divorced because I BLOGGED, of all things. Jeez.

But this, I think is true: writers sometimes have trouble with relationships. And sometimes writing is an outlet for a troubled relationship. A kind of therapy for people going through something they can’t work out in other ways. So if it’s a chicken–>egg thing, the egg may very well be before the chicken. See?

In any case, I’m in a wonderful relationship now. I have loved writing since I was four and could wrap my hand around a pencil. Discovering a quick and easy way to self-publish was such a gift for me — thank you, Internet, Al Gore, Easter Bunny and baby Jesus — me, never having the patience for the Self Addressed Stamped Envelope and the waiting for replies to hopeful manuscripts.

Blogging works for me. Always has*.  So yeah, I’m sure if you bumped into the ex somewhere and asked him if we divorced because I was a blogger, he’d give you a funny look. Tell him I said hi!

 

*Blogging since 2003. Writing online since the late 1990s. I’m old.

 

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Just a Word or Two about Where I’ve Been

It’s been a rough few years. Serious downs, terrifying times, a divorce, a lot of learning, and growing, much work done (mentally, emotionally, physically) and, at last, an upward trajectory of sublime happiness and love. I’m in a good place, now, but it’s startling how hard it was to get here. I have such appreciation for people who have gone through dramatic life changes. I’m forever changed and so grateful to those who helped me through what has been, so far, the darkest period of my life.

I share this only to say this: if you’re in the thick of that now, all those people who tell  you it will get better, who say, wait until morning; tomorrow is another day, who remind you that “this, too, shall pass,” are right. You’ll get through it. And no, you can’t go around it or under it — you have to go through it. And yeah, it’s going to suck. Sometimes you’re going to be miserable. Someone I barely knew during some of the worst of the awful days said to me, “some days, you’re going to want to just stay in bed and cry. Some days, that’s OK. Just do that. Don’t try to hold it in. Allow yourself to be sad. Let it out.”

He was right. I allowed myself to feel it all, as bad as it was. Just let it wash over me and looked it right in the eye. It was truly terrible. Then the sky began to clear. Something would be funny. A friend would need me. I’d do something with my kids. My spirit lifted and slowly, those little lifts started to run together and get more consistent. I started to believe I could be happy again. And then I was.

Moments of hope and encouragement came from unexpected sources. I’ll always be so grateful for those people, those moments, and that I managed to be open to receive those blessings as they came.

I don’t know how much writing I’ll do here but I felt I owed you all an update, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like writing. I feel like sharing, and I hope that if I can entertain, encourage, or otherwise help another person through being here, then it’s worth it.

I’ve missed this.

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