Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vacation and Blogging Conference

It's been a while since I went a whole month without blogging but this was one of those times. My dad moved in with me on June 25. The summer has flown by! I've been working part-time at my new business, part-time with my kids and having my dad here. The summer didn't go exactly as planned but I'm grateful for the time I've had and the fact that I've been able to take this time off.
Photos of Washington DC courtesy of Creative Commons
I'm even more excited to be leaving on our first real family vacation since the kids are now older and that it will be easier to travel. I also feel like they are at an age when they will appreciate what they see. So Friday morning we leave to Washington DC. It will be my first trip to our nation's capital so I'm pretty excited. We'll spend two days in DC and then we'll take the train to Philadelphia for the day to see the Liberty Bell. From Philly we'll get back on the train and we'll go to New York for two days.  The kids are excited for more reasons than one.
My original plan was to take the summer off and to not work but life hasn't actually worked out that way. It's been a challenge and it's taken a lot of juggling but I've been busy working with a great group of women who are bringing a blogging conference to Houston to City Centre.
So if you work for a company or you know of a company who would love to reach out to bloggers or they would like to hand-pick 20 bloggers to join them at their dinner table for a conversation about their brand call me!
I'm representing Blog Elevated, a blogging conference being held in Houston September,  19-21. This is the first time I rep a conference or event so it has been a definite learning experience for me. I hope that it's the first of many more.
So yes, it has been a very short and busy summer thus far.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

My Sex Education Through Literature

I've written many times about how much we read in my home, about my parents, censorship and how I'm glad my parents didn't censor our reading. I've also written about teaching my kids about the Birds and the Bees and trying to be open and frank with them about all things.

(Image from Time Magazine November 24, 1986)

All of this reminded me of how, besides having older sisters and listening to them talk, books were my early sex education. Sure, I heard a lot from my sisters being the youngest. The eldest was already an OBGYN nurse by the time I was four. But there were also the magazines and the books.

First there were the early porn magazines that they didn't hide from me. Some of them have conveniently forgotten about that now that they are old and conservative. One sister had something that I would guess was a graphic novel that I would hide and look at with childhood curiosity when I was around 4. As I got older I saw Playgirl, Playboy and Hustler magazines at their various apartments.

Of course porn didn't teach me anything about sex itself, only who the players were and what human bodies looked like.

It was the reading that taught me more, about the actions and the feelings involved. When I was younger my mom didn't mind me reading Victoria Holt novels. They were romantic but they never discussed sex in detail.. However when she saw me reading The Thorn Birds, when I was around ten, she raised her eyebrows. She had already read it by the time it made its way to me and she knew there were some sex scenes in it. I don't know if she just decided that I already knew about sex, or if she just figured it was part of growing up, but she didn't forbid me from reading the book. Of course I would have probably found a way to read it anyway.

In middle school I was introduced to Judy Blume, the author who introduced millions of girls to their sexuality. Her books were frank and truthful and I know many women feel this way about her. So much so that authors have written about the impact she had on their lives.  I bought a great book a couple of years ago, All I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume. What a great tribute to her as an author!

I think I read Forever when I was in 8th grade, right around the same time I read Wifey, Judy Blume's adult novel and Dean Koontz's Whispers. I remember we passed Wifey and Whispers around with dog eared pages for easy access to the sex scenes.

I'm sure what I read was tame compared to what else was out there. It's not like I was reading Henry Miller. I was reading the books my sisters read and the books passed around by fellow middle school girls.

My parents wanted to sit down to have "the talk" with me when I was around 11 and I remember telling them that I pretty much knew everything already from my sisters. I remember the look of relief on their faces. I wonder what they would have said if they had known how I had learned most of what I knew.

Maybe they wouldn't have been as liberal about letting me read whatever I wanted or they would have told my sisters to watch what they said in front of me or what they showed me.

Either way, they didn't and I did and I don't think it scarred me in any way. If anything I think I had a healthy, realistic point of view about what sex was and wasn't. I wasn't curious or tempted to try it, the way I wasn't tempted to try drugs. I think sometimes that everyone's open attitude about sex and nudity in my home didn't make it so taboo or mysterious. Kind of like how you hear about Europeans drinking at an early age because it was the norm and not going crazy when they turn 21 or go to college like American kids.

Reading may have shaped my attitude about future relationships and maybe even my personality. Whether it was right or wrong or too much information too soon, it was what I experienced and now as an adult I appreciate that and I embrace that it made me who I am. There is no shame in that.