Mamma Anxiety

April 7, 2010

Kimmie is approaching major deadlines related to her dissertation, a project I now refer to as the trial of my existence, so I’ve tried to take the boys away for the weekend for the last several weeks.  Only I would never actually refer to her dissertation as the “trial of my existence” because writing dissertations makes Kimmie a little sensitive to me even jokingly saying things like “trial of my existence.”  Mainly because, (and I’m paraphrasing her right now) the status of enduring the trial of one’s existence is only available to those who are actually WRITING the dissertation.  Anybody else is just whining. 

On one of these weekends away, I spent a weekend in Zion with my parents where I hiked 8 miles in one day, and questioned my parenting skills 2 ¼ miles up the Angels Landing trail.  What possessed me to take my 8 year old ADHD child on a hike with thousand feet drops on either side, I don’t recall.  My father insists that 100 foot drops are just as dangerous as 1000 foot drops and this message was reiterated at the visitor’s center where the attendant insisted that the Emerald Springs trail has had more falls that resulted in death than Angel’s Landing.  There were moments where my son bee bopped along bouncing light and carefree.  I know a person isn’t supposed to instill their irrational fears upon their offspring.  But I strongly feel that the fear of heights is not irrational – it is an evolutionary adaptation – instilled TO KEEP ONE ALIVE.  I kept saying that what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger, and my calves and thighs believed it but my mind never bought in.  I tried to grab onto Riley at all moments possible and did everything I could to instill the fear of heights into him.  But he seemed exempt.  Even as we were hanging from metal chains clutching to the chains and the mountain, Riley was confident.  At one resting point, I finally convinced Riley to wait with me while Papa finished the hike.  I couldn’t take a step further.  Riley agreed to wait with me but for the last few weeks he has said he regrets that decision.  We all made it down uninjured so I am happy. 

I know I am overprotective and I need to work on letting Riley make his own way in the world more.  Clearly Angel’s Landing was not the place to experiment with Riley’s independence.   I know I’m overprotective, but I can’t stand the thought of him getting hurt.  Often his confidence level doesn’t match his skill level.  He’s the type of kid who is the first to leap off the high dive without ever thinking about having to then swim to the side of the pool.  I think the more he longs for his physical freedom, the more I try to hold him in.  Yesterday he went into the store to return a Red Box movie and it bothered me to let him cross the parking lot alone. This child will climb up the outside of a tube slide at the park.  He will try to do back summersaults down a flight of stairs.  He will crawl inside a laundry basket to see if he can “slide” down the stairs without “crashing.”  He thinks a hornets nest is a science experiment.  Electricity is also a science experiment.  Don’t you know that you haven’t actually mastered riding a bike until you can do it hands-free while traveling straight at a toddler who happens to be your little brother and stopping just in time without ever grabbing the handle bars….And what will happen if I light my hair on fire?   I follow him around begging him to “make safe choices.”  But I have learned that the only reason he doesn’t do those (what I would deem unsafe) things is because I am watching and ask him not to.  He has not “learned” not to do them. 

When he does learn a lesson.  It seems the lesson is pretty specific.  For example, he might get a card turn in Spanish class and learn the lesson that  you should not crawl around on your hands and knees while barking like a dog while your teacher is lecturing.  The lesson is not simply pay attention.  So the very next day Riley might get another card turn and again learn an important lesson. The second lesson might be something like,  you cannot do handstands while making chicken sounds when you’re supposed to be reading.  Do you see that there are many lessons in life to be learned? 

My favorite card turn story as of late is the following.  Riley drew a face and mouth out of his fist so that when he moved his thumb it appears that his “friend” was talking.  Last week he was in Spanish class practicing the art of ventriloquism with his fist.  His teacher chastised him and asked him to be quiet.  Riley looked at his fist and passed along the frustration, “Friend”, he said, “you need to be quiet and you need to apologize to Maestra Mary Lou.”  Using his best ventriloquism, his fist then responded, “lo siento maestra.”  Yep, you guessed it.  card turn.

Since every lesson must be experienced firsthand by Riley himself, I’m not sure my summer plan will work.  But this summer I am committed to underprotecting.  Keepign him safe certainly.  But letting him get hurt.  I am committed to letting Riley break his arm this summer. 

Details of the injury TBD.  But I’m betting it is bicycle related.

Parenting: More Joy and More Tears

March 2, 2010

Remember this post? Where Riley cried every time he thought about piercing his ears.  Yet clearly he kept thinking about it.  Well the deed is finally done.  And isn’t he cute?

bling bling

Our friend Natalie and her new girlfriend Ashley came to visit from California a few weeks ago.  Natalie has sort of a reputation of being um “not as responsible” as say, we are.  She makes more money that I could probably spend.  She’s irresponsible and fun.  She closes karaoke joints and always makes friends with the bartender.  She’s wild and crazy and recently crashed her Harley Davidson in Oakland going way too fast.  And she claims she learned a lesson about speed.  But I’ve known Nat long enough to know that the only lesson she really learned is not to speed THAT fast on a road THAT curvy when the sun is at THAT angle.  And I love her for that.  She keeps me a little more spontaneous and helps me enjoy life more. Nat has had many a girlfriend in the 17 years that I have known her.  And it seems the women I adore most don’t become long term staples in the Natalie pantry.  So after only a day of being here, I turned to Kim and said, “I really like Ashley.”  And Kim replied, “I know.  It makes me sad.  We’ll probably never see her again.” I hope we do.  I really like her.

Early in the week of the visit, Nat and Ashley hung out with Riley all day since his school was out for one of the various reasons that his school always seems to be out.  Nat and Ashley ended up at the mall and Natalie signed as Riley’s guardian so he could get his ears pierced.  (She got our permission in advanced.  She’s not that wild and crazy!)  He got up on the stool ready for the piercing.  Then the drama began.  What do you suppose Riley did?

That’s right.  He started crying.  And he wailed.  And he wailed.  And he cried because he was crying and he REALLY WANTED to get his ears pierced but he couldn’t stop crying.  The piercing woman finally told Riley that she PROMISED she would not shoot the piercing gun but that she needed him to calm down so she could put it up to his ear so she could measure how thick his ear is.  She calmed him down and assured him that she would not pull the trigger.  And then BAM.

She pierced his ear.

And it happened so fast he forgot to cry.

He is so glad he got it pierced.  But I can’t get past my anger.  I feel like his choice was taken away.  I feel like he was lied to.  I feel like an adult who should be modeling honesty tricked a little child by lying to him.

And I know he’s annoying.  He drives me batty with his drama and he has since last April when the ear-piercing thing first came up.  The poor gal probably gets seven dollars an hour to pierce ears and she certainly doesn’t get paid enough to deal with children like Riley. Still, I feel so betrayed.  I feel like some underlying lesson in honesty and trust has been violated and it happened in a way and a place that I could not intervene.

Riley could care less.  Natalie doesn’t see the big deal either.  I think she just sees another something that I can hyperfocus and obsess about.  You know like anxiety-ridden mothers like myself like to do.  This is clearly my issue here.  I sat down with Riley and talked about tricking, lying, trust, and promising.  I talked about how unfair it was that the woman expected him not to show that he was afraid.  I talked about how some people think boys should be like that (even when they are getting their ears pierced.)  He just shrugged and said, “I’m not mad.  I was just about to say go anyway.”  I am not certain of very many things, but I know that Riley was not about to voluntarily say “go” after freaking himself out so much.

It is like wanting to go off the diving board.  It is like the process we go through every year in getting his flu shot.    He usually ends up doing these things but not without a big to do.  Does this “dramatic to do” help him overcome his fears and be who he is?  Or does he need someone like the mall lady to push him over the edge and realize that he builds up terror far beyond what is reality?  And what are the consequences of each?

I hope the lesson Riley takes away is that getting his ears pierced didn’t hurt too much.  I really hope it isn’t some justification for being lied to and tricked.

Whatcha doin?

February 23, 2010

I overheard the following conversation between Riley and Casey a couple of weeks ago.

Riley:  Casey, you say, “Whatcha doin?”  I will say “eating chocolate.”  Okay?  Then you say, “Where’d you get it?”  I will say, “From the doggie.”  You say, “Where’s the doggie?’  Then I will…

Casey:  I don’t like chocolate.

Riley.  I know you don’t.  It doesn’t matter.  It isn’t chocolate.  So then I will say, “Behind the door.”  Okay? Then you say, “What’s he doin'”  That’s all you have to do.  I will say, “makin’ more.”

Casey:  We don’t have a doggie.

Riley:  I know we don’t have a doggie.  It’s a joke.  We’re going to tell Mamma the joke okay?  It’s not about chocolate.  Its just a joke.  It’s about poop.  Okay, you start.  Remember, you say, “Whatcha doin?”

Casey: Whatca doin? (As if he never heard Riley say the word poop.)

Riley: Eating Chocolate.

Casey:  I don’t like chocolate.

Riley: No.  You say, where’d you get it?  Okay.  Try it again.

Casey: Where’d you get it?

Riley:  From the doggie.

Casey: Where’s the doggie?

Riley: Behind the door

Casey: What’s he doin?

Riley:  Makin’ more.

Riley:  Good job Casey.  Now lets practice.  (They rehearse several more times, Casey gets better with each practice.

Five minutes later, Riley parades Casey into the living room to have me listen to their joke.

Casey starts: Whatcha doin?

Riley: Eating chocolate

Casey:  Don’t eat that brother, it’s poop!

Belated Birthday Bliss

January 22, 2010

36 isn’t one of those birthday years that most people get excited about. But this one for me was special. I’m trying to save vacation days at work for when Kim gets job interviews and/or for law school visits, so I ended up working. The day went by quickly. My coworkers sang to me and got me a card. I took Trax home and Kim and the boys picked me up at the train station with flowers. When we got home friends were there to watch the boys so that Kim and I could go to dinner. I’m in the midst of trying to lose ten pounds and didn’t want to ruin it with eating out, but Kim took me to the only raw food restaurant in town. AMAZING! The ambiance and the people there made it even more special. The meal was so tasty – I didn’t even miss refined sugars! And I wasn’t deprived at all. I had a chocolate mousse for dessert and while it wasn’t as sweet as the mousse you might get in a non-raw food restaurant, I much preferred this dessert. The chocolate was denser and more flavorful and the agave sweetened it perfectly. We then went across the street to the dollar theatres and decided we’d see whatever was starting next.

A scary violent hack ‘em up movie was starting next, so we saw Couple’s Retreat instead (it was the next to next to start.) We were the only people in the theater when we walked in so I told Kim that we should make out like teenagers. Less than ten blissful seconds later, the door opened and a large family walked in. The mood to make out was instantly quashed. I was feeling all gushy and in love with Kim and the day had been so wonderful that I even let her order and eat popcorn WITH BUTTER in front of me and I didn’t even have a pity party. The movie was actually pretty funny but the best part was how Kim would keep slipping her and into mine and squeeze. We got home to a surprise craft “a bedazzled bag” made all sparkly by the boys and some homemade a (diet-friendly) peanut butter treat.

Did I mention I got law school acceptances and birthday cards in the mail? Did I mention the $54,000 scholarship I got to a tier 1? Did I mention my boys didn’t even get in one argument/fight/disagreement the whole day. Did I mention the day was perfect?  Did I happen to mention that a storm blew in and knocked the nasty right out of the air and I can breathe again?  Did I happen to mention?

Tired of breathing air I can see

January 13, 2010

I’m stuck in the midst of the January blues.

It isn’t helping that we’re breathing air soup right now. The inversion is so bad (and has been for a week) that children are being kept in for recess. You can imagine the energy at our house at night since the boys haven’t gotten it out in the day. Enduring January in Salt Lake City has gotten me longing for and dreaming about law school next year. Where will we live? What will the climate be like? Will I be able to breathe the air? What will we do if Kim doesn’t get a job? Or doesn’t get finished? I think Phoenix would be nice. Or Tucson. But lets be honest, Kim has applied for jobs in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Iowa, Connecticut, and North Carolina. She’s also applied for Texas, but she’s gotten that rejection already.

If I do end up in Tucson, I need someone reliable to remind me in the middle of July that I ASKED FOR IT. But in January, it will all be worth it.

So far I have a full-ride scholarship to a tier 3 school and a tier 2 school and no scholarship money to any of my tier 1s. I guess I’m inclined to want to do the lower ranked school on scholarship. After all, I’m going to be forty before I’m done and I’m not looking for a shot at BigLaw. The uncertainty is on my mind all the time. It is on all of our minds. Riley is particularly worried about change. He loves his school and his friends and seeing his auntie and nana/papa about once a month.

In truth, I’m scared as hell to move, to start law school, to figure out our lives as “professor Kim and partner”.  But I’m also sick and tired of trying to get warm while breathing air I can see.

My name is Casey and I am a Lego addict.

January 4, 2010

Have you ever seen a 3 year old do Legos until his fingers bleed, then put on bandages and keep on doing them? I had not either until last week.

Riley got a piano keyboard for solstice/X-mas/our anniversary, whatever holiday it is we celebrate now.  Casey got a big box of Legos –  a construction kit. The box said ages 5 – 14 but we figured that with a little help Casey could have fun.

Casey opened up the box and immediately pulled out the instructions.  He had Mama K open up the first bag of Legos and that is when the addiction took hold.

Casey built a tractor, a crane, an elevator and a shop in two days.  He did all this mainly by himself with just a little help from his “hooley”.  When asked what a hooley was, he said, “Mom, it’s you.  You’re my hooley.  My squeezer.”  His poor little fingers sometimes couldn’t squeeze hard enough to get the Lego in place.  After a long weekend of Lego building, Casey’s fingers were split and bleeding but he wouldn’t stop.

Last night our used to be Manny still good friend Will came over for dinner and he brought the boys each a present.  Riley got a Star Wars model that he then went to work putting together with Will.  Will bought Casey a Lego trash/recycling truck.  Will got Riley a Star Wars Lego set last month for his birthday but Riley hadn’t yet got it all put together.  He worked on it a bit last week but mainly Casey just told Riley what to do.  Riley was pretty good natured about it as Casey kept correcting Riley’s mistakes, but after being put in his place by his little brother, he put it away and hadn’t gotten it back out.  Will helped Riley get his model put together and then helped Riley finish off his Lego set.  By the time Riley was done, Casey had put together the whole Lego truck all by himself.  He has found his niche.

Casey was not excited to get back to his routine this morning.  Head Start means only one thing to him.  Less time for Legos.

We have a whole new discipline system worked out using Legos now.  Last night at bedtime Mama K. told Casey not to get out of bed or else he wouldn’t be able to play Legos today.  We didn’t hear a peep.  Have I mentioned how frustrating bedtime can be with the need for apple juice, lights, songs, stuffed animals, and checking for monsters under the bed?  This happens one request at a time mind you.  No more, now he just asks to get up earlier than usual so he can play Legos.

We still need to find that one thing that Riley shines at.  He tries so many things and enjoys them for a brief time but soon enough he gets bored and wants to quit.  The list of what doesn’t captivate Riley is getting longer and longer.  He’s starting piano lessons this month to make music on his new keyboard.  He expects to be “ready for his band” in 6 months.   Will the piano be a hit or will it join the rejection pile?  And will Riley ever find the thing that he can do for hours on end with nothing but joy and excitement?

The Christians vs. The Pagans

December 21, 2009

That’s it.  The Christians win.

Today is Solstice. The shortest day of the year. The rebirth of the sun. Today is the pagan holiday that paved the way to the overbearing holiday where so many pretend that little baby jesus was born at this time in a manger and a star appeared in the east and the wise men followed the star and gave spices as presents and so now we all get a big friggin tree and put it in our window and we wish everybody peace and love. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this time of year. This soul-freezing, inversion breathing, Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Merry Christmas time of the year…. The only good thing about December is today. Solstice. But the last few years Solstice has lost and Christmas has won.

One year ago this week Kim was waiting to pull into a parking spot at Costco and a big SUV came from the other direction and gunned it and swooped into the spot before she could turn in. I wanted Kim to play a game of Subaru chicken but she moseyed on like it didn’t even PISS her off. Luckily someone was pulling out just a few spots away and Kim got that spot. The incident irked me and I was well on my way to a bad mood. We hopped out of the car and Kim was doing her best to talk about how those ladies were jerks but I shouldn’t let it get to me. And then the cutest old couple walked over from a few across the road and told Kim that they saw what those ladies did and they just wanted Kim to know that they found it to be very rude and they were sorry that it happened. Kim smiled warmly at the couple and said that them coming over made her feel better. I, however, was still miffed. I was especially miffed when the women that cut us off were right in front of us selecting a cart and chatting to each other like they weren’t big jerks. Merry Christmas this. And Merry Christmas that. And did you hear what so and so said in Relief Society. And I walked up to get my cart and told the woman (much nicer than I felt) that I found her actions to be inappropriate. She retorted that she had been driving around for 10 minutes before she finally found that spot, and since she had looked for so long, she did what she had to do to get that spot. She then made the mistake of saying. “It was nothing personal. Merry Christmas.” To which I not proudly responded. “Yes. Merry Fucking Christmas you hypocrite!” You should have seen her eyes. Popping out of her head. Kim had the audacity to look embarrassed at being with me. These naïve, mean, Christian women embody EXACTLY what I cannot stand about Christmas.

The sugary sweetness of privilege drips all over this holiday. And each year I give into it a little bit. In the past when coworkers have given me presents I’ve explained that I’m not Christian and the responses I hear back range from. “Christmas is for everybody.” to “keep the gift. It’s what Jesus would want.” to “Happy Solstice then.” But now, coworkers give me gifts and I say “thank you.” Then mark on my to-do list that I have to go buy Christmas presents for my coworkers.  My ideals align with women who wrote this. But my actions anymore certainly do not reflect that.

Each year Christmas wins a little more. Each year Solstice loses even more. Having children in this climate only complicates my experience with Christmas even more.
I want the boys to love solstice and to get gifts on this day and to forget about Christmas. But they are already different and get called out in so many ways, it seems as if my “crusade” (pun intended) against Christmas just makes them even more different. So this year we have a tree with lights on the tree. They boys brought home a school picture with Santa. (Though to Casey’s credit he refused to sit on Santa’s lap. “Tuz I don’t know him and I don’t sit on stwangers laps.”) And I keep saying that it’s okay that we have a secular Christmas. But deep down I know it is not.

I know that I can resist it on my own, but I can’t seem to be able to put my boys through any more pain.  So we have become the atheists who have gotten swept up in the Christian hegemony of Christmas.  Maybe the boys will be old enough next year to take it all away?

The Cost of School Attendance

December 14, 2009

Riley is missing school today. This is particularly notable because this is only his 2nd absence in 3 years of school. The first absence occurred on his first full-day of kindergarten. Kim and I were enjoying a relaxing anniversary cruise and my mom was watching the boys. She drove from Roosevelt to SLC after the weekend and arrived in SLC late so decided to keep him home rather than send him to school tardy. It was an issue for Kim at the time. I just laughed. Beggars (moms who want to go on cruises) can’t be choosers (“make sure he goes to school.”) Kim couldn’t comprehend how a person could allow a child to stay home from school unless there was a family emergency, a sickness, or another major event. Kim views education differently from my me. Growing up, I just had to tell Mom that I was falling behind on school and needing a day to catch up on homework and she’d call the school with an all-purpose, “she’s needed at home” excuse. The good part of that philosophy is that I never had to learn to lie, pretend illness, or fabricate family emergencies. The bad part of that philosophy is that I never received the coveted attendance award.

Riley was awarded “outstanding” attendance in kindergarten – the absence the first week of school marred his record from the get-go. He won “perfect” attendance in first grade since there was no anniversary cruise to contend with. So far this year he was on track for the “perfect” award again. Which was why at 2 PM yesterday when I was stuck in Roosevelt with an unexpected snowstorm continuing to dump on us, I struggled with the decision about whether to drive home or not. I called the statewide number for road conditions. The two major mountain passes I would have to get over were described as “Currently precipitating. Snow packed. Slippery. Icy. Chains or 4 wheel drive recommended.”

In preparation for the drive, my sister and I went into town to buy snacks and water. The grocery story shelves were sparse. The meat aisle was empty. The supply truck couldn’t make to Roosevelt. I should have taken that as a sign from the Universe that I was meant to spend an extra day in Roosevelt.

But Riley was worried about missing school. Casey missed Mamma Kim. And I figured my sister needed a break from me and the boys. In a single weekend, Casey drew on her wood floor with a marker (not permanent), the boys managed to overheat the motor to the jets in her bath tub, Casey took a tumble down her entire flight of stairs, Casey played an annoying singing penguin carousel game constantly until Uncle Q. took a screwdriver and wire cutters, tore into the thing, and cut the wire to the speaker. Riley lost a board game and had a come apart because Linda wouldn’t keep on playing to see who would get second place. Linda’s lecture to him: “Riley there is only 1 winner and the rest of us are losers. You are one of the losers” wasn’t helpful. I, of course, was the winner.

Linda isn’t used to children my boys’ age. And to be honest, my boys are higher maintenance than most. I’ve outworn my welcome there so many times. But she has a wood-burning stove and keeps the house at 80 degrees. She drinks coffee with me in our pajamas and we put real Irish Crème in it. Sitting with Linda by the fire giving each other pedicures is like intravenous Prozac that gets me through the winter.
So when the snow let up about 2:30 PM, I loaded the boys up in the car with our water, snacks, extra blankets and cell phone. We were going to give it a try.

We were fine until the mountain pass we call Strawberry. The wind was howling and blowing the new snow in drifts across the road. At first Riley was mesmerized by the “dry ice” effect and he pretended we were driving through a witch’s potion. “The wicked witch is trying to cook us to eat us, but we have to keep driving out of the cauldron.” But then he noticed a couple of cars that had slid off the road. He noticed that every car that passed us coming the other way was a giant pick-up truck and he got scared when the gusts of wind engulfed us in white out conditions. He started counting the seconds that we couldn’t see the road and his anxiety was only worsened by the “f” word the driver kept muttering. (Me? Would I do that?) We took our position in a line of almost a dozen cars and we followed in each others tracks. The snowplows were out but they couldn’t keep up.

It was the worst driving conditions I had ever driven in. But we went slow and took our time. Casey slept. Riley stressed. I cursed. And we arrived home safely about 7:30 PM. The typical two hour and fifteen minute drive took us over four hours.
Riley and I were both too stressed out to eat dinner.  I took a bath and Riley watched Pippi Longstocking to settle down.

Riley woke up this morning and puked.  Then he started crying because if he goes to school he might make his friends sick.  And if he stays home then he won’t get “perfect” attendance.  I really despise that award.  Despise it!  I said, “Look dude.  You’re puking.  Maybe you’ll have to settle for “outstanding” attendance this year. You’re not going to school.”  How many parents have to beg their sick child to stay home?

So Riley is home sick today.  Maybe he actually has a bug, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s home because of the stress of the drive.  Next time we’re staying in Roosevelt.

What happens when…

December 1, 2009

My sister hosted Thanksgiving this year.  She’s a little bit on the OCD spectrum.  We got a Thanksgiving packet a few weeks prior that included a meal that we were responsible for and what part of Thanksgiving dinner we would cook.  Then the week prior, we received an “invitation” in the mail inviting us to the after dinner family talent show.  The only requirement is – if you “ate” you must “participate.”  Beings I planned on having a lot of turkey I figured I’d have to come up with a talent.

Short of standing up in front of family and solving the rubik’s cube in 3 minutes or less, I have no talent.  In fact, I’m anti-talented.  When I start singing, dancing, playing a musical instrument or the like, people leave.  They get up and leave the room.  I guess that could be my talent.  “How to clear a room in ten seconds flat featuring Ruth…”

Casey read a book.  Papa played guitar and sang. My brother in law played the saxophone.  My niece did a stand up comedienne routine.  Riley was a magician.  My sister alphabetized long words like the librarian that she is.  (Guess you had to be there.)  Are you curious yet as to what I did?

What happens when you get 21 family members in a room and REQUIRE them to showcase their talent?  I’ll tell you what happens.  You’re bound to get a strip tease out of it.  A strip-polka if you’re lucky.

What was I to do? It was my Grandma’s idea.  I couldn’t let her down.

When Grandma was about ten years old, this song was popular.  It was considered so risque that the local radio station banned it.  But Grandma used to stay up late at night to listen to the Tijuana Mexico station so she could hear her strip polka.  I can only imagine her dancing around the room flinging off clothes.  And here she is 69 years later basically doing the same thing.

This Thanksgiving I am particularly thankful for my Mom and Grandma.  For lots of reasons, not the least is this.  Who else would I dance the strip polka with?

The joy of snowball…..sampling that is.

November 19, 2009

I don’t like snow and I don’t like cold, so you may be wondering about the title of this post…. It’s a call to action.

Calling all babydykes, mohos and transy –

doesn’t matter if your butchy, femmey, or a pansy –

If you’re gay and between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight

Whether or not you have a mate (or even a date)

The closet doesn’t matter, whether your “out” or “in.”

She won’t tell your school, your church, nor your kin

She wants your story.  She thinks it will be fun.

But most of all, I want her to be done.

Kim just got IRB approval to start her research and they approved a “snowball sample” method which means that Kim is posting her “call for participants” on Facebook and e-mailing folks and essentially trying to get the word out.  The best part…… Once she sends it, I can do with it what I want.  I can also Facebook it.  Blog it.  Turn it into a bad rhyming poem.  Shout it from the rooftops! Whatever.

So here goes.  Since I really want to Kim to be done with school in May so I can go forth and prosper in law school, I figure it is in my best interest to facilitate her completion the best I can.  And since, I am in no way equipped to write a dissertation, I will do the next best thing, give her free advertising.

So if you are LGBTQ 18 – 28 years old, grew up in and currently live in Utah, Kim would love to have you as a participant.  And I would consider it a personal favor.  If interested/qualified…read on.

From Kim:

I am trying to learn more about the relationship between mentoring and social networks for LGBT/Queer youth who grew up and came out in Utah. I am writing to you to extend an invitation to participate in this study and also in hopes that you can refer other possible participants who would be willing to contribute to this research. (You might be too old?  But even if you are, I’m sure you know people who aren’t.) I am pulling together a group of 10-12 LGBT/Queer people between the ages of 18-28 who grew up, and still live, in Utah. The members of this group will participate in a series of four focus group sessions that will last about 2 hours each.  I will also meet with each group member for an hour-long individual interview after the focus group sessions are completed.

I hope to share the information I gain through this research project with people and organizations dedicated to working with, supporting, and advocating for LGBT/Queer youth.  My goal is to provide information about the experiences LGBT/Queer youth in Utah have had with mentors and social networks, especially in regard to coming out and developing LGBT/Queer identities.  In doing so, I will provide suggestions for better meeting the needs and wants of LGBT/Queer youth in Utah through formal and informal mentoring and social networks.

If you think you might be interested you can either call me at 801-879-6209, respond to this email, or email me off of facebook and we can discuss questions you might have and details regarding the process of the study and your schedule so that I can begin to schedule the focus group sessions.  In the meantime, if you have any questions for me about the study, or my background please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment or by calling me at 801-879-6209.

The study will be done primarily through focus groups and will be interactive and pretty fun – lots of story telling! I graduate in May so it’s my goal to get as much data collected before the new year as possible. I know this time of year can be hectic, but I am confident that participating will be worth the time, and I’ll work with all of the participants to schedule our four focus group sessions at the time that works the best for them as a group.

I’m looking forward to talking with you, and learning from your experiences and ideas.  If you know people who you think would like to contribute to this study, please share this information with them and encourage them to contact me.  Thank you.

In peace ~ Kim