Monday, December 27, 2010

On our tv free home

I live in a beautiful home. It's a fact. I am an incredibly lucky woman. I walk around, running my fingers along mahogany, antique fixtures. But, if you were to walk around my home, you may notice there is something missing. There is no tv, and we like it that way.

We didn't always go without tv. When I was pregnant, we had full cable, a flat screen monstrosity, right in the middle of our living room. We bowed to our glowing god, morning, evening and night. However, i started to notice that it made us stop talking to each other. In fact, we weren't even looking at each other much anymore. I felt like it had become a default to just plop down in front of the tv. Finally, when mike was tired of staring at it, and i was tired of watching him stare at it, we got rid of our tv.

It makes me really happy to think that we will raise our little boy in a tv free home. Studies have shown time and time again that television exposure reduces attention spans, and increases umpulsive behavior in children. In my Natural Life magazine (which I love) it said that the average girl will see eighty thousand ads on tv before she reaches kindergarden. So, not only do i have concerns about the negative effects tv has on Ender's growing brain, the content is bizarre to me as well. I find it disturbing that children as young as two are trained in brand recognition and conspicuous consumption (mommy those shoes look cheap!). The idea of spending your way to happiness is one that i have been grappling with most of my adult life and i am going to try my best not to pass on to my children. Television makes that goal difficult, if not impossible.

I remember telling my dentist, who had two young children, that we had gotten rid of tv in our home. "it's going to be hard," he said "television is the best babysitter we ever had." Maybe so. I know that sometimes I would really appreciate a little screen time, a little quiet time. But with even the american pediatric association recommending no tv for children under two, i feel onfident in my choice. We still watch the tv shows we like, but we do it online, and it lacks the constant oppressive flow of television, one show after the next. We watch what we want, and stop. Our consumption has gone down from approximately 25 hours a week to 5.

I am glad that we are a tv free home, and i hope we stay that way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I've been thinking a lot lately about who I am. Maybe it's because I'm living in a place that I lived in when I was a kid, and for me, that's unusual. I remember being little kid me, seeing the same sights I see today. Being a child is in a way having no identity, or having all identities possible. You are malleable as putty, your personality changing daily.

I'm not sure why, but lately I have been paranoid that I am not my own person. I've been accused of this in the past, and shrugged it off. Some people say I am too much like the people who surround me. While I have always accepted this as true, it somehow suddenly seems inadequate. Now, here, I am reassessing who I am.

I know I am a Leo, a lion, a fire sign, passionate. I burn hot and cool slowly. I yell when I'm happy, mad, and impatient. I always know what I want, but am not always sure how to get it. I have spent many years seeking out experience as some kind of badge of honour that states: "Been There, Done That." It is a quest to be an Interesting Person. I have gone on a Vipassina retreat, and not spoken a single word in ten days. I have been a student of religion, and a student of academia. I have let myself fail. I have enjoyed the persuasion that my looks have had over others. I have modified my appearance, again and again, not out of any self-hatred, but again, a burning desire to express the multitudes of selves that I have. I love food, the lifeblood of experience. I eat and I think of the tongues that have experienced the same flavour. Food for me is emotion. I love clothing; caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. It can simultaneously hide and reveal our best and our worst. I am afraid of repeating mistakes that I have seen. I am afraid of being misunderstood. I am afraid of being alone. I am afraid of wasting any moment with boredom or lack of action.

I think in this quest to become interesting, I have learned that once you truly have become such, you don't feel any different. I think I've done my fair share of experiencing the world for my age, and yet there is a grace in the fact that most people I meet don't know anything about it. It's not about saying "This one time in Italy...", it's about letting my experiences enrich the way I view the world. What began as an arguably superficial pursuit has improved my ability to consume and digest my environment.

Perhaps, in my impatience to find my identity, I've found that it is an overrated concept. I am a collection of (at times, bizarre) experiences, and that is undeniably unique to me.