Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My "Calling" to flesh out the term "Step-Mom"

For months, I have been racking my brain with the question of what I should write about at the onset of my new "blogging" endeavor. I truly believe in the concept of "writing about what you know." Moreover, as I have discovered throughout my academic career as a Religious Studies scholar, it is important and productive to write about experiences and questions that "drive" your heart.

Tomorrow will mark a year since I was ushered from a profound liminal state of engagement into a sacred and complex covenant of marriage, enacted by what I argue is a contemporary ritual: WEDDING CEREMONY. Yet my journey into the new role of "spouse/wife" was also accompanied by the role of  "parent/mom," and close proximity with my in-law(s).

Daily, I am aware that more non-traditional families emerge: people separate, divorce, re-marry, etc. I am also aware that many of the experiences I have with my husband and his kids ("our" kids, "their" kids, ...) are not unlike the experiences of any parent, in general. So, I ask: what exactly do I want to communicate and why? Becoming a parent (and becoming a spouse) is in and of itself a complex metamorphosis. Yet becoming a "parent" wherein you come from the outside into an already established "family" is a space defined by much more multivalent, tense, and "un-defined" actions, roles, and parameters. As with many ideologies and issues, I aim to problematize, discuss, and tease out areas of tension and contention. I want to grapple with what it means( also what parenthood looks like and feels like, not only to "me" but to others) to be a parent, trapped behind and within--what I deem--the limitations of the prefix, the modifier: STEP-parent.

As often addressed in lectures during my undergraduate studies, what are the bounds and implications of language, the words human beings use to designate, define, own, describe, and demarcate experience?

Clearly, I often write in a very jargon-laced style. My goal is to create a space for discussion, which includes the input and feedback of both scholars and the literal, on the ground parents (people) of the world. I say all of these things with the hope of widening the scope of people involved in conversation over issues such as these, and finding camaraderie within new roles that daily bring me triumph and tribulation. In other words, how I think--or the form(s) in which many of my thoughts manifest--is richly steeped within the training I received as an aspiring historian of religion, but my "training" need not deter YOU, reader, from discovering with me the limitations and allowances of how we talk, speak, and write about the STEP-MOM.

Humbly pressing on...

For further commentary on "liminal" and "liminality," please research anthropologist Victor Turner and/or visit The University of Chicago's website and glossary.