Because the beautiful responses keep coming in, and because we need some good words today:
six more replies to ‘Nurturance Culture’:
1. Nurturance is the feel of your bristly beard on my forehead as I melt into your arms after you pick me up from a three day therapeutic retreat. It’s in your suggestion to fold the seats down and lie in the back of the car to get out of the rain when you sense that I’m not ready for you to let go yet. Its asking if we can both fit in my bath tub, and then getting in the dry tub with me to try, clothes and all; then even though we fit, just sitting there listening to me tell my story, and stroking my hair.
Nurturance is you showing up for me, all “what can I do” when I’m worn out and have a stomach bug; even though you’re supposed to be at work. It’s in the smell of the peppermint essential oil you put in my puke pail. It’s in the way you rub some on my stomach and chest. It’s in the taste of the peptobismol you went out to get for me. It’s in your silly twisted chanting of ” poop! poop! poop!” in response to my urgent bathroom needs; which really lightens the mood and makes me smile even though I’m mortified. It’s in the look in your eyes when you tell me I’m beautiful even when I’m sick; and knowing that I look terrible, but also knowing that you really mean it. Nurturance is there when you say, “No. Thank you for letting me take care of you. It feels good to be able to do this for you.”
2. When I got divorced, my brother moved across the country from Seattle to live with me. He has been my rock. I hate to think of life these past few years without him. My earliest memory is of getting in trouble for calling this guy ‘Jesus.’ My mom thought it was blasphemous. As Easter Sunday approaches, I may not believe in Jesus anymore, but I sure as hell believe in my brother Nathan. A few days ago, in crisis, I asked for his advice. He told me to do what I most want to do and not fear the future. He said that we would figure things out together.
Thank you Nate. Thank you for believing me and supporting me every step of the way.
3. Nurturance is putting “father, partner, homemaker” first in your professional profile or bio. Not just the miracle of putting it there at all (how many men do?) but putting it first, before your job description. It is living this in your daily life too: putting the concentric circles of your life in good order: father, partner, first, always – the trust centre of a balanced feminist male engagement with the world. Then parents, siblings and chosen family. Then friends. Then work. Sometimes the order of the centre shuffles: sometimes your mom takes centre and your partner and kids rearrange around an elderly parent’s care. Either way, your nurturance role is the central role of your life.
If you do this right, the circles will all feed each other: your partner will be the person you trust the most and most want to impress with your public commitments, and will also be the place you incubate the sensitive stages of your new work projects. They will be your rock, and you theirs, so you can stick your neck out and do the right thing in the world because the people who matter to you are always on your side. If you do it wrong, you will think “my partner and kids should know they are important to me because I take time away from work for them.” Bull. That means you put work first. Put your relationships first and you’ll find yourself asking “Is this work worth the time it takes away from my partner and kids?” rather than the other way around. Put the circles in order and watch your family and your own heart blossom.
4. Nurturance is a thread stretching all the way to New York, seven thousand miles away, where my love is out exploring the big wide world. Nurturance is wishing her comfort, safety and well-being on her adventure on the other side of the world.Nurturance is asking a friend to get her a thermometer. Nurturance is wanting to stretch far out, reaching over continents and oceans, to touch her forehead, whisper a kind word, offer a warm hug, and hold her in her sleep. Nurturance is wishing you’d packed her some Hunza chai because it can work wonders for sore throat, at least better than any antibiotic could. Nurturance is a recurring thought, a concerned wonder that drifts in and out like this Lahore breeze. Nurturance is the night sky peeking through a springtime storm. Nurturance is imploring the stars to watch over her. Nurturance is kissing the air as you exhale. Nurturance is the rain on your face, dancing like fingertips. Nurturance is a thread stretching all the way to New York. It is kindness defying distance.
5. Nurturance is sitting in a circle with your community, including those you like and those you do not, to work out a conflict using loving skills of compassion, listening, and taking full responsibility with an awareness of power. Nurturance is recognizing that everyone in the circle is affected by a conflict between any two people. A community is as strong as its weakest bond, so the circle must support and hold all those within it.
6. Nurturance is making sure every single baby and child is loved, held, treasured and honoured. It means taking full and complete responsibility, without excuses, for the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of your children. It means doing your own emotional work so that you can be an adult with caregiver skills who can take full and proper care of them, not just sometimes, but every day.
Ten Reader Replies: Nurturance Is…
Boys, Brothers, and Saying “I Love You”: Readers’ Thoughts about Nurturance Culture
The original piece that inspired this post:
The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture (in English)
Lo Opuesto a una Cultura de la Violación es una Cultura Afectiva (In Spanish)
O Oposto da Cultura de Estupro é a Cultura masculina de Acolhimento (in Portuguese)
How does Nurturance Culture look, feel, smell, sound, taste to you? Send your one-line answers, video, audio, comics, art, poems, responses, to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Nurturance Is” to possibly appear in a future post! The call for submissions is here: https://norasamaran.com/2016/02/24/call-for-submissions-nurturance-is-dtfm/
All references to gender in this post are intended in a trans-inclusive way. I want to recognize that human beings’ lived experience of gender is much more complex than an either/or set of boxes can capture. When I speak of ‘men’ and ‘masculinity’ I am referring to masculine-identified people, including, as appropriate, aspects of the self for those who only partially identify in this way. Open to feedback and always happy to further nuance this analysis, feel free to get in touch. 🙂
I’m also working on a speculative fiction project. Check out Cipher here.
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