Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pessimism

A few weeks ago there was a post about Dana Falsetti in a Facebook group for fats that I follow. Falsetti is a plus-sized yogi who also talks a lot about body positivity. The OP posted, saying that she found the video of Falsetti inspiring. So far so good, right?

Get it.

Moments after the post went up, this comment appeared:
"Oh look another white small fat representing everyBODY"
 And I just couldn't freaking believe it.

There is literally no way to live your life anymore without ruining someone else's day. Even if those things are out of your control (like, say, being white or weighing less than 300 pounds, or even finding someone who has the audacity to fit into those categories to be inspiring). And it broke my heart to see it, because a few more comments down in the thread, someone said that she had been excited to go to one of Falsetti's workshops, but now she wasn't so sure because if other people think she's problematic...

Well, screw that.

I am sick to death of people telling other people what they can and can't enjoy, especially when the thing or person in question is not hurting anyone else. What baffles me the most is that most of the time I see this it's in a space that advertises itself as "safe".

There is nothing "safe" about a space that only reinforces the idea that there will always be some part of you that is lacking, or that your experiences do not count because you don't fit certain criteria. In fact, I have found these spaces to be a lot more damaging in the long run, because the people who don't fit in end up feeling more ostracized, and the people who do become part of a sort of delusional hive-mind that masks new forms of oppression under a screen of false benevolence.

I wish people could just love things and each other without being afraid of the repercussions that shouldn't even exist.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that there is anyone good left in the world (and yes, this includes myself, dried up old hag that I am).

I think we're all going to "tolerate" each other to death.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What? WHAT!??: A Soapbox Moment

I try to not talk politics a whole lot on social media, because, frankly, most of the time I do not have the energy to argue with anyone who I find tedious. Today, however, I have been pushed to the breaking point by an article I saw on Facebook this morning: "Why I am a Woman Who Doesn't Support the Women's March".

Take a few deep breaths before you click on that link. Trust me.

Here is a soothing picture of baby otters, if you need it.
Okay, let's continue.

The author first assures us that she is not a "millennial feminist", in spite of what her age and gender may suggest. Yeah, you write for a website called Trump Truck. I don't think you have to worry about ever being called a feminist.

Let's go through her article point by point, shall we?
Being a woman is not a disadvantage

There is nothing that I cannot do that I want to. I can vote, work, express myself, bear arms, practice religion, and speak freely while living the American dream. What else do I need?
You can work, sure, but you'll make 20% less than what your male colleagues make. You can practice your religion, but only if you're Christian (I saw the other article on your site that praises God that Trump is finally going to do something about "the Muslims". Fight me.). And you can express yourself and speak freely... unless you're at the women's march, I guess.

Do you see the disadvantages, yet?
I am for equality, but not supremacy

Feminists are chanting to “Kill all male babies” and calling for women to just run up and kill men in the streets. How could this possibly be equal?
 It's not, but this is not what feminism is. You are citing one video made by one woman who has some... alternative ideas about how feminism works. I know that this might be difficult, but try to give us a little credit. No one wants to kill anyone, as far as I know.
We are built different, for different purposes

Men are naturally bigger and stronger, while women are smaller in stature and have the right tools to create a child. Women tend to be more nurturing with minds that can multitask, and men tend to do the more laboring work. We are not built to do the same things.
You're

Right

Women

Are

So

Weak


Biblically, the man is the head of the household

Yes, thats right. According to the bible, men are called to be the head of the household. This does not mean that there cannot be women leaders, but men are called to be the head.
The Bible says a lot of things about women (and other things) that are not necessarily true. Paul, in particular, says a lot of, uh, interesting things about women. But I digress. Most modern revelation seems to say that men and women should be equal partners in marriage, and that they should consult and support one another. Though, I'm actually not sure what point you are trying to make here.
Sometimes it’s just business, nothing personal

Sports channels do not have a vast majority of women viewers, just like Lifetime does not attract men. Therefore, ESPN is going to continue to show predominantly male sports, and Lifetime will continue to show us women the juicy thrillers that get us through our 4th bowl of Rocky Road ice cream. It’s nothing personal, just business.
What are you even talking about? Do you honestly think this is an issue?
Modest is hottest

How do they expect to get an ounce of respect when they’re out there with their ta-tas hanging out, and bright pink hoo-has on their heads? Its trashy, and embarrassing. No wonder no one takes them seriously??
Okay, you are twenty-three. Say it with me: "Breasts". "Vagina". And they expect respect because they deserve respect, no matter what they choose to wear or not wear. The same goes for you. You should be proud of these women in their glorious pink hats, because they were out there fighting for your rights as well as theirs.
They are protesting Trump, but he has not taken any of their rights

How does this make any sense? Donald Trump has not even been president a week and they are protesting him because……why? He’s not a woman? He hasn’t taken away any of their rights.
They were protesting to make sure he understood that there would be people standing up against his blatant sexism and dangerous policies towards women. And they were right to do so, considering that he repealed the ACA the very next day with no replacement plan in place. This hurts you, too, sweetheart.
They could fund their trip to DC for the march, but not their own birth control?

The women are demanding for birth control to be completely covered…..yet there are people with terminal illnesses that cannot even get the medicine they need because they cannot afford it. BUY YOUR OWN DANG BIRTH CONTROL!! It’s not the government’s responsibility to fund your sex life.
A lot of the people who went to DC were sponsored by other people who cared, people who probably *can* afford their own birth control, but understand the importance of making it available to people who cannot. Many people who could not afford to go to DC marched in their hometowns, because they are beautiful and strong and not afraid to fight for what's right.
Abortion is not fair

These women preach that it is their body so they can do it if they want. Correction, it is not their body or they would be the one to die during the abortion….And what about the female babies being aborted? What about their female rights? Or do those not matter?
See, now you are doing that double talk thing that I hate so much. "Oh ho!" you think, "Let's turn their on ideologies back on them! My question about female babies will surely make them think differently."

First of all, you are not fooling anyone. As soon as that female baby is born you will not care about her rights, either. Nor will you adopt her. She will end up in this country's extremely broken foster system, and then most likely she will end up on the street. It happens every day.

Secondly, no one gets pregnant just so they can have an abortion. I have always been so mystified by that concept. There is literally no one who goes out and has unprotected sex thinking, "It's okay! I can always get an abortion!" Abortion is a big, scary deal. We all know that. We all know that it has emotional and physical consequences. We get it. But sometimes it is the better option for some people, and we need to respect that.

Besides, banning abortions will not stop abortions. You know what will? Affordable birth control.
These women’s marches are hypocritical

I have seen numerous stories and videos of women who are pro-life or Trump supporters who were spit on and told, “I hope you get raped and need an abortion,” simply because they had a different opinion. Yeah, women equality, right? What a joke.
Sources? And I mean real, legitimate news sources. Nothing from The Blaze. Noting with "miserable hag" in the title. Seriously, cite your sources because I could not find any. I do not personally know any woman, feminist or otherwise, who would ever say "I hope you get raped." That is vile. I know that people say a lot of really stupid things when they are upset, but I don't think anyone who would ever say that could be considered a feminist. Or even a decent person.

Sigh...

We made it! Here's a cleansing baby sloth in a teacup.
It ends there.

I don't know this woman. I don't know what happened in her life to make her feel the way she feels. I don't know what experiences she has had or not had to shape her views. But it makes me tired.

I am so proud of all of my beautiful friends and relatives who marched. I am so keenly aware of your struggles and your purpose. I will fight for all of you until the day I die, because I believe in you, and in the work that you do.

You have so much worth. Do not let anybody tell you otherwise.

~~~~~

If you want to see a wonderful article about the March from a conservative's perspective, I recommend Why I Marched: A Letter From A Pro-Life, Republican, Anti-Government-Making-Women’s-Decisions, Stay-At-Home Mom. We're all in this together.

Friday, December 2, 2016

100 Books

Three years ago I decided that I was going to read 100 books in one year. That's about two books a week, I thought to myself, How hard can it be?

Pretty hard, as it turns out.

I failed that year at 82 books, and the next year at 71. Frustrated, I decided that I would try it just one more time, to see if it was possible. I was really going to push myself to see if I could get there.

And today it happened: I finished my 100th book in 2016.

So now I'm  going to write about it.

The Experience, Overall

Having done what I set out to do three years ago feels pretty great. I read a lot of really great books (and a few bad ones), and I got to re-read a lot of things that I hadn't read since I was in my early teens, which was fun. The one thing I find regrettable, though, was that I had to choose a lot of books that I knew would be fast reads, instead of some of the books that I really wanted to read. Two books a week is a LOT when you have school and work in the mix, so I needed to read books that would fill in the gaps and not be too distracting from my real life responsibilities.

The second year I attempted this I wanted to read only books that I had never read before. I would love to be able to do that again someday, but fitting all of that into a year without slipping into comfortable old favorites would be almost impossible for me to do. To read all new books seems like a worthier goal than just "read as fast as you can to say that you did it", but I am still super proud of what I have accomplished.

I have to say, though, it will be more fun reading books this December now that  don't feel like I'm in a race. The 100 book challenge is not for sissies.

The Low Points

I feel like with every bundle of good things, there have to be at least a few bad things thrown into the mix. The wormy apple, the rainy Saturday, the poisonous spider in your shipment of grapes... these books are those things.

B.C. by Johnny Hart
I actually read four B.C. books this year, since my dad has a bunch of them. I used to like looking through them when I was a kid, and I remembered them as being funny even though most of the jokes (I'm sure) sailed over my head. Now that I have read them as an adult, I can say with conviction that they are not my cup of tea. There were still a few things that made me smile, but for the most part I found the humor in them to be either boring or in poor taste. It was an attempt at reclaiming my childhood that went spectacularly awry.

"The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" by Stephen King
This one hurts a little, because I love Stephen King's short stories as a general rule, but so many of these were just too far off the mark for me. I didn't find it frightening or thrilling, or even compelling. I mean, the first story in there is about an alien car that eats people. It just felt ridiculous, and it was really hard to drag myself through.

"The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis
I was actually surprised that I had such a hard time with this one, since I remember loving it when I read it at age fourteen. Not to say that I don't like it now (it was still a good read), but I found some of the concepts in it to be at odds with how I feel about doubting and faith, et cetera. It may just be how it was presented, or how I felt at the time I was reading it, but this just didn't do it for me this time. I might have to revisit it again next year, just to see of my opinion changes again on another reading.

The High Points

These books were the icing on my big, 100 book cake. They are the books that touched me deeply, in one way or another, and I'm excited to get to talk about them now.

The Memoirs of Jennifer Worth (The Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse, Farewell to the East End)
Any watchers of Call the Midwife on BBC or PBS will know what these stories are about at surface level, but reading these books is like immersing yourself in her life. You come away just amazed at the hardships that these women had to endure, and so appreciative of what you've been given. As someone who has watched the show, it was also interesting to see the character changes that they made, and just how many sad endings that they made "TV happy" (which surprised me, because they are not afraid to make you cry, either). I found the entire series to be fascinating and heartwarming, overall.

"Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell
This is a book that chews you up and spits you out and horrifies you in the most fascinating way. I always find Karen Russell to be incredible, because the way that she writes makes you feel every single thing that the characters are feeling. You feel all of the loss and the confusion and terror, but you also feel the joy and the whimsy of it all. It is definitely a trip. For anyone looking to read it, though, I'm going to throw up a HUGE child abuse trigger warning. It sneaks up on you and it is not pleasant, and if you have serious problems with it I suggest you stay away. This book does not really have a happy ending, but it's definitely still worthwhile and still one of my favorites of the year.

"Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" by Robin Sloan
Anybody who likes mysteries will love this book. That said, I feel like I can't say much about it, so that I don't give anything away. I will say, however, that it totally blew my mind, and that the ending was so perfectly satisfying.

"Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This was the last book I read in this challenge, and it was the perfect ending to a successful experiment. Sáenz is definitely a poet at heart, and this book shows that. The prose flows like water, and all of these different songs and emotions run together so well that the resolution is just about perfect. It was also one of the best love stories I have ever read. Also, it was super refreshing to read a piece of Teen Fiction that actually has depth to it. More books for young people should be like this.

In Conclusion

I love books. I am a firm believer in the power of reading and the necessity of a home library. Reading 100 books was such a cool experience for me, and I think that the best part about it was that it allowed me to focus on the act of reading in a way I never had before. I had forgotten how joyful it can be to sit down with a book and just lose yourself for an entire afternoon. I had forgotten what it felt like to have your world so expanded, and I am so grateful that I was able to do this. I feel like I have learned a lot, and I have reawakened a passion that I had been missing in my life.

This was exactly what I needed.

~~~~~

Who else had a book goal for 2016? I want to hear about it!

~~~~~

There are obviously a whole lot of books that I wasn't able to talk about here, but if you want to talk to me about any of them just let me know. I am always willing to get into book talk. The full list can be found on Goodreads.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Buddy

One year ago today, you came into the world. I didn't know you then, but three months later you would come into my life and everything would change for the better. I knew the minute that I first held you that you were destined to be my buddy for life.

Three months old, right after we met.
Your first year of life wasn't easy! Health problems (along with the regular puppy stuff) had us going to the vet almost every month. You took being poked and prodded like a champ, but I think it gave you your weird phobia of car rides that persists to this day. Your year of tests, tests, and more tests finally came to a close in January, when you were able to get the surgery you needed to be a healthy and happy pup. I wish I could tell you that your medical journeys are over for good, but unfortunately you will probably have to have surgery again someday. I can tell you, though, that you won't have to go back to the vet for a LONG while. I hope that you are as happy about that as I am!

After your surgery, grumpy about the e-collar.
I have learned a lot of things about you over the past year, but most of it can be boiled down to one thing: you, Puppy, are super weird. This is okay, because I am weird, too.

There are a lot of things about you that I will never understand. For example, I will never know why you feel the need to walk when you poop, or why you hate bathtime but love puddles. I will never know why you like to chew on my fingers when you are sleepy, or why you feel the need to spread your food all over the floor before you eat it. I will never understand the need to incessantly bark at strangers (but we're working on that). You are a goofball, for sure, but you're my goofball.

About six months old, having fun in the grass.
I love everything about you. I love your tiny toes and your snaggletooth. I love your Yoda ears, your whiskers, and the way you chase your tail when you get really involved in playtime. I love the way that you melt into me when you are sleepy, and the way you seem to always know when I need a cuddle. I love the weird snorting noises you make when you're happy, and your "ferocious" growl when you encounter a toy that wants to fight back. I love watching you play in the snow, because you really do look like a little fox when you are in your element.

Snow nose! Eleven months old.
I really could go on forever. There is just so much about you to love.

My dear little Watson, I am so glad that you exist. You have, in your first year, taught me that true love is grand, and that it could cross oceans and back without changing. You have taught me to be patient, and to be more selfless. You have made my life better in every way, and I am so grateful to be the person entrusted with your care.

Happy Birthday, my little love. Here's to many more to come!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Suffer the Children

I am not usually afraid to have an unpopular opinion (for example: pink Starbursts are the worst ones. Deal with it), but I am afraid to talk about this particular topic. I will try to be as respectful as possible: my goal here is not to upset people. I just feel the need to share my feelings.

On Thursday this week, the LDS church made an announcement that surprised and angered a lot of people. The short version of it is this: Individuals in same-gender relationships, marriages or cohabitations will now be considered apostate by the Church.

That was not the surprising part, considering that such relationships are against the core values of the Church.

The part that has people the most worked up, however, was the far more complicated second half of the announcement: Children of same-gendered parents are no longer eligible to receive a name and a blessing as an infant, or to be baptized, confirmed, ordained, or serve a full-time mission without First Presidency approval.

It sounds really, really bad on paper. I know it does.

When I heard the announcement, I will admit that my heart sank when I thought of the children involved. The little children who Christ so loves... why would they be punished for the actions of another?


It was hard for me to get my head around. It still is, to be honest, but I feel like I am closer to understanding now.

I had the opportunity today (or yesterday, now) to talk to and read a lot of varying and valid opinions from people who I love and respect dearly. I was given the opportunity to hurt with those who are hurting, and to talk through things with friends who were just as concerned as I was. This really helped me to work out my own feelings on the subject, which I would like to share with you now.

I feel like I have been blessed in my life with the ability to know the truth of things that are presented to me, and I know that the Church is true. I have been a witness to the miracles that this Gospel brings, both in my life and the lives of others. I have felt the love of God in this church, and I cannot deny that.

With this knowledge, I have been able to accept that I am not meant to understand everything. I do, however, have faith in the Brethren, and I believe that they only have our best interests at heart. They are all good men with a deep love of both God and all mankind. I cannot believe that they would ever make a decision just to be cruel, or to intentionally hurt anyone.

I do believe that they really do have the best interests of these children at heart. They are not forbidding them to be baptized, they just want to make sure that the child can first comprehend what that decision means for them and their families. To be baptized and ordained in the church means you need to have a willingness to comply with the standards set therein. They do not want to tear families apart, but they do need to make their position clear, and I can respect that.


In my initial state of doubt and sadness, watching this video from D. Todd Christofferson really helped me find some peace. He is firm, but loving, and he explains so gently what these changes really mean for us. I highly recommend watching it to gain more insight.

All in all, my personal policies remain unchanged. I will continue to love and support everyone around me to the best of my ability, while continuing to be the best Mormon I can be. Jesus Christ was a man of strong faith, but also a man of universal love. I will continue to strive to be such a person.

God loves all of his little children. Our task is to show that love through our actions, no matter what.

So, to all of the General Authorities, the Mormons, the non-Mormons, and to the LGBTQ community: I love you, I support you, and I am praying for you.

I truly believe that everything will turn out okay.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My Bark is Worse than My Bite

As a general rule, I try to post mostly interesting and (hopefully) well-written things on this blog... which is why I don't seem to write too much. However, this might not be either of those things. This is just me trying to work out some feelings, and saying some things that I feel need to be said. I hope you like it anyway, if you choose to read it.

So, anyway... 

A few days ago some random guy on Tinder called me a "dog". Stupid, right? The reasonable part of me knows that I should not care what some idiot on a questionable dating app thinks of me.

But, unfortunately, I am not always a reasonable person. It was like getting sucker punched in the gut, and every negative feeling I have ever had about myself suddenly came rushing at me. Those thoughts have soaked into my head and my heart this week, and right now I am half-convinced that Mr. Tinder was right about me. What if I am a dog? And, if I am a dog, am I one of those Chinese Cresteds with a weird face?

To be fair, this is still pretty cute.

Seriously.

All I have been able to think about this week are these insecurities. "I am not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough. I'm not as funny as I think I am. I am not as nice as I should be. I must be really annoying. What if I have no real friends?" Et cetera.

It has been exhausting to hate myself this much.

So tonight I decided to fix it. I took this picture:


I took this picture so that I could see all of the things I needed to change in order to become better, and of all the pictures I have taken in my life, this one is probably the most "me" of the bunch. I'm in my pajamas with no makeup. I didn't fix the lighting or any of the flaws in my skin. I only let myself take one picture instead of having ten to choose from. I haven't waxed my eyebrows in like... two months. There are so many things I could say that are "wrong" here... but I actually liked this picture.

I was surprised by how much. It's not perfect, but it's me. 

And I am okay with being me.

I can't say that I have had a full turn around and that from now on I will always be confident and fabulous, because that is simply not the case. However, this has been eye-opening for me. It has showed me that I can be happy with myself in spite of my flaws, and that, as my own biggest critic, I can be pretty darn shortsighted sometimes. 

All in all, I have learned two things from this experience:

1) I am not horrible, but guys on Tinder sure can be. And, 
2) When you think about it, dogs are pretty great. They are cute, fun to cuddle, super smart, and have great hair. Where's the bad?

I can't see it anymore.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Uterine-somnia

For six months I have been having the same dream. Not every night, mind you, but frequent enough to be noteworthy. This has happened to me before, but never quite like this. I used to dream about lakes and rivers, my high school with glass walls, and monsters that I could never quite see. Now I'm dreaming about babies.

In my dream, women don't carry their babies on the inside anymore. The placenta is held outside the body and, as long as the mother keeps it close by, the baby will thrive. To be clear, this is not your average, nightmare-fuel placenta: it looks like a transparent, glowing red peach. Kind of like a picture of a baby in utero, but cuter in its dreamlike softness.
Like this, but with a baby inside.
I'm not pregnant in this dream (would you even call it pregnant? It's more like laying an egg). I am on a walk in the small, woodsy area behind my house, and I find one of these tiny baby orbs nestled beneath a tree. There's no one around, and I pick it up. It's warm and soft, and somehow the baby is still alive. I can feel its heartbeat like butterfly wings against my cupped palms.

Suddenly, I'm gripped by a feeling of heart-stopping panic. I know that I need to find this baby's mother. If I don't, if I can't, there will be nothing anyone can do. This baby will die in my hands. I start running around the neighborhood, knocking on every door as I feel the baby's heart growing weaker and weaker. The last door I knock on (I'm fairly desperate and crying at this point) is opened by a girl about my age. She just looks at me and says, "Oh, I was wondering where I left that" and she takes it from me and slams the door in my face.

And then I wake up.

It is the most infuriating dream I have ever had, and somehow more of a nightmare than the time when I was four and I dreamed that Cookie Monster came out of my closet and ate my foot (so graphic). It's not terrifying in any way, but it is exhausting and stressful and maddening and I have no idea why.

I don't think about babies much in my waking hours, so the only thing I can think to pin this on would be a subconscious fear or anxiety of some kind, (though what that might be, I couldn't say). In the dream dictionary I found on Google, it says that if you find a baby in a dream, it means you've unlocked some kind of hidden potential. If that is the case, it would be nice of the baby would just tell me what I'm supposed to figure out so I can stop having this dream. The dream dictionary says nothing about crushing panic and terrible people, but I figure that not everything needs to have a meaning. I'm kind of hoping that writing about it will help work it out of my system, and maybe unlock whatever potential (or just... whatever) is hiding in my head. At the very least, I'm hoping it will give me at least one week with a full seven nights of unbroken rest.

If there are any dream-benders out there who can shed a little more light on this one, do please enlighten me. Until then, I guess I'll just be the tired girl in the corner.