Your Body Has Always Been Fine

musings

I think about my weight and my size and my fat and my thigh gap and my chicken wings and my double chin. Every day. I think about these things.

I think about the fact that when I was a teenaged I worried about the same things. At a smaller size. At a lower weight. At a thinner face and chin.

I think about how every single day as a women or a teenager and even a preteen has been a self-conscious rage inside myself. A narration of insecurity and hatred field at my body. A constant tune of how I was never good enough.

I also know, that every women feels the same way or has felt the same way. I also know that we rarely discuss the constant mental battering we do. To ourselves, sometimes to others,

Our culture has beaten an ideal into our mind that is impossible. Impossible because it changes all the time. Impossible because it’s manufactured. Impossible because the system is rigged in its favor.

Every day. Think about that. Every day we pick at our lives. Pulling at stitches and scans, sometimes to bleed, sometimes a reminder. We go under the knife more and more for thinner and slimmer and better. We dad and crash diet. We tell our friends to join the cult of Keto or vitamins or CrossFit or no carbs. We buy waist trainers and folds of fabric to hide.

None of this is “new” per se. Humanity has a long history of fashion with its own bindings and stitched to alter our looks. What is new is that we are constantly stewing in a brew of unrealistic ideals. What was once just movies and magazines is a constant pull for our attention. What was once books and parties is 24/7 advertising. We are born and raised in “everything about us is wrong – to be better we must…”

The body I hated at 16 changed at 26 and will continue to. Why couldn’t I love it at either stage? Why must I pick at it now?

I treat myself, and I know others do the same, with so much hatred at every stretch mark and bump. I fuss over numbers that only have meaning because we give meaning to them. We are unreasonably cruel to our existence and experiences.

The truth is that at size 0 or size 24 your body is fine. Your body is this amazing thing that keeps you alive and takes you places. Your body has free thoughts. It can create life. It is a beautiful thing. Yet we are so cruel and so hateful to it

This is joy to say be unhealthy, it is to say, be happy with yourself. Don’t sit in the mirror and hate. Exist and love and be in every moment. All of it is fleeting. When you’re 90 years old and covered in wrinkles, smile that you had experience that gave you the smile lines.

I remember my grandma looking in the mirror and bemoaning her aged skin, her crooked bones, her gray hairs. But I also remember always thinking she was so beautiful with her makeup and perfume and scarves, and most importantly her kindness and love that filled my childhood home.

The choice is yours. See your beauty for what you have, or live a life hating yourself. I’m personally choosing the former.

Advertisements

Keep Track

Uncategorized

This was one of the first things I saw this morning:

cxuxzcyviaanpws

It really struck me too. Because it’s something so basic and simple, but yet it’s happening. These things are either being tucked away and hidden or new nastiness is seeping through the cracks to the mainstream.

Right before the election I head an analyst describe the Trump movement like fracking, we had tapped into a hidden oil stream. Except this time, it’s a sludge of hate, bigotry, lies, racist and misogyny and still people are making a lot of money on it.

Back to the tweet.

Which is really a picture of what Amy Siskind posted on her Facebook:

1. Acts of hate – for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.
2. Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see attached which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).
3. A president-elect is openly (on Twitter!) trying to take away our freedom of expressions, First Amendment rights: targets this week include SNL, NYT and Hamilton.
4. The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conference and published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.

5. Major media following Trump’s reality show storylines, instead of reporting as traditional media/journalism.

6. Democrats advocating for a Mitt Romney appointment to SOS [secretary of state] – a man with whom we agree on almost nothing on policy, but because he is competent and not a racist or a bigot.

7. The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.

8. Utter outrage by the left at the complacency and largely silence of our elected leaders. Watch of a Tea Party-esque type uprising.

9. A request for tolerance for, and understanding of, white supremacists.
What observations would you add?

Let’s pick this apart, and let’s be honest about what is happening right now with “media” and with the coverage of this election.

Really, and fully, the media didn’t think we would be where we are now. Those that wanted it, now have it, and those like Breitbart are celebrating because they are getting free coverage of their issues. Their issues are amalgamations of “research” by a non-profit that Mr. Breitbart owns, that he has sent to media organizations to get coverage on. Which elevates his non-profit and then Breitbart can turn around and make sensational and ridiculous articles on. Making a strong, never-ending money making oil that has pulled many a good journalist into the mix. On the Media analyzed this today, which you can listen to here. All around you have someone that was very skilled in media manipulation and he won the game. He denied the presidency from someone that was actually skilled and delivered it soaked in sludge for the American public to devour.

The problem is that we didn’t start talking about this, really, actively talking, until now.

We let Trump dominate our news streams and say horrible things, and NOW we’re seeing the depth of his work and his plan to get where he is now.

industry-611668_1920

As someone with a MA in journalism, I am literally screaming on the inside that more was not done to analyze this relationship. This is also where I say, WE NEED BETTER JOURNALISM PRACTICES!

WE NEED LONG FORM JOURNALISM AGAIN

WE NEED REAL JOURNALISTS DOING JOURNALISM- meaning people with education, experience and standards

WE NEED TO HOLD PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS- something we obviously didn’t do enough of with Trump because we didn’t take him seriously. Which means we also need to TAKE EXTREMIST GROUPS SERIOUSLY AND CALL THEM OUT.

AND I do not mean groups outside of the country, no I mean the ones that are our neighbors that hide behind confederate flags and Facebook memes.

Things have changed on a personal level for me. And maybe I have just had it with being bullied in my life from employers and “friends” and ignorant assholes online. I’ve changed and I’ve had it and that means that I have been actively not taking crap anymore. Which means I am butting heads with more people, where before I would walk away or not say anything. I’m sick of being a “nice girl” and never getting anywhere so I’m done with it, and I want to demand accountability. This means that I have been called names on social media and bullied.

I pissed off one guy for calling him out on his ignorance on the definition of “Celtic” peoples. I admittedly called him a douche. But instead of even reacting to my comment, he instead tweeted out my name to his 34,000 followers. Who decided to start attacking me in his name. I was told I was ugly and stupid and that my money spent getting my BA and MA would have been better spent on plastic surgery.

Other comments I have made on simple things such as a New Yorker comic, which was today, in that I liked the comic. Someone decided I needed to be called a LibBitch due to the way I wrote “You.Made.My.Day.”.

These are only two examples of the hundreds of statements I’ve heard since I was a teenager, including: Feminazi, libTard etc. Granted there have been others that were meant to be offensive such as dyke and cunt, but I don’t find those all that offensive, so…..

Even if these little things have happened to me, little things because they’re done behind a safety blanket of social media, they don’t matter that much. They sting a little. I’m getting a thick skin from this year. Yet, they’re VERY small potatoes compared to the OVER 700 crimes committed that are considered hate crimes in the last WEEK-AND-A-HALF. Crimes that involved physical assault and the ruining of property. Crimes that have threatened safety and families. Disgusting, cowardly and horrendous crimes that are creeping out of the sludge.

And like Siskind points out, our lack of thorough and high-quality journalism has meant that we worry more about Hamilton (a musical I LOVE btw) “offending Trump” than we are about the hate-crimes committed or the human rights violations dealing with the Dakota Access Pipeline.

While giving air-space to people like Richard Spencer, we’re not taking the time to fact-check and deeply discuss what people like him are saying and what it means that they’re saying these things. We’re not looking at these White-Supremacist meetings as anything serious, yet that’s how we got here in the first place. We’re not freaking out about Trumps administration because we’re distracted by all the other sludge he’s drowning us in.

And maybe, just maybe, we all (us historians and journalists and and left-leaning peoples) feel so low and shaken by this election that we are wanting to be optimistic and play by the rules of nice. Yet, as someone that has always played nice for 25 years and I’m regretting it, I say we only play nice when others are also going to follow the rules. So far, the Trump-ites are not, and I am refusing to play nice while we descend into allowing such extreme ideas become the norm. I refuse to let the sludge become a part of our normal existence, and you should too.

Keep track of the changes. Speak out. Refuse to be idle.

Weddings and other nonsense

colorado, family, musings, Photography

I love LOVE. I love romance, and stories of two people fighting the odds. I enjoy laughter, and nights in with my partner to watch the x-files. I enjoy sushi dinner dates and picnics. I enjoy rare vacations where we dress up and eat fancy and enjoy each others company.

When it comes to weddings I feel a little twinge of anxiety. Not for others’ but my own.

I have been to a lot of weddings the last three years, I have photographed most of them, been a bridesmaid in one, and attended numerous others previously. So far in my photography career, one couple has already divorced, but the others seem happy and intend to stick it through. I’ve seen dad’s cry, and mothers wear white to weddings. I have seen dress malfunctions and brides that went barefoot most the nights.

tumblr_mzwwkidQBg1t1r1l2o1_400.gifI have seen flower girl meltdowns, and ring bearer run offs.I have seen pretty much every do, and DO NOT in the book. Or even just things that seemed great at the time, but really failed in reality. Regardless of all of this, the truth is that because of working in the wedding industry I think some of the romance has worn off.

tumblr_mhs00tkBDc1r5siljo1_500

Ryan and I are talking marriage in about 16 months. A fall wedding, because that’s our favorite season. A touch of Halloween because that’s my favorite holiday and the rest is kind of perplexing. I would say Ryan and I are engaged, but he didn’t ask me formally, and that throws people off. We talked about it and both agreed, like feminist adults. We’ll just say we got engaged February 29th for humor’s sake. I had him buy me a $40 silver ring with lab-created diamonds and sapphires  and within two months I had left it in my cousin’s house in Texas….luckily they found it and I will get it back this summer. Because I knew that eventually I would misplace or lose the ring Ryan bought me, and $1000 missing ring would kill me. I haven’t bought Ryan an engagement ring since we’re kind of struggling on this already. I suggested matching tattoos, but he doesn’t like needles…sooo

We have a venue picked out because they do 80% of the work for us. If we buy everyone dinner, the big things for us, then we get the venue. Add on a few more fees for drinks and sounds equipment and flowers and we have found the best deal in town. They serve almost 100% local food, and everything is organic, they also can accommodate our list of weird allergies. And they even decorate with pumpkins all year as they use them in food!

I know who I want for bridesmaids, and I know what they will wear. I know who will stand on Ryan’s side, and who will officiate our wedding. I figure we’ll have matches and cigars for party favors etc. We want a little bit 1920s to our theme.

I think I have even found my dress, and it’s custom made by a company in the Ukraine. It’s silk and gorgeous, and my aunt is giving me crap but I love it anyway.

The hard part about all of this is not the guy and not the planning, I love event coordination, it’s all the other things that come with marriage. It’s the pressure to take Ryan’s last name and to have kids in x-amount of time. It’s the pressure to “settle down” and not want to seek out adventures and fun. It’s pressure to spend a fortune on one day, just to prove to someone that we love each other enough to want to plan a life together. It’s the pressure on women to look their best, and drop 20lbs. It’s the pressure to appease everyone and no one at the same time.

0gvqUfNgWYwx.gif

And this is all probably why I haven’t done something in the last, almost five and a half years with Ryan.

large.gif

For someone that also thinks so many of these traditions are just fabrications of a consumer society, which they are, I have a hard time wanting to be happy about it. I don’t want a dress beaded by children that make $1 a day. I don’t want my veil, or bouquets or headpieces to just end up in the garbage. It’s just so hard to imagine spending so much money to have so much just thrown away after. Anyway, does anyone else have stories to share? I’m struggling on this one.

can I just be this raptor? She’s got her eyes on fleek….tumblr_n6xjiu8NaX1sm6z14o1_500.gif

Here I am admitting my fears in public, when I struggle to admit them to myself. I know Ryan is the one that I want to call old fart, and I can’t imagine living through this mess without him and his daughter by my side. Yet I fear I am not good enough, that I lack something and that he doesn’t deserve a wife with so many student loans, and a wanderlust that could kill a partner. Yet here he is. Long-distance, mid-distance, months apart, still here and welcoming me home.

tumblr_nyublmGoZF1rrfpjio1_500.gif

One of my feminist idols was wed and in the past out-spoken against wedding mumbo-jumbo. Which brings me some comfort in just embracing what I love and discarding the rest. So maybe I’ll stay in love with my Ryan, plan something fun, and enjoy the moments that surround us everyday as much as the one where we say I Do.

Maybe the reason we as a culture stick together around the idea of the big wedding is that we don’t get many moments like this as a culture anymore. Even a century ago small communities would get together to celebrate each season, they would have dances, new births were greatly celebrated and everyone came to funerals. Today, weddings are sometimes the only chance everyone gets to be together to celebrate, and in this case it’s something very happy and enjoyable. At least it should be. So maybe all the pomp and circumstance really is just a way to say, hey thanks everyone for raising us, for loving us, and helping us find each other?

bgftgrrkwedding19.gif

Mulan

musings

I love Mulan, and I always have. From seeing it in the theater as a 7 year old, to a 24 year old watching it and analyzing its feminist message. At 7 I dressed up like her for a costume party, and carried around my barbie doll of her, always in her kung-fu outfit! At 24 I feel a tattoo is in order for my celebration of a fabulous story, and studying Ancient China in college has given more depth and inspiration to the story that pours from a rich, vibrant culture and time.

I remember being in love with the idea of a female character saving the day, I loved the funny dragon, I loved the touch on a culture so different from my own that I could only be mesmerized. I fell in love with not only the movie, but the idea that the world was so much bigger than what I had been thought to believe.

It was the art, the characters, the music, and all the other subtle details. It was getting to go to, what I believed, the “authentic” China-China in Manitou Springs and eating won-ton soup and listening to traditional music every time we were in “The Springs”. It was a fantasy and escapism for a child that longed for her own war to fight and adventure on the horizon.

Mulan wasn’t just an excitement for a child, it was further permission to dream. It encouraged me to read National Geographic’s and go into History and Journalism in academics so that I could explore more and more of the world. It has inspired me to travel alone to Europe three times, and to plan bigger adventures for the future, including China. It has encouraged me to take on scary challenged, because though the battle was hard and frightening, it was worth it. Though tiring and tumultuous, saving myself, and maybe my nation, was worth it.

Okay I am getting a little dramatic, but the sense of pride that Mulan instilled in me, the idea that as a girl i could do really AMAZING things will never be forgotten. The idea that a girl could be just as good as the boys, and that a girl could be the main reason something fails or thrives was a driving force like no other. No other princess movie in my childhood had that same message, and no other movie left my heart full of joy and confidence that I too could take on something evil and defeat it.

Regardless of some of the nonsense that inevitably comes with Disney movies, this one is still in my top five. The others came to me in my later childhood and adult life. Lilo and Stitch was innovative and hit home to how important family is to all of us and that differences make us beautiful. Tangled allowed goofiness to be charming and that we all have to save ourselves. Brave explored the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the expectations we all have hovering over our heads. All of these movies have altered me, but Mulan was the first and the strongest.