May 3, Houston: The big one -- the Inprint reading -- occurs at the Alley Theatre on Monday, May 3. Do not miss it or you'll be sorry. I'm not kidding -- I'm going to say the craziest, most intellectual yet hilarious stuff I can think of, and I'll be sharing the stage with the ultra sexy Oscar Casares, too.
June 24, Houston: I'm one of the peeps scheduled to read at Poison Pen, at Houston's famous Poison Girl bar. Besides me, everyone there will be ultra, *super* sexy. Come see me and drink!
June 26, Washington, DC: I'll be reading at the American Library Association conference. Come on down.
My other blog: Go read my the Houston Chronicle parenting blog (or my ChronMomBlog, as I like to call it) and make sure my kids won't resent me more than other kids resent their own parents.
Buy my new novel, Lone Star Legend. Already did? Well, buy a few more for your friends, then. :)
Thursday, February 21, 2008quick
I typed this in an email to my boyfriend (fiance) and decided to paste it here, too, so y'all know:
I feel, lately, like most of the problems around me are caused by unhappy people looking to make others unhappy. I want to be left alone so I can do my work and have a good life.
I put a couple of new pics on the Flickr page, including my new author photo and a pic of Toby and me. New author photo is also on the About page, for those who are interested in seeing it but don't want to click all the way over to Flickr.
I'm a little bit annoyed by the fact that I've been losing and gaining the same five pounds since February 1. I want to tell people "I've lost 40 pounds!" but then that number changes back to 35. Back and forth, back and forth. I read a comment on a blog the other day (maybe Big Fat Deal?) where someone said, "The only way she was able to maintain that weight was by eating only 1200 calories a day and exercising for 90 minutes every night!!" And I thought, "Damn." Because that's what I'm doing every day, and it's not working. I'm stuck here at this pants size that I don't want to be.
My number one motivation here is becoming a pants size that is readily available in all non-plus-size, non-vanity-sized retail clothing stores. I'll just say it: Size 12. And it's not happening. And it's starting to piss me off. Personally, I don't think 90 minutes of exercise per day is a lot, especially if you spend most of your day sitting at a desk or in your car. It's not like we live in genteel Victorian England, where everyone has a huge freaking garden to take an hour-long walk after every meal. So I don't feel like it's unreasonable that I might have to exercise even more. But I do feel like I either have time to lose weight, or time to, say, write a novel. But not both. Not with an eight-hour day job and 2 hour roundtrip commute. Very, very annoying.
(Note: The above paragraphs are about me, not about you. I want to be size 12, and that's my business. My desire to be size 12 has nothing to do with your body, my opinion of your body, or American society's potential, personal hatred of you. FYI. So don't start, if you're thinking of starting down that road.)
Hardcore judgmental thoughts, here. Avert your eyes if you can't take it.
See... I hate lookism, and so I avoid people who judge others only by their looks. But, at the same time, I can't stand it when people go around presupposing that everyone is discriminating against them or, basically, that any woman thinner/prettier than them must be an evil bitch. It goes both ways, you know?
A while back, I found some chick's weight-loss blog. (I will never recall the URL and I'm about to hate on this chick, so I wouldn't post it in any case.) This woman said she'd just lost some enormous amount of weight, okay? And she had several entries about how it now disgusts her to see fat people on the subway. She said she especially hates to watch them eat. And that's her right, I suppose. You could maybe say her reaction was actually self-hatred and fear of becoming fat again. But still, I thought, "Well, you're a miserable, insecure, lookist bitch, and that's why you'll never be happy, no matter what you do."
A while back, that old Trainwrecks site used to link to a Livejournal group for "hot" fat chicks. Fat chicks who thought themselves pretty would submit a picture to the group, and then the group -- in plain sight, online -- would critique the hell out of the photo and vote on whether the submitter was "hot" enough to join their little clique. I saw that and thought, "I bet a million dollars half these chicks go to fat-activist sites and complain about lookism on a regular basis."
This feeling has been boiling inside me for a while, and I've resisted posting it because it's kind of sexist, but now I can't stand it anymore and I have to say: Insecure women are a major force of evil in our country. Or, at least, a major source of annoyance to me, personally.
I mean, insecure men are plentiful and annoying, too. But there are whole industries built on the masses of insecure women who believe that their only value is in being pretty, and that, if they can't be prettiest, they can at least judge less pretty women and hate prettier women. And then, of course, they give stupid men the excuse to walk around labelling all women catty bitches.
Disclaimer: I'm sure I used to be one of these insecure women, probably. And it's only because I'm getting older that I have so little patience for that sort of thing today. (Maybe my reaction is secretly self-hatred and a fear of becoming insecure again? Heh.) But I'm not the only one who's tired of insecure women. It seems like, in each of my social groups, most of the women are working, buying cars and houses, starting families... and then there's that one woman who's constantly comparing her looks to everyone else's and worrying whether men think she's hot. And the rest of us are like, "Jesus, bitch, can you please shut up about that stupid, boring crap?" You know? Like:
Jane: OMG, you guys, my mom has been really ill lately. She's getting worse.
Sharon: Oh, no. That sucks. What are you going to do?
Jane: I don't know. My brother and I are meeting tonight to discuss our options. She might have to move in with John and me.
Cindy: Wow, that sucks. Guess what, you guys! I lost six more pounds! So now I weigh even less than you, Jane! And guess what else. That guy at Starbucks? Totally checked me out again. I think it was my new bra. I can't wait for Todd to find out -- he's gonna be so jealous!
Jane and Sharon: [stony silence]
Cindy: So, you guys, why don't we go to that Starbucks, and then go shopping for smaller jeans? We never hang out anymore. You guys never call me anymore. Why is that? Is it because I'm thinner than you now?
Coming down now.
Okay. Sorry I had to talk all loud like that. I just feel like, lately, I'm trying to vent these feelings in a subtle way, but I'm not being very clear, and then people are like, "What? She said on her blog that pretty women don't deserve to live on our planet? She's a jerk, then! A fat, ugly jerk whose boyfriend didn't buy her anything for Valentine's Day!" So I wanted to clarify. Hope I did.
Later, taters. 5:50 AM #
Comments:I hear ya about the unhappy people trying to make everyone else unhappy. It's a shame so many of them are involved in our government...
On a much brighter note, I really do think your author picture is GORGEOUS. You look happy and your smile is absolutely luminous. And I covet your bouncy bouncy hair. ;-)
# posted by : 9:12 AM
Your clarification might be wasted, though, because I don't think those people understand clarification. Either that, or they don't actually care and they're just there to stir shit up...
Anyway, so, yeah -- insecure women are a major source of annoyance. I'll be hardcore judgmental too, (knowing that there are always exceptions to the "rule" and I happen to know several of them), and say that I think that's why I thought the sorority scene at college was a load of crap. I have never been good at the kind of "girl talk" that equals small talk among groups of female acquaintances, because so much of it seems to be so obviously fishing-for-compliments-based. Why does this seem to be the norm?
Do I wish I had a smaller pants size? Yes. Do I feel like I need to bring it up in casual conversation? No. I'm happy to have a serious conversation about exercise or weight loss or those darn stores that only carry teeny sizes and what's wrong with society anyway, but when the information serves no purpose other than to brag and/or elicit reassurances? Arrrgh.
# posted by jam : 11:00 AM
Gwen, I feel you here. There's nothing wrong with appreciating good looks, male or female. But it's ridiculous to self-flagellate about your own perceived physical "inadequacies" and to prey on other people's physical insecurities in order to make yourself feel better. I've been my current size (12/14) and I've been VERY thin (5'8" and size 2, largely due to side effects of migraine medication), and you know what? The only real difference is that the clothes are cuter when you're a size 2. Life isn't better, people don't love you more, and you don't magically become a marathon-running athlete if you weren't one before. Also, when your appetite isn't artificially suppressed, good food is fun. Can't we all just stop worrying about whether regular people look like models?
I'm with jam about disliking this kind of endless comparison of weights and appearances that passes for "friendly" small talk among certain groups of women. And, if you're not obsessed with losing every ounce of fat and looking like a famine victim, these women tend to regard you as a will-power-free pig, regardless of what you accomplish in the rest of your life.
The hell with it, I say. Life is too short to not enjoy the body you have now. It's also too short to go around comparing your body to anyone else's.
# posted by Katherine : 11:34 AM
I see you named the woman in your example conversation "Cindy." You've met my future Sister-in-law, then? :P
# posted by pudding-monkey : 12:44 PM
I run 20 miles a week and still stuck in size 14 pants. Oh, well. I'll get there eventually. I'm just proud of myself for running. It's better to focus on that, instead. :)
Love your author photo, Gwen. You look really happy.
# posted by : 3:32 PM
I remember the blogger who was disgusted by fat people, even though she used to be one herself. And I remember the Trainwrecks site quite fondly. I believe that, societally, insecure women do a lot of damage, but on a personal level, an insecure man can completely demolish the self esteem of a woman if he puts his mind to it.
# posted by : 8:39 PM
Jennifer: Heh! And thank you. You're sweet.
Jam: I know. :)
I realize that some people writing the snippy responses just literally can't understand what I'm saying. And that some are just being bitches. But I always try to be safe-not-sorry here and clarify rather than write off, because:
1. in the past, I've told people off for being trolls, and then found out that they really, truly just misunderstood something I said, and
2. I know that a lot of the shit I rail about, I used to perpetrate, myself. I learned, changed, grew because I read or heard well reasoned opinions.
I hold out (vain?) hope that I'll change people's minds, here. Or persuade undecideds. Which is a form of narcissism, as someone I know keeps telling me. But not the worst kind, so I'm okay with it. :)
And, yeah, I totally hear you on the difficulty of undergoing "girly" conversation. I don't hate women, but I do hate talking about lip gloss for hours on end, and reassuring women that they're pretty while waiting for them to reassure me. So boring.
# posted by Gwen : 10:03 AM
Pudding-Monkey: Ha. You burned Cindy.
I started to use Marsha, Jan, and Cindy, but then decided that added too many extra connotations.
The very worst offender I know in this regard, though? Her name also starts with C.
Keri: Oh wow. You know, my very first though after reading your comment was "That's freaking awesome." Then I realized I should feel bad that running like that didn't get your weight down. But you don't need that, as you point out. Rock on with your running self! I envy people who can run.
Oh, and thanks for liking the photo. :)
Anonymous: WORD, and I love you for saying that so succinctly.
Are you sure you know which blogger I mean, though? Because there has to be more than one, right?
The one I read was a dominatrix, I think. Or was considering getting into the lifestyle. (Making me think, "How the hell can you tell people what to do for a living when you HATE YOURSELF?")
# posted by Gwen : 10:17 AM
This is the same anon. The blogger I am thinking of described basically having a panic attack on the street as an obese person walked toward her. She had obviously gotten into a fucked up frame of mind in regards to the "person she used to be" when she was fat. The dominatrix thing sounds vaguely familiar -- did she go to S&M clubs to flirt around with the idea? Or was that some other fucked up OLJer?
# posted by : 3:49 PM
I feel you on all this too. Correct me if I am wrong, but my appearance is nobody else's business and vice versa. Why is it so very difficult for some women to leave other women alone?
I have a zero tolerance policy about this, which, of course, means that I am a horrible bitch. :)
# posted by Jane G. : 7:21 PM
Gwen, hahah-- it's so sad-- I was sick with the flu this week and have lost just as much weight due to that as I have in the last month and a half from running. (My problem is too much snacking.)
I used to only be able to run for like two minutes without taking a walking break. That was a couple years ago. Now I'm getting ready to run a 15k (9.3 mile) race in two weeks :) I take a minute or two to walk when I need to, but for the most part, I run it :) If I can do it, anyone can do it!
# posted by : 4:21 PM
Gwen, this is one of the smartest social observations I've ever read. I stopped reading sites like "jezebel" where the message is supposed to be outrage! at these kind of behaviors, but when a picture of a celeb is posted all the commenters respond with "bitch looks beat." Gah.
# posted by : 12:35 PM
Anon: Ma-a-aybe... For some reason, I'm thinking the fat person she hated on was eating a bag of popcorn on the subway or bus. But I think I read a bunch of self-hating former fatties in the same day, too, so I could be mixing them up. Seems like this chick also met a guy and was negotiating dom fees with him?
Jane: If you are a horrible bitch because of that, then I will gladly, gladly be one with you. (Oh, wait -- my coworkers already think I am, for the same reason!)
Keri: If you want (have time), tell me how long it took you to run a mile, two miles, etc. If you remember. I'm at the "run one minute, then shins and chest hurt" phase.
Annie: Right?!? I know. And that makes me sad. Jezebel started with so much potential. And then... the same old insecure, woman-hating *shit.* So disappointing.
Why, girlfriends? Why?
# posted by Gwen : 8:54 PM
Hey Gwen-- I know you didn't actually ask for advice on the exercise thing so it's a bit presumptuous of me to offer this, but I'm going to anyway. Not sure what you do for exercise but are you including a good amount of weight-lifting in there? I didn't realize this until I had some fitness folks explain it to me but the weight-lifting will actually rev your metabolism up so you'll be burning more calories all day long. Not sure what your routine is but if you're just doing cardio, you're only really getting the benefit during the exercise itself, whereas increased muscle mass will have an impact all the time.
I know a lot of women get concerned about looking "too muscular" doing that but you have to become like a hardcore bodybuilder for that to really become a genuine issue.
One thing to note is that muscle does in fact weigh more, so if it works, you may see your clothing size drop while the actual number on the scale moves only a little.
You may have known all of that already but it's not something I think everyone realizes so I thought I'd share in case it's helpful!
(BTW, congrats on the work so far!)
# posted by Stupid Haiku Dude : 9:15 AM
Love your blog, as I am evil and judgemental as well. Will probably attempt to find your short story book at the library. However....MUST disagree...90 minutes is a LONG time to spend every day exercising. If you have a job and commute (10 hours), and kids (4 kids=4 hours) and a husband (1 hour...bc he is annoying that way) and like sleep (8 hours) oh holy hell....evidently I DO have 90 minutes to exercise every day...damn you Gwen damn you!!!!!!!!
# posted by Lisa : 1:50 AM
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