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, August 07, 2008Not again!
Sheila: I'm about to go look at your buffalo head princess
Sheila: but you should call me and tell me about the australians. that bewildered me
but I have to do DDR first for 40 min, bc I ate pizza. okay? i call you around 9, from my bed.
hurry and look at buck rogers and the princess
Sheila: lol i see it. im completely lost
me: in love with her, you mean?
and her futuristic stripper dancing?
Sheila: hes ridiculous
me: i know!
his stupid face!
PS, my dad dances like that when he's super drunk.
Sheila: its called gettin down
me: or used to
that's woman's body isn't even that good, and yet i love her
Sheila: oh my god
im watching again
me: then you have to go to youtube and see all the parodies of it
and then drunken batman dancing
Sheila: oh my jesus
thats the most ridiculous thing ive seen, maybe ever
me: bidi bidi bidi
can what i just watched be embedded?
me: adam west in the '60s. with a chick named molly
embedded: don't know
Sheila: how do i find drunk batman
" a large fresh orange juice, please"
Sheila: shes hot
me: i like how Robin's jerking off in the car
Sheila: she acts like kim cattrall
does batman special mean something sinister
me: i knew you'd like her, btw
i thought it meant bartender stocked oj just for batman
Sheila: hhahaha what the fuck is robin doing
‘you Interest me, strangely’
me: he's jerking it to the sight of batman dancing, obvs
Sheila: is he showing off his satiny satiny gloves?
i always liked him. and his gayness
i was a kindergarten fag hag
Sheila: oh my god
shes so useless
me: who? the chick?
Sheila: lmao that was the best collection of videos, ever
yeah, when he falls she starts screaming before it happens and then steps away like she's avoiding something disgusting
hilarious body language
me: that's how women had to be back then.
avoiding the ODs, the vomit
Sheila: cradling his satin cape in the crook of his satiny arm
i know - haha - it seems really realistic
like, AHHH! i cant believe im dancing with a drunk!
me: he's a real satin man/ sitting in his satin land/ making satin satin satin nobody...
i feel like i might be 10 or 11 and we're watching this new series called batman
me: it's almost time for me to leave you and do DDR. don't let it hurt your feelings when that happens.
Sheila: i will not. i have to go -- ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i remember now - i have to go walk the dog
like, 10 minutes ago
[hating and ranking deleted]
Sheila: why you always gotta be the mom, yo
me: because my uterus is all stretched out already
i tried to be the big sister. maybe that's what happened, instead
Sheila: its not all you though
not to get into this again
but people just expect that of you
me: i guess
but i must radiate that vibe
probably its you
me: i do it whenever i'm trying to be helpful
can't help it.
learned it at my aunt's knee
it's okay. i'm a good mom.
Sheila: you try to make people comfortable in a certain way
me: why not share the... whatever
Sheila: thats occasionally maternal
me: yeah -- with my boobs
(milk = both. you said it.)
Sheila: lol hahahaha
me: i felt bad for [delete]
but i was like "get used to it"
LIFE IS BREAST MILK, BITCHES
Sheila: was she traumatized?
me: maybe a little, for now
she'll get over it with a quickness
me: IT'S ALL BODILY FLUIDS. DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE
you're right. sadness
but she'll get over it, and ask him to go back.
sorry for all caps. i slightly manic
Sheila: me too. is ok.
me: iz oks
Sheila: you have mastered the lolcats and i have, not.
HA i knew youd know
i bought a lamp today
me: iz oks. i still wuvz u.
Sheila: jesus. too much cute
Sheila: from bj oldies.
no, so much hate for ikea now
now that i have world market furniture, i have no desire to walk through that nonsense
its that milk white glass
Sheila: thats my breaking news. everything else from today has been very boring, but the lamp is nice.
plus your boobs look good lately. don't forget that.
Sheila: oh yeah? oh, in that shirt
me: and the pool photo
u can haz weihgt gainz?
Sheila: lol haha, well they're floating in both those circumstances
i can haz?
yes please, thank god.
Sheila: ok im going to go walk the dog and you go do your ddr and ill talk to you later on
thats an appropriate expression of laughing for longer than a second isnt it?
Sheila: jesus. call me later. bye
me: byes 8:30 PM # (2) comments
Sunday, July 06, 2008shifted over to photo-blogging for a sec
Sometimes I'm in the mood to show y'all stuff instead of telling y'all stuff, and sometimes pictures are worth at least a paragraph or two.
See the empanadas I just destroyed, the fetish-y shoes I found at Ross, and exactly how fat/thin I am now.
Know that I'm reading all your comments and agreeing with them/ being educated with them/ appreciating them/ loving them. I just haven't had time to comment back lately.
(It's one thing when you have a job that you learn to do very well in the first year, and your boss refuses to promote you because you're just a silly girl and not a good old boy in a suit, and so you spend 4 years working for 2 hours per day and then goofing off online for the other 6 hours, every week day of your life. However, it's a whole other thing when you have a demanding job with a boss who respects you and people who appreciate your abilities. On the one hand, I no longer have as much time to respond to each of your comments. On the other hand, I no longer feel like calling in sick every other day for no reason at all. :) ) 6:41 PM # (2) comments
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 # (15) comments
Wednesday, February 13, 2008Questions to Consider
1. Would you rather live in a world where looks don't matter, or live in a world where your looks embody the standard of beauty?
2. What's wrong with getting by on your looks? Is that somehow worse than getting by on your brains, your perseverence, or your good personality?
I think I'm okay with people getting by on their looks, as long as they're honest about it. And, more importantly, as long as the people choosing/hiring/electing the pretty people are honest about their motivation. Don't flirt with your pretty secretary all day and then tell me you're promoting her because she types real fast.
I think I'm also okay with people wishing to be beautiful enough to get by on their looks. Again, though, as long as they're honest. Don't pretend you're trying to eradicate lookism if, really, in your heart, you're just trying to browbeat people into giving you the same perks that pretty people get.
3. If you are a woman and you want your significant other to buy you something for Valentine's Day: Would you be as happy with your gift if you weren't allowed to show anyone or tell anyone about it?
I ask this because I remember that, in high school, I didn't hate Valentine's Day because none of the boys at my school bought me gifts. I hated it because all the girls at my school went around making note of who got gifts and who didn't. Now that I'm no longer surrounded by packs of immature girls, I don't need gifts for Valentine's Day. And I realize that the whole thing was just more of the bullshit insecurity contests that women put each other through.
4. What could a man possibly buy me that I wouldn't be just as glad to buy for myself?
Nothing. I have really good taste, actually, and therefore I prefer to buy jewelry, flowers, and candy for myself.
:) 6:59 PM # (24) comments
Wednesday, January 30, 2008what happens most
All day long I look at people doing things they don't want to do, or not doing things they do want to do. It's depressing.
Obviously, most of us have to work for our living. But does that also mean that we have to talk about the weather? Eat bland food? Buy only one bag, and make sure that bag is black so that it goes with everything? Watch whatever they put on the TV at 7 PM? Stay home when we'd really rather be out, doing anything else? Drive by places we'd like to see, but tell ourselves we can't go in, for no reason at all? Wear whatever set of something that someone put on a rack? Keep our opinions to ourselves? Keep our eyes down? Laugh at things that aren't funny? Smile at people we don't like? Do things for people who don't appreciate it, and wait in vain for them to do things for us? Do the same things every day, even if they've never made us happy?
Why, people? Come on and love yourselves better. If you don't, who will?
A Sad Story About Body Image
A while back I hauled my boyfriend, Tad, to the 35th anniversary celebration of MECA, the local non-profit arts organization at which I used to do artsy stuff as a teenager. Someone there had made a DVD compilation of many shows they've hosted over the years. One of them was West Side Story, staged in 1989, in which seventeen-year-old me played Anita.
My boyfriend Tad wanted to see the whole thing, so we borrowed MECA's old VHS tape of the first half. (It's like, three thousand hours long, and no one knows where the VHS of the second half is.) I told the MECAns that I would have it copied to DVD and then return it postehaste.
At home, Tad and I made popcorn (or glasses of wine, can't remember) and settled in to watch the blast from my past. We pushed Play on the VCR (that I still keep plugged in because it's the only way we have of connecting the DVD, the PS2, and the XBOX360 to our TV. I know -- I need to upgrade.)
Just hearing the intro music made me nervous. Then, I saw myself on stage in my red satin dress with salsa petticoats, in the long, brown, curly-haired wig that covered my tacky '90s skater hair, in the flat jazz shoes I had to wear instead of the sexy character shoes that everyone else wore, so that I wouldn't be taller than Bernardo... and the first thing I thought was, "God, I'm so big."
I was 5'9", size 6.
God, I was so big.
I'm not saying that as a former or current sufferer of body dysmorphia. I'm just telling y'all that, compared to everyone else I knew then, I was very big.
Watching the show made me uncomfortable. I don't think I'd ever even seen it before in its entirety, but watching myself on the TV that night instantly freaking transported me into the prism of awkwardness that I was way back then. I saw my lackluster dancing and it made me feel, again, the fear of putting my arms out too far, standing up too straight, and being too big for the stage, my man, and everyone else. I heard my minimalist line recital and felt again the fear of being too Latina or not Latina enough. Too good or not good enough. I looked at my own face and re-felt all the worries, fears, insecurities, and awkward, awkward, embarrassing, humiliating, shame and guilt and insecure, fearful, worried etcetera. All the time. Every day.
"This is terrible," I said.
"This is awesome," Tad said. "You were hot. I wish I'd known you back then. I mean, even though I was only eleven years old and you wouldn't have talked to me. But still."
"I'm so big," I said. And then I told Tad everything I just told you, about the insecurity and the awkwardness and the bleh.
He said I wasn't big at all. He said, "Baby. You were a woman, and those other girls were girls. That's nothing to be ashamed of."
Why didn't he tell me that back then? you're wondering. I don't know.
Anyway. I called my friend Letty, also a MECA survivor, and she told me she often felt the same way. Too big. Not small enough. Weird. Ungainly. Grotesque. Like a monster. Funny how the world can make you feel that way, while simultaneously exploiting girls your age for illegal pornography. You know?
So anyhow. I decided not to have the VHS tape made into a DVD. I don't want that thing. It doesn't make me happy.
I was kind of sad not to see the second half, though. The second half contained my best song -- a duet with my friend Tania, who got the Maria part but wanted Anita, while I got Anita and wanted Maria so badly. I think we did very well, considering that she was the natural alto and I was the second soprano.
Also, the second half contained the "struggle" scene, which was pretty much an attempted rape scene, in which Ziggy Garcia played a white guy Jet who wanted a taste of spicy Anita, and in which I regularly fought Ziggy off, sometimes to the point of hurting him, and once to the point of my wig falling off. That was a fun scene to play. It was cathartic, at least -- all that angst getting channeled into violence. Getting to be angry in front of everybody. Being glad, for the moment, that I was big.
A Sad Message for Twenty-Something Women
I'm going to tell y'all something that a thirty-something woman told me, back when I was in my twenties. Because it was something I never would have known, otherwise, and because I love y'all. Here it is:
The first part of you to get old is your stomach.
Your digestive system, to be exact. That's the first thing on your body to fall apart. When you turn thirty, something on that trail will start slacking on the job. Acid reflux. Constipation. Gall stones. Flatulence. Etcetera.
You'll think back to all the times you heard older people make weird, random-seeming complaints like, "I need more fiber" or "I wish I could eat processed meats" or "Today's one of those mashed-potatoes-only days for me." And you'll be like, "ZOMG! Now I know what they're talking about! And therefore, I am turning old!"
And you'll be right. And you'll be sad.
I'm just telling y'all because I love y'all, and I don't want you to be scared when you turn thirty, thinking that it's only happening to you. It's not. It's happening to us all, and we will all end up eating nothing but mashed potatoes and oatmeal. It's the cycle of life.
1. Starbuck still doesn't like Toby.
2. Toby still feels a need to dig in the houseplant, although I couldn't tell if it was for waste products or just for fun.
3. Toby discovered that food and water taste even better when they come from Starbuck's bowls.
4. Starbuck kind of hates Toby's guts, actually.
5. I forgot to tell y'all the other day that I think Toby's part Siamese, or some other kind of Asian cat ethnicity. You can't really tell in the pics I've shown you, but he has the Asian cat eyes and head shape. When we got him, he didn't really meow a lot. When he got home, I noted that he would meow once, in response to his name. (Smart boy.) But then, last night, at 1 AM, Toby decided he needed to meow. A lot. It was like, "Meow. What's up, y'all? How come everyone's lying down and all the lights are off? What's everybody doing? Why isn't anyone petting me? Hello? HELLO-O-O-O!"
And I was like, "Oh my god, someone's on fire!" as I jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen to warm a bottle or catch vomit in my hands or fight off a monster or whatever. But it was just Toby, speaking his mind. He got quiet as soon as I came out and found him. He even stayed quiet when I tripped over his giant cat body in the dark. So I pet him half a time, told him to play quietly, and went back to bed.
Thirty minutes later, it started again. "Hello! You guys! What's up? I thought y'all woke up and were gonna play with me! How come I'm the only one talking? Meow!"
I ignored him so he wouldn't be rewarded for his noise-making. He quieted down. Then, an hour later, he piped up again. But this time it was more like, "Meow yow yow, doo dee doo... Here I am, walking around. I think I'll eat from this bowl. Mm, that was good. Hmm. Why's that other cat hissing at me again? Man, it sure is quiet in here. Hey, what's that out the window? Man, I sure am awake now. Funny how I'm the only one..."
And then I thought that he sounded Siamese. Because isn't that something Siamese cats do? Talk to themselves?
6. I took more pictures of Toby and Starbuck, with a Mexican piggy bank next to each for scale. Didn't have time to post them, though. I'll have to do that later today, after the day job is done.
I'm still doing the Shimmies. However, I'm starting to realize that belly dancing in sweatpants and a t-shirt could never be as fun as belly dancing in a hip scarf and sequined bra.
That's how they get you, see. That's how they get you hooked. They make you shake your hips to the too-mellow music, and then you wish you had fake gold coins to keep the beat. Next thing you know, you're spending all your money on costumes and spending all your weekends at the Renaissance fairs.
It's a racket, I tell you. "Sensual dance with mystical origins, as old as the sands of time." Sure. That's how old the hip-scarf-selling racket is. I should have known. 5:21 AM # (13) comments
Friday, January 18, 2008Body Issue Talk
(or, Why I Can't Date Latino Men Anymore, Reason #421)
The other day at my day job, I walked to the elevator and saw this guy who sometimes works contract for us, who I haven't seen in a long time. Who is latino. Of whom I am wary, because once, in the past, I saw him in the hall and he said, "Why don't you smile? You look so ****ing pissed off all the time." And he said that in a pissed-off way, and it pissed me off and freaked me out.
So, I see this guy. And he's smiling, and I give him a standard Corporate American greeting. And he says, "Hi. Wow. How are you doing? You look good. You lost a lot of weight, huh?"
And I say, "Uh, Rodrigo, that's not something you should say to a lady. You shouldn't be commenting on..."
And he says, "But you lost a lot of weight. You look good."
And the elevator door opens, and we get in, and another woman is in there, and I say, "Okay, thanks, but what if I lost weight because I was sick or something? You shouldn't comment on a woman's physical..."
And he says, "But you look good! What should I say then? I mean, I want to say you look good. How should I say it?"
And the other woman was simultaneous smiling and raising her eyebrow, and I didn't want to get all into it, so I just said, "You can tell someone 'You're looking well.'"
And he goes, "You're looking well. You're looking very well." And I return the sentiment, and get out of the elevator and hightail it home.
What I should have told him was that I'm not looking for any man's verbal approval of my physical appearance, and it's impertinent to offer such a thing unsolicited.
I think about this a lot now. This is what I think: It's wrong to criticize people for things they can't help. If you want to criticize someone's manners or work habits, I won't hate you for it and I might join you, because I'm a critical bitch like that. But if you want to criticize someone's face or race or mental abilities... then you're just an asshole. Why would you criticize someone for something they can't control?
In the same way, to a lesser extent, I think it's purposeless to comment positively on someone's face or skin color or hair texture or intellect, because what is the person going to say in return? "Thank you. I chose my DNA myself"?
I think that, if you must compliment or critique someone, it should be on their actions. Like, I would compliment you on your nice clothing, because I know you selected it and put the outfit together, and you did a good job. Or I would compliment you on something you wrote, or said, or built.
It's a fine line, I know. You could argue that people do have some control over the presentation of their bodies and faces and hair. However, I think most of us can tell the difference between, "Congrats on your weight loss, you look great" and "You look good" said while the speaker looks you up and down. And the difference is the offering of approval. And I don't want it. And yet, since the moment I was born, there has been a never-ending supply of Latino men willing to offer it. Approval, or the retraction of. On my body, my face, my clothing, my behavior. My words, my facial expression, whether or not I'm chewing gum...
And I don't want it. When I want their opinions, I will ask for them. And I never will want them, so I never will ask.
And I'm picking on Latino men, here, because they're the ones with whom I, personally, have experienced this phenomenon the most. But it's not just them. It's men of all corners of the rainbow, I'm sure, and it's women, too. But mostly men, because that's what men get raised to do in our society -- offer their approval of people they find attractive. I mean, I know that I would never feel comfortable offering a man my approval of his looks, unless he was a very close friend of mine, or unless I was trying to get him into bed.
And you can get mad at me for saying all that, but that's the way I feel. And you might be a woman who feels differently and enjoys that kind of attention. And if you are, I support your right to feel that way. And I'm sure I'm just reinventing some wheel that a feminist rolled back in 1972. But it's a feeling that's been boiling in me for a very long time now, independent of any dissertation or magazine rant.
in other body issue news
I didn't really want to work out last night. Instead, I decided to do this new thing I Tivo'ed from Fit TV -- a new dance show called Shimmy. It was about belly dancing, as you can probably guess. Belly dancing provides a decent, ballet-like workout, and it's kind of fun, so it doesn't really feel like working out.
So I turned on Shimmy and moved along with all its isolations and slow routines. My kids and I giggled at the dramatic film of women shaking sequins in the snow. Then I went to bed. Then I woke up.
And, oh my god, I feel like somebody beat me with a pillowcase full of soda cans. Every muscle in my body -- quads, glutes, abs, triceps, biceps, trapezius! kidneys! the balls of my feet! -- is sore.
Shimmy tore my ass up. I laughed at it last night, but Shimmy has the last laugh now.
What Jealousy Means to Me
Right now I kind of hate one female writer I've never met, and I really, really loathe one male writer I've never met.
Why? Not because their writing is bad. I've read and enjoyed their stuff in the past.
Why, then? Because they have things that I don't have. What do I do when this happens? Easy -- I make voodoo dolls of these people, then scream at the voodoo dolls and slap their faces!
No, just kidding. I force myself to think, in great detail, what it is about these people that I hate. In other words, what they have that I don't have.
And then I silently thank those people for showing me my own true path to happiness. Because that's always it, for me. The things I bitterly covet from others are the things I need to work on getting for myself. And the faster I face that, the faster I can get to work on making myself happy.
Something That Everyone Already Knows
Kids don't really like clowns. So quit decorating their rooms with clown pictures. Sheesh.
Y'all know I hate clowns -- it says it in my first book, on the very first page, I believe. But hearing this story on the radio made me think more about it. The DJs talked about how clowns used to be more popular back in the heydays of circuses and parades, back before Stephen King's It came out. And they are so right.
However, I did think of one clown I've always been able to tolerate, and that is Mr. Ronald McDonald.
Then again, Ronald has never really been a clown, in my mind. He's just some weird-looking guy who hangs out with other weird-looking guys named Grimace, Mayor McCheese, Hamburgler, the Fry Guys, and that chick who has the head of a bird. Maybe they're aliens. Maybe they're Egyptian gods. Maybe they're mutants or something. Either way, I don't hate them, because they were obvioulsy born looking like that, and I don't hate people for how they were born.
I've been meaning to tell y'all for a while now that I finally, finally scored an awesome leather jacket at the thrift store. Brown suede, slight motorcycle style, high quality, perfect fit. For TEN DOLLARS. You can't beat that with a stick.
(You could probably beat it with a Shimmy, though!)
(Okay, that's it. No more cutesy self-referencing sentences within the blog post.)
And then... I want to tell y'all that my kids got into the act, and that they scored some completely outrageous finds, but I can't, because that would be revealing the kids' personal businesses. And you know how kids are. You know how they get. You know how, when we were kids, the cardinal sin was getting caught with clothes from K-Mart. Even, illogically, if a classmate saw you shopping there because she, herself, was shopping there. The rule seemed to be: first person to call out someone for shopping at K-Mart is the winner, no matter how they got the evidence.
So I won't say. I've probably already said too much. I mean, I think my kids can stand up for themselves and their awesome thrift finds, but just in case, I'll hush. 5:55 AM # (8) comments
Thursday, December 13, 2007Let's be shallow now.
Usually, I don't find too many guys attractive. Not even the ones on TV. And I tell myself, "Maybe I'm just too picky. Or maybe I really am secretly a lesbian."
But then, sometimes, I see some man who is very, very beautiful. Like this one. And I think, "I want this man to bear my children. And to win the reality show on which he's competing."
Sometimes I say that aloud, and my kids and my boyfriend hear me, and they either roll their eyes or shed a tear, as applicable.
Okay. That's all. I just wanted to tell y'all about an attractive person on this earth. (I think it's okay to talk about his looks, seeing as how he's trying to make money off them and I'm not saying anything mean. Right?)
Labels: lookism4:44 PM # (3) comments
Wednesday, November 21, 2007gimmicky "diet" book
I went to the bookstore the other day and came across a diet book called Skinny Bitch. Or Skinny Bitches, Skinny Bitch Diet... something like that. I had to flip through it to see what the gimmick was. The beginning was "tough love" type insults. They said that "fat slobs" had to admit that they had a problem, get off their lazy asses, quit eating so much, etc. And it went on in that vein for a few chapters, telling the reader to exercise more and eat less, with liberal peppering of the words fat, slob, bitch, lazy, etc.
"How long can this book sustain itself?" I wondered.
In the middle, there was a chapter about meat being fattening. And then, with no warning whatsoever, the book became a hardcore vegan tract. Flipping through it there in the aisle, I saw the usual arguments about cruelty and health issues. They even busted out and told the reader that she didn't need that much protein survive. "Look at giraffes!" the authors said. "They don't need that much protein!" (That's usually the part where I stop listening to vegan evangelists in real life--when they suggest that my dietary requirements should be the same as an herbivores.)
So the book got hardcore vegan in the middle. Then, for Act Three, the authors apologized for the ugly words and the tough love, and said they only did it out of genuine concern for the reader. Then, there was a lot of "you go, girl!" sort of truisms, about living for yourself and not waiting for love to change your life, and only being able to change yourself, and loving yourself whether you're fat or thin... and that men would love you if you were beautiful inside as well as out, and that being beautiful inside was only possible if you were "cruelty free." (I.e., if you don't eat meat.)
And this is what I have to wonder. What is the point of browbeating insecure straight women into becoming vegans? If you believe in veganism, why aren't you browbeating everyone equally? Do the people behind this book believe that insecure straight women, once they become vegans, will influence everyone else in the world to follow their example?
I didn't understand it. It was puzzling to me. I was, and remain, puzzled.
I am secretly a man.
That's what people think about me, when I don't act the way they believe a woman should. I am secretly a lesbian, a robot, an alien, an animal, or crazy.
No, you guys. I'm a woman. Really! I just don't always feel like getting all emotional with you. I don't want to have personal dramas--at least not between 8 and 5. I just want to do the work I've agreed to do for money. And then go home.
I save my emotions. I'm running out of them, as I get older, so I save what remains for the weekends and spend them on little things. You know? Art, music, commercials with sad music... my own children, my own family, my own romance.
Don't take it personally, that I don't get emotional with you. Don't think I'm abnormal. I'm just conserving resources. Please understand, and help me. I'd do the same for you.
I just wrote, deleted, rewrote, and deleted a bunch of stuff about prettiness. About losing weight, becoming prettier, people hating pretty people, people treating pretty people like objects or possessions, people stalking and harassing pretty people, pretty people becoming defensive and protective of themselves, other people mistaking pretty people's defense mechanisms for haughtiness and conceit, people who hide their own prettiness out of fear, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, attempts to change one's negative mental associations with prettiness and weight loss, fervent wishing to be judged by my actions and not my looks, the fact that prettiness, in spite of everything, is still valuable and not something you would ever really willingly lose...
... the fact that I can't write anything about any of these things because it's obnoxious, it sounds like Andie McDowell smirking "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful," the fact that you're not allowed to say aloud that you might believe you're pretty, sexist socialization, my grandmother flying down from heaven and slapping my face, women being damned if they do or if they don't, possible self delusion, annoying self censorship, annoying fear. 2:51 PM # (11) comments
Wednesday, September 19, 2007Lately
I used to never drink red wine but now I only drink red wine. I've gone from merlot to cabernet and chianti, and next must be shiraz.
We bought our cat a water fountain. She likes to drink the water right from its trickle source. Some people would say it's a waste of energy, to keep it running, but I think it's such a small thing to make a small creature happy, and therefore worth doing. You know?
I think I'm gonna be a fairy for Halloween. Maybe. I'll have to make the costume myself, though, because I don't want to be a slut fairy, and therefore there's no suitable costume in the stores. (All the women's costumes for sale are slut costumes. Remind me to complain about that later.)
This is what I have time to do, between my long commute home and bed time:
1. monitor homework
2. monitor everyone getting fed, one way or another
3. nag about the chores that should've been done before I got home
4. clean up only the very messiest messes, concurrently with one of the tasks above
5. exercise with Gilad
6. nagging the kids to brush their teeth and wash their faces
7. the reading of the bedtime story
and that's about it.
Every single other thing -- dentist bank groceries bills boyfriend oil change tires laundry -- I have to do over the weekend. Or during my lunch hours. Or in my dreams.
I'm glad we got a cat. This one doesn't tear up the furniture or make a big mess, and I feel fleeting joy whenever I see her little cat face. She always has a funny or cute expression. She walks around in a constant state of "Hey guys," or "Am I interrupting?" or "JESUS, A SQUIRREL!!" or "In my fantasies, everyone is chasing me. Look how clever I am, running away from them. Oops, sorry.. smashed into the plant again..."
Back to the Halloween thing.
Not a slutty fairy, and not a pink or purple fairy, and not a gothic fairy, and not an overtly glittery fairy. I want to be a nature-based fairy, in shades of green or aqua with brown, and only a little bit of magic in evidence. In my mind, as I design it, I think the words "pond fairy." I'm a pond fairy, dammit. We're going to a party where I always feel a little insecure. No, strike that -- I always feel insecure at any Halloween party we go to, because I feel like there's this giant expectation that all the women must be dressed promiscuously, and they all must be thin, and the whole purpose of the holiday is to put them on display to the men serving them liquor.
And that's fine -- I'm grown-up enough to ignore any bullshit that I don't want to take part in. But at the same time, I want to get all into it and make a nice costume. Yet I feel there's no use in wasting my creativity on such an event. You know?
I guess I could go to the Ren Fair, because the people who go there are more appreciative of creativity. But we're bored of going there and seeing the same exact stuff year after year. So I tell myself to make whatever costume I want, and then to photograph it and put it on my Flickr, and that'll make it worth the effort. But then I feel silly about that. How vain, to spend money and effort on photos meant to show off, right? (Same way I feel, now, about doing any creative thing for which I don't already have a fee negotiated. :( )
Worst part: I get envious of my boyfriend. He loves to work hard on his costumes and come up with something awesome every single year. And people appreciate it, and they compliment him. Then, they look at me and think, "Not sexy enough," and move on. And I feel... whiny because I haven't received enough attention, I guess. Hate to admit such a weakness, but that's how I feel. Creativity should trump plain nudity, in my mind, but it never will. Will it?
I was looking for inspiration online. (Fairy costumes, I mean.) I found this Flickr set called Convention Costumes Pool. Look at it. What do you think? How many of the women pictured here enjoyed making their costumes? And how many enjoy displaying their bodies to a bunch of convention guys? And how many women here enjoyed making their costumes, but got completely ignored in favor of the convention guys and the women displaying their bodies?
There were some bad-ass costumes among the social experiment, though. Check it:
1. Final Fantasy = awesome piping
2. meshy mer-person
3. Final Fantasy hangover?
4. Awesome Color Scheme Woman
5. I need this woman's wig.
And you know what?
Screw it, while I'm there, I'll just link y'all to some of my favest Flickr faves:
1. shoe fetish
2. If I had to date a non-human, it would be Relax Bear.
3. I want to eat this (then follow Jackie around and eat everything else she eats, too.)
4. Stained glass is always good.
5. So is just about anything that Jagosaurus photographs.
That's all. 7:57 PM # (9) comments
Tuesday, August 28, 2007No One Knows What It's Like to Be the Fat Pants
Okay, so only some of y'all will recognize this feeling that I'm about to describe. But I'll go ahead and describe it. You know how, when you cross the peril-fraught borderline between PlusSizeLand and MissesWorld, suddenly PlusSizeLand, the land in which you've lived for so long, looks like total hell?
I've yo-yo'ed back down to the weight at which I can shop at the roomier not-plus-size stores, and in the Misses' sections of department stores. Granted, I'm only talking about tops and skirts, here -- not pants -- and I still have to root for XLs and the biggest of the misses' number sizes on those tops and skirts.
So I went shopping last week, for myself as well as for my kids, because most of my clothes have gotten cartoonishly big and I needed a few new things. First, I rooted through all the misses' stuff and picked out the few XL items I liked. Then, if I didn't get very much there, I'd shift up to the Women's World sections, or on to Lane Bryant.
And you know what? I didn't want to shop in those places anymore. Just looking at their mannequins made me feel ill. You know why? No, not because I hate my former fat self, or because I didn't want to be reminded of it. It was because women's plus size clothing is UGLY. It's so effing ugly.
You don't realize, if you've been shopping in plus size for a while, how categorically ugly it is. Or maybe you do, and therefore you hate to shop. That's how I'd been for the past couple of years. I hated to shop, and when I did shop, I only bought the simplest things. Black pants and solid color shirts or twinsets. For the weekends, dark jeans and black tops. Not because I wanted to dress like that every day, but because I didn't want the plus size alternatives -- pink pants with blue stripes, beige suits with sequined appliques, purple flowered dresses with purple polyester panties...
So, now that I can fit into misses' sizes (sometimes), I can't even bear to go back to the "women's" sections. It's too sad. It's like a former prisoner going back to see his jail. Why would he?
Plus-size retailers: Please make better clothes. Look at Old Navy -- they make the same clothes in all sizes. Granted, they're cheesy clothes that fall apart at the drop of a price tag, but they're equally cheesy for all sizes. Come on, y'all. Fat chicks want normal clothes, too.
(Everything I say about fatness has been said before, I know. I think Wendy at Pound already said this a long time ago, about how all the plus size clothes have weird sequined appliques and stuff. Hey, look, even better -- she said something a long time ago about how the media hates Torrid because if Torrid tells white teenaged girls it's okay to be fat, then fewer white teenaged girls will be available for mainstream porn. Hell yes, Wendy! I just remembered reason 37 why I love you, all the way back since before 2005.)
So, um... yeah. As my weight wanes, my bad clotheshorse habit threatens to return. See you at Ross Dress for Less, where I'm tunneling like a mole through the aisles.
(What is a clotheshorse, by the way? Does anyone know what that actually means?)
I hope no one was put off by that last topic.
I mean, I hope no one Googles my name and then reads stuff about my diet or my feelings about plus-sized clothing, and then decides not to give me a job, or not to give me a writing award, or not to look for me on Match.com, or not to be my cyber-friend anymore, or not to say hi to me on the elevator, or to mention me in an article about someone else's blog and call me a "whiny weight loss blogger."
Tomorrow or the next day, I'll tell y'all a story about real life, okay? I have this story that I've been reading around town, about a real person, and people who have heard it keep asking me why I don't publish the story or put it on my blog or print it out on fliers and circulate it via telephone poles. So... tomorrow. Or the next day, at the latest. I will tell y'all the story, and hopefully you'll like it. Prepare to qualify.
A Dangerous Obsession
A while back, I was talking to a professional-type person about stress and ways of coping with stress.
"I've been kind of stressed-out lately," I told her, "and I get irrationally worried about things... and so I've been coping with it by thinking about Christmas."
"Christmas?" she said.
"Yeah," I said. "Sometimes, when I get super stressed out by the whole single-mom-trying-to-support-three-kids thing, I let myself get obsessed with Christmas -- you know, what gifts I'm gonna give, what food I'm gonna cook -- instead of, you know, drinking or doing drugs or driving my car off a cliff. It's kind of weird, I know, but it really helps me to calm down."
She said, "Obsessing about Christmas is a waste of time. Have you considered Wellbutrin?"
It kind of hurt my feelings when she said that, so I left her office and didn't go back. Instead, I went to the library and checked out 101 Things to Make for Christmas and A Southern Living Christmas and Christmas with Better Homes and Gardens. I even tried something new and checked out a Thanksgiving cookbook.
And now I feel great. Now I feel just awesome, and it didn't cost me a copayment or prescription.
You know the part of Charlie Brown's Christmas special where the kids wave their hands all over the sad little tree and it turns awesome? Well, the tree is me. You know the part where Charlie Brown pays Lucy five cents to give him psychological advice, and then he leaves her booth feeling worse than before? That is not me. I am not Charlie Brown. See, Charlie Brown is a cynic. I, on the other hand, am a consumer. Get it? Charlie Brown is just reading the wrong craft books, and shopping at the wrong stores.
Okay. Just a little pin prick.
That's all. I just wanted to warm up my frozen fingers with some fast stream-of-conscious typing. Because, you know, Houston is the most air-conditioned city in the world, and therefore it's August and I'm freezing my face off. I'm wearing hose and a sweater and a wool skirt, because the AC is killing me in this town.
I told my boyfriend, "Oh, no, I accidentally dressed like an anime person today." And he goes, "You mean the sexy school girl?" And I go, "No, the frumpy maid who gets tentacle raped by her boss or whatever." And he nodded sympathetically. "I still love you," he said. "Shut up," I told him. "Stop your lying."
For lunch, we went to our favorite pho place, where I watched two Asian girls in grey pantsuits force a skirted Caucasian girl to eat a heaping spoonful of grass jelly, red beans, and packed snow. (Not really snow, but it looked like it.) And my Asian boyfriend was like, "I don't even eat that stuff," and I was like, "I know." And the Caucasian chick looked nervous as hell, taping her stiletto heel crazily under the table. I thought maybe her boyfriend was Asian, and she was having lunch with his sisters to be nice, and they were being subtly, psychologically cruel to her. Or maybe they were her bosses, even though they were all the same age. Because this Caucasian chick obviously knew her way around the chopsticks and the noodles -- she was slurping her food with the best of them -- but she was still nervous as hell. Maybe it was a gang initiation.
The sub-titles will no longer relate to the content under them. I have decided.
Really, I'm just bored. I want to be back home again, at night, signing more school papers for my kids and hearing that their second day of school went well, even better than the first. I want them to be happy and prosperous. I want us to make Christmas crafts, like a family that's happier than the ones on TV. They want me to read them a book at night. They said the last Harry Potter would be fine, even though they barely remember what happened in any of the previous. "What happened in the last one?" I quizzed. "Uh-h-h-h..." said my youngest. "Dumbledore died," said my oldest, now fifteen and six foot two. (Oops, spoiler, sorry.)
"Okay," I said. "Tonight, we read."
We got a new cat during the summer, and her name is Starbuck, (and please don't email me nagging stuff about pet ownership), and she's kind of tripping out right now. "You never told me you had three kids," she said, when they got home from the summer at their dad's. "I had them for you," I told her. "Now you can get them to pet you, instead of always bugging me." In response, she shed a hundred cat hairs on my pillow case, then slowly walked away, under the bed, to wait for me to sleep, and then to wake me up at 4 AM with noisy cat toys.
We got her from the county shelter. Don't go there unless you want to go home with 3 or 5 new pets. It'll make you sad, seeing all the pets that are waiting there for no one. I put some pictures on my Flickr page, but you can hardly understand them because my camera phone was in a bad mood that day. It made my cat all blurry. But that's okay, really, because I want to respect her privacy. She's not really recognizable in the photo, and Starbuck is her psuedonym. (Her real name is "the cat.") We bought her a water fountain for cats. She only likes it sometimes.
The Carousel of Other People and Their Hormones
My cube-mate has quit her job, and she'll be replaced by the most beautiful woman in our company. Which is fine with me, because the most beautiful woman in our company is also very nice. But it's funny... some of our men are pre-swarming. They're coming by, all like, "So, Gwen, how've you been? Heard you're getting a new neighbor, huh? Yeah, so, um... do you have any sprocket reports or widgets I can lend a hand with, today and every day from now on? Here at your desk?"
And I feel like telling them, "You know, it's okay if you want to use me as your excuse to be near Beautiful Chick. But don't start doing it until she gets here, okay? Just leave me in peace til then -- it won't hurt my feelings."
Other, other people are having the other kind of feelings - not the attracted, but the repulsing. Over at his job, my boyfriend has fallen prey to a Bitter Old Woman. You know -- the kind who is miserable and self-denying, and therefore has nothing better to do than to hate on happy people. The kind who stays at her desk on her lunch hour and monitors how many minutes everyone else spends at lunch with their friends. The kind who has no one to talk to, and so makes careful note of others' personal conversations. The kind who, instead of trying to elevate herself from her own misery, spends every minute of her work day working to drag others down, down, down to her miserable level.
So I sympathize with him. I know that type very well.
I don't care if you've got ten babies.
See how I quoted that song above? "I don't care if you've got ten babies, you can work the stick in my Mercedes"?
I don't have anything to say about babies or cars. That's just a lyric that runs through my mind at random moments. 12:16 PM # (25) comments
Tuesday, June 19, 2007Told you so, two months ago.
I hate to even tell this story, in a way, because I worry that talking about this subject makes me seem like a hysterical attention whore. But I am going to tell it, because it bothers me, and it happens over and over again, and I want you to believe, and understand, and go forth and change your ways or the ways of others, as applicable.
There is a man at my place of work. He's around my age. I only see him on the elevator, but I see him every other week or so. He's been working here for maybe six months now.
Until today, he's never spoken to me. In fact, he seemed to take great pains to avoid doing so. If you're a fat woman, you'll understand this part very well. You know how you'll get on the elevator, and one of your coworkers will be there, and you'll smile or nod, or at least make brief, polite eye contact with that coworker, just out of human decency... And then the coworker will very overtly avoid your eye contact, with an undertone of, "Oh, God, I hope this chick isn't hitting on me." You know? Those guys -- the ones who seem to think they're in constant danger of being raped by a woman who isn't thin, blonde, and implanted? ( Here is a fictional reference for you, from the brilliant creator of Achewood.)
So, I figured this particular coworker for that kind of fat-phobic guy, and I dropped all pretense at friendliness with him months ago. No big deal. Men like that are everywhere (just like old women who hate young women just for being young) and I don't need them to notice me.
Today, I got on the elevator and he was there. So, saying nothing, I turned my back on him and watched the little numbers. He said, "Hi." I was surprised, but mumbled hi back.
He said, "How's it going?" I answered as briefly as possible, without looking at him. Then, he said, "Headed to lunch?" I couldn't ignore this, but I answered in disinterested monosyllables all along. But he kept talking. He said, with an ultra-sly chuckle, "Sneaking out early, huh?"
Never mind that I was not sneaking out early, that I was in fact leaving for lunch at the same time I do every day, which is the same time a lot of people go to lunch, including him, obviously. The point is, one, he was making persistent nonsensical conversation with me, even though I had my back to him and was ignoring him as much as I could. Two, he has never spoken to me until now, and the only difference between now and the last time I saw him is...
Fifteen pounds? Gone from my ass?
What a difference a size makes, apparently. Just like I said. More than once.
I told this story to one of my best man-friends, Julio. He shook his head, saying, "He messed up. Those were lame lines. He should have just said, 'You look nice today.'"
"No," I said. "He should have just said nothing, because he's never spoken to me before, so why the hell would I want to speak to him now, just because he suddenly thinks I'm thin enough to speak to?"
Julio had to concur. I polled him, at that point. I asked, "Do you think this guy thinks it's okay to only talk to me when I'm thinner? Or do you think he didn't recognize me?"
Julio said, "I think some guys have a filter, like an email filter. They only see women they want to sleep with, so he literally didn't see you until now."
Lesson, repeated and reinforced: Only talk to me now if you were already talking to me when I was fat.
And, for the record: I see everyone, whether I want to sleep with them or not. Even when I don't want to sleep with a person in my building, I can bring myself to give them a small, phony smile. If I can do it (and I'm a bitter, miserable bitch), then anyone can do it. Show some human decency, people -- maybe it'll make you more attractive.
In more important news...
I love having a house, but I'm having trouble keeping up the lawn. (I also have trouble keeping the house clean, but the homeowners' association doesn't charge me for that, so who cares.)
I feel horrible about this, but I think it's time to hire people to do my lawn. On a regular basis, maybe. See, I can get my teenaged son to mow, and I can even get him to edge and trim the hedges, but there's no way we can compete. Not with the crappy hand tools I have in my garage. Even our edger, which is actually a weed eater, kind of sucks. In order to do the job right, I need a heavy-duty edger, a chainsaw, some giant loppers with very long handles, and, like, a goat.
And I can't afford that stuff right now. So, I'm calling in the mens.
You know what I think the sexiest gift would be? It'd be if you bought someone five or six gift certificates to their favorite stores, plus a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near their favorite stores, so they could have lunch amidst their shopping.
The thing is, you couldn't get them certificates for stores that sold anything practical. No Target, no Wal-Mart, no department stores -- because then they might be tempted to use the money on something practical. You'd have to do small boutiques only. Or super specialty stores. And you'd have to get them in luxurious amounts, like $100 each. See, that's my fantasy -- to win the lottery and then buy my friends this stuff for their birthdays. Five or six gift certificates, stacked up and tied with ribbon. Forced shopping. Sexy fun.
Here are my five, impractical fantasy gift certificates:
the Body Shop
Ulta (a local salon products shop -- God, how many bottles of crap do I need?)
the Bead Shop, in Houston's Rice Village
I'm getting faint just thinking about it. I'd better quit... 6:18 PM # (7) comments
Tuesday, June 12, 2007All my meters are incorrect.
I'm still doing the magical eat-less-exercise-more diet that I started at the beginning of May. I try to eat 1600 calories or less each day, and I try to exercise as much as I can without feeling sorry for myself. And I think I've lost some weight. It looks like I have. But I bought a cheap scale, just to be sure.
According to my book (can't lose weight without a book), 1600 per day will make me lose 8 pounds per month.
According to my scale, I lost 7 pounds in May. Then, I gained 5 pounds during the first week of June. Then, I gained another pound before the second week of June was even half done. Then, apparently, I lost 5 pounds yesterday. Oh, and sometimes I weigh nothing.
It's too late to return the scale. Even though I'm pretty sure it's broken now, I keep weighing myself on it. I don't know why.
Meanwhile, I'm home sick today. I have the same illness I get over and over, in which my body has chills and fever, my stomach feels blech-y, and my muscles are weak. This morning I decided to take my temperature, so I'd have a hard fact to give my coworkers when they ask me, tomorrow, exactly how sick I was.
My temperature was 95.5. I think that means I actually died, on Saturday, and now I'm secretly a zombie, unbeknownst to anyone.
I almost died on Saturday.
We went to the beach town known as Surfside, Texas, and immersed ourselves in the filthy water. Normally, my height and buoyancy keep me safe in the deep waves. Normally, I love the deep waves. But this time, a huge wave overcame me and almost took my life.
My boyfriend was standing a few feet away. He said, afterwards, that a smaller wave had just knocked the white Nike visor from his head. It was bobbing a few feet in front of him, and he was reaching forward to grab it, when the big, almost-lethal wave overtook us.
First, the big wave hit me. "Yay!" I squealed, right before being knocked underwater. I landed partially on my left knee, which scraped hard against the ocean floor, but mostly on my boyfriend. "Garba glubba blubba!" I told him, as, like crabs in some kind of crab porn movie, we tangled limbs in the brine. I couldn't get loose. Couldn't get my face out of the ocean.
One long minute and two liters of inhaled salt water later, I was finally free. Standing on my own two sea legs again. My boyfriend was standing, too, safe. But his visor? Lost. Lost to the wrath of Neptune and/or Calypso.
"I have to find my visor!" he kept saying, throughout the afternoon. He went into the water with his glasses, then without his glasses. The kids went with him, sometimes. But they never found it. "Your visor's in France now," I told him, but he didn't listen. "I'm sorry," I said, but he said it wasn't my fault.
I stayed in the beach chair, under the beach umbrella, while everyone else searched and swam and conquered the waves. I'd had enough of the beach to last me all year, already.
My children are giant monster locusts.
Four years ago, when my boyfriend first met my three small sons, he said, "Three boys. Those kids are gonna eat tons of groceries."
"No," I told him. "You're wrong. My children are very polite."
Today, two of my kids are taller than my boyfriend. Taller than me, even. They wear giant shoes - sizes 13 and 12 and 10 - and their feet get bigger every school year. Faster, actually. I make them wear their shoes until three out of five toes are emerging on either side. Only then do I buy them new shoes. Again.
And, so, yeah, they eat a lot. It's frightening. I'll bring home groceries. Make them take the bags out of the van and pile them on the kitchen counters. "Put these groceries away," I say, and then run to my bathroom for, like, twenty seconds, to empty the bladder that has been rendered weak and worthless by the birth of three kids. When I come back, all the groceries are put away, all right. Into my children's stomachs. All the stuff is gone. There's like, one can of Campbell's Won Ton Soup left, and the kids are punching each other in the heads to see who gets it. They're knocking each other over, into the louvered doors that hide the washer and dryer, and those doors are broken again. They're dragging each other up to the roof of the house, then taking turns pushing each other off. When one falls, old, broken toys fall out of his pockets, all over the back yard and the patio furniture. Then one falls on the patio furniture, breaking it. Then, suddenly, all the furniture in the house is broken. The couch has giant holes in the cushions, and in each cushion is a stash of Nutrigrain bars or mini carrots or bizarre Asian candy or Campbell's clam chowder, hidden there by a seemingly starving child.
"Goddammit," I say. "Quit that!"
"Sorry, Mom," they mumble.
Then I have to go back to the grocery store for more. Again. Every minute of every day. It's the only reason I work anymore - to buy my children groceries. 1:02 PM # (11) comments
Friday, May 18, 2007Ghost Issues
Every year of my life, I try to work on my issues and improve myself as much as possible. This year, I'm working on two main things: Eradicating all passive-aggresiveness from my life (not practicing it, not tolerating it from others), and the ghost-issue of control.
I say ghost issue because it's not something that ever really happens, just something I irrationally fear. Like, for instance, here's a fictional example, okay? Let's say I'm fat, and I want to lose weight, because I want to wear nicer clothes for cheap, all right? And let's say that I'm reasonably intelligent and experienced in these matters, so I know how to lose weight. I've done it before.
But, at the same time, I'm afraid. Maybe every time I try to indulge in a fantasy about weight loss, my mind derails and takes me back to a time when I was thin, and someone hated me for it. Very vividly, instead of being able to think of a dress on clearance at Target, my mind calls up a woman who went to my church twenty years ago, who said to me, in front of the priest and everyone, "But I guess with that cute little figure of yours, you don't have to be smart."
Or it calls up the sensation of a man on the bus, twenty-two years ago, who purposely rubbed against me on the way to his seat. Or it calls up something disgustingly inappropriate that I heard someone say to a thin woman just the other day. Or the completely fictional idea of being raped.
And... this is not a real issue. Because, hello--people say rude things around me all the time, whether I'm fat, thin, purple, or green. There are haters and perverts everywhere, and they victimize whoever they can, no matter what. So why should their opinions matter more if I'm thin?
I have an irrational feeling that my control over my own body extends inversely to the minds of the people around me. As if losing ten pounds will make ten more people try to break my boundaries, and therefore force me to be ten percent more vigilant, or ten percent more afraid. I know it's irrational, especially to people who know me in real life and know that I'm way too much of a bitch-face to get sexually harassed very often. But I still feel this irrational feeling, hypothetically, and therefore I have to work through it.
I try to explain it to my friends, and I'm not sure that they understand. One friend does, actually. She says it's probably PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as we all know, can be worked through. All you have to do is identify irrational thoughts, and then rethink them. Like this:
"A lot of people are assholes, but that's no reason to let assholes affect your decisions on what to do with your life."
(Even the hypothetical not-rude, not-offensive behavior starts to upset me. Just thinking about the fact that when I'm thinner, more people talk to me, smile at me, and like me... bothers the living shit out of me. It makes me want to stay fat, sometimes, seriously. I feel like, the people who like me at this weight are the only ones I want as friends. People who only like women of a certain weight, I don't want anything to do with. But that's a different issue, I think. Not a control issue, but rabid, hypersensitive feminism and anti-lookism, and a deep, futile desire to be respected for my mind. :) One of my friends says that this observation is untrue--that people aren't treating me better because I'm thinner, they're treating me better because I'm radiating more happiness and confidence. But I don't believe her. She's only ever been young and thin, and I've been both fat and thin, both young and not-young, so I think I have more bitter, real-life experience with lookism. Unfortunately. Stay gold, Ashley! Stay gold!)
My boyfriend says I had a lot of nightmares last night.
"You had a lot of nightmares last night."
"I did? No, I didn't."
"Yeah. You were all yelling and trying to run in your sleep. Oh, and you had that one where something's wrong with your hand."
"Oh! Did I wake up and tell you my fingers were broken? I dreamed my fingers were all bent the wrong way, and then I woke up and pulled my hand from under the pillow to make sure, and my hand was asleep, so I thought it really was broken, and then I yelled for you to take me to the hospital. But then my hand woke up, so I went back to sleep."
"You always have that dream when I spend the night here."
"I know. It's because, when you're next to me, I don't have any place to put my hand. We need a bigger bed." 6:04 AM # (7) comments
Monday, July 17, 2006Miss Universe 2006
I haven't watched a pageant in years and years, but the new Miss Universe site makes it look all exciting. Kind of like America's Next Top Model, except with women who are actually very pretty.
I wrote down my faves, then realized that they all look the same, except Miss Argentina because she's blonde and Miss Lebanon who looks more like a cross between Anne Hathaway and a little doll.
Miss Sri Lanka! (Why is she Latina? I guess maybe she's ethnically Filipina? Or... whatever.)
In Other Shallow, Women-Objectifying News...
What the hell happened to the Fantanas? Why did they get rid of the original Fantanas?!?
Who in the hell are these people calling themselves the Fantanas now? Hell, no. NO!
Okay... I took a breath. Apparently, there have been 3 incarnations of the Fantanas and the ones I liked weren't even the first. Oh, and my fave one, Lola, was also the chick from Overhaulin'. Dude. 5:43 PM # (5) comments
Tuesday, July 11, 2006I'm going on strike.
From now on, whenever I'm with a woman and she starts whining about the way she looks, I'm just going to say, "Stop it."
I'm not talking about general discussions on hair color and pretty things to wear. I'm talking about the self-hate. You know what I mean.
Don't tell me about how fat you are, or how you're trying to lose the fat. Stop it.
Don't tell me that your hair didn't come out right, or what you did to try to make it right. Stop it.
Don't show me every piece of evidence that you're getting old, and then tell me every single thing you're doing to make it look like you aren't. Stop it!
I don't need to hear the run down of all your unfavorite body parts.
I don't need every single detail of how unsatisfied and unhappy you are every single time you look in the mirror.
Don't just stop talking about it. For the love of God, please stop thinking about it. Please, please. Otherwise, what are you going to talk about when you really do get old? What would you talk about if you were in an accident (knock on wood) and lost all your limbs? And your face? And your boobs?
If you believe in immortal souls, what will your soul talk about after it's left your body? The fact that it has a saggier butt than the other souls? The fact that it wished it'd had more time to style its soul-hair?
Stop making yourself miserable. And stop boring me, please. Because I love you and I want you to worry about better things. 8:33 AM # (12) comments