EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

Woman loves self, internet outraged

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2014 at 6:37 am

Forgive my use of made-up curse words.

Ermergag. I am so tired, so tired of the internet imploding every time a woman loves herself. No, no. It’s not even that revolutionary. The internet implodes when a woman is herself. Jennifer Someone without makeup? Egad! Some lady smiling while sitting on the beach? Yikes! Woman quits job/keeps job/gets job; woman cuts hair/wears weave/uses curling iron; woman shows too much skin/not enough skin. Woman leans in; woman works out!

We must, we must, we must talk about it. Reflect on it. What does this mean to femininity? What does this mean to feminism? Doesn’t she know who she is? Who does she think she is? Doesn’t she know how she looks? Doesn’t she know how we think she looks?

Yes, it all comes down to looks. At least on the internet, often times. And the snark is nauseating. There is snark from all sides. Every woman gets a snootful of mean talk. Much of it from other women. But, it all starts at home. It starts with how we talk about ourselves. Each of my female social media friends generally have a picture or two in which she bemoans her waistline, her leg length, her butt size, her cheekbones, her hair, her lips, her breasts…..something is inevitably not quite right. I have several myself.

And, it’s sick. The way we cut ourselves down and expect each other to meet this same cutting self-talk. Then, we reinforce the standard by aiming cutting talk (sometimes known as shade) at other women. And, yes, it is a symptom of patriarchal dominance. After all, in the patriarchy, the archetype is always that the pretty girl gets the worm (so to speak). But, in the patriarchal archetype, she is more than pretty. She is perfect. Therefore, she is desired. So, she gets love and, presumably, fulfillment.

The perfect is the enemy of the good here, as it is in so many other situations.

You are not perfect. I hate to break this to you, but you will never be perfect. Because you were never meant to be perfect.

So, can we all admit to our stretch marks, freckles, frizzies, fly aways, scars (physical and emotional), dry skin, split ends, bitten nails, short eyelashes, patchy eyebrows, knobby knees, big feet, crooked teeth, crow’s feet, wrinkles, double chins, low cheekbones, high foreheads, flat butts, small breasts, plump butts, large breasts, round waists, flat tummies?

Can we all admit to these things as natural–not perfect–but well within what’s natural?

And, can we use acceptance when talking about our own bodies as well as the bodies of others? That would be truly wonderful! Women would be able to hear love and fulfillment from the words and actions of other women. Then, maybe the internet wouldn’t seize up every time a woman appears comfortable in her own skin.

Learned of Love

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, Lawyer Problems, Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on January 27, 2014 at 5:59 am

I’ve been sick for a few days–a lingering health malaise that still isn’t cleared up. Right in the middle of all the deadlines of a federal case. And, without the placations of the Prozac I’ve recently quit cold turkey.

Today, my law partner boyfriend (LPBF for short….let’s at least pretend at anonymity) brought me the case file for that federal case in which a deadline is currently looming. It didn’t take long for me to feel overwhelmed and frustrated. It took even less time for me to start taking it out on him in pounding, snipping, cutting words when we had a telephone call about the case. I realized what I was doing and that I was in the wrong. But, somehow, that didn’t stop me. Oh, did I mention that this wasn’t the first time I’ve done that? This wasn’t the first time I’ve done that to LPBF.

After an episode of Downton Abbey tranquilized me (I think it’s their lovely accents), I recognized that I was being an unmitigated douche bag to a man who taking up the slack for me on my case so that I can get healthier. Of all the people who deserve my choice words, he wasn’t one of them. But, he was the easy target. He was the one talking to me at the time.

So, I apologized and asked him why he hadn’t called me out on being so snippy. His response taught me to love him even more:

“Because I love you and now is not the time to argue.”

That response is packed with love and acceptance and patience and focus and passion. Love is a miracle that can happen everyday we wake up and it doesn’t need to come with flowers or chocolate or jewelry or flamboyance–but, somehow, it manages to come in the way you need it. But, it has to be nurtured. I’ll have to get over my unnecessary use of cutting words. That’s not nurturing. It will take love, acceptance, patience, focus, and passion to break that bad habit. I already know someone who can teach me how to use those.

Love is a miracle. I learn something new everyday.

Assassinating cynicism

In Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, Friendship, Happiness, Thoughts on Christianity on January 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

I hate cynicism. It’s snide and snarky only as a veneer to hopelessness and unkindness. But, I really like Conan O’Brien.

So, I’m a hypocrite because I have been feeling very cynical lately. The hypocrisy has nothing to do with Conan.

I rarely “talk” (that is, in person with audible words) about church or Christianity. I rarely talk to people with whom I used to go to church. I rarely enter a church building. It didn’t hit me until recently that when I talk church, or go to church, or associate myself with anything that brings up church….cynicism takes over and I become someone very unlike who I actually am. I become mysterious, closed, cowardly, inarticulate, distrustful, and angry.

I’m not that person.

Have you seen Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop? It’s literally quite an interesting documentary. I remember Conan when he first started with Late Night. To this day, he is as he was then: funny, sharp, sarcastic. Then, he got fired or he quit. Let’s meet in the middle and say he quired. He gave a lovely farewell speech. Apparently, he also hates cynicism. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/conan-obriens-heartfelt-f_n_433954.html

Watching him work through the anger and the disappointment of leaving the Tonight Show was overwhelming because at every turn, I could literally feel him beating back the cynicism in a triumphant process full of hard work and trying moments. He spent time mulling, then he put together a comedy tour, hit the road, rocked Bonaroo, and played guitar with Jack White.

I don’t play guitar. But, recently, I have seen or heard from several of the teenagers I used to work with in teen ministry. It’s been so refreshing. For so long, I questioned my purpose for having been there. I questioned whether or not we did any good. I questioned whether or not I had been helpful. I questioned whether or not church as it is has a legitimate and meaningful place in the lives of today’s teens and young adults. Notice I said church–that weekly religious gathering. I had questions, but not a lot of answers.

Getting hugs and e-mails and text messages from these people has not really given me the answers. I have realized, however, that the questions I am asking are not that important. I cannot allow the sadness and pain of the present dim the truth of what happened in the past. Allowing the present to color the past inevitably leads to cynicism about the future. I worked with some great adults and teens to try to provide a safe, healthy, loving environment for teens to come and learn about Jesus. We laughed and cried and laughed and preached and laughed and prayed and laughed and travelled and laughed and fussed. We laughed a lot because we enjoyed being together and we found joy in talking about Jesus and in loving each other.

Thanks to Conan, I know that just because I left doesn’t mean that I have to harbor bitterness. Just because I felt pushed out of that church doesn’t mean that I can’t find a place in another church. It’s pointless to rehash the past. It’s done. The hurts are there. The wounds are there. Healing is process that looks to the future.

Dear Douchebags: social mental illness

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2014 at 5:02 am

Dear Douchebags of the World:

I am sick of you. All of “you people” who aren’t happy in life, who have given up on dreams, who don’t feel worthy of more, who are dissatisfied with what you have, who refuse to attempt happiness, who find joy in perverse bitterness, who spread evil words. You make me sick. In fact, you make society sick.

Those who aren’t happy in life feel it their God forsaken right to point out the unhappiness in the lives of others. Those who have given up on dreams feel a responsibility to stomp on the dreams of others. Those who don’t feel worthy of more spread the famine of dissatisfaction. Those who are dissatisfied with what they have infect themselves and others with greed. Those who refuse to attempt happiness sap the energy out of others. Those who find joy in bitterness are like a mold over the compassion of others. Those who spread evil words that bring their barbed wire of envy and jealousy.

Today, I realized that I am angry at douchebags. But, I’ve been turning that anger in on myself and blaming myself for associating with douchebags who pricked my jealousy and dissatisfaction and unhappiness. I’m not depressed or anxious or anything of the sort. I mean, I am but that’s not what I am. Not really. I’ve been surrounded by douchebags!

As much as it pains me to admit it, I cannot blame all mental illness on the douchebags of the world. But, in my highly unstudied scientific opinion, I think much of the addiction, abuse, depression, anxiety, and hurt in the world can be blamed on douchebags of various levels.

The worst thing that you douchebags do is to convince average, quirky people to focus on their flaws and their impracticalities and their weaknesses until the average quirk no longer sees himself in the mirror. His reflection is clouded by your venom. Every person has a collection of strengths and weaknesses. In fact, I didn’t really learn my strengths until I became sure of my weaknesses. But, what you douchebags do is to pick at the weakness until it’s red and inflamed and impossible to miss.

So, my advice for all douchebags: shut up. Shut up. Shut up. No one needs your poison. No matter how you dress it up. You can call it observations, words of wisdom, advice, prayer requests, friendship, leadership traits, evaluation meetings, gossip, girl talk, tea, love……whatever. It’s poison. Just know that no matter how much of your poison you pour out, you will still be full of it. No amount of pushing someone down is actually going to uplift you.

No amount.

Furthermore: everyone knows that you are, in fact, a douchebag. You can smile, you can laugh, you can make nice. But, in the end, you make yourself known. Sooner or later (maybe at this very moment), some average quirk who you’ve screwed over is mustering up the courage to expose you for who you are.

The saddest thing is that you can change. You know you can. We’ve all seen “A Christmas Carol.” It takes just as much energy to speak encouraging words as it does to speak evil words. Oddly enough, it takes no energy at all to keep your mouth closed.

But, douchebags always think they’re in the right. That’s the nature of douche baggery. History is full of douche bags who thought they were in the right who were later hunted down like dogs and exposed to public contempt. Don’t argue with me, that’s history bro. History always repeats itself. Always, in some way or another.

Stages of returning to crazy

In and other uncomfortable topics, Choosing to see the wonderful #CTSTW, Encouragement, First World Problems, Happiness, Using my words for good #UMFWG on January 12, 2014 at 4:35 am

I’ve been arguing with myself about blogging this topic. Too private? Too personal? Ultimately, in the spirit of an Agnes Scott College alum with a political science degree who took many classes with Dr. Allende, Dr. Scott, and Dr. Cochran: I realized that the personal is, in fact, political and that politics is merely the organized exercise of power and, therefore, a true exercise of power is to discuss the personal.

I’m about to share something very personal.

The thing about me being a professional woman is that I feel that I have to hide the personal in order to be professional because the things that are personal about me can easily be seen as weaknesses and those weaknesses could be seen as incompetence and that incompetence could affect the amount of business I get and that chokes my bottom line.

I’m about to share something very personal. If you read all of this and then think that I’m weak and incompetent: come at me. I can pull myself together in 60 seconds or far less. Insert further bravado.

A very competent psychiatrist prescribed me anti-anxiety/anti-depression medication not so very long ago. In my lifetime, I’ve been through a few of these meds, but I have never had a doctor as patient and perceptive as this gentleman. He listened, and helped me find a medication that actually helped me pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back to business. Unfortunately, I had to stop seeing this great psychiatrist because of the type of practice he has. But, our closing appointment left me pretty confident that I could continue on the positive trajectory.

And, it took one nincompoop (is that how you spell it? Regardless, you know what I mean) a mere thirty minutes to destroy all of that. The doctor that I went to after Dr. Competent (like, THAT could literally be his name and no one would laugh) was somewhat less efficient. This doctor simply prescribed me whatever I told her Dr. Competent had prescribed me with no questions asked this past September. In December, I was running out and had to go back for authorization. After waiting for an hour to see her for the authorization, she walks in; introduces the med school student who is shadowing her; and, promptly says, “so when are you coming off of these meds. You should be ready. I don’t think you have that much stress going on right now.”

She had some madcap scheme for tapering me off the meds that was not at all measured or planned. In the moments, days, and weeks since that moment sitting on her exam table/couch/chair (what is that thing?), I have found out that there are stages of coming off meds. I’m sure these stages are different for everyone, but here are mine. I go back and forth through these.

1. Bravado. “Felt like crap leaving her office” was the positive tag line to how I felt. I cried. Then, I dried my tears and immediately decided to go cold turkey off the meds. Taper me? Taper THIS! You don’t know me. This world can’t handle me off meds. The meds are for YOUR protection.

2. Elation. Making a big decision like that in the face of such negative talk from a doctor was empowering. Granted, I probably had some remnant meds in my system…….but, I was functional. I was waking up, getting up, getting dressed, handling business. And, all in a more or less organized and sensible way.

3. Despair. DR. COMPETENT! PAGING DR. COMPETENT. I realized that my psychiatrist would have had a far more organized planned to help me get off the medication. I don’t have the severe nausea that some have, but even the mild physical side effects are disconcerting. So, maybe despair is a strong word. Cut me some slack.

4. Self-distrust. Is this me? Is this me coming off the meds? Is it my hormones? “Over analysis” would also be an appropriate title for this stage.

5. Self-care. Eat all the veggies.Eat none of the junk food. Do all the yoga. Drink all the water. Get all the sleep.

6. Anger. How dare she? How dare he? How dare I!? I need to get myself together. You need to get yourself together. She needs to get herself together.

7. Quiet. My favorite stage. Feeling everything all at once, but not feeling anything to the point of being overwhelmed. Not needing to express anything,

8. Sharing. Talk about all the feelings.

Christian catch-phrases to ditch in 2014

In Uncategorized on January 6, 2014 at 7:25 am

I attended church more or less regularly for the first 28 years of my life. Allow me to sum up: I quit church rather unceremoniously around my 30th birthday yada yada yada…..haven’t gone back. I am, in terms of belief and spiritual bent, a Christian. But, being outside of group of people gathering for religious purposes every week has left a line of demarcation in my life. One of the largest that I notice is the way I express things.

Christians in religious gatherings spend a fair chunk of time talking about people who aren’t Christian and how to talk to people who aren’t Christian about Christianity, God, and Christ. I’ve talked to people who aren’t Christian about Christianity–both during my religious gathering (“RG”) days and my post-religious gathering days. There are some things that I said during RG days that literally make me cringe and shake my head. For instance……

1. “Every person has a God-shaped/sized hole in his/her heart.” Wow. That one is, frankly, from the dictionary of douchecraft. It barely makes sense and is, more or less, a complete mischaracterization of what Christianity is all about. When a person arrives at the point of belief in Christ, do “we” really want him/her to believe that God sweeps in to plug up all the holes in his/her life? I get the point, I really do. But, this catch phrase is PLAYED.

2. “God helps those who help themselves.” Just. Stop. Please. This statement completely relegates persons living in poverty, persons living with disabilities, persons escaping from war/genocide/natural disasters. Let it go.

3. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I get this one. Truly do. The problem is that this quote is usually used in situations in which both the “sinner” and the “sin” are being hated.

4. “…..that’s why I don’t say Happy Holidays.” I feel you! Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of Christ. But, then there’s also New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and Chanukah. Moreover, launching into a long, unsolicited diatribe in the checkout line after the cashier wishes you Happy Holidays doesn’t exactly spread the love of Christ.