Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Confession: Bringing Sexy Back


I will never, not once, fit the mold that our society has created for the perfect female form. My wide hips and short, stocky frame just aren’t made for it. I could work out and become more muscular and get in better shape, but I’m never going to be a “model type” especially considering that these days anything above a size 6 is considered plus-sized in modeling while the average size of women in general hovers around 12-14.

That’s a pretty huge disparity.

What makes this even more telling is not the idea that women were actually bigger in earlier eras. In actuality, the average BMI of modern women is slightly larger than it has been in the past. The difference, however, is that the average BMI of the perfect body form—the ideal that all women are inundated with and pushing for—has gotten smaller. In other words, the average model or celebrity’s BMI has gotten smaller while the average woman’s has gotten larger making it nearly impossible for 95% of women to reach the goal so often shoved down our throats with fad diets, celebrity magazine covers, and fat shaming.

But you know what?

Fuck that noise.

Women can be sexy at every size because it takes more than a number—be it BMI, dress size, or weight—to define what sexy is. It is, most often, a mind-state, the hint of confidence, the walk, the overall package of looks, brains, and heart. We see women on screen, in photos, and cat-walking on super thin legs then feel our own thighs moving against one another as we walk and cringe. We feel a roll when we sit and become distressed. We develop body issues, confidence issues, food issues and, unfortunately, eating disorders all because we don’t look like this highly unattainable ideal form. Why are we doing this? Why has it become so necessary to look like anything other than ourselves?

The answer, simply, is that no good answesr to those questions exist, and we need to stop. Stop obsessing about ideals. Stop stressing over the number on a pair of jeans. Stop wanting to be anything other than
Tess Munster
healthy. That may be easier said than done. In fact, I know how difficult the process of acceptance is…I’m in the midst of it while still obsessively tracking every single calorie I eat. It’s hard to let those old habits die. It’s hard to see someone like Ashley Tisdale and not wish I was 6 sizes smaller but then I see models like the gorgeous Tess Munster loving her body and wish I had that courage and peace with my physical self. It’s going to be quite a journey…a journey that I hope more women will join me on because together we can redefine what we think of when we hear the word sexy, and it doesn’t have to be about flat abdomens, thigh gaps, and bony hips that were meant for holding the lowest cut pants on the market.

It can, instead, be about soft curves, thick thighs, witty comebacks, freckles---anything that defies the current accepted idea. We can bring sexy back to reality and stop holding ourselves to ideas of perfection that really don’t exist unless we become able to photoshop our actual bodies because most often the perfection we’re trying to obtain doesn’t even exist in reality...only on a computer screen that is then transposed onto a magazine page or an ad. We can accept that sexy entails those things that we hold as ideals but includes far, far more than that.

We, ourselves, are the only ones with the power to accept that being real is all that is required to being sexy, and it is up to us to take that shit back.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Confession: Dear X Love


Today’s Sunday Confession is about Dear X Love. It was open for our interpretation which means it is not necessarily an open letter to an X. Mine is not. It’s a letter to my childhood self. I’m not that same girl anymore. It’s an ex-me. A former me. Even though I never really succeeded in loving myself during that time in my life, I tried to, so I think this is still fitting.

Dear child-me,

You’re beautiful.

No one ever tells you that, but I know from experience that you need to hear it. All the times your daddy has called you “fatty,” “Crisco,” and “lardass” have already made you start hating the way you look even as a young girl, and let me be the one to tell you that none of those names are true. You’re not a fatty or a lardass, Jenniy. You’re a normally developing girl. Nothing is wrong with your weight or the way you look, but there is most definitely something wrong with a parent who will constantly put down his own child to the point where she wonders if he even knows her real name. You wonder that don’t you--whether he has any idea that your name is something other than Crisco? I don’t know why I’m asking. I already know the answer to that question. There’s something wrong with a man who sees you walking through the house, a normal 10 year old girl, and drunkenly sings: Fatty, fatty two by four. Can’t get through the bathroom door before erupting into maniacal cackles. There’s something wrong with grandparents who tell you to eat then tell you to diet. There’s something wrong with a family who tears you down at every turn without ever building you up. They’re the ones who are fucked up. It’s not you. You’re not the one with a personality disorder. You’re not the one who lives for emotional denigration. It’s not you; it’s them. That’s a promise.

As you get older, everyone will tell you that it’s not what you look like anyway and that it’s about what’s on the inside. But, you know, we know, that’s not entirely true. It’s good to be beautiful on the inside and important, but the hard truth is that what you look like does matter to people. You’ll learn that along the way. People do care. People do make a big deal about it. And, people will miss out on getting to know you because of your appearance. I just want you to understand that it’s not because you’re ugly or repulsive. You’re you and you express you in ways people don’t understand. They’re not getting past the way you express yourself to notice that you are, in fact, actually a pretty girl both inside and out. People aren’t getting passed how you choose to look to investigate more about what’s under the makeup and running through your mind.

In the end, though, people will see it, and they’ll tell you all the time, but after so many years of bullshit, you won’t be able to take the compliments to heart. How’s that for fucking irony?

It’ll get better eventually. I promise. That’s where we’re at right now…the getting better part. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the work. We’re worth the work, and that’s why this needed to be said.

It’s not about how much you weigh, what dress size you wear, or even your actual physical features. You can be beautiful at any size, and you will find things about yourself that you love and hate….just like anyone else.

I just want you to know that you’re brave. You’re stronger than you realize. You’re tough, and you’re too smart for your own good (if that’s even possible). People are going to hurt you over and over again--not in relationships as that is to be expected, but your friends and family will (especially family). You know that all too well already, but you don’t deserve any of it. You didn’t do anything to make this happen. You’re not to blame.

And, I want you to know this above all else:

You’re going to be just fine.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

For All You Hopeless Romantics

I have read, so often lately, blogs and articles discussing the idea that romance is dead. As someone who has had a dating profile for the last several years of my life, I have to say that this idea is preposterous. I mean, just check out the message I received earlier this week:

This person has obviously made himself vulnerable to write and tell me exactly how big his dick is. Isn't that so sweet? I mean, how could romance not have anything to do with squirming? Squirming on the first date sounds absolutely hopelessly, awe-inspiringly romantic. These people who write these articles must be crazy. Or maybe they're not on okcupid, the hub of online romance. 

Here's another example from this time last year. Just in time for Valentine's Day!!!! Look at direct he is with his romantic gestures of SMASHING ME IN TWO. oh. my. fucking. god. It really doesn't get more romantic than this. 

I have never been so swept off my feet as when a man sends me a completely ambiguous message about someone entertaining someone else orally. 

Patrick has tried in no less than a dozen messages to get together every time he is in Bainbridge. My answer never changes. He's obviously one of those "nice guys" and I'm just not into the nice ones. I mean, who takes the time to plan weeks ahead to fuck someone you know nothing about??? 

See how well these guys think out their messages? This is beautiful in its simplicity, right?

Nothing says romantic like a married man gambling on my pussy then attempting to use reverse psychology to see if I'll take the bait and fuck him. I think I'm in love.

They say that boobs are the windows to the soul....

I've never felt so good about myself as when a man tells me that most parts of me aren't all that bad. 

I didn't answer this one either. He sounds like another one of those nice guys who really just love women so much. 

You're sorry that I'm plain hot? What does plain hot really mean? Hot because I'm so plain? I don't know. If you're apologizing for your bad grammar and syntax, the apology is totally accepted. 

Wait, I'm confused. Keep them off permanently or for a long time?

I'm not sure why he didn't respond. I thought my romantic side was on par with his....

As you can see, there is not a shortage of romantic nice guys on dating sites. I don't know what all these people keep complaining about. Romance is dead? I scoff at that. Look at all these men putting themselves out there by offering to make me squirm on their exaggerated dicks while they stare at my hot boobs. 

oh wait. 

This would actually be assholes who have nothing better to do than get STDs from dating sites and spread them around to any women with low enough self-esteem to fall for this kind of shit. Oops. My bad. 

Honestly, though, I don't think romance is dead entirely. As long as the Internet has existed, there have been shallow pricks who would do anything to get laid including exaggerating about their sexual prowess on a dating site message. Before that, guys did it in bars (and still do). Technology has changed the way people can be sick perverts and made it a bit easier to be a sick pervert, but that has not killed the romantic. They're still out there writing each other love notes, making mix tapes, penning songs, and ensuring the people they're interested in feel like the most special being that has ever crossed their paths. It's just the way those people are. It's what moves them, stirs them. To say that romance is dead just because a few more assholes are more blatant about their lack of respect for the opposite sex, to say that a text or an email can't be romantic because technology has changed the way we communicate is just asinine and pessimistic. When you look for only the bad, just as I did with the messages I shared above, it can be found in droves. That's the key to life though...the good is there if you look just as hard to find it. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Confession: Aging

Again, I am writing for Sunday Confessions with More than Cheese and Beer. This week, it's about aging as the title suggests. It's not really what one might expect out of such a post, however.

I coexist in a house with my son and a roommate (my best friend). We also live with 5 dogs, 5 cats, 4 ducks (who stay outside), 2 lizards, and a fish.

It sounds like a lot, and it is. I'd probably be better off if I opened up as a petting zoo and told kids my great dane is a pony. The work involved with keeping all those tummies full, terrariums scrubbed, wading pools filled and coats clean is sometimes exhausting, but the love given back is at least 100 fold. There is very little in this life that compares to the devotion given to you by a pet. So the work is very well worth it--the relationships I have with my pets is far from one-sided. But don't quote me on that on a day when the great dane has an accident in his kennel. On those days, it's best not to talk to me at all. 

Two of my dogs, Capone (Cap for short) and Georgia, are seniors. Their aging is something that never really leaves my mind given the continuous graying of their fur and tendency to be a bit cantankerous. At 32, my own aging hasn't really affected me yet. I remember my own mother crying and being depressed on her 30th birthday, but I hit the big 3-0 without too much insecurity. The older I get the more I dig myself even my looks. There are no lines and wrinkles that bother me, no gray hairs (especially since I dye mine so often I can't remember the natural color anyway), nothing too saggy yet. I can't say the same for the dogs, though. 

Breed: Great Dane
Hobbies: blowing himself 
Favorite past time: refusing to eat until he gets his way 
Favorite treat: Poptarts
Accomplishments: World Record for most Toilet Water Held in Lips then deposited in Mom's lap 

Breed: Chiweenie
Hobbies: Catching flies
Bucket List Goal: To eat her own weight in sweet potato fries
Favorite Past time: burrowing under the covers 
Favorite Smell: Cat Ass

As you can see, their grays are pretty obvious. Their teeth aren't as strong nor do their bladders hold as long. They still run and play and get around pretty well, but the other dogs and the cats know better than to bother them when they're napping (usually). I see it every day and help make sure I'm taking extra precautions. We play easier with these two and give them special treats with added glucosamine and chondroiton to help battle any arthritic joints. Their age is constantly a presence not only so we make sure they're happy and comfortable but also because I don't know what I am going to do when they're gone. 

Cap has been a part of my family since he was only 4 months old. He turns 7 on Valentine's Day. Great Danes have a limited lifespan of only 8-10 years. He has grown up with my son who is 8, and the two have always been buddies. I can't imagine a day when there is no Cap around to haul his 150 lb ass into my lap as if he only weights 1.5 lbs or to jump onto the bed like he owns it. He makes me laugh out loud even when he's covering me in drool and dripping toilet water in my lap from his jowls. I love him even on the days when he barks at every noise he hears because his hearing isn't so keen anymore, and he loves me even when I refuse to give him more rookies (cookies) no matter how many tricks he does. This dog made me just as much a dog person as I am a cat person because he's just that fucking awesome. 

Georgia came to this house about 4 years ago. I dogsat her for my roommate's parents. She never left. It was only supposed to be a couple days, but I fell in love. So did the kiddo. She is a total lap dog that never leaves my side. I see Moms complaining all the time about their kids not letting them have privacy in the bathroom. I never really had to many problems with's the fucking dogs that love to watch me take a piss especially Georgia. She loves the cats and cuddles with them as much as they'll allow. She enjoys car rides and still looks good in a dress even though her boobs are pretty sadly saggy these days. Given that she was rescued in 2004, there's no way to really gauge her age. She's been with me 10 years and was nearly full-sized when she was rescued, so a good estimate is maybe 12. Life expectancy for this mix (guessed mix given her looks and temperament) is roughly 13-17 years. Most days she tends to nap and eat and nap some more. But, that's okay. She makes an awesome couch buddy. I can't think about life without her without tearing up. She has made that big an impact in the few years she has been here. 

Both dogs are close to entering the low side of their life expectancy, and it almost seizes me up with fear and sadness. A lot of people like to question why I have so many animals. I don't *have* them. They live here just like I do. This is their home, and they're part of this family. That's why it is so hard to imagine a day when their presence is gone...when their fur isn't part of the technicolor fur coat that I have to remove from my clothes every day, when their barks aren't echoing through the house, when their silliness is just a memory that makes me laugh and cry at the same time. It's hard not to feel that sense of impending doom when you think about two beings which have done nothing but love you unconditionally for the past several years without the drama and bullshit that comes with human relationships not being a part of your every day life anymore. 

Maybe one day my own aging will actually be a topic that concerns me, but I'm still of the frame of mind that I'm aging gracefully like Parker Posey or Gillian Anderson. For now, I'm only worried about what aging means in terms of losing two of my best friends. 

Cap and I. buddies. 

yeah, he drinks from the sink

he lets the kid lay on top of him

Georgia and my niece

she owns this bed

two weenies

For Evan

I wrote this letter for my son in spare moments over the last few days. Yes, I plan on reading it to him...once I figure out how to do so without turning into a blubbering mess of tears.

Dear son,

There are so many ideas and philosophies and truths and opinions and stories I want to share with you that I would run out of breath before I could tell you them all. Mothers have a hard job ahead of us that begins, at the very least, the moment we find out our children are growing inside our bodies. We have to nurture and guide and protect and teach our children to become successful adults. There are no instructions on how exactly to help a child, my child, grow into a happy, healthy adult who is kind, thoughtful, accepting, tolerant, and authentic. For every opinion you find or hear about how to do so, there is another to not only contradict it but also go so far as to say adults are ruining children by parenting any other way. It truly is a process of experimentation filled with hope, fear, and the sinking feeling that nothing you ever do could possibly be the right thing, the thing that makes all the difference.

As we both get older, I have to tell you that a lot of my fears are dwindling. I see you taking in what I say, soaking it in like a sponge. I also hear you repeating it to others. But, it is when I watch you apply my lessons about kindness, about love, about being good and just and fair that make me worry less about you and about whether or not I'm doing right by you as a mother. When I fuss at you for behaviors that are not up to par and explain, sometimes loudly and fervently, why those behaviors need correcting, I can see the disappointment on your face. It's not frustration from having to talk things through, though. There are no eyerolls nor too many sarcastic comebacks (yet at least). I can see your disappointment is with yourself. You, even at 8 years old, want to be the best you that you can be. As long as that motivation stirs your very core, my worries are small because that lesson is the important one, the one that guides all others and pushes you to make better choices. You may falter; we all do, baby. We all do. But, you will always see your bad choices for what they are, own them, and learn from them. That is what it takes in this life to make the most of the short time we have. Other people get stuck in the same circular ruts cycling through the same choices while blaming others over and over again. The less time you spend in those ruts, the more you get to experience, and I want that for you so badly. You should see and do whatever your heart desires.

Along the way, I can't protect you from all the hurt that comes with living. It's inevitable. You know already from all the names and punches that have been thrown your way from other kids at school that people can be cruel. But, that's not your style, is it? Despite all the times you've been called gay at school, you have never once used that word to try to insult someone especially after I explained that it only means a different way people are born and that it changes who they fall in love with. You've never once called someone fat or ugly or stupid. You're already quite an awesome human being, and you make me so proud I feel I might burst. But, I need you to know that people you love can and will hurt you too sometimes. People die. People leave. People make mistakes. And, sometimes cruel children grow into even crueler adults. Don't be afraid, though. It's all a part of being human. Don't avoid life just to avoid pain. I'll always be here for you to talk to, to cry with, or to put on records and let them spin while we forget about everyone else in the world. There is nothing in life more important to me than you. You are the top of the list.

I see so many times on the Internet where mothers write letters and lists of things to say and teach their children. I'm not saying my job as a Mom is over by any means. As you have grown though, I have noticed that a big part of why you take such careful notice of others and how you react to your own mistakes is because that is simply who you are. It's part of your personality to be so cool and kind. In that way, you have made my role as your mom so much easier, and I want you to know I see that. I want you to know that even when you're in trouble I am proud that the mistakes you make are small. There is no measure for how much I love you for who you are...not just because I am your mother but because you are you.