Dating as a bookstore

It’s common knowledge that girls talk about boys and dating. A lot. It’s assumed that once a girl reaches a certain age she becomes convinced that she will live out her days alone, with the pet of her choice. I want to change that image. Gone are the days where a girl hits 29 and decides she may as well give up. That’s a stupid trope anyway. I know so many people who waited until they found the perfect partner later in life. There’s a certain amount of maturity necessary from both parties to make a relationship work, a maturity that comes from knowing who you are right now. So many people never find that, causing unhappy relationships… So I say keep shopping. Shop until you know what you want for the different facets of yourself.

A friend and I were talking about dating the other day. She’s gorgeous, strong-willed, and refuses to take whatever crap a menopausal man deals out for her. If you cross her, she will leave. She knows what she wants and she’s learning to expect to receive what she deserves.

Sidebar: Why do we, as women, insist on lowering our worth? Is it because society tells us we should take up as little space as possible and be quiet and demure? Is it because we are conditioned to be appealing and easy-going because if we stand up for ourselves we appear masculine? Is it because we are conditioned to believe that our entire worth is based on our ability to find a man? I think it’s stupid.

Anyway, she’s absolutely amazing and single. I think it’s the greatest thing ever, because she can relax and be herself without anyone bugging her or dragging her down. She agrees. But we were talking about dating, and how it’s kind of like being in a bookstore. Bear with me for a second while I throw a bit of weird at you.

Let’s pretend we’re in a bookstore. It’s huge (think The Strand in New York). Books everywhere, practically falling on top of you. You pick up a book and read the back cover. It looks appealing. A love story with a dash of adventure and drama. You start reading and discover… It’s Twilight. Disgusted, you have two options. You can put it down and find a new book, or you can keep reading to the end to see if the story has a redeeming quality you’ve missed.

If you don’t put the book down you know that there’s a great chance of a disappointing ending. It’s a risk you willingly take on. If the story does, in fact, stink all the way through you will be disappointed. Maybe you’ll regret giving it a shot, maybe you’ll be glad you didn’t give up until the end. Either way, you set out knowing that you might not enjoy the book.

If you put the book down, you don’t actually have to keep looking. You can walk out of the store and go grab a coffee. Books aren’t actually a necessity anyway, you can entertain yourself in other ways. But if you do keep looking you realize that all those books near the front of the store are the best sellers. They’re you’re Twilight, your Fifty Shades of Grey, your genre-du-jour. But somewhere, in the back of that store, you know there’s a dusty copy of a classic. Maybe it’s Jane Eyre, maybe it’s a leather-bound edition of The Canterbury Tales. All you know is there is a perfect book for you in that store, and if you sift through those books and find your way to that far back dark corner, you’ll find it and it will make you happy.

So as my friend and I were talking about dating, and came up with this metaphor (full credit where it’s due, this is only half my brain child!) she seemed to relax. It’s hard to have exes that looked really great at first and turned out not to be (those back covers can really sell a bad story). Sometimes those exes are everywhere you turn (hello, Twilight and Fifty Shades. I hate you GTFO) and you can’t avoid them. You know that you’ll have to see them around, but you don’t have to open that book!

If you consider dating like going into a store for a new book, a lot of the weight and dread and disappointment falls away. Not all of it, of course. A disappointing relationship and breakup will always be upsetting. But if you remember that a first date is the beginning of a gamble, if you remember that you aren’t guaranteed to like a guy you date, it feels a lot less like “Why didn’t I see this before? This is all my fault I should have known better” and more like “Huh. That sucks. Maybe the next one will work.”

I wish I’d thought of this when I was in college. I could have used the idea that no, really, I can put the book down. So read away, people. Enjoy yourself? Try all the books you like, or none at all. Just remember, that back cover may not be true to the story! And that’s ok. You can always find a new book. 🙂

man-brain smash!

I love everything about this. Also, go look at this blog. Right now.

Lemon Peel

So I’m going to keep this brief. I’ve already spent too much of my life arguing against the utter crock of shit that generally exudes from Simon Baron-Cohen’s person. If you want to read arguments about autism and empathy, I literally would like you to just Google “autistic,” “blog,” and “empathy” (not “autism and empathy,” because we all know what happens when you do that). You can also look for posts on Diary Of A Mom that contain the word “empathy,” and those will also help. Now that that’s been said, I can get on with things.

IMG_1892  IMG_1893

Caption: The pictures are of the front and back covers of Simon Baron-Cohen’s most recent book, The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty (Yes, I’m serious). The front cover has the title, the author, and a blurb from (of course) the New York Times that reads “A simple…

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Am I a grown up?

Over the weekend I had the wonderful experience of seeing a bunch of people for the first time in (for some of them) several years. These were all people my parents’ age who have helped take care of me at some point or other. Yet they all saw me and greeted me like an adult and wanted to catch up. At the same time, my mom was there and needed to be reminded to take care of herself because she still needs to take it easy post surgery. And she listened to me when I told her she needed to sit down.

It was a really weird feeling. I realized that these people who are so willing to praise me when I make a good hem see me as grown up. I wasn’t expecting that. It felt really good.

What makes a grown up? Or rather, what makes people see a person as an adult who they previously saw as a kid?

Meghan Trainor did a thing, and now the interwebs are exploding: in which Beth demonstrates her peacekeeping feelings

DISCLAIMER: I’m not looking for a fight. If you disagree with me let’s have a discussion about it. I like those. I also am not standing up for or speaking out against Meghan Trainor. I’m just writing about my feelings and hoping it comes to a logical conclusion.

Oh Meghan Trainor. There always seems to be something in your songs that makes people go nutso on the interwebs.

When “All About That Bass” came out I was SOOOO EXCITED for about 3 seconds of the song… Until she started saying things about “skinny bitches”. Having been accused of being too skinny/anorexic/attention-seeking because I have body image issues, I took issue with that. I also took the lyrics with a grain of salt because I’m willing to bet that dear Meghan didn’t realize the hurtful way those words could be taken.

When I read about her saying she “tried to be anorexic” and then got hungry and ate, I got angry. Starvation is not the only facet of anorexia and eating disorders in general. And NO ONE I know who is actually diagnosed with an eating disorder up and decided to have one. It’s a mental thing, and it’s VERY COMPLICATED, and caused by oh so many things. Trivializing it is disrespectful and proves a lack of understanding.

I want so hard to believe that Meghan doesn’t understand that the words in her songs are kind of missing the mark. I want to believe that she thinks she’s a feminist and is doing what she wants because it makes her happy. It’s getting harder to believe that though, because….

Enter “Dear Future Husband“.

This video is so much fun. She went with a 1950s theme, including some doo-wap boys. I love her costumes, I love the sound, I love how playful it is! But the words. If only I didn’t listen to the words of songs! I think this is a classic episode of “Meghan didn’t quite get it”. This 21 year old sings about all the things her future husband must do to win her love and keep her happy. Some things are totally reasonable. Treat her well, take her on dates sometimes, remember their anniversary. Other things are not so excellent. She implies that if he doesn’t tell her she’s pretty she won’t love him anymore. She wants full on chivalry with opening doors for her and buying her expensive things in exchange for some fun times in the bedroom.

The scenes in the video imply she wants to be waited on hand and foot. There are a string of scenarios where she ditches her current beau because he fails to do something masculine enough, or properly. She doesn’t like the guy who brings her a big heart box of chocolates, the guy who can’t row a boat properly, the guy who can’t make the bell ring on that carnival game you hit with a big hammer… She eventually sticks with the guy who brings her a pizza.

Now, I’m not sure what her goal was. If she didn’t have a big thought out plan for a message, fine. I don’t have a problem with that. I think she shouldn’t produce anything that she DOESN’T think out like that, but it’s her career and not mine. Maybe this is how she wants her life to work. If that’s true cool. Far be it for me to judge how she wants her life to play out. However, what I’m hoping is that this was supposed to be satirical and we all missed the memo.

The reason I think that’s a possibility is because of the part where she mentions his 9-5 and also hers. She says she’s busy so don’t expect her to bake pies all the time. The video has a cartoon-y feel. It’s so over the top that it naturally feels like satire, but who knows. Cartoon-y is in. If I’m right and she did mean this to be funny, or commentary on gender norms in marriage, then yay Meghan! You should probably let people know that’s what you meant! And next time, maybe do it better! But yay! If it’s not meant that way, then, well… oh well.

The reason I care about this is that Meghan Trainor is a very visible person. I know at least one 8 year old who adores “All About That Bass”. I want that little girl to grow up with solid role models who demonstrate healthy body image, self assurance, and pride. The internet explodes every time she has a new song because she 1. has a catchy voice and style about her. She’s everywhere all the time forever and 2. she misses the mark with her message every single time. And so far she doesn’t appear to have learned from her “mistakes”.

So in the wake of this most recent video the internet is freaking out. Half of it is criticizing her for not being a feminist, the other half (her die hard fans) are criticizing Meghan’s critics because yelling at someone for not being a feminist is a very not feminist value. It’s all very confusing, and I’m staying out of the fray (mostly) because I don’t want to get a headache while reading badly worded tweets. I do care though, for a very simple reason. There is no one “right” picture of what a feminist looks like.

Feminism means that a woman can stay home with her kids if she wants, or go back to work when her kids are babies. THAT IS ENTIRELY UP TO HER. Feminism also means that a man can stay home with the kids while the woman works. Or both women can work. Or both men. EQUALITY FOR EVERYONE! One situation is not better than another, because each family is different. The fact that people are yelling at her for not being a feminist is frustrating me. Wouldn’t it be more constructive to criticize her apparent inability to convey her message clearly? Maybe we should find out what she meant instead of instantly screaming NOT A FEMINIST NOT A FEMINIST SHE IS CLEARLY SENT BY THE DEVIL.

My point, and I swear I have one, is whether or not Meghan Trainor subscribes to traditional gender roles we should offer her the opportunity to explain herself. At the very least we shouldn’t write her off because she did a video where she scrubbed a floor while wearing pearls. Maybe she finds that fun. Maybe she’s a feminist, maybe she’s not. If she’s not I’m sad, cuz equality is fun and good. If she is… Well, some people struggle with communication. We should all just chill out. And talk about this. Calmly and in a constructive manner, because that’s how things change.

The power of surgery

This post is about working out and my boobs. If that’s going to be weird for you, I’m sorry. However, these are things I care about. If you don’t want to workout I won’t yell at you! That would be rude. And mean. I try not to be a mean person. So I’ll just tell my story and not force my ways on you!

I love working out. Some people think it’s weird, and some people think I am obsessed with workouts or don’t have fun because of them. All I know is that nothing gives me the same feeling of accomplishment as finishing a workout totally out of breath and tomato red in the face. I love that I can push my body to change, and get stronger, and turn into something else. It’s so incredible that we have the power to change our bodies. Some people just want to lose weight, some gain weight, others want to build muscle or stamina… But we have the power to make those things happen!

Two years ago I had breast reduction surgery. Before that I didn’t workout much, I didn’t eat a lot (I subscribed to the 1200 calories a day and low fat ideas of dieting), and I obsessed with the number on the scale. First thing in the morning I would weight about 115. After breakfast was closer to 116. Mid afternoon was usually between 117-118 and after dinner was anywhere between 117-120. Yeah, it wasn’t healthy. I was always concerned about the food I put in my mouth and whether it was going to “show” right away. I felt totally exposed to the world and tried to hide my discomfort with a big smile. It was awful.

Then I had the surgery. It was the best decision I ever made! I went from a quite hefty cup size, especially given my bone structure and height, to a totally manageable (yet still technically “large”) one. It was a super easy recovery, but I did spend a good week lying on the fold out couch in Mum’s family room in front of the TV. And I got bored. And anxious about all the food I was eating while I was just laid up. I started googling things like “tone up abs” and “diet”, and I came across Tone It Up. I read up on Karena and Katrina’s stories. I read their blog posts, found their youtube videos, and discovered there was a nutrition plan. I also discovered that a few days after I was cleared for exercise was their annual Bikini Series! I was hooked. I bought the nutrition plan, a set of 3lb weights, and a new sports bra. I eventually also downloaded the Couch to 5k app (which was huge – I couldn’t run comfortably before the surgery. So much of this is only possible because of that surgery!)

The beauty if the Tone It Up nutrition plan is it actually, you know, lets you eat. It’s not restrictive. It’s a healthy balanced lifestyle, not a diet you do until you get where you want to go. They include recipes laden with chocolate and healthy carbs, and they practice what they preach: Karena has been known to post pictures of carrot cake that she’s refusing to share, and the girls also celebrated the end of their 3 week long filming with belgian waffles.  It’s a totally maintainable lifestyle, you don’t feel deprived of ANYTHING, and the girls provide you with advice on how to bounce back after a rough weekend. You also get the entire Tone It Up community when you start doing their workouts, even if you don’t buy the nutrition plan. This is a group of women all over the world who encourage each other to keep pushing and be their best selves. These women encourage each other to reach their goals, whether it be a 10k, going up in weights in your workouts, or even graduating college.

I’m thinking about all this now for a few reasons. First, I found Karena and Katrina’s website two years ago about now. Second, this past Saturday was my boobs’ second birthday (happy birthday manageable boobs! I love you so much). Third, I am currently finding my fitness again. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I let my fitness slip over the last year. I let habits that make me happy and proud fall to the wayside. I’m disappointed that I stopped working out regularly, but I’m also excited that I’ve started again. I love that I am my own inspiration. I know that I used to be able to run 4 miles, and I will be able to again. I know that I used to be able to do every single workout on the weekly schedule and also add in extras because just the listed routines weren’t enough for me to feel like I’d pushed myself. And I know that I can get to that place again.

Today during my run I pushed really hard. I did week 5 day 1 of C25K, and let me just say that I impressed myself. Today’s run was 5 minutes on, 3 minutes walking, three times. During each 5 minute stretch of running I pushed myself through a 10 minute mile pace. That is really hard for me, especially since I only picked this back up a week ago. But not once did I lower my speed. If that wasn’t enough to make me happy my heart rate was lower than it was a week ago! I pushed harder and didn’t max out as hard. It’s proof of progress, it’s proof that my effort will come back to me in reward, and it’s proof that I’m right. I can get my fitness back where it was. I can’t wait for longer outdoor runs once it gets warmer!

And I’m not worrying about food as much. I’m eating lean, clean, and green. I’m not overloading on carbs. And I’m not over eating. I feel GOOD (aside from the health issues), and I’m starting to sleep properly again too. I’m just over the moon about how this is all starting to work and I’ve only truly recommitted to my chosen lifestyle for a week. It’s incredible how the smallest changes can make the biggest difference! I can’t wait to come back and tell you all about how I ran a full 5k!

a meltdown is not a tantrum

I love this blog, but this particular post is just so beautifully put! It’s so important to remember the difference between tantrums and meltdowns…. and to remember your compassion.

a diary of a mom

Screen shot 2015-03-17 at 6.48.27 AM

{image is a photo of a young man curled into a ball, covering his head with his hands}

On the outside it might look like a sudden explosion, but it’s actually the final few minutes of a process that may have taken hours or even days to develop.

Bec at Snagglebox, What Does a Meltdown Feel Like?

I thought she wouldn’t stop.
.
I didn’t know she couldn’t stop.I didn’t know there was a difference.
.
I just didn’t know.
.
.

An autistic meltdown is not a tantrum.

One is about control.

The other is a loss of control.

One is about testing boundaries.

The other is not feeling safe.

One is an attempt to manipulate.

The other is a cry for help.

Diary, Untitled, May, 2004

Discipline is never an appropriate response to a meltdown, because…

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Crime Thrillers Are My Favorite and They Scare Me

Does anyone else have this problem? I love crime thrillers. I love suspenseful tv shows where you don’t know who’s in on the bad guys and there is a lot of blood and death. I can’t get enough of them…

…And they give me nightmares. I see things out of the corner of my eye and scare myself to pieces. I turn all the lights on in the house when I’m home alone because I’m too scared to walk to the bathroom down a dark hallway (we keep our lights off a lot if we’re not using a room). I get scared in the shower, because for some reason that’s where I get spooked the most. And at night, if I’m coming back from the bathroom I’ll jump into bed over my poor boyfriend to avoid the monsters I’m sure are under the bed.

Now, I don’t like horror movies. You can keep your “Friday the 13th” and “Psycho” and “The Shining” and all the rest. I want nothing to do with them. The only movie vaguely like that I have enjoyed is “Dead Snow”, because Nazi Zombies coming out of the snow to kill random campers is hilarious to me. For the rest though, I don’t like them. I can deal with “Silence of the Lambs” because it’s much more crime thriller-y than horror-y, but it’s not as good to me as a good cop show. I’m not sure why I love one kind of thing that scares me and not the other, but that’s how I am. I’ve learned to accept it, and the continuous stream of “But… if those shows scare you and you like them, why not those films?” People just don’t understand my nuances!

I’m sure it seems childish and I know that it’s pretty funny for me to get so scared and act like I do. And, despite my terror, I just keep doing this to myself! I can’t stop. Ever since I saw my first clip of “Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit” I’ve been totally hooked on this sort of thing. My interests run the gamut… Serious crime thrillers all the way to comic crime tv (although I haven’t been able to get into “Psych”). Give me “Bones”, or “NCIS”, or good ol’ fashioned “SVU” and I’m happy as a clam all day.

Well, I just got into “The Following”. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a show starring Kevin Bacon as a washed up alcoholic ex-FBI agent who is called back in to help recapture a serial killer he put away several years earlier. It’s one of those great shows that has a totally fab hook and before 45 seconds are up in the first episode you’re panting at the screen wondering what’s going to happen next. I blame my best friend, E, for putting me onto this show. And I therefore blame her for tonight’s nightmares and shower terrors. I can’t stop watching.

The beauty of these shows is that the really good ones make you think. You’re doing the puzzle at the same time as the characters are. Sometimes they figure it out first, sometimes you figure it out first… But it can really work your brain! This is the kind of puzzle I love. I live to play the plot game. Usually I’m pretty good at it, but this time I’m barely keeping up. I love it! The challenge is great, and gosh is it a good show!

Excuse me while I get sucked back into the abyss that is Netflix. I’ve got a serial killer to figure out!

Another reason I live in MA

Something that will become ridiculously clear to anyone who talks to me or reads this page is that I am pro love and free living. I am liberal. I listen to both sides of the argument before I make a decision or state an opinion, but to my core I am very liberal. It works for me. Because of this I follow some interesting things on Facebook, like The Beer Party. They find all kinds of cool links to articles that make me think, or make me rage. Today? It’s rage.

According to an article The Beer Party shared from Patheos.com the Oklahoma House is trying to take away the right to marry from everyone who is not religious. It’s really a bill to prevent marriage equality, but on the bare face of it the purpose is to prevent town clerks from having to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Apparently those clerks would have a huge moral dilemma if a couple who was atheist or gay showed up asking for a license. Instead licenses would be issued by an approved member of the clergy. Oy.

Now, I don’t require everyone to be gay, and I understand (entirely objectively, because obviously I’m totally different) that some people are creeped out by homosexuality. I wish they weren’t, I don’t like it, I don’t really understand it in my heart, but there it is. All I request is you give everyone equal opportunity under the law and don’t discriminate. Don’t like marriage equality? Don’t marry someone who identifies as the same gender as you. That’s pretty darn simple. Married gay people represent no threat to you. I don’t want someone else’s morals ruling my life, therefore the law should allow the most freedom for people to choose (i.e. marriage equality).

The Oklahoma lawmakers pushing this legislation think that marriage is a mandate from God. Ok, sure, getting married is a mitzvah. It is in the Bible and the Torah and I believe the Quran (although I’m not well versed in that particular holy book). Representative Johnson, a supporter of the law, thinks that because it is in the Bible the government has no place in the institution of marriage. But, as the article states, there’s a difference between a marriage and a wedding:

“Johnson and other Republicans are confused. For the record, marriage is a legal contract between two consenting adults, and as a legal contract it is governed by the state. A wedding, on the other hand, may or may not be a religious ceremony, depending upon the wishes of the couple.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Marriage has always been a contract, since before monotheism and everything. For a very very long time marriage has been a contract. In fact, part of Jewish weddings is the signing of said contract. It is legal. Since we live in a system that legalizes everything for the state, well… The state needs to be a part of it. And because our government is separated from the church (legally. Hi there, Constitution) this law is royally unconstitutional and mean without even getting into all the amendments it violates because of discrimination. It is trying to create a theocracy in Oklahoma, which isn’t technically allowed.

I get very annoyed with this sort of thing for a variety of reasons. First of all it’s just not fair. Second, when I get married there won’t be a religion aspect to it. There will be Jewish touches here and there, but there won’t be a religious ceremony. Why? Because I identify culturally as Jewish, not religiously. I don’t believe in G-d, but gosh was I shaped by Judaism in general. So I couldn’t get married in Oklahoma, even though I’m going to marry a man and I technically belong to a religion. Third… it’s bigotry. It’s wrong. It’s mean. And I don’t like it.

Go read the article, it’s a great one. And someone, don’t let me internet for the rest of the day because I’ll just start raging more.