Goodbye 2013!

I actually dig New Year’s Eve. Shocked? Sure, it can be depressing. It can be lonely. It can be disappointing. It can seem irrelevant to mark an arbitrary passage of time using something as silly as a solar calendar.

But all of that aside, I like to feel the end. And then the beginning. Most of all, I like to know I SURVIVED. I don’t always think I’m going to. I’m sure that sounds pretty bleak, especially to the kind of people who have mastered things like “positive thinking” and “gratitude.”  But survival is sometimes the best I can do. And I like to applaud myself for doing it.

I recently  read something that hit me very profoundly about how to cope with people in your life who are suffering from depression.

“Depression is an illness; not a perception.”

It’s not like this is really some brand-spanking-shiny-new thought for me, but I felt myself breathe a deep sigh of relief when I read those words.

I have an illness. I’m not just being negative, or looking at life in the wrong way. It’s not that I’m just a fuck-up who can’t master the art of positive thinking. It’s not that I don’t understand gratitude. It’s not that I’m trying to get you to feel sorry for me. It’s not that I’m just not trying. It’s that I am wired this way. If it was as simple as “changing my perception,” “thinking positively,” or “being grateful,” don’t you think I would have done it by now? Do you really think I NEVER thought of it? Never tried it? Never tried to do ALL of those fucking things on ALL of those fucking lists that tell you that happiness is a choice? If HAPPINESS was a choice, why wouldn’t I have made it by now? Am I really just overly attached to my misery? No. You may not believe me, but no. I am not attached to my misery. I don’t like being in pain. I don’t like being unhappy. I don’t like waking up almost every single day with the nagging doubt that I will even be able to get through it, but knowing I have to anyway because suicide is chicken-shit and rude. I don’t like reading articles like “10 Steps to Being Happier – NOW!” with pictures of women smiling on sandy beaches with their arms outstretched loving this wonderful happy new life that they DECIDED to have. That their deep breaths and gratitude jars and attitude changes somehow work for them in a way that they’ve never worked for me. That now, on top of being depressed, I have to feel like a failure, because I could be happy if I would just try harder, and do it RIGHT. Like this chick:

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I hate the implication that I’m not happy because I’m not grateful. Fuck you. What an oversimplification of a complicated mental state.

It’s like when I struggle with my weight, which is complicated by middle age, years of disordered eating and hypothyroidism, and people think they are being helpful when they give me completely inane advice. Really? Do you honestly think I don’t know what foods are healthy? Did you seriously just advise me to consider taking a walk? Really. A walk? Do you actually think I’m so fat and so stupid that I can’t walk or never thought of it? Oh really, exercise burns calories? OMG! Who knew? And on top of that, just because Zumba and green tea or gluten-free Pilates changed your life doesn’t mean it’s going to change mine.  Everybody is different, and I think one of the best things we can do for each other is be tolerant. I don’t know your journey, and you don’t know mine. But I think we can be respectful of each other’s experiences, and say if something works for you, great. If I’ve tried it and it didn’t work, believe me, I don’t need to hear the advice to try it harder or more or better. I need to find my own way.

So when I’m told to be more grateful, more positive or just decide to be happy, I feel like punching someone. It’s not that I haven’t tried it. I’m just tired of failing at it. All I can do is endure the bad moments, and know that sometimes, I really do get some good ones. They’re not all bad. Mostly bad, most of the time, but not all bad.

And though I don’t much care for getting older, it beats the alternative – and I don’t mean death. I can’t really judge death, as I haven’t been there yet. I just mean that the passage of another year means I did it. I SURVIVED. I ENDURED. I’m somehow still standing, in spite of my deep desire to go fetal in the corner. I’m a fucking miracle.

Maybe to those of you standing on beaches with your arms outstretched, smiling broadly as you feel overwhelming gratitude for the sound of wind, or the shiny taste of your new Paleo cleanse this sounds like I’m making excuses and giving up. But to me, it’s freeing. It’s freeing to know myself. I can outstretch my arms on sandy beaches too you know. Just not today. But sometimes. And I CAN be grateful. I can be grateful that I’ve learned compassion for others, and that I’m learning to extend that to myself.

I can pat myself on the back for surviving. I am hours away from completing another year. 2013 had some major ups and downs. Some really great stuff, and some really awful stuff. Some stuff so wonderful that I can’t wait to see what’s next. Some stuff so awful it’s impossible for it not to be lurking in the shiny new 2014, waiting for me to deal with it. But deal I will, because that’s what I do. Not by changing my perception, but by acknowledging exactly who I am. And I can be proud of myself. I feel like I am walking through this world with a handicap, a complete inability to have happiness come naturally to me, or even come to me with effort. When I laugh, smile, feel good or gleeful or hopeful, I feel triumphant. Like I pulled it off, even if it’s fleeting, I can pull off happiness in moments. If that can be enough for me, I don’t see why it can’t be enough for others. But I know it won’t be. I know people will get frustrated with me, some will cut me out of their lives and some will never see that trying to take another step is the best I can do sometimes. And that’s okay. I’m grateful for the people that not only put up with me, but love me in spite of all the dark, scary things inside me. Some people will “get me,” will know that when I say LIFE IS HARD, it is not my perception talking, it is my illness. I am just not cut out for this world, but I will warrior up and walk through it anyway.

Goodbye 2013. Like every year before you, I’m not sorry to see you go. You’re old news baby.

Hello 2014. I may not be happy to see you, but I’ve got some curiosity in my pocket…

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9/11: War on Terror? You can’t win that.

Even now, when I see or hear some joke at the expense of “9/11,” where it is a punch-line of some kind, I still think “too soon.” I don’t think it will ever be funny to me.

Maybe it’s because I know people who were deeply, personally brutalized by the loss of loved ones.

Or, maybe it’s because even though it’s been 12 years, I can still remember that morning so vividly. My boyfriend at the time waking me up – which unless I NEEDED to be woken up for some reason, well he damn well knew better; it was expressly forbidden. Not to mention stupid. Waking Marnie up for no good reason is about as safe as sticking your hand into the cage of a starved tiger while wearing your new burger-scented cologne. So I immediately knew: this is bad. I was sure the building was on fire. I guess, in a way, it was. Just not the building I was in.

All he said, as far as I can remember, was: “Baby, wake up. It’s… it’s bad.”

It’s bad. An understatement, sure, but how else to wake me up? Screaming? “GET UP! THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!”

I could hear the TV going in the living room. He turned on the TV in the bedroom and it was immediate. The images, being played over and over, were like an ice-cold terror punch hitting me in the gut. Something really did change inside me forever then.  It was like my nonchalant and pretty surface-level knowledge of the world (the non-America parts) stood up and demanded I take notice. Say what you want about “Murrrica!” – we’ve still had it pretty easy compared to others. But every time I watched those towers go down, I felt my own American smugness dissipate. I felt like this was the moment, in the Movie of the Week, where the bully finally gets his. I worried that some countries would think we had it coming. Maybe we’d harassed one too many nerds, objectified one too many of the less popular girls and stolen our last batch of lunch money. Maybe it was time. Maybe we deserved a comeuppance. I felt a collective guilt. America had been the biggest, baddest bully on the playground for a long time. What now? Did we deserve a beat-down of this magnitude?

But I also felt frustration and helpless angst as the body count rose, and there was nothing, absolutely nothing we could do about it.  I knew, deep inside me, that as trite as it sounds, things would never be the same. Reflecting back on the last twelve years, I can say that sentiment is exactly right.

I travel a lot. I did before 9/11 and I have since. Things have changed. A lot of people insist that everything we go through at the airport is “necessary;” it’s the “cost of freedom,” and “freedom isn’t free.”  Some people actually feel safer about traveling now – safer, taking off their shoes, throwing away their water bottles, being scanned and groped, and putting shampoo in Ziploc baggies. I don’t feel safer. I feel a lot less safe. And it’s not just because I was naïve before, and now I know what horrible things may befall me. It’s because it’s all so stupid. I watch the TSA agents – many of whom are frankly, power-hungry jerks, and some of whom are really well-meaning people who just need a goddamn job in this shitty economy, and I don’t feel any safer. And god knows, I wouldn’t want that job for anything. It would suck – even worse than being a meter maid. They have to make decisions about which of us they will frisk, search, ask to step aside, and then dig through our dirty underwear.  If they search the guy with the turban, they are racial profiling. But I’ve watched them drag a woman who must have been over eighty years old out of her wheelchair and force her to walk – which she could barely do – through the scanner while they swabbed her chair for explosives. I’ve watched them pull crying babies out of their strollers for the same reason. Sure I guess it’s possible “the evil terrorists” could be smart enough to avoid looking “too Muslim or Middle-Eastern” and are instead planting explosives in granny’s wheelchair, or that the real terrorists here are white babies and their prospective MILFs, but I can’t help but wonder if we are really winning the “war on terror.” How can we? When all we’ve done for the last 12 years, is give more and more into terror?

One thing I’ve learned about Americans in my life is that Americans love fear. They fucking love this shit; love being afraid. Thrive on it. We love war. We go to war on goddamn everything. Blacks, women, gays, Chinks, Japs, Gooks, drugs, Commies, and I apologize for the racial slurs – but it’s a lot easier to fight a war on something you’ve stripped the humanity from, isn’t it? And when we finally ran out of things to go to war on, we just started a War on Terror! If we have nothing to fear but fear itself, how does fearing fear make fear stop? It doesn’t.  It doesn’t make a lick of sense to me. How can you fight a War on Terror and expect to win? You can’t. The second you fight fear with fear, you’ve already lost.

And now, as we face this bullshit situation going on in Syria, I think well, fuck it. Here we go. When all else fails, and you run out of wars, just go to war on war! That’s it! A WAR ON WAR! GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Now I’m not just some hippie that believes violence never solves anything. Sometimes some people need to be punched in the face. But most of the time, you are creating a bigger problem.

I’m also not so anti-American that I can’t remember after 9/11 all the amazing people who stood up, here and in other countries, held each other up and stripped away all the things that defined them as individuals and acted like truly compassionate human beings. For a few short moments, we cried together, we prayed together even if we didn’t believe or know who we were praying too or were praying to different versions of God. Religious and political affiliations took a backseat to our own humanity. For a few moments, we stopped criticizing the President and the government and searched our hearts for answers. “Where do we go from here?” we asked, and never really got an answer.

After that, the War on Terror started, and every time I go to the airport I remember. The terrorists have won. They made us afraid, not just of what’s “out there,” but of what could be lurking inside our own borders, inside our very own toiletry bag.

When I flew back into the States via Miami about a year ago, and went through one of the numerous security lines, the TSA agent groped me without asking, in a way that was intimate enough that I felt a cold shiver of violation. Sure, it was a woman, but so what? Someone, from behind, just unexpectedly grabbed the flesh on my hips, exactly the way a lover might, and moved up and down the sides of my body with unknown hands, and I couldn’t do or say anything about it. If I objected I would probably be detained, maybe even arrested, if I was vocal enough about it. I was exhausted, angry and helpless. I just had to endure it. I started to cry as I walked away and felt stupid and ashamed. And weak. I did not feel safe. Or free.

Maybe freedom isn’t free, but it should be. Or maybe freedom is free. Maybe this idea that we have to constantly fight some scary OUTSIDER for freedom is total bullshit. Freedom starts in your own mind.

Freedom is the reason owners didn’t allow slaves to read – it might give them the idea that they could be free.

Freedom is the reason women needed to stay home in the kitchen – being out in the world might give them the idea that they were just as capable as men.

Freedom is the reason people who are captive or being assaulted can still imagine themselves somewhere else in order to survive.

Freedom is an idea that can only give up when you do.

Freedom is the reason I refuse to believe that I have to do everything I was told I had to do in order to have the life I want.

It’s the reason I’m writing this blog instead of working as an administrative assistant.

I’m not saying nothing ever takes a fight or any effort, but I am saying that without the idea, freedom cannot, and will not exist.

Go to a place, right now in your mind, where you are free.

twin towers

As for now, I will continue being a twisted pervert that makes all sorts of inappropriate jokes about all sorts of shocking things, but 9/11? Still not funny. Not to me.

What is #rape culture? And how do I contribute to it?

What is #rape culture? And how do I contribute to it?

I recently took a trip to Vegas. I was meeting some of my family members there. We were celebrating my baby sister turning 21.

The first night there, we spent downtown. It was one of those nights – ladies you know the kind of night I’m talking about. A night when the wolves are prowling and howling. It’s almost as if they all know, as if they are speaking in some silent, primal language. As if they have agreed, that tonight is the night, for getting lucky with the ladies. If only they are aggressive enough, they will get oh so lucky.

More than one man used the “Hey girl, c’mere,” approach with me, as I walked through the casino, or outside, minding my own business.

What is rape culture?

If a man thinks a woman is desirable, he has the right to demand that she come here and talk to him.

I tried numerous tactics to dissuade these men who wanted me to “come here.”

I explained that I did not want to come here, or talk to them. I said “no,” I said “I’m here with my family,” I said, “that’s my dad over there,” I said “those are my brothers over there.” I dare not point out my mother or sister. They are also pretty and therefore might then need to come here and talk to him.

What is rape culture?

I have to offer an explanation why I don’t want him. I can’t just say “no” – I have to explain that I’m not here in Vegas to pick up a man. I’m here to hang out with my family.

As the night wore on, it became almost a running joke with my brothers how much I was hit on. Only not one time was it flattering or kind. It was always aggressive, always unwanted, and at no point was I “asking for it.”

What is rape culture?

The very phrase, “asking for it.”

And the night wore on, I was still out and about, with only my two brothers. I went off alone to use the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw him. A man headed straight for me. I saw the gleam in his eye. I became aware of the distance between my brothers and me. I became aware of being alone in a crowded place. I became aware that I was separated from the herd. I became aware of my gazelle status, and of his lion status. I became aware of the drinks in my system. None of my tactics so far had worked to dissuade aggressive men.

I should have walked by with my head held high, but I just didn’t want any trouble. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I didn’t want to “ask for it.” I didn’t want to make eye contact. If you make eye contact, he will assume you want him.

What is rape culture?

My eyes went down.

I hated myself for it, but my eyes went down.

He walked right into me. I mean, right into me. He pressed himself against me. Grabbed my arms, pushed his pelvis against mine, asked me where I was going.

I squirmed, trying to keep my pelvis from touching his.

I said, “I have a boyfriend.”

What is rape culture?

Making up a boyfriend. It is not enough to just not want this man. Rape culture says you can’t have me, because I am already another man’s property. I belong to someone, it just isn’t you.

I saw my brother Brett walking toward me. My salvation. My “boyfriend.” I saw the very welcome protective light in his eyes as he quickened his pace toward me.

The lion man was moving around me, grinding up on my backside.

“Where’s your boyfriend?” he asked, close in my ear.

I pointed to my brother.

“Right there.”

Seeing my big, pissed off brother coming toward him was enough to send this guy on his way.

Though I was very grateful I wasn’t alone, and had my brother to protect me, I was still angry.

What is rape culture?

The many times I’ve had the “what if” thoughts.

What if my brother hadn’t been there?

Because sometimes he isn’t. Sometimes no one is there to protect us, to save us.

What is rape culture?

Needing protection, in a busy, public place, because men can’t be expected to control their desires.

What is rape culture, and how do I contribute to it?

The fact that I told myself all the reasons why I didn’t deserve to be treated as if I am sub-human.

I didn’t come to Vegas to meet men, or to flirt. I was on an innocent vacation. So I’m not asking for it.

I wasn’t wearing something tight, or low-cut. A little short, but not THAT short. So I’m not asking for it.

I have a boyfriend, that’s actually my brother, but still. So I’m not asking for it.

I had been drinking, but I wasn’t hammered. So I’m not asking for it.

I’m so tired of making excuses and second-guessing everything I wear, and do and say.

What is rape culture?

All the excuses I made in my own head for why I wasn’t “asking for it.”

What is rape culture?

It is where we live. It is a place where men can’t be expected to control themselves, so women need to control themselves, and the men will automatically be controlled into not raping us.

I sometimes think rape culture is even more insulting to men than it is to women. Rape culture says women are mere objects, but it is the men who are truly weak.

What is rape culture?

It is something we can change. Right now.

I will do my part.

What is my part?

It is lifting my eyes and meeting yours.

It is not asking for it, but demanding it: Respect. Humanity. Freedom of movement.

Just like men have. I want the right to walk, to meet your eyes, to wear what I want and not question it.

I want men to have the right to claim their rapist status. If you are a rapist, admit it. Say, “I am a rapist.”

Do not give the provocative sexy women the power to make you into a man who couldn’t help himself. Admit you are weak and powerless in our presence.

Or meet my eyes. As if I were human. As if we were equals.

That is what I’m really asking for.

Meet my eyes.

The Shame of Beauty

When I was a little girl, people would often tell me how pretty I was. My parents, other family members, friends of my parents. My grandmother would tell me I was going to grow up to be Miss America (yea, I know, ugh).

Whenever someone would tell me how pretty I was in front of my mother, I would just stand there, silent. My mother would say, “Say ‘thank you’ Marnie.” But I couldn’t. I would just clam up. She’d get embarrassed, and later chastise me for my rudeness.

I guess if you are pretty, you owe the world a thank you.

I’m not trying to sound all woe is me, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. I actually plan on making a point.

As I got older, around 12 or 13, I started to develop, you know, that womanly stuff. And I started to notice something. I noticed men noticing me. Not boys, MEN. Grown men, OLD men. They looked at me differently now, and I wasn’t sure what to think about it. I guessed I had changed and it was noticeable. But I know what I felt. Shame. 

Today, I guess I’d have to call what happened to me a “verbal sexual assault.” My landlord (who is ancient) was in my apartment while the plumber worked fixing my sink. He sat at my kitchen table, told me about his ex-girlfriend who I apparently resemble. According to him, I look so much like her it is uncanny. He told me I was “built” the same as she was. He had a plastic grocery bag with photos he had brought of her to show me (so I’m guessing this conversation was pre-meditated?). He had four shots of her – three nude (only from the breasts up, but still), one in black lace lingerie – all carefully in matte frames which he set on the table in front of me. Whether or not I look like her is debatable I guess. I could see some resemblance but she was hardly my exact twin. I guess it’s more a way I have about me, as he also informed me she was a free spirit, much like he suspects I am (and to re-iterate a point I often make, in man language “free spirit” means “slut”).

He told me how she really enjoyed one of his talents, which is oral sex. He told me some couples like to take naughty pictures, or make pornos together, which she was totally down for, but he opted for these tasteful shots. He said she eventually dumped him to “settle down.” (So much for maintaining her slutty free spirit status I guess). He mentioned that the Playboy channel is available to watch (um, yeah, I knew that, but um… why are we having this conversation?). He told me he had three other girlfriends who had each brought him a gift – another girlfriend that wanted to be “serviced” by him, and that that was quite a feather in his cap. Yes, I know, threesomes are something guys consider quite a score. Got that memo.

Every time I tried to redirect the conversation, he would take it back. He asked me if I was embarrassed, I said it was more like uncomfortable. He did say “I hope I didn’t make you mad.” I said, “I’m not mad, but this is really awkward.”

Why the hell wasn’t I mad? I’m mad now!

Needless to say, I finally got him to leave with my subtle standing and walking toward the door body language.

He told me repeatedly before he left that he was “at my service” and all I had to do was call. I tried to play it off and act like he was talking about sending a plumber to fix my sink (not a euphemism) but I know what he meant.

My ancient landlord is actually blatantly offering to lick my pussy.

As soon as he left, I burst in tears.

I used all my therapy tools to try and cope with the feelings I was (and still am) having. No matter how strong and independent and assertive I am, I still let this man talk to me this way. I still let him make me feel small and dirty and most of all ASHAMED.

I felt 12 again. I felt the shame that would wash over me when creepy old guys would stare at me like they wanted me, and hated themselves for it.

I felt ashamed of how sexual a person I am. He must know. He must have sensed what a free-spirited slut I am. He must know the dirty things I’ve done, and even though I did them with someone I wanted to do them with, I’m a dirty whore and every man should get a turn. I must have been too friendly, too open. I must have been putting my sexual heat, my beauty, my appeal out there for him, as I do for everyone, because I am a dirty fucking skank. It must be my fault.

I suddenly had one of those “aha!” moments. I have struggled since adolescence with my beauty (or lack of it). Maybe I’m no supermodel, but here is my dirty little secret: I am a beautiful woman. I know it. And I think the real reason I beat myself up and try to insist that I am unattractive is because of the shame and guilt I feel when I know I am pretty. Being beautiful, and even more so sexy, makes me feel weak. It makes me feel like a victim. That is fucked up. Ugly makes me stronger and more powerful. It makes me feel like I can own myself, instead of being owned by men.

This is a world dominated by men. I have been a man’s trophy. I have been a man’s shame. I have been a man’s dirty little secret. I have been a man’s desire. I have been a man’s revulsion. I have been a man’s victim. I have been held up by a man. I have been held down by a man. All of these things mean the same thing though: I belong to men, not to myself. That is not okay. And I can’t be the first woman who’s felt this way.

I feel violated. I went for a walk to calm down, and of course the whistles and hoots came from various men, because they always come more when you are in no mood to hear it. Men behind me in line at the grocery store had a loud conversation about kinkiness and whip cream, which I’m sure was elevated for my benefit. Normally, I’d just ignore these idiots, but today I was too fragile to handle it.

My eyes have been filled with tears most of the day, because I don’t want to be dominated, controlled or owned by these men. They either reject me completely or hold me down and humiliate me. And it’s always the same: the one I want will reject me, the one I don’t will hold me down. He will hold me down with inappropriate comments, unnecessary touching, or lewd stares. Or he will just hold me down literally and take what he wants.

I am a beautiful woman. I am a sexual woman. I do not belong to anyone but myself.

I do not belong to anyone but myself. I do not belong to anyone but myself.

Skinny bashing: Why my hips don’t lie

I shall bravely go where no chubby chick has gone before: into the teeny tiny abyss – wait, can an abyss be tiny? – of Skinny Town. Actually, probably lots of women have traveled from Fatville to Skinny Town – repeatedly. Most women who have had any issues with food, or a pregnancy, or an illness, or a stressful time, or a depression, or started or quit an intense exercise program, or aged, or were born, have experienced some weight fluctuation. Some of us may have experienced massive weight gains and losses in our lives. I’m one of those people. But, as thin as I got, I would never, ever have described myself as “skinny.” Even at my thinnest, I had a frame that was … let’s see, what’s the word? Curvy? Hmmm, I guess I could go with curvy. My tits and ass might change sizes a bit, depending on my weight, but I know now that one song remains the same: my lips don’t lie. (Thank you, Shakira, for that tidbit of luscious poetry).

At my thinnest, I wore a 34B bra. Blouses and free-flowing frocks, I could wear the smallest women’s sizes (or sometimes even a little girls’ large). But pants? Oh hell no. I never got below a size 6 – which for those of you who don’t know, is tiny in Normalville, acceptable but kinda still disgusting in LA, and PLUS-SIZED in the modeling world. But the reason I could never buy smaller pants? HIPS. I remember being fitted for a costume once, and my heart raced as the tape measure went around my hips. Oh no… I was starving. I could hear my stomach growling. I’d run at least three miles that day. I could reach down and feel the pelvic bone jutting from my flesh, and yet… the seamstress measured me, look confused, and measured me again. “What?” I said, in a blind panic. She was surprised. She thought I was so “tiny” and yet my hips… wait for it… measured 39 1/2 inches. Yup, for those of you who aren’t too good at math, that’s half an inch shy of 40 inches. My hips are so big I’m even too much woman for Sir Mix-A-Lot (“36-24-36? Only if she’s 5’3”).

But at that moment, I realized something. No matter how much I exercised, or how little I ate, I could never actually starve away my pelvic bone. And I could still hear men say things to me like, “I like curves on a woman.” Or my extra-special favorite: “I like a woman with a little meat on her bones.” Yea, you never get tired of hearing that one. And that goes for all of us. Because trust me, the skinny chicks hear it too. But men say it to put them down; to make them feel less womanly. To denigrate them.

So I think it’s time we got a few things straight AND curvy. I’ve been seeing a lot of crap on Facebook (it comes in waves and was all over the place about a month ago) with images and messages that are high-fiving the curvy chicks. “When did THIS become hotter than THIS?” (With pictures of current Hollywood bods that are very close to skeletal and vintage pin-up shots of Betty, Jayne, Marilyn and Liz). Or with similar types of photos with a similar caption “Fuck Hollywood. THIS (curvy) is hotter than THIS (thin).”

Now to be clear, just as I defended us “bigger”girls and braced myself for the criticism of “fat is unhealthy” I do also realize that starving yourself to the point of emaciation is unhealthy. Yes, as a former member of the ED (eating disorder) community, I have a better shot at identifying someone with an eating disorder than the average person who has not had one. But to reiterate my previous point that you can’t always tell by a person’s body whether or not they’re “healthy,” I will say that the body can carry clues but there is something in a person’s attitude that gives them away. Women who are starving themselves are harried, frightened, living on the edge, terrified of losing control and it is almost as if you can smell the pheromones of fading flesh oozing from their pores. Even women who are “recovered” I can usually spot. I recognize the scars.

That being said, I can usually tell something else about a woman: whether or not she is operating in her “natural” body type. I am not criticizing any woman if she works really hard to stay in shape, or if she eats a little indulgently and carries a few extra pounds because of it. All I’m saying is: we have a natural body type.

Humans are very varied. Height, hair color, hair texture, eye color and skin color are just a few of the things that make up the package. What about more subtle things? How fast does your hair grow? Does it grow? Did it already fall out? Do you have big feet even though you’re short? Small hands even though you’re tall? Are you naturally muscular? What about the inside? Is your metabolism fast or slow? Are you genetically predisposed to cancer? To diabetes? The list is endless. And of the things on that list, there is only so much we can change. We are taught we can change almost all of it now. Dye your hair, get a hair transplant, a boob job, a face lift, work out harder, gain muscle, lose fat, ward off cancer, get a lap band, hell you can even get surgery now to make yourself TALLER. Seriously. Painful, expensive surgery, so you can be a little taller. (Not A LOT taller motherfucker, only a LITTLE taller). So, because we can change so much about ourselves, we can all strive toward the same ideal:

PERFECTION.

Should be easy enough, right? Tell us, oh great media whores, what the “ideal” is, and what things we can do and more importantly, buy to reach it, and we will all be fucking perfect. Only the ideal changes, doesn’t it?

Not so long ago, I came across vintage weight gain ads. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth checking out: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/11/vintage-weight-gain-ads/. I posted it on Facebook, and got a lot of comments about how great it was that “curvy” was making a “comeback.” And it’s so great, right? Also, men love curvy women! Right? Sometimes? This ad’s first headline is “Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny!” Now, I actually posted the ads to make a point, quite different from the point “curvy is awesome – skinny sucks.” The point I wanted to make was this: Misogyny has been around a while, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Women suck if they’re too skinny, and they suck if they’re too fat.

Now, I throw around the word “misogyny” a lot. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s rampant.  For the most part, it seems that men in power (and men not in power) quite often, really HATE women. But it doesn’t end there. You see, the definition of misogyny is quite simple: the hatred of women or girls. So it isn’t just men who hate women. Women hate women too. It’s often pointed out that women are their own worst enemy. We let jealousy, and competitiveness and pettiness and insecurity bring down our Self, and our fellow Goddesses. And why? Because someone decided that curvy or thin, or tall or petite, or blond or brunette, or girl-next-door or exotic is “sexy”? And who is someone? The media? Hollywood movies? Victoria’s Secret? Some man? Which man? Any man? I mean, seriously, who the fuck is in charge of this shit anyway?

Every time we buy into the idea of an “ideal” we lose touch with the Goddess, The Feminine Mystique, and with our own humanity. 

Curvy is not better than thin. Thin is not better than curvy. Nothing is “better.” It just IS. I make an effort not to rag on fat people.  Sure, when I hate someone, I find myself saying things like “fat ass” or “skinny bitch” but I really do try. I try not to jump on the Kim Kardashian has a giant butt bandwagon. I mock her because she comes across as a shallow, stupid, vacuous, ridiculous media whore with no discernible talent. I don’t care how big her ass is. If she was totally awesome, and my BFF, I would think her butt was beautiful.

I’m working really hard now on not “skinny bashing” either. It’s hard not to. I’m jealous of thin women. And, it’s hard not to look at these emaciated actresses (who didn’t used to be that skinny) and not think they have an eating disorder. Maybe they do. Shit, how could they not? They are under a tremendous pressure to remain rail thin. Hell, if the average woman who isn’t modeling lingerie, appearing in a romantic comedy as America’s sweetheart or being constantly interviewed about her fitness and diet secrets feels a tremendous pressure to remain thin, what must these women in the spotlight be going through? God, I can actually feel compassion toward them sometimes. When I’m not getting caught up in my stupid female jealousy.

And what about those women you know personally? The naturally thin ones. Come on, we’ve all known a few. Maybe you’re one of them. My jealousy used to eat me alive. (Or maybe that was my starvation diet). I wanted to be thin so bad I could hardly stand to look at thin people. But then, I’ve known a few, and guess what? They suffer too. Thin isn’t necessarily the free pass to happiness we chubsters want to believe it is.

Just as fat people have to hear about how it is “their fault” that they are fat, because they are lazy weak piggies who eat everything in the cupboard, thin people get asked how they do it. What’s your secret? Do you eat? Are you anorexic? How do you you stay in shape? Hell, I get asked about my thin friends. “How does she do it?” It’s pretty simple I say. She’s thin. But how? She’s thin. She’s made that way. I’m not saying she doesn’t take care of herself, but I could match her bite for bite, do the exact same exercise, for the exact same time, and guess what? She’d still be thinner than me. The only way I might win the thin contest is if I were to suffer some debilitating disease at the same time she got pregnant with octuplets. And even then, I’d still have that giant pelvic bone to contend with. Ooh! Maybe I could carry the octuplets for her, nestled in my giant pelvis. But I digress.

My point is this: I have a naturally thin friend, and she happens to be one of the best people I’ve ever known. A true goddess. A life-saver. A fortress. And she has one of  the most beautiful bodies I’ve ever seen in real life. And you know what? Men have said shitty things to her too. Men have put her down for not being “curvy.” And she has narrow hips. I envied them for years, until I learned to accept my hips for what they are – wide. Our hips don’t lie. They are made up of bone and flesh and our own genetic maps.

We, as women, need to stop putting each other’s bodies down. Skinny bashing isn’t any “cooler” than fat bashing – no matter how many glamorous shots of Marilyn you put up to justify it. Making a woman feel like she is “less” of a woman because she has narrow hips or tiny tits or an itty-bitty booty is just as bad as making her feel like “less” of a woman if those lady parts are bigger. It’s fucking ridiculous. We can’t win for losing – or for gaining. It’s all a way of keeping us down. Men do it every time they tell us we are a little too thick, or a little too thin for their taste, and we shouldn’t buy into it. Fuck them. Most of those assholes would fuck every last one of us anyway, fat or thin, and not call the next day either.

I am glad that “curvy” is making a “comeback” in a way. I have worked really hard to accept my body as it is, as it was, and as it will be, regardless of the weight I’m operating at, and it’s a challenge every day. It would be fucking awesome if I didn’t have to just do it all on my own. If other people thought I was sexy too. It feels good to be told you’re sexy. We all want that. I want that. But I want to feel comfortable in my own skin too. My being sexy doesn’t need to mean that other women aren’t sexy. Ladies, our sexiness isn’t mutually exclusive. It’s mutually inclusive. The fact that we are so varied is what makes each and every one of us that much hotter. If we were all exactly the same, none of us could be the hottest. Because we’re different, in a way, we can all be the hottest.

So, Goddesses, just so you know, I plan on being really, really sexy most of the time. But I promise not to do it at YOUR expense.

And fellas, if you’re reading this, (which I doubt you are): BEWARE. If we women ever stop wasting our energy on bullshit jealousy of each other, we will most assuredly have the strength to take over the world. So, stay on our good side.

As Long As She’s Healthy

Well, last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and it’s appalling that Her Body Politic didn’t blog about it. But… what can I say? Lately, my life has been taken up by other things: unrelenting grief, pain, loss, tidal waves of violent hysteria and feelings and thoughts so dark that I wonder if I will ever be able to share them with another human being. Enough of that.

Here’s what I wanted to write last week:

“As long as she’s healthy.”

I’ve seen this phrase more and more recently, and it’s starting to get on my fucking already rattled nerves. Now granted, I know that because of the stress I’m under, and the pain I’m in, there’s a good chance that I am just a giant bitch. I’m willing to accept that. I’d apologize for it… but fuck that. I’m sick to death of apologizing for shit that I didn’t do, wouldn’t do, haven’t done, or have had done to me by other people. This is an epidemic among women, and certainly chronic in my case. How many times have I said, “I’m sorry,” when I had nothing to be sorry for? Countless times.

If you get a chance, check out “The Body is Not an Apology” on Facebook. I dig this page, because at first I was like, “What? What does that even mean?” And then I realized… how long I lived my life, constantly apologizing, for being me. I apologized for “being fat” (whether I was or not isn’t even the point) by starving myself, devaluing myself, and carrying around a belief that the bigger I was, the less of a person I was, and that the rules were different for me. Every human being needs food to survive. Period. If you don’t eat, or receive any nourishment, eventually, you will die. There are no exceptions. I believed I was an exception. That every morsel of food I put in my mouth was a sign of my weakness; that I should be able to survive without sustenance, where others could not.

I believed that the outside mattered most, what I looked like could tell you exactly who I was. If I am fat, I am weak, unhealthy, and lazy. If I am thin, I am strong, healthy and motivated.

I can post pictures (and I probably will at some point) of myself, “healthy” (translate: “thin”). And I can assure you that when the picture was taken, I was mentally ill and most likely starving – physically and emotionally.

I can also show you pictures of myself “unhealthy” (translate: “fat”). And I can assure you that I have come leaps and bounds in terms of my mental, physical and emotional health. The sadness I’m experiencing in my life is directly related to grief and loss and has virtually nothing to do with the way I look.

I recently saw a picture of a woman in a very challenging yoga pose (on the page I mentioned above; see below). It’s a very cool photo. She is completely nude, balanced on one knee and the tips of her fingers. The caption read something about the “lines and curves” of the human body. Her body? Large. The picture? Beautiful, artistic. You can imagine the onslaught of comments.yoga pose

 

One of them of course being “as long as she’s healthy.” I’m SO FUCKING SICK of hearing this phrase. People say it about Adele. “As long as she’s healthy.” She’s a fucking singer ass-face, not a bikini model, and further more it’s her business if she wants to wear a bikini. And the woman in this photo above? She posed for a fucking picture. It’s art. Who cares what she ate or if she runs on a treadmill? It’s art. She’s not advertising some weight loss pill or exercise equipment and claiming to “be healthy,” she’s posing for a goddamn picture. And even if she were promoting a “healthy lifestyle” and you think she isn’t healthy, how about this plan? Think for yourself, dumb-ass. You decide what’s healthy for you, let her decide it for her.

The reason this phrase – “as long as she’s healthy” – bothers me is two-fold:

First: when you condescendingly say “as long as she’s healthy,” I believe it carries the implication that she’s not. If a woman has a “great body” – in other words, she fits into the narrow idea our culture has of a great body – she is assumed to be healthy. I’m sure some people have used this annoying phrase to describe super-thin women too, but mostly I’ve heard it specifically in reference to a woman who is not thin. I feel it necessary to repeat something I posted in one of my earlier blogs: YOU CANNOT TELL BY LOOKING AT A PERSON WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE “HEALTHY.” If their body is dead, they are no longer breathing and their flesh is starting to decompose, maybe then could you say something about what’s going on. “Oh shit, that motherfucker is DEAD.” If they are coughing up blood, you can see that they have a pretty severe gunshot wound, and their flesh is turning necrotic, you may be able to hazard a guess that they are a little “unhealthy.” If they approach you and say, “please for the love of god help me, I’m so unhealthy!,” you may get the idea that they are “unhealthy.” But if they are thin, fat, or anywhere in between, and that is your only criteria for judgment, you don’t know shit about their “health.”

Second: Maybe, just maybe, the person you’re saying this about, isn’t healthy. Okay, so fucking what? You don’t fucking know her. She’s a stranger. Maybe it’s none of your goddamn business what she does. Maybe she’s got a giant ass and she had two cans of Reddi-Whip for breakfast, and she’s happy with that. Shut the fuck up and worry about your own health. She’s not your personal trainer or your nutritionist? Don’t fucking worry about what she’s eating or if she exercises. If you love and care about someone, and they are doing something to harm themselves – starving, overeating, binge-drinking, smoking, shooting heroin into their eye sockets – then, okay, you have a personal relationship with that person, and you say, “hey I’m worried about you because…” and you fucking talk about it. But if you don’t know the person: it’s none of your business.

So, now for the onslaught of “obesity” rants. People feel like they need to butt in on all kinds of shit people do. Oh my god, obesity is an epidemic, second-hand smoke kills, drinking is bad, teen pregnancy is on the rise, fast food is disgusting, sugar = Satan. They spout all kinds of statistics about how many deaths per year are caused by these social diseases and addictions we have, and that it’s costing taxpayers bazillions of dollars in medical costs. Employers are losing money because we are taking too many sick days to smoke cigarettes and eat Big Macs and we are calling in fat to work.

Oh. My. God. There is a line between “educating the public” about the dangers of something, and “banning and ranting,” and I believe we’ve crossed it. When we rant about the ills of something, and possibly try to ban it, a few things happen. First of all, we desire it that much more.

Example: I hate Big Macs. They are disgusting. When I say I never eat them, I mean, I NEVER fucking eat them. But if I knew they were going to be banned? If someone told me I couldn’t have one? I can tell you I’d be running out to get one so fast that I’d burn all the calories it has getting to it. Vilifying something often makes it that much more appealing.

Next, we set something up as bad, we feel bad when we do it, and we also judge one another for doing it. “Oh gross, can you believe how much sugar she eats? That’s disgusting.” Because of my struggle with my weight, I used to feel (and I still fight this one) that if I ate something “bad” I should apologize for it. “I’m just really craving garlic bread, I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Is it PMS?” Yet a skinny person has every right to down an entire sheet cake, and she doesn’t need to apologize for shit? Well, that sucks.

I eat a lot more spinach than I do cake, but if I want to eat cake, I want to do it without judgment. I don’t want some asshole telling me that I’m unhealthy.

Let us eat cake. If we want to.

Let us be judged by the content of our character, and not by the size of our jeans… or the size of our genes.

And if you think genes don’t make a difference, try walking a mile in my metabolism.

And when you are wondering whether or not someone is “healthy,” remember that even if you could judge their physical health by looking at them, do you really think you can judge their mental, emotional, and spiritual health by looking at them? And do you really think these things are less important than physical health, or that they’re not ALL CONNECTED? If you don’t realize how connected they all are, then you aren’t “healthy” either. And even if someone tells you how “healthy” she is, and you think she looks great and has a winning smile, remember: people with eating disorders are very good liars.

I agree that the Body should never be an apology, and I know that sometimes the body is a lie. It tells ignorant people all kinds of things about the owner of it that are simply untrue.

My body is a truth. A truth of everything I have put it through, good or bad, up to this point. Only I really know that truth, and sometimes even I can get a little fuzzy on that, so the last thing I need is anyone else confusing the issue.

Yay for babies! Boo for women’s rights!

There has been so much discussion lately about the GOP’s war on women’s rights. But come on, ladies, let’s think about it for a minute. Are we really smart enough to make our own decisions about birth control and abortion?

Let’s look a little closer:

A woman’s reproductive organs are there for the sole purpose of making babies. We all know that any sexual activity we engage in is for one reason and one reason only: TO MAKE BABIES IN THE GLORY OF GOD’S NAME.

We know this because we are ALL straight. We are ALL saving ourselves for marriage. We ALL want to be mothers. And… most importantly, we are ALL Christian, and we ALL interpret the bible THE EXACT SAME WAY.

Let’s not forget that this is America. We all have the religious freedom to be Christian, go to Christian church and worship our Christian god. There really isn’t any need for any other religious belief, because Christianity is the only one that makes sense.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to baby-making.

So ladies, since the only reason for sexual activity is to make babies, in wedlock, there is absolutely no excuse for having sex with another woman. That’s disgusting. Also, if you have sex with someone you love, but you aren’t married to that person (and obviously that person MUST be a man), it’s quite simple: you are an abomination. If you’re not sure what an “abomination” is, and you probably aren’t because your vagina and breasts are making you stupid, you can find a lovely definition on dictionary.com.

Also, if you go out and get yourself raped, you are a stupid whore. I mean, seriously, look how you’re dressed. And don’t get me started on that whorish glass of Chardonnay you just sipped or the way you sluttily dropped your keys underneath that broken street light and bent over like the skank you are to retrieve them. And you want to blame someone else (some poor horny man) for what happened to you? Bitch please.

Now, we all know that when an unwanted pregnancy happens, there is only ONE person we can blame: the slut who got pregnant. Only women make these kinds of mistakes. Men don’t run around telling lies to get women in bed. They don’t refuse or “forget” to wear condoms. They never get caught up in “the heat of the moment” and have unprotected sex. They don’t have sex out of wedlock. They CERTAINLY don’t abandon women that were stupid enough to get pregnant by being a giant slut and having sex. They never abandon their children (I mean, how is he supposed to know if it’s even his baby? You probably fucked all his friends you dumb whore).

Gosh, I’m getting myself all worked up now. I’m starting to wonder if… well, maybe there is another side to this argument. Maybe there is a (watch it: I’m about to drop the “F” bomb) Feminist side? At the risk of sounding like an empowered (whorish) woman, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t try to look at this from another angle.

Babies: The only reason to have sex. God: Only wants us to have heterosexual, married sex, to make babies.

So, I got a panel of women together to discuss this issue (it didn’t really seem necessary to get any men on the panel, because it’s not about men, it’s about fetuses and I couldn’t get any fetuses to speak on their own behalf), and we decided to get on board with this whole contraception issue because we think the world needs lots more unwanted babies.

We need a law. Soon. To prevent the loss of potential life (babies!). This is about to get graphic, so if you’re squeamish, you might not want to read any further.

Now, if a woman masturbates, we know two things:

She is a slutty fucking abomination.

She is not going to get pregnant and make a baby.

If a man masturbates, we know two things:

Men will be men!

He is ejaculating his life force (baby-making juice).

But answer this: WHERE did his baby-making juice go? Into a sock? Onto his stomach? Onto someone’s face? Into someone’s mouth? Up a butt? Down the shower drain? Into his Egyptian cotton sheets? Into his Megadeath T-shirt?

UNLESS IT WENT INTO THE VAGINA OF A FERTILE WOMAN, IT WAS COMPLETELY WASTED.

I’m sorry, as far as I can tell, that asshole is a straight-up murderer. And who knows? If he impregnated a woman, there might have been twins. I’d call that a double homicide. We’ll never know, will we? Because he’s a disgusting baby-killer.

I want to weep when I think of all the dead babies wrapped in tissue, floppy condoms, dirty socks and torn t-shirts.

Any man who ejaculates into any location other than the vagina of a FERTILE woman (his wife), should be PROSECUTED to the full extent of the law.

After he’s prosecuted, should he end up in jail, where he is anally raped by fellow inmates, he should be prosecuted again, for each “offense” – those are just more dead babies up his ass.

Let’s take action before any more children aren’t born!

Please sign this petition, and keep it circulating! We need to save the babies!

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/wantonspermismurder/