“Tonight, we are young / So let’s set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun.”
I am in love with the Meghan Trainor song, “All About That Bass”. It’s so catchy.
Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places
I’m 5’1″, 137-140 pounds, and I am definitely all about the bass. I have an hourglass shape, with curves for days–I wish that being a 34DD with a big butt had been on trend when I was a teenager. I don’t think I actually accepted myself for the awesome and sexy person I am until the past few months or so. And I find that incredibly sad. I’ve averaged a size 8 in pants since I was twelve, surrounded by girls who were stick thin and were proud of their size 0/00 status…I felt fat for years and unattractive and just disgusting.
It’s probably no surprise then, that I developed an eating disorder when I was in seventh grade.
I remember feeling like I went to bed a 14/16 in the girls’ section of the clothing department, flat chested and shapeless, and waking up this curvaceous woman with boobs and hips and thighs and a butt. Ohmigod, a butt. I am multiracial, a beautiful combination of Cherokee-American, Creole, German, Irish, and Italian–but it seemed that I was the curviest white girl I had ever seen. I’m sure I was exaggerating in the dramatic way that teenagers often do, but I was ashamed of my body and all the unwanted attention that came with it. I retreated in baggy boys’ jeans and way-too-big tee shirts and loose sweatpants. I walked with my shoulders hunched over so that no one would focus on my chest. I hated walking down the street and being honked at by men my mother’s age. I felt like a piece of meat, and all I wanted was to make all that attention and ugly feelings I had inside go away.
So I stopped eating, here and there. I’d skip breakfast, maybe lunch. I ate dinner and would break down after a few days of self-imposed semi-starvation and endless, stupid bouts of exercise–I’d eat until my stomach hurt. I would feel disgusted with myself immediately after, but I could never make myself vomit. I tried many times, sticking my finger down my throat, trying a toothbrush because I’d heard the bristles would make you gag…I was vain, I suppose, and didn’t want the acid from my stomach to erode my teeth and I didn’t want broken blood vessels in my eyes from the pressure of throwing up. I liked the power that came with telling myself I wasn’t hungry, even though my stomach was rumbling and my blood sugar was so low that I would shake until I downed sugary sodas or wolfed down a candy bar. It was a vicious cycle.
I was careful, though. My mom would get suspicious of my eating habits, so I remained around 128-130 for most of my teenage years. When I got pregnant with my son when I was 18, I was terrified of getting fat. I barely ate, I was constantly sick (to this day I wonder if my nine month bout with severe morning sickness was mostly in my head)…I only gained 16 pounds, and weighed five pounds less than what I weighed pre-pregnancy the day after I had my son. I hovered at my size 8 status, but things were good, with the exception of a brief stint of not eating for two weeks when I broke up with his father. I was eating, I was happy, and life was pretty good. I abused diet pills here and there, but nothing that would really call for concerned attention.
At my last job, I gained a lot of weight. I was a receptionist, and I sat for hours upon hours a day, six days a week. I hated my job, and drowned my sorrows and frustrations in milkshakes and junk food. I wound up gaining roughly forty pounds over four years. I had ballooned to 165 pounds by February 2012. I remember hearing that number and all of the old thoughts and feeling came rushing back like a runaway freight train. I was living with my parents still at that time, and we had no scale at our house because my mom knew I had eating issues, and she said a scale would encourage unhealthy behavior. My boyfriend at the time was overweight, and he suggested that we try losing weight together–I bought a scale, and kept it in my room. Naturally the act of weighing myself became an obsessive act that I went through several times a day, and pretty soon it was a rush to see the numbers go down. I was disgusted with myself, especially when my size 12/13 pants wouldn’t go up over my thighs. I remember bursting into tears in my boyfriend’s hotel room.
I stopped eating, slowly at first–eating disorders creep up on you like falling asleep, slowly at first and then all at once. It’s crazy how much food and hunger occupied my thoughts. Once the casino opened, it was easy to drop the weight. I worked the graveyard shift, so I slept all day and barely ate when I was awake. Fifteen pounds melted away in the span of mid-May to the end of June. People began commenting on how great I looked, which was like crack. I loved hearing how skinny I was getting, so I cut back on food even more. I lived on a steady diet of Mountain Dew, Red Bull, and carefully rationed out junk food. I got back into the habit of lying to everyone around me, and the scale showed that I was losing an average of a pound to three pounds a week. For the first time in my life, I was an actual anorexic. I had finally fallen over the thin line I’d walked since 1997. The scariest thing wasn’t the actual act of starving myself, rather it was how incredibly easy it had been to starve myself.
I have always said that it takes a strong mind to have an eating disorder. It takes a lot of self-control to deny yourself the basic need of food. I remember being able to tell myself to shut the fuck up because I wasn’t hungry, and if I ate, I might lose my boyfriend–he had made a comment, probably innocuous, about how he had only dated like one or two other curvy girls in his life, and that he usually dated slender, athletic women. I was secretly and quietly threatened by his ex-wife–he had shown me pictures of her from their wedding and honeymoon, and she was this thin, fit, pretty monster that terrified me. I knew deep down that he wasn’t over her, and I didn’t want him to leave me for her (even though he did eventually). I think that was a huge factor that kept me from breaking down and eating everything in sight–and the thought of him not being attracted to me because I was fat made it that much easier to starve myself. The smell of food made me nauseous, the thought of eating made me panic. It felt so good to be hungry, to be lightheaded. It was sick, twisted, and disgusting, but God did it feel good.
I remember one night at work the air conditioning went out. It was mid-July, and in Cleveland, summers are humid and unforgiving. The casino was packed with bodies, and I hadn’t eaten in three days. I’d felt weird, almost tingly, when I had clocked out my previous shift and I had ignored it, even when my legs felt like jelly when I woke up that night. I had been on the roulette table when I got extremely light headed and my legs went to spaghetti and I almost collapsed twice on the live game. I had to be tapped out and went down to the break room, where I drank Gatorade and blamed the entire thing on the heat. I was really good at being in denial.
By the end of September, I was nearly down thirty pounds and lied my ass off to everyone around me. 2013 proved a bad year for me, and I fell even deeper into my vicious cycle. I lived on my own and no longer had my mother’s watchful eye over me, making sure I didn’t get too skinny. The combination of losing my boyfriend and the anxiety of work and living alone was a terrible one, causing me to drop to 120 pounds. All I did was lie about my weight loss and brag about how thin I was. I was in denial about my terrible migraines and the fact that I was constantly freezing cold and how my brain seemed to be wrapped in a thick fog. My thoughts were slower and my heart pounded like a tribal drum instead of a normal heartbeat. You could see my ribs and faintly my sternum. My collarbone protruded, and I thought I looked great. I was skinny, and I was miserable, but I was skinny, goddamn it. If I couldn’t have control over anything else in my life, I sure as hell would have control over my weight.
I’m not really sure what made me take a step back and look at how fucked up I was. I would like to say my son, but I would be lying. I’m not really sure what was the deciding factor was–I remember looking at a picture of myself from my 28th birthday and thinking I looked like a bobblehead doll. My best friend ran her first marathon. My dad was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I think perhaps it was all of those things. I wanted to be happy, I wanted to stop being so miserable, to stop thinking about food and about all the pain I carried around inside of me.
I started eating again. I started going to the gym, and I started running and doing strength training. I remember looking in the mirror one day and thinking Oh my god, I have muscles. I’ve never had muscles before, and I look great. I embraced my butt, my hips, my thighs. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to run, or fill out a pair of jeans or leggings. I like what I see in the mirror. I still panic at the 137-140 that I see on the scale at the gym. I probably always will. I still have the tendency to skip meals and lie about if I’ve eaten or not, but I’m improving. I’ll never be a size 2, and I think I’m okay with that. For the first time in my life, I’m okay with how I look for the most part.
And that’s why I love that song. It’s the song that I should have heard as a teenage girl. Maybe if I had known that I was beautiful no matter what dress size I was, maybe I wouldn’t have fallen so far down the rabbit hole. I’m thankful that with the rise of multiracial children in our country, the notion of beauty has changed. Curves are celebrated and even envied. A big butt is coveted. It’s perfectly fine to be bigger than a size 4. It’s fine to be all about the bass, even the treble. You can be thin or curvy, just as long as you are happy and healthy. Girls, you are beautiful. Stop fat shaming each other. Stop skinny shaming. Embrace the fact that we are all different, and that we shouldn’t want to look like Barbie or a stick thin skeleton. Healthiness is all that should matter–fuck what society says is acceptable.
I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along
Because you know I’m
All about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass, no treble
I’m all about that bass
‘Bout that bass
Before you read any further, I suggest you click the video below. It will set the tone of this post…plus I really like this song right now and I wanted to share it.
As some of you may know, I am 28. I graduated from high school in 2004. For those of you who aren’t mathematical geniuses, that was roughly ten years ago. Recently it seems like I just woke up one day and stepped out of bed and into the plot of my very own teenage drama on The WB (Does anyone remember The WB? It was the big sister of The CW…pretty much the same audience, but it was in the late ’90s and had less supernatural elements and more teenage angst.), complete with heartache and confusion and angst. Stupid angst.
I suddenly care about what people think about me and if I am invited out places and if people like me. I haven’t done that in ages. It’s like I went back in time to 2000 and suddenly I’m 14/15 again and doubting every single thing that I do or say. I feel awkward and like I don’t fit in. I’m starting to question who I’m friends with and if they are really my friends or if we are just friends based on convenience. I worry if people genuinely like me or if I’m just that girl who they invite to certain things because they feel like they have to. I am constantly hyper aware of everything I do and say and think. It’s honestly like I am back at St. Joe’s and it’s my freshman year and I want everyone to like me. I feel like I should be wearing a bunch of black eyeliner, straighten my hair, and pout a lot, a la Avril Lavigne circa “Complicated”/2002.
I want no part of it.
High school wasn’t particularly terrible, but I struggled a lot with myself on the inside, as all of us did. I felt like I didn’t fit in, but I think I did a pretty good job of pretending like I did. I was skilled at smiling when acceptable, laughing when necessary, and saying the right thing so that people liked me. I had plenty of friends and was well-adjusted and liked. You would have never guessed that I felt alone a lot of the time and that my thoughts weren’t on the same frequency as everyone else–that I had an AM mind in a FM world. I felt like I thought about stuff that the average teenager didn’t think about and struggled with things that a lot of the girls at my exclusive, all-girl Catholic high school didn’t deal with–I had a lot of anxiety and stress. My dad was still drinking very heavily and gambling heavily and was rapidly becoming more and more physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive by the day. We were also getting poorer by the day–my entire freshman year we didn’t have a home phone and we used the pay phone on the corner to make phone calls (I did a really good job of making light of the situation and cracking jokes about it to try to hide my embarrassment). We didn’t drive. I struggled with an eating disorder all four years of high school. I had to keep everything that was going on at home inside. All of that made me feel like I was older than my peers in a way, that I was more mature than most of them were at our age. I felt like an old woman at times…but I was good at pretending. I cracked jokes and was loud and funny to try to hide the fact that I had incredibly thin skin and was constantly afraid that no one liked me or wanted to be my friend. I worried all the time that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t preoccupied with makeup or boys or clothes or the latest trends as much as my friends were.
I had my son at 19 and that made me grow up even more. I didn’t go away to college, so I didn’t have the four years of drunken debauchery that most of my peers did. Because of my dad (who has been sober for nearly 8 years), drinking never really appealed to me anyway, and even though I am outgoing, large parties fill me with a kind of social anxiety that I have never understood. The older I got, the more I figured that none of that mattered once you were an adult because you were an adult and left all that childishness behind.
But I have realized that it is actually the opposite. You never leave high school behind because that is where we found ourselves and started to carve out our identities. I read something where it was speculated that we physically grow up, but mentally we are forever intrinsically who we were back in high school. Adults still have cliques and gossip and show off around certain people. The mean girls never leave the cattiness and bitchiness behind. They still have to be the center of attention and brag about how “bad” they are. The claws still come out, they still try to intimidate others and make them doubt themselves. The nerds are still as awkward as they were as teenagers. People like me still feel like they don’t fit in with the world and that perhaps they aren’t supposed to fit in. I have always found it strange that I can be surrounded by groups of people and still feel alone. I’m extroverted but painfully introverted at the same time. My skin is still ridiculously thin. I still struggle with an eating disorder. We all suffer from self-doubt and self-esteem issues and a lack of self-confidence and crushing self-consciousness. We all have a desperate desire to fit in and be accepted by our peers. We like to pretend that it went away after we graduated from high school and became adults because we don’t want to admit that most of us are just physically older versions of our teenage selves, because if we did, does that mean that we never really grew up? That opens a whole can of existential worms. If we never really grew up, does that mean that our parents never really grew up? That they feel the same way we do about life? That they are just physically older versions of their teenage selves who have just gotten really good at hiding their insecurities and fuck ups? Do they worry about the same things we do on a daily basis?
We all miss high school on some level because even though there were cliques and drama and endless teenage bullshit, deep down…we were all equals. We were all kids trying to find ourselves and find our places in the world. And in all honesty…we are still all just kids trying to find ourselves and find our places in the world. And even though going to the bar on my off days and getting drunk doesn’t appeal to me, I just want to know that my friends thought about me enough to want to include me in their plans. I don’t want to feel like I’m an afterthought and that I’m the odd one out. I don’t like feeling like I’m not included because no one wants me to be. I don’t like this do they/don’t they internal struggle. I’m tired of feeling 16 when I just turned 28.
That’s quite enough, Dawson. Can we change the channel?
“Your clothes are soaked and you don’t know where to go / So drop your chin and take yourself back home / And roll out your maps and papers / Find out your hiding places again…”–Lorde, “The Love Club”
Today is my dad’s 69th birthday. I am probably the definition of a daddy’s girl. I’m crazy about my dad and I love him to pieces. He’s my best friend. As far back as I can remember he’s been my partner in crime.
My parents are twenty years apart, so my dad was 41 when I was born. His age never stopped him from chasing me in the grass in our backyard or lifting a very giggly and squirmy five-year-old Me up so that I could touch the ceiling with my fingertips (my dad is 6’4″). As I grew older, I loved sitting with him (me on the couch, Dad in his recliner) as he leisurely smoked a cigarette from his green pack of Kool 100 Super Longs and we watched old reruns of the black and white classics–to this day, I still love watching The Andy Griffith Show and Bewitched with him.
My dad would also sit and tell me and my little brother stories of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm in Morris Chapel, Tennessee and of his time spent in Cleveland at his uncle’s house. I loved hearing how life used to be in the ’40s and ’50s and looking through the old photo albums at my grandparents (my grandpa died when my dad was very young, my grandma died when I was a baby) and my great-grandparents and my great-great grandparents. My dad is predominantly Cherokee-American, so I loved seeing my great-great grandmother and her long white braid that stretched to the ground (my dad swears she lived to be 105) and my great-grandparents’ high cheekbones and stunning profiles. He graduated from high school in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and told me about the dark days of when JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm X were all assassinated. He remembers Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement and he fought in Vietnam. He’s lived through thirteen US Presidents, from FDR to Barack Obama.
He’s still as funny and as smart as when I was a little girl. It’s hard for me to think of my dad as a senior citizen, because he is anything but. He’s still the head machinist at his job. He still smokes those Kool 100s. His favorite show is The Big Bang Theory. He loves being a grandpa and a great-grandpa (I have a 28 year old niece from one of my older half-brothers. She has a little girl herself.). He still criticizes the Browns every football season (he’s a Redskins fan) and reads The Plain Dealer daily and watches Jerry Springer and Maury every day after work because their insanity makes him feel like his day couldn’t be as bad as those guests’ are. He still encourages me to live my dreams and to keep working hard. He taught me that hard work and a strong education are the two most important things that a person can have next to their family. He taught me how to play Monopoly when I was five (no hotels or houses and I always got Boardwalk and Park Place and somehow won every time) and how to dance by standing on his feet in the kitchen while “My Girl” by The Temptations played on the local oldies station. He taught me to really appreciate music and told me I got my voice from my grandma. I am incredibly lucky to have him as a dad 🙂
Happy Birthday, Daddy ❤
I went to NYC like almost a month ago.
I know. I suck. I am a procrastinating fool, and have kept my pictures to myself for nearly a month. In that month, however, life had been lived, tears had been shed, misunderstandings made, and Hurricane Sandy decided to be a bitch to pretty much everyone in somewhat close proximity to the East Coast. It was my first brush with a hurricane, and although it wasn’t actually a hurricane per se when it came ashore (Pfft to those guys at TWC–no one cares that it lost tropical characteristics right before landfall. That shit was a hurricane to me. I’m from Ohio. Trust me.), there was a lot of havoc that was wreaked and shit got crazy. Lake Erie was all over the place and I dealt roulette in the midst of a superstorm. Things may have been forgotten in the course of time. My bad.
But anyway, I went to NYC. And it was fantastic…well…kinda. it probably would have been fantastic if I hadn’t been all touristed out. So many tourists. I have never heard so many people speaking French in my life…and I live across the lake from Canada. Plus I’m short and navigating successfully through large crowds of tourists is particularly awful, especially when said tourists are rude–the actual New Yorkers that I came into contact with were actually pretty nice and I liked them a lot. Gold stars all around,🙂
I’m probably going to get some shit for this, but NYC felt a lot like Chicago…and a lot like home. I know, I know, NYC is the greatest city in the world, how the hell can I even begin to compare it to CLE? How can I even say “meh” to the glorious glittery concrete jungle that is New York City? Well…Cleveland is actually kind of architecturally similar to the Big Apple. We used to be called the Plum or something back in the day when people didn’t really make fun of us for burning rivers or shitty sports teams. They film movies here and trick you into thinking it was actually filmed in NYC. So it kind of felt like home. And Chicago. Because of the urban chicness of it all and the vastness. I don’t know…maybe I am blind. Or jaded. Or both. I don’t know.
Don’t get me wrong though. I loved a lot of it. I loved most of it. Our hotel was in Hell’s Kitchen, and I loved the area around it. We were right down the street from the Port Authority Terminal. And Papaya Dog’s papaya juice was delicious. Cornerstone Cafe in the East Village was quaint and the penne bolognese was so good. The hot dogs at Crif Dog were amazing. I loved the random $0.99 pizza shops sprinkled throughout the city, and the seemingly hundreds of delicatessens on every block. I adored the East Village and I loved that Times Square was literally a ten minute walk from our room. The Forever 21 store at Times Square was the biggest Forever 21 I’ve ever been in and the clothes were fabulous. MoMa was breathtaking. I could have spent all day at the Met. The 9/11 memorial was beautiful and silently tragic and I recommend that every American should try to go to Ground Zero and just absorb the magnitude of horror that happened there. It’s silly but I loved the sidewalks and how the concrete literally sparkled in the sunlight–I remember reading somewhere that glass was ground up into the cement so that it would sparkle. Central Park was everything I’ve ever imagined. Uniqlo was quirky, I’m so glad they have an online store now…SoHo was eclectic. The raspberry swirl cheesecake from Junior’s was so good. I did so much walking that my calves and feet were on fire by the time Sunday morning came around–I ate so much good food that even with all the walking I did, I still gained five pounds in four days. It was great. I really enjoyed myself and the time away with my boyfriend…my only regret is that we did so much touristy stuff that we didn’t get to see the city for all the brilliant little facets that make up the entire jewel of NYC, and in that we didn’t get to truly enjoy all the time we had together. I would love to go back again and see everything that we didn’t have time to see 🙂
On to the photos!
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
This is my son, Nicholas. He just turned seven last month. He loves tornadoes, Ramen noodles, and cats. He plays softball and is learning how to read. He’s never known anything except being surrounded by the people he loves.
This is because he lives in America. He will never really understand how lucky he is to be an American–I am twenty-six and am still discovering on a daily basis how lucky I am to have been born in the United States. I don’t think that most of us realize, even among the rising gas prices and political games and the unstable economy, just how incredibly lucky we actually are to live in Ohio or Indiana or Colorado or Alabama or Washington or any other of the fifty states that comprise our nation. In our country, children can be free to be children, they can be free to play out on the streets and go to school and learn without the fear of being taken from their homes and taught how to kill against their will. If Nicky had been born in Central Africa, his life would be very very different.
At what seems to us the very young and innocent age of seven is seen as the perfect age to be taught to shoot a sub-machine gun and mutilate people in the eyes of crazed warlords. In Uganda my son could be yanked from his bed in the dead of night and be forced to kill me and my family or be killed himself. He would be taken from his school, his friends, everything just to become another faceless, nameless child soldier, nothing but empty collateral to “armies” such as the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda or the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in Sierra Leone. My son would be pumped full of drugs and be promised crazy, unattainable things in return for carrying a gun that would be roughly half his size and kill innocent people. If he thought of leaving, he would be tortured or mutilated or murdered in front of his fellow “soldiers”. All at the age of seven. It disgusts me.
I watched a video earlier this evening from a nonprofit group that I have been supporting since at least 2007, Invisible Children. The nonprofit uses film to raise awareness of the abductions and abuse of children in Central Africa, namely the children recruited to serve in Joseph Kony‘s LRA. Their main goal is to capture Kony, hold him accountable for his crimes, and end the LRA. The video, “Kony 2012”, asks us to bring Kony to the forefront of our international media and asks us to use social networking, among other tactics, to help lead to the capture, arrest, and conviction of Joseph Kony. I found myself choking up several times during the thirty minute video, especially when they focused on Jacob, a Ugandan boy who had witnessed his brother killed by Kony’s regime, and Gavin, the filmmaker’s young son, who couldn’t understand why someone would have children kill.
Here is the video. It’s gone viral since its release on March 5, garnering over 44 million views on YouTube and roughly 14 million views on Vimeo:
Joseph Kony was indicted for war crimes in 2005 by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. His regime has been accused of abducting and forcing over 66,000 children to fight for the LRA since 1986. Invisible Children has called for people to come together and spread the video online and to donate to the cause. I am impressed at the speed of how the video and the message about Joseph Kony has spread. #kony2012 is one of the top trending topics on Twitter, and I have seen the video numerous times on my Facebook news feed. I hope that the actions of the people help to find Kony and bring him to justice. No child should feel like Jacob has, that maybe it would be better to be dead than to live in a world with the constant threat of evil men like Joseph Kony.
I believe that every child should get to live a childhood like my son. Every child should be able to lay their head down on their pillow at night and know that they are safe. No child deserves to become invisible.
I am a picky eater.
I always have been, I most likely always will. My list of things I won’t eat probably outnumbers the list of things that I do eat by a landslide. I’ll share a general consensus of the things that I don’t eat with you just so that you can get a ballpark estimate of the way things are for me at mealtime.
- Fish, shrimp, shark (I suppose that could be fish, but I just think it deserves its own spot on the list of things I don’t eat), mussels, oysters, clams, lobster, crab, sea urchins, porpoise (you never know)…pretty much anything that swims and/or dwells in saltwater or freshwater ecosystems. I can’t do it, it’s gross. And it smells. And I really loved The Little Mermaid and I don’t want to chance eating Sebastian or Flounder or one of Ariel’s cousins or whatever. Judge away, but you all remember what happened to that crazy French chef who tried to turn Sebastian into Ariel and Eric’s lunch. Just sayin’.
- Steak, shredded beef, cubed beef, anything that is essentially NOT ground beef. Not really sure how or why this quirk came into being, but I’ve tried steak and thought it was gross. It was too chewy. Perhaps I need to try a slab of cow that has been cooked medium well or better and slathered in cheese and bacon–the steak I had was medium rare or some shit, and was NOT delicious. Maybe I was too busy thinking about how reddish pink the piece I was chewing was, or maybe I’m just not fancy or cultured enough. I don’t know.
- Poultry. That includes chicken, duck, quail, grouse (whatever the hell that is), pheasant, Cornish hen, and turkey. Pretty much anything with wings that lays eggs. I do, however, eat eggs. But only scrambled and with cheese. No negotiations. I do remember that I used to eat Chicken McNuggets as a tot, that I adored them with sweet and sour sauce. I remember why I stopped eating them too–I was at a McDonald’s down on Euclid Avenue waaaay back when I was 4 or 5, maybe I was a little older, I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I took a bite of that crispy morsel of chicken dipped in that golden sauce and into a bone. I bit into a big hunk of chicken bone. I freaked out in a quiet fashion and spat it out into my McNugget box (I was very classeh). I remember telling my mom that I was full of chicken and just wanted my fries. But I never ever ate chicken again after that day.
- Pork. Well…I eat bacon, sausage, and bologna. And chorizo. Anything else…no dice, as Charles Bronson would say.
- Most vegetables. I will eat ketchup, potatoes, etcetera, etcetera…I’ve started this new thing where I blend up veggies and mix them with meat or whatever so that I get the nutritional benefits without actually having to see the vegetables on my plate. This goes back to an intense dinnertime showdown between five year old Me and my dad and a plate of cold and slimy Popeye spinach.
- Most fruit. I’m trying, though. I think if I can’t see it in its original form, I’m good.
I have reason to believe that I have an irrational fear of trying new foods or trying the foods listed above. I seriously freak out. I’ve smacked a fork away once or twice when faced with the seemingly inevitable prospect of trying pork ear or steamed kale or whatever. I like to think that I look like a lioness backed into a corner.
So, as I said, I’m picky. Insanely picky. My boyfriend, however, is not. He loves food, especially fish and veggies and fruit and weird grains that I’ve never heard of. We go to fancy restaurants and I think he gets embarrassed because I have to critically analyze the menu for something that I will remotely try. I unapologetically eat like a five year old. I love pasta, so usually they have something pastalicious on the menu and I just tweak it to my culinary whim. I’m sure I sound like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally when I order. I like going out with him to eat, but honestly I would just like to go to some seedy little Mexican restaurant that makes great tacos or a fabulous quirky place that makes amazing grilled cheese that rocks my world. I like simple comfort food. I may eat like a five year old, but it works for me. I like eating mac and cheese and burgers and pancakes and waffles and cookies and grilled cheese…And I do try new things, I just have to adjust them.
I’m sure it drives him crazy, I’m sure it drives everyone who has eaten with me crazy. I just like to think its another one of those quirks that makes me me. And I’m sure I’ll broaden my horizons more as I get older; I already have expanded my culinary horizons by leaps and bounds since I was five. I just need to do it on my terms.
Maybe one day I’ll just go ahead and try the Duck Meatball Soup.
I love that quote.
And how true it is. Our entire lives, from the moment we can comprehend human speech all the way through young adulthood, we are told we are special. We are told that there is no one else in the world that is exactly like us. No one has the exact same fingerprints, no one has the exact same DNA, even identical twins. We’re all different.
Except we’re not.
Especially now. We live in a generation where it’s all already been done. Hollywood, books, music, fashion, life…all been done. So we try to recycle and remake our society‘s culture, try to recreate the past in a collective mash-up of old and what we think to be new. We strive so hard to be that special kind of different that we ultimately lose touch with reality. Our desire for uniqueness has bred a generation of narcissists who are more interested in their imagined self-importance. And yet…Most of us don’t live a single unique moment in our lives.
We spend most of our time mirroring others, gauging others’ opinions of us and striving to be liked. How many women follow the actions of the Kardashians and other “reality” shows with rapt attention? How many of us spend painstaking hours following the latest trends and fashions in Hollywood, so that we can all look like generic re-creations of our favorite celebrities? How many of us regurgitate what we read in the newspaper or saw on the news and try to pass off as our own intellect? How many of us hide behind others’ words and try to make them our own, either through repetition or through our daily actions?
We all do. We mimic each other as a way of safely assimilating into society, because we all want to belong. It’s part of what makes us inherently human. We need company, and we need to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of community. The ones that think outside of the metaphorical box are thought of as weird, that there must be something wrong with the way they are wired because society doesn’t behave like that. We blend seamlessly into the background and let the ones who are “weird” really do all the living. We would rather be a community of muted shades of gray rather than change the world with our own brightness. We all tread lightly on the surface of life just so that we have a full table surrounding us on Dollar Draft Night.
My parting thought to you this morning is this: I want you, after reading this post, to ask yourself what you’ve done lately to break out of that metaphorical box of sameness and positively rock the boat. I want you to think of one positive thing that you can do today to live a life not of mimicry, not of quotations, but of your own thoughts, your own actions. What is one thing that you want to do for you, and not for the other seven billion lives on this planet? And once you think of it, please do it…because, well, we are all different, and it’s in rocking the societal boat that we can celebrate our uniqueness.
The world was changed by those who thought outside of the box.
As being a mom goes, I guess one would say that I’m not particularly very good at it.
Let me rephrase that. I am a good mom, in the actual definition of a mother. My son is pretty well adjusted and happy, he eats three meals a day, is very loved, and takes his baths and does his homework. I’m good at the parenting part. It’s this idealized notion of motherhood that I suck at.
I’m not very good at being the stereotypical idea of what a mom should be. I go on to sites like CafeMom, which I refer to as the “MySpace of Mommydom” or other “mommy friendly” blogs/sites and I’m just like wow, I really suck at this mom shit. These ladies are really on the ball when it comes to the nominees for Mom of the Year 2011. I’m not married, nor do I really have a desire to do so. I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I don’t cut my son’s sandwiches into fun little shapes with cookie cutters because A.) I would never be able to come up with something like that on my own, and B.) I think it’s a little stupid to cut my kid’s PB & J into the shape of an Easter egg just because Holy Week is right around the corner. I don’t volunteer for school related activities because I work crazy hours, so if it’s in the morning I’m usually sleeping because I’m tired from work the day before, or if it’s in the afternoon I’m trapped at work. I actually don’t really like kids that aren’t mine. I don’t make fun little crafts for Nicky to take to school because I don’t have an ounce of craftiness in my body, and I remember making fun of the kids that would bring in crafty stuff for the teacher.
I can’t sew. I’ve tried, but I can’t make cutesy blankets or scarves or whatever the hell it is that those perennially perfect moms do with their spare time. You know, the little bit of spare time they have between making amazing vegan/organic meals that they have to take pictures of to remind the moms like me how much we suck for taking our kids to McDonald’s or making them Ramen noodles for dinner, taking their kids to the 8858475484 sports practices, ballet recitals, and band rehearsals, and just being all around awesome and perfect. I’ve never made a cake from scratch or boasted about how I got this stubborn grass stain out of my husband’s khaki shorts. I don’t have time to create a beautifully elaborate scrapbook of every single memory my son and I have shared or created in the almost seven years he’s been alive. I barely have enough time to spend with him when I get home from work before it’s time for him to go to bed. I am not a domestic goddess, not by a long shot. Nor do I want to be. It actually sounds pretty damn boring.
I’m not jealous of, or threatened by these “supermoms”, the stay-at-home Wonder Women who claim to be able to change a diaper and frost a cake simultaneously. First of all, that is overwhelmingly unhygienic, and secondly, I highly doubt that they can actually do that. No, I actually think it’s pretty cool that they are so dedicated to making their husbands and children so happy. That is their life and they love it. Kudos to them. I, on the other hand, am on the other end of the spectrum. Like I said earlier, I have no desire to get married and have a huge house with a white picket fence and big backyard for my 2.5 children and my golden retriever. I have no desire to buy a minivan or discuss home decor or the amazing sale on corn at Giant Eagle. Nay. I suppose I am selfish. And lazy. And crazy independent. I’ve always been that way, though. I was the girl who didn’t want a husband or a dream house or kids. I wanted to travel the world and have ridiculous experiences to tell whenever I’d write home or visit or whatever. I didn’t want that cutesy perfect life most girls dream of, with the fairytale wedding and the Cinderella-type happy ending. I don’t even think my Barbies lived happily ever after, to be honest.
That said, however, I love my son. I love being a mom. I’ll just never be that perfect idea of what a mother should be. I’m the mom who is always late, rushing out the door in the middle of winter without my coat on, juggling my purse and coffee and coat and keys, yelling up the stairs for Nicky to hurry up, when he is actually on the porch with me, coat all zipped up and ready to go. I’m the mom who loves snuggling up with her son and watching movies. I’d rather crack jokes with Nicky and lose at Monopoly Jr. than pretend to be perfect. I’m the mom who sings silly songs at the top of her lungs and gets in tickle fights and has awesome conversations with her kid. I’m a hands on mom. I’m the mom who works six days in order to make forty hours so that she can supplement the ridiculously low child support she gets a month. I’m the mom who toughs it out and still lives at home because she has the common sense to know that she can’t do it alone. I’m pretty proficient in self-sacrifice.
I think, actually, that this alleged “Supermom” that seems to exist only on CafeMom and these other peachy keen mommy sites is just a myth. It’s easier to sound perfect when you’re behind a computer screen and no one is actually there to back you up. I’m willing to wager that 85% of the moms in the world are like me–imperfect and fun and nowhere near the stereotype from the 1950s. I’m pretty sure that I’m the definition of a real mom, and I’m okay with it. Just don’t ask me my thoughts on matching wall paint colors with curtains and upholstery. You’ll get a blank stare 😛
Merry Christmas!!! I hope Santa was good to all of you…I guess Santa did not read my blog in time, because Alex O’Loughlin was not under my tree. Damn. Oh well, there’s always next year, hahaha.
And holy Reddit, Batman!!! I signed up for Reddit last night and posted the link to this little gem of blog fabulosity. I currently have gotten 98 hits in the past 24 hours. Um, that is pretty splendid. And to all the people who have followed the link here to Chasing Lala, I say thank you and if you like what you see, please follow by email or click the sweet little Facebook “like” button on the right side of this blog to head on over to the Chasing Lala Facebook page. I appreciate you checking my blog out, and feel free to come back again!
In the light of today being Christmas, I figured I’d share some little holiday factoids with y’all, courtesy of Random Facts:
- In A.D. 320, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.
- Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.
- In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.
- Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
- Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836. Oklahoma was the last U.S. state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1907.
- Because they viewed Christmas as a decadent Catholic holiday, the Puritans in America banned all Christmas celebrations from 1659-1681 with a penalty of five shillings for each offense. Some Puritan leaders condemned those who favored Christmas as enemies of the Christian religion.
- Christmas has its roots in pagan festivals such as Saturnalia (December 17-December 23), the Kalends (January 1 -5, the precursor to the Twelve Days of Christmas), and Deus Sol Invictus or Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun (December 25). The Christians church heartily disapproved of such celebrations and co-opted the pagans by declaring December 25 as Christ’s day of birth, though there is no evidence Christ was born on that day.
- Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nikolas of Myra (also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Bishop Saint Nicholas of Smyrna, and Nikolaos of Bari), who lived during the fourth century. Born in Patara (in modern-day Turkey), he is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint, and artists have portrayed him more often than any other saint except Mary. He is the patron saint of banking, pawnbroking, pirating, butchery, sailing, thievery, orphans, royalty, and New York City.
Merry Christmas ❤ Here’s a little Josh Groban for you all to enjoy 🙂