Thursday, January 29, 2015

There's this thing called Weight

I got off really easy for the first 24 years of my life. In regards to body weight, that is. I had other body image issues, but a naturally good metabolism and being constantly nauseated in my early twenties kept me on the low end of the ideal weight for my height. I wore size 6, then size 8 jeans pretty consistently for years. (There was one point when I was so sick, I was underweight. That was scary.)

Then something happened. I don't know if it was getting married, being happy and healthy more often than sick, hitting the 25 mark, or just indulging in too much sugar on my first year living away from my parents, but everything changed. I gave up wearing jeans for months because none of mine came close to fitting me. I tried to loose weight, but kept getting sick too consistently to manage a solid exercise routine.

On Tuesday, I was in a thrift store and decided enough was enough. I needed new jeans, time to try and find some that fit. I ended up with one really stretchy size 10... and one not so stretchy size 14. I also realized that the new weight was consistently in my tummy. I no longer have the teeny almost Scarlett o'Hara waist of my younger years - and I don't have the excuse of prior pregnancy.

And yes, I KNOW I look thin. Thin arms, narrow shoulders, long legs, and curves a Victorian would envy. It's an illusion, folks. I have a friend who is five months pregnant and my tummy is almost the size of hers - and I'm definitely not pregnant.

I haven't given up hope entirely. Being sick and unable to regularly exercise is something I can't control any more than I am already doing. I have great confidence that my body will continue to heal and eventually I'll be able to trim some of that fat away... but I have no idea how long that will be.

I'm not writing this to complain. I'm writing it to say that "I get it now." I get why telling a lady who has mathematically irrefutable too much weight "you look great!" can either come as a compliment, or can be frustrating because what you want is not affirmation, but rather recognition of an issue you are struggling with. Today I don't want compliments. Today I want recognition.

Nor am I looking for suggestions of what else I could do. I've got a good health support team and right now fixing my health has to come first and that will solve part of the weight problem and allow the exercise problem. (Yes, I am really cutting down on sugar and dairy, and I'm trying to trim out as much excess grain consumption as I can. Yes, I eat good fats and stay away from bad ones. Yes, I try to move and not sit in front of the computer all day - costuming is actually pretty physically demanding).

Some of you will read this and most likely be annoyed because you're dealing with even larger size issues. I understand this - I feel the same way when someone with a DD cup complains about being 'too big'. But I try to be understanding of their issues, even if they're smaller than mine, and I'm thankful that they understand my struggles as well, even on a lesser scale. I hope that this 'confession' of mine will do the same for you.

This isn't a fun experience, but I do appreciate that it's bringing me greater understanding for the struggles so many of my friends have dealt with for years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Social Media Status Check

I'm trying to wean myself (a little bit) from social media. Not because I think it's bad - it's actually been a huge lifesaver with my hearing loss - but because I'm getting just a bit more addicted to it than I'm okay with, and my hands are paying the cost.

You see, a year ago I finally caved and bought a smart phone. I adore it and it has made my life easier in so many ways. However, I tend to stay up late scrolling through Facebook after I've gone through bed, and that is not good for my sleep cycle and definitely not good for my fingers. Ugh. My fingers!

Also, I'm trying to just stay away from controversial subjects even more. I always do that, but it's hard because people can get offended by just about anything on the internet, no matter how innocent it seems, and without being able to see each other face to face, it's a ripe ground for misunderstandings. I just don't have the emotional energy for that right now.

So the plan is:

  • Less engagement with potentially tricky topics
  • Less bedtime phone use
  • Less typing/more voice recognition for texting if I can figure out how to make that work.
I'm also trying not to define myself by the photos on my instagram. I adore instagraming. It might be my new favorite social media app. But it is much too easy to become obsessed with sharing and getting likes on my life. It's not a bad thing to enjoy that, but I can't let it take over me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Your son has Captain America. Will your daughter have Peggy Carter?

We love Steve Rogers. Not because he's a superhero, but because he's the shrimpy guy that jumps on the bomb to save his friends when they're all running away. Because he's kind and honorable, brave and true. He's the boy next door and he's the epitome of a hero. He's the fictional role modal you want your sons to have, and the type of man you want your daughters to marry.
But your girls don't just need a future husband to dream about, they need a role model of their own. The good news is that they're finally getting a great one, but they won't find her on the big screen. Which is a good thing because, while a decent character in "Captain America: The First Avenger," Peggy doesn't shine out the way Steve does - and that's okay, it's Steve's movie. And it's a war movie and Peggy is in the army, so of course she is overcompensating in being detached and sharp and maintaining the respect of those under her command. However, most of us want a role model for our girls that can be soft and feminine as well as strong (mentally and physically) and brave, and thankfully we're getting a second chance with Peggy.

It's becoming very true of our times that female characters are treated better on the small screen. It's probably not terribly surprising, given that the longer format allows them to get more fleshed out, and male characters tend to get handled better in a short format (and of course when it comes to the big bucks, studios still feel it takes a man to headline). Peggy is no exception, and from episode one she steps out of the shadow of Captain America and becomes a fully fleshed out character - not just the capable officer we saw in theaters, but a smart intelligent woman who is struggling to use her talents in a masculine world - without losing her own sense of femininity.

The Peggy we see here is not just a soldier, or even a smart spy, she is also a loving, and selfless person. She longs for friends, but dare not let herself get too close to anyone, for fear of putting them in danger. And - (slight spoiler) - although she has every reason to resent a boorish coworker who has repeatedly treated her with disrespect, she instead is shaken and saddened by his death, giving him credit as being good at his job and mourning his passing. This is important because it not only shows her as being every bit as good a person as Steve, but it also shows that she can allow herself to have these 'softer' feelings. She works in a job that demands a certain masculinity to survive and it's no wonder that sometimes she has to suppress certain emotions in order to succeed at saving lives - but she can release them when necessary. She can embrace her femininity.
 The show doesn't throw over men either - although many of Peggy's coworkers are more than a little chauvinistic, every one of them is balanced by a man who treats Peggy with respect as an equal (or in Jarvis's case, as a superior) and is a strong character in his own right. Howard Stark is a playboy, but he knows that Peggy is the only person who can save him and he trusts her with his life. Jarvis starts out as a typical "English Butler" but we quickly learn that there is a lot more to him than meets the eye - in a good way. He and Agent Daniel Sousa are the type of heroes that your sons will be - the ones not given super serum but nonetheless risking their lives to save the world, and treating others with kindness and respect along the way.

Furthermore, Peggy isn't just a good role model or a well written and engaging character - she is also a solid representation of a healthy female body. In fact, her friend Angie who is the more typically 'ideal' thin woman appears slightly faded and undernourished next to Peggy's glowing and robust figure. I don't mean that Peggy herself is what every woman should look like, indeed, every woman should look like herself because we are meant to be a varied world! But rather it is extremely healthy for our young woman to see a heroine, and specifically an action heroine, who has appropriate body thickness for her muscle and is not afraid to embrace her curves (but not inappropriately flaunt them, unless necessary for saving lives).

I am so thrilled that these eight episodes of "Agent Carter" exist and that Nathan and I will be able to share them with our children someday, and that both our sons and daughters will have a female role model like Peggy in addition to a male role model like Steve. But ABC is reporting that ratings have been less than strong for the show, and that makes me sad. Although originally advertised as a "mini series" there is in fact the possibility for a second season - not to mention further shows with characters like Peggy if it does well. However, if viewership doesn't pick up soon, this won't happen. (Legal online viewing is still not as good as watching on TV, but it's counting more now and since many of us don't have TVs, we have to make do)

Our children will come into a world that already has a lifetime of Captain America stories. But will they have more than half a season of Peggy Carter?

Monday, January 19, 2015

So, if you're looking for some new blogs to read...

So, I'm sharing this because if a friend hadn't specifically let me know, I would have had no idea that I'd been nominated. I'm not asking you to run over and vote for me, but rather letting my readers know (especially my Catholic ones) that there is something called the Sheenazing Awards (in honor of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen) and there are a lot of cool blogs being nominated and even if voting isn't your thing, it might be a fun way to find some new blogs.

(I don't even know if I'll vote, because the New Wave Feminists have been nominated in the same category as myself and I'd feel rather silly voting for myself over them. But I've got a few friends nominated as well and I at least ought to support them, so... we'll see.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

One Year since we put on the rings...

It's been a year since I married my best friend and love of my life. I may not be feeling quite as bad as I was then, but ironically  I am sick once again on January 17th... but thankfully my man is still by my side. 

No long wordy post today, since I'm saving my energy for enjoying my time with Nathan, but I would like to share again some of our favorite photos from the day.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Little Thoughts on Literal Conversations with God

I don't really understand how I could feel so tired all day yesterday (cold/sinus infection), but spend an hour and a half laying wide awake after turning the light off last night. I finally gave up and just took some Zzzzzquil because I need the sleep to get better, but first I spent lots of time thinking about random stuff.

One thought that came across my mind was that I felt bad for God because he couldn't actually hold a two-way conversation with us. (Yeah, I was tired, okay? even though I couldn't actually sleep). Then I thought - "wait, why am I feeling bad for God? He's GOD. He's got the power to do anything. If he wanted to just talk to us, he could."

Then I thought about that some more. Our sin separated us from God in the Garden of Eden. God can't walk with us day to day anymore. And quite honestly, if he were to start speaking directly to us, most of us would probably have a major freak out! We'd think we were possessed or going crazy, right? I mean, it's no wonder the first thing any angel says in the Bible when making earthly visitations is "Fear not!"

So God speaks in the small ways to us, and that doesn't make for tremendously satisfying communication on this side... and though I'm no theologian, I rather imagine that God is also looking forwards to the day when we're all up in Heaven and he can have a proper two-way conversation with each of us where we can't mistake exactly what his saying (or pretend we don't hear).

Friday, January 9, 2015

"Agent Carter" is a quick love (for girls, at least)

I've been under the weather with a nasty cold (or something) this week, so doing tons of writing hasn't really been in the cards for me. Especially cuz the cold comes with achy joints, which are messing with my already messed up fingers. But I just have to rave a little bit about "Agent Carter."
Oh man I am just so in love with this show. Vintage espionage with an awesome female heroine who is both strong and feminine and has a fantastic wardrobe to boot? Delightful supporting cast containing the original Jarvis (who reminds me of a Buffy-Era Wesley, only braver) and Victor from Dollhouse (only he's calling himself Daniel Sousa now)? It's a marriage of everything I love and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Interestingly, the only negative notes I've seen so far have come from males. Which is a whole 'nother issue on it's own, but the girls seem pretty united in loving this show.

One thing that both my sister and I noticed and appreciated right away is how Peggy Carter sports a figure that is both fit and feminine - curvy, with meat on her bones, yet completely healthy. She doesn't look like a model, she looks like an ordinary woman - and she wears it with pride. She's gorgeous, and she's inspiring. And really, it's amazing how sexy she made wide leg slacks look during episode 1's action sequence! (Okay, okay, I did post on the other blog about her clothes, I'll stop over here).

I mentioned to a friend that "Agent Carter" ironically is a more typical "Joss Whedon" show than "Agents of SHIELD" even though Whedon isn't actually involved with this one. And yet it carries a sensibility that you so often find on Whedon shows, and is likely to make this miniseries a favorite of his fans.

Anyhow, I can hardly wait until next week to see more awesome costu--- er, I mean, characters and adventures.