Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stop the Shaming

Renee Zellweger is ALL over the web since her appearance at Monday's Elle Women in Hollywood event. There are many speculating that she has had plastic surgery of some sort. Others are saying she looks different than she did in Jerry Maguire and Bridget Jones because those movies first came out 18 and 13 years ago, respectively and, at 45-years-old, she is bound to look different than she did in her late-twenties/early-thirties.

Renee Zellweger at Monday's Elle Women in Hollywood event (left) 
and in 1998 at a movie premier (right).

Why does everyone care so much? Leave the woman alone. She claims she didn't have any work done and that she is glad people are noticing a difference in her appearance. She says her new look is due to a "happy, healthy lifestyle" and not surgery. I say more power to her. Who am I to judge if she has procedures to try and prolong her youth or not? To each their own.

Personally, I am not a fan of plastic surgery and I don't foresee myself ever getting a facelift, but that is my own personal preference. Do I think it is a shame that so many women feel the need to go under the knife for reasons of vanity? Yes, I do. I think it is sad when a woman doesn't feel like she can age gracefully and has to try and hang on to that last sliver of youth. I think it is worse when a perfectly beautiful young woman gets rhinoplasty to give herself the "perfect" nose. What I don't do is judge them or shame them for making those choices.

We all make decisions in life for different reasons. No one knows exactly what another person has going on within themselves that makes them choose what they do. Maybe that young girl was made fun of for the tiny bump in the bridge of her nose and is finally able to do something about it. Maybe the older woman is afraid her spouse won't find her desirable anymore if she has wrinkles. Many will say "shame on the bullies or the spouse for making her feel that way". But who will ultimately be shamed? The women.

I am so tired of the double standard that is out there when it comes to women.

Woman gets raped...she asked for it by wearing a short skirt.

Wife gets's her fault for staying with the guy.

Girl loses too much weight...she looks unhealthy.

Girl gains too much weight...she looks unhealthy.

Lady gets plastic surgery...she's pathetic or sad for trying to hang on to her youth.

When is it going to stop? When are we all going to quit being such judgmental assholes? When are we going to end sensationalizing what celebrities do with their faces, victim-blaming those who are abused and shaming women for their weight?

It is 2014, people! We have terrorist threats, deadly disease outbreaks, girls being kidnapped from schools and children being sold into sex slavery. Grow the fuck up. Get the fuck over what someone chooses to wear, weigh or do with their face.

Yes, it is sad that our children have to grow-up in a society so self absorbed and appearance-oriented. But that's the way it is. I don't want my girls growing up thinking they have to be "perfect" or my son growing up thinking his significant other should look like someone out of a magazine. I'm also not going to rely on celebrities to raise my children and I will teach them to be kind, decent human beings. I am going to try and instill values in them that help them look past all the bullshit and see people for who they truly are, not what they look like. I am also realistic and I know my kids will want to be pretty or handsome and, as with the rest of us, appearance will play a part in who they choose as a partner.

What I won't do is criticize my, or anyone else's, appearance in front of my kids. I will not shame someone because their shit-head spouse hit them and they didn't get themselves out of that environment. I won't teach my son that women who wear revealing clothes are "asking for it". I will not lead my girls to believe that what they weigh determines their self-worth.

I don't know what goes on behind those people's closed doors any more than you do. We don't know what makes people do the things they do, wear the clothes they wear or stay in an abusive relationship. Who are we to judge? Almost all of us change our appearance in some way or another on a daily basis. We wear clothes that are slimming or accentuate certain features, blow-dry and style our hair, wear makeup and pluck our eyebrows. Who are we to judge someone for changing the way they look. We're all guilty of it in varying different degrees.

Maybe we should spend as much time teaching our young to be accepting of others, and less time criticizing each other.

Monday, October 20, 2014

7 Reasons My Kids Are A**holes

My kids are assholes.

There. I said it. God, it feels good to get that off my chest! I'm sure no one else knows what I mean. I'm sure your kids aren't assholes. Now, don't get me wrong, I adore them all, it I'm sure Ted Bundy's mother loved him, too.

Sometimes I look around at my five (yes, I said five) and think, what the hell am I doing here? This isn't my life! I drift off to a place where I can sleep in as late as I want, I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and I can watch whatever I want without worrying if it is "appropriate". I can go lunching with friends, travel, go to concerts and late-night dinner parties without having to find a babysitter. I can leave the house the first time I get in the car, not the 26th time after I remember something else I need for the kids while we're out. I can say fuck as often as I want without having to change it to fudge as it escapes my lips.

And then the baby screams "NO" at me again and I'm suddenly jolted awake and back to reality.

1) They're always hungry. With a minimum of three out of my five kids in the house at any given time, there is always one that wants feeding. They never want to eat at the same time. Ten minutes after two of them have finished their cereal, another wants eggs. Then ten minutes later, the first two want eggs "because their cereal didn't fill them up". Assholes.

2) They won't voluntarily help each other. I swear, I have never met a bunch of children more unwilling to help each other. One of them will step over a sock belonging to her sister and walk all the way into the living room just to tell her that there is a sock of hers on the floor. God forbid she just pick the sock up and put it in the laundry hamper. I am convinced this is a snowball effect, and I keep trying to explain this to them. How many times do I have to tell them that if they would all start helping each other out, it will be contagious and they'll all get along so much better! Assholes.

3) They won't stop growing. I just bought one of the girls a new pair of sneakers two months ago. She's worn them four times at the most. Now they are too small for her and I have to buy her new ones. Their feet keep getting bigger, their legs keep getting longer, their clothes and shoes keep getting smaller (along with my bank account). Assholes.

 4) They ignore each other. The boy could ask one of the girls a question and I'll hear him all the way from the other room, yet the girl won't answer. She will 100% ignore him. I know she heard him because she is sitting 2 feet away from him and I can hear him from 30 feet away, through a wall. He'll repeat himself three times before I finally get up and go in there. As soon as the girl sees me she looks at him with wide eyes and says "huh? What did you say?" Nice try, sweet cheeks, you're not fooling anyone. Assholes.

5) They are constantly in competition with each other. I am the first to say a little healthy competition is good for anyone. It can help someone strive to be a little bit better at whatever it is they're doing. What I will never understand is why they compete over who was first to finish their chicken wings; who the baby looked at first when she woke up from her nap; how many times they blink in a minute. My personal favorite is competing over who knows more words to a song on the radio. Without fail, a song will come on in the car and two of them will ask the others if they know the words to it. Then they will all proceed to sing as loud as they can, only they mumble half of the words but then get mad when someone says they don't know the song. Assholes.

6) They complain about everything. My husband has two kids form his first marriage, I have two from my first marriage and we have one child together. We have our weekend schedule set so we have all five of them on the same weekends. My stepdaughters live three hours away so that is the only time we see them, other than during holidays. Because of that, we like to schedule fun things to do with them on the weekends they are all with us. Take this weekend, for example. We decided to take them to the local pumpkin festival. We've done it every year for the past five. Yesterday, we were walking from the car to the festival and they were already complaining that their feet hurt, they were too hot, the grass was poking their feet through their shoes, they were name it, they complained. Had we decided to stay home and not go anywhere, they would have complained that they were bored. Someone always has an arm that hurts, or a bug bite that itches, or a growing pain in their pinky toe. Complaints. Constantly. Assholes.

7) They get off on scaring the crap out of me. Really, any chance they can get. They jump out from behind the corner when I'm walking down the hallway. The boy waits until I am right up to his face in the morning when I try to gently wake him up and he suddenly flips over and yells "aaaarrgrgrggggghhhhhh!" Like some sort of demented pirate. Or my personal favorite, when they leave things like giant spiders and mini alligators in random places. Assholes.

So there you have it. My kids are assholes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Whose Boobs Are They, Anyway?

I was holding the 14-month-old when she simultaneously looked at me and squeezed my right boob.

"What are you doing?" I asked. She grinned and did it again.

"Please don't squeeze my boob." I said. I was met with her inquisitive "what do you mean, yours?" look.

I put her down with her toys and my mind wandered.

Are they mine?

I've had boyfriends refer to them as "theirs". I've had 3 babies claim them as their own while breastfeeding.

They certainly don't look like mine. My boobs are perky C-cups that sit where they're supposed under my tube-top, without the aid of a bra. I cupped my breasts through my t-shirt and pushed them up; they still didn't look right. I used to be able to go bra-less all the time but wouldn't dare now, at least not out of the house, with nipples that point down to the ground like a dog who's nursed one-to-many pups.

My best friend and I used to take our bras off and wave them out the sunroof as we drove past truckers. They would honk, wave, smile, give us the thumbs-up, and they never actually saw anything. It was the idea that we were driving around bra-less that drove them crazy!

I went to Mardis Gras one year and came home with more beads than anyone would know what to do with. I even got a string of $15 blinking palm trees for free for flashing the street vendor. He could have bought lunch with that $15, but he took a 10 second flash of boob instead. I'm amazed at the power of the boob, able to keep a child alive and bring a man to his knees. There should be more female world-leaders so we could stamp out hunger and negotiate world-peace by wearing a tight shirt.

I'm fascinated by the mixed reactions we get over bewbies. Saunter around on the beach with little more than a Hershey's Kiss-sized triangle of material covering the nipples and everyone is tripping over themselves, wiping drool off their chins. Try to discretely nurse your baby under a cover and get kicked out of the restaurant/store/bowling alley you're in.

Turn on any TV channel, open any fashion magazine or walk through any mall and you are going to see boobs plastered all over the place, and not discreetly. Funny thing is, they aren’t being advertised for what they were intended for - nourishing offspring. They’re in underwear, bathing suits or covered only with the model’s own arm.

Who gives anyone the right to tell me what I can and cannot do with MY body? If I want to wear a low cut top with cleavage spilling out, so be it. If I want to breastfeed my child in public, so be it. Why does curmudgeonly old pervert or "Sally Stick-Up-Her-Ass" get to decide what is appropriate? Who decided that nursing a baby in public is “disgusting” or “off putting”? Who the hell gets off telling a woman she has to feed her baby in a public restroom? Fuck you. I didn’t ask you to take your steak into the can and I can see more of your wife’s tits in that dress she’s wearing than you will see of mine feeding my child.

Isn't it about time we stop shaming women for the choices they make, whether it is breastfeeding or wearing revealing clothes? I allowed myself to second guess my right to breastfeed in public because I was making others "uncomfortable". I shouldn't have. After all, they are MY boobs.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Secret Subject Swap - Dreams

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap

The subject I was given is: "Describe one of your strangest dreams and find a life lesson out of the hogwash." It was submitted by:


noun, often attributive \ˈdrēm\
: a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep

When I first read my topic for this month's Secret Subject Swap, I was all: "Say what? This is hard! How the heck am I going to narrow it down to one of my whacked out dreams?" So I'm not going to limit it to one, I'm going to tell you about four weird-ass dreams I have had.

I've had many strange dreams during the course of my life. Some of them include: not being able to get bubble gum out of my mouth; the feeling that I'm falling; being chased and I can't scream; pushing a baby around in a stroller in heavy traffic. I decided I would tackle finding out what each of those dreams represents and maybe learn a little about myself along the way.

The bubble gum dream is 
a reoccurring dream I have had since high school. In this dream, I am chewing gum and decide I don't want any more. I try to take it out of my mouth but I can't get it all. It gets stuck around my teeth and I feel like I'm pulling strings of it from the back of my throat, strands of Big League Chew. Not matter how much I pull, it just keeps coming. I start getting panicky, like I can't breathe, and I eventually wake up. I never get all the gum out. 

When I was looking into what this could mean, I came across this description: "Dreaming of chewing gum that grows out of proportion and even though you take it out, it still continues to happen, can be seen as you having to censor your words. The act of chewing can relate to your attempt to say things in a way where others can swallow them (accept them). Yet, the gum grows and that signifies that there are many things unsaid (that are getting out of proportion). The gum being in your mouth and increasing in size can also signify an obstruction that you're dealing with. Since we eat and talk with our mouths, the obstruction can relate to you expressing yourself freely as well as your livelihood being threatened (food is sustenance and if your mouth is filled with gum, you can't take in food)."

This makes a lot of sense to me. I have never been confrontational, in fact, if anything I have been more of a people pleaser. I find it easier to go with the flow than to try and fight the current. I have been somewhat hesitant to be open and honest with regards to my childhood and some of the things I remember. I would rather skirt around the issues and pretend they didn't happen than risk the wrath of the people they involved. The part about censoring my words and not expressing myself freely makes total sense here. I suppose, if I want to stop having dreams that I'm choking on gum, I should confront the issues that I've been suppressing all these years. (Easier said than done.)

Another dream I have had more than once is the dream that I am falling. In one article I read, the falling dream means that "something in your life — finances, a relationship, career, etc. — is rapidly going in the wrong direction. It means it is time to redirect the situation immediately! Falling dreams are also common for people who suffer from depression." Suddenly it is all becoming so clear! My life always seems to be disorderly in one way or another; finances are constantly up and down and I've certainly had my fair share of screwy relationships! I also come from a family with a history of depression and battle with it myself. I can definitely see how that out of control feeling of falling and helplessness goes hand-in-hand with things that may be seem unmanageable in my life. Lesson learned: get my shit together.

The third dream I looked into is one where I'm being chased and, no matter how hard I try, I can not scream. My mouth is open and I am screaming as loud as possible, only it comes out as more of a whisper, or like I have a cold and lost my voice. According to what I read, "feelings like anxiety, anger, hatred and jealousy could trigger chase dreams. In essence you are running away rather than confronting an issue...You are trying to avoid an unpleasant situation, something that you are not ready to confront..." and dreams where you scream but no sound comes out may be a sign that "you are unable to speak up and defend yourself in this particular waking life situation." 

I suffer from anxiety and I know there have been times when I have been angry, jealous or felt hatred for one reason or another. I can't pinpoint exactly what triggered this dream, it seems like it could be anything. Not being able to scream really makes sense with how it ties into my inability to speak up about things. If I could just figure out what it is that I should be speaking up about. (Maybe it's that childhood stuff again.)

The final dream I researched I have only had once and I remember exactly when I had it, unlike the others. I dreamt I was walking down a busy street, pushing a baby in a stroller. Traffic zooming past me, left and right. No matter where I turned, I couldn't get out of it. This article states that "babies can symbolize a literal desire to produce offspring, or your own vulnerability or need to feel loved. They can also signify a new start." At the time I had this dream I had just met the man who would later become my first husband and father to two of my children. We hadn't known each other long but we were already talking about me moving from Tallahassee to Jacksonville to be with him (new beginning). 

I had recently broken up with a boyfriend who went all psycho on me at the end. We had gotten pregnant and we made the heart wrenching decision that a baby wasn't right for either of us at that point in our lives. After that, he became incredibly clingy and I felt like I couldn't breath. I was struggling myself, mourning our decision and riding a wretched wave of guilt and regret. When I broke it off with him he would leave horrible, hurtful messages on my home phone and I would end up having to turn my cell phone off because he wouldn't stop calling it. It was a tough time for both of us but the hurtful things he said really left me feeling totally unloved and vulnerable. I believe the baby dream represented a combination of the new start that had presented itself to me, the desire I had within to have a baby with the right person and at the right time, and also wanting to feel loved after being so badly hurt.

What did I learn from all this? I need to be more outspoken and stand up for myself and things I believe in. I need to take control of my life, be it finances, relationships or my depression and anxiety and not allow myself to be intimidated into keeping quiet. 

Should be easy enough...

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there: