Category:

Girl Mom

#yesAllWomen, Elliot Rodger, women's issues, misogyny, sexism, rape, shooting spree

I had no idea that #YesAllWomen movement began this weekend. I spent the weekend with my family, celebrating my daughter’s 7th birthday. Her birthday was Wednesday and we were busy every single day until her birthday party held on Saturday. 15 tiny, beautiful little girls surrounded me; little girls who still think they can do and be anything. They giggled and laughed and we played and had cake and I had no idea about what had just happened with Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old student at the University of California Santa Barbara.He went on a shooting spree and killed 6 people before killing himself.

In the weeks leading up to the killings, Rodger posted a series of angry, bathetic YouTube videos and a hundred-and-thirty-seven-page autobiographical “manifesto,” declaring his hatred of all women for the rejection and disdain he claims they dealt him throughout his life.

I had no idea that there were other mothers who were mourning the loss of their daughters for no other reason than a mad man who felt that women deserved to die because they had rejected him. Misogyny is running rampant and no one is stopping it. Not anyone in specific, just all women in general and even men just for having sex when he was having none. This was avoidable, had anyone cared to listen. If anyone ever cared enough to listen when people ask for help.

Director Peter Rodger and his wife Moroccan-born French actress Soumaya Akaaboune said through their lawyer that they contacted police several weeks ago after seeing a series of YouTube videos their son posted which made references to suicide and murder.

I blissfully unaware soaked in every moment of my time with those girls on that beautiful Saturday in May. Not until tonight, when the girls have all gone home and my littlest girl is snuggled in bed tight next to me did I see the story and watch the video and here I sit ugly crying. Not because I am scared for my girls, for all girls, but because I am mad. I am fucking pissed off. What gave him the right? Who’s protecting our daughters?

 

What a spoiled, disgusting animal Elliot Rodger was. He thought like so many other men that women are here solely for his pleasure and when they did not accommodate he decided that they must face a day of retribution and annihilation for no other sin than being born with a vagina. This spoiled child made himself, judge, jury and executioner.

The sad fact is that the world is full of men who feel indignantly wronged by women who dare refuse them. There are men that feel that women owe them everything from their time, to their love to their very life. There are men who feel like we owe them our hearts, our bodies and our respect but they don’t feel that they need to give those things in return. In some men’s eyes, women are no better than property; a piece of furniture, a toy or an old sock. We belong to them. We belong to the world that doesn’t respect us, value us or love us enough to fight for us and they have beaten us down for so long that we let them without so much as batting an eye.

We do not buck and strain and resist, we passively walk with our heads down, quickly out of harms way for fear that what lies between our legs makes us a willing participant in the victimization of our own flesh. We can’t walk alone in the dark or leave a drink to pee. We can’t smile at a man without him taking it as consent to have his way with us. This is nothing new. Most men believe it; women accept it and it sucks for all of us.  I am a mother of daughters and I refuse to accept this fucked up status quo. This is my line in the sand. I say no more.

I do not want another little girl to go through life running from men for fear that they will be attacked. We cannot raise our girls to believe that what they wear or say or drink makes victimization their fault. We cannot accept fear as normal. We need to teach our girls to be strong; to fight back, to stand up and to value themselves for who they are, not what lies between their legs.

Sexism is nothing new; the ideas that perpetuate systematic marginalization, outright violence towards women, rape culture, and the demonization of women who dare to stand up for themselves has been around since the beginning of time. A strong woman is a threat. A strong woman is too much trouble. Women are here to be seen and not heard, to service men in every way; this is what some believe. Not me. I am a fucking human being and I am sick of everybody from the UPS guy to the local preacher to the old man on the golf course and every single stinking asshole who ever pushed up on me in a bar in between who thinks they have the right to use women and abuse women because we are here for their disposal.

He wanted to abolish sex, thereby equalizing men and ridding society of women’s manipulative and bestial natures, and to lock women in concentration camps so they would die out. (“I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die,” he wrote. “If I can’t have them, no one will, I imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair in this world, and in order to make this world a fair place, women must be eradicated.”) His idea was to imprison a few select women in a lab, where they would be artificially inseminated to propagate the species.

We have all endured catcalls and men openly touching themselves in front of us while licking their lips like we were steak. I’ve personally had strange men expose themselves to me in broad daylight, men I dated force my hand and my head to places I didn’t want to go, had male employers corner me in small solitude rooms and make unwanted advances. I’ve had drunken frat boys try to force me out of my clothes, put their hands up my skirt and drunkenly dry hump me in plain sight. No one helped. I’ve dated men who kept pushing past where I felt comfortable and didn’t care that I said stop. It breaks off little pieces of your self-esteem, it chisels away at your sense of safety and soon you feel as worthless as they make you believe that you are. When I’ve spoken up for myself, I’ve been called a cunt, a bitch, a tease and a dike because if I didn’t submit to their will then obviously it was because something was wrong with me.

I have held my breath and my tongue more times than I can count and I can’t anymore. What Elliot Rodger did was shocking but not surprising. I watched his video and physically became ill at the callousness with which he spoke of massacring women because he felt rejected and alone. He had no care for their lives, it was completely narcissistic and outrageously removed from humanity. He equated women with animals to be slaughtered and why wouldn’t he? Our own government has done so on several occasions.

Look at us. See us! We are people. We are not property. We are not animals. We are not inanimate objects put on this earth solely to bend to the will of man. We are more than sperm receptacles and objects of desire. We have thoughts, dreams, goals, wants and needs. It frightens me that this man did this with no remorse, no second thoughts. It was like a spoiled child who wanted a piece of candy and had been denied and decided that the entire population needed to be eradicated because he was mildly inconvenienced. Worse still, he is not the first who has done this and he will not be the last. This makes me sadder than any words could ever convey.

When you lie awake and think about the horrors this man wanted to inflict on women, please remember that #YesAllWomen matter.

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Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Today, I wrote a love letter to my daughter on her 7th birthday. My Gabi, my last baby turns 7-years-old. She is sort of amazing. I look at her and I can’t believe how much she has changed in 7 short years. She is nowhere near the chubby, 8 pounds 6 ounces, full head of black curly hair baby that I delivered who looked up with those giant big blue eyes and melted my heart. She stopped me in my tracks. That baby girl took my breath away and stole my heart forever. My love for my girls is immeasurable. Every year I try to quantify it for them in some way in a post, a love letter to my child, but it always falls short because how can you express the true meaning of to the moon and back plus infinity with all that I am or will ever be? It’s the kind of all-consuming love that hurts.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Five year-old

Today, the tall, waif-thin little girl with scraped knees and long flowing strawberry blonde hair with those same big blue eyes that make my heart happy is constantly changing. The freckles that kiss the tops of her cheeks beg me to kiss them and commit them to memory because at this moment, I know, she is changing, evolving, every single second. I breathe in deep and I inhale this moment, this child that she is right this minute. This same child who runs hot and cold at all times, the one who is so passionate about her convictions that sometimes she gets in her own way. How I adore her verve for life.

This is my love letter for your 7th year.

Gabs,

You came into my world and have been my happiness ever since. Your smiles soothe me, your tears tear me down and your sadness destroys me. Your laughter is contagious and infectious and can heal the world. On this 7th anniversary of the day you were born, my beautiful, amazing girl, I wish you a lifetime of the same wholehearted, all in love that you give to others.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

You are moody and broody and artistic and funny and vibrant and in total living Technicolor. You are a rainbow and a unicorn and all that the world has to offer that is good. You are shy and that scares me because the thought of you feeling unsure breaks my heart because I can’t fix this for you. But I am here, for today and for always, to hold your hand, to wipe away the tears and yes, to kick anyone’s ass my mama bear heart needs to. You drive me crazy with your independence when it’s in direct opposition to my plan but, inside, I am so proud of you for standing your ground.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to My Tween

I love that you stick up for what you believe in and for the underdog. I love your stubbornness and your follow through. I love that your heart compels you to get involved when you see a homeless person, sick person or a sad child. I love you for being exactly who you are and I would never change a thing about that. You are the perfect you in every way.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

 

I celebrate you and all that you have become today and I celebrate the day that I met one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known. I wish you a lifetime of love and acceptance of yourself, I want you to see and love yourself the way I see you; perfect, just the way you are.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Happiest 7th Birthday, my sweet baby girl, with the giant heart. Mommy loves you to the moon and back plus infinity and beyond. Oops, gotta go kiss someone, it’s her birth minute.

XOXO

When was the last time you wrote a real, handwritten love letter?

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fairy, humor, explaining puberty, breasts

Have you had the conversation about breasts with your daughters yet?

I spent so much time trying to figure out when the perfect time to explain menstruation, puberty and where babies come from with my daughters that I completely forgot to talk about breasts.

Yes, they know that girls develop breasts sometime between being their age (6 & 9) and my age ( grown*) but, as I found out a couple weeks ago, they have no idea how one gets from point A to point B. Hell, maybe they believe there is a boob fairy; second cousin twice removed of the tooth fairy (she’s a giver).

Anyways, as the mom of two little girls who will one day be young ladies I try to make it my mission to make life full of “teachable moments”.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it too, if I do say so myself.

Flowers on the side of the road at a makeshift memorial, I explain how young drivers should always be on the defensive and not be texting or on the phone. I explain that driving is a full-contact sport that demands all of your attention or you could end up with a memorial on the side of the road or causing someone else’s memorial on the side of the road. Vomiting and dizzy from the stomach flu, I see the perfect opportunity to discuss the effects of alcohol and relay how this is exactly how it feels when you drink too much.  By the way, my 6-year-old has committed herself to never drinking more than half a beer and then calling a cab.

Sometimes that backfires on me like the time she was frantic that to have a baby the doctor must cut you open and rip the baby out (my sister had a c-section after the baby was stuck) so to “help” I explained that babies come into the world via your vagina and there isn’t usually a surgery in which a doctor cuts your stomach open. I thought I was helping. She went ghost white, looked down at her vagina, sized up the situation and has sworn off children for her lifetime. Wait until she realizes that sex is what puts babies into bellies that come out of vaginas.

So, the other day, as I was driving our daughters to ballet, we passed a coed group of neighborhood kids playing basketball in a driveway. Immediately, the girls began to argue whether or not a slender, young girl was in fact a “boy” or a “girl”.

Then, I hear this from my backseat.

A discussion about breasts.

6-year-old:  “That was a girl who just made that basket. Girls play basketball!”

9-year-old: “Yeah, well, it was a boy because his chest was FLAT like a pancake!”

I explain to them that girls can be flat chested. And some girls develop breasts later than others. In fact, I was completely flat chested until I was 15. I am talking undershirt city. Hell, they stopped making undershirts big enough for a girl that old. Back then, a camisole wasn’t even an option and tank tops were only for summer, not a fashion layering piece. My girls and anyone who has met me knows that I am no longer flat chested. Apparently, good things come to those who wait.

Take that girl, who shall remain nameless, who got her size B boobs at 11 and liked to point out the fact that I didn’t need a bra yet. My size D’s say hellllloooooo.

9-year-old: “ Uhm, mom….YOU have MELONS!”

Giggle.Giggle. Rabble. Rubble.

6-year-old, very concerned, “Mommy, I don’t want melons. I want apples!”

Me: “ Well, kiddo, you get whatever God and genetics give ya! Sorry.”

6-year-old: “Mommy, what’s genetics?”

Me: “It’s the genes you get passed down from your parents.”

Immediately, I see terror in her eyes and then I hear this.

6-year-old, head bowed and whispering a prayer, “Dear God, please don’t give me melons. I want juicy apples! In the name of the father, the son & the Holy Spirit! Amen!”

I look in the rear view mirror and see her doing the sign of the cross.

Then I died….laughing (on the inside like any good mom.)

Here’s hoping the boob fairy is good to you my little sweet and you are blessed with the “juicy” apple breasts that you are hoping for but I have a sneaking suspicion you won’t since you come from a long line of melons.

 

 

 

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Bossy, Sheryl Sandberg, #BanBossy, Bossy, Raising Girls, Strong girls, leaders

Of all the things I get up in arms about concerning women’s issues, being called bossy is not one of them.

In fact, I don’t find “bossy” to be derogatory.

There are so many other more important issues concerning women today than being referred to as “bossy”.  I get what Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chavez are trying to say that by calling little girls “bossy” in a negative context, we are inadvertently teaching our girls that to be a leader, to be a woman who takes charge is a bad thing because men don’t like it. We are teaching our girls to give up their dreams of being leaders because it’s not the role they were meant to fill. I call bullshit.

I grew up being called “bossy” and “stubborn”, always. I don’t take it as an insult. Maybe it’s because my dad always told me that if I had something worth saying then I should say it and not to back down. My mom taught me that where there is a will, there is always a way. For me that translated into work hard, bust your ass, embrace your bossy and be the leader. At my core, I have always believed that there is nothing that I could not do. I could be, do or achieve anything…all I needed to do was commit, work hard and make it happen. Being called bossy didn’t hurt me. Being called bossy made me feel empowered, respected and even a little feared and I thought that was awesome!

A vagina is not a handicap. For me, people underestimating me because of my sex is their fatal flaw not mine. Hell, I may have had to fight a little harder to get what I wanted but believe me once I got where I wanted, I’ve always impressed people with my leadership skills probably because they started off with such low expectations since I am just a woman.

I just had a conversation with my 9-year-old and I asked her about this. She said that she doesn’t take it as an insult. She said that a boss is a leader who is in control of the situation and she said she likes being that person. She said in her group in class, she is the only girl with 4 boys and every time that they work on problems, if there are 10 math problems, she does six and lets each boy do one. She said this is because she wants them done right. She says the boys call her bossy but she told them she doesn’t care and if they want to be in charge they can be but then they get to do the 6 problems and she gets to do the one and she added….and I still want my A. So if you think  you can do it, go ahead. To which the boy, quietly declined and has not called her bossy since.

I am thrilled to know that my girls are not afraid to lead. I am thrilled that they don’t get offended for being recognized as strong women but I am troubled that she is learning that to get things done right, she has to do 60% of the work while the boys each only do 10%.

I think we need to teach the world to reward our girls for being leaders and not turning a personality strength into a flaw. Don’t ban the word bossy, ban narrow mindedness.I want to raise strong minded, strong willed, strong bodied girls who have every faith in themselves that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to and most of all, I want them to NOT be afraid to lead. I want them to embrace their inner bossy.

Do you find the word bossy offensive?

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Isabelle Palmer, American Girl, Doll of the year, ballet, daughters

The American Girl of the Year 2014 is named Isabelle Palmer. My daughter has a special kinship with this doll because she not only looks like her but they both are ballerinas. That’s right, this year’s American Girl is a ballerina and all the little ballerinas of the world rejoice, well, in my house anyways. You know how my girls love their American Girls; my girl, historical, bitty babies and all things including the kitchen sink American Girl Doll.  Thank goodness I have connections.

My girls have danced since they were 2, so, you see it was a no brainer when she asked for Isabelle for her 9th birthday. To be honest, I was pretty excited to get it for her. It was one of those “it” gifts.

Luckily, I’ve done some work with American Girl and was lucky enough to partner with them to review Isabelle and present her to my daughter on her birthday. I will never forget the look on her face when she opened the box and saw her. It was “that” look. You know, the look you get from your kid that melts your heart because you know you made their day and they will never forget the way you made them feel in this moment.

Firstly, I would like to say that Isabelle is beautiful. She looks has long beautiful blonde hair and big blue eyes just like my daughters. So what makes her so special? Here is a little bit about this year’s girl if the year.

Isabelle Palmer, American Girl, Doll of the year, ballet, daughters

Who is Isabelle?

Isabelle Palmer is an inspired ballet dancer who discovers her own way to shine.

Where does Isabelle live? Isabelle lives in Washington D.C.

What’s her favorite activity? Practicing ballet and designing dance costumes.

Who are her best friends? Luisa, a modern dancer and Gabriel, a magician.

Fun fact: When isabelle is dancing, she sometimes pretends that she is a water lily skipping and spinning across a pond.

Moment of change: Realizing that she can use her design skills to help others.

The moral of the story: There is no one else out there with your unique talents.

My daughter is smitten with Isabelle and we can’t wait for her movie to be released!

Who’s your daughter’s favorite American Girl?

My girls’s are smitten with Isabella Palmer!

 

 

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Elsa, Frozen, costume, how to make an Elsa costume

How to make an Elsa Costume? My girls loved Frozen and there are no Elsa costumes to be found….anywhere. We are in desperate need of an Elsa costume. My girls have Elsa on the brain and want to eat, sleep and be Elsa. We are living in a Frozen state of mind over here and I am not even referring to the below zero temperatures and 4 foot of snow in my front yard. I am talking all things Elsa, Olaf, Anna, Sven and Cristophe. I am talking Let it Go, all day every day. I am talking sisterly love and all things winter.

I am talking I need to know how to make an Elsa costume right now!

My Bella is turning 9 next Monday and so we are throwing the Frozen party to end all parties because what else do you do for the soon to be 9-year-old who is gaga for Elsa and completely obsessed with her own #Disneyside. Every year, the girls have had themed birthday parties and every year there have been costumes. Yes, Costumes! There have been Fairies, Dora, Fancy Nancy, Pink Poodles in Paris, Moulin Rouge, Alice in Wonderland, 60’ peace and Love and a pajama party. We’ve had Princesses, Tinker Belle, Fancy Nancy again, Madeline, Rocker chicks and butterfly magic. Costumes .every.single.time and sometimes even a Harlem Shake.

This year, we had to have Frozen themed Party and Bella wanted an Elsa costume. Only, if you have been online or to the Disney store, you know that there are no Frozen costumes left unless you go to eBay and pay with your first-born.  I’d prefer to keep my first-born.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How to Get Invited

My girls are both pretty tall so the only dress up dress that my 8-year-old can wear at 4’ 9” are Disney because they go up to size XL (if you buy them on grounds) but since we live in the middle of the country, we must improvise.

Last year, we started hitting garage sales and vintage stores in search of costumes from ballet productions, prom and wedding dresses. The girls have gotten some really beautiful dresses to play dress up in and make great costumes. Remember Halloween’s Magenta costume?

READ ALSO: Recipes for the Perfect Frozen Party

I am not a seamstress, wish I were, but I am creative and I can hand-stitch the hell out of anything and just so happens that I have a Mother-in-law who can sew anything. The only things that surpasses her sewing abilities is her imagination and her big heart.

Frozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa CostumeFrozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa Costume, olaf, christophe, anna, Frozen

 

So, we scoured our supply and found a beautiful prom dress that could be perfect except it was lavender. Everyone knows Elsa’s dress is that beautiful shimmery bluish/green. I set out to try to dye it.

I bought some Dylon dye in Bahama blue at Walmart. I went home, rinsed and drained the $3 garage sale prom dress. Followed the directions on the Dylon Dye ( mixed it with 4 cups of warm water to dissolve. Filled the sink up with lukewarm water and 4 teaspoons of salt, mixed well and submerged the entire dress into the sink. Then proceeded to mix well for 45 minutes. I used my hands. I suggest using rubber gloves. I did not and have the bluish hued hands to prove it.

Frozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa Costume, olaf, christophe, anna, Frozen

I can tell you that I learned a valuable lesson; polyester prom dress shells do not dye. The lavender shell turned more of a grey silver (perfect in my mind) and all the lavender fabric flowers with sparkly glitter on the overlay turned that gorgeous bluish/greenish color of Elsa’s dress.  It looks amazing and only cost me $6.00.

READ ALSO: How to have a Quality Fashion Wardrobe on a Budget

The dress is strapless and Elsa’s has sleeves, so we are using silver sparkly gloves that come to just above my daughter’s elbow. The infamous sparkly cape? Well, while rummaging through fabric remnants at Grandma’s house we found the perfect 2.5 yards of sheer fabric with sparkly shimmer already on it. Grandma gave it a seam and made it into a cape that can easily attach to the back straps of Elsa’ dress.

Frozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa Costume, olaf, christophe, anna, Frozen

 

To complete the look, I will be spraying Bella’s hair white and putting it into a loose French braid and she will be wearing silver sandals that she already had around the house.

Frozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa Costume, olaf, christophe, anna, Frozen

The entire costume cost me $6.00 versus $200 on eBay. Even if you don’t just happen to have an old prom dress laying around the house for dress-up purposes, why not repurpose one of your old Bridesmaids outfits (God knows you’ll never wear it again), hit the local Goodwill or just use an old flower girl dress of your child’s. The dye I picked up matched the color perfectly. The packet says it dyes ½ pound to the color of on the package. The dress I dyed was 11 pounds and I only used one packet. It dyed it to the perfect shade.

Elsa, Frozen, costume, how to make an Elsa costume

 

Frozen, Elsa, Frozen themed party, birthday party, how to make an Elsa Costume, olaf, christophe, anna, Frozen

We’re not all great seamstresses and I am here to tell you that with a little imagination and ingenuity, you can make all your child’s Frozen dreams come true. Now, to get started on my youngest’s Olaf costume. Oh, you thought she’d want to be Anna? Nope, she likes to break the mold. I’ll share her costume later this week and I will be showing all kinds of great crafts, decorating ideas and recipes to host your very own awesome Frozen party! I will also have plenty of photos this weekend with the complete hair, makeup and costume together. Can’t wait to share.

If you’ve made your own Elsa costume, feel free to leave a link to it in the comments!

Elsa, Frozen, costume, how to make an Elsa costume

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body love, love your body, body image, women, mary Lambert

Love your body is the message that we must teach our daughters.

Love your body like your mother loved your baby feet. I had something else planned to write about today but then I listened to one of my favorite songs by Mary Lambert, Body Love. It spoke to me and, if you are a woman, it will probably speak to you too. If you are a man, it can give you some insight into a woman’s mind, especially one who finds herself to be perpetually imperfect. Like so many of us do. I want to teach my girls to love themselves as much as I loved their baby feet and that they are worth more than the size of their ass or what lies between their legs or what they look like or a number on a scale. You.Are.Beautiful!

i know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
like squeezing into last year’s prom dress
i know girls who are low rise, mac eyeshadow, and binge drinking
i know girls that wonder if they’re a disaster and sexy enough to fit in
i know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin,
playing russian roulette with death
it’s never easy to accept that our bodies are fallible and flawed

but when do we draw the line?
when the knife hits the skin?
isn’t it the same thing as purging
because we’re so obsessed with death?
some women just have more guts than others
the funny thing is women like us don’t shoot
we swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
still proceeding to put on make-up
still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
we might as well be buried with our shoes and handbags and scarves,
girls

we flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark into our skin
i know how to split my wrists like a battlefield too,
but the time has come for us to reclaim our bodies

our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say,
“i only know how to exist when i’m wanted!”
girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know?
we’re used up and we’re sad
and drunk and perpetually waiting by the phone

for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good
well, you did good

i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
my body is home
my body is home
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am
i know i am because i said i am

so try this:
take your hands over your bumpy lovebody naked
and remember the first time you touched someone
with the sole purpose of learning all of them,
touched them because the light was pretty on them
and the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did

touch yourself with a purpose
your body is the most beautiful royal
fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
are not your razor, no,
put the sharpness back
lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
i once touched a tree with charred limbs
the stump was still breathing but the tops were just ashy remains
i wonder what it’s like to come back from that
because sometimes i feel forest fires erupting from my wrists
and the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things i’ve ever seen

love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
and brother arm-wrapping shoulders, and remember, this is important:
you are worth more than who you fuck
you are worth more than a waistline
you are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts
you are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows
more than a man’s whim

or your father’s mistake
you are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
you are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood,
it is wisdom
you are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out,
reborn

I am not here yet. But I want to be.

Do you love your body?

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icrescendo fasting work best for women, intermittent fasting, crescendo fasting, fasting for women, weight loss secrets, eating disorders, anorexia

As the mother of two little girls living in a world that judges a woman’s value on her beauty and how skinny she is, I have spent their lifetime teaching them that they are better than good enough. As a product of that world myself, I have spent my lifetime just trying to feel comfortable in my own skin. We live in a world where people would rather be skinny than happy and where grown women measure their success by their thigh gaps and bikini bridges. Our daughters see this. They are affected.

The fact of the matter is that we live in a world where media treats women like they are objects of beauty; to be seen and not heard. This weighs heavily on a young girl and every thought and action becomes a deliberate choice with ripples that will resonate throughout her entire life. To be seen is to be vulnerable but to be unattractive is to be invisible, which feels almost as bad.

Like many women, I’ve spent years trying to be seen and simultaneously unseen. Passing through space and time from a beautiful child, thru the uncertainty of the teen years and then being thrust at warp speed into the sexual irresistibility of womanhood only to find ourselves sliding into middle age before fading into old age and ultimately death. Why do we allow ourselves to be defined by other people’s perception of who we are?

Little girls come into this world full of hope and beauty and as we age, our beauty fades. It’s no coincidence that so does our hope. We learn pretty early on that the more attractive we are, the more wonderful place the world is for us to be in. By the time the awkwardness of puberty and the teen years hit, our confidence has been shaken and by the time we go to college, most of us will do just about anything to live up to that expectation of beauty.

I know this from firsthand experience. Body dysmorphic disorder had me in its cold dead grip by the time I was 12 and by the time I was 17, I was restricting my food. By 18, I was in college and terrified of what the freshman 15 would mean to my appearance, I was severely restricting my calories, working out for at least 2 hours a day and throwing up every single thing that entered into my body; even water. It was the only way that I felt I had any control over what was happening to me. I will spend the rest of my life in recovery from this. I still occasionally find myself bent over a toilet deciding whether or not to take that next step.

To this day, every taste of food or sip of liquid that enters my mouth is noted. Many days when I look in the mirror, I am frozen in shame at my reflection. Self-loathing has become such a part of who I am that when I look in the mirror and actually like what I see, it surprises me. I am not surprised about this because just over the weekend I saw things that made me understand that I did not do this to myself. I am a product of a society that values men on their strength and intelligence and women on their beauty.

My friend wrote about a throw pillow at Nordstrom that reads,

“To hell with beauty sleep, I want skinny sleep.”

What a shallow and callous statement for Nordstrom to make to the world about women. I am sure that the buyer at Nordstrom thought the pillow was funny but it’s not. It’s a symptom of the sickness of our society.

Another friend wrote this on her FB status: “… If I were to eat a freaking BOX of Twinkies I would have no choice but to divorce my husband and leave my children and go live on an island where I would befriend a community of wild gorillas and be alone and fat forever!”

This makes me so sad because aside from her feeling that if she were unattractive she’d be doomed to a life of unhappiness, this particular woman is absolutely gorgeous and it troubles me that she feels that her happiness in life is so closely attached to her beauty. It saddens me that any of us feel this way because try as we may to not share these feeling with our little girls we do. They see things and hear things when you think they are not paying attention. They see the disappointment in our faces when our jeans are a little snug or the self-loathing that comes after eating carbs. They know and it seeps in to their tiny little minds and soon, they are watching what they eat. Questioning if they should eat at all.

Then we have become part of that same society that has made us this way. We have become part of the problem. The only way we can change this is to learn to love and accept ourselves. Believe me, I know this is harder than it sounds. But for our little girls, we have to try to love ourselves. After all, we’ll all be skinny, when we’re dead.If you won’t do it for yourself, think about your daughters. I don’t want for my girls, what I have experienced. I want better. Don’t you?

If you think I am overreacting, think about how many times you have hung your happiness on how skinny or beautiful you looked.

 

Photo JustJasmine

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Overweight, weight loss, health, New Year's Resolutions

What’s the moment when you know that you are too fat? The photo above is not actually me but it could definitely be my before and after photos..only I was thinner and now, I may be slightly fatter. Either way, I don’t like where I am at or where I am headed if I don’t do something this moment.

I felt my stomach on my lap! That’s when I knew. I didn’t want to admit it and I certainly didn’t want to write it for the entire internet to read but it’s true and being me, I can’t pick and choose where I’m transparent and where I’m not. It’s all transparency; all the time, even when it hurts like a damn open wound with salt in it. But it’s more than just feeling my belly in my lap it was the moment that I said no more. It was my line in the sand. I think anyone who has ever gained and lost weight knows exactly what I am talking about. That moment when you have to face the fact that you are, in fact, despite any tucking and pulling and pushing, overweight.

I’m ashamed. Ashamed that I let it get this out if control and those old feelings have been sneaking back into my head so I’ve decided to get help. I’m typing this from my first weight watchers meeting in 4 years. I’ve tried doing it alone online but that doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried everything but I need human contact. I need support from other women who know the shock and shame of their stomach resting in their lap. I can’t believe this is where I am. It’s yet another club that I wish I never knew anything about. Oh and I am taking the Big Guy along for the ride. This will only work if we do it together.

But here I am, sitting among the kind, understanding, compassionate faces of other women who’ve been here (the bottom) and it’s inspiring me. It takes a baby step followed by another, motivated by the sincere want and desire and dedication to changing your life. I am ready for me. I got up this morning and went to a meeting and faced the scale. It felt like someone punched my in my low lying, overindulgent belly.

Over the past year, I’ve learned (finally) to step back and ask myself why? To stop and pay attention, even when I don’t have a free moment. 2013 was wonderful in many ways. I grew up in a lot of ways. I am finally able to see myself more clearly without judgment or through fat goggles.I had a lot of firsts and I have begun to spread my wings and fly but this is the next step. No more stomach resting in my lap, no more flapping arms and saggy ass. But it’s not just about my belly, my belly is just a symptom of my procrastination and never putting myself first. I have to put myself to make myself feel and be better for me before I can be better for the girls or the Big Guy. I am ready to be happy. I deserve it. I’ve waited my entire life for this moment of clarity and motivation to meet. There will be no magic pills, no cheating or gimmicks, just a whole lot of hard work and follow through.

I’m not waiting for the New Year or tomorrow anymore because the beginning is always today! (Mary Shelley) THE BEGINNING IS ALWAYS TODAY…no matter what your challenge is in life….TODAY IS THE BEGINNING!

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GoldieBlox, More than just a princess

When I was a little girl, I was raised that little girls did “girl things” like play with baby dolls and Barbie dolls. Boys played with legos and lincoln logs. Girls were pretty and boys were dirty. Boys got to have all the fun while all I got to do was chores and play with toys that taught me how to be a “young lady“. Enter easy bake ovens, play houses, baby dolls who cried and needed their diapers changed. When I tried to climb trees or build forts, I was promptly told that those things were not very “ladylike.” It’s damn hard to climb trees in skirts. Don’t get me wrong; I loved doing all those things but maybe I would have liked to play with the Legos or built something with Lincoln logs? The point is this; I didn’t even know what an Engineer did until I was in college at Purdue University…dating an Engineer. So how could I have ever chosen to be an engineer when no one thought it was worth the bother to teach little girls to be anything more than princesses, mothers and maids until now. Enter GoldieBlox. The video below just made me fall more in love with this company. Debbie Sterling, a female engineer from Stanford University, was always bothered by how few women are in the engineering field. I know firsthand how true this. The numbers are definitely skewed in the engineering field. So, Debbie is did something about it. She started a toy company in 2012 called GoldieBlox to get little girls to love engineering as much as she does. The mission of GoldieBlox is to create fun toys that develop spatial skills and teach basic engineering principles. Girls like to read and boys like to build. Put spatial plus verbal together, story and construction and that’s how GoldieBlox was born. GoldieBlox is a book and a construction toy combined, starring Goldie the girl inventor and her motley crew of friends who go on adventures and solve problems by building simple machines. As girls read along they get to build what Goldie builds using their own tool kit. How awesome is that? No longer are we teaching our girls that they have to stand by looking pretty while fetching cold drinks for the man folks. Nope, we are teaching our girls that they can put on a pair of cute jeans and work-boots and go build it themselves. By designing construction toys from the female perspective, GoldieBlox will be more appealing to a broader audience of children and parents who previously considered engineering a job for boys. Engineers solve some of the biggest challenges our society faces. They are critical to the world economy, earn higher salaries and have greater job security. And they are 89% male. There’s more to girls than just pink and fluff.  We can be anything we want to be in this world. I have not been this excited about a new toy for the holidays for my girls in a long time. GoldieBlox,GoldieBlox and the Parade Float This holiday season, the much-anticipated sequel, Goldie Blox and he Parade Float, Goldie’s friends Ruby and Katinka compete in a princess pageant with the hopes of riding in the town parade. When Katinka loses the crown, Goldie and Ruby team up to build her a parade float as well as other fun rolling, spinning, and whirling designs. GoldieBlox,GoldieBlox and the Parade Float

  • A book series plus construction set introducing Ruby, Goldie’s best friend and princess-turned-engineer.
  • Builds spatial skills, engineering principles, and confidence in problem-solving.
  • Comes equipped with 9 design ideas, a DIY project, and unlimited building possibilities.
  • Compatible with all other GoldieBlox toys.

This installment in the GoldieBlox series makes me happy because we are teaching our girls that they don’t just have to be beautiful waving from the float in the parade, they can build the float! I love it and there are lots more awesome toys by GoldieBlox where that came from. GoldieBlox is changing the world for our girls and I love them for it. That’s why they are on this year’s holiday gift guide as a must have for every little girl on your holiday shopping list. goldieblox., Holiday gift guide, holiday gift guide 2013, Shabby Apple, giveaway Disclosure: I was provided GoldieBlox and the Parade Float for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

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