low point.

This isn’t an easy post to write. It’s admitting some hard facts, but since I’m still me I have to pepper it with humor to mask how upset I am with myself. Obviously.

I’m starting a dietbet with a few friends (and one stranger) tomorrow. Today I got on the scale for my initial weigh in and… wow. That was a number I wasn’t expecting to see and never, ever though I would see. And seeing it hurt. It really, really hurt. Today had been rough enough and I felt like enough of a failure, but then I saw that number and it hurt.

rockbottomBeing fat isn’t about eating. Doesn’t that sound crazy? Yes, eating causes us to gain weight, but we don’t eat just to eat. We eat because we’re unhappy or stressed or sad and we cannot find a different outlet for our feelings. That is why I am this weight. I love food, sure, but I love salads and veggies as much as I love pizza. I know what healthy food is and I know what I should be eating.

 

fatjoeyFor me, the food is a way of treating the bigger problems. Stressed about work? Ice cream. Lonely? Pizza. Angry at someone? Chinese food. Feeling sorry for myself? Bacon. I’m so use to self medicating with food that I’ve forgotten how to truly address my feelings and work through them like a normal, healthy human being. So you just accept that this is how it’s going to be. You’re going to eat that entire pint of ice cream and who cares? No one cares about you anyway so what’s the harm, right? Your friends all tell you they love you and that you’re beautiful and maybe they’re right. And let’s all be positive about our bodies and love ourselves for who we are so HAVE ANOTHER PIECE OF CAKE.

fatmonica

But, here’s the honest truth and I might be shunned for saying this by some people.

If you’re unhealthy then you shouldn’t love your body. You should love yourself, yes, but not your body. I shouldn’t be loving my body right now because I’m not loving my body. I’m treating my body like shit and I’m not loving it very much. Once I really do start to love myself and my body then my body will change and only then will I be able to really love my body. So right now? Don’t tell me I’m not overweight. It’s a lie. Don’t tell me I look good for my size.

What can you tell me? Tell me you know how hard this must be, but you want to see me be healthy. Tell me that you’re supporting this change. Tell me when I hit my goal weight you’ll buy me a dress. Tell me you’re proud of me. Tell me you don’t want me to die.

Because, yes, it’s that serious. I need to lose weight to stop myself from dying young. I’ve read all the research. I know the truth. If I stay fat I’m going to die. It’s that simple. It’s that blunt. It’s that serious.

I hit my low point today, but that doesn’t mean anything to me. It means I finally accepted that I can’t stay like this.

the newest problem to plauge my town.

Last night I met a friend for dinner. Valpo has a ton of amazing places to eat so we settled on Pikk’s (yum) and sat down to eat all of the food. Now, the person I spent all this time with was my boyfriend back in high school and it’s a little strange that we’ve become friends again, but that isn’t the point of all of this. I’m sure I wrote old journals all about the angst of my teenaged romance with Justin. But teenaged angst is the subject of my post today. Why? Because Valparaiso seems to be overrun with homeless youths and they are taking over my little city. They were everywhere. And I have to wonder if Valparaiso is aware of this problem or if they are choosing to ignore it.

There’s a chance I sound like an old lady utterly annoyed with youths. And that’s partially true. I dislike youths.

78459-there-are-youths-everywhere-gi-wa2yHowever, this isn’t just about my dislike of youths. I’m really concerned. Clearly these children are homeless as there is no other reason for them to be standing in a park in the rain. If they had perfectly good houses to seek shelter in then they would do that, right? RIGHT? One would hope.

At one point they were scattered along the stage and looked very much like the dress rehearsal of a high school version of Rent. Or maybe Grease. Either way it wasn’t pretty and it made me want to go over and tell them to stop being so typically teenaged. Or at least ask them why they wanted to stand outside in the cold rain. It made no sense.

469171842a6df8a7294969b017377429

These poor adolescent vagabonds need to be pushed out of my picturesque town. Do you know how hard it is to enjoy a glass of wine when being forced to watch a sixteen year old boy’s failed attempts at mating? Or how two giggling girls can spoil a lovely cider? I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone how aggravating and infuriating it is to constantly sidestep street urchins who believe the entire sidewalk is part of their new home.

I worry about them. Truly, I do. I worry about the obviously awful home lives they must have had which forced them to flee into the streets. I wonder where they are keeping the overpriced and skimpy clothing they choose to wear. I wonder how much blood they have to sell just to afford the forty-eight skateboards I saw. Won’t anyone think of the children? Can we raise a benefit to add walk in closets to the Central Park Plaza? I assume they are using the splash pad as a makeshift shower and sleeping at Blackbird cafe, but it’s not enough. Something must be done!

Think of the children, would you?new-girl-youths

random list of things that make me happy.

(I’m not going to explain why I’m suddenly blogging again. It’s just because I am.)

1. dark chocolate with sea salt
2. fantasy books about sarcastic wizards
3. cutlips
4. netflix
5. wine
6. quarry beach, port wing, wisconsin
7. harry potter
8. smelling books
9. being right
10. diet coke
11. avoiding cleaning
12. school
13. church
14. doctor who
15. going to movies
16. lazy saturdays
17. the bach
18. cats
19. swedish pancakes
20. working too much
21. brand new journals
22. sushi
23. shoes
24. geeky t-shirts
25. beer

random blog post because I forgot how to blog, but I wrote this for class and liked it.

Note: I had to write this for my Interpersonal Communication class. And, well, I liked what I wrote. So I’m posting it here. Also, tonight is the last night I’m 30 and I’m writing about gender bias in geek culture. I’m pretty sure that means I ended 30 on a high note.

 

Across all cultures  and sub cultures there are preconceived notions of gender and gender roles. Narrowing down this blog to one particular topic was nearly impossible for me. As a raving and ranting feminist, I have books sitting around my apartment on the subject of female gender roles. I read an article nearly every day regarding a variety of topics. Where in the WORLD was I supposed to start?

But, if I want to tie in culture then it makes sense to look towards my subculture. Or one of them, anyway. And so, let’s take a little journey over to my corner of the world: geekdom. In a culture that praises itself on being made up of outsiders, gender roles are so incredibly and utterly defined that any person who dares to step outside these predefined roles is attacked.

Fair warning, Professor. This isn’t going to be a short post.

First, let’s examine comics. The gender roles are very well defined in comics. The heroes are big, strong and masculine men. They have power, wealth, good looks and charm. The sidekicks are not quite as masculine as the heroes, though often more layered than their hero counterparts. And finally, there are the women. Some of them may have superpowers (hello, Wonder Woman), but traditionally women are romantic interests, villains or sidekicks (who sometimes have crushes on their male heroes.) Comic books are no longer a hobby left to geeks. Superheroes and heroines have become a part of popular culture. Marvel’s The Avengers has made over 600 million dollars. However, with the nine Marvel films released in recent times, not one of them has featured a female lead. DC has not fared any better.

Lois Lane, for example, is a character most people in America know. I would wager that if you ask the average person her career most, but not all would know that she is a journalist. However, if you asked the average person who her love interest was, they would likely all know the answer. Lois, who in the early editions of the comic was a strong and capable woman. In Forbes Magazine, Christina Blanch, shows us that with the changing view of women following World War II, Lois changed as a character. Blanch also provides other examples of gender bias in comics. Sue Storm’s power is to become invisible. Batgirl who is just as intelligent and capable as Batman is crippled by the Joker and yet Batman does not suffer any permanent damage throughout his encounters.

I could go further into this topic and compare and contrast the way women and men are drawn, but I’ll save that for a giant research paper I’m sure I’ll have to write at some point in my college career. (Note to Self: Somehow you can make this your thesis.)

The views towards women extend from comic book pages to the attitude towards women in the geek fandom. Two particular areas stand out. The first is the objectification of women cosplayers. (For the non geek inclined, a cosplayer is a person who dresses up as a character. It’s much like a Halloween costume, but far more intense.)  While women in general are presented with unrealistic ideals for beauty, women who are fans of comic books are presented with fantastical expectations. As a result, own definition of beauty changes. Men and women are eager to dress as their favorite characters from comics, but the characters women identify with are drawn in revealing costumes with perfect bodies. Combine that with the roles these characters play and, well… this is the result. The author of this piece doesn’t say it’s okay to ogle women, but he does say that if a woman dresses in revealing clothing then she should expect to be ogled.

Women are treated as objects in comics and then when those characters are literally represented in the flesh, they are treated as objects. The media presents an image of a damsel or sex object and our culture tells us that this is okay. Our culture tells us that women in the geek world only exist to please men, arouse men, support men or punish men. If that gender bias is so present on the pages, it will transfer to the ideas readers of these comics have.

Which leads us to my last example of gender roles in geekdom. There is even a meme to support this particular bias. The Fake Geek Girl is a further extension of gender bias in geek culture. The Fake Geek Girl is a woman who enjoys comics, but not up to the standards of the men around her. She is stereotyped to wear “geek clothing” and talks about how much she loves various characters, but is not an expert. This, somehow, ruins her authenticity as a fan and earns her the title of fake. This particular instance is different than the others because it is not only men who shame the Fake Geek Girl, but women as well. A Fake Geek Girl is ridiculed for her lack of knowledge, but if it was only her lack of knowledge questioned then surely there would be Fake Geek Guys as well. And yet there aren’t. Only women are singled out in this regard.

Out of all of these examples, the Fake Geek Girl is the most frightening to me because there are other women buying into this. It is an example of bullying and it, quite frankly, breaks my heart. It implies that women must meet a certain criteria in order to be accepted into a culture where men are simply welcomed without question. A woman must continually prove herself and if she fails to meet the standard set by the culture, she is asked to leave.  There would be people who considered me a Fake Geek Girl because I could not tell you the first time The Silver Surfer appeared or the name of Peter Parker’s co-worker. But I can tell you the most obscure characters in Harry Potter and don’t you dare challenge me on anything Doctor Who related because I will put your to shame.  Even with my knowledge in certain areas, I most likely would be shamed for wearing an Avengers shirt because I do not know everything about that comic series.

All three examples who the gender bias in the geek culture, but more than anything it shows that bias can start in one place (media) and extend out. The gender roles presented in the comics have seeped into the way people in the geek culture think, behave and interact. And, to be honesty, it’s bullshit.

my trimuphant return to blogging.

Hi there, friends. I’ve forgotten how to blog. Or maybe I’ve just been so busy working, spending time with friends, traveling on weekends, watching massive marathons on Netflix and reading that I’ve simply forgotten how to make time to blog. Either way, I’m back. Hi.
I could take this time to tell you all about the really boring things I’ve been doing, but there is something so much more important than that I’m going to do.

I’m going to share with you all one of the best nights of my life. As most of you know I’ve been a part of the Northwest Indiana Listen to Your Mother cast for the past two years. And while I certainly loved my first year and all the people I met, I have to say that this year was different. This year was a little more special and magical. And that’s because this year I got to enjoy this with my mother.

8977905847_d30bc3d508_c

Mom and I at Listen to Your Mother Northwest Indiana 2013. Photo by Beth Fletcher Photography

My mother is my best friend. She’s the best person in my life and my favorite person in the world. Yes, I make fun of her constantly and with no remorse, but that is how we show love in my family. My father taught me that. He’s my second favorite person in the world, but it’s a very close second.

Anyway, this year I got to take the stage to talk about the changing relationship I have with my mother. Last year I read about being the child of a working mom, but this year I wanted to do something different. I wanted to talk about how far we’ve come in our relationship. I wanted to compare who we are now to who we were 20 some years ago.

Here is a small excerpt from my piece that night.

There will never be a point in time when I don’t need my mom. I needed her to clean up my skinned knees. I needed her to keep me in line when I was a sassy little shit of a teenager. I needed her to show me how to become an adult. And now I need her to hold my hand as I navigate the real world on my own. She’s my map and my compass and my North Star all rolled into one very loud, opinionated, suit wearing, technology challenged woman.  And without her I would be lost.

The only thing better than being able to stand in a beautiful theater in front of my loved ones and tell everyone how amazing my mother is was being able to watch her on stage. My mom gives me so many reasons to be proud of her, but I was grinning harder than I’ve ever grinned before when she took the stage. She was amazing.

During Listen to Your Mother you don’t really have time to absorb the pieces the other cast members are reading. Your heart is pumping so fast and you’re caught up in this incredible energy. Well, this year I’m going to take the time to review each of the pieces and write a little bit about it. I might not be a mom, but I’ve always said you don’t have to be a mother to learn from this show. You just have to be alive.

This year, Listen to Your Mother has partnered with The Partnership at Drugfree.org. They are sponsoring the release of our videos. Please, take a moment to make a pledge that you will not abuse prescription drugs.

Once you’ve done that, watch my video! (I can’t watch it because I hate my voice with an unholy passion. Also WOW my hair was bright.)

Watch the others as well, of course. And look out for my reviews of all the lovely ladies I met during this amazing experience. Next year I will be in the audience watching the next generation of LTYM voices. I cannot wait.

on the 3rd anniversary of your 59th birthday

Without every asking for anything in return you have given me 30 years of love and support. You have forged through the thickest forests of doubt and struggle and left me a clear path to follow. When I veer off that path to find my own way you never pull me back and insist I follow behind you. You endure my endless mockery, my constant attitude and tedious inability to listen to you for one single second with ease. For my entire life you’ve been an example of grace, determination and intelligence. Everything you’ve done in your life has been for yourself, but by focusing on yourself you have also created a better life for me. You never put aside your own ambitions or dreams simply because you have a child. You’ve taught me that I do not have to sacrifice who I am under any circumstance.

You gave me a love of geekery. Without you I wouldn’t be counting the days to the new Star Trek movie or wearing a TARDIS necklace at this very moment. You taught me that endless worlds exist within the pages of a book. When my imagination ran away from me and I lived in my own world of fantasy you never tried to pull me back. You never chastised me for wanting to be bigger than the small town I hail from. I only ever received endless encouragement and praise from you.

Every time I made (make) a mistake in life, you hold my hand through it all.  Even when I’ve angered you with my stubbornness and stupidity you have loved me. That love, that amazing, true and incredible love, has never wavered. You love me completely and unconditionally.

Älska mig mest när jag förtjänar det minst, ty då behöver jag det bäst.

Love me most when I deserve it the least, because that’s when I need it the most. ~ Swedish Proverb

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of your 59th birthday and you don’t look a day over 55. I am proud to be your daughter. I am honored to be your friend. I am excited to see how our relationship grows in the future. There are days when I fear I’ve not become the woman you want me to be or that I haven’t achieved enough in my life. But then I remember that I am just like you. Your passion came later in life. Your child came later in life as well. I am not failing in my life, I am simply following the path you’ve cleared for me.

I love you, Ma. You are beautiful, intelligence, passionate, kind and determined. I am so thankful to have you in my life. I am so honored to be known as “Leanne’s Daughter.” For all my teasing and mocking, you are the woman I aspire to be in the world. Happy Birthday, to my amazing mother. I hope that today and every day following is as beautiful as you are.

IMG_3297

I’m geeky and I know it

So if you follow me on twitter, have me friended on facebook or have spoken to me at all for the last few weeks you’ve probably noticed that there is a new love in my life. And that love is IGGPPC. Also know as the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club. Yes, my friends and family, I am an Iggle. (PS: I’ll be guest blogging there starting in May on the 1st Friday of every month.)

I’ve always been a geek, but for a long time I didn’t share it quite so freely. But that time is done. Now I am sharing and oversharing my love of my geek self and proudly announcing that I am a giant dork. Because, let’s face it, we’re all happier people when we are honest about ourselves, right?

Because for awhile I thought I had to hide who I was. No one wants to admit that they cry over books and can’t sleep before the midnight showing of Harry Potter. Because there are labels that come with being a geek. Negative labels. We are taught from a young age how important it is to be cool and socially acceptable. We are instructed to wear the right clothes and like the right things and GOD FORBID you’re even a little different than the other kids in your class. Nothing like telling a little girl that she’s wrong because she’d rather be watching Star Trek than playing with Barbies.

So, to all my classmates over the years who made fun of me and to all of the people in my life who made me think I had to hide my geekiness… A POX ON YOUR FAMILY.

I am a geek. I have a cut out of Ron Weasley, for crying out loud. I have a TARDIS in my living room and I have Hogwarts acceptance letters framed and hanging up for decoration. I have more geeky tee shirts than I should and guess what? I’m pretty damn happy with my life. Because I’ve learned to embrace who I am. I’m content being a giant geek and I’m not going to change that or hide it in order to make people like me more.

Let’s stop acting like “geek” is a negative thing, okay? What’s so wrong about loving something so much that you can’t contain your excitement? NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

I’ve been embracing this part of myself more and more following my divorce and now I’ve found my fellow Iggles and I realize that there are loads and loads of us geek girls out there. So if there are literally hundreds of us then obviously I should be proud of who I am.IMG_20130411_203416

Please note that I am very tired and I’m fairly certain this blog makes no sense.

Go forth, friends. Embrace your geek. EMBRACE OR I’LL EMBRACE IT FOR YOU.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.