Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Superficial Friendships Create Superficial Relationships"

A friend of mine posted something today about her 6 year old daughter being concerned about looking beautiful- clothing, hair, etc. She asks why it starts so young and mentioned wanting to talk to her about Personality Beauty vs Appearance Beauty.

To an extent, I agree with my friend and to an point, I don't. Let me explain. I don't wear make up very often. Maybe a couple days a week I'll wear eyeliner, and only on the bottom. Maybe a day or two I'll wear eye shadow or blush. If something fancy is going on, I'll throw on mascara and lipstick. It's not an everyday thing for me. But my daughter, who is almost 3, likes to watch me put makeup on. She says, "I like your makeup Mommy" or "You're so beautiful Mommy." And it warms my heart. But when she asks to wear makeup too, I say, "No honey. You're beautiful without makeup." Which implies, I'm not. That statement implies that I need makeup to be beautiful.

Well, on the inside, I think I'm a beautiful person. I try to be good and honest to others. I go out of my way for other people. But on a physical level, I don't feel as beautiful as I used to. My eyes used to be my favorite thing about myself. Now, I have dark circles under my eyes that weren't there before. My breasts are smaller than they were before I got pregnant. My stomach is a little bigger than it used to be. None of these things truly effect who I am on the inside. However, they all affect how I feel about myself. So, when I tell my daughter she doesn't need makeup because she's already beautiful, and I imply that I do because I'm not, and I believe it. When I wear makeup or nicer clothes, I am essentially playing dress-up. I have always seen it as dress-up. Just playing. Not necessarily who I am, but still a part of me.

Now, my friend's daughter admitted that she is wanting to look beautiful to make friends. That makes me sad. Partially, because I remember doing the exact same thing, and partially because that's a totally normal thing. Why? Why is it normal for girls, seemingly younger and younger, to feel like their physical attributes will determine who they're friends with. Well, I'm sure there is a lot of psychology and sociology behind it and someone in that field can probably tell you the sciency part of it.

I can say that in my experience, superficial friendships create superficial relationships. And I stand by that in every way, shape, and form of relationships. My closest and truest friends are the ones who have seen me at my worst and are still there. They are the ones who don't care what I wear, how I do my hair, what kind of shoes I wear, and whether or not I put makeup on that day. They know that WHO I am doesn't not always reflect WHAT I look like.

With my little girl only being 3, I don't think she's ready to full understand this whole thing yet, but to friend's daughter I say this.

Be You. Dress how YOU want to dress. Wear what YOU want to wear. Be yourself and as long as you're a good person, good people will want to be your friend. If you want to wear dresses and curl your hair, do it because YOU like wearing dresses. Don't try to change your outside to appease other people. If you do, it will change who you are on the inside too.

I don't believe this lesson is limited to little girls either. Women, little boys, and men can all benefit from understanding that as long as you are a good person at the heart, what's on the outside doesn't really matter. Be yourself, love yourself, and surround yourself with good people, and everything else will feel less important.

That is all easier said than done. I know I'm still working on that. And it's definitely a process. It helps that I have people in my life who support me and tell me I'm beautiful, even when I don't feel it. They encourage me to be a better person. And they love me when I have a hard time loving myself. Be that person for someone else, and someone will be that for you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Deep roots are not reached by the frost." -JRR Tolkien

I've had some questions about religion and beliefs lately. Though I don't officially subscribe to any religion, after a discussion with a friend it seems my beliefs resonate as an "eclectic pagan" which sounds pretty cool to me.

These are the things I believe in:
I believe everyone has a right to live the life they chose as long as it doesn't physically harm anyone or anything else. I believe there are probably higher beings, multiple, that effect things to an extent. We have free will and can make our own decisions but there are things we don't have control over.

The things we don't have control over are mostly outside things like weather but in ones own life sometimes I feel like obstacles or challenges get thrown in out of nowhere. In my own personal experience, anytime I get excited about something, something comes up to smash it. A lot of times something better comes along., but it still feels like something steering things around. I know my life would be a lot different if I had been able to afford to go to school for graphic design/advertising. Things would be a lot different if I hadn't found out I had asthma and joined the Army. Things would be different if I had gotten into the plays in High School because then I wouldn't have tried community theater. Maybe there is something called fate. Maybe Life is a "choose-your-own-adventure book" and there are only a few possible endings and depending on how you live your life and how you deal with these changes and challenges, ultimately affects where you end up. And then there's death. With the exception of suicide, you can't really control when you die. You can do things to try to live longer, stay healthy. but ultimately I don't think there's really a choice there. I do believe in spirits hanging around. maybe lost souls waiting to start again. Maybe souls with unfinished business. Loved ones refusing to move on to look over those in their lives. I like the idea of multiple Gods/Goddesses who see over different things in life. I sometimes wish I lived in ancient Greece because those Gods/Goddesses make the most sense to me. There is a Mother Nature or something of that sort, and she/he, is pretty pissed at what humans have done to the Earth. I don't entirely understand global warming but I know something is off with the weather and things are off balance. I believe in reincarnation. I believe my soul has lived many other lives. I believe that some of my totally irrational fears stem from past lives. I also believe that my soul plays a factor in things that I enjoy or have interests in. I believe in karma and what goes around, comes around. I believe all lives are important. I don't believe in hunting for sport but if an animal is killed for food and survival that's okay. I believe in a woman's choice to an abortion. I personally wouldn't do it unless it directly affected my survival. But it's not my place to chose for other people. I believe in love; gay, straight, transgender, bi-sexual, a-sexual, it doesn't matter to me. I believe people should be able to carry any weapon they feel necessary for protection. They have the right to protect themselves and their family. Be a good person. Do good for others. Help when you can. Ask for help when you need it. Love. Forgive. Move on. Believe in yourself. Understand and embrace the differences between you and others in life. Don't force your beliefs on others.

That about covers what I believe in. 

What do you believe? Are we on the same page? Are we complete opposites?
(only polite conversation here please.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Emily's Complete Anti-Fatty Guide

I DID NOT write this. This is a COPY and PASTE job from my friend's "Note" on Facebook. But Pinterest doesn't let you Pin from Facebook so, with her permission, I'm putting it here so I can save it forever.

"Many people ask me about how I've managed to lose weight that I figure it would just be best to put it in a Note and refer people to it on an individual basis. This is not due to laziness. This is due to the fact that the answer is incredibly complicated and really insanely difficult to type out on my phone with several bags of groceries in my hand (or whatever the case may be).

First of all, you have to find a good enough reason to lose weight. You can't really do it for others. You have to associate it with your own personal gain. Maybe you're tired of your thighs rubbing together in the summer. Maybe you want to become a stripper and not break the stage. Either way, it has to be for you and there has to be an end goal. This is very important. You can't just have a nebulous "I just want to look good" idea of where you want to wind up. It's not focused enough. For me, I remember the moment I realized that I didn't only want to, I needed to lose weight. I was newly single and not really interested in any of the male prospects available to me. I realized that if I wanted to get a certain... caliber of man, I needed to step my game up. You should only really date one point up or down from where you land on the 1-10 attractiveness rank and if I want a 10, I can't be a 5. It just doesn't work that way. I had an end goal. I really wanted to have sex with someone who didn't physically disgust me. So from there it started and I could not be stopped.

Once you have come up with your tangible reason to put down the fork, you need to completely change your entire lifestyle. Forever. I'm not kidding. I'm not going to lie to you. It's going to be super difficult. You're going to walk by cake in Jewel forever and secretly want to give up, but this urge will dwindle painfully slowly as time goes on. You're going to have to realize that these foods that you love, that comfort you, that fill you with insurmountable joy are actually what make you jiggly. They're like a partner that throws you down the stairs and then brings you flowers, crying about how they're sorry and they love you. The flowers are nice. The bruises are not. Stretch marks are not pretty no matter what way you want to fucking spin it (unless you've had a baby in which case you're a beautiful tiger. Werk dem stripes. You've got beauty beauty.).

Once you've accepted that you are going to feel unending sadness whenever you gaze upon cake/Doritos/pizza/french fries/etc. you can now begin the process of learning how to replace those tasty awful foods with better things. This is actually not that hard. I have a few key principles:

1. Less brown/yellow foods. More green/colorful foods.
2. Do not get into juicing. Juice diets are extremely bad for you. You need the fiber in fruits and vegetables which will get discarded after extracting the juice. What you don't need is 15 oranges worth of sugar.
3. When going grocery shopping, pay more attention to the outer aisles of the grocery store (meat, cheese, eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruit) and avoid aisles (bread, cereal, frozen things, canned things, soda).
4. Be strict with yourself but not too strict. However, do not allow yourself "cheat days". This is a slippery slope of a concept because there is simply no way to regulate it. You can't have one cheat day per week. You can't have more than one cheat day per week. If you don't give yourself very specific circumstances to cheat, you will cheat all the time. That's just how it works. You have to keep your shitty appetite on a short leash from now on, especially at the start. For example, I never, ever, ever, ever, ever, EVER drink soda UNLESS I go to the movies in which case I allow myself an extra large of any soda there is. I only go to the movies like once every three months so I end up never really having soda. That being said, no soda, ever. Give it up. Give it up right now. Cold turkey. Never drink it. I cannot express this enough. You cannot drink soda regularly and be skinny. It is impossible. Do not even fucking try. Other examples, I will let myself eat cake if it is offered to me at a party but I will never under any circumstances seek out and buy cake for literally no reason. I will only eat one piece when offered, unless it is my birthday, then I will have two. I will never eat McDonalds unless I have, for example, walked 6 miles that day or something. You must earn it. You must earn the most delicious cheesy carby food and realize that before, you were basically just eating cake every day and calling it "normal".
5. Be wary of "healthy foods". Gluten free means nothing unless you have celiac disease. Chai tea lattes? Sounds like a yoga healthy crunchy dream, but it's incredibly horrible for you. Full of sugar. Cobb salads have bacon and eggs and cheese in them. Wheat bread is still bread.
6. Lay off the alcohol.

Let me know if you want any recipes. I never really feel as if I am depriving myself of tasty food, I just don't binge eat ice cream.

On to the exercise portion of this lesson. Keep in mind, the food thing is way more important. They say abs are made in the kitchen and it's true. But you should also probably work out in order to avoid the dreaded "skinny fat".

Basic principles with exercise:
1. You absolutely have to have a routine. You have to make working out a necessary part of the day. You can't just not go to the gym because you do not have time. You can't just not go to the gym because you're tired. You can't just not go to the gym because you have some other elaborate excuse for being weak. You have to treat it like eating, sleeping, or work. You have to just fucking do it. I don't know what else to say there. That is strictly a will power thing and you will either have something or not.
2. Running is simply not enough. There are plenty of giant fatasses that can run 3 miles in a relatively short amount of time. That speaks to their stamina but you're not doing this to be able to outrun giant desert cats. You're doing this so you don't silently weep when you try on clothing in Target. That being said, you absolutely have to lift. You. Must. Lift. Heavy. Things. And put them back down on the floor. And pick them back up. Lift first, run second, always. Dedicate one day to your lower body, and the next day to your upper body. You're going to be in pain fucking constantly, especially at first. Accept it now. Unless the muscles physically hurt when touched or you do not have full range of motion, you can still work them out. So do it.
3. Stretch before and after and, if you have the time, during. If I have all the time in the world, ideally, I come into the gym, stretch, lift things, stretch, run, and then stretch.

The way that I typically like to think of exercise is less like, oh, I'm doing this to be hot because that outlook poses problems. You'll be tired and sore and don't want to go to the gym because you just want instant results and it's just impossible to work that way. So I like to use really embarrassing scenarios to motivate myself to work out. Sometimes I'll pretend I'm training for the Hunger Games. I'm serious, it works.

Other things:
-That thing I said about instant results earlier? I was dead serious. You're not going to notice anything drastic, ever. That's just the nature of seeing yourself every day. It's like watching a puppy grow into a full grown adult Rottweiler. You just sort of see it every day and you look at it one day and go, huh, you could rip me to shreds easily, what happened? Just give it time.
-In regards to losing physical lbs, unless you are seriously obese, you will not ever lose more than a pound a week and still be considered "healthy". If you're obese, expect to lose 2-3 lbs a week and plateau at the "skinny fat" stage. It happens. Otherwise, when you go to a point where you're no longer considered "fat", don't pay too much attention to the scale. Don't pay attention to BMI. Pay attention to how much you jiggle when you walk. Pay attention to how much better your pants fit. Stand up straight and try to pinch the fat on your stomach and once it becomes difficult, you're now a majestic beautiful unicorn.
-Smoothies. Do the smoothies thing. Bananas and mangoes and soy milk (unsweetened) and protein powder and peanut butter. NO JUICE. STOP IT WITH THE JUICE.
-Nobody in the gym really cares about what you're doing. We don't see you and go "oh look at that disgusting hog" and we don't look at you and go "you go, girl" and wish the best for you. Unless you're like, super hot, no one is looking at you and if you're super hot and people are looking at you, that's good. What people do care about is if you are hogging a machine and texting while the gym is packed. If you get your sweat all over a machine and don't clean it off and give everyone ringworm. If you wear strong cologne or perfume. If you walk in front of people watching their form in the mirror (the more you lift, the more clearly annoying this will become). Just don't be a dick.

That's about it. Let me know if you want recipes/workout suggestions or have any questions."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

You don't experience life by watching other people live it.

A few years ago I created something I like to call a "Bowl List." It's similar to a Bucket List, but it has a much smaller deadline so you can't put things off, and it is typically shorter. More shallow than a bucket, so it is a bowl. A bowl list typically consists of things you would like to try, learn, do, or experience. Well, my last list was pretty long. There are quite a few things I never got to. But there are a lot of things that I DID do.

My last bowl list:
  • Go to the top of the Sears Tower. (check)
  • Go to a shooting range (check)
  • Take a pole dancing class (check)
  • Learn a new type of dance (check)
  • Go to a Baseball Game (check)
  • Go to a Hockey Game (check)
  • Learn how to play guitar
  • Learn to use a sewing machine
  • Learn Sign Language
  • Obtain one of the plastic maps that hang in subway trains for every line of the CTA (almost check. I think I'm only missing 2) 
  • Go paintballing
  • Go Snowboarding
  • Take a Yoga class

I know there are more that I'm not currently remembering but when I find my list I will add them here. I did learn one thing with my last list. I never had a deadline. That was my fault. If I had a deadline, I feel like I would have done more. This year I have a deadline. I have until December 31, 2014 to do these things.

My current bowl list:
  • Try Ethiopian Food
  • Get my FOID card
  • Learn guitar
  • Learn to ski
  • Learn to ride a motorcycle
  • Take a Yoga Class
  • Go paintballing
  • Learn to use my sewing machine
  • Get a booth at a craft fair
  • Start/Join a new book club
  • Attend a NEW Renaissance Faire
  • Try a new local restaurant once a month
  • Play Whirlyball (We have coupons for this...we should probably use them)
  • See all of the movies on John's Movie List*

(If I think of more things, I will update this as well.)

*JOHN'S TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2013* (John is a friend of mine. He should be a movie critic. He has great taste in movies. He watches popular films, indie films, independent films, foreign films, etc... I have made it one of my goals to watch every movie on his Top 10 of 2013 List)

10. Prisoners
9. Blue Jasmine
8. Captain Phillips
7. Her
6. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. Gravity
4. Nebraska
3. American Hustle
2. The Wolf of Wall Street
1. 12 Years A Slave
Some of these I have never even heard of, some I had no desire to see, and some were already on my own list to see. But, it's part of the list.. Gotta do it.

 If you're reading this and you can think of something I should add to my list, please comment and give me your suggestion.

If this is something you'd be interested in trying, I encourage you to GO FOR IT! What would you put on your list?

Life is too short to say "what if" and "I wish." You don't experience life by watching other people live it.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Story For A Friend.

I lived in downtown Chicago for almost 3 years. A taxi/cab only had 3 purposes for me; I was running late for work, it was too cold to wait for the bus, or I was too drunk/tired to take an hour on the subway and bus to get home. Call me naive or self-centered but it never occurred to me that people used cabs for any other reasons than the ones I had already come up with.

A good friend of mine recently started a job as a 3rd shift cab driver in the South Suburbs of Chicago. He has been doing this a couple of months now and some of the things he sees are so raw. This friend is also an ordained minister. He is someone who loves well and this is the best job for him. He takes people to and from airports, to and from bars and casinos, but also to grocery stores, hospitals and medical treatment facilities, and delivers prescriptions. He meets people from all walks of life. There are hookers, strippers, gamblers, drunks, and other addicts. There are "upstanding" members of society who visit the aforementioned and make threats if their identities are revealed. There are the elderly, sick, or both who need assistance getting around. My friend has experiences and stories with all of these people. Not every night consists of a life-altering revelation, but they all have their own merit and impact on my friend.

He has a blog with these experiences. Some are funny. Some are sad. Some make you think. All of them make you feel. I highly recommend you read Night Moves: Diary of a Chicago Area Cabbie Preacher Man. Read it. Share it.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Disney Rant 1: The Little Mermaid

I was listening to "Kiss The Girl" from The Little Mermaid. For the first time I listened to the lyrics, all the way through, without trying to sing along. I'd never heard these lyrics before,

"And she don't say a word
She wont say a word
Until you kiss the girl"

I never really thought about that. Yes, I know the premise of the movie. But there they are, on a date, "floating in a blue lagoon" and this guy knows nothing about her. He has no idea who she is. Not even her name (until he hears the voices.)

It's obvious he doesn't know the lobster, the frogs, or the flamingos are singing, yet he hears them. He even asks her if she hears anything and she shakes her head no. She's letting this man think he's going crazy. He doesn't find it the least bit strange that this woman hasn't said ONE word, through the whole date, AND he can guess her name because he heard it in his head? 

Now, I know men are said to be simple, one-track-mind people, but I'd like to think it would take more than a pretty girl, sitting in a boat, not saying a word, "not a single word", to get a (sober) man to kiss her.
Am I expecting too much from the male race? I don't think so. So someone tell me, what does this guy see in her? Aside from her obvious beauty (red-head...duh) what does he really think she has to offer? Do they have anything in common? Prince Eric obviously knows his way around a ship and fishes. He fishes. Let me say this again, he fishes. He's probably killed Ariel's friends. Seriously. How is a MERMAID supposed to be with a PRINCE FISHERMAN? Think vegetarian with a butcher. That's dumb.

here's a video of that scene where they're in the boat....

AND URSULA! That bitch is worse than a used car salesman. She convinces this girl to give up her father, her sisters, and her voice by telling her that "men up there don't like a lot of blabber..." Now, I'm sure that's true to an extent, but do guys really want someone who willingly gave up their ability to speak, just to be with them, when they'd never really met? I know some men who would call that creepy and stalker-like. Just saying. 

Ariel's not all that brilliant either. She's the one that went to the evil sea-witch, signed the contract (even with all of those creepy soul things swimming around), and ditched her family. Kind of a shady thing to do. 

the one with Ursula scamming and some creepy soul things

Tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way. And I'm sure I'll have more to say on related Disney Princess topics so for now, we'll call this: Disney Rant 1.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I don't know if I'll upset the status quo, if I throw poison in the water main."

This world needs more Pirates. and Browncoats.

(The following information is stuff that was told to me by a friend, and sourced to Kester Brewin, author of Mutiny: Why We Love Pirates and How They Can Save Us.)
Pirates came from the 1600s when sailors in the royal navy got sick of being treated unfairly. They were rarely compensated and often beaten. When a sailor would die, the roster on the ship would have a skull and crossed bones next to that person's name. This became the "jolly roger" we all know, love, and plaster on everything. Sailors became pirates because a sailor's life was a short one, so if they weren't going to live long, they may as well live merry. Pirates voted for officers on the ship. They were compensated if they were hurt. They shared everything equally.
Some people believe pirates were no more than thieves. Everyone was a thief. Countries stole from each other all the time (don't they still?). They were only hated because they didn't give the king a cut, sounds like the mob to me. "Pirates come to us in an act of radical self-determination. To move to piracy is an act of emancipation. Stepping out from under oppression." also, "Whenever the resourses of the many are enclosed for the benefits of the few, pirates will rise up, break that down, and put riches back in the hands of common people." 

What some people don't know, and I just learned today, is in the 50's BBC controlled the radio air waves. They only played 1 hour of "pop" music a week. Then, PIRATES! Radio Caroline came along and gave the music back. They were broadcasting from a boat and played nothing but "pop" music for everyone. There was a "book pirate" in 1706 by the name of Henry Hills, who would print books so everyone could afford them, not just the rich. The government didn't like it. They would assault him and destroy his equipment. He wanted to open the world of knowledge to everyone. "for the benefit of the poor" was printed on every book. They called him a pirate for breaking open "elitist privilege" and giving everyone access to information. On the other side of the world, Benjamin Franklin took this on, ignoring British copyright law, and was later able to brag that, "easy access to books has made common American tradesman more intelligent than aristocrats from other countries." America became known as the original "Pirate Nation."

Pirates existence signifies that something that should be common, has become all about private personal gain.


For my non-nerdy friends out there, of which there are few, a "Browncoat" is a term from the short lived TV Show, "Firefly" created by Joss Whedon. Anyone please, correct me if I'm wrong but a Browncoat is a term for the Independence, those who fought against the Alliance and interplanetary unification. The Alliance won the war but they are not the good guys. They are the government who control everything to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. (sound familiar?).

But I'm referring to the real life Browncoats. There are fans of the show, who were so inspired by Captain Mal and his crew that they formed their own charitable groups. There are Austin Browncoats, California Browncoats, and Southeastern Browncoats.
Can't Stop the Serenity is a global charitable event to benefit Equality Now and other causes that are chosen based on local need.Some cities include Kids Need to Read, a charity co-founded by our Captain, Nathan Fillion and author PJ Haarsma. The project began in 2006 and has raised a combined total of more than $600,000.


This world needs more Pirates and Browncoats. We need to do something that upsets the system. Something that takes puts the needs of the many before the wants of the few. There needs to be a way to show the government, local and national, that they can not keep getting away with taking from the poor to make themselves richer.

Thankfully, I know a certain High Brow Pirate who is planning to do just that, and I intend to join him on his crusade to throw a spoke in the wheel.

^Link to the TEDxTalk with Kester Brewin.