Monday, March 19, 2018

Have Tiara, Will Travel

What do you get when you take a writer with a busy day job, in the busiest season of her day job, who is also doing physical therapy for her plantar fasciitis and working with a web designer on a website relaunch and mix her with a woman who's trying to have a social life of sorts?

You get a blogger neglects her blog, lo these many weeks.

Someone who's ready to run away and join the circus.

In passing, am I the only person to feel disappointed after discovering that Piccadilly Circus was not, in fact, a circus of any kind?

I'm going there anyway.

I'm starting in London, and I'm taking my tiara (one of them, anyway - more on that later) to the TOWER.

Via Wikimedia Commons by Thomas Gun
pam fray / Tower Green and Beauchamp Tower, Tower of London / CC BY-SA 2.0
Hopefully the guards will not get my tiara confused with the Crown Jewels.

So many places to see, so much to do.

Tower Bridge by Sam Valadi via Flickr

Best of all, I have plans to connect with my longtime writing friends.  Taron of Mind, Body and Scroll.  Rachel Medhurst whose latest release in the Hunted Witch Agency series is making my Kindle fingers twitch.

And then there's Skye Jones, who's got sexy werewolves and dragon shifters ALSO burning up my Kindle. Am hoping her hot pack won't keep her away from enjoying tea with me.

And I asked for songs to get in the London Vibe, and my friends came through. Here's a playlist I created, with this help.

I will only be in the area about a week, and it's guaranteed I will NOT get to see all the things. Because, human.

However, if you were taking your tiara to town to see the Queen, where would you go? Or if you've already been, what should I not miss?

Stay tuned to help me pick which tiara I should take.
Your thoughts?

Monday, January 29, 2018

Glamorous to the Grave? #bodyshaming

Do we have to be glamorous to the grave? Do we have to carry with us all the societal beauty standards and internal fat-shaming and other BS, even when we are terminally ill?

To clarify, I am not terminally ill (any more than anyone else is - the sand in all our personal hourglasses will run out someday).

But I am ranting mad, because a friend of mine recently posted this, in part, about someone she loved, who just passed: "She fought cancer so valiantly. She was so beautiful. She looked like a fitness model til the end. She was a role model for cancer survivors. I will miss her so much."

I didn't want to go off on my friend about this, because cancer sucks, as I can testify, and losing friends sucks. I just told her I was sorry for her loss.

But I am inwardly raging about the words that poured out of her, because this is the message we receive and internalize as women, ALL THE TIME. That being beautiful, fit-looking, somehow makes a death more tragic.  Are fat ugly people the ones who "should" be dying of cancer? Is this why the news media was all over the murder of young, blonde, lovely (and white) Nicole Brown Simpson, yet the murders of black transwomen are barely a blip on the radar?

What does it say about our society that conventional attractiveness seems to impact the expression of how/why we mourn someone?

And how can we unpack this?

I think it's a sore spot for me because my mother worked really hard to lose weight, and she succeeded!! But in her final months, the metastasizing cancer bloated her liver and other internal organs, giving her a big belly. She felt so humiliated and ashamed; it was like a final indignity, cancer kicking her in the 'nads while she was already down.

Another dear friend, my first writing mentor, experienced the same abdominal bloating and terrible embarrassment and shame about it. And I've heard of similar stories from other cancer victims, or heart disease victims, on and on and on. It makes me infuriated, that there is so much societal judgment about being fat that far too many women actually feel guilty about not looking slim when they are dying of #fuckingcancer. Ridiculous!

You can buy this great print of Carrie & Gary by
Lindsay VanEk here.
And we know, we KNOW!! that yo-yo dieting is especially hard on women, and their hearts. Especially older women. Yes, Carrie had done a fair amount of drugs in her youth, and she had sleep apnea, but many wonder if her death was in part related to the huge weight loss she gamely took on, to make the final Star Wars movies. Because, as she quipped, they only wanted to hire 3/4 of her.

Why did her weight even matter? Why couldn't we have had a stocky or fat General Leia? I still would've watched the shit out of that.

As a group, women (and some men) are literally dying to be thin. Why are we are sending the message that nothing, not even death, is worse than being fat?

Must we be glamorous till the fucking grave? I want to join with the spirit of Carrie Fisher and flip off anyone who wants me to be Size Whatever.

And still, I admit, I want to be pretty. To have my loves see me as attractive, and sexy. My boudoir pictures, before and after my surgery, were and continue to be an important piece in reclaiming my life, and my power.

I am still struggling with foot pain issues, and while I'm still not getting on the scale, I know I've gained weight over the last year. It's a vicious cycle - because being active is a problem, more weight is gained, putting more pressure/damage on my feet, which then hurt more...

I hope the physical therapy I'm about to start will help. I don't have the time or patience to be hurting all the time. (Though perhaps it's something the Universe wants me to learn something from?)

I also hope that when I die, a long time from now, people remember me as more than some fat chick (who deserved to die, because, fat). Perhaps, if I'm lucky, I'll be remembered as someone with great boobs who rocked a tiara and made people laugh.

What kinds of body-shaming trigger you?
Your thoughts?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Man-hate, or Human-Love? #MeToo #TimesUp #Feminism

Sometimes I hear people ask, "Why all the hating on men?"

Which puzzles me, until I figure out what they're talking about. And it's true, sometimes I've used the shortcut, "Ugh, men!" to express frustration with some men's behaviors.

So let me clarify.

When I say:

I don't like being raped =/= I hate men.
I hate being pressured to have sex =/= I hate men.
I hate being pressured for certain kinds of sex after I've said no or not tonight =/= I hate men.
I don't like being hit on by my creepy boss or clients =/= I hate men.
I don't like earning less money for the same work as my male counterparts =/= I hate men.
I don't like being expected to do more housework and/or childcare than my male partner =/= I hate men.
I don't like being catcalled =/= I hate men.
I don't want to be spooged on by strangers on social media = /= I hate men.
I don't want to see your dick or dick pic, unless you ask first and I say yes =/= I hate men.
I don't want to be groped by strangers on a train, in a club, or at a party =/= I hate men.

Are you following where I am going with this?

When I say, "Ugh, men," I am expressing my frustration with those behaviors, and those who would normalize them.

But here's the thing. Criticizing the BEHAVIORS I don't like, criticizing the entitlement attitude that leads men to voice their delight at being able to "grab 'em by the pussy" doesn't mean I hate MEN. Many people, including me, understand that many cultural norms have guided men (note, #NotAllMen™) along these paths, and that changing them is a lot of work.

From the Women's March, Jan 2017
Asking men to do the work is not being a man-hater.

Asking them to understand that they are not ENTITLED to: sex, relationships, money, or any other thing, doesn't mean we don't want them to have the thing. It means we are beginning to say, "Not by hurting another human, can you have the thing."

Feminists like me LOVE men. We believe they are not mindless automatons, driven to harmful behaviors simply because they are men. We believe they are capable of being, and often ARE, mindful, tender, thoughtful, considerate, sexy, kind, gentle, protective, loving, respectful. And so much more.

I've been so blessed to love and know many fabulous men. I've also known some who were terrific most of the time, and occasionally did some shitty things. I've met some damaged souls who might have meant well, but were dangerous to my well being.  And known a few sociopaths.

If we want to help men - what's the current trendy catchphrase? Find their best selves, we have to stop justifying the shitty things they do, stop with the "Boys will be boys" nonsense, and help them to see that the entitlement train has left the station. And that #TimesUp for them to deal with it.

Social change is scary, but #TimesUp and past for women to be treated with dignity and respect.

Do you love men?

Do you hate the entitlement attitude?

Your thoughts?