Health, Love, Personal

Three Months In

This winter royally kicked my ass. It kicked everyone’s ass–making plans around snow, worrying about whether or not I could work (or worse, get stuck there,) dealing with everyone else’s craziness stocking up on bread and eggs, the works. The stories I have of rude customers from my retail job over the last few weeks are astounding. Adding to this mayhem is that I’m one of those people that gets miserable without sunshine. The bad thoughts I had leading up to my 29th birthday came back with a vengeance–that I wasn’t good enough, that I was stuck, I was unwanted.

I know that’s bullshit, but man, I was really feeling it. My mom, also feeling snow crazy, decided that we should go away, somewhere warm, with plenty of sunshine and no work. That place? Disney World. She insisted that it’s a much different experience when there’s no children and only two people in the group, that it wouldn’t be anything like the family trip this past August. I was reluctant for a while, but as the trip drew near and the negative thoughts and emotions grew stronger, I was more than happy to bounce.

It was so worth it. It was so worth it to go, to get away. Yes, we had a jam packed itinerary, but I was the most relaxed I had been in months. It was nice to be removed from certain situations, and in new places. There was sunshine! Flowers! Warmth! I met Ariel! I got a kick ass hot stone massage! And, perhaps this is the weirdest thing, but being in Disney World made me realize a few things about myself:

  • I’m not ready for kids. Although I have more patience for kids now than I did in my early twenties, the mothers at my hotel looked so worn down and exhausted every day. I was that person in the parks wondering why there were so many damn kids (because, you know, it’s DISNEY WORLD.)
  • I have to take things one by one. I’ve been making myself crazy thinking that I have to get my own place, a better paying job and my version of Marshall all before I turn thirty. That’s insane. I feel if I take it one at a time, it’s less pressure and things will fall into place themselves otherwise.
  • I have to shift my perspective when it comes to thinking about time. I’ve been angry because I feel like I’ve lost two and a half years and that I’m trapped. I actually began thinking about it the weekend before I left; where I attended the engagement party of a good friend. At the time of the party last year, she and her fiancé were broken up. I’d always been looking at it from the opposite side; that it only seems to be when things are going well that bad things happen. It can go the other way, and I can’t be on my guard all the time anymore.
  • The most important: I can never be my “old” self again. And after some time away from my usual routine, I don’t want to be. If I’m my old self, that means (a) Matty is still here and (b) that means that I’m back in my early twenties where I was even more ridiculous than I am now–whiny, hung up on stupid, stupid guys, ungrateful (I want to tell my college self to chill out so bad, that things really weren’t so bad) drunk and really unsure of myself. I want to keep moving forward.

I know this may seem like a bit of a rehash from my last personal post, but I need a reminder sometimes. I think we all do, that things aren’t so bad, to be more patient, to slow down a little, or in some cases, speed up. Once you graduate from high school and/or college, when you know all the bullshit is going to end, there is no definitive end to things, unless you are 100% certain you know when exactly you’re going to die. It’s scary for some. An earlier draft of this post, titled “How Many Times Can I Learn to Fly?” detailed how I was sick of learning life lessons, sick of setbacks. But perhaps instead of resisting, I should actually put these lessons into practice.

Advertisements
Standard
Celebrity, Personal

Leave Bobbi Kristina Brown Alone. Seriously.

It was announced today that Bobbi Kristina Brown’s family may (some sources say definitely, others say it’s a rumor) take the 21-year-old off life support on February 11th, the third anniversary of her mother’s death. Whitney Houston drowned on February 11th, 2012. Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unresponsive in a tub on January 31st, and has been in a medically induced coma ever since. Reports say that Brown had been struggling personally, with recent photos of the 21-year-old looking gaunt surfacing and reports of incoherent messages on various social media accounts.

So, naturally, instead of people offering Bobby Brown and other relatives condolences, people are criticizing the decision as to when to take Bobbi Kristina off life support. It’s “tacky,” it’s “ghoulish,” it’s “for publicity.” Are you fucking kidding me? I’m enraged right now. Yes, I know, internet commenters think they can say whatever they want, everybody has an opinion, but this is not about a poor celebrity fashion choice or calling out politicians on bad behavior. This is about someone’s life and the heartbreak a family is going through. No parent should ever have to decide when their child dies, let alone watch.

And yes, I do have a personal stake in this. Not with the Houston-Brown family, but I’ve been involved in a similar situation. Most people think that my brother died instantaneously. The truth is, it took him a full day. We got the call that my sister-in-law found my brother unresponsive in their bathroom while we were at the grocery store. We flew down to the hospital forty minutes away, where he was in the critical care unit. I’d never been more scared in my life. I knew that it was dire. Deep down, I knew he was gone. But because there was a small chance that he could recover, we held on to it. He’d gotten out of life threatening scrapes before, why couldn’t he do it again? I don’t know how my parents stayed relatively calm. I was a wreck, I didn’t even see him. I couldn’t. I physically could not gather the strength to get up out of my chair in the waiting room and go see him. We went home that night, with word that they were going to do one more test early the next morning to see if he could eventually recover.

The agreement my parents and I had was that if he was going to make it, they’d call. If he wasn’t, they’d come home and tell me to my face. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang, the number from the hospital. But it wasn’t my parents. It was the receptionist, looking for my sister in law so they could discuss what to do with his personal effects. Which meant my brother was gone. About ten minutes later, my parents came home and told me that Matty looked so at peace, how they watched him go. My sister and I both yelled at them “no parent should ever have to watch their child die!!” And they shouldn’t.

Now, that all happened in a matter of hours. Granted, my parents didn’t have to decide anything as my brother went, but they watched their child die. I still have trouble talking about it. Can you even begin to imagine what Bobbi Kristina’s family is going through? That they had to make the decision as to when to end her life? They’re watching her die. And people have the balls to talk shit? That’s really not okay. I hope that a majority of those commenters never, ever have to go through something like this. If the Houston-Browns want to pull the plug on the anniversary of Whitney’s death, let them. Remember, Bobbi Kristina was still a teenager when her mother died. Yes, her family had issues, but it’s still her family. You can’t expect a teenager, let alone anyone to know exactly how to grieve.

I can see the argument for people getting up in arms about choosing to end life support on the anniversary of Whitney Houston’s death. But that said, it’s the family’s decision. They were holding on to the idea that Bobbi Kristina could recover. That history wouldn’t repeat itself. They didn’t carefully orchestrate this to garner publicity (notice Bobby Brown has kept pretty quiet about the whole ordeal) but perhaps it’s a way for the family to help ease the grief a little. We don’t know, and we won’t know. And yes, Whitney Houston became a punchline towards the end of her life, but she was still a person. This is not easy for anyone involved.

Standard
Love

Valentine’s Day Pressure is Bullshit

I am usually a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Although I’m always single on the day, I usually find a way to make it fun–celebrate my other single friends by going out to dinner and a movie, give them little gifts. Make valentines for everyone I know. Celebrate myself by buying something I normally wouldn’t for myself. (this year, I bought myself two tulle skirts, one powder blue, the other with Cinderella’s castle printed on it from the Cinderella: a Collection by LC Lauren Conrad at Kohl’s.) I don’t believe Valentine’s Day should make people feel shitty. Use the “love day” as a way to express love and gratitude for those you do care about–friends, yourself, family, co-workers, whomever.

But this year, I can’t take the pressure this holiday brings to many people. I think it’s because I’m closer to 30 and by October, I’ll have been to two engagement parties, three weddings and a former college housemate will have had her baby (that she’s excited about) within the year. So what does Valentine’s Day have to do with it? It’s bringing up these insecurities. There’s weird consumerist pressure to make February 14th either ultimate day of romance and passion or to make single women feel like they’re walking Cathy comics that I feel stressed.

(I had to.)

It’s such bullshit–why?  Valentine’s Day makes single people feel awful for being such, and it makes people in relationships feel stressed out over an unofficial holiday where it’s like, you don’t pick the right restaurant or show up with an engagement ring, relationship over!  It’s so dumb. So how do we circumvent these awful feelings? It’s not easy, at least from the single person’s perspective. The last two Valentine’s Days, I’ve had to work my retail job where customers and coworkers alike shot me looks of pity and served backhanded compliments as they were running off to meet their significant others while I was stuck closing the store. ugh, it was the worst. And as I can’t stress enough, it’s not necessary. We should be appreciating our loved ones every day. Valentine’s Day should just be seen as a bonus with cute decorations and a better color scheme than Christmas.

So is there a way to beat the pressure? You could be cynical and look at it as just a day for retailers to make money at the end of January/beginning of February, or you could hold on to the hippie dippy ideal that we go all out for everyone we love. I think in the end, you make the day as you want it to be. People are always going to try and be “helpful,” but they’re not important. What is important is that you’re happy, healthy and secure in your relationship. If you’re single, don’t look at it as a race. When you do get to the point that your friends are, it’ll be worth it. Don’t settle. If you want a relationship to happen, it will. You just need patience and to not let greeting card companies, movie studios, restaurants, and magazines make you feel awful. You’re fantastic!

Standard
Celebrity, Women

Tess Munster is NOT Promoting Obesity. Shut up.

When I first heard the news that 29-year-old Tess Munster, a plus size social media queen who started the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, landed a major modeling contract, I was psyched. At 5’5″ and 260 lbs, she’s the first legit plus size model. (yeah, Calvin Klein, hate to break it to you, but size 10 is not plus sized. You can find size 10 at any store that’s not 5.7.9.)  Munster is gorgeous, and it’s refreshing to see someone closer to my body type as a mainstream model.

 

However, there are a lot of backwards minded people that take to the comments section to express outrage that Munster is “promoting obesity.” This is so frustrating on so many levels. As a woman who has spent most of her life plus sized, let me tell you–it ain’t easy. It isn’t easy for anyone, but for some reason, if you’re above a certain size, you get shit on quite a bit, even when people are trying to sing your praises. Check out this awesome comment from Sean Stephane Marin on HuffPo Canada’s piece on Munster (yeah, smart move using Facebook to comment, by the way:)

 

“So we’ve gone from the way to skinny to the Frighteningly Beyond Voluptuous.

Sorry. I’m sure she’s a perfectly nice person. But being a model is about the superficial only, and if this passes for beauty now, I weep for this society. Someone should get this woman to a gym pronto.” 

 

That’s not even the worst, check out Brea O’Keefe’s comment:

 

So glad to hear this!

Right now, only 2 out of 3 Americans are obese. We can do better. Let’s shoot for 3 out of 3 by promoting obesity even more than we do. Let’s tell everyone, “Obesity is beautiful!”.

After all, those of us who watch our weight don’t mind at all that our health insurance premiums will go up to pay for all the medical problems (diabetes, heart disease, knee and hip replacements, etc) you’ll have. ; )

 

I’m outraged. These people are ignorant and I’m so sick of the fat=instant diabetes argument. ANYONE can get type 2 diabetes, even–gasp–thin people! She is not promoting obesity. She is representing a body type that does exist. And several outlets have pointed out that she works out with a trainer. And this is promoting obesity how…?

 

The thing that really pisses me off is people think that plus sized people don’t know that they’re plus sized, and thus, have to be reminded at every  turn. I’m on the smaller end of plus size and I still get shit–I once had a customer tell me that because of my size, I was going to get type II diabetes. I raged on him and let him know that he did not have the right to talk to me like that, my health was none of his business, all while he was babbling that he was trying to help, it’s how he got type II diabetes, he was sorry. I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell him that he was likely going to get cancer eating the heavily processed chocolate syrup he was purchasing, so why not go to the produce department and get an apple instead?

 

I think a lot of these commenters don’t realize that they’re not on Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity council and what they say is not only hurtful, but toxic. It’s annoying and it gets internalized. It’s easy to laugh off, but there’s this little voice that pops up, there must something wrong with me if people keep talking. Why am I so big? Do men only date me out of desperation? I think the people who are shitting on Tess Munster are verbalizing their own self hatred: “how dare this larger woman be prettier than me!! That’s not what society told me!! I’m ashamed that find her sexually attractive!! I’m taking my shit out on her because she’s an easy target!!” 

 

This just needs to stop. For any size, really–I’ve had friends be whispered about for having an non-existent eating disorder simply because they were thin. I once snapped at a friend trying to help me on a bad day that, because she gets stopped on the street and complimented on her beauty that she knew nothing about the difficulties of dating. Her response: “It may be easier for me to meet [guys,] but it winds up being the same in the end–they either want nothing to do with me, or to just to sleep with me.” Nobody wins. So why can’t we take Munster’s modeling contract as a victory for women of a certain size instead of a forum for obesity and health? Doesn’t it get tiring to shit on people after a while?

Standard
Health, Sex

BREAKING: Men have body image issues!

Nice try, Cosmopolitan.com. Perhaps author Anna Breslaw was trying to be funny, but the list of “10 Reasons Sleeping With a Husky Guy Is The Best” really isn’t. I stumbled upon it on Facebook last night, and clicked, thinking it would be nice. Instead, it was rife with awful jokes and tired stereotypes (guhuhuh, you can eat in front of him and he won’t care!) The line that stands out to me the most is “his largeness makes you feel like a gossamer porcelain ballerina!”

Where do I begin with the wrongness of this? Firstly, if Men’s Health or Maxim made a list of “10 Reasons Sleeping With a Plus Size Gal Is The Best” and included lines like, “you get three extra pillows with a pussy!” or “you’ll feel like Joe Manganiello next to her largeness!” there would be an angry response on Cosmo about ten minutes after it came out.  Second, as I mentioned earlier, it’s tired jokes and stereotypes. If Breslaw had wanted it to be funny, she could’ve come up with better reasons that didn’t involve food or comparing figures.

Third, men do have body image issues. Think about it–the praise that Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill got after losing great amounts of weight–they went from “schlubby” to “sexy and funny!” And not gonna lie, I don’t think someone like Billy Gardell is going to be on the cover of People‘s Sexiest Bachelors issue. And I’m pretty sure most guys weren’t feeling too hot after Magic Mike came out in 2012. I think the reason a lot of people don’t see that this kind of shit has a negative effect on men too. I think the reason that there aren’t a lot of “Love your body!” type campaigns for men is because they don’t really talk about it. You have larger men in movies and in positions of power, so why complain? That doesn’t mean that men don’t have the same insecurities as women. Who enjoys being referred to as “a third pillow with a dick” simply because you don’t have six pack?

What people don’t realize is that, while it’s easy to laugh things off out loud, it’s still wrong as it gets internalized. I mean, look at Richard Simmons on Wendy a few years back detailing his struggle, he’s near tears:

There will probably be some guys who’ll read the Cosmo piece and feel like a punchline. A younger bud of mine once lamented that because he didn’t look like the “teen idols” of his department at work, he couldn’t find a girlfriend. It made me sad that he was down on himself due to the lack of a six pack. He has plenty to offer, and to be honest, just because someone is physically fit doesn’t mean that they’re perfect overall–once you get past the just hooking up stage, if you really want to date, it’s going to take more than a gorgeous smile and great arms to sustain a relationship. You need to bring intelligence, humor and patience as well. 

So, Breslaw, Cosmo, think before you write. I know you could’ve come up with a better, more positive list of reasons to sleep with a larger guy that didn’t reduce them to a punchline. You get mad when it happens to women, so why should men be treated any differently in that regard? It just sucks all around.

Standard
Personal

How I’m Getting Fine at 29

I mentioned this concept in my last personal post, but I never really detailed how exactly I was going to get fine at 29. Yes, these are pretty much new years’ resolutions (and what better timing!) but I’m not going to New York Sports Club for a week, nor will I start some crazy diet that will go out the window two weeks after that. This is about long term goals, that will last past 29.

 

1. I will get fit to the point where I can run up a mountain in the snow

 

This is not going to happen in a year. I will be the first to admit as I’m not Sly Stallone and had the other three Rocky movies/First Blood/Rhinestone under my belt before shooting Rocky IV. Nor am I 5’10” (was I really the only one who thought Sly was about 5’4″ all these years?) But I do want to be that strong without the reliance of fancy machines or steroids, just rely on my body. My problem is that I get mad at myself for not being able to beat Ivan Drago right away. I just have to remember my experience in tae kwon do.  I took a class in college, and I loved it. Although I couldn’t run without getting winded after about a lap and a half during warm ups and most Asian men don’t have hips and a butt the way I do and had to wear track pants instead the proper uniform pants, I kept at it. I fought hard, and it paid off–I surprised the instructor who thought I was going to quit after the first week by passing my promotion test at the end of the semester on the first go. And speaking of fighting spirit…

 

2.  I will retain my enthusiasm and energy

“Headlong” is the last music video of Queen with Freddie Mercury shot in color. A little less than a year after this video was shot, Mercury succumbed to AIDS. Although he doesn’t have the same level of energy that he did at Live Aid a few years earlier or especially during Queen’s heyday in the 70s, he’s still fierce. Listen to the vocal. I felt like an immense asshole after watching this the other night. Of course your energy is going to change after major events–but it shouldn’t come to a complete stop. I’m also not physically ill the way Mercury was. I have no excuse. I’m angry that I went numb over the summer.

 

3. I will remember that I want a Marshall, and not settle for a Sheldon.

“What?!” you’re probably thinking. Let me explain. When I was in my last year of college, I started watching How I Met Your Mother. I was instantly drawn to Marshall Eriksen. “That’s the kind of guy I want to end up with.” I told myself. Marshall to me is warm, he’s sweet, he’s caring, he’s doting without being obsessive, he’s energetic, he’s optimistic, he’s silly, yet at the same time, he’s smart, he has a great job, I could go on.

However, when I started dating as an adult, I was not finding Marshalls. I was finding perverts and (perhaps slightly worse,) Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory types. This is not to bash geeks–wouldn’t you consider Marshall to be slightly geeky given his interest in finding Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster?–but these guys had Sheldon’s cold, awkward, rude, condescending, stubborn behaviors down. Yet, part of me was always like, “oh, I shouldn’t be mean, I should give this poor guy a chance,” go out on a second date with them, and be more miserable than the first time out. No more. I’m done feeling bad that I want a Marshall and not a Sheldon. I’m not going to settle because I feel that “what if this is my last chance?!” Fuck that.

 

And while I know I have other things to improve on to get fine at 29, these three are the biggest, and again, this isn’t just for being 29, these are more long term goals: strength, enthusiasm and not settling. To others about to turn 29, how are you getting fine?

Standard
Personal

Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going: Getting Fine at 29

Where have I been? I’ve been hibernating for the past six months. It’s the only way I can explain it. Everything I’ve done has been safe, either involving family or my best friend. Why?

 

I’ve been hibernating now that the dust has settled after my brother’s passing. The first year after, my emotions were very heightened, I was still in shock and trying very hard to simply escape the pain. But in the second year, I went numb on the inside. I couldn’t feel excited or happy about anything anymore, and it scared me. I was in constant fight or flight mode, not being able to relax in the fear that if I did, another shit storm would happen. And to be honest, it’s something I’ve been feeling since high school, but now it was unstoppable. It didn’t begin to let up until recently, when I turned 29, regressed to 21 and had an embarrassing night after too many glasses of Knob Creek, and then dealing with the fall out for about a week afterwards.

 

The calm before the storm--this is what 29 looks like so far

The calm before the storm–this is what 29 looks like so far

 

The problem, I realized (with the help of a very patient best friend who may or may not have woken up to a barrage of texts detailing my issues,) is that I don’t really deal with anything. I go to work, I say and do the right things, but at the end of the day, I just don’t deal with anything, so when a high stress occasion is on the horizon (usually a holiday or a birthday or the anniversary,) all my issues just come out full force, resulting in an emotional breakdown that makes me physically ill. I seem to be all over the place and resort to bad habits, self destructive habits (in my case, settling for a one time fling with a sub-par man) and I can’t take it anymore. It’s not healthy, and I certainly don’t want to be like this in my thirties!

 

 

So, I’ve decided that I will make 29 the year I get fine. Not cured, not invincible, not crazy. It’s going to take time, but I need to make a stronger effort in order to get my life back, to deal with my issues in a healthy way and to not get so bogged down. Part of the sadness on my 29th birthday was because I felt so stunted and I’m not where I feel I should be. I know, I know, it’s not a race, but I need to stop hibernating and start living, get back to things I used to love while challenging myself, starting with this here blog. Although I may not have a permanent professional writing home anymore, I still have a lot to say and need to say it.

Standard