Friday, February 29, 2008
One for the weekend
Shakesville - that virtual old gray lady of liberal and just plain irreverent blogging - made me laugh out loud at work today. I do not laugh out loud at my desk.

Except for today.

Read this. Quietly.

Use duct tape preventively if you must.

Have an AWESOME weekend y'all.


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
What I want - NEDAW
I posted something earlier today. It wasn't supposed to be for this blog and when I discovered I had posted it here, I took it down. Then I started wondering, what made me so ashamed? What made me feel so exposed about it?

The post was, in a phrase, about knowing, or rather, not knowing, what I want.

I still have trouble with that one.

When Michael and I were getting married he asked me, oh, about 900 times, what I wanted. My answer was always either:
  1. whatever makes everyone happy
  2. I don't know
These were honest, not passive aggressive, answers.

It's a little bit shameful, at least for me, to be at the age of 37 (almost 40) and not be able to say/know what I want.

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I still struggle with my eating disorder. Frequently.

I'll be honest, I struggle hourly. It comes, partly from not knowing what I want. Not in terms of food (though that is a part of it) but in the rest of my life as well.

An eating disorder is not about food. Food is only the tool. It is what we use to numb, punish and reward ourselves. It is what I use to hide and to disguise myself. It is what I have used since I was 17 to keep my sexuality under wraps. It hasn't always worked.

As always, I recommend this post from Shapely Prose for beginners and anyone else who hasn't read it.

Be nice to your body this week. I'm trying to be nice to my body too.
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Monday, February 25, 2008
Silver white winters that melt into springs...
These are a few of my favorite things right now.

Bakerella and her cake pops

18-year-old Man-Boy of Leisure Kenny Blogginz, guest blogger at Shakesville. Really smart. Really 18 years old.

The Pillowig at SwissMiss which I totally want to make.

And the fabulous chandelier at Blik

Moo sticker books - deciding what to get in a sticker book is harder than deciding on a tattoo!

Everything at Stuff-o-rama

From Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, their tribute to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you haven't yet been touched by his noodly appendage, please go here and learn about the Church of the FSM, of which I am a member. RAmen.

I am just amazed at all that is available on the internets but when all else fails, my favorite is spending a rainy Sunday morning drinking a pot of coffee and reading the newspaper.


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Friday, February 15, 2008
Letter to a 12 year old.
Over at Big Fat Blog, a 14 year old posted a question the essence of which was:

What’ll it take for me to love my reflection?
‘Cause everytime I say to myself “You’re beautiful” it feels like a lie…

How do you do it? How can you just totally accept yourself exactly the way you are! What your secret? Will you share it with me?

It got me thinking. A lot. What would I say to my sweet and rowdy niece if she asks a similar questions when she is 12 or 14? Here is what I came up with:

Dear Mia;

Your mom and dad think you are beautiful but I know that doesn't mean much because they're supposed to say that, they are your parents. Just so you know, not all parents think their children are beautiful and not all parents tell their children that.

Also, part of the reason that your parents think you are beautiful is because you are. I don't even know what you look like right now (it being 10.5 years until you are 12) but your beauty for them (and for me) doesn't just come from your skin or your hair or your size, whatever they may look like. Beauty comes from the person you are. Are you a good person? Do you care about people? Do you treat people with respect? Do you have fun? Do you make people laugh? These things make you beautiful.

You may say, well, Aunt Faith, that is all well and good, but I don't think I'm pretty. Or people at school make fun of me. Here are some things I wish someone had told me:
  • Jr. high school sucks. Don't let anyone tell you that it's the best time in your life because it isn't.
  • Kids can be really mean. I know it and your parents know it and if your teachers don't know it they're lying.
  • All kinds of shit is going on with your body and your hormones which makes it really hard to get any kind of a grip on your mood and your feelings.
  • Having a boyfriend isn't nearly as important as anyone makes it out to be. You're gonna get kissed. I have no worries about that but if you live your life to get some boy, you're not living life for yourself.
  • The beauty industry makes a ton of money off of you feeling bad about the way you look. Don't let them.
  • Be bold. Be brave. Try things just because. Get your mom to do something she'd never do. Get your dad to step out of his routine. Make noise, be dramatic, say what you think.
  • Earn respect and then expect respect. If you earn it, you have every right to it.
  • Focusing on yourself - on what you want in your life - will make you happier than any amount of popularity. If you love soccer and want to play professionally or if you love designing and want to be a designer or if you love writing or science or art or literature, focus on that. It will make you happier than anything else. Also, you'll find other people that love the same things you do and it won't matter to you what they look like and vice versa.
  • Read. Read a lot. Read all kinds of things. Ask me for some recommendations.
  • Ask questions. A lot of questions. Smart questions, stupid questions, just ask. Don't just accept the answers. Sometimes, the answer is wrong. Also, the more questions you ask, the more you'll realize that kids are sometimes smarter than adults and you'll learn answers to things you didn't even know there were questions for.
  • Being cute doesn't last forever, being smart or funny or witty lasts a long time and gets you a lot further in the end. Also, being cute is a lot of work.
  • You just need to make it through Jr. High and high school. That's all. Bonus points if you have some fun. The rest of your life starts after that. Get good grades, be an ethical person, find good friends, nothing else really matters.

I love you. I will never stop loving you. If you ask me questions I will always try to find the answers with you and if we can't find the answers together, we'll get someone else to help.


Aunt Faith

Man, I wish I'd had me when I was 12. Or the internet. That would have been good too.

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Monday, February 11, 2008
Little lady strikes again!
I'm a little sore this morning.

Here's why.

It looks so nice and tiny and easy to maneuver when it's a photo.

It isn't nice or tiny or easy to maneuver. I had to rent a truck to get it home. I had to learn how to turn on the drive shaft while the cutter blade was vibrating the 330 pound machine. I had to open the choke and tilt the blade and then I ripped up my entire back lawn.

Did I mention how much I hate Bermuda grass?

When I went into the home improvement store to ask about rental on Saturday and then to rent and return it on Sunday the words, "Little Lady" were at the tip of everyone's tongue in each of their smirking faces.

For instance,

Me: "Excuse me, where do I go to rent a sod cutter?"
Home Improvement Store Employee: "You're going to rent a sod cutter?" (little lady)

Me: "I'd like to rent a sod cutter."
HISE: "Well, that's very ambitious" (little lady)

Big construction guy renting some other equipment: "Are ya building something?" (little lady)
Me: "Nope, I just do demolition." (asshat)

Ultimately, I got it home, got a trench dug up, read the instructions, started up the engine and within about 2 1/2 hours, the back lawn was no more.

Damn it. I knew I could do it. And I needed to prove to myself that I could. Frankly, if I didn't do all the things I was scared of or was unsure of, I'd never make curtains or put up hallowe'en fact, I'd never write a blog post or make dinner if I had to be completely certain about what I was doing.

It is by no means perfect. I missed a couple of spots that I'm going to have to go at with a shovel but overall - not a bad day of work for a total amateur little lady.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008
Shadow and light
Let me tell you a story.

When I was 17 years old, I moved to Israel. I needed to be away from everything and everyone I knew, including myself. I was "sensitive" and "needy". I was opinionated but intensely afraid of not being able to defend my positions. I was already quite engaged in an eating disorder and terrified of my sexuality.

No one knew me in Israel. I lived and worked on Kibbutz Tzora with 21 other American students. I was the youngest. I worked in the cotton fields pulling up irrigation lines, and in the furniture factory spot welding office chairs. I worked in the laundry ironing sheets on huge rolling machines and in the kitchen cutting onions and cucumbers for the 450 families who lived and worked there with me.

Together with my group of American students we would go to university on Sunday and Monday, Saturday nights we would go to the bars in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Together, we traveled to Haifa and Eilat, to Ashkelon and the middle of the Negev.

On one excursion we assisted the university in an archaeological dig. It was there that I found an Asherah figurine. I was so proud of having found an archaeological treasure that I ran over to the head of the dig and handed it over. In my haste, I had barely looked at her before I'd released the tiny goddess. Later, I felt like I had betrayed something in myself. I had abandoned something that I should have held, even for just one more moment. I might have spent one minute understanding what I had come upon but just as suddenly as I had found it, it was rushed away in the hands of some post-doc or fellow to do dating and identification.

I think it was my first adult lesson in denial of self. I had been self-sacrificing for years and years but this lesson was new. Like plants growing so slowly you don't ever remember them becoming tree from seed, I was suddenly gazing into a new garden and I had just given up an outstanding opportunity.

In the last couple of years I have traveled great distances emotionally. Along the way I have abandoned my fear of sharing my opinion with anyone who will listen. I have taken more time to savor things that I come by in my travels. I have learned that people are interested in what I have to say. I still have a long journey ahead of me though.

I am just now reading a book called Eating in the Light of the Moon. It is a book filled with metaphor and goddesses, which, frankly, I haven't picked up in the past because I am cynical and suspicious of stories of "the goddess" and feminine vs. masculine spirituality. I am a feminist but I am an atheist. My atheism (obviously) extends to goddess myths. Finally, after many recommendations, I picked up the book.

The author, Dr. Anita Johnston, is not interested in converting readers into feminists or believers in a Wise Woman myth. She is interested in helping us discover how we found our disordered relationship with food and how we can leave it behind. In one chapter, near the end of the book, she talks about looking at ourselves,
"deep in the depths of our being, to confront all those aspects of herself that she would just as soon leave hidden in the dark....she eventually discovers that whenever we try to disown the shadow parts of our being, they seem to acquire strength and begin to take over our lives in the form of obsessions and addictions."

This is what happened to me. I tried to disown myself. The parts of myself that I showed were bright and shiny and the parts of myself that were eating me alive were ugly and caged in shadow. I was terrified that what was in there, deep in the shadows, would destroy me. And it nearly did.

In our society we are virtuous if we "bear our pain stoically, keep it hidden from view." says Dr. Johnston. "We have been reprimanded time and time again for engaging in "self-pity" when we have tried to pour out the pain we feel in our hearts. And so we deny our pain and say everything is "all right." But everything is not "all right" if I am eating without knowing why and throwing up to get rid of my anger and my frustration. Everything is not "all right" if you are starving yourself or on a diet every single day of your life or using food in a way that makes you feel angry or disappointed or frantic.

I don't need to share every pain, but I also am no longer keeping it stoically hidden like a good girl. Some have wondered if it is self-indulgent to write a blog. Especially a blog about oneself. Yes. The entire point of writing a blog is self-indulgent. The question I have is, is there anything wrong with that?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008
A really mushy post
Today is the 8th anniversary of the day Michael and I woke up, drove to Las Vegas and got hitched. We wore jeans and t-shirts. Pat, the Clark County Commissioner, officiated. She declared that we were, "husband and wife and best friends for life." We didn't ask her to say that, she just did.

It's been awesome and surprising.

I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else.

I love you, sweetheart.
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Monday, February 04, 2008
I think it might be spring in L.A. Here's how I know.

This weekend I went outside to work on my lawn. I wore jeans and a tank top. I worked out there from 12 noon to about 4:15. I didn't get a sunburn but I didn't need to cover up either.

Also, they are selling artichoke plants at Lowe's. I love artichokes and I am very, very tempted to take up growing artichokes in the back 40. Very tempted.

Also, the Lowe's gardening section was awash in ranunculus (also called Persian buttercup).

I happen to love ranunculus. I also like saying ranunculus. I was very, very good. I did not buy the ranunculus as I do not quite have a garden in which to plant them. I showed an enormous amount of restraint.

You really have no idea.

I did, however, buy a cheap hoe. Yes, I said it. I bought a cheap hoe. It lasted all of an hour and then it was utterly bent out of shape. I broke my hoe. Woe is the hoe.

I'm gonna need a rototiller for this job.


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