January 23, 2011

Surrender is Significant.

I read something today that confused and disappointed me.

Apparently, someone had seen that I had posted on Facebook (which I may unwisely keep unblocked) a request for someone to tell me that I am pretty, and they found it enraging and irresponsible of me.  Now, it is a known fact and a not-so-inside joke that I will ask for someone to tell me I look pretty when I am having a bad day.  I will outright ask if I look prettier today than yesterday, even if I am bloated and wearing dirty sweat pants.  The point is not really to be told that I am pretty, but to be given affection from the people I love when I am feeling low.  I am also not innocent of asking people to say something nice to me if that will help take the edge off a stressful or exhausting day.

Until this afternoon, I didn't realize that made me patronizing and weak-minded.

Now, the link to the opinion is years old.  Getting upset about this now is like eating 4 year old vomit and complaining that it tastes bad.  But it hurts my feelings.  Perhaps admitting this is viewed as weak-minded as well.

I have heard many say that when a woman plays up her sexuality, elements of patriarchal oppression, conformism, and weakness are at play.  That it goes against the feminist grain to purse your lips, or bat your  eyelashes, or do your hair, or wear make up, or show cleavage... because on some level, you’re doing it to garner male attention.
Or worse, to make your fellow women feel inferior. That you’re unconsciously playing into some societal idea of how a woman should act towards men, even as you’re telling yourself you’re doing it because it makes you feel empowered.  In essence, you are fooling yourself.

Beauty is a subjective quality.  People have all agreed on this to the point that it is fodder for ironic t-shirts.  But intelligence is a subjective quality as well.  While I may seem smart to some, I am head-shakingly ignorant to others, I'm sure. While respect and attention based on appearance has been criticized to death, people have been praised for their desire to be respected for their intelligence.  As though that isn't the same superficiality.  Being revered for a single dimension of your identity, regardless of what that quality is, is shallow.  Depth comes from uncovering the layers of someone.  A person should be the sum of many parts, not the representation of a few.

And, perhaps even worse, it feeds into the smart-versus-pretty dichotomy. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.  I'd go so far as to say that they are two sides of the same coin.

While my flippant portrayal of my principles has probably been my representational downfall in many instances, not just this one, I would hope that people, especially other women, can accept that because I am not immune to flattery, it does not make me an endless pit of insecurity.  Because I tend to my appearance, it does not make me an attention vampire.  Because I can be flirty, it does not make me desperate for male attention.  Because I can revel in my femininity and the things that make women different from men, it does not mean I see myself as the submissive and weaker sex.

Because I like to put up the good photos of people, including myself, it does not mean I am misrepresenting. I prefer to showcase what I find to be the beautiful sides of people I love.

And I do love myself.

Asking for attention or allowing myself to be vulnerable is something I have built up a significant amount of strength to be able to do.  Please do not confuse feeling small with being small.  I wish all of the people I love the same strength to feel free to express when they are low and desire love.  Because it means the world for me to be able to give it, just as it feels amazing to allow myself to receive it.

For years, I never did.  And the lack of self worth was heavy.

I may joke about feminism, but the truth is that I think it is amazing that we are living in an age where women do not have to "be" anything to retain their respect in this society.  We do not have to be pretty, or polite, or purse-lipped, or perfect.  We can be loud and beautiful and ugly and crass and poetic and weak and brilliant and scared.
And not feel as though, in the eyes of men, we are lesser for it.

And it makes me sad that instead, we are seen as lesser for it through the eyes of other women.

January 20, 2011

Canada. Fuck yeah.

So far, 2011 has been a blast, though we have been just bombarded by snow.  So much so, the word "snowpocalypse" has already gotten old.  There are big piles of snow that resemble cars, snow grooves in the road so deep it's as though you are connected to tracks, abandoned vehicles, and I have witnessed people rescuing those with wheelchairs and strollers and walkers who have been forced to leave the house for desperate reasons.

And that has been the grandest observation: people have been especially kind to each other.  It's like we all have a common enemy: the weather.

There are a few homeless men around our neighbourhood and we have witnessed two of them helping dig people out of snowbanks.  One asked Greg and I if we needed help shoveling ourselves out as he had been wandering around helping people.  Amazing.

And while it has been very easy for many Edmontonians to utter things like "Why can't people figure out how to drive in snow?", "Winter comes every year, get your shit together", I have to say... there is no way to be prepared for what happens out there when 30cm of snow drops over two days.  This has been the biggest snowfall in 50 years.  Even if you have been driving every winter for the past decade, this is different.  Normal rules don't apply here.

Many people were snowbound, some voluntarily.  There were obvious snow days, buses couldn't run, school buses were parked, it took an extra hour and a half to get anywhere, and in the evenings people refused to leave the house.  Many people just stayed in for weeks...

But not Greg and I.  Snow be damned, we were out every Thursday for our pub nights with "Mini Pizzas featuring Live Music" ;) and the rest of our social activities that make our weeks fly by and our lay ins even more precious. It was a like some weird badge of honour to be able to look out the window of the Crown & Anchor with a pint in my hand and a bluegrass band on the stage and lament how shitty the drive home was going to be.

Crazy?  Perhaps. Hazardous?  Most likely.  Stupid?  Of course.

Canadian?  Fuck yeah.

January 14, 2011

This is Not a Meme.

I remember in my early twenties I would be confronted with a lot of people expressing their utter amazement at some of the ways in which I would betray their opinions of me.  So much so that I began to use the phrase "Regardless of the kind of person you think I am, I will prove you wrong."  I even had a shirt that read WHATEVER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR, YOU WON'T FIND IT HERE.  It became a bit of a sad joke because if someone thought I was intelligent, the would find out that I spelt 'definitely' wrong for the first twenty three years of my life. If they thought I was classy, they would listen to me tell a story about secretions at a dinner party. If they thought I was cool, they would see my face light up when Wave Babies came on the radio.  Apparently, the only thing I have ever done with any consistency is disappoint people.

And I continue to.

It does not bother me, though.  I have an issue with disappointment anyway, as I am pretty certain most disappointment is a result of misjudgement by the disappointed party. I prefer to be human than perfect, fun than cool, curious than smart, and beautiful than pretty.

That being said, here is a list of things that are sure to make people cringe the next time they see me.  Embarrassing, sometimes shameful, ridiculous, and disappointing parts of me...

I LOVE hip hop music.  Like, LOVE it.  Even the kind of bad stuff.  I could listen to Pete Rock every day for the rest of my life.  I enjoy the funkier part of it, but it all makes me happy.  I'd listen to KRS-One over Led Zeppelin.  No lie.

I cry all the time.  Over everything.  Happy things, sad things, hormonal things.  That study that was published that found that men were turned off at the sight and scent of a woman's tears just made my forehead hit the keyboard.  Besides the fact that men are apparently turned off by ANYTHING, personally, this is terrible news for me.

I cheat at Scrabble.  I make up words all the time.  I was excellent at Balderdash because my definitions always sound so plausible.  I used to use my made up words in my teen years just to see if I could convince people I was more well-read and intelligent than I really was.  It always worked.  This is why I have a hard time reading people's poetry.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has talked out of their ass for attention.

I am TERRIBLE at doing math in my head.  Like, really bad.  

I constantly struggle between my desire for something and my inherent need to continue to live as lazily as possible.  It's almost as though my starting line is sleep and everything beyond that takes effort.  It is amazing, really.  I have had moments when showering feels as exhausting as going to the gym.  I have had days when I haven't eaten because making food is trumped by not getting off the couch. And I don't even smoke marijuana.

I really, really, really, really want to witness an autopsy.  

I don't believe in good or bad.  I think they are relative terms.  I, therefore, do not believe in behaviour as being inherently good or bad.  This has resulted in people being very disgusted with me, shouting things like "So, you don't think RAPE is bad?!", "You don't have a problem with what HITLER did?!?!?" 

I drink often, but get drunk very very rarely.  I don't especially enjoy getting drunk anymore.  Due to the alcoholism in my family, I have spent time worried that it may lead to something terrible.  When it does, I will let you know.  So far, I liken it to a very European lifestyle. I do spend a lot of time in pubs.

I have had long hair for so much of my life, I am afraid cutting it all off would change my entire personality.  How ridiculous is that?

I like using the word 'retarded' and am upset that people are so offending by it.  I mean, I get it, I would just rather we focused a bit more of our attention on what people are intending with their words rather than the words themselves.  We can take away all the bad words, people will still hurt other people's feelings.  In the meantime, I can't use fun words.  It sucks.

I am too quick to assess people's intelligence by their grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.  Don't even get me started on purposeful word manipulation like "prolly", "adorbs", "puter", and text lingo.  Fuck ME.

I don't think Jesus ever existed at all.

I don't believe humans or animals are necessarily hard-wired to be monogamous.  That being said, I do think that it is easier when you find someone who satisfies all of our instinctual needs.

I appreciate manners for the purpose of social courtesy, but traditional behavioural structure drives me nuts.  The "because I said so", or "because it's just always been that way" reasoning doesn't wash with me.  I also don't think that traditions mean a damn thing unless they come from you. 

I loathe funerals and refuse to be buried.  If I had it my way, all the land dedicated to the dead would have low-income housing built on it.  What a waste.  No disrespect to the dead, but the living are dying because the dead need space?  

Some days, I WILL wear the same pair of socks twice.  Don't judge me. 

I have peed in the shower.  It's not a habit or anything, but I've done it.

I would rather be really really thin than grossly overweight because the feeling of skin rolling over and touching other skin icks me out.

I am needy sometimes. Like, really needy. I don't know how Greg does it.

I have a terrible fear of living my life and not having made anything any better.  I know my limitations (I'm not heading up Doctors Without Borders any time soon) and so I try to do a lot of small things instead, like make people laugh, encourage their greatness, and give them presents. 

This is one of the main reasons I am even writing right now.  Maybe someone else will feel better about themselves after reading this.

How could you NOT, really...

January 1, 2011

Ghost of New Year's Future?

Believe it or not, he is a comic.
Well, he WAS a comic.  But he is not his past so now it appears he is this sweet little motivational speaker from L.A.

But seriously, he is great.