Thursday, April 29, 2010

Real Women Have Curves

So, lately on Facebook (and, seriously, how many of my blogs are inspired by something on Facebook? Nice. I'm so pathetic) there have been a bunch of "likes" lately on pages like "Curvy girls are better than skinny girls!" "I eat. I have curves. Get over it" and the like.

I have some issues with these pages.

It's not that I don't agree with the general idea that if you are not predisposed to be super skinny, you shouldn't fight to be. Let's face it, not everyone will be a size zero. I'm pretty sure my skeleton wouldn't fit into a pair of size zero jeans. It's not how I'm built. However, a few of my friends are so tiny that if they wore the same size that I wore, pre-pregnancy, they'd be overweight.

So I looked at the "Curvy girls are better than skinny girls!" page. And the default picture is of Kim Kardashian - a chick that is certainly built very curvy and also appears to be at a healthy weight for her body type. Right on. But the posts had a lot to do with things like "chubby chasers" and many, many, many of the fan photos were of women who are overweight to obese.

Understand, I am *certainly* not judging people who are overweight. I tipped the scales at over 300 pounds when pregnant with Rhi. And I've gained more with this pregnancy than I should have; it will absolutely take me some time to return to my target healthy weight after I have this kid.

But this country is becoming more and more obese and unhealthy by the hour. It is a serious problem that should actively alarm us. We eat refined, processed shit for every meal, we wash it down with jumbo sized sodas, our portion size is ridiculous (fun fact on this: Rhi's "kids meal" from a restaurant the other day - one that was only for people 12 and under - had enough food in it for her to eat to her fill there, for both of us to have adequate portions for lunch the next day *and* there was some left over,) we don't get enough physical activity, and it's not getting better. We're passing on unhealthy habits to our kids, too, making them think that this is ok.

All of that is a travesty.

I firmly believe that people can be healthy in an array of sizes. I know chicks who wear size 12s who are just built large, who have less fat on them than I did pre-pregnancy, when I was wearing a size 5 and hitting the gym 6x a week. I know girls whose ribs you could count who consume more food in one sitting than some obese people I know. Your body size/type/metabolism isn't something to be ashamed of. If you have a healthy body that you take care of, with the right foods and exercise, you should be celebrating yourself, no matter what societal standards say about you. But if you're not, don't justify it away by calling it curves. Instead, love yourself enough to make a pledge to start down a healthier path. Don't worry about being skinny or curvy. Worry about your quality of life when you get older. Worry about the example your unhealthy actions might be setting for your child or someone else you love. Take care of yourself.

And then celebrate how strong, healthy, and amazing you are, no matter what body type you have.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

HFCS and other news

So, high fructose corn syrup appears to be a pretty awful thing to ingest. And it seems like people everywhere are deciding not to use it, which is awesome.

But a lot of people are also saying that it should be banned in general in the United States. And I don't necessarily agree with that.


I'm just not a big fan of the idea of banning everything that's quasi-dangerous or bad for you. I favor labeling things with HFCS - much like how companies have done with trans fats. I am all about legislating to keep it out of things like children's school lunches. Absolutely. But beyond that...I don't like it. I just feel like there's this real mindset that we have to save everyone from themselves. If the risks of something are known, it's obviously stated that the component is in it, and you doing it doesn't pose risk to someone else, then if you make the decision to use something, it's all you. I'm a huge fan of personal responsibility. If you're an adult, I don't have to hold your hand and make you do anything.

Especially with something like this. This isn't drinking and driving, where there are serious risks involved. It's not even driving without a seat belt, where, yes, you can conceivably harm another person in your car by your irresponsibility. This is "you'll probably get fat and you might get cancer." Bad deal, yeah. But you'll also probably get fat and increase your risk for cancer by not working out. No one's banning being a couch potato.

Please note, if you're a friend of mine who is all about banning hfcs, it's not like I think you're a bad person or anything. I'm not being a douche here. I just think it's unnecessary. But good call for caring about the health of yourself and others, for sure.

But onto other news.

I am dragging my feet with preparing for this kid. Seriously. When I was pregnant with Rhi, I had my bag packed, my birth plan printed, the nursery ready by, oh, 7 1/2 months. With Keira? I *just* wrote my birth plan. The car seat? Not even close to installed. (Ok, although, in my defense, that's partially because the Radian is a little complex and I'm taking it to a car seat safety inspection place for help.) The bags are unpacked (despite Shane telling me more than once that we should get on that.) Her bed isn't set up; I'm not even completely sure I know where all the screws for it are, either.

I kind of feel like, at some point, I'll get a burst of energy reminding me to get on all this. But right now, I'm Really, if she is born before her due date, the worst that'll happen is I'll have to beg my mom to wash some stuff for her to come home in and bring it to the hospital, and Shane will have to figure the car seat out on his own in the parking lot. The world probably won't end. The baby can sleep in a pack and play for a day or two while I sort out the bed situation.

Someone should tell me what to use to safely clean a crib and mattress, too. We wound up, for financial reasons, not doing the co-sleeper, so I'm just using Rhi's crib and mattress. We'll do what I did with Rhi - pop the mattress up to the highest level, drop the drop side as low as it goes, and sidecar it to our bed. Presto co-sleeper-o. But I need to wash both and I'm not sure what to use. I disinfected them a few weeks ago, so now I basically want to remove any chemical residue from that and also remove any lingering dirt and such. Someone should suggest something.

Monday, April 19, 2010


So I posted a pretty awful story on my Facebook yesterday. You can read it here.

But that's not really what this blog is about. Well, not totally.

So, in the comments, a friend of mine wrote something about how he didn't have a problem with gay couples having the same rights, as long as it wasn't called a marriage. This is actually something I've heard more than once - not at all just from him - and it's something that always perturbed me. It seemed like an issue of semantics more than anything.

But you can't really simplify it that much. You can't, because marriage is a highly personal thing.

I could write the dictionary definition of marriage. I could give you the history of it. I could go on and on about it. I could overload you with facts about it, I could write pages on religion and marriage. I could talk about the belief of many that marriage is an antiquated notion that just allows the government a piece of your love.

But I'm not going to.

How I will start is this: I believe that this country, more than most others, has a very picturesque view of marriage. Girls play brides as toddlers, we talk about getting married, we fantasize about our wedding days. We decide who our bridesmaids will be in high school, sometimes. We hold it up as this amazing, life changing, miraculously romantic event that will turn our lives into roses and flowers and never-ending love and fireworks.

We do ourselves a vast disservice.

We have terribly high divorce rates in this country. And I honestly believe that a huge part of that is the fact that we assume marriage is going to be some amazing event that will make us all whole. That we've found the person we're meant to be with forever, and nothing can change that.

But a lot can change that. In the years you're with someone, you are going to change and grow as a person. Think about it. I'm not even close to the same person at 28 that I was at 25. And 25 year old Star and 20 year old Star were certainly not the same either. Technically, it's the same person. But I had different priorities, different thoughts, different assumptions, different ideals. And five, ten, twenty years from now, I will look back on the me of today and probably say the exact same thing.

It's normal. But when you're in a relationship, one of two things happens. You either grow together, or you grow apart. And, honestly, it's probably easier to grow apart.

Yup, that's the big, giant secret of marriage. Marriage is work. It's not all sunshine and rainbows, it's a lot of compromise and not necessarily doing what you want, and sometimes being really pissed off at the other person. It's realizing that that adorable quirk that he has that was so adorable is actually really fucking annoying. It's running the way you want to spend that tax refund by someone else, it's making your dinner in two portions because you will die without mushrooms but he will vomit if he even sees one, it's making someone else as important as you are, and, sometimes, putting them first even when you don't want to. Honestly? It's easier to be single. Less sacrifice, too.

But I sound pessimistic and cynical, don't I?

Well, I'm not. After a marriage that, believe me, was spectacularly bad at the end, I'm planning to do it allllllll over again. I'm doing it all over again even knowing how hard it is, knowing how much parts of it suck, knowing that I'm taking a huge gamble that statistics say has a higher chance of failing than succeeding.

I'm doing it because of what marriage has become to me. My connotative definition of it.

Marriage is right when you're so pissed off at the person that you seriously want to just throw a brick at them because they're being SO DAMN STUPID and WHY CAN'T THEY JUST UNDERSTAND the REALLY OBVIOUS POINT you're trying to make and they're infuriating you so much that you can't even put it into coherent words - but you still don't think about calling it quits, because you love them and know that eventually, they'll realize how dumb they are. (Or, ok, you *might* be overreacting. A tiny, tiny bit. Maybe.)

Marriage is right when they're talking about something that you really have no interest in - in fact, it bores you about as much as, say, reading Dentistry Today, and, also, they're using so much jargon that you maybe understand every other word anyways - yet, you honestly make an effort to pay attention and note some of it, because you can see that gleam in their eyes and tell how totally important it is to them. And you know that this is them sharing something with you that, to them, is really special.

Marriage is right when you have the option of going out on a Saturday night but you really just want to stay home and play video games or watch a movie with them.

Marriage is right when you can be the person you truly are in front of them, with no stupid pretenses. When they can make you feel just as sexy when you're in jeans and a t-shirt with bad hair as when you're in stilettos and a hot outfit. When they buy you a present that you know damn well they thought was ridiculous and unnecessary, yet, because you wanted it, you got it. When they really, truly listen to your dreams and don't discourage them - although they may not give you the perfect, rose-colored glasses view of them, they believe that you can do it despite the adversity. When you know that if something horrible and tragic happened, you could be there for them. When you know that you don't get to take only your own opinion to make important steps, and you know theirs will sometimes be totally different, and yet you're ok with that. When you can look beyond the white dress and veil and know that after the honeymoon period, you will, absolutely, hit horrible, rocky patches at some point and that one (but probably both) of you will act in a way that is just not cool at all and there will be times that everything is terribly hard and frustrating but, even knowing all those things, you can't think of anyone else you'd rather weather all of that with - well, then, that's the right kind of feelings for a successful marriage.

None of that has to do with sexuality at all. It has to do with love, commitment, unselfishness, and a willingness to work. I firmly believe that straight OR gay people can have a successful marriage, just like straight OR gay people can probably royally screw a marriage up. And I'm aware that my definition and yours, or your pastor's, or your friend's, or your family's, are probably totally different. But *your* definition is only my business if I have an interest in marrying you. (And I don't, I'm off the market, lol.) The only people who should have the inherent right to decide whether to turn their relationship into a marriage are the people in it. Those are the only important ones in the equation.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

You are destroying yourself and your entire family and other fun facts

I read voraciously. And I read lots of things, from novels to nonfiction, from internet satire to newspapers, from children's books to magazines and everything in between. I love fiction, but I also really like expanding my mind and world view, so I also study a lot of nonfictional sources.

And, man. Sometimes it really blows.

I read an article today on going green. Except, instead of giving helpful advice on how to do something constructive, it basically went on and on (and on and on) about how everything you give to your children ever is doing terrible things to them and you basically suck at life.

Really, it was the least optimistic article on Earth.

Listen, I want to be more green. I like the idea of reducing my carbon footprint, I like knowing what I can do to make my family healthier. I want to incorporate more organics. I want to compost. I want to do eighty billion things. But, really, writing something that says, "Everything that you use is killing yourself and your child, and by the time you pop out the kid you're baking right now, she will already be practically poisoned beyond repair anyways," just depresses me.

I won't even terrify you all by repeating ANY of the awful things in the article, nor will I give them any publicity by telling you where it was.

But I will tell you my stance on the whole thing.

Listen. We, as a people, are living longer than ever before. People have the ability to function in this society and be ridiculously healthy - even if they eat fast food every once in awhile or use Windex instead of all natural eco friendly stuff. A lot of people become unhealthy because they make terrible choices - like eating NOTHING but fat laden, processed crap and never ever working out.

But I'm also not a proponent of "You can NEVER do..." Well, I mean, in some cases, yeah. You probably can't be healthy and have the occasional crack, for instance. But with most things, moderation is key. I can spend fifteen minutes in the sun not slathered in sunscreen and probably not get skin cancer. I can let my kid eat pizza and cookies for dinner every once in awhile and not be dooming her to a life of obesity. If I don't buy everything organic because I can't afford to pay organic prices on everything and feed my family, I can still make healthy choices.

If you focus all the time on how dangerous everything on Earth is, when do you ever get to live? How soon until you take it to the extreme? If nothing is safe and nothing is healthy, what do you do? How do you fix that? How do you survive in a modern society?

I want to know what I can do to help my family. But I don't want a depressing, pessimistic opus on how I'm making all the wrong choices. Especially when the right choices appear to be unattainable outside of Utopia. I just want a common sense view on things.