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Thursday, September 12, 2013

How-To.

How to talk to your daughter about her body...

Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.
Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.
If you think your daughter’s body looks amazing, don’t say that. Here are some things you can say instead:
“You look so healthy!” is a great one.
Or how about, “you’re looking so strong.”
“I can see how happy you are – you’re glowing.”
Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.
Don’t comment on other women’s bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.
Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.
Don’t you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don’t go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don’t say “I’m not eating carbs right now.” Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.
Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that’s a good thing sometimes.
Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you’ll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn’t absolutely in love with.
Prove to your daughter that women don’t need men to move their furniture.
Teach your daughter how to cook kale.
Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.
Pass on your own mom’s recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.
Maybe you and your daughter both have thick thighs or wide ribcages. It’s easy to hate these non-size zero body parts. Don’t. Tell your daughter that with her legs she can run a marathon if she wants to, and her ribcage is nothing but a carrying case for strong lungs. She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.

Remind your daughter that the best thing she can do with her body is to use it to mobilize her beautiful heart.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fear.

Three years ago, I was getting ready to have major in-patient surgery.  My aunt had just died, young and vital.  I saw a therapist to talk about my fears and hopes for the surgery, the future, the past.

"Going into this surgery, what are you most afraid of?" he smiled gently at me.
"Waking up in the middle of surgery."

...
"What?  Really?  Most people are afraid of death! Of dying on the table!"
"But," I said, "I'd be dead.  I'd never even know!"

It was a different time.
I hadn't met Brad yet.  I was still alone, self-imposed solitude through hiding and lying.  I didn't know what was possible for my life, for my heart.  But I knew what I wanted.
I knew that ultimately, I wanted Great Love.  I wanted to be Happy, and Complete, and utterly less Broken.

Three years.  They teach you that it takes 30 days to change a behavior, but it can take almost a presidential term to change a life.  
This year, when I realized that I was ready for something new, Something New, I put myself out there.  
Just...me.
All truth, all boring, transparent, with bits of glitter and a coffee cup full of hope.
And I was...I was Wanted.  Wantable.  I'd had no real idea until then.  No idea that random men all over this city would want to date me.  Learn about me. Fall for me.  Fuck me.  I never knew that the thing standing between Me and Normal was...me.

And when Love walked in, with it's unsteady gait, and its quiet, hopeful brown eyes, and that smile, oh, that SMILE...I knew.  And I thought I'd be afraid.  My past would dictate fear and anxiety.  Fear of rejection, of not being good enough.  So, I waited for it.  I summoned it, like a lost lover from the sea.  I beckoned it to me.  Because it would be predictable.  The known pain, that sweet horrible sick dull stomach  ache.  But...nothing.  Just happiness, filling me up, tip to toes.  Tripping over one another with eager, earnest desire and friendship and sweetness and hope.  Every day is tipped at the edges with sunshine.  Every stumble is done in learning and love.  I wake up, bathed in morning light and all-love.  

I'm going to spend my life with him, this man I love.

"Doesn't that frighten you?" said a friend.

I thought for a moment.  

"No.  There's no fear here anymore.  Instead, it all makes sense, finally.  All the things that led me to him."





Sunday, July 7, 2013

Five Things I'm Thinking About This Weekend...

ZOMG, you guys.  It's hotter than fuck here right now.  You know it's hot when I say things like "I can't wait to go to the office today, because it's where the conditioned air lives" and "I think I melted my whole entire face off, walking to the car" and "Fuck you, science."



In addition, it's Shark Week, so you can pretty much cunt on the fact that I'm both weepy AND whiny at the same time, so maybe YOU SHOULD JUST FUCKING GO GET ME AN ICED COFFEE AND STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.  Hi.  Better now.

This week's list includes some politics, some shit you should read, some actual SHIT you should watch on tv, and some other stuff.  You like vague? I got vague for ya.  I got your vague right here.  LET US BEGIN.

Wait.  Question.  Am I the only person who is still hoarding unwatched season finales on her DVR?  I feel like I might need them on a bad day when there's nothing else on tv.  Also, it always feels like admitting defeat, by watching them.  Like I'm acknowledging that we are On A Break for 4 months while they get their shit together.  No? Just me? Oh.

1) Rick Perry.  I cannot stop thinking about and talking about and Facebooking about Rick Perry.  Rick Perry is the new Rick Santorum.  And I'm from Western PA, so I know my Santorumisms.  Need me to back my shit up? Well, he gave a 13 minute prayerspeechthing at The Response, which I urge you to Google.  It was a huge megachurch rally that was all about religious extremism.  This past month?  He was a key speaker at a Right To Life conference, where he...let me paint a picture for you of this dude at a microphone: think The Master at a Vampire Convention.  Compelling.  But dumb.  But compelling as shit.  It was at this conference where he took potshots at Wendy Davis (WENDY! I LOVE YOU! CALL ME! WE'LL GET COFFEE!) about how she was a teen mom. Yeah, dude.  A teen mom who GRADUATED FROM HARVARD, asshole.  And it was a RIGHT TO LIFE conference.  Shouldn't you be happy that she was a teen mom?  God, you're so fucking stupid.  Even Texas is embarrassed by him.  Do you know what it takes to embarrass this state?  Rick Perry.  That's what.  He's one of the guys who declared the vaginal ultrasound before abortion bill to be AN EMERGENCY that we needed to make happen.  Heyyyy, aren't you a Republican?  Aren't you supposed to be keeping your government out of my snatch?  This is also the guy who signed the voter ID bill into law.  Hey, guess what.  That's a law that keeps poor people and old people away from the polls.  And that's unconstitutional.  Dick.  Look, I've said enough about this guy.  Except this: He looooves executing people.  Especially Mexicans.

2) Let's move on to something more interesting that Rick Motherfucking Perry.  Like...Summer Reading?  My short list, mostly trashy, all guaranteed good reads. (For more summer reads, check out Katie's Blog.  NOW.)  Kiss Me First, by Lottie Moggach, is my thriller pick.  Social Media, stalking, philosophy, sex...PAGE TURNER.  Sisterland, from Curtis Sittenfield, is a story about twins and the psychic connection between them.  Also, check out her other novels, Prep, and...uhhhh whatever the other one is.  The one whose name I cannot remember, that is a thinly veiled account of Laura Bush's youth, in which she accidentally killed a friend and then married a fucking moron.  True story.  Both. Doll Bones, by Holly Black, is a dark children's book about an evil china doll made from the bones on a murdered child.  I don't know WHO THE HOLY FUCK is letting their kid read this, but it's AWESOME, and you will GO GET IT NOW FOR YOURSELF.  Also, make this the summer that you read or re-read The Razor's Edge, by W. Somerset Maugham.  It is perfection.  All things perfection.

3)  The perfect nude lip is something I think about a lot.  Because I am deep.
First, know that the perfect nude lip is rarely "beige."  It's the color your lips were when you were a kid.  So, pull out some old photos and match that color.  OR, if you need a quick fix, it's basically the color your lips are now, but two shades darker.  Going too neutral is going to make you look wan and ill.  Also, stay away from mattes.  They look chalky in nude tones, stay glossy or creamy.  I'm a fan of Bobbi Brown, who features nude lip colors in every shade, and has an actual technique to match your perfect nude, and Stila, where everything is perfectly formulated.  The lip crayons they make are perfect.  My secret, shared only with my mummy, and now you:  THIS, in Paramour.
Also, remember that if you're doing a nude lip, you need some bright color someplace else.  This summer, I'm liking a slash of turquoise eyeliner.  You're like a punk-rock mermaid.  Work it.

4) I'm almost embarrassed to tell you about this next one.  ALMOST.  The Boy and I have started watching (by choice! HIS!) Princesses of Long Island on Bravo.  I...please tell me that this show is embarrassing to Jewish people?  Not because I want to embarrass Jewish people, but because I need to know that they are on board with me about how CULTURALLY RIDICULOUS THIS SHOW IS.  Because if you guys are on board with it as "awesome," we need to talk.  We need to talk about your rich cultural and religious heritage and offerings, and how THIS IS NOT IT.  However:
It is so entertaining.  And so hilariously trashy.
"I have high heels for my sweatpants."
Nuff.  Said.

5)  Number Five is my friend Cari's momma.  She's really sick, and has been in and out of the hospital a lot this last year, and this past week was really frightening.  And I remember being 14 and how she chauffeured us around and always had food and drink and happiness for us at her house, swimming pool always open, advice always freely dispensed, kindness always ALWAYS at the ready.  Last year, she lost a daughter, and I didn't think their family could weather another storm like that.  And then she got sick.  And it's been like...well, she's part of our family.  And I don't know all of you who are reading this, and I don't presume that any one illness or loss is more important than another, but if you pray, if you have good thoughts or some karma to share, blow it toward Pittsburgh, where a family needs all the Goodness it can gather.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Soooo, it's been a little busy here.  My dance card's been a little full.  It turned out, that all of the "fun" and Actual Fun I was having in the dating world?  I was looking at it ALL WRONG.  

See, I spent so many years involved only with people who deigned to be involved with me, that I never realized that dating is kind of a Woman's Game.  At least, through the online sites.  My mistake was accepting only the offers that came my way.  Once I decided to stop dating the guys who were asking me out (because they were asking EVERYONE OUT- I know this, because my friend Julie and were on the same site at the same time, and guess what- SAME DUDES) and sift through the potentials (Buffy shout-out!) and pick someone or some ones that I wanted to date, I felt much more confident.  No guys carrying Chewbacca backpacks.  (no offense, nerds, but...not my thing.)

Enter...B.
A few sweet and smart chats, exchange of photos, a missed text leading to thinking he'd/I'd lost interest, a re-connection, some long late-night talks on the phone, and I think I asked him on a date.  (B?  Did I ask you?  Or did you ask me? This is important, I think.  To HISTORY.)  So, thinking this guy was someone special already, I met him at Pamela's for breakfast.  And...and...

And fireworks.  Fucking fireworks.
You know how you watch Say Yes To The Motherfucking Dress, and the girls are all "I love Big Johnnie. We met at the demolition derby in Hoboken, and a week latah, we was engaged.  Oh, and my dress budget is 64 thousand dollahs and I love Pnina's see-through prostitute couture gowns," and you're like "not gonna work out, girl..." but suddenly, I get it.   I knew that he was going to be my boyfriend, I knew that we shared values and ideals and dorky senses of humor.  When I tried to hold his hand in the park, after breakfast, he high-fived my hand-holding hand.  Because he thought, "high-five, this is an awesome date!"  And we decided to date one another.  Right then.

And I passed his Girlfriend Quiz, which is funny and insane, and at our grown-up age...completely right.  Part of the reason I know and He knows?  We're totally old.  We know we don't want to try for kids, we know where we want to live and how to afford it, we aren't big partiers.  Without him, I'm happy and self-sufficient.  I'm happy on my own.  With him, I'm every day better and happier and it's SO FUCKING GOOD.

So, now you know.
And he's met my family.
And I've met his.
And every day is sweeter than the last.

He knows who I am and who I've been, and I know the same of him.  
I...dear reader, sweet reader, I hope someone loves you the way I am loved and love this man.
I hope your heart beats someone's name.
I wish you all-love.
And...this:  no matter how damaged you've been in your life, there is Goodness and Love all around you in this life.  If you doubt it, know that I am proof of it.  That getting out of your own fucking way and putting your heart sweetly into the universe yields Great Love in return. 

High-five!  HIGH FUCKING FIVE!





Sunday, June 16, 2013

For Dan, Who is, and is not, my Father

I never wanted you to be my father.
I always wanted you to be my father.

It is the eternal truth of daughters of divorce: we seek a dad.
And I had one.  But his recent re-marriage had finally convinced me that he was never coming home to us.  Suddenly, reality.
And, then, You.

You were a surprise, to say the fucking least.
You'd been a friend to my mother since nearly your childhoods.
And when she was a poor single mother, and we were poor children, you made sure we had things.
And Things.
Atari, groceries, a car that worked, a dryer.  I think you bought us a dryer.  My God, you bought us a dryer.

And all along, you were silently falling in love with her.  With my hard-working, elegant, raven-haired mummy.  Were you always in love with her that way?

Suddenly, change.
Dates and dinners and improvements in our day to day world.
Your fancy little sports car.  Rented VCRs and movies and cookies and Doritos and root beer floats.
On Valentine's Day, your first with my mother, you sent me flowers.
You came to my third grade class play, again bearing flowers.

And I was furious with you, damn you.
I didn't understand it.  The FURY.  And you didn't understand it.  Because you were just a guy in love with a lady who happened to have two kids, and you wanted to impress them and make their small life a little bit bigger.  But I was PISSED.  Because you came to that play with flowers, and my father didn't.  (and this isn't about slamming my dad.  nope, no slamming here, but truth.)  And for the next twenty years, I stayed pissed at you for showing up where he either didn't or couldn't or wouldn't.

And you stayed pissed at me for seeming like a crazed, ungrateful brat with a fast mouth and a shitty attitude.  And I'm sorry.  I'm sorry I couldn't and didn't understand how to be less broken by my childhood and biology.  I'm sorry I couldn't accept what was offered without the inevitable and constant frustration.  And I'm sorry that you weren't better at being a parent.  Because no one warned you that marrying into a home with children means Becoming a Parent.  No choice, man.  But you didn't know.  And I get that now.  You wanted my dad to be my dad.  And I appreciate that, too.  And I appreciated it THEN, too.  But secretly, in my heart of hearts, I also wanted to hear that maybe you wanted me to be your kid, too.

Because I am.
I'm so much Your Kid that it's not funny.
I drive like you.
I have your politics.
Your philanthropic spirit.
Your affinity for bridge mix (but not the coconut pieces, you can keep that shit.)
The urge to fix.
The lazy parts, too.

And you, along with my Dad, are my dad.

You are the parent who remembers I don't like tomatoes or olives or pepper steak.
You're the parent who makes sure there's always food I can eat and drinks I can drink at your house.
You're the guy who put money in my checking account when I was young and dumb and didn't keep a register.
You're the man who drove me to and from college a thousand times.
And grounded me ten thousand times more than that.
You're the dad that my mother's heart gave me, to fill in the spots that my Dad couldn't fill.

And you've done your best.  And you're far from perfect.
But, aren't we all, friend?

Aren't we all.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Shark Week: A Boyfriend's Guide

I'm not going to tell you why this is even a necessary post.
But it is.  Because it has come to my attention that a lot of men don't know SHIT about a lady's period.
Therefore, a primer.
A probably incomplete primer.
But not a bad jumping-off point, into your lady's bleeding uterine lining.

1) Some Basic Biology: A woman's menstrual cycle is the basic series of events that happens cyclically to prepare the body for pregnancy.  Approximately once a month (sometimes more or less- we are all unique snowflakes) the uterus (where fetuses reside and grow) grow a new lining of nutrient-rich blood and horror in which it hopes to house a fertilized egg.  When that jimmy hat I lovingly asked you to wear whilst fucking me prevents that fertilized egg from squatting in my uterine warehouse, the uterus revolts, and sheds the lining (also called the endometrium) during a (usually monthly) event where there is no police intervention or patrol, called The Purge (I kid. Let's call it Menstruation, for now.  We'll talk about what to call it in a bit.)

2) Why Is There Math? The menstrual cycle starts on Day 1 of bleeding, until Day 1 of...Next Bleeding.  The average cycle is 28 days.  But all ladies are different.  Your lady may have a perfect 28 day cycle.  Mine is 26-29 days.  I seem to have a little wiggle room built in, just to keep me on my fucking toes.  Thanks, Science!  Why does this matter?  Because it allows me to do some easy math (seriously, it's 2013, just get a Period Tracker App on your phone.  You wanna be an awesome boyfriend? How about YOU fucking track my period, and show up with flowers and sugar-free butter pecan ice cream the day before? Yeah, fucking yeah) and know when  my next period is going to start.  This is useful for planning things like vacations, surgeries, weddings, the wearing of white skinny jeans.

3) Are PMS and Your Period the Same Thing? Nope.  PMS is pre-menstrual syndrome.  It's the few days before bleeding starts.  Maybe I'm tense or weepy or pissed off for no tangible reason.  I probably have 3 pimples appear, my boobs are sore, and and I'm whiny.  THIS IS CNN. I mean...PMS.  Not everyone is affected.  And not everyone to the same degree.  Some women have such PMS that it's categorized as PMDD, which is...legit crazy, and is medicated as such.  PMS and PMDD are very real, and hormonally driven, and while the symptoms can be addressed with meds and exercise and vitamin supplements, don't fucking be a cockface and say things like "oooooh someone must be pms'ing it..." because that's A DICK MOVE.

4)  Is It Funny When I call It "The Rag?"  Well.  This is where you ought to be talking to your lady.  I, personally, find that terminology to be pretty gross.  It's my period.  Or it's Shark Week.  But every woman is different.  Your girl may not want to even discuss it.  She may be 13, and call it Auntie Flo.  Whatever.  That's her swagger, take her lead on this one.

5) Is It True? About My Girl and Her Friends? The Syncing Thing? YES.  This is the awesome magical period thing.  Nobody knows why, there's no science that has been able to conclusively explain it, but women who live or work or hang in close proximity? Tend to sync up their cycles.  My besties and I all bleed together.  It's cool, though, because it just means we have about 8 days where EVERYTHING IS FORGIVEN.  Wore your pajamas to the store? It's ok.  Sweatpants in public? I get it. Killed a hobo? Let me help you bury him, then let's get ice cream.  Science supports the theory that we shed hormones in our skin cells and dander all day long (we are so gross) and that the women around us pick those up (also gross) and we sync up.  Yeah, it's cool.

6) Pads? Wings? Tampons? I think you should know about these.  Your woman might like tampons.  Or she might go old-school pads.  Some have wrap-around wings that protect your undies.  It's a hot guy thing to find out what your woman uses, and be able to pick it up for her at the store, if needed.  In general, we keep stock of these things (because you never know when there might be a zombie apocalypse in the Playtex factory, causing a shortage) but sometimes, we're caught unawares, and it's great to have a lover who doesn't bat a fucking eye, and just gets your lady junk for you.  If you're embarrassed or shy about this, think of it like this:  buying tampons screams "I AM GETTING LAID REGULARLY" in the checkout line, and the women in line around you? Think you're great.



7)  You Wanna Fuck?  Again, talk to your woman.  Some ladies love to fuck during their period.  Hormones make us crazy horny (most of us) during Shark Week, but again, it's messy, and I like my sheets, and it's not my thing.  So, YMMV.  Shower sex is popular during Shark Week, but again, it's just not for everyone.  Follow her lead, and ask.  Jesus.  HAVE A DISCUSSION.  Ask her how long her period is. Does she like sex during that week? And do YOU like sex during that week? You may not, you're allowed to have feelings on this one!  What can you do to make it easier/better/less craptastic for her? Why did she kill that hobo on Monday? Is there ice cream in the freezer?

Whew.  I think I covered all the big ones.

Oh.  Except for Neal, my college boyfriend, who was like 23 and had fought on foreign soil by the time we dated:  Women have separate spots for peeing and vagina-ing.  We don't pee from our vaginas.  That would be the funniest, sploshiest, dumbest thing, ever, Neal.  And I'm sorry I was too shy and embarrassed not to correct you and show you up close, but now you know.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Letter To My Mom. Because Cliches Are Okay.

Dear Mom,

This year, something happened.  Something so big and so far-reaching, and it's time to tell the world.
I've forgiven you for that bowl-cut you forced on me in second grade.  That's right.
I've decided to let the darkness of that event fade into the ether.  I've thrown it into the volcanic fires of Mordor, if you will.  I've accepted that little girls with long curly hair are a pain in the ass, and that bowl cut probably made your life a hell of a lot easier.  I get it now.

I get it because I watch my best friends with their kids, and I see that some days, they are just happy that their kid has clothes on, and isn't eating dirt.  And yeah, that makes sense.  And I see that there comes a point where you're balancing that smile with a scream, and that cutting off my curls was probably one of those moments.  Or maybe I wanted it.  We all know I'm capricious when it comes to my hair.  Even now, I'm sitting here thinking about going back to brunette, wondering how it would be received by the man I've met.

But this...mom?  Ths letter is to let you know that you did okay.  That I know I've scared you through the years.  My depression.  The ways it manifested itself in the world.  I know you were afraid for me, when I was away at school.  And that there were times when you were so afraid for me, that you stayed silent, fearing that broaching the topic would push me over the edge.

But I didn't give up.  (well, I guess I did, a few times in there.) But I always kept trying.  And in the last year, in the last 12 months, I finally figured it all out.  Or at least figured out my own broken pieces.  Bruised, not broken.  I carried the weight of your sadness for so many years, too.  The loss of dad.  The struggle and fear of all the years after he was gone.  I took that inside myself and it became me.  But I'm not afraid anymore.  It turns out that I'm more than I ever imagined.  That as soon as I stopped hating myself so much and being terrified of being abandoned- as soon as I found my REAL voice, my honest one, not the angry one that had so much trouble finding the truth...but as soon as I found my voice, the bruises started to fade.  The whte sheet of depression that once covered my world, and now lay at my feet...well, now it burned up in the sunlight.  No, no, I know.  I'll always have to work to stay above water there.  But I'm not clinging to it anymore.  There's new things, new people, new love, with which to fill my time.

Please don't be afraid for me anymore.
I am, quite finally, happy.  And I understand why sometimes, we cut off the beautiful curls.
Because we need time for more important things.
And the curls don't make the girl.

"I'll love you forever,
 I'll like you for always,
 As long as I'm living,
 My mommy you'll be."

Love,
Your Kid