Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Numbers

Like any good math-phobe, I'm not a fan of keeping track of the numbers.
  • I'd rather just celebrate all birthdays in grand style and forget the number associated with it...especially this year.
  • I don't have any idea how many guys I've dated, made out with, etc.
  • I'm not the type to be able to report exactly how many calories I've consumed down to the 7 sour Skittles after lunch...that's no way to live.
  • I have only the vaguest idea how many miles I ran yesterday.
  • I have no idea how many hours a week I spend online or watching bad television...let's just say it's probably a lot.
  • I haven't balanced my checkbook...well...EVER.
  • I'm not even entirely sure how many pairs of shoes I own...also a lot.

But the biggest, baddest numbers in my life, I can't seem to shake. This past week, I've started packing my apartment, and the first order of business was to rid my closet of all the things I don't wear (ie, don't fit). I tried on pair after pair of pants--just to make sure. Sure enough, they were all still too snug. Damn.

That was hard enough. Then while I was cleaning out drawers and bookshelves, I ran across pictures from high school and college, where I was all rail-thin arms and legs. Even B. said, "Wow, you were so thin...and your boobs were so tiny." He meant this in a good way, as in "I like you better now." But, I still couldn't help wishing I could turn back the clock, if only to slip my ass into a size 4 again.

The thing is, I love my life so much more now than I ever did then. I wouldn't go back to high school or college even if I could. Even then, I worried about the numbers on the scale and my clothing tags and pinched little (possibly non-existent) rolls of fat and moaned about not being thin enough.

People always say it's not about the number on the scale but how you feel and look. I don't feel good about the way I look, and I haven't in awhile. Viewing myself as thin had been a part of my self-perception for a long time, and now that I look in the mirror and don't see that, some of my innate confidence has disappeared. I desperately want it back.

But don't know if my insecurity really entirely about how I look, or that elusive number I want to see when I try on a pair of jeans at the GAP.

I've made a deal with myself: Run a total of 50 miles by July 1, and I will treat myself to the pair of custom New Balance running shoes I've always wanted. You better believe I'm counting...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My 100th Blog

Part of me felt like I should save this 100th blog for something really special, but I can't do it (and really, shouldn't there be balloons and confetti like they have for 100th episodes of television shows?). I'm sitting in the sunshine at St. Louis Bread Co., drinking a soy caramel latte (no whip), supposedly writing for work. Spring has arrived in the StL at long last, and I couldn't be happier about it unless, of course, I stumbled upon a sale on shorts that wouldn't make Daisy Duke blush (and/or had the legs [and lack of shame] to pull them off). So, here I sit, actual writing to do, and I all I can do is: 1.) Make mental lists of things I need to do before I move...namely start packing. and 2.) Fantasize about my long weekend mini vacation...two more days.

My tiny apartment is filled to the brim with 2 years with of accumulated crap. Part of me really looks forward to the purge. Seriously. Clothes that don't fit that I wish might one day, books that sucked, cds that are an embarrassment to own, papers from graduate school and beyond (that also live on a USB drive), mangled cat toys, and a pleather couch that has seen better days--all of it hits the dumpster before I go. In conjunction with that, I also can't stop stalking CraigsList for great furniture deals to help fill my new, much larger apartment with pretty things. I foresee a definite nesting mode coming on. Exactly 8 days until I sell out on the hippie ideal of urban revitalization and move to Clayton. Frankly, I can't wait.

But on Friday morning, I'll leave all this behind for three beautiful days. In honor of our one year anniversary and our mutual love of the Decemberists, B. and I are roadtripping to KU to see Colin Meloy play and then spending the rest of the weekend hanging out in Lawrence and KC. Just having a day off work that doesn't include a doctor's appointment (or carrying heavy boxes come May 2nd-3rd) sounds like heaven. Now, if only the weather holds up.
PS: Who wants to feed my cat while I'm gone???

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On 365 Days + Leap Day

Today is my one year anniversary with B. The funny thing is that it feels so much longer, and not in the interminable way. More like, in the time flies when you’re having fun kind of way.

I remember sitting facing each other on my couch, toasting our one month anniversary with champagne at 2 o’clock in the morning. I leaned in and asked, “No offense, but what’s the catch here. There has to be a catch, right? Things like this don’t just happen to me.” Turns out there wasn’t. Love just fell into our laps by chance, like most of the best things in life.

So, happy anniversary, B! To many more years together.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Freedom of Religion?

Amendments to the Constitution was not intended to be a new theme for this blog...
However, I was listening to Diane Rehm today; her guests were discussing the raid on a LDS compound in Texas and the removal of hundreds of underage children and women under allegations of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional and otherwise. As usual, she had guests from every side of the issue, including a man who thought this was nothing more than an attack on the LDS members' religious freedom.

It's a difficult line, discerning between protecting religious freedom and protecting the safety of those involved. Clearly, marrying underage girls ("spiritual marriage" or otherwise) to older men and forcing them to procreate is a form of sexual (and possibly physical) abuse. But, then there's the question of the "brainwashing" that goes on, convincing these children that if they don't do what they're told, if they question those in authority that they'll burn in hell. When does a parent's natural inclination to indoctrinate their children with their personal religious beliefs constitute abuse? Don't most devout parents go out of their way to immerse their children in their beliefs with the hope that it "sticks" when they are adults? When does the state have the right to step in on that? Is it abuse to instill a fear of retribution either by religious leaders in this world and/or by their god in the next?

Then there's the matter of the adult women who were removed. Another woman on the show, who runs what basically seemed to be a PR group to let people know that not all LDS members are nutty child abusers, was upset that people see these wives (underage and over) as abused when most of them are "happy" with their lives. It's a question I've asked myself a million times, how women whose culture or religion clearly oppresses them can live in that oppression without seeming to notice or feel it? Why do so few of those girls run away or report what's happening to them? The aforementioned fear? The genuine belief that they're doing the right thing and less than full freedom is the price they must pay to please god? Ignorance? Complacency? Brainwashing? A mixture of all of the above?

Just to play the devil's advocate for a moment though...
It's easy to demonize what's strange to the majority of us. It's easy to point at the LDS women or women who cover their heads/faces in compliance with their religion and talk about how they are being oppressed. But what about the subtler ways many religions and cultures sexualize females and then try to suppress them because of their perceived sexuality? I could give a hundred examples of these subtleties that were present in the religious atmosphere I grew up in, examples with the underlying premise of keeping a young girl from being a "whore" and other examples that were aimed at keeping a young girl in her place, firmly in the shadow of males. I couldn't stand it, but plenty of other women don't feel that way at all. Why the difference? How does that apply to what was happening on that compound in Texas? Granted the underage girls are below the age of consent, but what about the adult women who stay and subject their children to the possibility of abuse? Who's responsible for all of this?

It's a lot to think about.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Freedom of Speech

I hate forwarded emails (unless they contain pictures animals doing cute things--those I love). By nature they are full of misinformation masquerading to the masses as truth. Most of them are based on fear. I still check under my car when I'm walking out into a dark parking lot alone after reading the urban legend about the murderer who hides under women's cars and cuts their Achilles' tendon so they can't run away. Usually I just delete them, but every once in awhile I can't help myself.

I got one today about a supposed professor in Michigan who wrote a hateful letter to the Muslim association at that university for their protest of that over-discussed cartoon of Mohammad. It was of the "all Muslims are terrorists and hate Americans, especially Christians" variety, with the added bonus of citing the First Amendment free speech clause as support for the professor's letter. I rolled my eyes and pressed delete.

However, an hour or so later, I was gratified to see that one of the recipients respond to the group by reminding that the problem lies not with the average Muslim but with violent extremists, who btw come from all religions and cultures. Added to this response was also the First Amendment clause that ensures the right of the people to assemble peaceably.

It was a rare example of logic and thoughtfulness on the Internet. There aren't nearly enough of those...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reason #652 I Want to Move ASAP

The private school down the street from my building has a drum line that practices outside in the parking lot for an hour a day. As far as I can tell, they only know one song.
It really doesn't add anything to my work-from-home experience.