Monday, May 27, 2013

Swimsuits are the Debil

I guarantee that, unless you're Giselle, no woman likes swimsuit shopping. I say Giselle, because I've met her. I've sold her bras and fastened those bras and rang up her $3500 transaction and it was the easiest damn process I've ever witnessed in my whole damn life. I doubt swimsuit shopping is hard for her.

Bee tee dubs, she's a sweetheart.

Anywayyyy, if you're one of the millions of other women on the planet, I can pretty much guarantee you hate swimsuit shopping. It sucks. It just totally sucks.

Even when I was a much tinier little thing (minus the childhood years) and someone who called herself a swimmer and so owned a couple thousand swimsuits (that might be slightly hyperbolic), finding the right fits was arduous at best.

Even when I was a damned dancer and weighed 30 pounds less, I was always fairly pear shaped. I got an ass at like age 21 or so, right around the time my boobs went from a A cup to a B (and then pretty much stayed there until...oh...right now). Even when I was comfortable wearing bikinis, because it was the Millenium (oooooh!) and that meant I walked around showing off my belly button and tramp stamp (procured before that adorable name for such a tattoo existed and probably named for girls like me), it was the days before mix and match swimwear and I'd buy bikinis in two sizes to piece together one that fit. Thanks, Target!

Cut to many years later. Cut to 30 pounds later. Cut to an image of my ass and stomach getting bigger and bigger and my boobs staying the same goddamned size. Cut to looking more like a pear that tried to be an apple but forgot to ask for some boobs! Cut to not being able to fit my ass into any of the swimsuits I currently own, including the one I bought last summer. Cut to having an event in three weeks where there will be a pool in which I would like to actually swim and not sit beside in a caftan and a cocktail like Liza Minnelli.

It's not as if I can transform into Giselle from Liza in three weeks. No amount of crunches will do that.

Thus began the search for a suitable swimsuit. One that would accentuate my curves while covering my belly, but that doesn't make me look like a grandmother or a Mormon or a 12 year old. As if a 12 year old has this ass.

And I found one that I loved at ModCloth, that purveyor of all things retro and vintage and this suit was Marilyn meets Esther Williams and I was going to look adorable in it.

So, with Eminem's help, I measured myself to see what size I would be. According to my bust, I'd be a Medium or an 8. According to my ass, I'd be an XL or 16. There's really no compromising there. Either it would be baggy in the boobs or it would be riding up my ass. And I'm really not looking to wear a thong.

And I've never worn a 16 in my life. In pants right now, I'm about a 12. That 16 was yelling at me, calling me a fatass, telling me I fucked myself up and I should be ashamed and just get lipo already.

And to top it all off? I did the whole support chat line. The gal was all, SMILEY FACE! How can I help you? I was all, yeah I can't figure out which size I need. And she was all, Yeah you'll want at least a 16 or it will be too restrictive, but don't worry. It will just be a bit baggy in the bust. But we do free returns! SMILEY FACE! And I was all, Thanks for nothing. Do you sell guns to shoot yourself with too?

Cut to a complete meltdown.

The thing is: I don't think I'm fat. I've gained some weight, which I'm working on losing, and am struggling with, admittedly, because I've never had trouble losing weight this much before. But you don't have to leave me comment telling me how not fat I am or how pretty I am, etc. Please don't. I'll just delete those.

The thing is: I wasn't stoked about my weight gain, but I didn't feel that fat until some website told me I was.

It's not like I even felt they were telling me I was fat. I felt like they were telling me my body type was unacceptable. They carry plus sizes! It's okay to be a lot bigger than I long as you have boobs too.

And, because I'm apparently a masochist, I searched and searched online, during this meltdown, sobbing all the while, for swimsuits in my size. I searched for one pieces and tankinis. Even the mix and match tankinis? I couldn't find bottoms that came in my size. I found a custom suit website, but I'm really not looking to pay $200 for a suit.

And I shouldn't have to pay that much for a suit just because I don't have boobs.

I know it's not that uncommon. There have to be plenty of women folk who are bottom heavy. And we want to swim too!

PS? So not getting a boob job either. It's not a "my body is sacred" kind of thing; it's a "I worked in lingerie and saw enough bad boob jobs to be scarred for life" kind of thing. So my boobs will just be small. Until my fairy godmother makes them a nice full C that is.

Poor Eminem watched me melt down and then self flagellate and then finally I gave up and gave in with a pathetic, childish whimper and decided dramatically that I would just never swim again. I'd sit by the pool in my jeans and just have a fat ass and fine. Pouty pout pout.

It's such a shame I don't have much flair for the dramatic.

Anyway, we went to Target today, who doesn't discriminate against the fat-assed, and I found a decent fitting tankini that wasn't fabulously vintage and didn't scream Marilyn, but which did fit me and which neither makes me look like a grandmother or a Mormon or even Liza. It looks nice, something a thirty-something would wear and actually swim in. And, yes, the bottoms say XL and the top says M. So what?

Thank the mother effing love out of Target, ladies. They love us just as we are.

I learned to love my small boobs a long time ago. Now I just have to learn to love my ass too. And to find some more time to work out too. Can't just let this ass take over everything now, like The Blob or something.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogging, Imperfection, and the Air of Authority

I've been blogging quite a long time now. I think I'm coming up on my 5 year anniversary too. And it's a funny thing, the blog. This is my place to rant and rave and share my opinions, opinions I might not say to the rest of the world. Well, kind of. I think nobody would believe I'm quiet or shy or anything.

That would just be unbelievable. But I do keep my mouth shut about plenty of things in certain situations, like work or in certain company. It's about knowing your audience.

I've always treated my audience here on the blog as my personal sounding board, as my friends and therapists, as it were. So you guys see only this one side of me. You hear my innermost thoughts and fears and annoyances and pains.

And, believe it or not, I also edit myself here in some ways. I hardly ever write about work, except incidentally, and I never use it to air my grievances about my boyfriend. To be fair, I have very few grievances with Eminem; we hardly ever bicker or fight. But I have had bad relationships in the past and it's been hard for me.

With my ex before Eminem, I went through a period where I stopped writing because all I wanted to write about was how unhappy I was, but felt I couldn't because that wouldn't be fair to attack him on my blog. I felt that would be passive aggressive. I still think I was right to not write about him inside the relationship, because I can now say I held fast to that rule, regardless of how he treated me. Not to say I didn't blog about him later, however.

I say all this because it bears noting that because this is MY domain, my world that I've created and have dominion over (oh the POWER! MWAHAHAHAHA), it creates an air of authority that just can't be helped. Not that I think you all think I know everything about everything, but that it probably seems like I think I know everything about everything.

Which is just not the case.

And suuuure, I can be an insufferable knowitall. I can be the teacher's pet and delight at knowing all the answers. Can't help it. But I know that I'm not the foremost authority on life. I just write here because I'm figuring it out just like everyone else.

This isn't a publication. I'm not a journalist. This is a blog.

I am well aware that these are my personal opinions and thoughts and that, because no one writes here but me, no one gets to dispute those.

Kind of!

There is a comments section. Huzzah!

So someone left me an anonymous comment on the post about being mean I wrote a couple weeks ago. And forgive me for not quoting it exactly, but I'm just that lazy. It said something like, that's kind of hypocritical based on what I know of you and what I've read here. Or something to that effect. Please feel free to correct my lazy ass.

And, setting aside that I think anonymous comments are bullshit (just type your name. I do.), I get it! I totally get it. I can see how someone would think that. I guarantee that a lot of bloggers get similar reactions.

This could also be an ex friend who is still pissed at me for something. That could very well be, too. Ahhh what are you gonna do?

But in the instance that this is just a reader, I say, you got it, dude. We are all a little hypocritical in some areas. Because I rant and rave about things that piss me off here and then I rant about how I hate when people are mean, I'm going to seem hypcritical.

In the context of that particular blog post, however, in my defense, what I say on my blog and how I treat those I love are two different things. I do not criticize my friends and loved ones for the stupid shit and rarely for the big shit either. I can actually be kind of a doormat. I think my job is to be supportive. And I'll say again, I never write bad things about my personal friends and family on my blog. I just won't use it as a tool to hurt those I love. I won't.

I have an ex friend (I will not disclose the details of our breakup) who constantly thought I picked on her through my blog. I didn't then and I don't now. And if something I write about offends you personally, it's not my intention; it's incidental that what bothers me might be personal to you. And I apologize for that, but thus is the nature of blogging. I think that bloggers need to have some freedom to express their feelings and opinions otherwise we'd just stop blogging.

And I'm not perfect. I will never be perfect. I don't think I'm perfect and I don't want to be perfect. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop writing about what I feel. It's my outlet, my art, my place to vent.

 So I won't apologize for that.

I'm just me! Flaws and all, writing about all my flaws and feelings so that others can connect and we can share our stories.

Thus is the power of writing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Something about working and mothers and inclusiveness

Today's topic has been on mind my for quite a while and I've just been trying to find a quiet moment to write, which has been difficult because I started a new job (yayayayay!) and because there's been just plain ol' social business going on. Which a gal really can't complain about! Social life is bueno.

So, as fate would have it, the first time I have time to write happens to be my least favorite day of the year: Mother's Day. Oh joy. Oh bliss. Long time readers know that I have a hard time on Mother's Day because of my own crazy mom and it's just impossible to escape the day in any possible way, whether you're inside and online and creep onto Facebook and see the thousands of posts celebrating moms or you go out in the world and see the perfect, happy families and want to stab yourself in the eye with a #1 Mom Zales pendant. 

Not that it's wrong for these happy people to celebrate. I'm sure their mothers were awesome and told them they were wonderful and didn't beat them with random household objects. It's just hard for me to watch. 

But at least I have my furbaby. 

But this post isn't about Mother's Day. I just want to share my state of mind as sort of an apology that I might be in the teensiest of shitty moods today and so this post might sound slightly more bitter than it should. It's really not my intention.

What I've been thinking about lately is work and womanhood and motherhood and non-motherhood and working conditions, blah blah blah you get the picture. This kind of thing is always in the media, but especially now with the whole Lean In broohaha, which I haven't read yet but I am really interesting in reading and is not, actually, the subject of today's post. 

But it is why everyone is talking about women at work and the age old question of women having it all and work-life balance. 

My biggest issues with this discussion is that it's very narrow. It usually centers on one kind of woman (and no men): mothers. Can she have it all? Meaning a career, marriage, and children. And maybe that discussion IS material to that working mom! I'm not saying it's irrelevant; I'm saying it's narrow.

Setting aside statistics of people in the workplace (because I just don't have those and this isn't exactly an in-depth journalistic piece), my instincts say that that leaves out 3 other groups of working people: working fathers and working men and women who aren't parents. And let's not forget non-working moms. 

Which seems unfair to me. 

For one, it implies that work-life balance is only important for working mothers, as if those without children don't have important and busy lives to balance. As if, since we don't have diapers and baths to get home to, we clearly don't need flex time or reasonable hours. Sure, we have nothing better to do! Work is our children! 


I certainly experienced that in retail (which, admittedly, is a crazy different world). If you were single or didn't have children, you were expected to work every holiday and work longer hours. Because there is understanding for the mom who needs to pick up her child from daycare, but not for the single girl who has to feed her dog. 

And, in my 14 some odd working years (which isn't that many), I've worked in several types of environments, from women's retail (all women and maybe some gay men) to more co-ed environments and even one place where I was the only gal. And I think it's the same with fathers. 

I concede that historically men haven't been as involved with their families. At least that's what Mad Men tells me (kidding!). But I've worked in places where men were very dedicated to their families and struggled with the balance as much as the mothers, men who left early for Trick or Treating or who brought their kids to the office because there was a mixup with the babysitter or because school got out early. 

This is the modern world after all and I think this is just as big of an issue for fathers as for mothers anymore, so leaving them out of the conversation is just not smart.  And the non-parents still pick up the slack, regardless of gender.

That said, women still make less than men and plenty of workplaces still give mothers and potential mothers a hard time or lack of flexibility. That's a huge issue in our culture. 

And I'm in awe of the working mothers who pull it off. I work with more than a few amazing women right now and I'm not sure how they do it. More power to them! I barely balance a life with work and a cat and a boyfriend and a blog and photography. I barely get my laundry done, so I have no concept how they do too. It's impressive, to be sure.

I'm not saying that conversation isn't important; I'm saying the dialogue is all wrong. 

I don't think the focus should be on having it all. The focus should be on quality of life.

I truly believe that feminism is about choice. It's not about women ruling the world or setting new rules of female patriarchy. It's about choice! Opening up choice to whatever makes your quality of life good. Maybe that's a one income family and a mom who stays home. Maybe that's two working parents with kids and a juggling act. Maybe that's a married couple with a cat and a dog and a big travel fund. Maybe that's a single woman who works and volunteers and paints on the weekend. 

So if we're opening up choice shouldn't we open up the dialogue about quality of life and work-life balance to include more than just mothers? Shouldn't we talk about flex hours for all employees and perks that work like an a la carte menu? Maybe one employee would like in-house daycare, but maybe another would appreciate paid meals or Fridays off. 

Maybe out culture could totally use an overhaul on what is important in life. We have to support ourselves, but is anyone really happy working 80 hour weeks with no time for self or friends or family or food or art or travel? I don't think so. 

Do you agree? Should we all be focusing on quality of life? Or do I have it wrong? Tell me! The most important thing is to talk about it. 
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