Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What We Should Be Doing

I constantly read online or hear on the news how catty women are and how much we don’t get along. It happens over and over again. I often hear women say, “I don’t get along with women very well. They’re so vicious.”  It’s as if every person in possession of a vagina is somehow cursed with the inability to participate in rational, friendly behavior. Women are portrayed as feral creatures waiting to claw the eyes out of her gender-sharing companions. It’s madness, yet I’m not sure I disagree with these self-proclaimed media experts.

I desperately want these media outlets to be wrong about the relationships between women, but it’s hard when you read stories like model Caroline Berg Eriksen who posted the four-day-post-pregnancy picture of her toned belly. Media outlets everywhere wrote article after article about this picture:

I get it. She’s thin, has amazing boobs, enviable thighs and not to mention a four-day postpartum belly like I’ve never seen. However, is it other women who feel angry over her photo or is it the media blowing it out of proportion? After reading a bajillion articles about one picture, I’ve come to the conclusion the rage seems to culminate from an imaginary place created by the mediaMost of the user comments were pleasant, like this:


However, blog posts like this, Blog hateseem to be those spreading the hate and outrage. Not to mention the news networks talking about it nonstop.

It’s no wonder women feel pitted against one another. What we are doing is allowing male-driven media outlets dictate how we feel about ourselves and other women. What we are doing is internalizing contempt for others based on what we vs. they look like, what we vs. they wear and how the media portrays us both. What we are doing is letting societal pressures make us feel less than. What we are doing is becoming imprisoned based on looks.

What we should be doing is turning a blind eye to women like Ericksen and creating, even flaunting our own version of beautiful. What we should be doing is uplifting all women, thin or overweight. What we should be doing is living our lives to the best of our abilities, ignoring what society tells us is ideal. What we should be doing is listening to our hearts for fulfillment. What we should be doing is talking to other women about the struggles we face.

So, what are you doing? Are you joining in the bitchy women’s club or are you living life for you?

Remember, what we should be doing is living life real, lest our daughters inherit our attitudes. That’s what we should be doing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Backing Out

I started this post with a conversation Real Boy and I had while sitting on the couch. He and I were discussing how important it was to follow through with things you've started. He said, "If you don't back out of your job, you could do really good and make lots of money." Oh silly boy, you make it seem so simple. 

Maybe he's right and it is that simple. Just don't back out. All year, I've felt like backing out of everything. Especially this. Writing. Every time I wanted to write something hilarious and witty, nothing happened. I started out with so many ideas, wrote them down even, yet staring at my ideas for hours ignited no spark. 

I got discouraged because I often felt like I failed at truly connecting with my readers. I became a little green when I witnessed others doing so well and reaching amazing milestones in their writing endeavors. I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered why. 

It could be I was looking in the wrong places for inspiration. Ha. Even typing that is ridiculous. It's because I backed out. I didn't keep it in drive. Hell, I didn't even put that shit in neutral and try to push it to the gas station. I said, "Life sucks," then shifted into reverse and stepped on the gas, running over a few pedestrians along the way. 

Now, with the insight of an eight-year-old boy I know. If I don't back out, I can actually attain those goals I set so long ago. If I don't back out, maybe I'll move forward. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm Growing

Oh Real Readers. How can I explain to you my life? How can I sit here and tell you of my journey? How can I explain to you the changes I’ve slowly implemented into my life? It’s so hard because I feel so strange. Almost an out-of-body experience. I am always 100% real. This is why I haven’t been writing as much. I do not want to tell embellished stories about my day-to-day life. I refuse to compromise my true self to make you laugh or cry. So I hold off writing in an effort to understand myself more clearly. Otherwise, how can I give you my views on my life and the world in a way you deserve?
Admittedly, I have not been entirely forthcoming with my readers. I know in the former paragraph, I said, “I am always 100% real,” but you must understand I do not write anonymously. There are assholes in this world who do not understand others. These people are unable to comprehend empathy, much less practice it. This forced me to leave out a very large chunk of what has transpired throughout the last year or so and is a major reason why I haven’t been writing. Even this post leaves me questioning its content. (Will my readers be turned off? Will they think I will no longer be the same me?)
Yet, I have been growing little by little. Many days I yearn to run to my keyboard and pound out words to let you Real Readers in on my secrets. Then I stop. It would not be fair to my family. Still, I grow and yearn. One of the biggest ways I’ve been growing is spiritually.
I grew up attending church regularly. As a young child, I was mostly indifferent to the entire process of going to church on Sundays and Wednesday nights. Then, as a teenager I joined the most wonderful youth group and suddenly church was awesome. I saw a new light in the world and I let God into my life. I really feel this helped me make it through the teenage years positively. I never drank, smoked, did drugs and I always did the right thing. (It could have been the fact I was a total square as well, but that is neither here nor there.)
I joined the Navy at 19. I still had a connection with God. We just had poor reception. I did many things I am not proud to admit. I hurt a lot of people, especially myself. I was very angry because my family of origin existed in a horrible state. The anger increased when my dad passed away a few months before my 21st birthday. Enter stage left: Self-destructive behavior full force.
God was still there. I just could not feel the connection. I turned away and continued making choices contrary to my true self. Even my marriage to Real Husband began in a way I would never boast about. My life was in turmoil. On the outside, it was pretty darn peachy. Inside, I was spiraling.
I decided to attend church on a whim. I went into the idea very close-minded. I knew what church was about. People preaching to you and praying for you. Preachers delivering a message of condemnation for every little sin we commit. Psshhhhh…ain’t nobody got time for that.
I was very reluctant and on some subconscious level I was all like, “Man, fuck this. This ain’t about nothin’ but nothin.’” I really don’t know what that meant, but essentially I didn’t want to believe again.
Slowly, I began to realign my beliefs. I attribute my shift to the church I started attending. It was different. It was more about doing good and allowing God to guide you on the path to living life the right way for you, not for the masses. Mistakes are going to happen and that’s okay. We all mess up. No big deal. Admit it. Make it right. Move on. Love others. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Hope is a for reals thing.
This is what God is about for me. Staying positive in times of strife. Living life with empathy. Understanding God can’t make you right, only you can get yourself right. It’s not about condemnation. Rather, it’s about being human. Mistakes and all.
This, Real Readers is what has allowed me to grow. I have realized I cannot control everyone or everything. I have been able to recognize that and let go of the things out of my control. Gradually, surely I evolve to become a better me. Nonetheless, with God, my hope has exponentially expounded.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 16: Labor Day

As a working mom, a three-day weekend is the equivalent of spinning three cherries on a slot machine and tail spinning to collect the coins that come spilling out. You feel so excited; you become a total spaz as you realize it’s your lucky day. It’s like the best. This Labor Day was no different. I looked forward to lazing about and not doing a whole lot.
It’s funny because I kept planning to take the kids somewhere the entire weekend since school started the day after Labor Day. Then, my uncontrollable urge to clean, organize and get things ready for the week kicked in and we didn’t go anywhere. My poor kids remained prisoners in the house and watched tons of television and ate lots of junk. That’s the kind of mom I am.
The point is: Labor Day for me was just another Monday full of work. I spent it running around doing laundry, prepping lunches for the kids and making sure things were tidy. What has my life become? I’m tired of this grown-up, mom shit.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 12: We Can’t Help Our Hearts

I recently read a blog post from my friend Kelly of DeBieHive. First let me say I absolutely adore her. She is such an open and honest writer. She shared a story about how she was almost pregnant. She hoped she was, but society says she shouldn’t want any more since she already has like 27 kids (or five, but same thing). She went on to discuss about how sad she was when her monthly friend paid her a visit at a time she wasn’t welcome. She was distraught, but put on her brave face and went out in the world as if nothing happened. After all, most people say, “You should be thankful for what you have,” when you talk about a loss or the possible upheaval of your life.

Those people are assholes. I swear. Why do people feel the need to tell me I should feel blessed or thankful for what I currently have when something awful happens to me? Another little quip people like to say is, “You are such a strong woman.” Oh, mother fuckers how I just want to throat punch you repeatedly when you say this to me. I restrain from screaming or physical violence. Instead, I replay the night before as I lay in my bed sobbing into my pillow because my life is a mess and all of the reasons why are beyond my control. Nonetheless, I keep delaying the separation with Real Husband and me in hopes we somehow have a breakthrough. I just can’t stop caring for him the same way Kelly can’t stop wanting a baby.

One of DeBie Hive’s readers commented, “We can’t help our hearts.” Oh my how this rings so true for me. My heart cannot stop wanting what it wants. The rational side of me says, “Christal, what the hell are you doing? Why are you staying?” Then my heart says, “Hey rationality, shut the eff up. You love him. You have to help him.” All the while, people say, “You are such a strong woman. You need to leave him.”

Oh how all of that is so easy for friends and family to say. How simple it is for online forums to offer advice anonymously when they’ve never been in shoes that are simultaneously ill fitting and fabulous as mine. I admit, these shoes really hurt, but daggone they look so fabulous on me. Our hearts want what they want and we are at times unable to change it. You will never be the same once your heart is truly broken, so you continue to hope this isn’t the time your heart is broken once again; changing you into a more foreign, disillusioned version of yourself.

I understand many people offer meaningless, encouraging words when faced with someone going through a hard time. I get it. The moment is often awkward and people become baffled, at a loss for words. I’d like to offer up a new way of handling the situation. Simply say: “Man, that does suck. I really feel you. Let me know if there is something I can do to help.” And mean it!

So simple. You empathize and let them know you are there for them. None of this, “Just be blessed you have the kids you do. You know some people can’t have kids,” or, “I know it’s tough, but it will all work out.”

Just stop! It’s so empty. Honestly, life really does suck sometimes and you’re powerless to change it. Things don’t always work out. It’s a fact of life and people just need to realize that’s how things happen sometimes.

So send me hugs and kisses if you’d like, just don’t tell me it’ll all be okay. Maybe in the future it will be, but for now I need to wallow in self pity.