I've recently had an old friend contact me (Skaters rule and preps drool!) whom I haven't seen since junior high. It's been great reminiscing about ye days of ol', when my heroes were Ice T and Tony Hawk, and I wore bicycle shorts with neon stripes in all seriousness (yewouch! A memory to suppress good and hard!). I've spent some time on Youtube lately, visiting the music and styles of the late '80s. Ah, the '80s...
I know you don't have to read any further to know that I'm not heading in a good direction.
Okay, old friend catch ups = good stuff! Especially this one, she's funny as hell. But actually having my mind wander over to my junior high experiences in general and I start to feel a dull pain like I've got my neck stuck in a banana clip.
One memory surfaced not too long ago of the stupidest compliment anyone has ever given to me. Are you ready for it? Okay, this is what some 13 year old guy said to me as we were hanging out at recess: "You know, you'd be really hot if you just lost five pounds."
Really made me want to throw up my lunch and sweat off some water weight by running around the track a dozen times.
'Cuz then I'd be hot.
To a dude who looked like his hair had been cut by Stevie Wonder while doing the Running Man.
I repeat: wow.
It would be really easy to dismiss the little freak and get on with life, well, after kicking his skinny, stupid haircut ass around the playground a bit, but I've actually took his backhanded compliment to be true. Like, damaging or what? Can you say crap self esteem? Want to know what's worse? I still do, to this day.
Thirteen years olds aren't bright, him nor I apparently, but, seriously, this is the mentality of the '80s, of junior high, of Teen Beat and Seventeen magazine and all the other garbage I used to feed my head. Later, older and smarter, I did shake my head at this bizarre message, but by that point it was habitual thinking. (I don't think I actually heard the 'f' word out of the context of 'what, are you some sort of hairy, bitch feminist?' before I was 20.) I can logically argue the point and dismiss the continuing media imagery that equates fat with ugly, but the voice in the back of my head, the one I actually believe, says differently.
I think about weight and diet and exercise and lifestyle and habit and indulgence and restriction all the time. So does The Man. So does nearly everybody I know. We all carve up natural experience into artificial categories of good and bad based upon ideas about what makes a person's body a particular size and shape. And when we are scared or we fail, we look to ourselves for a reason, and it's really easy to believe what everyone tells us, that we fail because we are fat.
I'm starting to get the inkling that I hold myself back not because I'm fat, but because I believe fat is bad. Is fat bad?
Would anything be better if I was five (or forty) pounds lighter?
I know one thing, and I keep it in mind a lot when I start to beat myself up; Smootch would not be here if my body has been any smaller than it was when I was newly pregnant with her. I lost 25 pounds in the first three months of that pregnancy due to hyperemesis gravidarum. My fat saved my baby. Obviously, this fat equals bad and unhealthy is not as straight forward as the media would have us believe. I think it's worth looking into further.
I know that I usually write long, sad letters to January, about the gloom and cold and lack of energy, but this year you`ve decided to throw your lot in with the most cursed of months, so you too get a long, whiny memo.
Hi. You need to stop messing with my head and body. Stop the dental surgeries and stretched ligaments and torn muscles and pale skin and complete lack of ability to cope with my children`s needs. Please. Stop being about wine from a plastic cup and huge piles of laundry and what looks to be the beginning of a massive ant infestation around the kitchen sink.
I know there are bright spots. Everyday there is a new message or email from a reader that is so wonderfully complimentary I think it may be a wind up. Sometimes the sun comes out. Sometimes one of the kids does something so amazing it makes me cry with pride.
But, February, you are so different this year. In fact, time has been different all winter. December is supposed to be all rushed and crazy and warm with twinkly lights and anticipation. New Years is always a bomb. Then January is the time I slump around, all bummed out, and as soon as you, February, begins, I can to pull my head up and start to really notice what`s happening around me. I notice the cool, clean winter air and the dazzling way the sun sparkles off the snow, and how red cheeks on a smiling child hauling the sled to the top of the hill one more time is one of the most beautiful things I`ve ever seen.
February is the time to begin searching for the new buds on trees. It`s time to start planning the garden and finding seeds. It`s when the sun is out long enough for me to have my dinner and then catch the sunset over a warm cup of tea.
So, what`s going on February? Why are you such a bummer?
Okay, I know. Because time is also place. And my place now is to be in the eternal wet and fog. The days haven`t changed colour or temperature since November. I`m dislocated and out of touch. Somehow, in this paradise of an island, I`ve lost my connection with nature. Feels like missing a limb or losing my mind.
Alright. I will grit my teeth (minus 1) and step lightly through the second half of this dreary month. I`m pinning all my hopes on March, to give me strength and imagination, to do what I have to do to get home again.
We just spent a few days in Victoria. Finally got in to see the Royal BC Museum, which has some amazing exhibits. Smootch was completely fascinated with the natural history portion and completely bored with the human history. Not surprising to me. Did I mention that Smootch is keeping a 'specimen jar', with various organic (as in not rock, not chemical free) odds and ends that are interesting to her? So far it contains a bird bone, which Birdie found somewhere outside and sucked it like a lolly for 10 minutes before I wised up to what it was, one of my toe nails, which finally came off last month after it's run in (literally) with the baseboard heater a few months ago, and a stick I picked up the night I met her father some dozen years ago. Don't ask me why I still have the stick, I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened. Like her father :D
Birdie slept through the museum. Thank god.
I got some new wheels, which everyone else seems as excited about as I do.
My new wheels are faster, less sticky, and all around slick. I took them to derby practice last night and promptly sprained my ankle. Somehow, I managed to skate the whole practice with a hurt ankle and drive home (along the way I was stopped by the police in Nanaimo, a whole other story) but today is a major bugger to get around. My ankle is all swollen and bruised. Ugh. It's my sewing machine pedal foot too, which is extra annoying.
I am healing from my dental surgery two weeks ago. I've got kind of a phantom tooth thing going on, where I can feel the molar that was pulled as still there, but, of course, it isn't. I hate losing body parts. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Also, Smootch is still bummed out I didn't get the tooth from the dentist for her specimen jar.
Birdie is a No Boy. He says 'no'. He says, 'NO!' He says, 'Nnooooooooooo!' A hundred variation on the word 'no' that we are just beginning to realize are substitutes for whole other words, depending on where he puts the emphasis or inflection. If he just says, 'no', well, that's pretty much straight forward. But if he says, 'no-o?', he actually means 'yes' (you have no idea how much relief was felt after we figured this little bit out). When he feels threatened by his sister he says, 'no no no no no no no no!' in chain saw massacre victim mode, but when he's the aggressor with Smootch he says a sharp, 'No!' usually followed with a smack.
Birdie really is a completely unreasonable guy. It's amazing Smootch not only puts up with way too much of it, but actually defends him and tries to include him when she's playing with her friends. Even when the friend says, 'hey, let's ditch your little brother; I won't play with you unless you get rid of him,' she still stands by him. Beyond the call of duty, I believe. She's a good kid.
I love those kids. It's a good thing too, because otherwise I might follow up with my threats to list them on Ebay. Happy Monday all!