Thursday, February 9, 2017

Some people are never happy.

Article here
This morning I was looking at the above article about the new swimwear line from plus-sized model Ashley Graham. And I had some... thoughts.

And then I happened to glance at the comments section on the Facebook post that shared the article, and saw this comment, which pretty much stated what I was thinking:
This isn't swimsuits for all haha. It's swimsuits for women with big hips, a narrow flat stomach, and huge boobs. That's fantastic for the folks who look that way but all of us ladies aren't that blessed.
To which someone else replied,
Some people are never happy.
To which _I_ replied (in my own head), "No... we're not."

I mean, as the first comment said, "That's fantastic for folks who look that way." I'm happy for THEM, but no, I'm not satisfied. No shade to Ashley Graham--I'm not picking on her--but she is essentially a larger version of the same body type that is pushed on women by the media. It's GREAT that she's larger, and there should be more representation of larger women, but her body type still only represents a small slice of the population, so we shouldn't just stop there. I am technically a smaller size than she is, but my body doesn't look like that, nor will it EVER look like that (without drastic and/or unhealthy measures), because that's just not my body type.

A quick glance at Swimsuits For All's Instagram page does indeed showcase some different body types, so I'm not here to rail against them, specifically. I'm moreso angry about the second commenter. Because, you know how why models like Ashley Graham and companies like Swimsuits For All even exist? Because SOME PEOPLE WEREN'T HAPPY. There were enough unhappy women out there, who were willing to speak up about the lack of body diversity in fashion, that modeling agencies decided to start taking a chance on women like Ashley, and SHE saw enough unhappy women looking for swimsuits that she decided to start her own line.

Good stuff happens when people decide not to settle for "good enough." Good stuff happens when we keep pushing boundaries and breaking barriers, instead of just getting complacent. Good stuff happens when we voice our unhappiness, and they are not complaints or whining, but legitimate calls for more inclusiveness and better representation. So, no, I'm not just going to "be happy."

I want to re-emphasize that I'm not hating on Ashley Graham or her company, or accusing her or them of complacency, okay? (In fact, if you are able to, please support! Show the industry that companies like hers have a demand!) It's not her/them that is making me mad; it's random members of the public (and the media too!) who want to silence those criticisms and suggestions for improving our society and culture.

I'm going to continue to fight and speak out. Until all of us who are non-mainstream (in various ways, not just because of our weight) are no longer treated as lesser-than or invisible, I'm not going to be satisfied.

Friday, February 3, 2017

FO: Dragonscale gloves

Don't fashion me
into a maiden
that needs saving
from a dragon.
I am the dragon,
and I will eat you

Pattern: Dragonscale Gloves by Rachel Barlow
Yarn: Dream in Color's Smooshy with Cashmere in the colorway "Mermaid Shoes"
Quote: Requiem of the Moon Poetry

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lessons from a snow day

“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

As you may have heard, last week Portland (and surrounding areas, like where I live) just got the MOST SNOW EVER. Well, the most snow Portland has ever gotten in a really, really long time. (Other parts of the country probably wouldn't bat an eyelash.)

At first it was fun - a FOOT of snow to stomp around in, and no way to get to school or work? There were sounds of play and joy coming from all over the neighborhood. Even my dogs had fun hopping around the backyard before scrambling back inside to escape the cold. (And we had fun watching them!) It truly was a winter wonderland, and we all marveled at the giant flakes falling from the sky, forming a smooth, pure blanket of white on the ground. We finally had enough snow to build a proper snowman, not a snow-covered dirt snowman like the one in To Kill a Mockingbird. It was breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring, seeing our normal everyday world transformed.

And then, of course, reality sets in. You know, the reality where you realize that you're running out of food because you didn't think there would be THAT much snow leaving you stuck in your house, and you live at the end of a tiny private street where you can pretty much bet that there will be no plowing or shoveling, and you notice that the only neighbors who've left their houses (judging by their tire tracks) are the ones who have 4WD vehicles, which your Prius is NOT...

This wasn't the first time I've had to drive on ice/snow (that happened just a few short weeks ago, though!) but the conditions this time were more severe. I'm not sure what's worse - the anxiety of driving on really icy roads, or the anxiety of possibly getting stuck on a thick patch of snow at a really bad time (say, at the front of an intersection when your light turns green - true story). Suffice it to say that, at this current moment, I do not remember what it is like to drive relaxed. I've been limiting my goings-out to nearby places (so at least if I get stranded, I'm not far from home), but every second I'm in my car, literally from the moment I pull out of my garage (because our driveway has been covered with packed snow and ice), I'm a bundle of stress.

I'm California born-and-raised, so what do I know about driving in winter weather? We freak out when it rains too hard! (Because our infrastructure just can't handle too much rain, just like Portland can't handle too much snow.) I drove as slowly and as carefully as I could manage, gearing myself up for nasty looks and other angry behavior from cranky drivers. (It's a good thing I gave up my California plates a while ago - I feel like less of a target now.)

But you know what? I didn't get any anger. This is probably stupid, but it really surprised me. I wasn't the only person leaving a TON of space between myself and the car in front of me. I wasn't the only one who started braking really early going into a red light. I wasn't the only one who accelerated really slowly when the light turned green. (I know this is basic Driver's Ed Safety 101 type stuff, but come on - there are a lot of drivers out there who risk their safety in order to get somewhere faster. Including me.) No one inched up on pedestrians trying not to slip walking across the parking lot. Every time a car or two ran a red light (because it was easier to keep going than to try to brake hard with all the icy patches), no one honked or behaved aggressively. We just... understood. And we let it go.

As the days went on and the ice and snow lingered, I realized that the whole world (or at least, my small part of it) was doing their utmost, first of all to be safe, but also to give each other time and space out there on the roads. Even though this has been some of the most stressful driving I've ever done, this was also the most patience and kindness I've ever seen exhibited out on the road.

It was like, we're all in this. It sucks for everyone right now, whether you drive a tiny hatchback or a giant truck that could climb over tiny hatchbacks. But instead of losing our cool and making things worse (and even more dangerous) for everyone else, we worked through it. I'm not saying that there weren't accidents or injuries or people who were jerks, because I'm sure there were. I'm not saying there weren't moments of frustration. But in the end, it was like, we handled it, not by bullying others out on the road, but by remembering that we're all in the same lousy situation, and if you can't do anything to make things better, then the very least you could do is to not make things worse for everyone else.

Today, it's a sunny 50 degrees, and the rain that started yesterday has washed away most of the snow. It's not fully back to normal, but we're getting there. I don't know how long this feeling of peace and good will will last out there, but I'm thankful that I got to experience it.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2017 plans (and planners)!

So, one thing that has really come out of 2016 for me (aside from powerlifting) is my newfound obsession with planners and planner decorating. I used to just keep all my future events on my calendar app, but I found I had a burning desire to reconnect with writing things longhand (I used to keep datebooks and journals as a kid/teen), so after going through many unsatisfactory planners (that I ended up recycling), I bought myself a classic/medium-sized Happy Planner last spring on a whim (I had a coupon) and then fell headfirst into the world of stickers, washi tape, and memory planning. Suddenly, keeping a planner wasn't just about writing dates and grocery lists - it was also beautiful, fun, and crafty.

And then this summer I discovered bullet journalling, and that was another game changer. I discovered an artistic side of myself that I didn't think existed, as I learned brush lettering and got more into doodling. I also got back into journalling longhand - I've tried on and off throughout my adult years to keep a journal, but it never stuck. I think maybe I always felt like I didn't have anything important to write in a journal. I know, I know - this obviously hasn't stopped me from blogging, but it's very easy (and cheap) to post throwaway musings on the internet, whereas taking the time to put pen to paper (especially in an expensive notebook like a Moleskine or a Leuchtturm) feels a lot more significant somehow. BUT... bullet journalling, in which I filled my notebook equally with deeply personal thoughts and daily "To Do" lists, with beautiful lettering as well as messy scribbles, taught me that no details are too small, because it's my life, and the day-to-day minutiae is what forms a person's life, just as much as the big events.

Scenes from my current bullet journal, in my dot-grid Leuchtturm 
For 2017, I couldn't decide which planning style I wanted to stick with, so I kind of decided to DO ALL THE THINGS, and this is how I found myself with five planners in my system:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Recap: Deadlifts for Doernbecher 2016

What a day!

It's been a strange couple of weeks, as we've been hit by snow and ice, and it's the first time I've ever really had to deal with that. (Because, you know, I'm Californian.) This morning, I headed out in 28-degree weather (very slowly!) and made my way over to my gym for Deadlifts for Doernbecher. I was already pretty nervous about competing, and then with the added stress of driving conditions that I'm not used to, I was feeling a little shaky when I finally pulled up.