Friday, October 29, 2010

I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died

I apologize for neglecting you all so long - it's been a busy couple of months!

But what better way to resurrect (haha!) my blog than with some good ol' Halloween fun... allow me to present Ophelia, dead:

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.

Ophelia, from Shakespeare's Hamlet, drowns towards the end of the play, possibly as an act of suicide after the man she loves rejects her and (unrelated to that) kills her father.

I used a makeup kit from the Halloween store to do most of the look - I did set my face makeup with UD's Razor powder, and I used a couple eyeshadows on my lips (Kiddie Pool and Revolver). I also put on some MAC Zoom Lash mascara haphazardly (after I took the above photo) and then sprayed my face with UD's All-Nighter setting spray, just to make the mascara smear a little. I also put TONS of gel in my hair to give it that wet look, without actually, you know, giving myself a cold.

If I have a more updated photo, I'll post it later :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fat! So?

(Yes, I realize that that is the actual name of someone's book. But it's so clever!)

Today, I am discussing the idea of fat acceptance with my sophomores. And it's only natural that it gets me thinking about my own attitudes towards fat people and being fat myself.

I am fat. No two ways about it. I don't remember the last time I checked my body fat percentage, but I remember that it was in the high 40's. My body is almost HALF fat. It's just a fact. However, because I am also in fact big-boned and muscular, I'm probably a little smaller than other people who are my same height and weight. But yeah... it's the truth: I'm fat.

That's a loaded statement of course. I have said "I'm fat" to other people, and been greeted with responses of, "No you're not! You're just big-boned!" or "You're not skinny, but you're not, like, fat fat!" Fat has become such a dirty word, and being fat brings on a whole host of negative associations. This may be a controversial conjecture, but I daresay that we are moving towards that point where LGBT individuals will be more easily accepted than fat people.

Fat people are lazy and unmotivated ("If they would just TRY, then they wouldn't be so fat"). Fat people are unclean ("Look at them sweating buckets just from climbing the stairs! Gross!"). Fat people are unhealthy ("Being fat leads to heart disease and diabetes"). Fat people are ugly ("Eww, look at all the rolls of fat!"). Fat people are stupid ("How can they keep eating that way when they KNOW it's making them fat?"). Fat people have no self-control ("Why don't they just eat less?")

But really? Weight, like many other aspects of ourselves, is a combination of nature AND nurture. It is a combination of our habits as well as our genetics, the way our bodies are hardwired to respond to food and exercise.

I wish I could accept my body for what it is, but I cannot. As much as I would like to be able to rise above the media's constant "thin = the best!" message and just be glad that I have a heart that ticks and a body that lets me run and skate. But... I can't. As much as I would like to insist that all my weight loss efforts are in the interest of staving off obesity-related medical issues, the truth is that I want to be the hot girl. I want to be the person that people look at and instantly say that I am beautiful, instead of being the person that people might think is beautiful after they get to know me (if even that!). I'm tired of hearing stuff like, "You could be so beautiful if you lost weight," as if the only things standing in the way of me being a total goddess is the 24-pack of coke in my fridge and my penchant for carne asada.

Oddly enough, even though I apparently feel like I cannot be beautiful and fat at the same time, I recognize that others can - there are so many women who are gorgeous, period, not despite of their fat but maybe even because of it. Their total package is beautiful. I however do not feel like my total package is "complete" until I lose weight.

You know, the only time I ever felt beautiful and comfortable with my largeness at the same time was when I was pregnant. In fact, I remember wanting to be bigger, wishing my pregnancy was much more obvious to the world. (And then I ended up having to watch my diet EXTRA carefully because I developed gestational diabetes. Why hello, irony.) But after having the baby, all my old insecurities crept back up.

I wish I knew how to learn to love my fat. I wish I COULD just tell myself, "Yeah, I'm fat. So what? I'm great!" but it's a very hard thing for me to do, and if I'm being completely honest with myself, I bet that my fat is a way of keeping myself from examining my other flaws. Like if I blame my fat as the reason why I feel so worthless and unloveable all the time, then I don't have to look at deeper issues like my selfishness or my shyness or other inside things like that. People don't like me because I'm not beautiful and thin, not because I'm heinously awkward in social situations. (Ooh, self-awareness is such a bitch.)

Maybe it's not my fat that I need to learn to love, it's something else entirely.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Couch to... anywhere other than the couch

I've decided to start running again. Being at the Nike marathon and being passed by old ladies and little girls in tutus made me realize how much I want so badly to be a badass runner. I DO want to do a marathon someday, but it's stupid of me to bank on that when I can't even run a full mile right now.

So I'm going to do what I always tell other people, and start slow. If I do the full Couch-to-5k program in its entirety, I should be able to run a full 30 minutes in 9 weeks. There are 9 weeks left in this calendar year - how about I achieve a New Year's resolution before the new year begins?

And I'm not going to commit to anything larger than this right now, beyond those 9 weeks. I tend to set very high goals for myself, which I guess is a good thing (because at least I'm ambitious), but I inevitably fall short of them because my body's limitations cannot stretch that far that quickly. I know I can run 3 miles because ONE TIME I actually ran a full 6 miles, and I know I can get back there again.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh, what have I gotten myself into with this girl...?

Yesterday afternoon, Jolie was climbing on the couch when she bumped her head really lightly on the wall - REALLY lightly. (I've seen her hit her head harder than that and crawl away without even a frown.) She probably wouldn't have made a fuss if I did suddenly gasp... once she heard me, she made a sad pouty face and touched her hands to her head, as if to say, "Oh, my poor head!" So I went over and gave her a hug, and put her back down, and she started playing again.

A couple minutes later, she called me over and pointed at the tv - she wanted me to bring her over to the tv so she could mess with the stereo equipment. I said, "No, Jolie, I'm not bringing you over there." She whined a little bit, and when I still wouldn't do it, she touched her hands to her head and made a sad pouty face again, "Oh, my poor head!" :) Trying to milk her "injury" to get my pity!

I think Jimmy and I couldn't stop laughing for ten whole minutes. That girl is such a faker!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Turn and face the strain

I've been contemplating a career change for a while now. At first I thought that maybe teaching somewhere different - a school less crowded, or a school with a more motivated students, perhaps - would make things better, but the more I think about it, the more I want to leave the classroom completely.

I love making connections with students and I love sharing my love and knowledge of literature with others, but I'm not entirely sure that this is the life I want to lead. I find myself struggling to fit the mold of "teacher" because I am not what a teacher is traditionally supposed to be. And I don't think there are enough people like me to start some sort of revolution of non-traditional teachers.

- I'm not a stickler for rules and discipline and forcing children to behave. I hate it, I really do. Maybe I'm more college-y when it comes to this point, but I'm very much of the "If you don't like it in my class, get the hell out" way of thinking. But, of course, I can't just toss out anyone who doesn't want to be here. They're entitled, by law, to an education.

- I hate homework. At least, I hate busy work. I see homework as an extension of what we're doing in class, and most of the time, I will manage to try and fit everything into class time, so there isn't usually homework. And I refuse to assign arbitrary homework.

- I'm no angel. Teachers are public figures and "role models," and I don't want to be anyone's shining example of good behavior. I have tattoos. I use profanity. I enjoy rated-R entertainment. I'm opinionated, and I don't like to stifle my opinion: I'm atheist, I'm pro choice, gay marriage, and legalization of marijuana AND prostitution. I'm a believer in sex education and readily-available contraception. I don't believe in sugar-coating important issues, and I don't believe in hiding who I am. Maybe a lot of people actually agree with me on these points, but I can imagine that there are many students whose parents would prefer that their children are not taught by someone like me.

- I don't like all my students. (I like most of them, but not all.) No teacher likes ALL of his/her students. I guess what I mean to say is that, I hate having to be nice to the students that I don't like, just because it's my job. I'm not allowed to tell the kid that's totally being an a-hole that he is a total a-hole, and he needs to change. It doesn't mean that I would give him less of an education or slack off on my job; I just feel like I am at his mercy because it is MY job on the line. I can at least get away with ignoring coworkers that I don't like. But not kids. I guess this is similar to having to work customer service - another thing I really hated.

But the thing is, I don't know what else I could do with myself. The job market sucks right now anyway, but even if there were a ton of jobs available, I have no clue how to proceed. I'm not in a position to go back to school or do further training - I've got a household to support.

Ideally, I would love to remain in academia. I've ALWAYS dreamed of becoming an English professor - it's all the things I love about teaching without the things I listed above, mostly - but even before the downturn in the economy, tenure-track positions were scarce. And I am technically qualified to teach at community college right now, but it's not the same thing. And I'd get stuck teaching a lot of the same types of students that I teach now, I bet.

Other than that, I can't think of anything that I am qualified to do that would also be enough to support a household (yarn store owner, makeup artist, freelance writer, etc). I would love the idea of doing some sort of non-profit work, but again, I don't know what sorts of positions I'm qualified to take on.

I wouldn't mind teaching for longer, but I don't know how much longer. I don't want to be here so long that I start hating it, because this is absolutely the type of job that you have to be in LOVE with to want to do. And I just don't think I love it enough.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trying to be an adult about this

As I'm sure most people do, I have an angsty teenage girl lurking in my psyche. Sometimes when I get upset about things, she tends to come out.

Right now, I'm upset about some friends. Now, we're all adults, and I should be an adult about this, but the hurt little girl inside me is stamping her foot pretty persistently. I have these friends who I used to be really close to, whom I would talk to all the time and see all the time. When I was going through some tough times, I really depended on them, and they were absolutely there for me.

We're not so close anymore. Not because of any falling out - they're just really busy, and they live further away now, and we don't see each other as much. But now we don't even talk as much, either. No particular reason, we just... don't. And it makes me sad. But I'm so afraid to bother them, because they're so busy all the time (by their own admission), that I don't extend any invitations or anything or try to call. And they don't extend invitations or call either, I assume, because they're so busy.

So what does it mean when they are spending tons of time with other friends of ours, but not with me?

I can't help but feel hurt and left out. And I would feel dumb saying anything about it to them, because hello, how needy and insecure does that sound? "Hey, why don't you like me anymore?" But I AM feeling insecure. Like, what did I do? Why DON'T they like me anymore? (Correction, they do like me, but I guess not enough to want to hang out with me on any regular basis.)

The adult in me is like, "Hey, just let it go. Do your own thing. You have your own posse now anyway, from derby, and you adore them, so just let these ones go." The angsty girl in me wants pout and cry and be sad. I hate to lose friends, especially when it's for no reason. We didn't fight. We still like each other and say hi. We've just... drifted. But I can't help but take it personally that they're willing to make time for our other friends (who also, by the way, don't make time to hang out with me anymore), but not for me. No one from that particular group of my friends wants to make time to hang out with me. The angsty girl is crying, "Woe is me!" and she means it.

Of course I'm not going to say anything to them about it (which is why I'm writing about it here, because I need to express it somehow), but it bothers me deeply. I guess I could try calling or inviting them over - it's not like I'm doing anything productive here that would improve the situation. I'm not saying I'm doing all I can. And it's not like I'm lacking friends to hang out with (I've been spending lots of time with my fellow ex-Mizfitz and we have been having a blast), but... I really miss these friends.

I don't have a resolution or a conclusion here. I just needed to get this off my chest, because I feel really crappy about it. I'm not like this about ALL of my friends... it's just that these friends were (are) particularly important to me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If Eternal Sunshine taught me anything...

Looking back at everything that's been going on these past couple of weeks, I'd have to say that I do not regret my time spent with the Mizfitz. I don't regret leaving either, but I don't regret being there in the first place. I did improve my skating, and I met some really wonderful people, who ended up becoming my really good friends. It's not every day that you meet girls who are willing to hit other girls for you :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is there any such thing as too many knitting bags?

Jordana Paige's new LJ Kaelm's bag!
I SO want this bag. It'll be the perfect way to carry around my grading AND my knitting AND my iPad and still look cute. If it could fit my laptop as well, I'd cry tears of joy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Onwards and upwards.

I have to try to word this delicately. I don't have, like, a large blog audience or anything, but the fact remains that it IS public, and that ANYONE could be reading it.

I have decided to part ways with my derby league. Without getting into any detail about it, because I want to respect league confidentiality, suffice it to say that I was not happy, and felt that my only course of action was to remove myself from what was turning into a volatile situation.

There are many I'm leaving behind whom I adore and have come to respect and trust, and those individuals have been very supportive of my reasons for leaving. I am disappointed that the non-derby part of derby has gotten in the way of my enjoyment and my participation, but apparently this is not an uncommon phenomenon. (I refer you to the derby documentary, Hell on Wheels.) In leaving, I have caused some individuals to be very upset with me, and I guess that's to be expected. No one's safe from conflict, especially in matters of roller derby.

My immediate plan is to pass the WFTDA test at the end of bootcamp and actually try out for SVRG - I feel like I owe it to myself to try out, since I've wanted to skate with them for so long. If that doesn't pan out, then I will hunt around for other new derby leagues - I know one of my fellow repeat bootcampers was trying to start a league on the peninsula, so I might see how that's going, or if there's anything else nearby. (Hey, how about Milpitas? We even have a rink already! =P)

I'm saddened and disappointed about how things have ended, but I think everything happens for a reason.

Monday, October 4, 2010