Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I gave up online dating because it's really only good for trolling trolls, and I'd run out of trolling steam, so it's been a year since I met anyone from one of those sites and something like six months since I shut down my profiles. Still, someone messaged me on Meetup, and I tried to be open-minded because he could at least spell and managed not to offend me in the first message, so we texted for a little over a week.

I mentioned Amtgard as one of my hobbies, combat specifically, and he said he'd really like to see a picture of me in my gear. I asked if he meant combat, performance, or court garb since I participate in so many aspects. The conversation wandered in another direction, and a few days later he again said that he'd really like a picture of me in my gear. I didn't answer immediately, because I was doing stuff, and he said, "Is that taboo to," which is clearly not a concern for my apparent hesitation but a mocking of it. "You seem awfully eager about it," I responded noncommittally.

And then he got all bipolar-manic-asshole on me and sent this in rapid succession:

"Lol...why is that - I have only seen one photo of you*...if its something you are proud of - most people are open to share...if you asked me for a photo of me skiing - fishing or anything - I would send it.** I am not eager for anything - I am merely showing my genuine interest - my deepest apologies if you have met other people with alternative interests 
"I take it you may not be mature enough to meet someone who would like to get to know you better - please don't ever excuse me of any game or bullshit 
"Please Don't message me"
*There are four on my profile where he messaged me plus one I sent since I changed my hair.
**Um, but I didn't and wouldn't.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a witty answer and haven't responded. But it makes total sense, right, if you're a 40-something man messaging a 26-year-old woman to, instead of respecting her boundaries or asking about her concerns, mock them, call her immature, and sever contact, right?

Or is that a textbook example of projecting?
The more I analyze the pieces of this terrible power play, the creepier it is.
There had been several not-quite-yellow flags before that I chalked up to missing the tone in text communication, but it turns out I was right.

Fact of the matter is that I don't even own any photos of me in combat gear, nor does anyone else, because I am one of very few photographers in the group and haven't brought my camera out since I began fighting a few months ago. But I guess I failed to understand that a strange man is entitled to any photos of me that he wants and that I am supposed to send them immediately and eagerly so he can further validate my appearance and assert external control over my self-esteem. My bad.

Dontcha just love it when douchecanoes reveal their true nature with little to no prompting? I'll happily return now to my antisocial hidey-hole and wonderfully time-consuming and nearly obsessive fitness pursuits, never to surface again as an available woman online except to scratch the itch to troll.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Skin positivity

I gotta share this skin positive blog I just found through Skepchick. With all the body positive messages going around, somehow skin seems to get forgotten.

I’ve had terrible acne all my life until recently getting on some prescription meds, and my body is covered in scars—head to toe—from picking at my skin. I hate it when other people take pictures of me and don’t think to retouch them, because you can believe I spend the time pouring over every one of my shots and skillfully brushing out the red marks.

Some days I’m OK with it because I don’t really see it; others, I worry what people will think, or worse: say. A few weeks ago, I was wearing a bikini top and someone asked if I did suspensions. I asked what she meant: hanging by hooks. Because of the scars on my back. Which don’t even remotely look like that, so wtf?

I put a bandage on my jawline to cover a pimple I'd been picking and was asked if I'd cut myself shaving. I . . . what? My coworkers at least had the decency to respond to the question with looks of horror when it happened.

I had keratosis pilaris flare so badly this winter that I was afraid to take my clothes off. It’s SO much better this summer, but my arms are still bumpy, frequently scabby and bleeding as a result, because I scratch absent-mindedly.

My limbs are constantly covered in bruises—black, blue, purple, green, yellow, and brown—from my weekend activities including trail running, obstacle races, and boffer combat, not to mention my general clumsiness.

My feet are swollen, blistered, and flaky from running, no matter how religiously I apply deep moisturizers. My toe nails are cracked, jagged, and yellow, which ads tell me I should hide but I can only see it as an improvement over black. I love my feet for what they do for me: the miles they put behind me and the abuse they take on the pavement.

And I have stretch marks, but not the kind a woman is permitted to be proud of that appeared with pregnancy and were “earned” through bodily sacrifice. Mine raced across my swelling thighs, hips, and breasts during puberty—universally desirable parts marred by supposedly shame-inducing marks. I missed the memo, though, that I was supposed to hate them and embrace them along with the curves they adorn.

I have a weird red patch, possibly rosacea, on the hollow of my left cheek that's difficult to cover and ruins my blush makeup patterns. I've been asked before why I was only blushing on one side and stared at him like he was an idiot.

Why do people think it's OK to ask about your skin? I'm usually OK in my skin, but other people are the worst.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reasons I shouldn't have children

This post by blogger Kate Harding is old, but I just read it, and it really struck me with how much I can relate to it.
"I envision myself being filled with barely controllable rage when a two-year-old behaves like a two-year-old. I envision myself sliding down a wall and weeping on the floor for an hour because I cannot get her to keep her socks on. I envision these things because, as someone who suffers from depression, I have been driven to the brink by much, much less than a diapering battle."
"Heather Armstrong of Dooce . . . describes depression as “the complete inability to cope with stress.” . . . That line rang a whole lot of bells for me. The number one reason I’m afraid to have kids is that I know I can be felled emotionally by the tiniest fucking thing — the kind of tiny fucking thing that, as far as I can tell, parenting is one long series of. And with a kid, the stakes are a hell of a lot higher than when you were only responsible for your own emotional well-being."
As for me, I've had this image in my head for years of me lying on the floor in a fetal position beside a crib and sobbing silently and praying for oblivion as a migraine tries to tear me apart and a baby screams inconsolable.

Kate goes on to write:
"I just read Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness, a fascinating (and very witty) book about why our predictions of future happiness are frequently so far off the mark. The book is stuffed with amusing and surprising tidbits about the human brain, including this one: the average person is way too optimistic, relative to the facts at hand. Meanwhile, the average depressed person has a pretty realistic view of how well things are likely to turn out, not an overly pessimistic one." 
"Fucking great."
There are other reasons, too, but this is the one I've always been afraid to confess, certain to receive dismissive and minimizing reassurances that my hypothetical husband would surely help with raising a baby. And reading this post validated and reassured me that I am not actually crazy and not wrong in this prediction.

I wanted to like Pacific Rim more

As much as I wanted to adore Pacific Rim, one thing has really been niggling in my mind all week. Not the complete disregard for physics, why many water-based combat systems weren't very water proof, why they continuously used the least effective weapons and saved the best ones as last resorts, or the many awkward close-frame facial expression of the male lead when broods moodily at the camera. [Spoilers below]

But that the film came so close to having a bad-ass female lead, who was as physically strong and mentally capable as her co-star with an equally fraught motivational back story (in which said Damsel must be rescued) and then--SURPRISE--she's a useful plot device through her relationship as a main character's daughter, her weak lady-brain's putting everyone in peril (AFTER the male lead's weakness triggered her violent emotional response to a violent emotional memory), and garnering the lead's feeble romantic interest, his valiant attempts to rescue her fate from her protective father so she could fulfill her dreams, and his fighting for her honor and later rescue her from a life-threatening situation as the clock ran out so he could save the day.

So close, and yet. . . . Not even close, right?

Gah, I just can't take the feminist goggles off, but trope after trope of damsel-rescuing is lazy fucking writing, yo. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Texas' new abortion restrictions scare the bejeezus outta me.

Trigger warning for mental illness, attacks on personal autonomy, abortion discussion, and suicidal ideation.
I've read many eloquent articles and blog posts that attempt to explain or analogize for men what being a woman is like, what daily fearing for one's personal safety and the very real threat of rape is like. I hope someday to stumble across an author who can do the same justice for what it feels like to watch our legislators' assaults on our bodily autonomy and to feel the very real fear and anxiety of being denied an abortion should one need it. Does anyone else think about this?
For me, personally, since I'm on the b.c. shot, I shouldn't ever have to think about it. But the fact is that the shot does fail for some women, not through user error, and my line is like cuh-razy fertile. And because the shot completely stops my menstrual cycle (as long as its working), I have no monthly reassurance of a vacant uterus. And because I hear that a woman typically begins showing in about the 5th month, it's entirely conceivable (ha) that I could get knocked up and not know about it until it was far too late to do anything about it under the new laws in Texas. And because of the depression/anxiety that runs in my family and my so far being the only one not yet diagnosed and medicated for it (because it is presently manageable), I absolutely believe I would try to end my life if I found myself in that situation. (To say nothing of the physical toll I know pregnancy takes on my kin.) I can't even lie to myself and hope I would have the strength or presence of mind not to try it. Failing that, I would do horrible things to to try to induce a miscarriage. And then I would really and truly be strapped to a bed in a mental institution and forced to give birth. Straight out of a horror flick. And because of the other medication I'm on for my acne, it would be a hideous diseased creature struggling even to live. And because my family is Catholic and are the kind of people they are, I would be shamed into keeping it and would forever resent it and everyone who loves me for the remainder of my miserable life.

I don't dwell on this stuff, promise. But the crazy hamsters in my head occasionally go in that direction and this is what happens and I needed to get it out. And I've previously spoken to my sister who's agreed that our family is the sort to shame us into keeping an unwanted pregnancy. This fear is all so very real for me and not as irrational/inconceivable as it might seem at first blush.

And now I'm thinking/realizing that possibly this is why I've been struggling to sleep, having nightmares the last several nights, and waking at 3 am for 1-2 hours.

Technically, I'm OK and I know I'm gonna be OK. I'm just scared, y'all.