On body ‘trends’.

So I recently encountered this article:

Please Do Not Put Glitter In Your Vagina

and, after the inevitable laughs/cringing, I kept seeing the same comment.

‘Who would DO this??’

And it made me kind of angry. Not at the commentators, nor even at those people who would fall for these trendy sort of products.

No no, I’m mad at the companies – the R&D, the production and – worst of all – the marketing involved in the creation of these abominations. Vagina glitter, much like thigh-gap-enhancing support garments or jeans, botox (yes I went there), eye-widening contact lenses (this is a thing?), skin bleaching and a veritable landslide of diet and exercise trends, are geared toward one insidious goal: to sell things by telling you that some part of you is not good enough.

Now, let’s be real. I am not against changing your appearance in healthy ways if you are so inclined – I love tattoos (if it’s through a solid, clean, licensed shop), I color my hair (not to disguise anything, but because I’m happier as a redhead). I am a firm proponent of exercise and eating healthy. Even if I struggle in accomplishing both of these on a regular basis. The key to these is knowing your limits and working within them. Eating in moderation. (Ask me some day how much I LOATHE the idea of ‘cheat meals’ – hello shame cycle of deprivation and gorging. Welcome to my eating disorder!) If you’re not sure what’s healthy to eat and what isn’t, ask a licensed nutritionist. If you’re not sure what exercise is going to be best for you, start with your doctor and then maybe a physical therapist.

You know who you shouldn’t ask for body/food/exercise advice?

The internet. And also the television. These ads, websites, products are all designed to make money from gullibility, depression, body dysmorphic disorder and general body shaming. Lots and lots of money. Companies work extra hard to make sure you feel really, really badly about yourself before assuring you their product is the one thing that will ‘fix’ what’s wrong and make you super strong, beautiful, attractive to the mate(s) of your choice. It’ll only cost you 3 easy payments of $29.95 (plus an additional $100 a month if you don’t cancel within the arbitrary trial period) and a piece of your soul. And if it doesn’t work – obviously you didn’t try hard enough. You didn’t want it hard enough. You’re so useless, you ugly fatty with the gross vagina-scented-vagina and average human shaped body!

Someday, when you’re feeling strong and supported, google ‘common eating disorders’. There are of course the ones you expect to see: anorexia, bulimia. That is just a fraction of the number of disorders that exist, and the marketing world has made bank by preying on these disorders: the fears, anxieties, the certainties that we each believe that as we are we are not physically Good Enough for the world.

If you’ll pardon the vernacular… Fuck. That. Noise.

You are beautiful. I know it’s hard for you to see it from the inside of your own head, but you are. (Believe me I struggle with this one All. The. Time.) Find something you love about your appearance and play it up. Rock it. Then find something else and rock it too.

Eventually you’ll stop thinking of yourself as a collection of bad parts and start seeing yourself as an actualized, whole, incredible human being.

So don’t put glitter in your vagina. It’s not supposed to look like unicorn snot, and yes.. it and you really is/are beautiful already.

Transference.

Misleading title is misleading.

Going to be transferring all my old LiveJournal posts over here, bit by bit. Going to attempt to do it with correct dates, but since my LJ goes from 2003 – 2011, I expect it will take some time.

And patience.

And probably swearing.

 

Here we go!

“My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.” – Richard Adams

On grief, life lessons and a bold little kitty.

I haven’t taken the time to just sit and write in quite awhile. Life has gone a bit crazy. The world has gone a lot crazy. Some things that I had hoped wouldn’t come to pass have, both personally and at large.

I’ve had reason, the last couple of days, to realize and appreciate that I have the right people around me.

Not one person has said the words ‘It’s just a cat.’

WTFGus

Monday evening, I said goodbye to my 17 year old, sweet, lovely boy Gus (Copernicus), after he suddenly developed fluid in his belly. Tests proved that it was due either to cancer or heart failure. At his age and with his issues, treatments would only prolong his life enough for me to say goodbye, but he would suffer in the process. So I had to let him go from this life. I got to hold him in my lap, his favorite place in the world, and he fell asleep with his head in my hand.

He had been in my life since he was a six week old hellion cat and right off the bat I could tell he was special. And insane. And fearless.

BabyGus

He was goofy, loyal, curious, brave. He crossed the Atlantic twice, and lived in a foreign land. He charmed everyone he met, me most of all. He had every vet he ever met proclaim him so handsome and remarkably shiny for a cat his color/age/issues (right up until his last day). One vet kept asking if she could keep him. My landlord and friends in London adored him. Passersby on the street would stop below my window to admire him (and Leo).

He rarely purred…. except when he wanted to steal my food. Then the funniest little whirring sound would emanate from his lean, sleek body. Mostly he just curled up on my lap, insisting on it as soon as I was sitting down (and sometimes before I was completely settled). Usually he’d claw the crap out of my legs in the process, but I always slept better when he was there, curled up against my belly.

LapLove

He loved to climb. Many times I would hear an odd scrabbling noise and look over to see him clinging gleefully to something far higher than he logically ought to be – a table leg when he was wee and bitty, door frames as he got older. Once he clung to a door frame only long enough to drop on top of my other cat (Hal) walking beneath him.

DoorClimber

As a kitten he would burrow under my hair at night, at the back of my neck. As he got older he preferred to sleep against my belly or behind my knees. The last few weeks he occasionally slept on the pillow above my head.

PillowGus1

He had huge ears, big golden-orange eyes, a loud voice that only got louder as he went deaf later in his life. He had megaesophagus, which made him choke, and asthma, so he occasionally wheezed, sometimes coughed or gasped. But through all of it he maintained, he’d be calmer though one of his fits if I was with him.

His resilience was immense, it matched his personality, a thousand times greater than his physical being.

He was a mighty panther in his mind, this tiny house panther in my heart.

He was my child, furry and not of my body, but still mine, as I was his person. He was mine from infancy to his ripe old age, and it hurts so intensely that I will no longer feel that cat gravity bearing down on my legs, the fuzzy little face asleep on my knee, hear the imperious yowl demanding dinner at all hours, feel the gentle sniffing nose touching mine in affection.

17 years is a long time to build a bond of love and trust with anyone.

ForeheadBoop

I read something recently that people and animals come into our lives to teach us something, it’s up to us to grasp the lesson. It got me thinking what Gus taught me in our long yet still too brief time together.

This is what I’ve come up with:

He taught me to be brave, even when things are strange and a little (or a lot) scary.

He taught me to be curious and inquisitive, all the time.

He taught me it was ok to be friendly, to smile at strangers (but it’s ok to run away if things don’t seem right).

He taught me that sometimes things hurt, but that you can get through it.

He taught me trust, and that trust is a mighty thing.

He taught me that love is never wasted and can be found everywhere.

Life is precious. All life. Cherish the ones that cherish you in return, who treat you the way you should be treated, who trust you and demand the same, who love you with no expectations or conditions. People, animals, all things.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”  – Mahatma Ghandi.

Love as if it’s the only lasting impression you ever make on the world. – Me. And Gus.

SoMuchLove

I had something of a Facebook rant-splosion today.

It started with this photo:

LockerRoomNope.jpg

My first response:

“Reminder: it is not ‘lewd words’ that is the problem here (have you MET me??) it is the implication and insinuation of sexual assault (a situation that has been proving the ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ adage, between the numerous allegations from adult women AND THE CURRENT LAWSUIT REGARDING THE RAPE OF A 13 YEAR OLD GIRL).

Stop being fucking stupid and pretending this is ‘boys will be boys’ ‘locker room talk’ because if you’ve had conversations with ‘your boys’ that suggested you’d assault someone sexually, you might want to delete me from your friends list right fucking now.”

And then I was set off again by someone’s sniggering comment that Drumpf was just talking dirty and how can we not like that, 50-shades-of-nope sales yadda yadda:

“Another reminder: 50 Shades of Gray is (poorly written, if popular) erotic fan fiction. It does not present an accurate representation of the BDSM lifestyle.

Its sales numbers indicate people enjoy reading erotica (in many cases that they heard it was good and were probably disappointed).

What its popularity does NOT indicate is that women want to be sexually assaulted. Because it’s fiction.

Learn the goddamn differences before you share/giggle at stupid internet memes and share them like they’re fact.”

(*addendum: in 50 Shades the main characters enter a CONTRACT OF CONSENT, which suggests… you know… consent. Not assuming you can just grab a woman by her genitals or otherwise force  unwanted sexual attention on her as was suggested by this ‘locker room talk’).

And then this story crossed my feed (which I highly recommend reading):

Welcome to the Women’s Locker Room

So I was inclined to forward and add a little of my own story:

“All of this. I don’t generally talk about it, but I have in the past been assaulted, molested, groped on the street or in crowds, harassed and made to feel unsafe. And every single time it was a straight, white male. Every creepy, leering, unnecessary ‘I’m just being nice/paying you a compliment’ moment.. straight, white, male.

Last night I had a nightmare that I was sexually assaulted by a straight, white, male. I can still feel the pain and fear from it. This is why such things as trigger warnings exist, btw. Because those people who have such experiences will always be triggered by discussions, arguments and representations of their trauma.
 
You don’t want to be tarred by that brush. don’t sit back and tut-tut.. Speak. Up. Don’t let it just pass with a ‘meh, he doesn’t mean it’ or ‘meh, he’s just being dirty/a straights shooter/hilarious’. It’s not hilarious to me.”
It’s not funny. It’s not ‘dude talk’. It’s not ‘boys will be boys’. It’s assault. It’s either alluding to it, joking about it or condoning it.
And it is NOT OKAY.

Planning ahead.

So I spent my lunch hour yesterday and part of today working out a spreadsheet of cost of living vs. salary for my 3 target cities, going on averages and basic ideas of what things cost. Not counting tuition and fees for 2 years of study, that puts me waaa-haaa-haaay over what I could earn (going by VISA minimums).

It’s set up across the (now 5) potential Masters degrees I’m interested in so that I have an idea of what extra sort of funds I’d have to save, potential scholarships to go for and payment plans to potentially deal with.

Glasgow wins (barely). We shall see.

schoolplanning

The state of my country.

So I’ve mentioned I’m an American, and here in America we’re in the middle (nearing the end, actually) of an election year in which one candidate is shady, slightly ineffective in some policies but generally the most experienced and worthy politician currently in the race (comparatively speaking).

And the other is a cheeto-dusted, straw-headed misogynistic trash bag. Recent comments have come to light about him essentially admitting to sexually assaulting women, and saying he can get away with it because of his fame.

I wrote a thing on my facebook:

“A comment I just made on someone else’s FB, in response to a commenter comparing Trump’s victims to ‘groupies’ and bringing up Bill Clinton’s transgressions:

Groping (or attempting to grope) a woman without her consent is assault. Doing it repeatedly is still assault. Joking about women ‘letting him’ doesn’t make it not assault, it means the assaulter has a biased idea of the situation, and to compare them to ‘groupies’ is disrespectful and dismissive to them and whatever they’ve suffered.

Aside from Juanita Broaddrick (a situation which still has no clear resolution), Bill Clinton’s infidelities are not relevant here because HE is not running for President. Using his infidelities to cast aspersions on Hilary is at best a deflection from the atrocities of which Trump has repeatedly been accused (and has paid quite a bit to ‘make go away’ I’m sure) over the course of many years. At worst it make her responsible for his actions 20 or more years ago, deflecting guilt and blame.

In addition to this, accusations against Bill Clinton in no way reduce or remove the stain of misogyny or filth with which Trump has further tarnished himself or our country. His fame and popularity do not make any of this okay.”

Now to clarify: violence against anyone is not okay. Men on men, men on women, women on men, women on women. There is no configuration of genders,sexualities or power structure that makes violence, sexual or otherwise, okay to do.

I feel very strongly about this and about this election, more than anything I’ve ever felt before. The idea that someone like that could possibly be in charge of overseeing policy that dictates my actions, controls what I can or can’t do with my body and generally looks down on me as a lesser being because I have breasts and ovaries is fucking terrifying.

I’ve been seeing so many men online taking Drumpfs actions as a hall pass to treat women they way they want, with anger, violence, insults, dismissal. And the man hasn’t even been elected!

Oh but it gets worse. A couple of people I’ve known for years decided to either use this situation to trash Clinton (as if she’s got ANYthing to do with this situation) or actually attempt to defend him. Another status I posted was:

“I am not surprised at the cheeto-dusted trashbag’s appalling comments on women. I’m just sad and afraid that it will not only not change his supporter’s minds, it’ll give the violent ones validation for assaulting women.”

One of my people decided to post this in response:

somuchnope

I think my head may have fucking exploded.

This is a fallacy of comparison that assumes women want to be assaulted because they buy erotic fiction. One is a (badly written, but popular) Twilight fan fiction, with fictitious people in fictitious situations.

The other is a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE talking about groping women without their consent, having several women corroborate his actions and assaults on them. This is not ‘naughty words’ this is an admission of guilt in perpetration of sexual assault.

NO. FUCKING. COMPARISON.

Y’all have a month. Vote. Vote vote vote. I implore you.You don’t have to vote Clinton if you’re so vehemently against her, but by all that you hold dear on this good earth… please do not vote that orange sack of shit into our country’s highest political office.

Autumn Rain

It’s finally autumn here, I’ve seen leaves falling today. This past summer has been impossible; hot, sticky and disgusting with little reprieve. We’ve had a drought locally, so the rain we’ve gotten in the last few days has been delightful.

Of course, when it rains (especially when the air is cool and I have nothing else to do), the urge to burrow under my blankets is strong. It’s this time that I feel the loneliest. I have no one to cuddle up to, listen to the rain and just be. I haven’t for a long time. I think the last time I was dating someone regularly in autumn was… 13 years ago. The last time I dated someone regularly at all was over 9 years ago.

The melancholy is strong with this one.