Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Things I've Never Done (with comments)

I refuse to call this a bucket list, despite the fact that yesterday was my 43rd (FORTYFUCKINGTHIRD!!) birthday. These are simply things that I hope to do...at some point...in no particular order...before I croak.

  • Perform a stand-up comedy set--THAT KILLS--in front of a live audience.
  • Snorkel in a coral reef.
  • Hold a baby sloth.
  • Go to a silent meditation retreat.
  • See an opera.
  • Attend an SNL performance.
  • Spend a week volunteering at a service dog training center.
  • Go sailing.
  • Learn how to dance with a partner.
  • Really connect with my step sons.
  • Go to Estonia and Maldives.
  • Join a choir.
  • Finish my memoir/Become a published author.
  • Wear a size 10 again.
  • Attend a Texas Rangers playoff game.
  • Dye my hair red. Again.
  • See all those movies I should've seen but haven't (e.g. Citizen Kane, It's A Wonderful Life, Gone With the Wind, Raging Bull, etc.)
  • Get a radical, professional makeover (e.g., "I'm a frumpy flabby 40-something working mom and I want to be a 50s pinup girl!").
  • Re-learn to read music.
  • Be able to handle stress in a healthy way.
  • See PJ Harvey live.
  • Become my daughter's hero.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Things I've Done Recently (with comments)

  • Ice skated. (Busted my ass on the ice.)
  • Tried coconut water. (Didn't enjoy it.)
  • Ate treats cooked in an Easybake Oven. (Not so good.)
  • Put a TON of old grad school stuff in the recycle bin. (Yes, I still had papers and stuff from grad school. Shut up.)
  • Tried not one, but two new restaurants within walking distance of our house. (Both were delicious!!)
  • Found a couch I want at Crate & Barrel that's like a jillion dollars. (Not really, but might as well be.)
  • Suffered from Cedar headaches. (Cedar allergies are zero fun, y'all.)
  • Roller skated. (Busted my ass on the rink.)
  • Went to see Kathy Griffin do stand-up. (I she's 12 years older than me but has 100x the energy.)
  • Tried to go a day without caffiene. (Failed.)
  • Helped The Geej open up her very own savings account at the bank. (She thinks that $77 has the buying power of about $3k.)
  • Signed up for a "Vocal Technique for Musical Theater" class. (Random, right?)
  • Discovered the best loose leaf tea in the galaxy. (It's this stuff. And it's spendy, but SO worth it.)
  • Admitted to myself that this whole psoriasis thing isn't going away. (Fucking sucks.)
  • And finally started talking seriously about putting our damn house on the market. (Yay! But, scary.)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Girl Problems

Last weekend, while considering her reflection in the full-length mirror in my bathroom, The Geej asked me innocently, "Am I skinny, Mommy?"

The Geej who has yet to reach 50 lbs.

The Geej who wears size 7 super skinny jeans that have their adjustable waistbands taken all the way in so that they'll stay on her body.

The Geej who is almost always cold because she has zero body fat.

The Geej who is only seven and a half years old.

My heart sank with her question. I answered her honestly, "Yes honey, you're skinny."

But then I followed up with, "But what if I'd said that you weren't?" She looked at me, bewildered. I told her, "Not being skinny isn't a bad thing, honey. You know that, right?" She nodded her head, a bit confused, and returned to brushing her hair while gazing at herself. After a few seconds she asked, "But I AM skinny, right?" I didn't answer.

So this is what our world is like. With all of the advances women have made in most societies, how they look and dress still plays a huge part in how the world perceives them, and how they perceive themselves, and it makes my feminist blood boil.

But it's more than just the appearance thing that gets me. It's the fact that, now as the mother of a young girl, the overt gender stratification of the world around us leaps out at me as never before.

Go to Target, to the toy aisles. There are, clearly, aisles of toys intended for girls and aisles of toys that are intended for boys. The way the simple act of play is marketed and merchandised almost ensures that boys will not explore "girl" toys, and vice versa. When I first spoke to The Geej about reading some Harry Potter together, she balked at the idea because "Harry Potter is a boy's book." Same with Star Wars movies. [NOTE: I read the first Harry Potter to her, and she LOVED it. We're now reading the second. We'll get to Star Wars soon.] She's already self-limiting what she is willing to experience because of some "THIS is okay; THAT is not" bullshit that has seeped into her young brain.

And she is beautiful. Stunningly so. People--including strangers--comment on her looks all the time and always have. I rarely tell her she's cute or beautiful, choosing instead to focus on how smart and kind and funny she is. As a goofy looking kid, I didn't have people commenting on my looks very often. You know, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all. But to The Geej, she's already started to believe that her looks are one of the most important things about her. And how, as her mother, do I instill in her that they're not without bruising her confidence?

Being the mother of a girl is hard.