Archive | November 2014

How I Feel Running v. How I Look In Pictures Where I’m Running

Here’s the thing: When I’m running, I feel so alive, so strong.  I feel the sweat trickling down my back and the endorphins slamming into my cells. I feel like I could do anything.  Like solve-the-Middle-East’s-problems anything.  Now that I’m semi-fast runner (8.30 min/mile), I love dodging and weaving and making my way forward.  During a recent 15K race, I actually thought to myself, if this is how fame feels to Kim Kardashian, then I get it.  Grease my ass and snap a picture; I will judge nevermore.

What the ?

What the ?

If I run more than 30 minutes, I start to envision my body lean and fat-free. Like a Kenyan.  I picture myself long, graceful, lithe.  I get a tremendous amount of pleasure during these extended visualizations of my gazelle-like legs propelling me ever onward.

Then, I see a picture of myself running.

Um, what?

Is that how I really look?  It’s not AT. ALL. how I picture myself. Body dysmorphia aside, I look sort of ungraceful.  And way thicker than I feel when I’m actually doing it.  I know I’m not supposed to say that as a feminist, a mother of a daughter, a survivor of bulimia/anorexia, an over-educated woman in this culture moment, an Oprah fan (including, inter alia, Super Soul Sunday).  But, it seems I can’t help it.

Just like the ice bucket challenge, I loved the moment, but the picture drags me into a nasty vortex of body shame/hating.  Makes a girl start to think she should stop looking.

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Also, it’s not easy to run with your arms making the touchdown sign.  And what’s that guy on my right (your left) staring at? Has he never run a race next to a mother who just spotted her children on the sidelines?

 

 

 

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Googling Allegations About Bill Cosby’s Sexual Aggression: A Good Use of Free Time?

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What do you do with unexpected pockets of free time?  I’m not talking hours and hours, but say a solid sixty-minute chunk.  I like to think of myself as a person who uses such free time wisely.  No taking it for granted over here.  I’ma be all “let’s go for a run!” or “how about a yoga class!”  Sometimes I am that person.

But not this week.

This week, I’ve been BIZ-EE.  So dang busy.  My free time evaporated as I sat the computer.  First, I had to Google the “facts” about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby.  (See what that frolic produced here.)  That, naturally, let me to articles about R. Kelly, Woody Allen, and then, at last, to Lena Dunham.

Nothing like a some research on a not-light topic like sexual inappropriateness (see also assault, abuse, perpetration) to keep one’s store of lively conversation topics fresh and ready to roll out.  I’ll never forget the look on my father-in-law’s face when I told him some tidbits I learned from a Vanity Fair article about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.

Did Jeff’s dad really need to hear about Dylan Farrow’s pain– he was trying to eat a plate of eggs in peace?  Did Jeff want to fall asleep listening to the list of grievances coming out against Bill Cosby?

I don’t know what to say about the controversy surrounding Lena Dunham’s relationship with her younger sister Grace.  If you missed this (because you were spending your free time starting a hydroponic garden or reviewing the highlights of the Ming Dynasty), the gist is that in her recent memoir, Duham writes about how she, at age 7, looked in her then-one-year-old sister’s vagina (and found pebbles there).  In another passage, she writes about how much she wanted her sister to cuddle with her and kiss her on the lips and the lengths to which she went to to try to induce Grace to be affectionate with her.

All this “leisure” reading has been totally depressing.  I read Dunham’s book and loved it.  But after reading all the criticism of her for being too white, too privileged and now, too sexually aggressive with her sister, I feel kind of dirty.  When I read about her relationship with Grace, I thought that it was brave of her to write about the weird sexual stuff that happens between siblings.  I didn’t think of it as sexual abuse, but now I’m wondering why I didn’t?  Sometimes my kids get a little  handsy and curious, and I nip that in the bud with non-shaming speeches about private parts and bodily boundaries.  When does it cross the line? More importantly, how will I know?

I was wallowing in the all-my-idols-are-sexual-deviants because CLIFF HUXTABLE, until someone made a comment that turned this all around for me.  “At least this is getting people talking about their experiences.”

Hells yeah!  That’s right.  All this discourse is bringing more awareness to the murky lines between sexual exploration and sexual exploitation.  I don’t have any more answers than I did before I started my perusal through sex scandals, but I have more willingness to talk to my kids.  I have the chance to look back at my own experiences and decide what they meant to me and how I will parent as a result of them.

Because as bad as it feels to watch people I admire tumble from grace or have their images tarnished, denial is much, much worse.  Luckily with the holidays approaching and open enrollment season for my company’s benefits upon me, I’ll be too busy cropping pictures for the holiday album and picking an insurance plan to delve too much deeper into these dark recesses of our culture.  But that doesn’t mean there not there; they are whether I look or not.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on November 6, 2014. 10 Comments

Two Literary Agents Have My Manuscript

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The morning I peed on a stick and got a positive result, I’d told at least 20 people by lunch time.  Defying decades of cultural compulsion to keep that shit a secret until you hear a heartbeat or get to 12 weeks, I blabbed to everyone.  Not because I was so sure my little embryo would go the distance, but because I wanted other people’s loving support and witness.

People screamed in joy with me.  One friend bought me a drumstick, nostalgic grammar school confection that I devoured in three bites because PREGNANT.

I’m not good with keeping things under wraps.  I suck at secrets, so PLEASE don’t tell me any.

For six days I’ve mumbled quickly or sent soundless emails to friends far away saying that two literary agents asked for my manuscript after I pitched it to them.

And I can hardly imagine a more exciting sentence I’ve ever written about my writing.

I pitched; they asked for a full; I sent it.

I’m in the perfect moment right now.  You get that right?  This is that moment before the blind date rings your bell and you can project onto him that he’s your perfect soul mate who will light your eternal flame and let you decorate ya’ll’s living room for the rest of your days.

It is the moment before you open the perfectly wrapped present that contains every fanciful dream you have about what’s inside. (Diamonds! The key to a new convertible! A platinum Costco card!)

This is the day you land the job interview for the job you’re sure you want.  It’s the morning of the race you hope to PR

It’s peeing on  a stick knowing full well you could get your period in two days.  Or miscarry in two weeks.  It’s saying yes to your co-worker with the weird teeth when she offers to set you up with her brother, the architect, who, you admit, looks pretty foxy in the picture on her Facebook page (his teeth = normal).

I also try not to think about it.  I know it will take them a while to get back to me because literary agents.  That’s fine by me.  Take your time, please.  I’m trying to learn my new job, and I’m getting tons of bang for my buck with my therapist these days: “Doctor, I keep dreaming about a door being slammed in my face.  What do you think that’s about?”

Yale-educated therapist: “Fear of rejection.”

Yes, my dreams are laced with vivid rejections scenarios, but when I’m awake?  I know this is the sweetest moment ever.

It can’t be wrong to root for your fetus.

This entry was posted on November 1, 2014. 24 Comments