Friday, July 15, 2016

When The Insides and the Outsides Don't Match

I've said some really horrible shit in my life. Sometimes on accident (the incident where I was yelling "Gays Bad! Hitler Good!" outside the IU student union during a conversation to my friends comes to mind. The context makes it all right, but it's not nearly as interesting to write about.), and sometimes on purpose, most of which I am not proud of no matter how right it seemed in the moment. But you can't take it back.

That's also true for social media. And a lesson that Dani Mathers is learning a little late in life. 

She's 25. Absolutely beautiful. And did something stupid. . . .and illegal. 

For some backstory, Dani Mathers was the 2015 Playmate of the Year for Playboy. She lives in LA and does LA things. One of those things includes working out at LA Fitness, which unlike Palm Beach Tan is actually in the geography where it's named. She worked out, took a picture of another gym patron getting into the shower naked, posted it to Snapchat and wrote "If  can't unsee this, then you can't either" on the photo. 

There's a lot that's wrong with this scenario. Mathers claims that she thought the Snap was private because she's new to Snapchat, She also said in a video statement on social media: "I have chosen to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know that body shaming is wrong and that's not what I'm about, that's not the type of person that I am."

I'm gonna start first with the big issue of this: While Mathers is certainly welcome to pose for all the naked pics that she wants to and get paid handsomely or moderately or not at all to do so, she has chosen to do that. The woman in the photo has not. You can't take photos of someone naked without their consent, especially on private property. It's not legal, and frankly I think Mathers should face the consequences of that. It she were a man taking photos of a woman in a steam room or something similar, the outrage would and should be the same. And so should the consequences. 

I'm not going to delve into the backlash about a pretty person making fun of what she deems to be a not pretty person because that's too easy. It's too easy to tap into the fervor of that and frankly everyone else is doing a good enough job at their righteous indignation on that front.

However, here's the lesson: Social media (and inherently the Internet) allows people to be who they are. It provides a window to be real or to perfectly stage your life for others. You can share for the world your struggle with anxiety and depression or your smoothie recipe that includes moondust. What you put out there is the YOU that others see. It's not the YOU that you might actually be. ("Perception is reality"--which is both true and bullshit at the same time because my perception is my reality but not necessarily reality as a whole, but that's a debate for another day.) 

It's frankly your choice. Even when you "accidentally post" something, you are revealing who you are. To claim that you're not the type of person to body shame as an explanation for your body shaming social media post is a lie. As hard as it is to admit sometimes when you think people have you all wrong, it's also a wake up call. It has been for me at times. And it's confusing and it sucks, but it's also necessary. 

Sometimes the insides and the outsides don't match. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Creative Frustration

You know what happens when you know there are things you need to do everyday and you don't do them? Yeah, things become hairy.

I'm not talking about things that need to be done to live (breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.) or to feel better about things (cleaning, cooking, taking care of pets). I mean things that you need to do to feed the soul. Or my soul in particular.

After years of trial and error, I've nailed down my needs to a few simple things that I need to do daily to feel productive and be happy:

  • Give or get a hug (husbands and pets are wonderful for this not turning into something very creepy)
  • Do something physically active (Early morning workouts help my soul and sanity)
  • Eat well (not just ENOUGH food, but good food. Food that I don't feel the shame sweats about eating).
  • Write. 
It's the last one that has once again been alluding me. And for the first time in my adult life, I actually felt the need to create. I yearned to put pen to paper and make something bigger than myself. I felt a need to be a writer. 

I always WANT to write. Don't get me wrong. And I always find reasons why I don't really have time to do it. I get up early already to work out. I don't have a lot of time at home with the husband anyway. I have work stuff to go to. I have to friend stuff to go do. 

Here's the truth I know: If I don't write, I get unhappy. If I get unhappy, everything else suffers anyway. 

So, it's time to get my shit together YET AGAIN (this is a cycle that I realized never stops) and to put thought to keyboard. I sifted through my notebooks of writing and realized that I've actually got the plot and chapters of three novels already drawn out. 

Now to write them. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Things I've inherited. . . (An Update)

  • some jewelry
  • a weird sweater that I can't bear to let go
  • a good head of hair of varying colors
  • a healthy curiosity
  • a duck-like walk where my toes point out
  • a good deal of patience. . .
  • that can evaporate quickly into a mean temper
  • fairly decent amount of intelligence
  • probably a little too much empathy
and many more things. . . but one thing that I did NOT inherit are cancer genes. 

Found the news out today that I do not have any mutations on genes that affect breast, ovarian, gastric, colorectal, pancreatic, melanoma, and endometrial cancers.  HOORAY!

What does this mean?

As mentioned yesterday, 10 percent of cancers are genetic so it appears I'm in the clear for that. But I'm not out of the woods. I'm still a high risk for breast cancer but I just have to check my breasts a little more than the average bear. 

That being said. . . HOLY COW!!

I never realized how many people had had similar experiences or cancer or other health problems that are scary as fuck. And at really young ages. We're too young for this, people! 

I'm also humbled by the outpouring of support. I honestly just wanted to  get this off my chest so to speak because I had been nervously carrying it around. I hope that by sharing my mom's symptoms that women might realize that breast cancer isn't just a lump. It can be a weird dimpling or a red rash. 

But lastly, I cannot believe the understanding and kind words and support from everyone. I am a fucking lucky person to have such great people in my life and don't think I don't know it. THANK YOU!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I Found A Lump.

These words are always scary. There are very few instances where finding a lump on your body is a good thing, unless that lump is the size of a watermelon and you're pregnant.

But finding a lump in my boob was very scary.

A few weeks ago, I was getting out of the shower and noticed an area that was warm to the touch and red about the size of a silver dollar. It was when I went to feel it that I noticed the lump. In one moment, I felt every fear I've ever had and every sense of mortality hit me in the face and then the stomach.

And then I vomited.

Literally, had to shove Genghis out of the way on the counter to hit the sink in time. I had such a visceral reaction not only because my mom died of breast cancer, but because of how eerily similar this felt. She had noticed a red spot on her boob. It itched a lot. The doctors thought it was a spider bite. Then she got a lump the size of a softball. It happened in just a week or so.

My mom had inflammatory breast cancer, which is really rare. The lump wasn't actually the cancer but her body's reaction to the cancer. Most people with inflammatory breast cancer don't get a lump. They get a red, warm spot on their breast that itches. Which was what I suddenly had.

I had to be at a client's that morning so I rushed out the door. I called OB-GYN offices because I was sick of my hobbit Larry David gyno and wanted someone new. Someone who would understand why I had vomited that morning and fit me. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. New patients don't get priority.

But I remembered a clinic specializing in breast health that my rheumatologist had told me about so I called them and was able to get an appointment for the next day. I didn't sleep great. I told Chef and my friends Meredith and Amanda, and my boss only because I had to reschedule a meeting with him to make the appointment work.

I went in and was happy to find a whole room full of women in the clinic who took my lump, my worry and my breasts as seriously as I did. They heard my family history and had me classified as high risk so that I could get additional screenings covered by insurance. They did a biopsy that very moment and a sonagram of my breast to look even further. They discussed my case as a group treating me and worked to get genetic testing taken care of. They made me feel like they would be there to hold my hair back if I vomited again.

The biopsy came back less than 48 hours later as benign.

But tomorrow is a different day. Tomorrow I go back because the results of my genetic testing are in. I get counseling as to whether I am a carrier of cancer genes. (Did you know that only 10 percent of all cancers are genetic? Another 30 percent are familial but not genetic. Weird, right? Fun fact to amaze people at parties. You're welcome). I've literally been thinking things like "What percentage of probability is the tipping point for me to pull a full Angelina on my boobs?".

It's stressful. It's been something I haven't wanted to think or talk about, but here it is. I wonder tomorrow if I'll be in the "Knowledge is power" or the "ignorance is bliss" camp. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Things that Hold Up Well

I was told that I have held up well. I took offense to that on many levels. The base one being that I rarely hear this said about guys and found the whole observance fairly sexist. The second selfish one was that I was offended that I was an age where that seemed like an appropriate way to compliment me.

Technically, I guess I'm over the hill by show biz standards, but despite my proximity, I don't live by "showbiz standards." It's not the business I'm in. In my business, there's a mix of young and old and I am firmly planted in the middle. It's also a good reason why they probably call it "middle management." Because we're so very middle in so many ways.

All that aside, I thought about holding up well and while I am proud that I'm not looking like a meth addict or like the next cheeseburger might be the one that does me in, I didn't really love being told that I was "holding up well." Next time, just say "You look good." Don't add any qualifiers ("for your age," "despite the bags under your eyes," "for your weight.") God knows I add my own qualifiers in my head and am trying to get away from them.

When I think of holding up well, I think of the things below. What would you add?


(admittedly some are better than others)

Check it out again on Netflix
and see what I mean. 

This bitch is holding up very well,
but I hear she's had some work done.
Shit, did I just become anti-feminist
towards a painting?

The collective works of
The Beatles. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I Put Chub Rub on My Face (And Maybe So Should You)

If you read the title and wondered what "Chub Rub" was. . . CONGRATULATIONS! You're probably in possession of either:1) a penis, and/or 2) thighs that don't rub together. In which case you might not know what "Chub Rub" is.

It's chafing cream. In my case, it's Monistat Chafing Gel. You would normally put it on your thighs before particularly long, hot or vigorous day wearing a dress or skirt. It prevents your thighs from catching on fire due to friction. If you've ever had a campfire break out between your legs while trekking through a city, you should become familiar with chafing gel. It's awesome.

However, it came up as an alternative to the wonderful but expensive Smashbox Photo Finish. At first I thought it was a joke. But then it made sense. So I tried it. And I LIKED IT. I haven't had a breakout since I started using chub rub on my face. It prevents my makeup from agitating my otherwise troublesome skin. And it's $6 vs. the $36 per tube for Photo Finish.

There you go. My internet-born secret from six years ago is shared with you. And for those of you who read this based on the title and were expecting chub rub to be something completely different, well, that's probably why we're friends.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Stand With Planned Parenthood Because They Stood by Me

I've talked about my support of Planned Parenthood before because they've helped me when I needed them. I don't think I've ever shared the story that was the genesis for my appreciation for them, but I thought I'd do so now. Whatever your political inclinations, I am speaking from my own experience and need and I know that I was and am one of millions of women who have needed medical services and Planned Parenthood was there.

Here's the story: It was about 6 months after I moved to Nashville and a year after my mother passed away. I needed to a gynecological screening and all that entailed and didn't have a local recommendation or  a doctor that could fit me into the schedule in a timely manner. I passed the Planned Parenthood office nearly every day on my way to work (nonprofits tend to be grouped together in every city--it's a combination of cheap real estate and being near those you serve), so I made an appointment.

The doctor and nurse practitioner who saw me were great. They were sensitive. They took their time. They listened to me and even consoled me a little when giving my family history I cried a little recounting mom's recent death from breast cancer. I had my exam. They said they'd follow up and I left all taken care and feeling thankful for the service.

Every woman I know has had an irregular Pap smear at one time or another. It happens and most of the time it's not a big deal. However, to have an irregular Pap smear that could be a sign of cancer when you just lost your mom to cancer and you're in a big(ger) city alone is scary as shit. The nurse there must have remembered me and realized this because she called me back into the office to talk through it, took another Pap, didn't let me get hysterical and rushed the results. All because, she said "I knew you probably didn't have anything worry about and I didn't think your mom would want you to worry either."

I don't remember her name. I don't remember exactly what she looked like. I remember she smelled like "Beautiful" from Estee Lauder (which my mom used to wear) and that she was kind to me.

I have had other experiences at Planned Parenthood since that have been just as effective (but not as emotional, thankfully). And I find it utterly ridiculous that when nearly 75 percent of women do not have a primary care physician but do make it a point to see a gynecologist, that we would take away one of the most effective services for them. Or that we'd let men talk down to other women who are qualified to be speaking about women's healthcare simply because those men were elected.

I may not always agree with everything Planned Parenthood does (there has yet to be an organization that I've completely agreed with), but I support them.And I just wanted to share why.


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