Luck to be a Lady

Luck to be a Lady

I open my eyes and I’m greeted with a stabbing pain. My head is throbbing, and I feel like someone is sitting on my belly button. I think my pelvis was shattered. They said I lost a lot of blood, but they’re doing what they can to make me comfortable: heating pads, chocolate, soft pillows. I’m an emotional wreck. Everything seems to be triggering some form of anger, sadness, and confused complication in my body. They tell me that this too shall pass…

Unfortunately, being a woman is not a phase, and I’ve struggled with it my entire life; the monthly gift (as described in the example above), weight gain, societal pressure, family pressure, unworthy pressure that I’ve put on myself, all of it. Today is International Women’s Day, and I can’t think of a better day to talk about what it’s like being one.

When you’re a girl, you see images of Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, and Ariel, and you think to yourself, I want to be them, I want their life. I want to look like them, have their problems, and their happy endings. I remember being really little and standing on my bed, looking at the moon and dreaming of a life like Cinderella’s (the ending of course). I even dug around in my mother’s beauty drawer for a thick, black hair tie, just like the one Cinderella had, so that I could pull my hair back, just like she did in the movie.

As I grew, I wore dresses, painted my nails, applied makeup; I had a field day trying to look like a lady. But, still, when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was a girl with pale skin, nasty zits, glasses, and frizzy hair who was gaining weight by the minute. Boys NEVER looked at me…especially when I was going through my ugly phase…which was from 2nd grade to about my sophomore year of high school. I noticed all the girls in classes around me finding guys in middle school, and I was looked at as an ugly freak. I thought, how can I change?

As time went on, like any other woman, I saw images of Hollywood celebrities, their hair, makeup, weight, and tried to imitate them. I bought their clothes, went and got my hair done, researched how to tone my muscles while sitting at my desk, and the best brands of makeup for my skin. Still, I never looked like those women in Hollywood. Hell, there are celebrity women in their 50s that look better and are healthier than I will ever be!

And, not only did I feel pressure in regards to my looks, but sex. As a woman, you’re expected to be this sweet and innocent girl in public, but once you lock your bedroom door, men want you to turn into this wild animal! I remember the first few times I had sex, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, what to say, anything. I thought that I was supposed to sit back and let him take control of my body. It’s his for the taking; right?

Looks, the bedroom, and even the work force seem to control society’s perception of women. I remember when I entered my first job and realized that I wasn’t making as much as the man (who was doing the same work and at the same level of experience) sitting next to me because I had a vagina. Really? But, I suppose women are an awful investment. If they’re not engaged to be married when they start working for your company, they probably will be in no time. So, if they get married and their husband wants to move away because of a promotion, poof, they’re gone. Then, if he wants to have children, of course, someone might have to stay home. But, how can he stay home? He just got that promotion? He’s top dog! And, companies hate maternity leave. You might as well ask to go part-time, or just save the company some time and never come back. Why invest in a woman, they’ll just leave! Ugh…

But, when you think about it, I don’t know if I’d want to be a man either. Society tells them that they can’t cry or show emotion when they feel it. They can’t be the runt of any sports team, otherwise they’ll get picked on. They have to be tall, have six pack abs, and watch ESPN. They have to make others feel like they’ve earned the penis God’s given them. And, if they want a female partner, they better make sure they’re able to provide. They’re the one who’s going to have to work long hours, make connections, and do everything in their power to make sure that at the end of the day he still has gas left in the tank to have sex with his wife. And, what about that wife? Is she pretty? Does she do meaningful work? How many women did he have sex with before he married her? How much action does he receive on a regular basis now that he’s married? It’s all important. It all counts toward their “manhood points.”

I don’t know if I’d want that specific pressure that comes with being a man. I couldn’t tell you what’s worse. But, what I can tell you, is that pressure to be anything other than who you truly are is awful. If you’re a woman, but like being a “tom boy,” who gives a shit? If you’re a man, but enjoy The Notebook, I’m not going to judge you. Shouldn’t the message we spread to one another be, “Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be You,” Instead of, “be a man,” or “act like a lady”…?

Granny Smith – over and out

Losing My Religion

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I grew up with very Catholic grandparents and not so Catholic parents. When I was in elementary school, in an effort to make my grandparents happy, my parents sent me to Sunday school. There are only two memories I have of Sunday school. The first is that there was a lot of coloring, and you were given a piece of candy if you got a question about Jesus right. The second was the singing. At the end of every session, each grade would gather into the main hallway, and an old woman would sit in the middle with her guitar and make us sing songs about Jesus.

I didn’t understand anything that was happening, and I often asked my teachers for proof of the history of Jesus (artifacts, anything), so my parents promptly removed me from classes.

As I got older, my family and I started going to church less and less, and pretty soon, all I knew about being a Catholic was that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter and that his birthday is what we call, “Christmas.” As we were pulling away from God, I questioned everything spiritual more and more, year after year. Eventually, when I was nearing the end of high school and beginning college, I decided that I didn’t believe in the afterlife, heaven, hell, God, anything. I had no proof, therefore, it was not real.

I didn’t think about anything regarding religion until I watched an episode of “Long Island Medium” with Theresa Caputo. I had watched other mediums perform before like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, and James Van Praagh, but they were always positioned in front of a large audience, and everything about it seemed so staged. Theresa, on the other hand, was stopping people in grocery stores, doing private readings, going on cruises and reading groups, and walking in to someone’s home and reading a group of 10 people. She did it all. Every situation she was put in, she came out with a victory. How could you not believe her? But, I still wondered, was it a sham? Were these cameras set up? So, when she came out with her book, There’s More to Life Than This, I bought and read it. Then, my life changed forever.

I started believing again when I watched Theresa on TV, but her book really won me over. She talked about experiences that people have in their everyday lives that are signs from spirit, instances that you can’t write or verbally explain to anyone else. It was as though someone had gotten into my head and described everything I’ve never been able to tell anyone else in perfectly strung sentences. I finally felt normal.

In fact, so normal that I recently began working at a Christian college. Everyone that I work with is obviously religious, and they have been their whole lives…Unfortunately, this is where I fall short. I know hardly anything about being a Christian, and I can safely say that I’m not one. At least, not the type of Christian I’ve come in contact with. Yes, I like everyone that I work with. But, I also believe in gay marriage, the fact that homosexuality is not a sin, that swearing is a part of human nature, and being edgy is what makes you real. I love Lady Gaga! Of course, all of these things are generally not celebrated in Christian faith, and that is why I can’t be a true follower.

Theresa Caputo has stated multiple times that all too often individuals use religion to pull themselves apart from others or as an excuse to “hate” someone. When, really, we should be using religion to spread love, kindness, and compassion. They use God as a symbol of fear, instead of a symbol of understanding. Like the GOP, once Christians can wake up and modernize, then maybe I’ll jump on their bandwagon to Bethlehem. I’m not trying to say that all Christians are bad people, most of them are the most compassionate individuals I’ve ever met, but, it’s time to embrace the new world and remind ourselves that Jesus was friends with a prostitute. So, seriously, is being gay really that awful?

Granny Smith – over and out

I am woman! HEAR ME ROAR!

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As I snuggled in to watch the season premiere of one of my favorite shows last week, Suburgatory, I became surprisingly upset as one of the main characters made her first appearance of the season.

Aliie Grant, the young woman who plays Lisa Shay, looked noticeably thinner than previous seasons. God Damnit, I thought, another ally gone. And it’s not that Allie was ever fat, no, now she just looks like she’s decided not to eat between seasons.

Let me take a step back for a moment. As a woman who is constantly worried about her weight and is considered “plus size” in the fashion world (I’m a size 8, thank you very much), I tend to applaud and favor characters that don’t look anorexic in real life. And let’s face it, there aren’t many women in Hollywood who eat cheeseburgers nowadays…if you know what I mean.  Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy, Kirstie Alley, Gabourey Sidibe, I mean, the list is growing shorter by the day. Who can I look at to relate to? And if they were heavier when they started their career, they sure aren’t heavy when they end it. Rebel Wilson has even stated that she’s gotten offers from Weight Watchers to join their program.

So, the real question becomes, why is Hollywood so obsessed with beauty queens? The answer, well, there isn’t just ONE. Last year, I submitted a research paper on women in Hollywood. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood is run by men, and when casting for certain positions, they want young, highly attractive, and thin women to play all of the female roles. Even when it’s a movie or a television series about an older man falling in love with a woman, they want a much younger woman to play his love interest!

Why? It’s because men don’t want to picture themselves having sex with older women, and they don’t want to see it on screen! They want to live out their fantasy and always have this hot, young, object at their fingertips. And if you think I’m wrong, I’d love to send you my paper.

It’s the images in Hollywood that begin to spin the wheel of insecurity for women. And, it’s mostly women who end up with eating disorders. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders stated that only 5-15% of individuals with anorexia or bulimia are male!

At the end of the day, I’m just so disgusted with the way men and women criticize others (especially women) about their weight or any sort of weight gain. I’ll give you a prominent example. A few years ago, I decided to change my life for the better and start running, weight lifting, and positively changing my body. It got to the point where I was working out for about 90 minutes to two hours a day 5-6 days a week. I was eating A LOT, but working out for that long also prompted me to lose a lot of weight and gain a lot of muscle. About a year ago, I suffered deeply from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It basically became so bad that I didn’t even want to get up in the morning I was so tired. The only exercise I could really do without feeling miserable was yoga. Although yoga is great exercise, it doesn’t exactly provide me with the amount of agility I was used to. So, I ended up losing a lot of the muscle that I gained, and added some of the weight back on.

The point of this story is that during the time in which I was losing the weight and staying thin and muscular, I received SO many compliments from individuals. There wasn’t a day that went by where someone I knew commented on how much I changed, how good I looked, etc. Once some of the weight started to come back on, the compliments stopped. I no longer hear anyone telling me how good I look, or how gorgeous I am. Do I miss it? Sure. But it took more work than what it was worth to keep that body. I’m still trying to maintain good health, but I don’t obsess over the gym aspect of my life anymore.

But, what really needs to happen is a change in the way women view themselves overall. Ladies, please don’t be ashamed of the fact that you ate 5 cookies last night…or every night this week. And please don’t be ashamed of the fact that when you went out with your friends and family, you decided to order that cheeseburger. There is nothing in this world that pisses me off more than predefined gender roles. Women should be able to have that desire to be healthy, but to also eat like a man. And if you’re “man” is disgusted with the fact that you ate just as much as he did last night. Kick his ass to the curb and thank yourself for enjoying that meal!

Granny Smith – over and out