Sunday, May 12, 2013

Idea for Revitalizing The Harbor

I was talking with my mother in law today about an idea I had for fixing up my hometown area.  For those of you who don't know, the place I'm from suffers from extreme economic depression.  It used to be a logging community, and when the logging industry was drastically diminished due to environmental concerns, huge numbers of people lost their jobs.  Instead of solving the problem by developing new industries, people just decided to do meth and feel sorry for themselves.  Every so often someone decides to start a business - like a theater or a coffee shop or something - but not much sticks.  

I'm no economist, but I do know that it's going to take more than a couple of small businesses to get the place back on track.  

Here is my idea.  Please steal it.  

Grays Harbor needs an industry that plays to its strengths.  What are its strengths? An abundance of unspoiled natural beauty, and a human population who has excellent wilderness survival skills.  You see, everyone in Grays Harbor knows how to fish, hunt, find wild berries, build things, fix things and dig clams.  They know how to cook with local food.  All of them.  And because there are very few people who actually live there, and there is no industry to speak of, the air is clean, and there are trees and rivers everywhere, and you won't get hepatitis from the ocean, like in certain other places I could mention.

So.  My idea is - build a giant eco resort.  

The eco resort would offer three types of accommodations - 
1) Luxury log cabins, made from locally sourced wood, powered with hydroelectric power or wind power.  These would come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  All would have high ceilings, large windows, soft space rugs, organic cotton linens, etc.  Cabins would come stocked with fresh, healthful, locally made snacks, teas, etc.
 2) Luxury tree houses, some with electricity and some without.  The electricity, would of course, be sustainable, - wind or water.  These would be for the more adventurous traveler, and would have a fun "Swiss Family Robinson" vibe.  There would be rope swings, rope bridges, and spiral staircases. Some treehouses would be  connected for families who vacation together.  Some would be private for couples.
 3) Camping grounds.  For odd people who get off on pretending to be homeless.

There would be an onsite restaurant which serves gourmet cuisine made from local food - salmon, huckleberries, blackberries, clams, deer (venison), elk, etc.   Because this is an all inclusive resort, meals will be included in the price of the stay.   

* Fishing (with local guides)
* clam digging (local guides can give lessons)
* river rafting (local guide can do pick up and drop off)
* PNW cooking classes
* yoga
* pools and hot tubs (powered by wind or water)
* birding
* wildlife survival courses
* foraging classes (local guide can show guests which plants can be eaten, etc. - then they can make a salad or something with the stuff they find)
* ropes courses/zip line through the trees
* hiking (guided)
* movies
* board games
* "kids club" where adults can drop off their children for fun outdoor activities - mudpuddle stomping, etc.
* shooting/target practice
* archery

Winter/Bad Weather Activities
Of course - most of the year the weather is awful, so many of the activities won't be popular all year round.  But that's ok!  During the awful weather, the focus will be on a "retreat" atmosphere, where guests can turn off their phones, and reconnect with themselves.  
* yoga - there would be a spacious yoga studio, composed mostly of windows, to enjoy the nature without having to be outside in it.  Meditation classes also available.  Other fitness classes, if people have interest.
* movies - there would be an indoor movie theater with large, fluffy chairs.  Popcorn and other snacks would be served, of course.
* board games
* indoor saltwater pool and hot tubs. (Perhaps instead of hot tubs, they could use natural hot springs?)
* cooking classes
* arts and crafts (Native American beading and weaving?)
* hiking (hikers tend to be ok with bad weather)
* reading - there would be a large library with a fireplace and cushy chairs.  Tea, coffee and scones available.
* spa - a variety of massages and beauty treatments available - using "locally produced, organic" beauty products, of course.
* I don't freaking know.  You come up with some ideas.

I think people would actually come to a resort like this.  People have a strong desire to be in unspoiled nature, and the Olympic Peninsula could provide that.  And this would provide jobs for a lot of people - guides, teachers, servers, cooks, maids, construction crew, repair people, etc.  This would play to the best qualities in Harborites, and make use of their resources.  In order to appeal to educated, financially "comfortable" people, it would have to be  very ecologically friendly, and the words "sustainable" "organic" and "local" would have to be plastered all over everything.  It may strike Harborities as obnoxious, but it will get the job done and make people come.  Trust me on this.  Build for rich bohemians who want to get away from the city and their stressful jobs,  and they will come.  


Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Highly Scientific Lupus Theory

For obvious reasons, I follow lupus research very closely. I recently read an article (I don't remember which journal it was in, so there will be no citations) showing that instances of lupus increase with growing urbanization. This means that as more and more people move to cities, more and more cases of lupus are diagnosed. He specifically discussed an area in Africa where there was almost no lupus until villagers began to move to large cities in search of better work, at which point, lupus diagnoses grew exponentially.

When I read that, I felt so happy, because it (sort of/kind of) confirms a theory I have held for a while now. I'm aware that the explanation for this could be that when people move to cities they have access to better medical care and are more likely to be diagnosed. I am ignoring that for two reasons. 1) It seems wrong to assume that rural doctors don't know what they're doing, just because they made the bad decision to live in a rural area. 2) It doesn't fit with my hypothesis.

Here is my theory, based on my highly scientific observations.

The human immune system evolves based on where you and your ancestors originated. You develop antibodies and resistances to the diseases which you are most likely to encounter in your part of the world. This is evolutionarily prudent, and makes total sense. So my immune system is probably much different from someone who's ancestry hails from sub-Saharan Africa, and and sub-Saharan African's immune system is probably different from someone from China. These immune system differences play a large part in physical attraction between humans. You are more likely to be attracted to someone who has different immunities than you do, because if you breed, you will make babies with super-immunity. You can actually detect these immune system differences by sense of smell. This isn't my own observation - it's actual science. Look it up.

Anyway, my point is we have different immune systems which develop based largely upon ancestral location.

Now here comes the part where I make scientific observations.

Everyone I know who has lupus has undergone a "big move" at some point before experiencing lupus symptoms. By "big move" I don't mean across town. I mean, to a different state or country. For instance, I moved from Washington to California. In addition, many of us have recent ancestors (parents, grandparents or great-grandparents) who underwent a "big move" as well - typically from a different country.

So maybe the factor isn't urbanization - moving to the city - maybe it's just moving in general.

Perhaps there are certain people - maybe people with a genetic predisposition - who's immune systems just can't handle the moving. Our immune systems are wired to deal with specific pathogens, and moving to a new location with its many new and exotic pathogens causes our immune systems to go haywire. It's like the kid who's psycho sports parent shouts too many instructions at him as he's preparing to hit the baseball, and then the coach is shouting at him too, and then his teammates join in, and the kid can't take it anymore and just throws the bat at the umpire, who is the only person who wasn't yelling at him, but he happened to be close by, so...yeah. He just can't handle all this shit anymore, dammit! And he attacks that which he should not attack.

You're welcome, scientific community.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I'm very stressed. I am trying to choose the appropriate activities for my child. According to Phillip and other hippies, I should just wait until the child gets older and let the child decide for herself what activities she would like to try. But children, left to their own devices, will only choose to play video games and chat on Facebook. You can't just hope that your child happens to have innate genius along with the self motivation to work and work and bring that genius to fruition. NO. To make a gifted child, you must MAKE it gifted. You have to give it activities and force it to practice at those activities. You have to teach it responsibility and focus and determination.


Here are my ideas.

1) Violin
I like the idea of violin. Not only is it a beautiful instrument, a child can start learning it as early as age 3, giving the child the opportunity to become a virtuoso by the time she's in high school.

2) Viola
See above

3) Gymnastics
I loved gymnastics when I was a kid. If my child is "blessed" with my short, stocky stature and natural flexibility, it would be a shame to waste that "blessing". I was pretty good at gymnastics, but I never went very far with it. Now I can live vicariously through my child.

4) Mandarin
China is a big deal, and all indicators predict that they will be an even bigger world player by the time my child is an adult. It only makes sense to force my child to learn Mandarin. What if she wants to go into international business? What if she just wants to live in China for a while? How will that work if she doesn't speak Chinese? It's necessary.

5) Fencing
It's really cool.

6) Piano
I'm told that this is the best instrument to start a child on, because it provides the best musical foundation, and from there a child will be able to learn any instrument easily.

7) Martial Arts
Specifically Krav Maga. Our kid is going to be small. Let's be realistic. Being small is hard. It's unsettling to know that pretty much any one can kick your ass any time they want to. My child will never know that fear, because she will know 27 ways to kill a man with her pinky.

8) Ballet
There is a shortage of male ballet dancers. So if you have a son who is good at ballet, he will basically get free college, from the scholarships and whatnot. So if I have a son, I want to make him do ballet.

Actually, I want my girl to do ballet too.

9) Art
I suck at art and so does Phil. I never learned to do things like paint and sculpt and do crafts. I can barely draw stars. What if my child wants to be an artist? How will that happen if I don't make sure she gets art instruction from an early age? I can't rely on the schools to do it - after all, I went to school and the art projects they gave us didn't teach any real art skills - it was all pasting bits of tissue paper onto cardboard in the shape of a turkey. If my child is to be the next Frida Kahlo, I need to make sure she gets the finest art instruction.

10) Cello
It's my favorite instrument. I want my home to be filled with beautiful cello music.

11) Harp
I love the harp. Also, it's an uncommon instrument. If my child masters the harp, there will be less competition if she decides to be a professional musician. Less competition = better chance of success.

Those are my ideas for now. Ideally, I would have my child participate in ALL of these activities, but realistically speaking, we don't have the money or time.

Sigh. Decisions decisions.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mother Shaming

About 8 of my friends have posted this on Facebook and it makes me feel angry. It's a "letter" written to a woman who dares to check her phone while watching her kids in the park. I'm going to stick up for mothers here, but before I do, here is the post that has irked me. Above the text is a picture of a woman standing 5 feet from her kids as they play, while she checks her phone. Here is the text.

"Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Mom, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know…

You’ve shown them, during all of these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all. ♥"

Now I'm going to tear into this shit.

1) I get sick of people judging mothers for every little freaking thing. Are the kids neglected? Are they being abused? Then shut up and stop judging her. She's doing fine, and you have no business criticizing her so harshly.

2) If it were a father checking his phone as he watched his kids in the park, women would be gaga, thinking it was the sweetest thing in the world. If he checks his phone, it's probably because of something important and work related. After all, he has to provide for those kids.

But it's a woman on the phone. So she's probably just doing something "selfish" like shopping for shoes. Whore.

3) Who is writing this garbage? Maybe she should step down off her high horse for a minute and join us in the real world. Because in reality, you CANNOT devote EVERY SECOND to paying attention to your kids. It is not physically possible. And contrary to what idiots would have you believe, not every moment of childhood is precious. A lot of those moments are boring drudgery. I remember childhood. Not every moment of it needed to be recorded, savored and cherished.

This isn't the only example of Mother Shaming I've seen, it's just the most recent.

The worst thing about it is that the hyper-judgment comes from women, not men! These mothers - who should be sticking together and supporting each other - spend huge amounts of time and effort trying to tear down other mothers. I don't know why. Maybe noticing flaws in other mothering styles makes them feel better about their own parenting skills. Maybe they're just mean people.

(I know that not all mothers behave this way. I'm just talking about the ones who do.)

Look, being a mother is an important job. We all get that. But maybe take the holier-than-thou crap down a notch. The kids are gonna be fine.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Pregnancy FAQ

Q: So, you're pregnant?
A: Yes.

Q: Are you sure? We all remember December's fiasco.
A: Yes, I'm sure. In December I had what is known as a "chemical pregnancy". That means I had a fertilized egg and tested positive for pregnancy, but the egg did not implant. It's kind of a "miscarriage light". This time I have made it to 11 weeks, and I had an ultrasound which confirmed that there was a living baby in me, with a heartbeat and body parts.

Q: Will you be posting your ultrasound pictures online so we know you're not lying?
A: No. Ew. I personally think posting ultrasound pictures online is tacky and gross, and I won't do it for the same reason I didn't post pictures of the results of my endoscopy. My insides are my own business. And the baby isn't cute yet. I don't want you to get the wrong idea and think I'm gestating a monster.

Q: It looked like a monster? What is wrong with you?
A: Well, to be more accurate, it looks like a grainy, misshapen teddy bear.

Q: It's just hit me that this child will have both the DNA of Dana AND Phillip. A child with Phillip's math skills, kindness and lustrous beard-growing capabilities - COMBINED with Dana's decisiveness, creativity and radiant skin? When will this glorious miracle child be born, that we might worship it?
A: Early to mid November.

Q: But more importantly, when can we expect this child to take over the planet, ruling with an iron fist, righting the wrongs of society and stamping out evil with her fiery sword of justice?
A: Probably not for at least 10 to 15 years, if she is especially precocious. More likely, it will be two decades.

Q: Aren't you supposed to wait to announce your pregnancy until after the genetic screenings are done, in case you choose to abort a baby that has Down's Syndrome or whatever?
A: Sigh. You had to take it there, didn't you. Please try to be more positive.

Q: You told us to be positive in the first blog, and then that baby died. Do you learn nothing from your mistakes?
A: Look, that baby was weak and couldn't hang. This new baby is strong - I heard it's heartbeat myself and it was fierce and fast and insistent. It was like "Fuck you prior baby. You were too weak to stick around, but I, your sibling, can, because I'm not a total wuss. See how strong I am! Totally alive. I will take your place and come into the Earth and drink greedily from the cup of life, guzzling like a frat boy doing a keg stand."

Q: So, how are you feeling?
A: Awful. Being pregnant is freaking awful. I'm sick all the time. All I want to do is sleep and eat and vomit. The only thing that seems to make me feel better is eating crappy food. As a result I have already gained 6 pounds, and look totally disgusting. My breasts hurt. I keep getting zits, which Never happens to me. I hate my fat body. I want some wine. I want for someone to just give me heavy duty sedatives and wake me in November when I can just have this baby and put this whole nightmarish experience behind me forever. Whoever said pregnancy is a beautiful, special time in a woman's life is a fucking liar. The other day I cried because they didn't have any nectarines in the grocery store. I sobbed like a mental patient. Over a lack of nectarines. Teaching yoga is the last thing I want to do, but I have to do it because it's my job. I have to call in sick sometimes because of the vomit, which makes me look flaky and irresponsible. I can't work out because I'm too tired and sick. I hate being pregnant. I hate it!

Thank you for asking.

Q: You sound whiny and awful.
A: That's not a question, and so I will not dignify it with an answer.

Q: But won't it all be worth it when you have your beautiful baby in your arms?
A: It freaking well better be.

Q: How many children are you planning to have after this?
A: Zero. There is no way I am doing this again. People keep telling me "You'll feel differently after you have the baby. You'll want another one." Yeah, I don't think I will. I'll have this blog to commemorate the amount of misery I'm feeling, and it will remind me if I get some kind of bizarrely specific pregnancy amnesia. Phillip wants more. I told him he is welcome to purchase a baby if he wants another one, but this is my last pregnancy.

Q: You know you're not supposed to have gained any weight yet, right? Since you're only in the first trimester? Yeah, you need to make sure you're eating only healthy food, and exercising every day.
A; FUCK. YOU. Come to my house and say that to my face. I promise, you will regret it.

Q: Have you thought of names yet?
A: Yes! For a boy, Malcolm Vaughn Hammer. For a girl, Nadia Kate Hammer.

Q: How is Phillip handling all of this?
A: Quite well. He is the master of fetching me cans of sprite. He refrains from making gagging, vomiting sounds when looking at my fat body. He has been wonderful, really. As always.

Q: Do you want a girl or a boy?
A: Meh.

Honey Boo Boo's Mother

I'm tired of hearing people call Honey Boo Boo's mother a bad mother. Here's why.

(Note. I haven't actually watched the show. I'm basing this entirely on Facebook posts and Internet headlines I've read. If the woman is actually abusing her child, please disregard this blog. But judging from what I've read, she's not a child abuser. She's just a redneck.))

Fat + Redneck does not = bad mother. It just doesn't.

Yeah, the pageants and TV show might be questionable parenting choices, but is that really enough that we can label her a "bad mother"? I reject that notion.

Most of the judgment I've heard revolves around the fact that she allows her kid to drink soda, specifically Red Bull, which she calls "go go juice".

Look. I'm sure your mothers fed you nothing but organic kale which you grew and harvested yourselves in your backyard, and which taught you a lot about nutrition and sustainable gardening practices. Great. But here's a secret for you. Most parents let their kids eat junk food. Is it good for them? No. But if you're going to get all pissy about it, you might as well just accept that you're going to be pissy for the rest of your lives. Cause it happens. All the time.

Why does the mother get all the blame? She has two parents. It's misogynistic and stupid to talk about how awful her mother is, when her father is equally responsible for all of these decisions. I get tired of "mother blaming" when there is a father in the picture too.

I think most of the harsh judgment I hear comes from people raised in upper middle class homes in blue stares. I don't think they're trying to be mean, but I think they are disassociated from the way lower class Americans actually live. They don't understand it, and so they judge it to be "bad". I wish they would try to temper their judgment with a little kindness and understanding.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Please Stop Using Christianity as an Excuse to Oppose Gay Marriage

Recently I have been barraged with comments from "Christians" who are using their supposed Christianity as an excuse to oppose gay marriage. This is upsetting to me for a variety of reasons, but especially because I myself am a Christian and I unreservedly support the rights of gay people to marry. Here's why using Christianity as an excuse to oppose gay marriage is stoopid, and why I am smart.

First of all, the Bible does, in fact, have passages that oppose homosexuality. I am in no way contesting that. But the Bible says a lot of stuff, and some of that stuff is pretty wacky. We all know about the passages condemning the mixing of fabrics, the eating of shellfish, etc. There are passages advocating smashing babies' skulls against stone walls in order to kill them. There are passages that advocate slavery. Most of the Old Testament advocates polygamy.

I can hear people protesting now - "But that stuff is all in the Old Testament! The New Testament is what counts to Christians, because the coming of Jesus got rid of all those old rules".

Well, the New Testament says some crazy stuff too. The New Testament has rules stating that it's wrong for a man to have long hair (umm....has anyone looked at at statue of Jesus recently?), rules against women speaking in church, rules against women uncovering their heads in church, and rules against women being teachers or "holding authority over men". Last I checked, there are plenty of female teachers in the world, many of them Christians, and women speak (and sing) in church all the time. Are female managers evil sluts who have been led astray by Satan? I say, of course not! And most Christians would agree with me.

But here's the thing. In order for Christians to say "Yes, it's acceptable for a female to be a teacher" or "No, we don't support slavery", Christians first had to deviate from following the Bible literally. It didn't happen all at once, it happened slowly. But eventually, Christians were able to change their minds about slavery, etc., because A RELIGION THAT DOES NOT PROGRESS WITH ITS PEOPLE WILL BECOME EXTINCT.

If you are a Christian, as I am, or a Hegelian, as I am, you know that humanity is constantly progressing, moving towards an ultimate goal. We are forever being tempered in the crucible that is Earth, changing and growing, becoming what God wants us to be. This is evidenced by The New Covenant, offered to us by Christ. The New Covenant frees us from the need to make animal sacrifices and follow strict and tedious and numerous laws, because by the time Christ came, humanity had progressed to the point that we no longer needed those kind of intense restrictions. The New Covenant gives us the ability to use our discernment to tell us what is right and wrong behavior. As humanity increases in compassion and intelligence, we are better and better able to make moral decisions on our own, from our innate goodness.

And we have done just that, in many cases. When compassion increased to the point where society found slavery intolerable, slavery was abolished EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS SLAVERY IS OK. When women's rights began to be advocated, we we allowed women to speak in public, to be teachers, and to be managers in business, EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS WOMEN SHOULD NOT DO THOSE THINGS. And that is as it should be.

And next, homosexuals will be allowed to marry, EVEN THOUGH THE BIBLE SAYS HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN. And that is as it should be.

It's going to happen. It IS happening - many gay couples are already legally married - and yet the sky has not fallen and society has not collapsed. The fact of the matter is, as compassion grows and grows, and as provincialism and backwardness diminish, the world will continue to change for the better. AND THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE.

Bottom line, we pick and choose which parts of the Bible we are going to obey all the time. We have to! It would be impossible to follow everything the Bible says - it would be impractical in today's society, and a lot of the Bible contradicts itself because it was written by different authors in different times. AND THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE. We are able to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we will follow because of the New Covenant, which gives us the discernment to make our own moral choices.

Here is the argument some people are going to make: "But according to your logic, Dana, a person could do whatever the heck she wants and justify it by saying she was just following her own moral code."

No. Because as Christians, we are still obligated to follow the teachings of Christ. Christ taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to treat others as we would like to be treated. So a person cannot run around murdering and raping and stealing, because those types of actions are harmful to others. As followers of Christ, we are bound to do no harm to others.

Being gay does not hurt others. Jesus never talked about homosexuality at all, of which we are aware, but I'm inclined to believe that Jesus would have been compassionate toward gay people, as he was toward all people.

Part 2

Now, for the sake of argument, let's say that everything I've just said is complete and utter bullshit. Let's say that Jesus hates gayness and he totally opposes gay marriage. Lets say that being gay is a sin, for sure, and I'm totally in the wrong.



In the United States, we have freedom of religion. "Freedom of religion" means that we cannot force our religious beliefs on others, no matter how strongly we may believe them. So if you are a Christian who opposes gay marriage, fine. Don't have a gay marriage, and you're in the clear. But you have to acknowledge that not everyone in this country is a Christian, and not everyone who gets married is a Christian. Why should a non-Christian have to abide by the Christian definition of marriage? After all, a non-Christian will not be celebrating Christmas like a Christian, or going to church like a Christian or praying like a Christian. Why should their marriages be based on a Christian tenets when nothing else in their lives is? That's not the way it works in a free society.


i have outlined why Christianity is not a good excuse for opposing gay marriage. We have the ability to use our compassion and discernment to allow gay people to be joined together in marriage, just as we were able to use our compassion and discernment to allow interracial couples to marry, just as we were able to abolish slavery, and just as we were able to allow women to have jobs outside the home, irrespective of what the Bible says. As a people, humans are always evolving and changing, progressing toward an ultimate goal. towards compassion, kindness and goodness.
But even if I'm wrong about all that, Christianity is still not a good reason to oppose gay marriage, because marriage is not the province of Christians alone. In the United States, marriage is a legal institution, not a religious one, though of course, many people infuse their marriages with their religion of choice. It is irrational and against the American principle of freedom of religion to force atheists, Shintoists, Buddhists, etc. to abide by Christian edicts. If their religion (or lack thereof) allows for gay people to marry, why should they be prohibited from doing so based on Christian values? They aren't Christians.

But let's get real here.

People who oppose gay marriage know all this. They don't REALLY believe that allowing gay people to marry will in some way diminish their own marriages. They don't really believe that homosexuality is harmful to society - no rational person COULD believe such a stupid thing. They KNOW that interpretations of the Bible change all the time. They KNOW that Christianity has been wrong about things in the past, and that it has changed its views on many subjects, and that it will do so again, as humanity evolves.
So why do they oppose gay marriage so strongly?

Because they think it's icky.

That's it. That's all. They think homosexuality is deviant and gross, and it bothers them. They are provincial and close minded, and probably don't have a lot of gay friends. They probably haven't even read the entire Bible, much less taken any college level philosophy courses, or studied the Bible in a rigorous, scholarly manner. They just believe whatever their parents told them about the gays, and don't bother to question it. All of this combines to make for an intolerant person who will be on the wrong side of history.

And so I say to you who oppose gay marriage - You know that friend you have with the creepy grandpa who thinks it's hilarious to call him "Arnold Schwartzenigger"? You know how he uses words like "jewess"and "octoroon?" You know how he embarrasses the entire family with his backward provincialism and his hate? If you don't change your mind soon about gay marriage, you will be that creepy grandpa, who no one wants to visit. The time is coming when it will no longer be acceptable to discriminate against gay people. And that time is coming soon.

Please change your mind in time. Come to the good side - we're nice people over here, and you will be welcomed with open arms. Like Jesus would have wanted.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Gateway to Narnia is Not in my Neighborhood, FYI

Dana: Our neighbors are assholes.

Phil: Is this about the lemon people again?

Dana: No, I'm over that, mostly.

Phil: Did someone do something you hate, like spanking their children in public?

Dana: No, but you're warmer. Here's what happened. I was driving home, past the blue house on the corner.  I looked out the window and I saw this door sitting against the tree out front.  The door said  "Gateway to Narnia" on it. So, I pulled over to check it out, and -"

Phil (giving me a blank look): Wait. You pulled over to check it out? Were you - did you actually get out of your car, looking for Narnia, because of a door you saw?

Dana: NO! I mean, yes, I got out of my car. But I knew it wasn't Narnia. Obviously . I just wanted to check it out....just to see.

Phil (repressing laughter): To see if the door led to Narnia?

Dana: Honey, you need to focus. I got out to inspect the door, just to see what it was, and there was nothing behind it. It was literally just a door propped up against a tree.

Phil: Well, so?

Dana: Well so?! So, our neighbors are assholes! Why would they do such a thing? Why would they put a door that says "Gateway to Narnia" against a tree, with nothing behind it, so when you try the door, it just falls down on you and hurts you?! LIttle kids are going to get hurt! It's a total safety hazard! They probably enjoy it! They're probably sick bastards who like to see others in pain. They probably have a camera and they're videotaping it whenever someone comes and tries the door!

Phil (now laughing and mocking his wife openly): Wait! Did you pull the door down on top of you trying to get to Narnia? OH! Oh that is perfect! I hope they did have a camera. I would pay any amount of money to watch that.

Dana: I repeat. I KNEW that it wasn't actually going to take me to Narnia. I'm not stupid. I know...wanted to see. It might have been something really, really cool. You know you would have stopped to check it out too, so don't make fun of me!

Phil (seriously): Honey, I can honestly tell you that I would not have stopped. And I would not have pulled a door on top of me. No one does these kinds of things but you.

Dana: So, what? You would just let a safety hazard sit there, uninspected? I'm a modern day Dudley Do-Right, is what I am. I'm doing the Lord's work, helping to solve problems and protect children.

Phil: Bullshit. You thought you were going to go to Narnia through a magical tree, but instead you just pulled a door down on your head and now you're pissed, because of the disappointment.

Dana (taking a deep breath): Again, I think you're losing focus. There is a larger issue at hand here. So here's my plan - I think we need to destroy the door. It's a danger and a menace. What do you think?

Phil: You want to destroy the door? And how do you plan to do this?

Dana: I don't know. With axes, I guess. We'll bash it to pieces so it can't ever trick anyone - any children - ever again.

Phil (sighing): Honey, we're not going to do that. I think you're overreacting.

Dana: I think you're under-reacting! OK, how about this? We just go and talk to them and tell them that their door is a dangerous distraction, and also a lie. And then they'll destroy it for us. Is that better?

Phil: Look - I'm very tired. I think we both need some sleep. I bet you won't be bothered by this after you get some rest.

Dana: Ok. But you'll go talk to them in the morning, after you've got some rest.

Phil: Yeah. Sure honey. I'll do that.

The door is still there.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cookies and Complaints - Scenes From My Day

Today was my appointment with the genius Dr. Lynch. To reward him for his genius I decided to bake him some delicious cookies. I got all the stuff together and then said to myself "Are you really going to make Dr. Lynch gluten free cookies? I mean, they're ok and all - but does Dr. Lynch deserve 'ok'? After saving my life? NO! Dr. Lynch deserves moist, chewy gluten!"

So I purchased some regular flour and began baking. But as I was mixing together the ingredients, I suddenly began to panic. What was I thinking with all this butter?! Sure, butter is delicious, but so much fat! Obviously, I want Dr. Lynch to outlive me, so it's important to keep him healthy, not load him up with sugar and fat.

And so I reduced the amount of sugar I used and replaced some of the butter with olive oil.

But when the cookies were done, I panicked yet again. What would these healthier cookies taste like? Would they be disgusting? I couldn't serve The Beautiful Healer Dr. Lynch substandard tasting cookies! It would be like spitting in his face! For all I knew, he would refuse to treat me anymore, saying "The poor quality of these cookies shows me that you do not appreciate my gifts, nor do you take your health seriously. Get out of my sight. I hope your lungs explode. In fact, I'm writing you a prescription for GNCs."

Well, what could I do? There was no one home except me and Molly. So I did what I had to do.

I ate a gluten cookie.

Well, they tasted ok, but I didn't feel fantastic, afterward, obviously. I told myself that it was worth it - that there was no other way, and that I did what I had to do. Sure, my body hates me, but it is what it is.

It was in this frame of mind that I received a telephone call from the manager of a gym where I sub.

I have subbed a yoga class for the past two weeks, and have one more week to go. A little background. The first day I came in, every person asked me where the regular teacher was, and they all expressed their concern for her well being and wanted me to give them all the details as to why she wasn't there. I tried to explain that I don't know the woman personally and I don't know why she needs a sub. I know she's not dead. That is all. Their questions became more and more frantic and pressing - they are all clearly in love with their regular instructor, which is sweet, but I knew right away that they were not going to give me a chance.

But whatever, I tell myself. I don't have to make them love me - I'm just a temporary sub. I have to provide them with a good, high-quality yoga class and that's it - I don't need or want them to get attached to me.

So I taught my classes as usual and thought they went ok. No major issues, nothing crazy.

Today, however, I got a call from the manager. Apparently, a student complained that my classes are not hard enough, and that I need to make my classes harder like the regular teacher does. In addition, she complained that I didn't demonstrate enough, and that I "checked my ipad during class".

I was shocked and upset. Let me address these complaints here, just so we're clear.

1) My classes need to be harder, like the regular teacher's.

I'm not the regular teacher. My style is going to be different from hers. Also, I'm not a "hard" teacher. My goal is not to kick your ass - if you want your ass kicked go to a boot camp or weight training class. Yoga, for me, is not about that - it's not the way I practice and it's not the way I like to teach.

That being said, I'm happy to make my classes a bit harder to accommodate you - you just have to let me know beforehand. Every single time I sub a class, (this class included) the first thing I do is ask for requests. If the complainer wanted a difficult class, she should have spoken up when I asked, rather than go behind my back and complain to the manager later. Boooooo!

2) I don't demonstrate enough.

Yoga instructors aren't supposed to demonstrate everything. This isn't zumba or Turbo Kickboxing where the instructor does the whole class. I ALWAYS demonstrate poses that are difficult to understand verbally, and of course I demonstrate sun salutes and anything that has a lot of parts to it. But I don't demonstrate every single move - I'm not an instructor who just does her own yoga practice on her mat and expects the students to copy her. I watch the students to make sure they're doing things correctly, so I can give adjustments if needed. It's how I was trained to teach, and I haven't had any complaints about it until now.

3) I looked at my ipad while teaching.


OK - I MAY have taken a peek during savasana, but only for brief moment. I do this sometimes. I check the time, I look at my playlists for inspiration in case I want to change my savasana song - or MAYBE I check my email. I NEVER do this while I'm doing actual teaching - ONLY when everyone is lying down with their eyes closed. Apparently one of my students caught me checking my ipad and thought that was completely unacceptable.

OK. That would have been unacceptable if I was doing it in the middle of teaching, but during savasana I'm not teaching - the students are just laying there with their eyes closed. In this type of setting, where I don't know the students, I don't do adjustments, so I'm just sitting there too, as they lay there - staring at them.

The ipad also would have been unacceptable in a restorative type setting where the room is dark and the electric light would have been distracting. But this was a gym - bright and noisy and full of lights. My ipad would have been completely unnoticeable.

Also, I never have sound on my ipad, so it's not like the sound was distracting anyone.

And it was so, so brief!

So, I won't ever check my ipad again during savasana - I learned my lesson. I had no idea it would piss anyone off -it certainly doesn't bother me when I take yoga classes and the instructor checks her iphone. But then again, I'm not a crazy person who complains for no reason.

But I don't know what I can do about the rest. I teach my classes the way I like to be taught - I'm willing to take into account the desires of my students of course, but if they don't verbalize those desires to me beforehand, I don't know what I can do. If they don't tell me "I want a hard class" or something similar, I don't see how I can know that.

I guess I just have to detach from this situation. I'll do my best to please them next week, but I won't lie - I'm not expecting that I'll be able to do so. I think they just want their old instructor back, and that's all there is to it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


I have always hated relying on others for money. Even as a small child, I wanted to earn my own funds, attempting to do so with several ill-fated entrepreneurial schemes.

For instance there was my berry selling business, started at the age of six. I would pick wild berries from the woods - usually blackberries, but sometimes salmon berries and thimbleberries - and attempt to sell them by the side of the road. This plan was a failure for three reasons:
1) I lived on a country road where maybe two cars went by per day.
2) People were perfectly happy to pick their own berries, and didn't need my assistance.
3) I had a tendency to eat all the berries myself.

Then there was the time I tried to make my own newspaper, when I was 8. I went door to door asking people if they had any news to report. I would jot down the "news"and go home and painstakingly write all my scoops down, making copies using crappy carbon paper that I found in a box somewhere. I eventually became discouraged with this business because:
1) No one was giving me any actual news, probably because they believed a newspaper created by an 8 year old child was not the appropriate medium to discuss the pressing issues of the day. I didn't like writing about the fact that the neighbor kid got a new toy, or that the old couple across the street just came back from the Grand Canyon. BOOOOOORING.
2) It was a lot of freaking work to make those newspapers, and I could only sell them for a quarter a piece. The amount of work I put into it was not reflected in the pay I received.

Then there was my dog walking business, which never even got off the ground, because the neighbor kids - the Leutts I think was their name - stole my idea. I suppose a true capitalist would have taken their idea-stealing as a challenge, and would have upped her marketing and expanded her reach and attempted to undersell them. But nine year old Dana was not a true capitalist - she simply stamped her feet in anger and spent huge amounts of time hating the neighbor kids.

Their business failed anyway.


I mean :(

My point is this - by nature, I prefer to be self reliant, and I'm not afraid of working hard to be so.

Which leads me to my current dilemma.

Until a year ago, I worked in finance. I hated almost everything about that job - I hated the dull nature of the work, the fact that I had to repress the very best parts of my personality at all times, and the general inefficiency that always accompanies teamwork.

But, the good thing about it was that it paid well. The pay was what kept me there for so long, even though I was miserable and angry all the time. Of course, pay will only keep you complacent for so long, and eventually I was forced to quit and strike out on my own as a yoga instructor - it was necessary for my well being.

I'm very, very glad I made this decision.


When I look at how much I made last year, I am shocked by how drastically my income has been reduced. There are probably children in sweatshops in Indonesia who out earn me. It's beyond frustrating, because I work hard, and I believe that there is far more value in what I do now than there was in my stupid office job. I actually help people and make them happy - and in an ideal world, my pay would reflect that.

But it doesn't.

And so now I'm in a bizarre predicament - I am mostly reliant on my husband for money.

Our arrangement is such that the money I earn is supposed to go to food and gas, and any little extras I want to buy myself. Phil's money is supposed to pay the main bills.

I freaking hate this.

For instance. I really want to get hair extensions. I have always wanted to have masses of luxurious, long hair, but I've never been able to have it, because when my hair grows out it turns into a thin, straggly mess - not pretty at all. Hair extensions would solve this problem. But, hair extensions are expensive - at least $300. I don't have $300 just sitting around, because all of my money goes to gas and food. So if I want extensions, I have to ask Phil for the money. Phil says hair extensions are too expensive, and why can't I just grow my hair out like normal people? I try to explain about the straggly and the thin and the ugly, but I wind up sounding unbelievably spoiled and vain, and I can tell that Phil thinks I'm being insane.

Aside from this, there is the the constant pressure to please Phillip and to keep him healthy. Because if Phillip were to die, or to become tired of me, I would be deeply fucked. I cannot live on my meager salary in Southern California - I would have to take in roommates to pay the bills, and even then I would have to live like a poor person. I've been poor before, and I can honestly say I can't go back to that. I just can't. So a large amount of my energy goes toward making sure Phil is happy with me and that he's eating nutritious foods and driving like a sane person. Fortunately, I am very interesting, so I do a good job of keeping him entertained, and I take sole responsibility for the housework, the cooking, the grocery shopping and walking Molly - which he appreciates. But every pound I gain, every TV show I watch that annoys him, and every lupus induced medical crisis weighs on me - I can't help but panic, thinking that any moment he'll throw me out on the street and I'll have to live in my car, or on people's couches, or join a commune.

Realistically, I know that Phil loves me and wouldn't do that. Our relationship is strong and healthy, and I don't have any logical reason for my panic. But I can't help it - the fact that I'm so reliant on him bothers me - a lot.

So the obvious solution is for me to make some more money. But how? I can't go back to working in an office - it's really not for me. I can only teach so many yoga classes per week. I would be a terrible prostitute. I could sell my organs or my eggs, but with the lupus it might not be a good idea.

It hit me a few months ago that I should try writing professionally. I have written 7 books - four of which are publishable - and it doesn't make sense to just keep them on my computer, taking up space. I should try to publish them! I know that I'm not a "great" writer. I'm no John Irving or Toni Morrison - I'm not even Stephen King. However, I am an entertaining writer. People seem to enjoy the things I write, and I bet some people would be willing to pay to read them. It makes sense to have a job that plays to my strengths.

Plus the life of a writer is ideal for my personality because:
1) It can be done anywhere
2) I can do the actual writing alone, by myself, without having to do teamwork.
3) I can do it on my own schedule.
4) I enjoy writing.
5) I have an overactive imagination that needs funneling into something constructive. I find that I have fewer nightmares and paranoid delusions when I write regularly.

I don't intend to quit teaching yoga - I enjoy teaching yoga, very much. But I want to supplement my income with writing. Eventually, I would love to write full time, and only teach a few classes per week, but that's a long term goal. I know that I have a long road ahead of me to travel before I teach that goal.

So I have sent out some queries and manuscripts. I'm aware that the rejection rate is extremely high and that it could take years before I'm actually published, but I'm still going to give it a try. I suppose the worst that can happen is I never publish anything - I'll be no worse off than I am now.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dana's Guidelines for Beggars

I'm a sucker. I fully admit it. I give money to pretty much anyone who asks me - with disturbing results. I've given money to so many different charities that my mailbox is now a treacherous land mine of emotionally scarring, manipulative mail pieces, the likes of which actually, literally, give me nightmares. I would say 60% of the mail I receive is pictures of African babies with their ribs jutting ominously from their chests, puppies who have had their heads bashed in with hammers, and various kinds of cripples with big, sad, entreating eyes. As a result of all of this "marketing", I am no longer psychologically equipped to handle the mail - Phi has to presort it for me.

So suffice it so say, when beggars come up to me and ask me for some spare change, I generally comply, as long as I am able to do so.

However, recently, I have had some bad begging experiences. Namely, I've met some really unlikable beggars who are, frankly, doing it wrong. Like, so wrong that even I denied them money - and that's saying something. And so, here are some general guidelines I would like to put out there for people who - for whatever reason - are begging for handouts.

1) Don't make your children do your dirty work for you.

The other day at the gas station, a girl - about 12 years old - came up to me and pointed to her mother and gave a long, rambling story about how her mother needs money for gas. The story was delivered with the dead eyes and blank stare of the "former crack heads" who come to your house selling magazine subscriptions (By the way, can we talk about how fucked up that is? Are these guys seriously implying that their staying off drugs is somehow our responsibility?) Her recitation had an overly-rehearsed quality that was really off-putting.

So here are my issues with this. The mother was sitting right there. Why can't the mother do her own begging? Does she think her kid is so cute that no one will be able to resist her charms? Because she wasn't that cute, and she was the worst actress in the world. Or is the mother just that lazy - so lazy she can't even beg?

I don't judge her for being a begging mother. I understand that sometimes shit happens in life, and you may find yourself in a situation where you need to rely on the kindness of strangers. But does she really think that this is setting a good example for her child? Does she think that this is an acceptable activity for her daughter to do? If you have to beg, fine, beg. But don't make your kid do your dirty work for you.

2) Don't assume that I share in your worldview, particularly if your worldview is kind of messed up.

Just today, a man came up to me - again at a gas station - and began telling me a long story about how "black guys" stole his backpack and he needed money to get home. Aside from the fact that his story was overly long and somewhat unbelievable, I couldn't get past the fact that he kept referring to the guys to stole his backpack as "black guys"

Why did he need to keep referring to the race of the guys who supposedly stole his backpack? There was no reason to keep continually bringing it up to me, since I'm not a cop and wasn't asking for a description of the guys. The only reasons he could possibly keep bringing it up were these:
A) He assumed that, as a white woman, I'm obviously afraid of black men stealing my shit, and he hoped to get me on "his side" - united in our fear of victimization at the hands of black guys.
B) He assumed that I don't like black people and that his being victimized by two black people would make me feel sorrier for him than if people of another race had victimized him.
C) He's just one of those douchebags who always refers to peoples' races, regardless of whether it has any relation to the story. While this has no bearing on me - it bodes poorly for him.

My point is, don't make assumptions about me before you talk to me and ask me for money. Especially if those assumptions are insulting.

3) Don't start out by saying "I"m not a bum".

Lots of times people begging you for money will start out their speeches by saying "I'm not one of those bums" or "I'm not a bum".

First of all, yes you are. But ok, whatever, let's say you're not. Let's examine why it's wrong for you to start out that way.

When you say "I'm not a bum, but...give me money" the implication is that there is something wrong with being a bum, and you and I both know it. You're trying to lump yourself in with me - an obvious "non-bum", while simultaneously trying to bum money off of me. You're implying that I have a problem with bums, and yet you're asking me to give you a handout. Do you see why that's weird? Yeah. It's weird.

Once I had a guy ask me for $4. He told me I could call his mother and she would pay me back the $4, because he "wasn't a bum". If you don't have $4 to your name, and your mom has to pay your $4 debts to strangers, guess what? You're a bum.

4) Don't say you're a veteran.

I don't freaking care whether you're a veteran or not. Why would that possibly matter? Are you somehow more deserving of my dollar because you were in 'Nam or whatever? You deserve it more than, say, a former doctor who spent his summers deworming orphans in the Congo and got his legs crippled in a car accident?

Are there people out there who say "I see a dude in a wheelchair begging for money. I would like to give him a dollar, but what if that lazy bastard never served his country? I need to know how he lost them legs before I give him my hard earned cash. I mean, what if the pussy lost his legs in a skiing accident or some shit? I'll slap that skiing pantywaste and spit in his coffee cup!"

My point is, veteran status has nothing to do with whether or not a person needs help. If a person needs help, whether or not he served in the military is not a salient issue.

5) Do try to be funny, if you can.

I ALWAYS give money to a bum if she can make me laugh. I'll, like, find an ATM if I have to. That's how effective this is.

Once I saw a guy with a sign that said "Family killed by ninjas. Need kung fu lessons". I totally have him money. That's awesome.

Once, in Bellingham, I was stopped at a stoplight and saw two guys with a sign that said "Running in Place for Money". They had a baton. They ran back and forth, passing the baton to each other. They would occasionally do flying chest bumps or leap up in the air and give each other enthusiastic high fives. They were so joyful and excited and merry that I couldn't help but find them charming. EVERYONE gave them money- their exuberance was contagious.

6) If you can't be funny, be brief.

Nothing is more awkward than listening to a stranger's sob story as she begs you for money. I don't want to hear it. The fact that you're begging for change on the side of the road already tells me that life didn't work out the way you planned. I've already inferred that mistakes have been made. I KNOW that there is a very, very sad story there. I don't want the details. I really don't. I'll give you the money - I will. Please don't haunt my nightmares.

7) Do use good manners.

"Please" and "thank you" never go amiss, especially when asking for money. If you go above and beyond and compliment my beauty, I'll probably even give you extra money. I also appreciate a "God Bless You". Thank you! I would like God to bless me for helping you!

Once I gave money to an unemployed woman I know. She was not homeless or anything - but she was going through a rough time and she asked for some financial help. I gave her some money. She NEVER said thank you. Not even in a text or Facebook message. Seriously? Not even a thank you? I don't demand that she pay me back or do me a favor in return or anything like that - but a thank you would have been freaking nice.

She will not be getting any more money from me.

So those are my basic guidelines for appropriate begging. I feel bad for beggars, for the most part. I totally hate those guys who see beggars and snarl mean things at them like "Get a job!" (It's not always that easy, if you're mentally ill or otherwise disabled) or who accuse them of using the money to buy drugs and alcohol (Why do you care? Either give her the money or move on.) I hope that my guidelines will help beggars everywhere to be more successful and likable so they can avoid the terrible people who treat them badly.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

On Profanity

I love profanity. If you know me well, you know that I have a decently foul mouth -I swear often, and with relish. Many people say that using swear words is a sign of a limited vocabulary, or a limited intellect, but I find that nothing could be further from the truth. Those people have obviously never listened to the podcasts of Greg Proops or spoken to my ex-boyfriend, who could paint a verbal masterpiece of profanity and 64 dollar words, the likes of which should have been typed and framed and placed in the Louvre.

The only anti-profanity rule with which I agree is the one against taking the Lord's name in vain. I never take the Lord's name in vain and here's why - if you are a religious person, then calling upon the name of God is a powerful, meaningful activity, and it isn't one that should be taken lightly. So by refraining from using the Lord's name in vain, we are practicing our religion, and showing respect for our God.

But as far as I'm concerned, all other swear words are on the table. As long as it's used well, there is nothing inherently rude about profanity. If the waiter brings the wrong drink to my table and I shout at him "Fuck you you stupid motherfucker!" then yes, I'm being rude. But if I'm telling a story to my friends about being attacked by a mountain lion, and I say "The fucker came out of nowhere!", I am not being rude - except perhaps to the mountain lion. But do you see the distinction? Of course you do, because you're a reasonable person. If you're using profanity - or any language for that matter - to be MEAN to someone or to make her feel bad, then you are being rude. If you use profanity to pepper up your speech or to make a point, you are not being rude, you are simply utilizing strong language.

Here's the thing. I have always associated severe aversion to swear words with mental illness. For instance, when someone complains about profanity, I always think of Annie Wilkes making Paul Sheldon burn his manuscript for "Fast Cars", or shouting "COCKADOODIE! CACA CACA POOPY DOOPY!" Alternately, I think of Rod and Todd Flanders with their wussy, overly sheltered cowering. Either way, all I can think of is mental instability, and a generally unhealthy outlook on the world.

Because, when you think about it, there is no good, rational reason to be opposed to using words like "fuck" or "ass". They're just words, like any other word. Strong words, yes. But sometimes, strong words are appropriate. Sometimes "Darn you, you bad man!" just isn't what you mean to say. In fact, "darn you, you bad man!" is so soft, that it could even be a lie, depending on the circumstances.

And if you ask people why they think it's wrong to say "shit" or "damn" or whatever, their reasons are vague and irrational. They'll say things like "I was raised not to swear" or "It's rude" or "It's the sign of a limited vocabulary". They have no solid, rational reason for opposing swear words; they just think it's wrong to swear... because it's wrong to swear. Their mothers told them so, so it must be true.

Now, all of that being said, I do consider myself to be a polite person, and I DO care about the feelings of others. I don't ever WANT to offend anyone, even the mentally unstable. So if I'm around someone who I know is bothered by profanity (or who I suspect may be bothered by profanity) then I refrain from using it. It's not because I think it's immoral to swear, it's because I don't want these people to hate me and think badly of me. It's an easy sacrifice to make on my part, and so I do it.

I just wish I didn't have to make it. I wish there were not words that are taboo to use "just because". Profanity, when used well, enhances your speech and makes it more colorful. Profanity, when used rudely, is just rude. And it makes me sad that many people don't have the moral maturity to know the difference.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Plastic Surgery and The Latter Day Puritans

After I have a baby, I'm getting liposuction. Phillip has agreed that this can be my reward for going through the trauma of pregnancy. I can already hear the judgement of certain people, as they tilt their heads and narrow their eyes and say "But isn't the BABY the reward for the trauma of pregnancy?" No. Liposuction is the reward.

Anyway, I've been surprised by the reactions I've received when I tell people this. Mostly, people have negative reactions. They all say things like "Well, you should really just do it with diet and exercise" or the much more vague "I would NEVER have liposuction". And this is in Southern California, where you would think people would be more open minded about going under the knife! After all, we are a very image-conscious society here.

Well, I've spent some time thinking about it, trying to understand their points of view. Here are my conclusions -

1) Some women are naturally pretty and just don't get it.

Some of the women who have criticized my decision are gorgeous. They have the kind of effortless, unthinking beauty that makes the rest of us hate ourselves and want to crawl in a hole an die, because we know we can never, ever compete with them. These are the women who could steal our men with a curl of their fingers, if they chose to do so.

And they say things like "Beauty is on the inside" and "I think you look fine". Emphasis on the "I". They mean to be kind. But the fact of the matter is, because of their beauty, they have no idea what it's like to be anything other than beautiful. They don't see that the less beautiful are often treated badly, simply because of how they look. It's just not in the realm of their experience.

Dear pretty girls - please don't tell other, less pretty girls not to get liposuction. No one will take your advice seriously, because you just don't get it.

2) Some people have bizarre puritan beliefs about punishment and sacrifice.

It seems like a lot of people oppose plastic surgery simply because it's "the easy way out" or because it's "cheating". They say things like "Nothing good comes without a lot of hard work" and "You have to fight for it!". These are the people who encourage me to do "exercise and diet" rather than liposuction.

Here is my response: Why? If there is an easy solution to the problem, then why shouldn't I employ that solution? Diet and exercise is great, especially for those who can't afford liposuction, but it's terribly inefficient. Do you have any idea how much time and effort it takes to lose weight that way? It consumes your every waking moment, and every thought in your head. You don't have time to devote to your hobbies, your friends, or anything other than exercising and not eating. You can't go to a restaurant with your husband and just enjoy yourself. You can't watch a movie, because that's two hours that should be spent exercising. It utterly consumes you, and strikes me as a pretty unhealthy way to live.

The Latter Day Puritans seem to think that wanting to be pretty, and being willing to have surgery in order to be pretty, is a sin. They don't call it a "sin", they call it "being lazy" or "being shallow". But it's the same thing. They think that you need to SUFFER for your sins. They think you need to PUNISH yourself with exercise and starvation so you DESERVE your beauty.

I call shenanigans. Everyone wants to look her best, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. And I don't feel that I should be punished for the fact that the 'roids have made me fat. I didn't gain my weight by being lazy, or through any moral failing on my part - so why should I have to work hard to lose the weight? Why should I be punished?

Everyone deserves to like how she looks. Even if she doesn't like to exercise or starve herself.

3) Some people have unrealistic ideas about plastic surgery.

This category includes my husband, who thinks having liposuction will lead to me booking multiple surgeries that will surely bankrupt us and make me look like a bag of hardened chemicals, or like a taxidermy project gone terribly wrong.

I think a lot of people look at images of Donatella Versace, Jennifer Garner, and that crazy cat lady and think that's what happens when you get plastic surgery. No. You have to have some pretty deep psychological problems to get so much surgery that you start to look creepy.

The fact of the matter is, most surgeries are done safely and well, with no problems. Can you go overboard with it? Sure. But most people don't. It's like saying you shouldn't have a glass of wine, because some people are alcoholics. It's like saying you shouldn't go to Las Vegas because of that one guy you know who has a gambling problem. I flatter myself that I have enough self control to stop after I get the lipo, just like I have enough self control to have a glass of wine and then stop.

Basically, I think people need to be less judgmental of those who choose to have liposuction or other cosmetic procedures. Like me. It might not be the right choice for you, and that's fine. But try to keep an open mind when someone tells you that she's considering it for herself. It's not necessarily because she's "lazy" or because she's "shallow". She's just a regular woman who wants to change her appearance, and doesn't feel that she should have to suffer because of it.