Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fat-Bottomed Girls

I had a few other blog post ideas for today, but those all went out the window after I read this article this morning (thanks to my friend @laurenoostveen for posting on Facebook and bringing it to the attention of my end of the interwebs). I strongly encourage you to click the link and read the whole article for yourself, as that's the only way to really get why it made me so angry (and I'm not the only one - last time I checked, there were 415 comments, most of them denouncing the piece).

While I do think the author makes some valid points - namely that it's not good to implicitly promote obesity, that obesity is a major problem in North America that costs the healthcare system (if you can call it that in the US) a lot of money, and that people who are obese do have (some) control over it and can change it if they really try.

However, I do not agree with the other 80% of the article, or at least the language used. My jaw literally fell open in shock when I read this little gem:

So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

I can't even put into words how rude and offensive the language is here. Perhaps the author didn't mean to be as offensive as she came across, but it doesn't matter for many reasons:

First of all, um HELLO?! You're a WRITER. Choosing words is a pretty darn big part of what you do for a living....well, actually it essentially IS what you do for a living, so it's a pretty big impossibility (and downright crazy) that you would choose the wrong words, and then proceed to permeate your ENTIRE article with these poor choices.

Secondly, this article appears in Marie Claire, which, even though my opinion of it has pretty much been flushed down the toilet now, is a fairly reputable publication that has been around a while. As such, I'm assuming that there are a team of editors on staff whose job it is to EDIT articles before they are published. Therefore, I'm assuming that at least one other set of eyes (besides the author) looked over these words before they were posted. Ergo, clearly several people on the Marie Claire staff determined that this article was well-written and suitable for public posting. Why they thought this is beyond me, but nevertheless, it happened.

While I'm all for freedom of the press/freedom of speech and encouraging public discourse, I think there are ways to do this without being unabashedly, bluntly mean and arrogant. I realize this is essentially an opinion piece, and the author is completely entitled to her opinion, but I feel that there are ways to bring up an issue and explore it while still being at least mostly impartial. I not only feel that the author used extremely poor language in her article, I also feel that she didn't explore the whole issue. I think that, as a writer (especially if you are getting PAID for what you write), if you're going to present an extreme opinion such as this, you owe it to readers to provide concrete, sensible reasons for that opinion, as well as acknowledge the other issues at play in the issue (including the opposite view to yours).

There is a time and place - if you are sitting around with friends in the comfort and privacy of your own home, you have much more leeway in terms of how bluntly you can present your opinion. But when you're posting your opinion on the Internet where ANYONE IN THE WORLD can find and read it, you do have to think about filtering at least somewhat. Either that or expect some MAJOR backlash, both to your own credibility and the credibility of a reputable publication (in this case, Marie Claire).

As I mentioned, however, the author did get one or two points right - obesity is a huge (no pun intended) problem in North America and it's only getting worse. Collectively we could all do with a little less junk food and a little more exercise. That being said, I also feel that obesity is a very COMPLEX problem. For some people, it's not as simple as eating less and exercising more; some people are overweight or obese through no fault of their own but thanks to a chronic health condition, medications, etc. Also, not everyone who is "large" is unhealthy; some people have large body types and some people have small body types. Just because someone doesn't look like a supermodel doesn't mean they are lazy and fill their face with pizza and chocolate cake all day. I'm short and have a slow metabolism, so I tend to put on weight easily if I'm not careful. But I have friends who can eat tons of food and never gain a pound because they are tall and have high metabolisms. There are SO many factors to weight and body type it's not enough to simply say 'shame on you' for being fat and why don't you do something about it.

I myself am not entirely happy with my size and shape, and I could stand to lose a few lbs. However, as anyone who has tried to get in shape knows, it's easier said than done. It can be extremely hard to stick to a diet and exercise plan and falling off the wagon at one point or another is inevitable. But I'm human and I try my best. And articles like this - and magazines like Marie Claire period, in fact - certainly don't do wonders for the motivation. Hey Maura, your trite offer of "nutrition and fitness suggestions" are much appreciated *cue eye roll* but one might be more likely to take them seriously if you didn't precede them by describing those who could benefit from said suggestions as "fatties" that you find "gross" to look at.


Egads!! The truth finally comes out. Sarcasm aside, these are suggestions that could be found in any health publication or article and most people are aware of them already in any case so you're not bringing anything new to the table. This writer really is "clueless" (and I should point out that this is HER word, not mine - check out the 2nd paragraph!).

The bottom line here is, that yes there is a huge issue with obesity in our society but there's no quick fix for it. And the last thing that will help is continuing to make fat people feel worthless and guilty by shoving hurtful words and labels (like the ones mentioned in this article) and unrealistically "attractive" images down their throats and then turning around and pointing an accusatory finger in their faces. It's like that line from Cold Mountain (that for some reason has always stuck with me), it's as though "they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!'".

Obviously magazines and magazine writers are not to blame for the problem of obesity, I'm just saying they are certainly contributers to the issues surrounding it. I can't believe that, even after such an outcry has been raised in recent years, fashion magazines continue to be so out of touch with reality. I think it's particularly funny in Marie Claire's case because they are the only fashion magazine I know of that features a monthly column on full-figured fashion!! I thought Marie Claire was better than this, but apparently they are just as shallow and out of touch as all the others. Anyway, this is a whole other issue but bottom line is no one can deny that when it comes to the fashion industry, for all the envelope-pushing there is a sad lack of diversity.

Of course, the author obviously isn't entirely clueless, because she issued the following apology at the end of the article, clearly not long after the barrage of negative comments started):

I would really like to apologize for the insensitive things I've said in this post. Believe it or not, I never wanted anyone to feel bullied or ashamed after reading this, and I sorely regret that it upset people so much. A lot of what I said was unnecessary; it wasn't productive, either.
I know a lot of people truly struggle to lose weight— for medical and psychological reasons—and that many people have an incredibly difficult time getting to a healthy size. I feel for those people and I'm truly sorry I added to the unhappiness and pain they feel with my post.
I would like to reiterate that I think it's great to have people of all shapes and healthy sizes represented in magazines (as, it bears mentioning here, they are in Marie Claire) and on TV shows--and that in my post, I was talking about a TV show that features people who are not simply a little overweight, but appear to be morbidly obese. (Morbid obesity is defined as 100% more than their ideal weight.) And for whatever it's worth, I feel just as uncomfortable when I see an anorexic person as I do when I see someone who is morbidly obese, because I assume people suffering from eating disorders on either end of the spectrum are doing damage to their bodies, and that they are unhappy. But perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to judge based on superficial observations.
To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin. As I mentioned in the ongoing dialogue we’ve been carrying on in the comments section, I think that's an accurate insight.
People have accused me of being a bully in my post; I never intended to be that--it's actually the very last thing I want to be, as a writer or a person. But I know that I came off that way, and I really cannot apologize enough to the people whom I upset.

Sorry Maura, but I think it's a case of too little too late here. Ya know in court when the judge tells the stenographer to "strike that from the record"? Well, I've got news for you - it may mean the words will no longer appear on the page, but everybody still heard them.

*Sorry for the rant but this issue just really grinds my gears*

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manic Monday: Adaptation

This video I saw on the news this morning blew my mind! The amazing thing is not the cute tricks the dolphins are performing but the nature of those tricks. One of the dolphins used to be in a water attraction where it was trained to perform like this and it's believed that he/she has taught the other dolphins to perform the same way. How amazing is that?!

I know it's so nerdy but I just love animals; they fascinate and amaze me sometimes!

They are a hell of a lot smarter than many humans. Also, on another note, it was nice to see a happy, positive story on the news for a change.

Oh hai, lesser lifeform, I mean person

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Glow in the Art

The highlight of my weekend was something I've been looking forward to for a while - Saturday night was Nocturne night in Halifax! The subtitle for Nocturne is "art at night", but it was so much more - specifically over 100 art installations happening ALL OVER the city from 6pm to midnight, with everything completely free! There are versions of Nocturne in lots of other cities - Toronto, Paris - but I'm willing to bet ours could stand up to any of them.

A lot of people are ignorant and think Halifax is full of fishermen and naval officers, but there is a HUGE creative contingent here. There are actually a ton of artists, designers, musicians and other artistic types choosing to make a living (and their art) here. Um, hello we are home to one of the best art colleges in the country! It was nice to see these people (who, frankly, I think are often overlooked by the government at many levels in many ways) come out of the woodwork, so to speak, and come out loud and proud with extremely fun, thought-provoking, sometimes wierd art pieces and with the complete sanction and support of the city for a change.

I've always been into art - both making it and viewing it - and I don't think I could live without art in its many forms. Seriously, how do people go through life without ever going out there and absorbing art?! It's like water and air for me - it feeds my mind and my soul. My high expectations for the event were definitely met - we saw a lot and had a lot of fun.

I went with my bff Kim (yes, her name is Kim too...well actually Kim #2), her sister and her friend. We started out with a walking tour, which was honestly a tad boring because it was the first one of the night and a lot of the artists hadn't actually set up yet, plus there weren't many spectators yet either. However, we stuck with it down Barrington Street and up Spring Garden, ending at the YMCA on South Park Street where Kardio-Karaoke was taking place. I had read about this but considering anything with "karaoke" in the title generally makes me want to run and hide, I wasn't keen on doing it. However, my friend's-sister's-friend wanted to go in so we did and am I ever glad!

In case you couldn't figure it out by the name, Kardio-Karaoke involved participants singing karaoke while working out. This is one of those concepts that I thought was completely wierd and totally awesome all at the same time. I mean, it's just so ridiculous you can't help but smile and laugh at the concept and want to give it a try. So, yours truly, who is too chicken-shit to get up in front of a group and do ANYTHING let alone sing AND exercise, got on a stationary bike and sang "Don't Go Breaking my Heart" with her bff. Yes, that's right. Mind you, there was only about 6 other people in the room at the time so it was a lot less intimidating, but I'm still shocked I even went through with it. I have to say, I was quite proud of my bold sillyness. I would recommend singing karaoke while on a stationary bike to anyone! Unfortunately, the photographic evidence is on my friend's camera so I can't show it to you, but I'm sure you can use your imagination! (it really did happen, I swear!)

From there we went to the Public Gardens, which is normally closed to the public at night and I believe this is the first time an installation of this kind has been allowed in there, so we were really excited to see it. Highlights included the screen above which showed close-ups of various native Nova Scotian creatures (bugs, frogs, etc), a local "art rock band" playing in the gazebo, speakers tied to trees throughout the Gardens broadcasting nature sounds such as gurgling water, crickets, lit-up mini-watercrafts floating in the pond and changing colour/direction with the weather, etc. It was really neat to just wander around looking and listening - it felt like being in a wierd alternate universe like Wonderland or something!

Excuse the crappy photography - it was tough to get good shots in the dark and far back!
 Other highlights of the night included: Film-e-oke at the CBC building (we watched two people reenact the "Luke, I am your father" scene from Star Wars including foam "light sabres" by reading the lines off the screen. HILARIOUS!), a fun photo session with costumes (and fake moustaches!) at a local boutique (again, don't have the photo yet but will share when I do), the site of our new city library covered with lit-up pylons marking where the important interior spaces will be located, Halifax Circus performing aerial, juggling and fire tricks, and an extremely interesting exhibit of Nova Scotian film stills and photos from 1917-1957 at the Nova Scotia Archives (an exhibit that my buddy @laurenoostveen did an amazing job curating!).

All in all it was an exhilirating, titillating, strange, eye-opening, colourful, and crowded night! Can't wait until Nocturne 2011!

How was your weekend?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Manic Monday: Cat People

This is one of the funniest, truest articles I've read in a long time. And I really relate to it because I'm definitely a "crazy cat lady", I'm (almost) ashamed to admit. This is one of my favourite passages:

"Are there people who are completely insane about their dogs? Hordes. But cat people may as well have whiskers and tails themselves. That’s because their pets’ lack of social need taps straight into our worst fears as the human inhabitants of New York. Cats, after all, don’t have other cat friends. You can’t take them to the cat run. Cats and their owners are on a private, exclusive loop of affection. Thus cats have become symbolic of a community eschewed and a hyper-engagement with oneself. They represent the profound danger of growing so independent in New York that it’s not merely that you don’t need anyone — it’s that you don’t know how to need anyone.....
The upside to cat ownership is proximity to a sense of dignity, intelligence and lack of garish behavior. The downside is that a cat is something hidden, a secret that needs confessing as the doorknob turns. By the way, I’ve been to the doctor and it turns out … I have a cat."

Ahahah hilarious. Sloane Crosley is now one of my new favourite writers. You can check out her website to learn more about her and her writings or follow her on Twitter @askanyone

Cats are just the greatest, am I right?! Anyone?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

(Don't) Stop Til You Get Enough

I'm not a party animal. I'm also not a homebody. I'm somewhere in between (a tyan? a mebo?).

I like to have balance in my life, and that means making time for relaxing as well as working, watching tv as well as cleaning the house, hanging out with friends and spending time alone. I go a little nuts if I have too much of either side, i.e. too much time at home or by myself, or too much time out with other people. I need to temper each side with a little of the other to stay sane.

There are times when I wish I were a party animal, or that I was one of those people that can go and go and go and never (seemingly) take a break. I see people like that and I think "how the bleep do they do that?!"

But when it comes right down to it, balance is something I feel everyone needs. Maybe not as much as I do but in some measure. The fact is, those people that seem to be "doing it all" with so much ease will burn out eventually. It may not happen right away and they might not see it coming, but it will happen.

I've been in that place, feeling burned out, and it's not fun. It's also not healthy and makes you feel and look like crap, not to mention affects your performance and threatens the quality of time and effort you give to all those activities you are (ironically) racing around trying to get done. I also have friends that do this and they are some of the most unreliable, hard-to-get-a-hold of people I've ever met (although I love them). What good is it checking off all those things on your "to-do" list if you only talk to or see your friends (or have fun) once in a while, read: when all your to-do's are completed.

On the other hand, I know people who are "all play and no work", that never seem to do anything productive with their time (except drink and maybe stalk people on facebook...oh and eat all their parent's food) and I don't agree with this either. You know you can never rely on them for anything, except maybe relying on you for something.

I sympathize with both sides, but never want to be too much of either. Hence the need for balance.

This all being said, I would categorize myself as a "busy" person who likes to have her hands in many pots, To be honest I'm always doing something even when I'm doing nothing, if that makes any sense, and I get bored very very easily especially if I'm stuck inside or away from people for an extended period of time with nothing to read, watch, or listen to. However I've gotten a lot better at saying "no" to things I know I won't have time to contribute to. Nothing is worse than committing to something and then not being able to follow through, you almost always let someone down and feel shitty about yourself.

I also recognize that not only am I full of contradictions, I'm not perfect (I know, I was as shocked as you). I get lazy and procrastinate as much as the next person and I'm the WORST at starting things! It sometimes can take me forever to get to things that are not immediate priorities. I just try my best and recognize when I need to get things done and when I need down time.

Putting this into practice, I literally try to plan down time and "do stuff" time into my week - if I know I'm going to be out Tues and Wed night, I make sure I keep Thurs night as a "night in". Even if I haven't scheduled a relaxing evening or day, I pay attention to how I feel and if I get a portion of my tasks done and I'm feeling tired, I take a break. Even if it just means sitting and reading a magazine for 20 minutes, or grabbing a glass of water, it's still helpful to inject that little bit of tranquilizer into the moment and sloooow things down.

Obviously, there are some tasks and responsibilities that can't wait; they need to be done when they NEED to be done, not when I feel like it. Also, don't think I'm some kind of neurotic, OCD nutjob that schedules every minute of every day of her life (my condition is getting a lot better thanks to my new meds *I kid, I kid!*). However, it's important to realize that some things CAN wait, and you're not some kind of failure if you don't check every item off your list all at once. Give yourself a break.

I don't always practice what I preach but I try to give myself a break whenever I can. For the most part, this is how I try to live my life - with balance. And you should too - unless you have a questionable past, I'm assuming you are human (like me) and we humans can't do it all. It's ok to rest and relax once in a while - in fact, we need it.

Some of the things I do when I have a lot of energy are: housekeeping, blog or write articles, take a workout class (have tried Zumba a couple of times and love it!) or go for a walk, go shopping, put on funky music and dance my butt off and/or sing at the top of my lungs, go dancing/to the movies/out for supper, lunch, or coffee/to a fun event/on a quick roadtrip (with friends), make plans and lists, etc.

Some of the things I do when I don't have so much energy and want to relax: read (books and magazines - currently reading The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver and the latest issues of Vogue and Lucky - and the Saturday Globe and Mail if I happen to get a donation from mom), watch tv (current favs include Dexter, Project Runway, ANTM, Grey's Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, and Oprah once in a while - judge me all you want but her Farewell Season shows have been amazing so far!) or movies, take a yoga class (this could also go in the above category), kick around on the interwebs, grab a coffee at Chapters and wander around, call or email a friend, paint my nails, listen to jazz or classical music, etc.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to lay on the couch and watch tv. Yesterday I worked a long day, completed a writing test for a job opportunity, and went to choir last night so I've earned it!

What do you do to keep balance in your life? Are you someone who likes balance or not?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, I wish that we could stop this d-i-v-o-r-c-e

Ok, I know this is kind of a wierd photo and I debated posting it, but I just had to show - is this cake not disturbing?! I mean, I'm all for finding humour in a crappy situation, but methinks this might be pushing it a tad far? Thoughts?
Ok, I know I've been blabbing on about marriage a lot lately. I swear to god I'm not obsessed with it, it's just an issue that I find interesting, especially in these times. Also, since I'm a child of divorce I have a unique, albeit cynical, perspective on it.

That's right, I come from a broken home. Poor me.

I'm kidding of course. To be honest, knowing what I know now, my parents getting divorced was (take a deep breath) THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME. And to my mom. I firmly believe I wouldn't be half as mature, independent, and close to my mom as I am now if my parents stayed together.

That being said, divorce is never something I would wish on anyone because it can be an extremely confusing, conflicting and traumatizing, especially for the children involved. An extremely disruptive life event like a divorce can have lasting effects that people try to alleviate by hopping from couch to couch or bed to bed.

Divorce effing sucks.

Which is why, even though I have a rather cynical, untraditional viewpoint on marriage and part of me is grateful I went through one, it really saddens me whenever I hear of couples divorcing. Especially couples that have kids and that have been together for decades.

It even saddens me when I hear that it's happened to people I've never met, never will meet, and generally speaking, don't give a crap about. For example, recent celeb break-ups that have shocked me include Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (though I don't think they were actually married, but they were together for 20-some years, so it's basically the same thing). It sounds dumb that I would be shocked and saddened over some dumb celebs relationships breaking up, but I can't help it!

My initial reaction is honestly one of disappointment because, in the words of (my future husband) Tim Gunn they just seemed to "make it work"! I mean, what happened?! You were together for half your lives! You have kids together! Why, god, why?!

Then my initial disappointment turns (as most things in my mind do once they've percolated through my brain for a bit) to cynicism. I was thinking about it today, in fact, and the first conclusion I came to was something like, "well, celebrities have it soooo easy when it comes to divorce!". I mean, think about it: they have enough money that they can get the paperwork done practically overnight, even if their ex-spouse takes them for everything they have they still have more money than I'll probably make in my lifetime, and the kids would have been messed up anyway with that kind of upbringing so might as well get the dysfunction over with! And I feel a bit bad saying this, but part of me feels like a lot of people get divorced because it's an "easy way out", and they can avoid actually sitting face to face and DEALING with their problems.

This really got a train of thought going, though - are break-ups really easier for celebrities than for regular Joe's like you and me? There is definitely a voice inside that screams out "yes" mainly due to the compelling financial argument (I don't care what anyone says, having a lot of money makes a lot of things easier). And given their hectic, ego-driven lives, it seems likely they would rather get their hair highlighted and go tanning than talk and work through adult issues.

However, (at the risk of going all Dr. Phil-osophical on you) say what you will about celebrities but they are still human (well most of them). They still have feelings, fears, insecurities, and emotional baggage. They can still have their hearts broken. Trust me, I'm normally the LAST person to ever sympathize with a celebrity or defend them, but I can't help but feel sorry for some of them sometimes (obviously excluding those sociopaths that get married and divorced merely for publicity), especially when I picture me dealing with the pain and upheaval of my parents' divorce completely in the public eye.

No, thank you.

The fact is, divorce sucks no matter who you are. Chances are having the money to hire the best lawyer in the country probably wouldn't have helped my mom make my dad pay child support and other money he legally owed her. Chances are it wouldn't have saved her years of in-an-out court battles. Chances are my dad would have still drank his life away even if he was a celebrity, and frankly he probably would have done it faster. Chances are I would still have the "issues" with men that have roots in the absence of a male role model in my life, the only difference being I might have just partied them away until I burned out.

Then again, with a bank account similar to Christina Aguilera's my mom could have hired a hitman to take out the trash then escape to a life of anonymity a remote South Pacific island and been done with it.

That would have been a nice advantage.

*I KNEW there had to be a song about divorce!! And a country song - shocker!! See, there's always a silver lining with me*

Monday, October 11, 2010

Manic Monday: Thankful

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has - Epictetus

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! In honour of this holiday (which isn't all about consuming large amounts of carb-laden foods), here are a few things I'm currently thankful for:

My awesome mom and sister * Having "the country" so close to home * Fresh Cox's Orange apples * Pumpkin cheesecake squares * Blogging * My amazing landlords * Books * 3 Day Weekends, and more to that 4 Day Workweeks * Sunshine * Long overdue Skype calls * Leftover Thanksgiving dinner i.e. not cooking for the whole week * Fall colours * Great horoscopes * Watching friends make positive changes in their lives * Nocturne this weekend! * The Amazing Race * Soft and cuddly kitty cats!

And just because it's funny and awesome, a little Canadian Thanksgiving Treat

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our House (is a very very very Fine House)

The street is named after a city in Ireland (Dublin). The vertical streets running north are all named after European cities, in fact - Vienna, Berlin, Edinburgh, London, Liverpool - and are full of old homes between 60-100 years old. When the Halifax Explosion occurred, almost this entire end of the city was flattened. Entire neighbourhoods had to be rebuilt, and many of these homes sprung up as part of that movement.

The streets are not only filled with beautiful homes, but with quaint coffee shops, book shops, and small restaurants. This "North End" was always the "slummy" part of town but it's really come a loooong way in the past few years and it now has a young, hip, artsy, granola sensibility to it, which is awesome. There are constantly people walking dogs and pushing strollers, yet there's hardly any traffic noise most days and it's quiet enough to hear a pin drop at night. Despite this tranquility, it's within a 30 minute walk to many of the main attractions and thoroughfares in town.

There is a huge, lovely church across the street, which (even if you don't visit it) is nice to look at.

View outside my living room window - Winter 2009
  The streets are lined on either side with huge, old, majestic trees that envelope the cars, homes and people below in a comforting avenue and remind them of just how long they have been around.

Fall 2009
This is where I live and I love it.

What do you love about where you live?

This entry is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Falling in Love (is hard on the knees)

I was reading this post on one of my favourite blogs today (as I often do...well, if you call every day often), writing a comment in agreement with her post, and I realize I had an opinion I wanted to run with (again as I often do). So...well, I suppose it would be easier for me if I just showed you rather than told you - here's my comment (you may wanna also read the post linked above so that you get the gist of the issue being discussed):

I totally agree with all your points above! I’m going to be 26 in December and I’m single and NOWHERE CLOSE to getting married anytime soon. I live in my own place and have for over 1 year and a half, and seriously (though it sucks being broke a lot of the time) it was one of the best decisions ever. And this is coming from someone who FIRST moved out with her bf of only 8 mths when neither of them had ever lived on their own. BAD IDEA!! As you can imagine, we only lasted another 5 or 6 mths after that, but the good news is we’re now good friends and I got the chance to live totally on my own and I’ve grown so much. I was always a mature person, but I’ve matured even more and realized just how tough and perserverant I am. It’s been much easier to “find myself” without someone else “distracting” me…..hmm you know what?! This has my brain going, I’m going to do a whole post on this!! haha xo *

*(And AGAIN as I often do, I wrote a novel when a 3 sentence comment would do)

As promised, I'm going to continue my comment in this post. I feel like talking about this issue is a bit like beating a dead horse (I've discussed this issue before on my blog and other issues similar to it), but I also think there's a reason for that. This is an issue that I'm constantly confronted with at this stage in my life and it frustrates me.

I'm just going to come right out with it...

WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY in the 21st-century do young women STILL place so much importance on getting married?! On having a wedding?! I. Don't. Get. It.

Now before you jump down my throat, I'm not saying getting married or having a wedding is a BAD thing. In fact, I love weddings - they can be really fun, romantic and elegant events and I think if you've found someone you are committed to loving for life that it's wonderful to celebrate that with your loved ones.

However, I don't think getting married or having a wedding is something that someone HAS to do.
I don't think it's something that should be rushed into.
I don't think it's something that one should pay the equivalent of the GDP of CHINA for.
I don't think you should revolve your entire wedding around other people and what they feel is best.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that wedding marketing as a whole is primarily targeted to women. NOT to couples. Women. Of course, part of the reason for this is that the brides traditionally manage the majority of the wedding planning. However, I also feel it's because women just care about weddings more.

And why not?! You get to be a princess for a day, you get to be the centre of attention and of a large circle of love and admiration, you get to dress up more elegantly than you ever have before.

But in the end it's just a wedding. It's one day of your life. I'm not saying it's not an important day, but it's not THE MOST important. People seem to forget that the wedding is over pretty quick and that you have a lifetime (if all works out) to look forward to afterwards. I mean what's more important, one perfect day or a hundred thousand great ones (with a few shitty ones thrown in for good measure - c'est le vie, non')?

Anyway, I want to make it very clear that I'm not wedding or bride bashing here. I'm just trying to provide some perspective because (as I mentioned) it seems to me that lately I'm surrounded by "wedding talk" in various forms. And by lately I mean pretty much ever since I turned 24. Perhaps it's just me, but I doubt it. I've talked to others my age (both attached and not) and I'm not alone in my opinions.

When it comes right down to it, my motto is "to each his (or her) own". I just know that a wedding (and a marriage) is not necessarily something I want. I'm not saying it's something I DON'T want. I'm just not sure. And I guess I'm just not in any rush. I realize I am single and "haven't met the right person" (as people keep telling me) but even if I had, I feel that it wouldn't matter because this is a time of self-discovery. I'm enjoying being on my own because it's allowing me to connect to the person that (ultimately) I'm truly stuck with for life -  ME! I feel like I'm still figuring myself out, what I want, what I don't want, where I want to be in 5 or 10 years, settling into the perfect career for me, etc. In other words, I'M LIVING, or trying to. I don't know that I want a wedding because I don't know what I want in life!

This is a time for commitment to me, as cheesy as that sounds. Do I want to settle down eventually? Well, of course I do. Of course I want to find a special person who "gets" me and that I "get", that respects me and encourages me, and who makes me a better person. I want to build a life with someone and have a companion to talk to and build a portfolio of experiences with. I'm human, and ALL humans want this.

But, when it comes right down to it, I don't need a piece of paper with some signatures on it and an overpriced buffet dinner to prove that I love someone and want to commit to them forever. I can just tell them this myself (and him to me) and save a lot of money and stress (did I mention save money?). Also, I guess it's not about not wanting a wedding, it's about wanting a wedding that is "me", and that means "non-traditional".

Gah, who knows?! I'm a cynic, I'm the first one to admit that, so perhaps I just need to lighten up.

Seriously though, to all of you past brides and brides-to-be out there, to all of you who are currently swooning over invitations and seating plans or have in the past, to all of you who have found the person you believe to be "the one", I just want to say this: Congratulations. I'm happy for you. Enjoy. You are very lucky.

But if one more of you looks at me with a pouty face and says "aw, don't worry, you'll find someone too" (or something similar) I swear to God I will slap that pretty white tulle off your head so fast it'll make your head spin straight into your Silver Anniversary party.

(Please don't hurt me, ladies)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Manic Monday: Escaping

“Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure on a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off, with one mighty effort, the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares, and the slavery of Home.” - Sir Richard Francis Burton (who was a pretty cool cat by the sounds of it - observe: Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (19 March 1821 – 20 October 1890) was an English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures. According to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian, and African languages.[1]
(Ummmmm, WORD?!)

This quote is from this amazing article that appeared in The Globe and Mail this past Saturday. If you like to travel, have been craving escape or just plain like reading moving sentences, this article is definitely recommended reading.