Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday Musings: Miley & Modesty

You know how I know I'm old? In the wake of Miley's VMA performance last night I am more heartbroken for her than disgusted by her. Admittedly I didn't even see the whole thing. Not because I'm too righteous that I immediately turned the channel, but because I'm easily distracted so I'm sure I got wrapped up in a very important text to Allison about how my two crushes (JT and Bruno) were both performing, be still my heart. If you haven't seen it, please don't go back and watch it because the reality is, there's not one single positive thought that can result from it. Case in point: The part that I did see, I noted how jiggly her legs looked. Y'all. She's maybe a size 00 on a day that she's bloated and the first thing I noticed was how her legs shook when she danced. Keep your stones in your glass house, Heather.

If one thing is for certain, she sure does have people talking. Perhaps she accomplished her goal. I cannot for the life of me though believe that in the core of her soul, the chatter blowing up Facebook and trending on Yahoo is what she really wanted. Who really wants to be questioned or ridiculed or pitied? So why am I adding to the yammer? Maybe it's because I'm female. Maybe it's because every day since I have  been a "grown up", I have worked on college campuses full of 18-22 year old young women. Maybe it's because one day I'll raise a girl or two. Even though the easiest and initial response is to immediately begin some intense praying for boys only if I'm ever going to be a mama because raising a girl seems so hard. But the truth is, we were made to do hard things and we are required to do so during our lives. It could be something like sharing an opinion publicly when we typically don't or living a life of influence so that the little eyes who see and ears who hear, see and hear positive things. In short, we can't take the easy way out because we're smarter than that.

Sometimes taking the easy way out is dismissing the things that the celebreties do by chalking it up to them being "child stars" or "having more money than maturity" or the simply the intense pressure of "being in the public eye". Similar choices and behaviors extend far beyond Hollywood. It doesn't really matter if the audience is 1 or 1 million, the scars that result from the choices we make run deep in the heart that lives in us.

I think another easy response is to just say "well, she's an adult, she should've known better" and leave it at that. Without turning this into a church service, I am so thankful that God doesn't just shrug his shoulders and wash his hands of me every time I do something that I should know better than to do simply because I'm adult. Maybe what matters most is not how or why someone ended up in a bunny suit kissing the booty of a gigantic stuffed thong-wearing bunny [seriously, don't waste your time watching this, just trust me when I say it went down something like that because I could not make that up if I tried], but now that she is there, what does she need and what can we do to get her back into some below the finger tip length silk boxing shorts and a full-sized sports bra? [Katy Perry reference for those of you with a bedtime or without cable]

Um, I hope you're not expecting me to provide the answers. I'm the one asking the questions. But I will go out on a limb and say that it's got to start with us who are comfortable in our mid-30's+ skin so that it will filter down to the younger ladies.

If I ever have a daughter, I hope that I do not teach her that men are pigs but that women are powerful. Some of you may bristle when you read this but just hear me out, please. By no means am I about to go off on some "I am woman hear me roar" tangent. Nor am I totally giving men a pass but let's be honest, we ladies know that there are times when we can ahem...use what we've been given to get something we want. We all know that with great power comes responsibility. It's up to us to stop the abuse of power. If we want to be taken seriously by the male population in general, we have to make it impossible for them to treat us any other way. Because men are such visual beings, I'm primarily referring to our wardrobe choices. Look, I'm not saying go all Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie when it comes to wardrobe. You can still be a sassy and trendy and classy dresser with your Loft colored jeans and v-neck ruffle shirts. BUT, modesty isn't dead.  

Speaking of, I think sometimes we have a hard time believing that being modest and being sexy do not have to be mutually exclusive of each other. The same woman can possess both traits. It's just that the sexy traits should be presented before a very exclusive audience. And by audience, I mean one. Within that context, I'll go so far as to say that it makes her even sexier.

Because I think in the most bizarre analogies possible, think about the last time you went to Sam's Club. Were they handing out samples of meatballs dunked in that oh so delicious grape jelly/worchestershire sauce potion or were they handing out prime cuts of wagyu beef? Which event would you remember more? The meatball sample during the monthly trip to Sam's or that one really awesome $700 dinner with the wagyu beef? In other words, when it comes to being remembered by men, do you want to be the Sam's Club meatball that's really not that unique and is lounging in the crockpot with all the others simply waiting to be taken? I hope not. And guess what? It's not just the fancy presentation on the plate but the actual substance that  makes one remember something long term. I believe that Ashton Kutcher's acceptance speech at the Teen Choice awards was spot on. I really hope he means it. Because I'm tired and therefore a bit lazy, please open a new window and search "Ashton Kutcher Teen Choice Awards Acceptance Speech". While you're watching things, please take a second to watch Jessica Rey's talk on The Evolution of the Swimsuit. Very interesting, if you like a scientific perspective.  

Also if I ever have a daughter, I hope that she knows she's beautiful. To know it, she has to be told it. I may be wrong but I believe it's absolutely ok and appropriate to tell a little girl that she's beautiful. As long as that's not the only thing she's ever told. Because she will be that and so much more. She also needs to be told why she's beautiful. Not because of her thick golden locks or her deep blue eyes but because of her kind heart and her generous spirit. Those traits are what sustains beauty. And instills confidence. I want her to be confident that it's ok to be a brainy beauty. I want the same for Miley too.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Spoon in My Purse

Earlier this morning when I was cleaning out my purse (aka, The Receipt Graveyard), I discovered a spoon. No officer, I have no idea how long it's been in there but I promise it's one from my own collection. Rest assured, you're not dealing with a klepto wreaking havoc on the flatware supply at local eateries. I might have also found a contact lens case, bottle of nail polish and tweezers. If ever I'm dropped onto the set of a reality survival show with only my purse, I'm confident that I would give the likes of Bear Grylis a run for their money.

After that little exercise in sanity restoration, as I was out running I came to the conclusion that the contents of my purse is actually a pretty accurate illustration of my summer: chaotic, unorganized, but full of some pretty good stuff. I'm thinking the same thing you are - "Is she really drawing parallels between her purse and a season? Where is she going with this?" Yes, I am, and your guess is as good as mine.

Work is always a little bit nutso during the summer. This summer was nutso times infinity. Yes, that measure is totally valid and reliable. In the grand scheme of things, my job is a great one. I'm hoping for no more summers like this one though. On the days I managed to escape for meetings or lunch, upon return I was often greeted in the parking lot by folks with questions. Which is awesome considering how sunny and rain free this summer was. My lunch served a dual-purpose as conditioning for my next career as a competitive eater. I've managed to take a full 20 seconds off of scarfing down a turkey sandwich. Actually I have no idea about that because who has time to time something? There have been many times though when I had to take a Zach Morris time out to keep things in perspective. My work is important and it matters and I cannot lose sight of that for my students, but at the same time, I am not a surgeon with a patient on a table bleeding out in front of me.

Speaking of perspective, I think more often than not, we tend to remember the stressors of life far more than we remember the sweet spots. I mean, for the love of pete, I just rambled on about my first-world problems ranging from the excessive junk in my purse all the way to having to hurry to eat my lunch so that I could get back to work because I have the ability to help folks with something pertaining to their college education.

Regarding the sweet spots, I am thankful that this summer served up many opportunities for times with precious friends and family. It's not the places we went or the meals we ate or the musicians we saw that I will remember most, but it will be the people I was with and the conversations and laughter shared when doing all of those fun things. By nature I'm a bit of a planner and I love my routine and my daily schedule as much as any good Type A, first-born, basically only-child does. As I look back on this summer though, some of the best times were the spontaneous ones. My mama said to me the other day "oh Heather, just roll with it." To which I promptly replied "I did not plan on spontaneity today." [Did I end up following her advice? Yes. What she right all along? Oh, probably.]

As a proponent of less is more, I realize that there's no time like the present to stop yammering on endlessly. Now that I'm at the end the whole thing seems a bit scattered and chaotic. But "you know, Neitzsche says 'out of chaos comes order'". Here's hoping Blazing Saddles (and Neitzsche) is right.