Category Archives: women

Stuff…and Things

Mostly because it’s been a rough August, and a rough year. For a lot of us…

For my favorite Dookie fighter!!

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And if you’re having a bad day, just remember…

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Believe in a little magic….

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…and find something that brings a smile to your face!

(And if you’re bored, my Tumblr has so cool stuff! I forget about it and then scroll back thru and find more treasures!)

Happiness

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Kara tagged me in a little challenge where I’m supposed to list things that make me happy.

Official Rules:

List
5. Things that make you happy.

5. Songs that make you happy.
5. Bloggers that make you happy. Let them know you nominate them and you are done.

So, here we go….

 

5 Things that make me happy

1.  My kid(s). (I actually have 3 kids, but the older two are graduated and out in the world trying to figure out how to be grown ups, so I have the youngest….13, homeschooled, and with me way too much)

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2.  My kitties. I have 3 furry rescues =) (and yes, this is how I sleep)

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3.  I love living on the East Coast, just outside of DC, and all of the awesome stuff in the DMV.

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4. I love my Grey’s. (But if you’ve read more than 2 of my blogs, you already knew that! 😉 )

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5. I love all things fandom, geeky, and super hero (ish). Alice in Wonderland, Marvel, dragons, magic, and gaming.

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5 songs that make me happy

Oh, Gawd….if you knew me, you’d know my heartbeat is actually a base line. Music runs through my blood, instead of….you know….red blood cells. I was a dancer in another life.

1. Landing in London ~ 3 Doors Down

 

2. Heathens ~ Twenty One Pilots

 

3. F*ckin Perfect ~ P!nk (I actually have lyrics from this one tattooed on me)

 

4.  Rise Up ~ Andra Day

 

5.  Lose Yourself ~ Eminem (I could list songs all day….I have 395 songs on my phone, and if you got a hold of my playlists, you might wonder how many people live in here with me. But this one got me through some tough times…)

 

5 Bloggers that make me happy

1.  Kara:  @https://polishingdookie.wordpress.com/blog/ (this is her fault….but she’s a pretty awesome chick and a fellow military minion)

2. Johnna:  @https://painkills2.wordpress.com/ (fellow pain survivior and fighter of the pharma/pain meds drug war bs)

3. Pamela:  @https://livinginalimitedworld.com/ (strong, amazing, inspirational)

4.  Megan: @https://meganelizabethmorales.wordpress.com/ (smart, funny, relateable)

5.  LeeLee:  @https://leeleebot.wordpress.com/ (TN fighter/survivor….we gotta stick together)

So….yeah….go forth and be happy.

In The News

This is completely off topic from what I created my blog for and what I usually write about. But I feel like it’s important enough to be shared. To be talked about.

If you’ve ever been through a trauma, this is going to hurt. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, this is going to hurt. If you have a daughter, this is going to hurt. Because if it were my daughter writing this statement, I’d kill somebody.

If you’re a woman, this is going to hurt. If you love someone, this is going to hurt.

Too many women I know have some kind of story to tell, me being one of them.

I have also been through something that ended in PTSD symptoms like the author describes, but it’s a completely different scenario. I’m not comparing my experiences to hers, I’m just saying I know what nightmares, and lack of sleep, and sleeping with the lights on, and fear, and desperation feel like to me.

This is going to take 20 or 30 minutes to read, longer depending on how fast you read or how many times you have to stop and breathe. But read it.

The girl at Stanford.

It’s Just ‘See You Later’….

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I don’t know where you go when you’re done here, but I gotta believe it’s somewhere better than this.

One month ago we lost a beautiful soul. She was smart, and brave, and amazing. And in the end she left a world that was too hard and too heavy, and it had too many sharp edges on it. I sent up balloons to Heaven and I told her that I hoped she was happy and at peace and finally free of the demons that eventually won this round.

My grief streaks down my face when I close my eyes and whisper to her “What I wouldn’t give to have been able to take more of your pain for you….” I knew her as well as anyone knows anyone else…..and maybe a little bit better than that because my soul and her soul were not so terribly different.

I miss my friend. I miss my sister. I miss the one I got in trouble with because we kept cracking ourselves up at what was supposed to have been a very serious “bridal shower” (and everything is always WAY funnier when you’re not supposed to be laughing).

We fought. We forgave. We connected. We loved. I have a tattoo on my left arm inspired by her. “Ana’laigh”, Gaelic for “breathe”. I got it for my own reasons, but inspired by her. Now I think I’ll get something just for her…..I don’t know just what yet.

Her kids and my kids played together when they were younger and before life sent us in different directions at different times. I think we always say “I wish I would have had more time….” when someone we love passes away.

 

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I miss you Bren….I hope you know love, and peace, and happiness, and calm now. No more pain. No more fear. Just fly and be free….

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High School Never Ends

Social media is a weird place. (And yes, actually, I do get the irony of me typing that sentence into a blog.) On one hand it’s a great tool to stay in touch with loved ones, family, and friends because we are a more global society than ever before. But mostly, it seems like it’s the corner of the gym at an eighth grade dance. Everybody is standing off to the side in their own little clique, staring down all the other groups and being judgy.

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How many people do you have on your Facebook “friends” list that you don’t talk to very often? Or at all? How people are following you on Twitter or Instagram don’t know you? Or don’t know you now, because you’re not the same nerd they graduated high school with?

I have people on my personal Facebook (because I also have the FB page for my cause/blog, XwF) that I haven’t heard from in over a year or more. These are people I would have called good friends at one time, but we’ve gone different directions, or we don’t have the same things in common anymore, or I’ve done something that leaves them smirking at me like we’re all in middle school. I know that I have “friends” on Facebook that have quit following my postings and staying in contact with me because I have committed some great atrocity of social ineptitude. In other words, I have done or said something that let them feel superior and because we’re girls and high school never really ends, they’ve gone off and don’t talk to me anymore. But they don’t “unfriend” me because then they would look shallow and catty.

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I realize that by saying these things I look like I’m the one being snarky. But I also know that if I have one great flaw, it’s that I tend to be too honest. I find that I prefer brutal honesty over velvet covered lies. And people don’t like that. I can be tactful, but I am real, and honest to a fault, and people find that uncomfortable.

This was never more apparent or more true than eight years ago when I left my husband. I was miserable and desperate, and if we’re being brutally honest here (and we do), I was suicidal. I left when I realized that I had planned out every detail of jumping off the local bridge. I left because I have three kids and I didn’t want them to have to say “my mom committed suicide”. But no one asked me why I left. I was judged and abandoned.

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I survived that year, and found myself, and swore that I would never lose my identity or any of the truths that I know about myself again in the name of being socially appropriate. I know that I can come off as a little prickly or aloof at first if you don’t know me. And I know that I am as raw and as real as it gets, and that can be tough to take.

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And those people that don’t talk to me anymore? It really does boil down to high school social BS. If you judge me because I post something about being exhausted in the middle of family functions, and you smirk about how ridiculous that is because you’re busier than I am on a regular basis, have you taken into account that I’m living with a brain tumor? If you move away from me in our social circle because I’m not conservative enough, that’s okay with me. I’ve had some really great friendships that relied on the ability to leave out politics and religion because we shared enough other similarities. But I’ve seen those fizzle out too.

Life happens. People grow and change. Often for the better, but not always. Friendships grow and die. People move through your life.

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Pluses and Minuses

I was reading through my homepage today, which includes news stories and of course some celebrity gossip, and there was an article about weight gains and losses of celebrities. Some for movie roles, some because something had changed in that particular person’s life, or simply because [insert celebrity] had started working with a nutritionist and/or trainer. I’m scrolling through the story and thinking “I know a little more about gaining and losing weight these days. I have a story too.”

If you met me today, you’d never guess that I have lost 50 pounds. That’s the thing I’ve noticed. If you meet someone at a particular weight or size, often people don’t think that person has ever been a different size. Especially if they’re not a very big person. So to meet me now you’d never guess that I’ve lost and gained roughly 60 pounds in one direction or another. I’ve been all the way down to about 93 pounds and all the way up to almost 160 pounds. (And yes, I recognize that the average American woman weighs about that, and I know that most people avoid specific numbers when asked about their weight because no matter what the number is you’ll be judged for it. But in the interest of sharing my story I’m including a few numbers.) (Oh, and for reference I’m 5’4″.)

Those numbers are weights I have been at as an adult, and yes, they signify the extremes of one end or the other for me. I haven’t been under 100 pounds since my early 20’s and I was that thin because I was going through a tough time and I’m one of those women that doesn’t eat when stress/major life changes/something big hits.

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1995, at my thinnest

I met my husband and made my way through my 20’s, got married and we decided to have one more child. Settling down, pregnancy, and some medical issues later I reached my highest weight. And then I got told I had a birth defect that would eventually result in me needing a hip replacement at an early age. As in the doctors were hoping I’d make it to 40 before needing surgery. I lost 50 pounds, but I still only made it to 34 before I ran out of time and it was hip surgery or losing the ability to walk.

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2003, at my heaviest weight (size 14/16)

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2007, right before my hip surgery (size 2)

When I say that I lost 50 pounds, I think it’s important to emphasize that I didn’t go on any crazy fad diets or take diet pills. I lost the weight the old fashioned way, the hard way. I learned how to cook differently. I cut out soda, fast food, and junk food. I counted calories and I worked out every day. I started out not being able to walk more than about 1/2 mile and worked my way up to being able to bike 12 miles or walk 4 miles in 45 minutes. I learned how to take care of myself, how to cook differently, and how to make healthier choices. The side benefit to all of this was that my kids were just old enough to see the changes, and now a decade later, they know how to make healthier choices for themselves.

These days I’ve gained a few pounds back, but I still weigh less than I did when I got married. I’m always seeing articles criticizing celebrities and public figures for every single pound they gain or lose. There is always some new fad diet or scary hard workout idea. I campaign quite a bit for loving oneself and focusing on being healthy. No more photoshopping or berating someone for having a body. People come in all shapes and sizes. I see women killing themselves trying to be “thin enough” or meet some ridiculous ideal and it scares me because I don’t ever want my daughters to base their worth on their weight.

I share my story because I think it’s important for women to realize that just because someone is a certain size now doesn’t mean she might not have more in common with you than you think. I have been as small as a size 2 and as big as a size 14/16 and every size in between. Just because I’m not as big as I once was doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it’s like to fight with your weight. It’s hard enough just being a woman in today’s society. I hope that we can drop some preconceived ideas and support each other!

❤ ~ Xun

Because Who Is Perfect?

The Dove real beauty campaign. Total beauty. Run way models. Magazines and catalogs. Fashion ads. Photoshop. And the media’s more recent spearing of the ideals that the fashion industry is shoving down our throats.

Everywhere women look they see images of what they’re “supposed” to look like. And how to get rid of wrinkles, defeat cellulite, lose weight, wear the right make up, wear the right clothes. You’re not thin enough. You’re not young enough. It’s no wonder that eating disorders are on the rise and Americans spend 50 BILLION dollars on diet crap and self-help everythings.

It’s shocking to realize that because of Barbie, all of the oh-so-attractive kids on all the Disney shows, and the fashion industry going after young girls (thongs for 7 year olds, anybody?? courtesy of Ambercrombie) that girls as young as first grade are worried about gaining weight. By 6th grade, these same girls are on a diet. I don’t know about you, but NOT in my house would I ever allow that to happen. I have dedicated my life to raising my kids and doing whatever it took to give them the tools they need as they grow up, and that means telling my girls over and over and over that they are beautiful, no make up or designer clothes required, just they way they are.

I read a lot of articles shaming the fashion industry, the make up companies, and the clothes manufacturers for what they present to women. Nobody actually looks like that….

The models don’t even look like that. And yes, we’ve seen some corporations fight back. The Dove Real Beauty campaign has done a lot to fight back against unreachable ideals for women. The Fourth Trimester Project is another great campaign. And most recently I fell in love with the Pro Infirmis project.  Because women don’t look like this….

Nobody does. It’s not possible. But because of these unrealistic images that girls are assaulted with on a  daily basis, the incidence of eating disorders has doubled in the US in the last 30 years. Girls as young as 7 are developing distorted body image ideals and eating disorders. It’s estimated that 4-5% of Americans will develop an eating disorder and 4 in every 1,000 die from it. These girls are literally starving themselves to death trying to be thin enough, pretty enough. 
But there are people fighting back. News outlets, corporations, and individual women.

Love yourself. Accept your own natural beauty. There’s no way you’d ever allow someone else to talk to you the way you talk to yourself! I know this from personal experience. Why is it that I can see a picture of my friend, my daughter, my mother, my sisters and all I see are their beautiful eyes? Or how smart, funny, strong, or kind they are. But when I see a picture of myself, all I see is a frozen mirror that I can pick apart. Those laugh lines around my eyes? Oh-em-gee I look old. Those scars? I don’t see the story, just the ugly line.

And I should. I should see that those lines around my eyes mean I have laughed. I should see that that scar above my lip is part of my story. And that 6 inch scar on my left hip that I’m always covering up? That’s my miracle. Because of that surgery I can still walk. I’m going to choose to be grateful for it instead of thinking it’s an ugly thing that needs to be covered up.

I took part in the #barefacedbeauty bit because I think it’s important for my friends, my daughters, my sisters to see someone baring themselves and being vulnerable to see beyond the make up we hide behind so that they can see their own beauty. I uploaded a picture of myself on social media with no make up on, not even lip gloss, and I hope to inspire the women in my life to do the same.

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After doing my hair and make up for the day.

Ladies, LOVE yourself. I see my best friends and all I see are amazing, strong women. Those scars on her belly? She survived cancer and I think they’re beautiful. Those stretch marks? She had healthy twin boys. Those are her stripes and she earned them! I see pictures of my daughters and they are amazing. Photos of my sisters and my friends mean that they have laughed, cried, loved, been loved, and done a hell of a lot more than just survive.

And who gets to tell you you’re not perfect anyway??