Ranting on a Monday

I keep seeing these DUMB things in the news about Japanese social media trends where girls are taking pictures to show that their waist is skinnier than a piece of paper or that their legs are thinner than an iPhone screen.

And today in the news, The Japan Society of Eating Disorders reports that treatment for eating disorders in Japan is “inadequate” and that the pressure to be thin has “gone too far.” Well DUH guys.

As someone who has navigated the ins and outs of disordered eating, I like to keep up with this stuff. I am passionate about it. But it’s not something people like to talk about. Like any mental illness, it’s an uncomfortable topic that often goes unnoticed until it’s almost too late.

I suppose I could share articles and rant about my thoughts on my own social media, but would that really do any good? For today, I just need to get some thoughts out, so here is where I’ll put them.

It is our every day thoughts and actions that cause things like this to happen. It’s a side comment from a family member, teacher or coach, who maybe meant no harm at all, maybe not even directed at you, that spirals into thoughts of “I need to be better” and “Why do I look like this?”

Of course we already know it’s about being constantly bombarded with images of seemingly perfect-looking people and ads for weight loss nonsense, but it’s a lot deeper than that. It’s the way people talk about body image. I’m all for body positivity, but why does it have to be such a big deal? Why do we make such a big deal about putting “plus size” women in Sports Illustrated? I mean, that’s great. But talking about how it “makes history” and how she’s a role model for plus size women everywhere is just more labeling and objectifying.

Constantly hearing things like, “she must have gained weight” or “she’s so skinny” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “you’re wasting away over there” or ANYTHING relating to body image is what causes this to happen. People often think they’re giving a compliment, but they don’t realize the damage it can do.

I recently got fitted for a bridesmaid dress and the woman that was measuring me would not stop making comments about my body. “You’re so tall! I can’t believe how tall you are! How tall are you? You’re like a good tall though, not like a bulky, football player tall.” Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but come on, what does that even mean? It made me so uncomfortable. So much so that I’m still thinking about it weeks later.

If it were up to me, no one would talk about it at all. In my opinion, in order for this to get better, the focus on body image needs to end.

I definitely don’t think I’m going to change the world or anything, but I sometimes wish I had the courage to call people out when this happens. I’ve at least tried to explain it to those that I am close to, but I’m still not sure that people get it.

In my perfect world, it would all go away. There would be no Meghan Trainor songs about skinny bitches, no stupid articles about “how to shop for jeans based on your figure,” no entire magazine issues geared towards plus-sized women and no ad campaigns claiming to only use “real, un-retouched models.” My examples mostly have to do with women (because I am one so that’s what I pay attention to), but this definitely affects all genders.

I know what it’s like to put immense pressure on yourself to be perfect, whatever your definition of perfect may be. I’ve done it my entire life. But I’ve finally realized that what you look like on the outside doesn’t matter. It’s how you feel on the inside. If your brain and your body are healthy, you can put two feet on the ground every morning, then who the F cares? Be whoever you want to be.

I guess the point of this is: be mindful of what you say. You never know who could be listening and take it to heart. Also I am scared to post this, but I will anyway.

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Things I want to do

This is a list of things I want to do. I’m putting them here in hopes that it will encourage me to actually accomplish them.

Paint more – I have SO much painting and art supplies that just sit around. I’ve made progress on this recently. I have some visions. I feel a watercolor phase coming on…

Read more books – This is currently a work in progress. I downloaded the Goodreads app in hopes that it will help me read more real books. So far I’m doing pretty well, thank you Hennepin County Library. I need to get better at reading on my iPad, but I just prefer holding an actual book and turning real paper pages.

(Re)Learn to play guitar – I took lessons in middle school but I was lame and too obsessed with basketball to actually stick with it. Now my sister makes me videos of herself singing and playing guitar and I want to learn so badly. If only someone would leave a guitar with a FREE sign on the side of the road and I could serendipitously (that’s not a real word but it should be) happen upon it. That would be lovely.

Become a yoga instructor – HOW COOL WOULD THIS BE? I think about this all the time but then get caught up in thoughts like “I don’t look like I could be a yoga instructor” or “I’m not good enough at yoga” but I should probably just shut up and figure out my life. Yoga has helped me so much with my anxiety and overall strength as a person and I would love to be able to pass that on to others.

Skydive – My dad told me he would go skydiving with me for my 18th birthday. Well, guess what: I’m turning 24 in 10 days and it never happened. Someday, I guess.

Do more creative writing – Writing and researching about medical billing, employment litigation, how to market your credit union and toll free phone numbers can sure squash (squelsh? oh I made up another word) the spark of writing creativity in my brain. (Except for when I make a reference to salmon in an article about small business marketing #B2Bwritingnerd). ANYWAY, I always wish I was better at descriptively painting a picture, so I should probably practice by writing more stories, real and fictional. Maybe I should look into a creative writing class. That would be pretty neat(o).

Of course, there are approximately 890 million other things I want to do (and should do), but these are just the ones I was thinking about today.

In other news, if you’re looking for a great movie and feel like bawling your eyes out, I would highly recommend God’s Not Dead 2 (and the first one).

Also, here are some good songs:

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Tell grandma this is a bird related emergency

It’s about time I wrote a post like this.

Yesterday my sister texted me, “Let’s go back to the days of driving to Ho Fam in the morning. I feel like we didn’t treasure those days enough.”

My response was “We never treasure any days enough.”

But back then, the simple days were easy to take for granted. Now that I don’t get to see her shining, brilliant face every day, I would love to have some of that time back.

“I think we are as BFF now as we are because we had 20 minutes every morning together and it was our time to make each other un-krabe,” she texted back.

While we owe our sister-ship to a lot more than just those morning drives to school, it definitely sparked something in our relationship. Except for the time I pressed the panic button and instead of helping me turn it off she ran away while people stared and laughed. Still not over it.

We did our best to make that 20 minute drive interesting every single day. Sometimes I would spill coffee all over my white uniform shirt and we’d have to turn around so I could go back and change. Other times I would yell “2 point turn!” (why?) and then back into a snow bank. Many times (like at least 5) the trunk would magically open while we were driving down the highway and we’d have to pull over to shut it (THE TRUNK IS OPEN!!!!). I would make her listen to the same Sugarland and Carrie Underwood songs over and over and one time (in an emergency situation) we had to wipe off the frosty side mirrors with a moldy peanut butter and honey sandwich. And it would be wrong not to mention “Orange Beefer,” aka the guy driving some sort of orange hatchback we saw every single morning without fail. It was a time where we got to yell and be ourselves.

And not every pair of sisters has their very own set of theme days of the week. Even seven years later, Blanche Deveraux Monday, Monkey Baby Tuesday, Hoo Hoo Haa Wednesday, Emotional Thursday and Squirrel-motional Friday still make every day a little brighter.

So all of that reminiscing was purely for my own entertainment, but no one reads this anyway. Also, this is for Loonn.

My sister is the strongest person I know. Her dedication to helping people and determination to making the world a better place are truly inspiring. I strive to emulate her independence and strength every single day. Sometimes I even steal her clothes to be more like her. She laughs at my jokes and calls me out when I’m being dumb (or being the french fry). She also provides me with street smarts because I tend to be the sheltered one.

Basically, she’s going to change the world and I can’t wait to see all that she will accomplish (cliche, I know. Sue me. No. Don’t sue me. That is the opposite of the point I’m trying to make).

Everyone deserves someone who understands them completely (hopefully even more than one person), and my sister is that beautiful person for me. How did I get so lucky?

Her blog is better than mine because she has real stuff to say, so you should probably read it. Especially this post, because it’s about me. Aren’t we so cute just writing blogs to profess our love for each other? blehhhh

Thanks for letting me name your fish. Love you, girlie.

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