Melissa Newman-Evans has a new fan in me.
– the Goddess
A few months ago I was feeling like I was taking it from all sides and I felt very vulnerable. There were days that a sideways look was enough for me to want to dissolve into a mess of sloppy tears. It only lasted for a couple of weeks, but it got me thinking about how I treat other people and how we don’t always realize that an off handed remark or a kind hearted jibe might be all it takes for someone to reach their tipping point.
In high school I was known as the sarcastic one. The one who always had the quick retort and shut down a bully quickly and efficiently. I didn’t realize how “good” I was at this until I got to university and people who I barely knew from high school would come up to me and say hi and that most of all they remembered my sarcasm. Even now when catching up with old friends on Facebook they often mention my sarcasm, not my humour, but my sarcasm, as the thing they remember most about me. Of course for me the sarcasm and biting humour was a defence mechanism, a way to defuse someone before they could attack me with comments about my weight, but regardless of the reason for it, the end result was that I was mean to people. I was mean to people who might have been acting out because of their own struggles and I was mean to people who were likely innocent bystanders hanging around the “cool” kids as a way to survive the social minefield of high school.
And so a couple of months ago I decided to be kinder, specifically I decided that I would put a pause button on my mouth. Before saying the funny and generally well intentioned sarcastic remark that springs to mind I’m going to take a beat and consider the outcome of those words. If it’s someone with whom I have an easy banter and an understanding with then perhaps it’s fine, but I don’t always know the kind of day someone has had and maybe my off handed comment is the last straw for them or maybe they are the kind of person who feels very deeply and my comment, said for my own amusement and forgotten seconds later, might stick with that person for a long time to come.
Granted it’s just a little wit, it’s not like I physically hurt these people or orchestrated a smear campaign, and we know from our legal system that different crimes have different punishments so there is a sense of one crime being worse than another, but whether I point out someone’s shortcomings or I kick them in the shin I am being mean.
A few years ago a friend hurt my feelings. When I finally spoke to her about it her defence was that the same action had hurt someone else’s feelings more deeply and somehow I was supposed to be thankful for that. Recently another friend who is struggling with some personal issues sent me an article and wanted confirmation that he had never been as mean to me as the man in the article was to the author. While my instinct is to protect him because he is emotionally vulnerable I have to admit that I was disappointed and hurt. He wanted me to assure him that even though he’d been unkind that it was not so bad because he had been less unkind than someone else.
What both of them failed to comprehend is that there is no equivalent of the Richter scale on these things. You can’t say well I only got a 0.2 on the Meanter scale, but that dude, that dude lemme tell ya he was a 0.8 with aftershocks, that dude is MEAN. There is no spectrum of mean, rather I think of it like a toggle switch, on or off, mean or kind.
I’m not saying that we can’t express our feelings or that we can’t make a joke, I’m just saying that we need to own our behaviours and if we are mean we apologize and we make amends and we don’t try to deflect blame and responsibility by pointing to those who are “meaner”.
– the Goddess
It might surprise you to know that I have about one hundred partial posts drafted. Sometimes I get distracted, sometimes I’m looking for the perfect quote or I’m trying to find a photo to add and sometimes I just feel that my writing isn’t up to snuff and I pause to find my voice. I’ve been sorting through my draft folder and I’ve found some interesting posts that I will be working on in coming weeks. For now there’s this:
– the Goddess
Today Tess Holliday (Tess Munster), a 5’5″ woman who wears a size 22, was signed to a major modelling firm. She started the #EffYourBeautyStandard movement and now she is the largest woman signed to a firm. It would be nice if that distinction didn’t have to be made and we could all just acknowledge that this woman is drop dead gorgeous, but this is still impressive.
Take a look at my new Pin Up Girl:
– the Goddess
I bought a scale.
I haven’t owned a scale in nearly ten years. Part of me didn’t want my self worth to be tied to the numbers I saw every time I stepped on and part of me just couldn’t bear to see the numbers period. The problem, however, is that it’s the easiest way to keep track of my current efforts to get fit. I can rely on my clothes feeling looser and me feeling better, but sometimes before there is a noticeable change I’ve gained a few pounds and I want to keep a closer eye on things and the scale at the gym is out in the open.
I ordered the scale from Amazon and it arrived before Christmas, but it’s still in the box because despite what I just said seeing those numbers do intimidate me. Today I found this and I think I will post it on the bathroom wall so I can read it while I weigh myself.
– the Goddess
Today this popped up in my Facebook feed. Apparently J. Crew is now offering a size 000. No that’s not a typo, I am not self bleeping, that’s actually the size, triple 0. Essentially it’s an extra, extra, extra small, but since that sounds kind of silly they have opted for a bunch of zeros. There are those who are voicing concern that offering such a small size will encourage girls and women to develop eating disorders in order to fit into this new miniature size. J. Crew has countered that argument by saying they are responding to customer demand. They cite that petite Asian women may well have a 23 inch waist which equates to the new itty bitty triple zero size. There are also complaints that offering this new size will be a blow to the already fragile egos of those who are more “average” sized in the size 12ish range and those who are in the plus size range which is essentially size 16ish.
I bet that you can guess which side of the argument I am going to fall on here.
I bet that you are going to guess wrong.
A little known fact is that this Goddess has an MBA. I don’t get to use it much because I’m a little too non-profit for the corporate sector and a little too business for the non-profit sector, but I do know a thing or two about business and a I know a thing or two about people and I think that the arguments here are frankly ridiculous.
J. Crew is a business. J. Crew has no interest in creating a race of super skinny, Shetland pony sized people. Rather they have an interest in hawking their wares to the highest bidder. If there are people coming into their stores asking for smaller sizes then they are going to tap into that market. It’s not social commentary, it’s not fat shaming, it’s ECONOMICS. It’s quite possible that as they say they are trying to attract petite Asian shoppers, and it also possible that they are trying to fit more teens and children into their clothes and quite frankly if they see an opportunity then they have every right to try to capture market share.
I also don’t buy into the notion that if this size is available then girls are going to be more likely to widdle themselves down so that they can fit into it. There are already super small sizes, there are also naturally super small people who are healthy and who wish to wear clothes that fit them properly. When I was in high school there was a girl in the year ahead of me who was tiny both in height and in proportion. It was not unusual to see her walking through the halls sporting the latest Smurf or Care Bear creations because she couldn’t find clothes in her size. I don’t know if she would have worn a triple zero, but the point is that there are those who do and just as I have every right to be able to dress my size 5X body in fashionable clothes that fit me well so too do those among us who are at the other end of the size spectrum. It reminds me a bit of that saying “Real men like curves, only dogs like bones.” Sure it’s a bit of fun in a world bombarded with images of rail thin women, but the truth is real men like real women and real women come in all shapes and sizes.
The article in the Star goes on to talk about vanity sizing which for those who don’t know is when clothing manufacturers let out your seams without telling you. I’ve fallen prey to this myself as I have been wearing the same size for the last 15 years and my weight has fluctuated quite a bit in that time. I’m not sure that triple zero is an issue of vanity sizing since it does equate it to a 23 inch waist and the implication is that this has not previously been available. On the issue of vanity sizing I have one suggestion for us all. Wear clothing that fits and flatters. I don’t care if my clothes are size quadruple zero or size 1000. The label is not important. Whether or not I can button my pants and look good is all that matters. Perhaps we can avoid this by changing up sizing all together. Numbers and letters are arbitrary so let’s go with colours and animals. I’ll take a sweater in purple hamster and I think a skirt in raspberry antelope will do quite nicely.
– the Goddess
Today I turn 41. Today “the Goddess” turns 2. Today is the deadline for my 40 Challenges.
My goal for the challenges was to expand my comfort zone, try new things and declutter my life a bit. I have definitely made great strides in all of those areas, but I have not finished my challenges. This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to complete them, but I am going to give myself an extension.
I managed to complete 21 challenges. Some of those contained 40 parts so I’m going to consider this experience as a win so far and it will be a bigger win when I complete the rest of the challenges. I’ve been sidelined a couple of times by health issues this year and weather played a factor in some of the challenges, and sometimes poor planning and poor time management screwed me up, but I also recognize that I bit off a little more than I could chew on this one.
This is not a whine or a shirking of responsibility, simply another life lesson that I have to learn. There are 168 hours in a week and after sleeping, working, and the boring stuff there are only so many hours left to track down horses, schedule lessons and cover the city in knit goods.
Case in point in reducing my craft stash I have so far knit 43 hats, a baby afghan, two cowls, and six dish cloths, plus I have the following on needles – two cowls, a dishcloth, three afghans, and two mittens. I also have five thumb-less mittens, three of them in the same pink because apparently I’m expecting to run into a three handed woman in my travels. Actually I don’t judge, a three handed man might like the mittens as well.
These are most of the hats including the lovely Sara modelling her new hat. (The blue balloon is wearing a cowl and the pink balloon is wearing a scarf hat.)
If you are thinking of creating your own challenges I strongly recommend it. This year I have met new people, tried new food and fitness choices, and pushed my comfort zone much wider than it’s ever been. I would offer a couple of caveats however. Challenges with multiple parts can become daunting, on-going challenges like eating fruit are fine, but can’t be checked off your list until the very end, and attempting a skill is likely better than having to master it. For example I bought a hula hoop, and I decided that the challenge would be complete when I could get it going. I would have been happy with one solid revolution, but despite my efforts I’m afraid I’m only moderately better than this little darling.
Perhaps an A for effort, but there is very little hula in my hoop as yet and so the challenge remains.
In the meantime I am planning my challenge for my 41st year. In some ways it is actually bigger than this challenge, but it will be a more personal journey. I’ll write about it soon, but think 100 days and you’ll get the idea.
– the Goddess