Monday, November 4, 2013

This really is gonna be one of those posts

And by one of those posts, I mean a before and after. This is gonna totally look like one of those, praise me now posts. I don't mean for it to be.
I was looking thru some pics and I found this one from July 2012.

It's from when I helped a friend's son paint a mural on his wall. My guess is that I was at my heaviest. Dunno, though, because I generally don't pay attention. I know this very post seems antithetical to that idea. But in my mind I always look the same.

When I went home for Christmas that year, people mentioned how much skinnier I was looking.
I think there are two solid reasons for it. The first was definitely anxiety. I think the first reaction my body had a couple of years ago was to balloon up to its largest yet. I wasn't really overeating or anything. All considered, I was eating pretty normally, but the body packed it on.
Then my body just started to shed weight. I can only guess at how much it was, but I'm thinking I lost 15-20lbs by mid-September. This had happened during the second/third month of my time in the mission field where I lost maybe 25lbs? Again, anxiety. Like, TONS of anxiety.

Anyhoo, I noticed for real at Christmas b/c people said things.

I think the second reason for the weight loss is healing. This is a catch-all, in many ways, tbh.
I felt significantly better about myself, so I took better care of myself. My soul started to heal up and it quite honestly affected my metabolism. It works better now. I'm more active b/c I want to move. That's a bonus.

Anxiety sucks. Healing can hurt during the process, but sometimes doesn't. Healing has awesome effects and sometimes they're visual:


I mean, it helps that I've essentially gotten a new wardrobe b/c I was sick of my pants falling off. You know how Harry looks wearing Dudley's huge clothes? That's how I felt. I wanted to dress the way I felt.
I obviously look very cute.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

ball caps and church

I wish it weren't so terribly gauche to wear a ball cap to church, b/c I think it'd be easier for me.
ball caps are my security blankets

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The best post I will ever post in all of posting-dom

If you're my facebook friend you know that I HAVE A NEPHEW!!!!!
His name is William Scott Bennit. Let me show you the first pic I ever saw of him and then I will tell you a story filled with pictures.

Here's a part of the story. Two weeks ago I was reading before sleep and got a phone call at 10:30 from my brother-in-law, which was odd b/c it was so late. I'd had this feeling for a week or so, but I didn't wanna say anything to anyone, but I didn't wanna say anything b/c you know...
Brian told me to hang on a sec so that he could get Julie Rae on the line. Then they went back and forth about who was gonna tell me. At this point I'm thinking to myself JUST TELL ME THAT I HAVE A NIBLING, ALREADY!! Somehow I knew.
Julie told me that I had a nephew, that he was 8lbs 8 oz and 20 inches long. I'm sobbing so hard that I'm gasping for breath, I'm like HYPER. VENTILATING.
Why? might you ask. My sister wasn't pregnant. She and Brian have had fertility issues in their 8 years of marriage. So this was a zero to 100 deal. She's the only sibling that's married, and the other three of us do as Mormons do and don't do anything before marriage.

I got to meet him the next day.
I had totally lost it at this point. How could I not? I love him so much.

Because he's the best.
I went from not being an aunt to meeting my nephew in a 14 hr span.

William is Brian's middle name. Scott is after my brother and Brian's brother, Brent Scott, who passed away two years ago. Bennit is my mom's dad's name.

Julie and Brian have had so much heartache that they only told a few people that they'd been selected by the birth parents--not even their siblings knew. Here's the kicker: THEY found out 18 days before William was born. The birth parents wanted to be sure. William was born about three weeks before the estimated birth date, too. Although the doctors are positive that the date was wrong b/c he shows signs of being full term.
William with his momma.

More pictures you say? Here we go:

William going home.

William and a binky!

A couple of Fridays William got to go home with his parents, and I got to go over that night to hang out with him again. There were three of us (now FOUR!) in Georgia, so I'm kinda spoiled with my William time.

When he's fussing a bit all you have to do is rub a couple of fingers across his forehead and he calms right down. It's like magic.

Wait! You want videos? I can provide.

That was the first video I ever took of him. We were chilling in the nursery at the hospital.

Oh? You wanna see him yawn? OK.

I think that maybe that's enough for one blog post. I'm sure I will post about how I got to babysit him a few days later and will share the poopsplosion story.

OK, one last picture:

I love him so much.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

unless you're a ballerina

Tonight I decided to do a hard thing that I'd been avoiding and it reminded me of something else.

A couple of weeks back I drew a couple of pictures for a letter that I sent my cousin in the MTC to try and help make my point clear about decisions we make in life. I was trying to say that sometimes we think of big decisions being HUGE but we forget all that leads up to those decisions. So I used 1st Nephi 8 as my example:

The iron rod is continuous. We can make decisions one after another, even if they're our own decisions and not blatant THUS-SHALL-IT-BE ones from the Spirit. The mucky river is much farther away than we sometimes feel. On top of that, if we make a choice that isn't the best, the iron rod is closer to us than is the stupid misery river. 

I've realized in my life that sometimes I think of these "big" decisions and see abysses at the edge of some faith cliff. I mean, what if I don't jump far enough? My long jumping skills aren't legendary at all.

I forget all of the the seemingly inconsequential choices that I've made that have led me to the spot I'm in and how I was able to make those decisions. I forget how when I made a less-than-stellar choice, I was able to correct course. I forget how Heavenly Father has never seen me make a sketchier choice without offering me a hint on how to get back to a better path.
I'm like AHHHHH!!!! CHASMS!!!!!!

But, no, life isn't really like that, even if it feels that way--and sometimes it feels that way a lot. Sometimes I think that the "walking into the darkness" kind of faith is actually just believing that there isn't actually a chasm beneath me. Oh! this totally reminds me of that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Anyway, I don't think we have to leap chasms, per se. But I think if you're a ballerina, you could probably do it just fine:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An appendage to my last post

This afternoon when I was driving from picking up a random Bat Mitzvah card for my missionary cousin to the post office, I realized a large part of why the Trayvon Martin case has affected me so deeply. It's the willful attitude that many have of blaming the victim. I mean, it really pisses me off. As I was driving I thought of this scenario:

Would someone say it was my fault that after a while of my mission trainer molesting me and demeaning me I fought back? Would someone say that it was unfortunate that she molested me in an even harsher way, but I had fought back, after all?

I mean, this is utter bull shit, and we all know it. Zimmerman stalked Trayvon. Trayvon was just a 17-year-old kid. He was scared and had a totally normal reaction for a kid of that age. There was both a flight and a fight in his reaction.

Someone explain the difference. There is none. This is part of the reason why it took so many years for me to say anything: I was so damn afraid that people wouldn't believe me, that it was my fault, that I deserved it. I mean, Trayvon was a teenager wearing a hoodie b/c it was raining. Shifty. AND the kid had the audacity of being black.

And here's the thing, that second paragraph up there happened to me. I fought back in this way or that, whatever way I could in the demoralized state I was in. It got worse. She humiliated me more.

So by the same dumb-ass logic that person after person has been posting about on FB, I deserved every shitty moment of my abuse after I fought back. In fact I deserved all of it b/c I was an American woman with big breasts. I was exotic.

Maybe if all these (Zimmerman apologists and the) people that deny that there isn't an undertow of victim blaming in the U.S. stepped out of their ignorant shit-box of privileged comfort and realized what they were saying, and how horrible it was, this nation could actually heal.

Because I know for EFFING DAMN SURE that I have no fault in what happened to me. I've been allowed to heal from a victim to a survivor. I have faith in God and think that Trayvon is a survivor, too, just not on this planet and that makes my heart ache.

recent spat(e)

I don't know if I'm just more sensitive to things lately or if there's been a larger amount crap on my FB timeline, but I have been doing a good job at trimming my facebook friend list. Maybe I'm just done with putting up with racism and sexism and other ignorantism? I used to simply block their posts from appearing, but now I'm to a point where I'm like Do I even want that in a friend?
The trick comes when it's a relative. Blocking the posts is my only real option there.
I think it's probably that I'm just fed up with it and am more sensitive. I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Suprised that I feel like

I'm not gonna lie, I'm really surprised that I feel like I should share this. I don't quite know how to present it, so I'm hoping it's not too disjointed. This post will probably end up touching on a lot of different topics that I've mentioned before on my blog and on Facebook.

I've had a few realizations and paradigm shifts in the last while that have really changed the way I view my body, myself and the topic of modesty. If you've seen my posts on facebook and the links I've shared, my opinions on modesty are obviously strong. I've decided to describe at least part of the reason why, and I'm not gonna hold back.

When I was a teenager I wore lots of baggy clothing. Part of the reason why is that it was lazily comfortable. Another reason is that I was ashamed of my body. I felt awkward (I mean, what teenager doesn't). But my breasts weren't small and they weren't huge, but I didn't like them b/c maybe attention could be drawn to them. They were sexual and we were supposed to cover that up. With this comes the whole hogwash of "Sisters help the brothers," and all of that nonsense. My body was daily betraying me, so I wore shirts two sizes too big. I didn't understand how to be feminine and I thought that if I were too feminine it'd be sinful anyway.

When I went on my mission at age 21 it was the first time that I got a wardrobe that was more form fitting. It's kinda hard to get away from that as a missionary that's supposed to look representable. No more XL t-shirts and baggy jeans and khakis.

If you've read my blog since last September, you know that my mission trainer molested me. Part of her grooming involved making fun of my breasts, focusing on them. She was a woman, so it didn't compute that it could be a "bad" thing. She'd reword hymns in Portuguese to make fun of them. She'd tell me that Brazilian men wouldn't be interested in them b/c they were all about the butt. She was fascinated by them and it was one of her main focuses in the abuse.

The reason why I explained all of that is that it'll make sense when I say that if I hated my breasts and body before my mission, it was nothing compared to after. If only I'd had a smaller chest, she wouldn't have been interested. It was my fault. My stupid breasts. Without being fully aware of what I was doing and certainly not understanding why, I started physically harming my breasts. I don't know when it started. It was sometime in the middle of the last decade I think. But I have some scars. sometimes what I did wouldn't leave scars b/c I never went very deep, but sometimes scars were inevitable. I even have scars from where my sensitive skin reacted to the bandaids that I was using to help the wounds heal.

I have scars in a couple of other places where she would commonly molest me, as well, and I particularly hated those parts of my body, too. None of this is visible no matter what clothing I wear. But the hatred and disgust for these parts of my body didn't hold a candle to the animus that I felt for my breasts.

I had been taught proper shame for my body by society, school and religion. Well--not the proper way my religion should be taught, but the cultural way things were passed on.

Years ago I had a roommate that told me that I should wear V-necks. At first I was terrified b/c what if I showed off too much? Terrible things had already happened. But she was like, "You'll look great in them!" I trusted her. I now have a multitude of V-necks because I gained confidence in my body thru her confidence in my body.

Obviously things really tanked a couple of Novembers ago when I realized what had happened to me. My utterly disgusting, revolting body, breasts. Being a feminine woman is part of my problem. I shouldn't be. I should hide myself.

Scottie gave me a blessing two Christmases ago that I call my second patriarchal blessing. In it I was told to glory in my womanhood, to essentially not be afraid of it and I was like, I don't get that at all. o_O

I do now. The more I've healed emotionally, the more I've healed physically. Sometimes I dress more feminine now b/c I like it. It's part of me. Sometimes I wear cargo shorts and a t-shirt and a ball cap b/c that's me, too. I wear makeup. I experiment with it. I am utterly NOT ashamed of my d├ęcolletage. I wear clothes that emphasize my cleavage and other attributes of my body.

So what changed? I love my body. My body isn't something to be ashamed of. It isn't something I should cover for the sake of others. It isn't the reason why I was molested.

Yesterday on facebook a good friend asked me what my personal definition of modesty was. I thought for a sec and this is what I wrote:

How would I personally define modesty? hmmm, well, first I need to say that it's taken me a while to really understand it and the biggest step was learning to love my body the way it is. I'm pretty normal body-wise and I'm actually really grateful for that. The second step in my understanding was to not be afraid or ashamed of being feminine. I know that this isn't a step for everyone, but it is/was for me. In this regard I realized that wearing clothing that accentuated my features wasn't immodest, but was simply flattering. Wearing clothing that emphasized my d├ęcolletage wasn't immodest. I was confusing a shame of my feminine body parts with modesty.
So I would say that I now understand modesty to be a person wearing clothes with no shame of their body. I naturally would cover my body with more fabric than someone else would, b/c that's me. But that doesn't make me more "modest."
 I think modesty at its strongest and most essential is about self appreciation and love.

I know that this post is long and I covered some rough stuff in my life. But these realizations are so important to me. Once I realized what I was doing to my breasts and body, attacking it, and why I was doing it, I began to heal. I haven't gouged my breasts or hurt them in any way in four or five months. It's the longest stretch, I think, since it started happening. I'm not saying that I'm magically cured, because things like this can be cyclical. But I feel better.

On Monday Therapist asked me about my body and I told her that I loved it, even with the scars. The scars now show me how far I've come.
I truly do love my body.