!! HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY !!


Maya Angelou’s classic poem Phenomenal Woman as set to music by Amy Sky.

A loving reminder to all women that we are indeed phenomenal!

It’s International Women’s Day and I’m I woman. W-O-M-A-N! I’ll say it again!

Today is going to be ridicu-busy for me. If I don’t post something now – it won’t happen.  And who better than Maya and the lovely Amy Sky to say and sing it better?
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#SOL2017

#SOL2017

Let’s see how other’s are serving up their slices:

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 8

You Can’t See The Condition Of My Condition From There

For the past few years, photographer, activist and friend, Substantia Jones, has celebrated love from February 1st thru Valentine’s Day by posting pictures of couples in love.What makes her work different than the many other photographs of loving couples is that her couples are fat ― and often in various states of undress.  For those first fourteen days of each February Substania shows the world something most rarely see depicted in mainstream imagery – that fat people are in love and are very much loved in turn. That’s the good news…

Each year more and more other media outlets take notice of her work with glowing accolades.   And without fail, whenever she receives these well-deserved accolades for her work in other media, especially social which will often reprint her photos, there is a backlash. Even when an article is overall positive or at least enlightening, as we erstwhile and current models of her Valentine’s Day series, Adipositivity.com, Uppity Fatty and Fat People Flipping You Off  series know…

Now seems like as good a time as any for an important reminder: Never read the comments.

Because, in spite of that good advice, every now and then I forget where I am, the internet, and it will start off with praise and commentary for the article, then someone post that first bad comment. And once that first negative comment appears – from that point on it snowballs into a downhill shitstorm. And that’s the bad news…

For just as inevitably, the negative comments swing from how someone looks around to those who will start spouting their unasked for two cents regarding someone’s “health.”  This is when those, who from a mere photograph can and will spout, near chapter and verse, of the presumed physical, and sometimes emotional, ills of someone, especially the fat someone. Often they do not even bother to be nice about it by wrapping it in the sandpaper of “can” and “may”.

Look at her, you know she has hypertension or diabetes at that size.

I can see his ribs, he’s got to be anorexic.

I just don’t understand how people don’t see the double standard. There could be totally average size people pictured and you don’t question their “health”, because it is the “standard.” Average, thin or athletic looking people could have heart disease, diabetes or liver disease, but no one makes definitive presumptions about their “health”. Give him a salad, get her a cheeseburger.

And for God’s sakes some arm chair Dr. Oz-es out there, really need to stop acting like your judgment is somehow based on some noble concern for our health. Especially when you are basing the things you spew upon a double standard.

Because you simply cannot judge someone’s heath based on a photograph. Unless, you’re Sherlock Holmes, but since he does not exist and even if he did Dr, Watson would tell him to zip it any way, you’re not him, but I digress. You know nothing about the people in the photographs or their background. They may have health issues that prevent them from losing weight, they may have depression or any number of things that would cause weight gain. You do not know if they’re trying to lose the weight and frankly it is none of your damned business whether they are or not. If I have a salad for lunch today, it for the same reason I will have a cheeseburger for dinner tonight, I like the taste. My food consumption is not up for public discussion, especially from a perfect stranger – because there is nothing perfect about them if they are commenting on my food choices–, and especially while I am actually eating.

Average, thin or athletic looking people could have heart disease, diabetes or liver disease, but no one thinks about their health.  No one would comment that she or he could be a contributor to the high cost of insurance. Yet, one look at a fat person and it is almost considered a given. Commenting that a fat is a contributor and that it is something we all have to be concerned is pure sizest bullshit. By making this presumption it bears the extrapolation that some think all fat people are poor and/or do not have insurance. Unless you personally are footing that fat person’s insurance premium, it is just an opinion, an erroneous one at that, and I believe most of us are familiar with the adage regarding opinions and sphincters.

No one should voice an opinion on the healthy or non-healthy status of someone else’s body, whether they are fat, skinny or in between; not even a random someone in the medical profession.  The only person who can voice a definitive opinion on someone’s health without impunity is that person’s private doctor.

You are not attracted to fat people/skinny people, that is fine, beauty is… after all. Do you have a right to that opinion? Absolutely. Do you have the right to voice that opinion? Yes, you do. However, is voicing that opinion germane to the conversation at hand? If not, then please keep that opinion to yourself and avoid potentially derailing a conversation that was not about you and your opinion.

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Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 8
52essays2017
A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

And let’s see how others are slicing this week:
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Slice of Life Writing Challenge|Two Writing Teachers

The Heat Is On

And to think I once thought my PMS was annoying. The cramping, the headaches and downright bitchiness that was the bane of my existence these past decades was a cake walk compared to the hot flashes I’m having now. No articles, no discussions among matriarchs and friends – nothing had fully prepared me for the phenomenon of feeling my body go 98.6 to 689 degrees within the span of a single minute.

Let me tell you “Flash” as a descriptive of this is sorely misleading. Flash evokes the idea of something “short”, or “over with quickly”. Alas, except in relating to the intensity and speed of its onset, that is rarely the case. I’ve had flashes that lasted for 15 minutes or more where all time slows and each minute of that flash feels like an eternity in Hades’ personal sauna.

I have semi-jokingly called it “my own personal summer”, however it is considerably less amusing in the stifling heat of actual summer. I’m at the train station this morning furiously wiping at my face with a wash cloth, for mere paper towels cannot handle this, barely able to keep my sweat from stinging my own eyes. Being in air-conditioning hardly helps. Even within the, usually only slightly warmer than Siberia, confines of the training room, I watched helplessly as my students tried hard not to watch as beads of sweat form and drip down my face and neck as I conducted my class.

At home I’m feeling trapped, often too hot to move out of the blast from the Dyson fan in directly front of me. Dinners have sometimes turned into pints of ice cream and gallons of ice water in desperation to quickly cool off when my internal thermostat goes wonky.

Yes, and this too shall pass, I know. And I’m likely to have even more fun things to look forward to…

But in the interim, seriously – if I no longer have any buns left in the oven to cook, why is the heat turning on?

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Let’s hope my fellow slicers are having a cooler time of it – check ’em out:

sol

Slice of Life Writing Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: The Look of Loath

As a colleague and I are crossing a street, I spy a “gentleman” waiting for the bus at the corner. He coughs up what seems to be some three-quarters of his lungs, generating considerable phlegm in his throat.  As the Neanderthal did not have enough manners to at least step to the curb first, he aims away from his own person in complete disregard of any other person near him, causing a woman near him to flinch out-of-the-way as his personal refuse lands near her foot with quite an audible splat upon the sidewalk.  Charmed, I’m not.

At this point he looks up, sees me crossing, wipes his mouth with his coat sleeve and breaks out into this most beatific smile. Regrettably, there is no question at all that the smile is for me as I knew there was no one close enough behind me for this and I was reasonably sure it was not blown at the burly E beside me. No, really? He cannot be serious? Surely he is aware of what I just witnessed in the past 30 seconds?  I audibly groan to E’s bemusement.

Loverman then blows a kiss in my direction, quickly dashing any hopes I held that I was mistaken in his intended target. I think it is fair to surmise that my aversion was clearly shown on my face as the smile was quickly rescinded.

“You mean you don’t want to swap saliva with him?” E, having witnessed the whole thing, does not try to hold his laughter, to my annoyance.

“Oh, not is he, the most beguiling of man? How near swooned with most ardent desire was I, upon his visage gazed.” I grumbled as I angle our direction to clearly indicate I was not walking towards the would-be Lothario, just in case there was any doubt. E, not up on my latest butchering of Elizabethan, raised an eyebrow not understanding, so I translated:

“The dude is disgusting! I nearly passed out in revulsion at the sight of him.”

And it’s only Monday morning people.

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Let’s see how my fellow Slicers are doing on the 23rd day of the challenge:

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What Every Woman Should Know

Clearly weekends are going to be the challenge for me in completing this challenge. Like yesterday, here I am late at night, under the gun, realizing I haven’t  posted.

This morning I was tagged by a friend to view the N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) video What Every Woman Should Know, a 16-minute multimedia guide to the signs and symptoms of all major GYN cancers.  This video discusses the three below the belt cancers that can affect women is frank and informative, but does not leave you feeling like you’re being hit over the head preachy. I watched it and immediately turned to share it, tagging as many of  my female friends as possible before running amok for the day.  Now I share it with you.

What Every Woman Should Know (The link to the video is under the About intro.)

Ladies, and those who love,  respect and appreciate us, please watch and especially share.
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Let’s see how others got through this Sunday, the 15th day of the challenge:

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She Had It Coming

Watch this first:

He smacked her like she cussed out his dear mother. Like a mother smacks her child for using a really bad word. Like a soap-opera actress slaps her paramour after discovering an affair. Let’s just say he slapped her – hard. So hard I said “Damn!” and rubbed my own face.

The initial reaction most have had he didn’t have to smack he like that, but I also add – she had it coming.

I have no idea what instigated the young woman clowning all over the young man, but clearly she had been running her mouth for a bit before the start of this video. Yes, she was talking much mess, but it was all words. She was all in his personal being stupid and he was mostly ignoring her. With instigating of her girls as Greek chorus riling her up to spew even more bullshit, she was getting worse by the minute. The additional audience of some of the other passengers laughing did not help and realizing she was being filmed on a cell phone only made it worse; escalating the situation rapidly.

When the target of her tirade had enough, whether he had reached his stop or not, he had started walking away from her. Let me repeat that; he was walking away from her. When you do hear him speak at last, it is evident he has an accent, but she tells him he sounds stupid. I bet she did not give one thought to what she must have sounded like to him while she was going off. He took all her bullshit pretty much wordlessly, but he had enough and called her out of her name. Was he wrong in how he chose to call her out?-yes. But was he wrong in calling her out?-no. After all the crap she spewed to him, he earned a call out.  That she did not like it –too damn bad– she had no business slapping him in the back of his neck because of it.

She clearly took a couple of seconds to think about it before she punched him – that was an intentional response. Granted, he had no business smacking her in retaliation period, but he just as clearly did not think about it; immediately turning back to slap her – that was a gut reaction. He did not beat her, he did not punch her. He did exactly what she did – slapped and stepped back.

Some females count on the adage that a man will never hit a woman and misuse it to berate men. She had a public audience; she had her girls as back-up and she was surrounded by other men aw swell. She was so secure in the knowledge that she could mouth off, being all Betty Bad Bitch and get away with it knowing he was not going to be stupid enough to touch her. Or so she thought. To quote Lincoln – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” and that girl was acting “all kinds of fool” as the old folks say. I think he was trying to be a gentleman and let her act like the clown she chose to be.  As I said at the beginning of this, it was all words. However, once she slapped him all bets were off.  Even in the imbroglio that followed, it was less about the other men protecting the female from the one guy, and more keeping the females off the one guy.

As Mama always said: Keep your hands to yourself.

I feel no remorse whatsoever for her, it was not right, but she had it -and all the memes that are now spinning from it- coming.

Power in the Blood

Human Art by Grace Mateo Used tampons on canvas. 20 x 16 inch. www.gracemateo.com

You Don’t Understand (Do You Now?). 2014.
by Grace Mateo
Used tampons on canvas. 20 x 16 inch.
http://www.gracemateo.com

 

The above image will make a lot of you uncomfortable? Why? If you are one of those souls who genuinely get physically sick at the site of blood, I am sorry to have made you feel ill, but I do not  apologize.

I’ll admit that I did the rapidly blinking eye thing as I registered exactly what it was I viewed. After all, I am woman who has made it the half-century mark  in life. To put this in a historical  timeline perspective, I am old enough to remember/have used a menstrual belt, but by the time I was living with my partner in the mid-80’s they were already a thing of the distant past, so I have an itsy bit of personal knowledge in the subject. After all this isn’t anything I haven’t seen virtually every month for the past thirty plus years of it, so big deal. Even as I thought the words, I was already countering thinking, but so many other will think it’s just that, a big deal, and I’m forced to ask myself why? Why is this a big deal?

In the artist’s own words…

This is Human Art. The female body is not something to be afraid of, and it is definitely not disgusting. There are things we don’t speak about, that are traditionally held to be private, but silence only leads to fear and death. So, if you don’t like the things I say or make then you do not have to engage in it. This is not shock art. If you find a woman’s period to be shocking then you, my friend, are most definitely living a sheltered life and need to be better informed about your fellow humans.

I’m not here to further roast the old chestnut of What Is Art?. This is more of a query into this particular human behavior. What is it about the female menstrual cycle that makes people, male and fellow females so uncomfortable?

It takes everything I have to not let my eyes roll in the back of my head whenever I hear a grown woman say “I can’t stand the sight of blood”. The older she is and the more emphatic she is in her repulsion the harder the temptation to do so.  Years ago I was handling a stack of manila folders at work and gave my self a nasty paper cut. One that required my stopping everything to tend to it. As I rinsed my finger at the sink and prepared to bandage it, a co-worker went into mini theatrics about the sight of blood and how I was upsetting her. Trust me when I tell you she was no shrinking violet so that was one time I did roll my eyes in annoyance without hesitation. I asked if she menstruates each month, to which she naturally responded in the positive as I expected. I then queried if she had assistance when removing and disposing of her used feminine hygiene products at that time. Naturally,she naturally responded in the negative, as expected. I concluded with if she can stand processing her bloody bodily functions several times a day, for a few days each damn month, then my manila cut on a finger for a minute was nothing and she needed to shut the fuck up, but I digress and return to my original query.

Why is the female menstrual cycle clouded in this veil of mystery? What is with the menstrual taboo that allows commercials to use the proper terminology for erectile dysfunction and incontinence with almost no filter, but when it comes to female our cycles it’s almost always hidden some form of pseudonymThe Gift, That Time of the Month, the ever classic Aunt Flo and of course the only one that actually makes any sense Period. Basically any and everything that will avoid using the word blood and any iteration of  menses. The only time you hear the word menstrual used regularly is in the phrase “premenstrual syndrome”, but even that is usually shortened to the gentler acronym of PMS. Because we can talk circles about the mental and emotional aspects about menstruation, but the actually physically bloody part of it is always hush-hush. And speaking of bloody – unless advertisers believe every single woman who menstruates also turns into a  Vulcan during her period, what is with the mysterious blue stuff they use to demonstrate Product Y’s absorbancy anyway? Because goodness gracious should they use red food coloring so that it might resemble what it is. I am not even going to touch that nonsense of women wearing white anything below the waist when Mother Nature comes to visit. Trust me when I tell you for a majority of us women, the first few days are not anything near as sanitized as it looks in the above art work, yet only other women and our respective doctors will readily understand this.

Nearly all girls are brought up that they should not talk about menstruation with boys, nor was it appropriate to discuss menstruation with their fathers. Most of the single fathers I know learned that their daughters were not quite so little girls anymore via a female friend or relative because of this. Young heterosexual women are almost always embarrassed the first time they misjudge their monthly supply amount and have to ask their significant others to run to the store for their feminine hygiene product/s of choice.  Tip for any men reading this: Please, please pay attention to what brand your woman uses/tells you to get. You do not want to get into that argument – really you just don’t.

Historically, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful. Yet like so many things and stories that extolled the feminine power, it was wrapped up in mythology and dismissed or outright just dismissed, especially in the patriarchy of many religions that view a menstruating woman as “unclean”. The menstrual taboo is more prevalent in most movies and television shows when a woman’s menses is generally mentioned in relation to the thankfulness of unwanted or regret for lack of  pregnancy. Otherwise periods are generally portrayed as something traumatic, embarrassing, offensive, gross and/or for cheap comedic premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes us evil laughs.  Outside of the rare portrayals of menarche, when a girl experiences her first period, there are very few portrayals of the completely natural act of female nature that it is.

Granted, things are slowly getting better. There are a hilarious couple of commercials by Always, with the “The Gift before The Gift” tagline.  New Moon Party and The Camp Gyno. The HelloFlo campaign takes wonderful pock shots at their behaviors when it comes to menarche. In these commercials not only are the products free of the packaging, all allusions to blood are not done in blue! Parents of prepubescent girls, if you have not already seen these commercials you should. I wish these care packages were around when my mother was explaining it to me. Designed for young girls, the commercial and the ensuing products are made to help demystify the period for those near the onset of puberty. Take the secrecy out of such items from the beginning, it does not turn into such a taboo later.

I am not saying a detailed analysis of whether Kotex is better than Always is discussion to be had at the family dinner.   If your family is that progressive that you can, I saw “Bravo!”, more power to you. Women can talk about the various stages of their pregnancies good and bad without a problem. Parents can show videos of the up close and personal views of the birth of their children without batting an eye. Some will watch such videos voluntarily on PBS type stations in all its bloody glory and it’s just fine. Yet let a woman place a package of feminine hygiene products on the conveyor belt where a young boy is packing, or at the top of her bag where a grown man has to inspect it and watch what happens. The mere thought of a woman’s menstrual cycle is so disturbing to some, that most males will give pause before touching the item and the younger the male, the more likely the revulsion.

Because it is still the presumed norm that menstruation should remain hidden.  And while whether or not  the above image is art is debatable, the subject matter depicted as a discussion point should not be.

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Come visit other Slicers and take a peek into their lives…

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

 

Slice of Life Writing challenge | Two Writing Teachers

Yes All Women

I fully admit the character limit of Twitter and I are not the best of friends.  Still every now and then, even someone as verbose as I must concede on how much can be said with so little. If you have not joined the conversation I urge you to follow, read, absorb, think and engage in the #YesAllWomen conversation happening on Twitter.  Do not dismiss these voices as ranting and/or misandry.  Read it, not just the surface words on pixels, but the words of those who have put their stories in 140 characters or less.

Read it, not just the surface words on pixels, but the words of those, female and male, who have put our stories, our hearts for your perusal  of the female experience as it pertains to men, in 140 characters or less.

Yes, several of the stories told are tragedies, but the fact that this still needs to be a conversation in the day in age is the bigger one.

#YesAllWomen on Twitter

Verbal Diarrhea Diaries: I’ll Be Damned

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So, a guy emails me through an online dating site:

“I am going to assume that my profile is too casual/risqué for you, but I thought I’d shoot you a line anyway. (You have a fetching smile.)”

Of course I check out his profile. He states he wants a FWB, not looking for serious dating and is desirous of a woman with intelligence.

Got it – he wants a fuck, just not a dumb one.

My response?

“Hello,

My dentist and I thank you.

“Check you out!” as the kids say, throwing down the gauntlet on the opening play.

If I respond in the negative I come off as looking prudish, yet a positive one is indicative that I am open to only being someone ‘beneficial’. If I am open to such with you, who else have I been beneficial to? Providing I am someone simpatico to your intelligence and views to be worthy of said fornication.

Damned if I do and damned if I do. Fiddley-dee, whatever is a woman to do?

Oh, I can pick up that gauntlet and cyber strike you across the face with it. (Insert emoticon with tongue sticking out here.) [<– Yes, I actually wrote it out as such.]

Ya gonna take that?

Rai”

This is not to say I would or would not go for a roll –or a few- in the hay with him. He is attractive and arrogant and just the sort of ego balloon I like to stick my pins in and pop.

Regardless, one has to prove worthiness of my wrapping these thick juicy thighs around, and that ain’t the way, Bub.

Friday 55: I Know

3am wake-up to catch a 5am flight. Don’t want to wake him yet, so I trod to the bathroom in the dark.
The splash of cold water on my cheeks is bracing and I cuss waking him anyway.

“Crap! I know, sorry!” He yells.
“What do you know?”
“I left the toilet seat up again.”

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Just having a little fun with today’s Friday Flash 55