Friday, June 24, 2011

I Feel Fat

I write this as I'm watching New York make gay marriage legal. So, first a note on that: you're so gay, New York. So wonderfully, awesomely gay. It brings a smile to my heart to see us one step closer to the future I imagine for my daughter where sexual orientation is no impediment to status as a full and free American. Good on you, New York. People in the chambers are chanting "USA USA!" It's awesome.

I still hate the fucking Yankees.

But I wanted to blog on something else.

I feel fat all the time. Whenever I feel any moment of insecurity (professional, creative, social), I feel certain that I would NOT feel this way if I weighed 20 or 3o pounds less. I find myself often wishing that I could muster up enough self-loathing to just go fucking hungry. To just stop eating. I could pretend that what I'd really like is to eat healthy foods and exercise. But I am a pretty healthy eater and I do exercise. What I really want is to find my way to hating the way I look enough to stop eating. To be hungry. Virtuously, blithely, skinnily hungry.

That is fucked up. And it's a level of fucked up that I think a whole lot of women share.

But, there is one area where I think I'm doing right. I made a vow about four years ago to never, ever, never, ever, never, ever nevernevernevernever say "I feel fat" in front of Laney. To NEVER stare obsessively at my body and make gross out statements about my belly or thighs. As godtupus is my witness, I will do whatever I can to not pass on the self-loathing, body obsessed bullshit that so many American women mistake humility for.

I don't kid myself that I can keep Laney safe from the body-hating thing that American women do. It's rife in the culture. But it starts with me. And I'm not rearing the kid in the cult of self-loathing that seems to be de rigeur for women. Am. Not.

And, here's what I'm saying to you: if you're raising girls, join me. Don't hate yourself in front of your kid. Don't disparage your body or bemoan flaws. Eat. Enjoy your food. Celebrate your strength.

And stop thinking that being ashamed of your body is a virtue. Because we pass that onto our girls. And don't we want our girls growing up to love their bodies?

I do.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

About that Memphis Racist

My Facebook status from a few days ago:

Standing on a rooftop watching the Cubs. Meet a fellow from Memphis. Within four sentences he says something racist. Every time. Ugh.

My cousin, Sammy, was right. I did paint too broad a stroke. But it's Facebook. That happens. The commonality was not that all white people from Memphis are racist - the commonality was that both he and I were white and from Memphis. So this dude figured I was part of his tribe and was perfectly comfortable airing his racist bullshit.

The other thing: as soon as this guy opened his mouth, I knew it was imminent. I knew when he wanted to talk about Memphis it wouldn't take long before he would complain about how all Memphis' problems are down to too many "blacks." He telegraphed it the second he found out I was from there too. I've met the exact same guy a few dozen times in my life.

And I'm sure that white people from Detroit, for example, or the south side or any place in America where black people and white people live side by side in an area of some economic distress, have had the exact same experience.

I think it's all really weird. But I'm afraid to tell people I don't like those Housewife shows for fear of offending them. So I really don't get someone just feeling completely at home airing their racist bullshit. They must live in the smallest worlds!

My friend, Susan, tells me she likes to know off the bat if someone is a racist ignoramous or not. And while I can see the benefit of that - if it's just some casual small talk conversation with a person I will never see again, can't they just do me the simple courtesy of putting a fucking cork in their own bullshit? Is that really too much to ask?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Great Battle of BoA 2011

In a nutshell: I expected a mortgage payment to come out that didn't. I called BoA and a representative named William told me that it wasn't coming and if I didn't make that payment then I would most likely be beset with a plague of frogs or murdered in my sleep or something. So I made the payment with him.

Two mortgage payments came out the next day and thus began the great BoA Battle of 2011.

Let me explain. No, there's not enough time. Let me summarize. BoA would not return the second payment until they were absolutely sure that my bank would not return the funds since the second mortgage payment put us into overdraft. A copy of a statement showing clearly that the funds had posted and cleared was not adequate. After three days of conversation with various BoA representatives, it became clear that they were not going to give that money back until I managed to dredge up the corpse of John Pierpont Morgan himself, reanimate his long dead flesh and recorded a youtube of him in which he assured BoA that he done spent that money already and couldn't give it back.

Old dead JP's bank, it's worth mentioning, did me a solid and returned the money pretty quick once I got a hold of someone there.

That positive experience notwithstanding, the whole thing was scary and frustrating. At some point in my various conversations with Melody and Elizabeth at BoA, it became crystal clear that I was completely powerless in this situation. BoA has processes, by gum, and these processes are designed to make sure that BoA keeps as much of your money as possible. And more, these processes are set up so that it is impossible to do anything but rigorously adhere to them. To wit: I could talk to someone in the claims department. But I couldn't talk to someone in the return-the-money department. No one could. The person who'd actually do the wire transfer cannot be spoken to because there's a chance that some odious weakness like compassion might rear up thus separating BoA from some of my money.

A few people have sent me this story about a couple who was foreclosed upon by BoA despite having paid cash for their home. On the funny tip, some awesome judge and lawyer got together and allowed the couple to foreclose on BoA. On the less funny tip, BoA initiated foreclosure proceeding on a home they didn't hold a mortgage on. In a sensible world, the only thing you'd call that is attempted theft. Of someone's fucking HOUSE!

These banks are too big. And we are completely powerless against them. It'd be nice if some intrepid young congressman would start doing something about it, but they're too busy calling Elizabeth Warren a socialist.

Monday, June 6, 2011


That was disappointing, wasn't it? Anthony Weiner was my favorite! I loved his fight and his politics. I loved how smart and funny and cool he came off. But sending unsolicited pictures of his cock to random women? That's just so creepy!

And so STUPID! Tweeting pictures of his junk to a woman he'd never met? Was he drunk? He must have been drunk.

That said, why would anyone send an unsolicited picture of their cock to a woman? Is it possible to get drunk enough to think that's a good idea? I ask you, be-penised Americans, does there come a time when you glance down and think, "Hey! Here's my penis! Isn't it pretty? I'd quick better share its magnificence, photographically, with a woman."

Because if you do, I think it's behest upon me to inform you that women are far less impressed with your junk than you are. Frankly, and I think I speak for the sisterhood-at-large, taken out of context, penises are kind of ridiculous. I think it was Elaine Benes who wisely said, "I don't know how you walk around with those things."

Context is everything. And just to be perfectly clear, Twitter is not the right context. Nor is texting. Seriously: put it away and wait for an appropriate moment.

And the right moment will NEVER arise over Twitter.

Oh, Anthony Weiner. Sigh.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Coming out of Retirement - Plus a Post on the Moral Case for Atheism

I retired this blog peremptorily. It was a mistake. I'm going to keep my baby steps blog and use it for writing posts, but I think I need a brain dump one. Especially when there's something I've been noodling on for a few days. Like my own atheism.

Atheist is a loaded, scary word isn't it? I confess that when I hear it, I still feel threatened. For a girl raised in a good, Catholic home like mine, "atheist" still feels a little like something hanging out under your bed, ready to getcha as soon as you let your guard down.

But I'm an atheist. And I've been noodling for a while on the moral case for it. Because morality is the reason why I finally gave up cowardly agnoticism and embraced (as Dan Savage calls it) principled atheism.

Here's the skinny: I didn't reject God (although god makes less and less sense to me as I go on). I rejected moral absolutism. I embraced getting along with other people. If God's out there telling you the right thing to do, there's always the chance that the right thing to do becomes the thing God says is the right thing to do. Stop. Period. I'm not a bigot: God says it's a sin to be gay. I don't hate women: God's the one who says she's a whore.

There are, of course, a whole honking lot of people who interpret the will of God thoughtfully and with an eye to getting along with the rest of us earth-walkers. I'd wager a healthy majority of the church going people of the world are tolerant, respectful people. But I'm not talking about religion. I'm talking about God.

The very notion of Divinity means that there is an absolute right, and absolute right leads to absolute authority. I'm a godless democrat and a wannabe socialist. I want to live in a world where the will of the majority and the rights of the minority are privileged equally and above all. There's no room for absolute authority there.

My philosophy in a nutshell: If you let go of God, all you're left with is people. And that's the point when people, including people outside your tribe, start to matter more.

I wish that John Lennon song hadn't gotten somehow to be so hokey. Because it's a radical notion. Imagine (ugh...still hokey... I wish I knew who to blame for that. Is it OK if I blame Sharon Stone?)