Reckless

“What killed your Dad?”

“Diet coke and bad luck.”

But it’s the bad luck part that gets me. No matter how many miles I run or how much kale I eat, my genes are my genes.

My brother got my Mom’s nonchalance and lipomas, and I got my Papa’s eyes and propensity for sappy love songs. And maybe his pancreas, I fear.

I see my brave, joyful Mom sad. Missing her teammate so bad while bravely soldiering on, finding joy and purpose, but never without a gnawing that her love is gone.

And I think: I don’t want to ever feel that or make someone else feel that.

So the thought of settling down in any context is unappetizing as ever. There is a very possible hourglass I am living my life to. Why drag anyone into that? Why make babies just to leave them too early?

Sure. I might be lucky. I might have impeccable genes.

There is a way to be sure one way or the other, but until I work up the courage to get the genetic testing necessary, I am going to keep living like there is no tomorrow, because that is certainly not a thing that is promised to anyone.

Bring on the big mountains, long swims, dreamiest boys, hoppiest pints, short shorts, glorious sunrises, loudest jam sessions, sunny bike rides, craziest ways to give, biggest belly laughs, rousing books, coldest rivers, warmest oceans, and the most fantastic, remarkable relationships.

Because even if everything goes without a hitch and I live till 100- I’ll have fantastic stories to tell & I will have loved people well.

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Part II: Femininity & The Secret Underworld of Girls

I hit my girly peak this past summer. Bouncy hair, a tan, red lipstick. Done and done.

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These days, my hair is growing out from donating the bulk of it to someone with cancer. It sticks straight up if I don’t do something about it. I wear red lipstick with sweat pants sometimes. And there is a lot of flannel going on around these parts.

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I use colorful and passionate language. I pull out the big guns when I communicate.

It takes so much self-control to not put my feet on chairs if I have to sit for more than twenty minutes.

I shower infrequently.

I argue like the dickens.

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And I still mostly feel like a hot lady on a daily basis.

Femininity is defined so linearly. And I hate it. And I’m officially declaring war on it.

Men are also held to unfair standards. I acknowledge that in full. But that is an experience I know nothing about, so to talk about it a bunch would be futile and silly. Declare a war too gentlemen!!

There are moments where I feel the depths of my unladylikeness. When I am eating soup, when I am arguing about genocide over dinner in pajamas while devouring whatever is before me, when I am picking popcorn out of the teeth (the WORST thing all humans equally do and are utterly disgusted by).

About once a week I wish my Mom would have sent me to one of those schools with an evil headmaster where I would be tied to a chair until I ate a meal in radio silence while keeping a book balanced on my head.

But alas, here I am. Arguably a bit of a mess, but still really cool with who I am as a woman. Cuss words, pajama pants and all. I can cook and sew and sing hymns. I read good books. I am fun. I like my legs. Every woman is her own woman.  And every woman is feminine uniquely and on her own terms. And that is really good news.

As much as men have frequent commentary on this, I get the most judgment from fellow women. Because we exist in a culture that says if you like things about yourself you are a conceded b word or c word or s word. If you don’t work hard to comprise this set of stereotypical attributes yet continue to constantly bash yourself, you are not womanly or feminine.

If you haven’t seen Mean Girls, for shame. Educate yourself on Tina Fey’s brilliantly mastered reality of the society of women.

Until then, I give you this gem that perfectly expresses this whole mess:

Karen: God. My hips are huge!
Gretchen: Oh please. I hate my calves.
Regina: At least you guys can wear halters. I’ve got man shoulders.
Cady: I used to think there was just fat and skinny. But apparently there’s a lot of things that can be wrong with your body. 
Gretchen: My hairline is so weird
Regina: My pores are huge.
Karen: My nail buds suck.
[pause. All look at Cady]
Cady: I have really bad breath in the morning.
Karen: Ew!

If you don’t hate yourself, you aren’t welcome here.

Seriously uncool, extremely detrimental, and all too familiar. Women need each other. We need to support and uplift and work together. Like an awesome bra! We are still making less money than men. Some of us rape easy. Millions of us are missing. These are big issues to face, we need to do so together.

How do we overcome such a deeply rooted issue? How do we stop this endless cycle?

We start with ourselves.

Growing up, whenever I would say something negative about myself, my Dad would combat it with “don’t say that about my girl”. Every time I complained about how I looked or how I was bad at something or how inadequate I was he fought me. He reminded me of the good things.

Now that he’s gone I find myself yelling ‘don’t say that about my girl!!’ frequently.

No matter who are, you are the Creator’s girl. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. That is a fact. No one can take that away from you ever. That truth, if you let it soak in, establishes the best and truest form of self worth.

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So consciously stop competing. Start celebrating. And celebrate celebrating.

And remember, whenever anyone tries to tell you that you don’t fit their ideals of womanhood, you can tell them swiftly and plainly:

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*A big thanks for Dani Cason for coining that awesome second part of my title many moons ago. It stuck with me because of its hilarious raw truth. 

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Part I: Modest is Hottest!

I would frequently say this in jest to my scandalous twin, as we laid, appropriately scantily, bikinis untied to avoid tan lines, duh!

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This confusion with the female reserve, or plain aversion to it, came from two distinct sources:

  1. Growing up in Hawaii where the bikini is suitable for most activities.
  2. Consistently sleeping near/running around poorly covered with men who had no interest other than being brothers, implying to me that men had no trouble ignoring me as a woman.

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Those male brothers explained to me that men could imagine anything, or not imagine anything they wanted to. Whether I was braless or in a burka, their minds would wander where they wanted.

The sixteen-year-old liberated girl presumed: who are we kidding? Modesty is a joke.

So away with it.

I am going to wear slips as dresses and never wear a bra again.

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Until I grew up a little, and acquired good and bad boyfriends who made me think about things a little more.

But something in me was always mad at the idea of having to dress a certain way to swim in the ocean. Or go out on the town. Or grocery shop.

This subject is tough to navigate and there is so much subjectivity.

One thing is clear: women have to stop blaming themselves for the actions of men. Which we still do all the time. From lust to rape, there are subtle and not so subtle messages to women that their sexy bodies are to blame. Even the best intentioned efforts reinforce the idea that women dress to impress/attract/draw attention from men. Which is sexist malarkey. Sure. We have all worn our Sunday’s best on a first date with a stud. But on the daily, most women I know, as they should, dress for themselves.

Through many discussions with men and women, I have formulated one concrete idea. Here it is:

Be considerate and wise but remember everyone is ultimately individually responsible for what they do. Our intentions are the issue.

If you are going around trying to get men to think you are a hotter than their wives, you are clearly in the wrong.

If you are wearing a pretty dress and lipstick to go celebrate a night with your girls, feel no need to get down on yourself, you foxy lady.

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Pride & Prejudice

This week was the pits because it consisted of little else than listening to people scream about same-sex marriage.

I understand where the passion on both sides comes from. I really do.

Passive aggressively shouting at one another over social media does not seem like a responsible method of convincing people you are right, however.

Especially as people who identify as Christ-followers.

When you look at the acts of Jesus: when you see a prostitute wash His feet with her hair, when He invites tax collectors over for dinner, when He talks to the woman at the well. I can’t help but be overwhelmed with this feeling that battling a people group to save face, to keep something sacred, to maintain control is not on His agenda.

He would probably be busy loving people.

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No matter what side of the issue you are on, remember that love is the first thing and the biggest thing we are called to do. And you can’t just claim to love the LGBT community and in the next breath talk about how they are going to destroy America. You can’t say you love them and not embrace them, or take them to coffee. You can’t say you love them and not validate how they feel.

I guess that’s what unsettles me the most: That no act of Jesus is the basis for these arguments. They are rooted in fear, and a love of Country so fierce it seems like total idolatry.

God says a lot about judgment, and what a terrifying path you are going down when you choose to tell someone that you are certainly right and they are certainly wrong. That is not your job.

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Also, why don’t Christians fight so hard against divorce or adultery? Why aren’t those things illegal? Why don’t we protest against them? Why don’t we rally for rape victims or poor kids so ferociously? Why have we chosen our battles so narrowly?

We are instead making a beautiful group of people feel despised. Any way you slice it that is deplorable. That is shameful. That is sinful.

Love one another as I have loved you. And love is a verb right? I would bet the verb in this case is not grabbing a picketing sign. Unless it’s one of these.

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P.S. If you want a lengthy but seriously amazing biblical argument for monogamous homosexual marriage, holla.

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Sweet Matrimony

This lives on my desk. It is a pretty accurate picture of how I feel about marriage.

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So does this

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Totally terrified of catching the bouquet.

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Totally stoked for the girl who did.

Having gotten so close to wedded bliss and narrowly, terrifyingly, wisely avoiding it makes me feel lucky as hell. I try to savor my life as a girl about town accordingly.

I do, however, see how real and good marriage can be, and what an exciting adventure it is to embark on. I happily celebrate with my friends when they get hitched.

But for now, I know I like being able to move to a new city because I want to. I want to go on dates, stay out all night dancing, and continue to figure out who I am and what I want before I commit to being with someone else forever.

Still, I sometimes panic that I am far behind, that I’m doing something wrong. I should at least have someone to consistently eat Chinese food with on a communal couch right?

Nope. We make our own paths. We are mavericks, as Tina Fey as Sarah Palin fabulously says.

And I am twenty-two for God’s sake. My brain still isn’t even sure what it’s doing yet.

So wherever you are in life, give yourself a giant hug and congratulate yourself for positively killing it today.

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If you’re single, know that if you pray hard enough someone God crafted before the dawn of time will come along to take all of the broken pieces of your soul and fix them with magic and make you feel complete and loved and sultry forever and you’ll never feel sad or lonely again and you will be fulfilled in every way possible.

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Love yourself and buy for yourself the fanciest sandwich you can find right now. Read books and be a good friend and take deep breaths as you walk down the street smirking flirtatiously at that man in the grey suit and brown shoes (mathematically the most attractive outfit a man can wear) or that hot lady in whatever hot ladies wear (I’m bad at being a girl).

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Most of all know that you have so much purpose and pursue that. Be free and joyous and full of passion, but make sure your passion isn’t contingent on something that will fail.

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Its way better than pining and listening to sad love songs.

And if you’re married, be a good spouse. I think that mostly means listen and talk and be extremely selfless.

Actually. Maybe do that if you’re single too.

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Don’t Fear the Fat

If I had a quarter for every time a woman in my life equated healthy food to fat-free food I would be suffocated to death by quarters.

I understand the logic. Fat. Like the thing we don’t want to be and society says is the WORST (everyone take a moment to curse the attack on womanhood that is Cosmopolitan Magazine).

But a diet that consists of a lot of fat actually helps you lose weight. It helps you feel fuller longer. It feeds your brain so that it can function properly (which comes in handy frequently). Fat is vital to us. Like protein and carbohydrates. All pretty important.

The key is sourcing properly. Good fats and all that. I spent all summer talking mad shit about coconut milk because it has sosososo much saturated fat. Which is bad for your heart right?  Then I discovered how many forms of fat exist. And how different plant-based and animal-based fats function.

Even just between animal fats, for instance:

The corn-fed cow produces fat in it’s butter that causes inflammation, ultimately leading to high cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease and all that terrible stuff.

All the while, the fat in butter from grass-fed cows actually decreases inflammation, because the cows body knows how to process grass and thus produce the healthy compounds it is supposed to.

Coconut milk does the same thing, decreases inflammation. But it still gets thrown in the same fat category as that Whopper.

Logic works the best here. Eat foods with fat because you need them. Eat foods that make you feel good after you eat them (the healthy ones make you feel like a champion while fast food makes you want to curl into bed and slowly decompose). If you are a veg: eggs, coconut, avocado, nuts, tofu. If you eat meat: well-sourced fish, poultry, and the occasional (but important) steak.

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Those omega-3’s give us healthy hair and skin and help our sex hormones function properly, which increases our libidos. So eating fat, not hating our bodies into oblivion, actually makes us knockouts in bed. Suck on that, Cosmo.

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