Monday, October 21, 2013

Maximum support

While personal problems and major life decisions are no walk in the park,  supporting a loved one while they face their own challenges can be equally difficult. As an independent, self-realized woman I've had to learn to step back and let partners come to a solution on their own.

It's inherently difficult to be emotionally tied to a situation wherein you lack control. I remember once watching some undercover cop scenario on TV; the character put herself in danger as her partner watched remotely through a security camera. The partner commented, "Sometimes not doing anything at all is the hardest thing." I absolutely agree. (Although my boyfriend at the time demonstrated his lack of maturity by bursting out, "No it's not! Doing nothing is the easiest thing ever! That's just lazy!" I often wonder about my judgement in that relationship.) It's tough not to be in the driver's seat because we usually believe that we would be able to help the situation, or bring something to the table that would change the course of events for the better.

I think that there are two main difficulties when supporting a loved one through a tumultuous time; one selfless, and one selfish. I find these instincts battling within me. First and foremost is the desire to prevent pain in those we care for. We don't want to see them suffer (and it sounds callous, but I think this is why people sometimes refuse to see others' pain; it's easier to deny its existence if it's not something we can fix). Lurking close behind on the tails of this noble instinct is the less flattering reaction; How will this affect me?

I have a particular fear of being affected by a loved one's personal trials. From being impacted at a young age by my mother fighting intense flashbacks from chilling childhood experiences, I've always been anxious when my partner is experiencing a personal trauma. I've been through other experiences reinforcing this fear; a close friend came out to me in high school and, when she people judging her at her school, became angry with me and vehemently accused me of not accepting, or understanding her, as well. I also had a devastating few weeks in college when a fellow student passed away unexpectedly in our dorm, and my boyfriend ignored me in public places and refused to talk, saying he needed time and that I couldn't understand. Of course I'm nervous about how my loved ones' tribulations will impact my own life and my relationships with them.

However, I have grown through these experiences, and recognize that not all personal adversities result in broken relationships. My past experiences, the latter in particular, all put me in a position of little to no control or influence. I remember my mother once advising me to let dinner guests bring a loaf of bread to my apartment, saying, "It makes people feel good to contribute something." I think this applies perfectly to the topic at hand. In the past I had been pushed away during difficult times, leaving me hurting and creating additional problems between me and the suffering party. In contrast, wiser, more mature people recognize that pushing away concern is merely a way to gain control over a situation. My current partner, for example, is grateful to have me as a sounding board during difficult times, but probably doesn't recognize how much comfort is gives me to just feel like I'm helping in some small way.

Still, giving comfort to those we love through a period of ordeal is always challenging. When do we step back and give someone space? How selfless should we be, and how much should we disrupt our own lives for others? After a time, are we enabling the sufferer? Or do they still need to be built up, emotionally? At what point is it ok to gently remind others that we have needs and concerns of our own? Part of the trial is that the answers to these questions will change with each person and situation. But I think that my current thinking is to give love and support until it hurts, (or begins to disrupt your daily activities and major goals). Because when someone else is the protagonist, playing a supporting role might be the best way to help.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Melissa's Coat Coverup

Or: why Hollywood still doesn't get it

Everyone is up in arms about Melissa McCarthy wearing a trenchcoat on the cover of Elle magazine. The media is up in arms because the other actresses on the cover are usually half naked. They're upset because they've assumed Melissa is being treated differently because she's ovweweight.

I've been a fan of McCarthy since way before she became adored by the media for her hilarity in Bridesmaids- back in her Gilmore Girls days I knew she was brilliant. She was a supporting actor that supported by having her own personality and story rather than just appearing at Lorelei s side for the sake of the main plot. This is a woman not afraid to swear, dress like a tomboy, wrestle hysterical costars onto a couch for a scene, and continue starring in her regular sitcom even when she was the biggest thing in Hollywood after her first movie.

This is not a woman who was forced into wearing a trenchcoat.

This is a woman who, given a choice, wore a trenchcoat (admittedly, the other options might not have been fantastic, but still). I have complete faith in Melissa that she would have refused to do the shoot or be on the cover if she didn't like it.

But maybe it's even bigger than all that. Maybe McCarthy is even MORE bold than we're giving her credit for. The media are all commenting on what she's wearing, and completely ignoring the big picture; she looks hot. She looks fantastic! She looks glamorous and young, confident and flawless. What I see here is a smart, successful woman saying, "Here I am. THIS is what a successfull actress can be." This cover isn't hiding Melissa's flaws. Its redefining what sexy and desirable can be. She's a woman who is denying that she has to show everything to be sexy. She's proving that you don't have to compromise your principles or concede to public expectations to be a woman who succeeds.

You rocked it, Melissa. Keep kicking ass.

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Purchase More Shoes

I walked into the sun room just now and noticed that one of my hats, which had been on a Command instant hook thingy, had fallen down. Then I looked up, and there was a HOUSE CENTIPEDE in the corner where the ceiling met the wall, right above where my hat's hook had been. HE KNOCKED DOWN MY HAT. So do you know what I did to that little fucker? I vacuumed him up and FLUSHED him. He deserved it, the little asshole.

This has been your warning message; I have PMS.

EDIT: Also, I'm still kind of angry that some first year astronomy student had the nerve to argue with me over what a house centipede is. THEY'RE NOT SILVERFISH. If you google image search "silverfish", then yeah, some pictures of house centipedes pop up, because any jerkface can post shit on the internet. To be fair, it seems that in some areas, the common name for house centipedes is "silverfish" (who knows why, since they're not silver and DON'T LOOK LIKE FISH). But somehow this girl had come to the conclusion that house centipedes are actually silverfish pupae...which they're not.... and continued to argue with me about it, fully aware that I am get my PhD in biology, which doesn't make me an expert in entomology but definitely qualifies me to identify insects that I have in my home. I don't HOPE that house centipedes crawl into her hair while she's sleeping, but I certainly wouldn't be upset if they did.

Ok I would be upset, but only because I would worry it might happen to me.

Practicing for hibernation

Things I'm not doing today

Things I'm not doing today

-Letting my spoiled cat guilt me into playing with her while I should be preparing for a meeting

-Hanging around in my decrepit office in my uncomfortable chair waiting for people who haven't confirmed their meeting times with me

-Calling anyone "Dr." anything

-Letting anyone make judgmental statements when they haven't bothered to find out about my life in 6 months

-Missing my fitness class AGAIN bc of meetings running way past 5pm

Yay, goals!