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Societal impressions of beauty

Monday, November 07, 2011

I was just skimming through Yoovie's blogs and ran across one where she posted the following link:
men-and-men-who-make-them.html. I always appreciate her blogs, and the link she posted, while I can't agree with it entirely, certainly served to make me think about some thing.

The basic premise of the blog is a man, imploring other men, to appreciate the real and natural beauty of the women around them, and to quit verbally validating the female sense of inadequacy through snide insulting comments, or silently by watching porn or looking at Maxim. His statement is that women's perceptions of self are being perpetually attacked because of men's apparent conception of what is beautiful. He listed a whole litany of vicious words that women use to describe themselves as proof. And they are certainly valid bits of data. I've said some of them, and I've heard the rest plenty of times.

But I don't know that I would blame men as strongly as he does. For one, I feel like it takes power away from women to determine their own worth. For another, women CERTAINLY contribute to the species' overall sense of inadequacy. The pure cattiness of some women is sometimes astounding. I remember when I as younger, I was self-conscious about my bad skin, weight issues, whatever else. I remember thinking to myself, why AM I so self-conscious? I certainly don't judge other girls by their looks. Their looks don't even generally register with me. And for a little while I'd stop being so self-conscious and just be, not worried about being judged. But then I'd hear some of those self-same vicious statements uttered by one girl about another behind their back and I was shown that at least some people really do judge like that and I likely am being judged and ranked poorly for the way I look.

Bu tto addres another point of his, I honestly also don't think I worry too much about men lusting after the "perfect" woman over me. I don't think it bothers me that guys watch porn or look at Maxim or watch as a sexy woman walks by. To me, unless he acts, it's no big deal. I think most men are sensible enough to know that they aren't ever going to have that porn star or that model and can easily separate fantasy from reality. I think most men can appreciate the women in their life that they come into contact with. Maybe I'm naive, but that's what I feel.

I've never been jealous of another woman's looks. There are women I wish I looked like, but it doesn't make me angry that she's got better, more socially acceptable looks. It does make me angry that I seem to lack the strength of will to be the best that I can be. I DO find myself unattractive, just looking at the facts. When I stand in front of my mirror in my undies and bra, I see the potential, but see more clearly where I've missed it by a long shot. It is human nature to desire the smooth, firm, unblemished curve in a woman. Clear skin means less bacterial infection, a healthy immune system, as does symmetry of form. Muscle definition, visible due to a lack of high level of fat, means that I'm environmentally fit, able to survive and raise offspring. Even muscles under fat will give you a better form and make you seem a better mate. Long lustrous locks or nails mean you're getting adequate nutrients. Straight white teeth also indicate good health and lack of infection.

Now, a lot of these signs of beauty can be faked. Wonder bras for perky breasts, Pantene Pro-V for lustrous locks, Crest White Strips for that brilliant smile. That doesn't mean that we're not biologically geared to finding these attributes attractive in a potential mate. Maybe it's because I'm trained in biology, but I can't hold it against a man, or a woman for that matter, to be drawn to these basics signs of good health and beauty.

All this said, obviously I want a man to want me for who I am inside. The thing that I can't seem to get through some of my guy friend's heads is that beauty fades. And obviously a significant portion of seeking fitness should be for health, and strength, self-sufficiency, self-worth etc. But I feel that some women are saying that it should only about that, and never about looks, that that's society's tyrrany over us, and I just don't agree. It's 100% natural for humans, on the physical, animal level, to desire a healthy and fit mate. And it is 100% natural for members of one gender to want to attract members of the other. Or for that matter the same gender, but the principle stands. Hummingbirds with brighter breast feathers get lucky more often than not. The bigger, tougher elk who wins more battles gets the larger harem, has more offspring. It's just the way of it. All species have ways that we attract the opposite gender.

I don't even remember what it was, but something earlier sparked in my a minor rage that I let society's standards dictate why I was trying to lose weight. That when I thought about getting fit it was in large part due to a desire to be physically attractive and I thought to myself it should be for a more noble reason.

But you know what? I refuse as well to be pushed into what's becoming popular, acceptable reasons for getting fit, or at least, to limit myself to them. I WANT to have a rockin' bod. I want men to look when I walk by. I want more men to ask me out, and to pursue me. If nothing else, this increases dramatically the likelihood that I will find a man who not only appreciates me for me once we start talking, but who I can appreciate as a good mate and father to my children. Which is the fundamental reason that any individual in a species strives to be attractive in the first place. To find the best mate possible, which necessitates having the most options by drawing in the most contenders.

I have absolutelly no probles with the concept of dramatically increasing my sexiness factor when I'm through, or of having that be a driving force behind my weight loss goals. . That's just the way of it. It's natural.

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VAMANOS 11/20/2011 11:51AM

    Somewhere, somehow, I missed clicking on a link and fell off your subscription list. Was coming to give you a Thanksgiving goodie and say I missed you when I realized you've been here all along!

This was a wonderful, insightful post, but I wish you would get a new mirror. You are a beautiful woman, inside AND out. I wish you could see that.

And now I'm going to go back through your blogs and see what I've been missing all these weeks and months.


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NAYPOOIE 11/8/2011 11:56AM

    A healthy, fit mate is certainly evolutionarily (and personally) desirable. And certainly there are men who look at the person before the body. But there are way too many men who spend their time watching artificially enhanced pole dancers. Speaking as a well-endowed woman, there's nothing useful about having larger breasts. When I was breast-feeding, I had to physically hold the excess breast away from the baby's face so she could breathe. Not a good thing.

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WOUBBIE 11/7/2011 8:26PM

    Awesome post, lots to ponder. You've hit the nail on the head too. It's the same old argument of "nature vs. nurture", and, as usual, it's a bit of both.

One thing you will note by reading people's blogs here is that many of the women have fabulous, wonderful men by their sides, who love them, skinny or fat. My guy's that way. He's always told me that losing weight or not losing weight is strictly my choice. On the other hand, he's been delighted with every lost pound. Can't say that I blame him.

I remember being really dismayed when "Mike and Molly" first came out because a lot of people didn't want to even THINK about 2 fat people being in love. Now I just feel sorry for those soulless bleepers who feel that way.

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Trackless Wilderness

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yeah, that would be the description of pretty much every aspect of my life that I have the capacity to monitor and manage. I have not been tracking, anything. Not my calories, not my exercise, or fluid intake, not my money. Nothing. And it shows. I'm fat and broke. A truly sad way to be.

What's got me thinking about it is a.) talking to a new guy, and I need to get cute and b.) Samir is getting rightly concerned about his weight, and I've been trying to teach him the basics of nutrition. He has no understanding. For example, he asked me, which is worse? A carb or a calorie? He has no clue. And he will not believe me when I tell him where his excess calories are. A lot of his problem is drinking his cals. He almost never drinks water, drinks almost exclusively juice and milk. He probably drank, while I was there for the evening, 700 Cal in milk alone.

But anyway, as I was going through his daily food intake, trying to calculate how much he's eating (which came out to be between 2100-2200 Cal, way more than even a 6'1" quadriplegic needs), it kind of got me back into the tracking mindset. I have not tracked in a long time, have been eating very unhealthily, and not exercising beyond work. Not good combo. And it definitely shows. I'm heavier now than I have been since this time last year. I just hit a threshold where everytime I look at myself, all I can think is "gross."

The schedule has also changed such that Samir has requested that I not stay the night anymore to help out, unless absolutely necessary. He says I'm welcome to visit anytime, but that it's too much stress on me to have a full time job and to be expected to come over and help him out too. Which is true. And it was definitely impacting our friendship. I was so stressed, and so tired, that I would snap over the slightest things he said or did, and we'd fight almost everyday. I felt trapped, like I couldn't ever be free to go see friends or family ever, since I never had a night off.

And I guess it's been good. I've definitely been spending a lot more time with my family. Went and saw Todd, since we're still friends. Took a couple days away required for work where his dad stepped in to deal with the morning biological needs, which I otherwise still care for every morning when I'm not out of town.

But I have not been using my time wisely. I've been watching a LOT of tv, and sitting on my butt. I've been sleeping, which is worthy, but not enough to catch up, cuz I'm reading stupid books too, or watching more tv. I wasted HOURS today, just chilling, not doing anything.

I definitely could've fit some exercise in today. But I didn't. I guess to get started though, I will start tracking food intake, which now I have time for again. I know I've been eating badly, but I haven't been marking the numbers down, so that knowledge has not been very impactful. I'm pretty sure it's going to be, starting today.

So, I'm off to track now. And then some sleep I think.

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VAMANOS 11/20/2011 12:04PM

    After reading through from June to this blog, I think you are just completely burned out and needing some down time. Getting exercise would undoubtedly help, but beating yourself up about NOT getting any definitely won't help. Take it as it comes.

It's now November 20, another two weeks after the last blog you wrote, which is one past this one. I'm hoping that by now your lightened schedule with Samir has had a good effect on your overall mood. Do I remember correctly that it should be hunting season? Any chance of your getting some exercise along with the social and recreational aspects of that?


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NAYPOOIE 10/17/2011 12:55PM

    I'd give you some advice, but you never take it.

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Interesting review of myself...

Friday, October 07, 2011

I took a break in the afternoon at work today. Am on it now. But went back and reviewed some of my old blogs.

It's amazing how much time I used to waste, in reflection. My life is in perpetual flux as I try and balance a heavy work load and taking care of Samir. He's moved out on his own, and he's set things up that in a pinch he can survive mostly on his own with his nurses if he has to. He gets 9.4 hours of care from In Home Supportive Services, but obviously that means he still requires a lot of care outside of that. They can take care of most of his phyiscal needs in that time, and he gets his phone calls and the like done, but he still needs some biological care first thing in the morning (which he doesn't have enough hours to cover) and there's also all the extras in life that make life worth living, that he needs help with in off hours.

We went through a strained time when I tried to be everything he needed in his non-help hours, but it was too much. I work too much, I wasn't sleeping enough, and I wasn't willing to give up all of my extra life things for him, like time with my family, or dating, or what have you. We had tons of discussions about how to fix the situation, and eventually settled on what we have now. It's not ideal, but it gets me a lot more sleep and at least a couple hours to myself a night on a workday. Previously I was getting 2-4 hours of sleep a night, and now I'm up to about 6, which does it for me. It makes me laugh to look back at one of my blogs, being all mopey because I only got 7 hours of sleep. It's interesting to figure out how far you can push yourself, and where your breaking point is. I reached it, but now I'm balanced at max capacity I think, where I can serve myself, and serve him, and get my work done, though there are still a lot of things that I don't get to that I'd like to.

I still don't spend enough time with my family, but I'm spending more time, and talking more on the phone. That was a big thing. I hadn't been spending enough time with my cats, but now they get time with me while I sleep, which seems to be enough for them. Haha, I slept on my belly last night with one cat purched in the middle of my back, and the other sprawled over my butt. They seemed content and we all slept well.

But, I still haven't picked up exercise, and my diet has been complete and utter crap. Like, complete and utter crap. All I've eaten today is soda and potato chips and a piece of pizza. This is not abnormal for me these days. I don't know why. I could definitely do better. If nothing else Samir always has good food at his house and he says I'm free to eat from it. But I don't. This is the first week that we've tried the new schedule that is allowing me more time. As I settle into it, i hope to be able to find time to exercise. But, sleep is still massively important to me, especially on as little as I usually get, and taking into account the bad nights that I still only get a 2-3 hours, I'm hesitant yet to give ANY of my free time to exercise.

But, I'm definitely regaining weight. I haven't weighed myself, but I can see it around my waist. Not pretty. And how am I supposed to find a boy with this pudge growing around my belly? Everyone always says, "oh honey, wait for the right one, he'll love you for you." Pshaw. That may be true, but he has to notice you first, see you, and that's a lot easier if you have a form that draws the masculine eye. Blah. It's not horrible yet, but if things continue as they are, it will be.

I think I can manage a lot of that with diet. Which means good food really needs to be my focus. But I hope also, somewhere, I can fit in exercise as well. I need to be strong for myself, and for my mom who is also going through a tough time managing her habits. It doesn't help when I draw her down the path to perdition with the temptation of splitting a pastrami sandwich (though they're so good!)

I wish I could take time off in the middle of the day. I definitely get these strong energetic urges where I just want to get off my butt and move, but can't because I'm at work. And it's gone by the time work is done and have to go home to sleep. Blha blah blah.

This is not the right attitude to have about all this. I've noticed when I get really tired I think only in terms of problems, and almost never in terms of solutions. But then, in better times, I have tried to think in terms of solutions of care of myself, but have come up with nothing. I just don't have enough time. He's not like a toddler that you can put in a jogging stroller and go. He can be left alone for a couple hours, but again, its' different than with say a kid because he just has to lay there, not being able to entertain or apply himself at all. He will be getting tools through State Rehab to get him back to school, and that will open up his activities, but until that point, everything has to be done for him.

Perhaps it's just a waiting game, until a) he heals more and b) he gets the right tools. He keeps making steps in the right direction. As things progress, he'll need me less and less. And I'll have more time for myself. The question is, do I push myself even farther, and work on my health now, or do I wait, try to maintain, and focus on getting enough rest to meet the rest of my commitments? I don't know. We'l lsee how it goes, how Ii ffeel in the moment, I suppose.

In any case, no time tonight I don't think. Going to go shopping for him, then dinner with the fams. I usually try to be there with him in the gap between caregivers in the evening (7:30 pm to 10:30 pm he's on his own). I could exercise after 10:30, but that gives me very limited time to sleep before I have to be up and ready to go over there at 6:30 am to deal with his biological needs.

Tired just thinking about it. Think I'm going through a sugar crash from all this soda. Gonna close this out now. No solutions yet, just rambling I guess.

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THEMADINDIAN 10/12/2011 11:57AM

    your dedication to him is something to be marveled

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MY journey

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

So, got side tracked with the Samir situation last blog. This one is about me.

Obviously, if you read my last blog, you know that life has been seriously impacted by Samir coming home. Which is not unexpected. But things are getting into enough of a routine with him, that I could be fitting in time to execise, if it wasn't for my work, which is heinously hardcore right now. Way too many hours, not enough time. Last Tuesday I worked a 22 hour day, and I had to work Saturday as well on a different project. I did have Thursday and Friday "off" but ended up working at home, trying to catch up with the paperwork side of things.

But, I should be able to exercise on the weekends at least. That's not much, but it's better than nothing. Sadly, Todd and I broke up. Which I'm honestly not too broken up about. Things were just getting worn. I'm more peeved that now I have to start looking again. I just don't like dating. But, I have a couple other prospects, so we'll see if they pan out. The point is, not driving 1.5 hours to the south every weekend to see him, so that'll save time.

My weight has not been raising too much, despite the lack of exercise. It could be that because I'm so strapped for time I just don't eat much these days. Of course, what I do eat is crap, so I'm still surprised. We'll see. I just got home, at about 8:30. I have to leave for work at 7:00. It's not too bad, ifI can get to sleep tonight. I'm tired. Worn out. Maybe if I start exercising again I'll have more energy.

We'll see. Probably not tonight in any case.

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TRIGFROST 6/15/2011 11:35PM

    well, Sweet Dreams to you... emoticon

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Wow, been a while. Mostly Samir.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I guess it's been almost three months since I last blogged. Unfortunately, personal fitness has not been a big priority for me these days. Luckily I seem to be at a comfortable point for my body, so though I've been fluctuating between the same three pounds, (156-159) I haven't as of yet regained much weight.

A lot has happened in the last three months. One of the most impactful is that Samir came home. He moved in with his father. It didn't work. They've always had a strained relationship, and the pressure that the other members of his family were putting on him because of the upset to their lives made things miserable for everybody. It ended up that I was going over to take care of him every evening, usually until about 1:30 in the morning, getting up to go to work at 7:30, coming home to take care of my animals, maybe visit my grams a bit, then doing it again. Basically, it got to the point where the family had pretty much cut Samir off, and weren't providing for his care at all, so it was just his day nurse and myself. The reason that I wanted him to move back in with his family was so that we could share responsibility, because there's a lot of work that goes into his care.

But their willingness to be available was not satisfactory. They helped with the necessary body stuff, at first, but were perpetually groaning about it, which made Samir feel even worse about the whole situation. It's not like he chose it, and he already felt like an obligation without them constantly harping about the unpleasantness of some of the required tasks. The more they slacked or moaned about it, the more I stepped up. And anything beyond the basic necessary functions was a definite no-no. I remember one time his dad and his brother both telling me I shouldn't baby him by putting his fleece on him (as dressing him is something of a task). I should just pile on blankets. But I DID put his fleece on him, and three blankets, and his temperature was still 95 degrees for three hours. The spinal injury does that, messes with internal temp control. And 95 degrees is the start of hypothermia. Putting his fleece was NOT babying him.

Anyway, it got to the point where they had pretty much shut him away. They didn't invite him out to sit with them anymore, didn't ask if he wanted anything when they went out to eat, and eventually stopped poking their head in to even say goodnight or goodbye. I remember Samir at one point talking with his dad (he'd been in the kitchen eating). He said goodnight, and "I love you" to him, and got no response whatsoever. Ugh. I'm getting pissed off again just thinking about it. This all came about within a month of him moving home. Way to go team.

Basically it became intolerable. I couldn't even count on his physical health being cared for anymore, let alone his emotional. He's supposed to have catheterization every 4 hours. If I wasn't there to do it in the night, the last time it happened was about 9 o'clock when his nurse left, and then again at 7 when his dad came in to do it. That's way too long and poses a serious threat to him if urine backs up into his kidneys. At least one day his dad, who had been at least taking care of catheterization and meds in the morning, didn't come in. I had to do it then, which, as I hadn't planned on it, it being out of the normal schedule, made me late to work by 45 minutes.

The point is, I was already giving all my time to him with no help to speak of. So I ended up moving him in with me, where at least I can take care of my responsibilities to my home as well. He has a live-in nurse, and we've recently acquired a back-up nurse to give her two full days off so she doesn't burn out. We'll see how it goes.

In more practical news, there hasn't been much physical improvement, other than his breathing is doing better. When he first came home he was getting a lot of secretions building up in his throat from the tracheotomy. This required either cough assist (someone pressing hard on his stomach to help him cough stuff up cuz his diaphram strength isn't great), or suctioning it out directly. But, I personally haven't had to suction him more than once since he came home to my house, whereas before it was everynight about. His primary care physician here talked to the doctor in LA that gave him the trache. He says now, despite saying it would be in for probably 6 months originally, that it should probably stay in for life, that Samir's "quality of life will be so much better." I don't know how that would be. The trache is constantly paining him and is susceptible to infections (despite constant cleanings). If you bump it it jars his whole body. And I just don't know how that doctor can make that call. He hasn't seen Samir in over a month, nor has he spoken to him about how he's doing, just to his primary care physician. He hasn't seen his health, or heard him yell across the house (which I have), which exhibits definite increase in lung strength. Samir was seriously bummed to hear that the trache shouldn't come out, but honestly, I just think that it's not a justifiable assessment. Even the LA doctor said that other doctor's would disagree, which means to me that his answer is not the end-all be-all. We'll see. Unfortunately Samir can't get in to see the local ear-nose-and-throat guy for three months. There's only one in Del Norte and Humboldt counties, and he's obviously booked. I wonder if he's trying to put a medi-cal patient off too. I know the urologist in Del Norte, where we live, won't take medi-cal at all.

Anyway, things are working, if not satisfactorily. Regardless of whether he's living with me, or on his own, things will have to be worked out. There's no other option, as odds are very good he'll be like this for life, though I'm still hopeful for him getting some arm movement back. I still get these fits of being so pissed off about it I can't breathe. I hate that my boy is so physically broken, and that his life has become so hard. I hate that every moment I spend with him almost is me caretaking him, and there's not time to just be friends and hang out. I hate that he recognizes that as well, and it makes him sad that his life is now so utterly focused on just keeping his body healthy that getting anything else done is absurdly difficult. I hate it. And I know that these blogs are supposed to at least touch on our physical journey. And I had planned on this one doing so, because obviously having him in my home and caring for him is impacting my personal goals. But I got sidetracked. I guess I'll write another blog, and focus it on my journey instead.

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THEMADINDIAN 6/15/2011 9:51PM

    I'm sorry youre struggling. I'm glad to see you're managing some assemblence of order though.You've got all the support you need here for you don't forget to use it.

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