19 August 2014

You don't realize how bad it is until...

Last night, the Hubba and I were relaxing before bed and decided to watch a new (to us) TV show on Netflix.  The little description sounded sweet.

I watched the first episode and I really liked it a lot.  But about halfway through the second episode we had to turn it off because even though the theme was really sweet, there were still too many moments of "funny" that weren't funny at all, but were just soul damaging.

And when we turned it off I found myself choked up and crying.  I didn't know exactly why I was crying.  But as I started verbalizing how I felt it all came together.

The only female protagonist on the show was really a great character.  She was sweet and kind.  Every interaction showed her compassion and kindness, selflessness and thoughtfulness.  Beyond that, she was beautiful.  And not in a way that I've seen beauty portrayed in....I don't know....ever?  To me, she just glowed.  Her face was sweet and beautiful and when she smiled, I saw her uneven teeth, but it didn't diminish her loveliness at all.  In fact, it added to it with character and personality and uniqueness.  I only watched one and half episode, but in those one and a half episode, I never saw a part of her body that I didn't want to see.  She was dressed sharply, but simply.  Her clothing was not in any way form fitting and  didn't call attention to her body, but she looked put together and nice.  The thing that really got me was that she was thick-waisted.  She did not have a flat stomach at all and her arms were also thicker than I'm used to seeing on TV.  I couldn't tell you anything about anything below her waist because she wasn't wearing the type of clothes to reveal that part of her figure.

A few weeks ago I was reading an article about white privilege.  The author made this huge list of things to help white people recognize their own privilege.  I actually wasn't a big fan of the article but there were a couple of things on her list that have been on my mind since I read it.

You experience privilege if you can walk into a store and easily find a doll in your race.
You experience privilege if you can turn on the TV or watch a movie and easily find protagonists of your race.

So as I'm sitting there analyzing why I'm crying, I realize that I don't know if I've ever seen a true female protagonist who wasn't supposed to look like a supermodel.  The female characters I can think of who were heavier or "imperfect" are all sidekicks (and even those are few and far between), extremely eccentric, laughable characters with no love interests.  Or else they are jokes.  It's a comedy where the main joke and recurring theme is actually about the woman's fatness.

But here was this real woman, with curves in the "wrong" places who was wonderfully feminine and soft.  And no one was making jokes about her weight or the shape of her body.  In fact, in the one and a half episodes I watched there were three men who were legitimately interested in her.  To me, she was real.  And she looked more like the actual women I know in real life.  She looked more like me.

I just felt so much relief to see something like that.  I hadn't realized how emotionally and psychologically exhausting it is to see only "perfect" women portrayed in the media all the time.  And while all these self-exposing, scantily clad women and pornography may be wreaking havoc on men, the damage inflicted on women is also a tangible, measurable thing.  I'm so tired of seeing so much of other women's bodies, I could scream.

17 August 2014

Wiyah's ear

Wiyah has a good ear.

I first noticed it back when she was four.  We had a few months where Baboo and Wiyah were able to take piano lessons from a recently graduated high school student who played and needed to earn money for college (and was cheap!).  They both did well.  Baboo played the music as it was written.  Wiyah played by ear.  She really didn't get the notes on the paper.  But she could pick out tunes and harmonies and was playing songs even without understanding the notation.

Later on, we saw that again when she started playing the violin.  By that time she was learning to read music.  But we always wondered at here when she would just pick up the violin and start playing a song she knew but had never seen the music for.

A few years later, X got a guitar.  Wiyah picked up that instrument and taught herself to play songs by ear on that instrument as well.  It's been pretty amazing.

The most recent amazing thing I've seen is with French.  At the end of last school year, her French teacher gave her a CD with some contemporary French music on it.  Over the months, we have listened to that CD a lot.  There are songs that I really love and songs that are ok.  But with all that listening, there is only one or two songs that I know all the words to.  Most of the songs I may only know the chorus and the verses are still a mystery to me.

On our way back from our recent trip to Las Vegas to visit my mom, we spent the last few hours driving listening to that CD while I finally looked up hte lyrics on my phone.  I'm looking at the words on my phone and hearing Wiyah sing almost entire songs in correct French.  I kept asking her how she knew the words and she said "just from listening to the CD so many times."

I just don't know how to express how many times I have listened to that CD AND how many more years of advanced French I have beyond her.  But I couldn't even UNDERSTAND most of the lyrics until I had read them.  But she was just singing away, learning them all by ear.

Amazing.

As Though You Had Been

Today's Relief Society lesson was really good.  The teacher is one of my favorite people.  She's one of The Ladies who always teach me so much.  But right at the tail end of the lesson which had gone a few minutes over, she hurriedly added that she wanted to end by just saying one thing.

And she said it.

And it opened up windows in my mind.

I don't even know how to explain it except that I had just been considering something and she said this phrase and it was the very answer to my question.  And not only that, but it made me see things in a new light that I hadn't seen before.  My mind just started racing with this new information and trying to apply it here and see how it worked there.

"As Though You Had Been"

She was mentioning it in the context of being together with your family forever and reminding us of temple covenants.

And it was the answer to the dilemma I had been mentally wrestling with about my own family.  As Though I Had Been.

And I thought, if Jesus Christ can make this situation As Though I Had Been, that means that I can receive all the blessings.  Not just the "blessings" of today.  But ALL THE BLESSINGS.  What would it have been like for my entire life if I "HAD BEEN?"  I wasn't.  But somehow, through the atonement, Jesus Christ will restore it to me AS THOUGH I HAD BEEN.

I started thinking of all the regrets and disappointments and pains of my childhood.  The things I wish my parents had done differently.  I think a lot of people have those could have, should have wishes.  And it's too late now for anyone to go back and change those things.  Except not too late for Christ the Redeemer who can make it AS THOUGH I HAD BEEN.

And what was really amazing is that if my Savior can make it AS THOUGH I HAD BEEN in the past.  He can do that now, too.

All those days of imperfect parenting, the hurtful things I've said and done to my children, the times I've neglected my husband's needs, those times I was a less than devoted daughter, all the many times I stuck my foot in my mouth with strangers and friends.  I wish I could take it all back and be always  faithful, kind, gracious, smart and uplifting.  Well, I haven't been.  And there are real scars and pains that I've caused people in this life.  But through the miracle of the all-encompassing atonement, Jesus Christ can me it AS THOUGH I HAD BEEN that person I wanted to be all along.  He has the power to do it.

I don't know how it's done.  But it was wrought in the Garden of Gethsemane.  There is so much power and healing in those words.  Infinite balm to soothe the world.

I am not.  But he can make me as though I had been.  And not only me.  But the ripple of life that mine touched can be made as though I had been too.

10 August 2014

Just a moment

Yesterday, I called out "JJ!  X!"

We had picked out a paint color for our family room and I had the sample paper with the color and three other choices.  I just wanted them to guess which one we had chosen.  But they didn't know that.  All they knew was that their mom was calling their name.

I heard them respond from upstairs in their bedroom so I started up the stairs while they were coming out.  It struck me that they responded quickly and happily and interestedly.  They were not irritated that I had interrupted whatever they were doing.  They were not wary that I was going to give them chores to do.  I did interrupt something and I COULD have told them to do something and they would have been just as interested and quick and happy.

So I said, "We got our paint today!  Guess which color?"  X immediately covered up the darkest color on the paper and said, "That color is too dark for mom.  She would never choose that one.  She likes light and bright colors."  (It's true.  I mean, I like dark colors, but in this place of long, dreary winters I'm definitely all about painting walls something reminscent of summer.)  Then JJ covered up the lightest color on the paper.  And X said, "That color is too light for Dad."  (True again.)  They were left with the two middle colors which were the two very colors that the Hubba and I had seriously considered out of the whole Home Depot's worth of paint colors.

It's not really a big deal.  But it just made me feel soft inside to see that our boys knew us and knew what we liked.  They've been paying attention.  You know?

What happened next was just really a sweet moment to me.  I had asked the question and they had answered.  They could have just gone back to their bedroom to resume whatever I had interrupted with my silly questions.  But they didn't.  JJ sat down right in the hallway and settled in for a conversation.  X was actually laying down on his back with his head through the railing (don't ask), and resting on my shoulder as I stood on the stairs.  He was settled in for a comfy conversation as well.  The Hubba had come up and was standing next to me on the stairs.

The four of us just stayed there talking for several minutes before I had to leave.  I tried to gently go down the stairs so that X's head wouldn't fall off my shoulder, but he just kept inching himself towards me with his head on my shoulder (through the railing) as I went downstairs.

It was just a random moment.  But to me it was very sweet.  I love those boys and am so grateful to have such a warm, rich, close relationship with them.

Overheard

Mack:  Are ladybugs carnivores or herbivores?

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