New Year, New… Nah, Still the Same Me

Maybe? Sort of. I mean, I am always me but I am an always evolving and changing me. Or, at least I hope to be anyway.

Here we are, it’s 2018. I’d like to promise you all more regular content in the new year, but I can’t. This whole going back to school while working a more than full time job thing saps a fair amount of the blogging mojo. I miss it though, so hopefully I’ll find some moments to squeeze in more blog time.

So, what has Jennifer been up to lately? I’ve taken up weight lifting. Just a little, but I’m really enjoying it. I’ve got friends that are far more hardcore about it. Competitive lifting types. I’m not trying to get there, but I’m enjoying the added strength and muscular definition. Generally speaking, even with the scoliosis and extruded disc, my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Yeah, I still need regular adjustments, but I’m not likely to throw something out in my day-to-day activities or even a heavy yard work day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’re likely to get tired of flex pics and food. Don’t expect a lot of activity there either.

Still making progress towards the accounting degree. I’ll happily talk assets, liabilities, and equity and the various ways to figure depreciation with you. I’m apparently a glutton for punishment and am taking some programming courses to satisfy the elective requirements. Current course is Secure Coding in C/C++. Got to be honest, it still sounds like a lot of gibberish, but everything I’ve written so far works, so there’s that.

I moved from a supervisory role to an analyst role professionally. It’s a lateral move that should allow me to explore some projects that interest me personally. It’s different and kind of scary, but I really do think it’s going to be a positive move for me. It’s been a long time since no one reported to me, but the new flexibility should be exciting.

Doing some more photography. Something that really warms my heart is that I’ve been able to use it to give back to my community. That picture in this slide show here with the boy that’s so happy with a blanket is mine. This one
Just a blanket
This organization serves disadvantaged youth in the community and they asked us to come and take pictures for the Christmas party. All these kids make Christmas lists. This boy only asked for a blanket because he’d never had one of his own. I’m so humbled that I was there with my high-dollar camera and fancy lens to capture this moment. I wanted to run out and buy a pile of blankets and build him a blanket fort. This is one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken, and it simultaneously makes me want to smile and cry. It’s easy to get hung up on the fact that I don’t live in a nicer house or drive a nicer car, but I’ve always had a blanket that I can call my own. His joy is real here. At his feet was a duffel bag full of beautifully wrapped packages that he didn’t touch. The blanket was the only thing he wished for.

For 2018, I want to take a lesson from blanket boy and celebrate the small blessings. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have a job I enjoy and work with an amazing team of people. I have the most amazing friends and family and the lines separating such are fuzzy to non-existent. I am blessed and rich in the things that are actually important. I want to actively celebrate that.

 

Something You Should Know

If I choose to engage in a debate with you*, take it as a compliment. I have already decided that I respect you enough to honestly consider your point of view. Sure, I disagree and even believe you are wrong. But I do not believe you are an idiot. Misguided, maybe. Or maybe I am.

You see, although I believe I have taken the best possible stance based on what I know to be true and the experiences I have had, I am always willing to increase the dataset I am working with. Provide enough information and/or a perspective I hadn’t considered, and you might even change my mind. It’s happened before. Even if you don’t, you will increase my understanding of your point of view provided we can have an actual conversation coming from a place of mutual respect.

I do not engage idiots. I have, and it only ends in frustration. It often descends into name calling and adds nothing to the overall discourse. I have no desire to add to the animosity and division in the world. I want to come away from debates enlightened, not angry. I think we’ve all spent too much time getting angry at the image we hold of various people, and too often we forget that it’s a person behind the beliefs they may hold.

I believe you are better than that. I believe you are capable of considering my point of view as well. I may not change your mind, and that’s okay. We can still be friends even if we disagree.

*I bet you think this post is about you, don’t you? Don’t you? Naw, you’re not vain. It might be. You aren’t alone. Please tell me you’re singing now.

Real Women Are All Sizes, Even Skinny

I tossed the title of this post off in a comment to a friend on Facebook this morning. And although it is perfectly accurate, I wanted to dive into it more deeply. Yes, I’m jumping right into the minefield, so I’m going to attempt to tread lightly.

And really, it wasn’t what he said that gets under my skin. It’s things like this.

anorexic-500Guess what, it didn’t. They are all hot. This image is much better (and you should click on it because it came from a great post).

beauty

 

I’ve honestly been writing this post in my head for weeks, the FB conversation just inspired me to actually put it out there. I think it is wonderful to celebrate the very real beauty of average and larger bodies, but it is not okay to belittle smaller ones to do so.

I have certain beauty standards that I apply to myself and only to myself. I recently started getting back to the gym because, honestly, I felt fat. I’m not, never have been, but that is the lens as it applies to me. I feel most comfortable in my own skin when it’s no larger than a size 4*. I’m at my curviest** and most fit there. It’s what works for my particular frame and body type. It also happens to be where my husband finds me most attractive, and yes, that is important to me as well.

That would be an impossible standard for some and I hold no one other than myself to it. It would be absolutely ridiculous to expect someone of a wildly different body type to conform to the standards I have for myself. If your weight is adversely effecting your health or your happiness, do something about it. You have my encouragement and support.

Even if it was possible, it would deprive the world of their beauty. Because beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes. It would deprive me of their beauty. My standards are my definition of beauty for me. It is what it takes for me to find the person in the mirror beautiful. It is not what it takes for me to see another person as beautiful. Don’t ever let someone else’s standards tell you what makes the person in your mirror beautiful.

There are a lot of beautiful women in the images posted above. None of them look like me, and that is a beautiful thing.

*Dear jeans manufacturers, even at a size 4, my hips are wider than my waist and my butt is full and round. You know, like a woman. Relabeling jeans made for adolescent boys is not going to cut it. Also, I like to actually put things in my pockets so could you maybe make them more than an inch deep?

**Curvy does not equal fat; please stop using it that way.