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I have a mole on the side of my body, right between my right breast and armpit. It used to look like most of my other moles, small, flat, and brown, but it looks different now, and I'm kind of freaking out about it. Not because I'm scared it's cancerous or anything like that, but because this mole is special, as my grandpa, Poppo, had the exact same mole in the exact same spot.
For those of you who follow this blog, but don't know me in real life, my Poppo died at the end of this past December. If you do know me or read me, then you'll know that this has been a devastating, however expected, loss. I won't go into everything again (you can read more about him here and here) but he co-raised me and we were very close when I was growing up. For over a decade before he died, he suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. In the end he didn't really remember any of us except my grandmother, and he lived full-time in a special home for people with memory loss.
A lot of people aren't close to their grandparents, so they don't really get it, and they say or want me to say that he was like a father to me, but it wasn't exactly like that. I never had a father, so I wouldn't know what that means. Poppo was my best friend and one of the only people who has ever made me feel completely safe and loved. Years ago a sentence like that would have never appeared in my writing, because feeling safe and loved is not funny, or really very interesting as far as the big story goes, but getting older and trying to get healthy mentally makes you say and feel all kinds of things that aren't super amusing. I have lived for almost my whole life genuinely believing that I just can't seem to do anything right, but my grandpa's love always got through to me. He never made me feel ashamed or ugly.
I've been hard on myself for mourning so deeply. I can't figure out why it still hurts so much, especially since he was old and sick, so ready to go, and went so peacefully. But I suppose watching the person you love most in the entire world exhale for the final time doesn't fit neatly into the definition of "peaceful." It was harder in the end to watch him leave his earthly body because I had stuffed down my feelings about slowly losing who he was long before that. Just as my favorite mole is changing, I watched my grandpa change before my eyes for years and then had to turn away. It was too painful to see him, too difficult to accept that he was alive but not there to read my stories or meet the person I want to spend the rest of my life with (who reminds me a lot of him, by the way. Sometimes cliches work out). Of course, unlike the weird, raised, discolored mole (TMI), which I will probably have to get removed, my Poppo never turned into anything ugly. He was beautiful to the very end and beyond, from his last breath with most of my family by his side to the amazing pictures we shared at his rosary to the strength he gave my cousin to deliver his beautiful eulogy.
I know it will get easier, because there are more funny stories about Poppo than sad times, but I will miss him forever.
I wish there was a way to tell you this without sounding like I'm just picking on myself (which I normally do endlessly and without shame, so that right there should tell you something), but I have gigantic arms. Yes, I am a fat woman, but they are disproportionately large, even so. I've tried to imagine why this could be, and how surely there must be some kind of evolutionary benefit, but nothing beyond the ability to naturally hang glide comes to mind, and I haven't thrown myself off a cliff. Just yet. This year I decided once and for all to try and love my body and accept the love that my partner has for it, but nearly 30 years of deep shame is hard to erase permanently, and the temporary relief that hard drinking brings is not without it's own consequences.
Around 6 years ago, I lost a lot of weight (over 50 pounds), and I learned a few things. The first is that, sadly, it's true, most people are way nicer to you when you lose weight. The second is that being thinner didn't make me feel much better about myself, at least outside of the dressing room. The third thing I learned is that no matter how much weight I lost, my arms refused to join the party. Of course, now that I've gained back all that weight and then some, my arms are participating with glee, growing to proportions that ensure I will never comfortably wear such seasonal trends as tailored blazers or sleeveless shirts.
Well, when it comes to sleeveless shirts I've been giving it my all to get over this fear. I mean, everything in my feminist, fat-positive soul tells me I should be flaunting my voluminous limbs for all to see, but again, changing one's lifelong feelings about themselves is no easy feat. I randomly had this idea that fully growing out my armpit hair would help me feel more liberated, but it's not working and sort of itches. Now I'm too lazy to shave it because I know I'll have to pre trim or risk busting my razor. Seriously, backfire.
(Side note: This Christmas I asked for a bunch of Jockey granny panties as part of my "No Ill-fitting Clothing or Shoes Campaign 2011" [working title]. This was another total failure because it turns out that, while offering unsurpassable ass coverage, the underpants have these little side seams on the waist that dig into my flesh. Back to the thong, I guess. I've always found them more comfortable, but I switched because I wanted to wear all cotton, plus I didn't feel awesome about being THAT LADY in line at Target buying the 2XL thong three pack.)
Anyway, usually with sleeveless things I wear a tiny black bolero of some kind and often I have to giggle/panic about how that looks. It's not like it's a fucking arm invisibility cloak. It's two giant arm hams wrapped nice and tightly in black polyester! And I know the best and most fashion-forward look would be to get the fuck over it and realize that nobody gives a shit about my huge (I mean, seriously, enormous) arms, and anyone that does, including me, is kind of being an asshole.
Ok, let's skip the ceremonious "Hi, I'm back!" post, as 90% of the people who once followed this poor, neglected blog are probably long gone.
Jumping right in, yes, I'm still alive. I still struggle with the everyday dark thoughts and it often feels like everything is about to come crashing down to rubble with a crystalline dust that will work its way into my lungs and steal my breath, but somehow, I'm still here, and I have found a company that wants to pay me to write things and essentially be me. And I'm in love, have an amazing dog, the best, most awesome friends, live in a beautiful, warm city, have a great wireless carrier, and haven't been stung by a bee in over ten years. It's sort of my dream life, except with way less money and way more feeling inadequate for no reason.
So, quick updates:
Partner = Joe (2 years!)
Dog = Cinder Eleanor, Princess Pom of Pomlandia
Job = Sex writing
I'll be updating this frequently, and you can also follow me on Twitter @failureprincess. Thanks to everyone who stuck by me through my recent changes and encouraged me to keep writing. True friendship means more than ever to me right about now.
i have been feeling like a bit of a bummer these days, so anything that makes me smile is much appreciated. thanks to one of my favorite blogs, gaycondo, i have been introduced to the hilarity that is sarah haskins' "Target: Women" videos. she serves up brilliant comedic analyses on how the media, advertising specifically, targets women in bizarre and sometimes downright insulting ways.
this is familiar territory for me, as i think about this quite a bit, but sarah brings up some things i never really thought about before, like why birth control is sold as period control and not, um, BABY REDUCER. i guess it never occurred to me as a gay lady who takes birth control to control her periods (they are about 9-10 days otherwise) that most women who take the stuff do so to stay kidfree. with all the sexuality on tv, this is just kind of appalling. women have sex! FOR FUN!
here is the birth control video. it's LOL funny, so watch at work with caution.
this one on chick flicks had joe and i both in hysterics over "friend-o's" alone.
and finally, this one made me laugh a lot...
because it's true, then days later i heard about this:
splenda with fiber!!! fiber in your artificial sweetener. talk about a target audience.
of course you know, however, i WILL be purchasing this. i love a little extra boost of fiber. i'll let you know how it works.
most of the time i feel like my entire being has been insulated with wet cotton. is it possible to be so frantic and still so disconnected? i suppose it is. i mean, i know it is.
i'm still here, you know. i know some people read this every day and i'm sorry i am a bad blogger (friend? i'd like to think we are friends).
my life is so hectic right now, and yet nothing has changed except my job status, i'm back on the pill (emo wreck but no more epic periods), i now own a pair of very uncomfortable spanx, and i have put way more things in my vagina and ass since last time we talked.
oh yeah, i guess i officially have no shame. before it was like, "OMG, does she have no shame?" and now it's like "SHE HAS NO SHAME!" but i don't care because it's a living. i feel like i am being more true to myself than ever. wait, i just realized that sounds like i am totally a prostitute. i'm not, even though it would be completely valid and okay if i was (but probably not okay with joe). actually, as i mentioned, i work in a sex shop now.
it has taken over much of my life and, as i said, i cannot figure out how to write about it, or even how to fit writing into my daily life other than the writing i do for work. writing about working and it's many pains is one of my favorite things to do, but right now i love my job, and to write too candidly about it would be betraying a certain trust. i feel like it can, or must, be done for the survival of this blog, but i have yet to figure it all out.
anyway, re: the spanx, i only bought them because i had to go to a wedding. normally i shun spanx and other control top hosiery because, while we can all use a nip in the tum, i don't really like restraining my bubble butt. it's one of my few physical features i actually like, and although it seems to get flatter with age and weight gain, i still try to flaunt it as much as possible. i always thought they should make those things assless. the other reason i hate them is that they tend to roll down at the waist band, which, instead of a flat surface, bisects the tummy area and creates TWO distinct rolls. unsexy.
i decided to give these a go because i really needed a smooth back silhouette for the thin fabric of my dress, and these particular spanx promised to be high-waisted, thereby doing away with waist-roll and smoothing all the way up to the bra line. well, they work. the reason they work is that an ULTRA TIGHT band at the top goes around your ribs. it took me about 10 minutes to get them on and the whole time i was wearing them, i literally could hear my bones straining. now, three days later, i still have bruises on my ribs. i ended up taking them off halfway through the wedding because after the second time of having to painfully remove them and squeeze them back on to use the toilet, i was done.
i wish i could say that i am totally done with this torture device, but alas, i feel like they could come in handy at some point. plus, and i didn't notice this until i took them off, the crotch is actually open. there are like, two overlapping flaps instead of solid fabric. could this convenient hole be what i think it is? probably not, but i'd be lying if i said i'm not entertaining the idea.
this might be my second post titled that. LOL.
anyway, as if we needed another reason why australia is so much more awesome than the usa, check out this commercial michael k. posted on Dlisted yesterday:
banned in the usa, of course! this is the kind of marketing genius we need. it's a BIG FRIENDLY BEAVER. hillllarious!
anyway, speaking of beavers...
well, wait, i know most of you are waiting with bated breath (haha) for me to speak out on the recent injustice of Proposition 8 passing in my state of CA, but truthfully so many of my great blogging colleagues have spoken up so eloquently on the subject, i just don't feel it necessary just now. i'm sure it will come up again because this is shaping up to be THE topic and THE civil rights issue of our time, but my sadness and anger has, through all the marching i have done (and will continue to do starting this saturday), turned into hope, real hope and pride in my community. it just doesn't seem to warrant a rant at this time.
BUT, i will take you on a small mini-rant regarding another injustice.
first of all, let me be clear, i am part of the faction of society that hates the word "moist." god almighty, do i hate it! i also never thought i would buy moist wipes. i have friends who always have a pack of moist wipes or baby wipes by their toilets and i would just think to myself, "really? triple-ply paper is not enough, huh? gotta have a wet bum, huh? i don't get it." add that to the fact that one of my main pet peeves, as you may know, is to be damp in any way unless i am showering or swimming, and there you have it.
well, as we are all aware, life tends to take one on different journeys and minds and hearts can always be changed. as it turns out, wipes are great to have around for pre- and post-sex freshening. at my work (oh yeah, i work at a sex shop now. more on that later. maybe.) we have things called like SexxNaps or CumCleen, but truthfully unless they are anti-bacterial and being used to clean toys and such, plain baby wipes or moist wipes do the job and are way cheaper. so, yeah, even though usually i like things with sex-related names or that smell like mango or have a specific purpose and snappy packaging (i am an ad executive's dream), i have been feeling pretty thrifty lately, so i decided to head out to the local target for this wipe expedition.
i don't usually buy generic brand products. i know it's RIDIC and wrong, but i am a 27 year-old woman that has grown to know and love her Opti-Free brand contact lens solution and i know the CVS brand says "compare to Opti-Free" on the side and costs half the price, but i do not care! well, for some reason, i tend to make many exceptions to this when it comes to target brand. i don't know if it's because it is a name i trust or if it's the clean, appealing packaging, or even the quirky commercials, but i feel okay with target brand.
as further evidence that i am rapidly turning into a memaw, my new favorite thing is reading ingredients and comparing prices on EVERYTHING, even wet wipes. as i did this, i discovered that the target brand actually seemed to have the fewest confusing ingredients (hydrogenated oils are in some of the other brands. i know they won't clog my arteries from there, but still, do i want to rub them on my precious gem? not really) and were (duh) the cheapest. i decided to then check out some of the ones that are made specifically for women. this makes no sense, as the products are essentially the same, but i tend to be drawn to products for women. my old roomate ashlee made so much fun of me the time i got athlete's foot from standing in the salon all day and bought anti-fungal foot creme for women. what? it was purple and had extra moisturizers! and she still stole it and used it all when she needed it. anyway, in doing this comparison between the wet wipes, i discovered that the target brand wipes for women have the same ingredients, fewer wipes, yet are more expensive than the general ones! and the packaging is far-less user-friendly! very upsetting indeed.
i mean, we all know these "for women" products are a ploy, even i know that, but i guess i expected better from the normally fine value that is target generics. i almost purchased cotonelle, always, or even loves baby wipes in protest, but in the end the low low price, simple ingredients, and e-z pop box of the target brand wet wipes won me over. maybe i will say "screw the man" and refill the box with unscented baby wipes when i'm done with them.
they say it's the small victories.
if you ask me, one shouldn't look at things as "signs" of something else. it just gets very confusing, and more times than not, you end up losing sight of the big picture.
last night joe and i were having a... discussion about the fact that he is thinking he might want to move back to portland sooner than he thought after being done with school. i always said i could go there for a few years, but not forever because a) i love l.a. b) bad weather depresses me REALLY bad, and c) i am beyond close to my family. right now i am really loving my work, also, which is new for me and i am hoping to build a foundation from that.
the idea of not being with joe in the end hadn't really crossed my mind,so the conversation really shook me.
when i got home, my mom told me my uncle had a seizure and we rushed to the hospital to be with him, my aunt, and my cousins. i took this immediately as a sign that i can never leave. i couldn't even imagine being so far away at times like this, when my family does what it does best and rallies around each other for comfort and strength.
then, i thought of my aunt and uncle and how they are one of the very few couples i know who i truly admire. their marriage just really seems to work and after all these years they love each other so much. one would be incredibly lucky these days to find that in their lifetime, and if i truly feel i have found it, which i do, i would be a fool not to hold onto it for dear life, to go to the ends of the earth for it. could this be a sign?
truthfully, all i care about now, having just gotten home from the hospital, is that it seems my uncle is making a full recovery from the incident last night, and all i hope for is that the following tests show that he is out of harm's way.
but it does have me thinking. i've looked for love everywhere my entire life, hoped for it, prayed and wished for it. in searching for a sign, i always forget to see the path in front of me. this time i don't know where it's going to lead, but i do know that i don't have to choose which kind of love i want, or hold it down in place. it won't go away. it won't disappear as long as i nurture it from within and point it in the right directions, i know this.
it flows back. it never ends.