I am eternally grateful to the blogs I read for giving me a new perspective on my body.

Bodies are strange. So many outside influences and ideas are imposed on what is, essentially, a totally functional, utilitarian object. Who you are is not the same as your body, but your body is part of what makes you who you are. Your body is completely a functional tool, but society is also constantly bombarding you with outside pressure on your body’s appearance. It makes the most intelligent, strong, amazing, beautiful people intensely insecure about things that most of the time they really can’t do a damn about. Strange, isn’t it?

Unless you spend very much time reading “body-positive” blogs, most of you don’t even realize how much your dissatisfaction or small irritations with your body can affect your mental outlook. You don’t even realize how insidious the societal pressure for a “perfect” body is. Think about this, ladies: 
  1. When was the last time you ate a dessert in public and were completely unapologetic about it?
  2. When was the last time you internally scolded yourself when you looked in the mirror?
  3. When was the last time you had a discussion with your girlfriends about your body that didn't revolve around weight, but on something like how strong you were feeling, or how great you felt in your own skin?
For most of us, the answers are:  
  1. Not since I was 10.
  2. This morning.
  3. Not since I was 10.

Reflect on that for a minute, and realize how truly sad that is.

My answers would be:
  1. Sunday
  2. This morning
  3.  Last week sometime

Slightly better, I think.

So, here is a challenge for any of you that have never really thought much about how you look at your body:

Spend this next week paying attention about how you think about yourself physically. 

Try really hard to not judge your own thoughts. Just pay attention. I’ll continue this thread next week.


Blog of the Day: Chic and Charming

Rather than just roll out a mile-long list of my favorite blogs to put on the sidebar, I thought I would gradually make a mile-long list of my favorites and introduce them formally.

The place of honor for this list should definitely go to Chic and Charming.

I actually met Sophia Charming (her blog name) about 5 years ago, and we became friends through our mutual love of style and silliness. She started a blog a few months later, and I have been a loyal reader ever since. In fact, she is pretty much directly responsible for introducing me to my favorite blogs and my love of blogging in general. Wondering why I blog myself? She is (indirectly) responsible!

Some of my favorite posts are her nostalgia for American Girl dolls (also note: the url shows the page title "this is a sad story about dolls." Yes!!!) because I definitely had that phase myself, and her comparison of the Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series. In fact, she is also responsible for getting me started reading the True Blood books. And then watching the show. I can no longer feel superior for never reading/watching Twilight.

Go over and say hi!


Brief Hiatus

Moving sucks. If I were a good little blogger, you guys would never have noticed, but since I jumped in when I got the chance, I haven't had the chance to build up a catalog of posts waiting in the wings. 
I might get one more post in on Saturday, but normal routine should begin again on Monday. Stick around! I'm not in a bathtub missing a kidney!


Love Letter to NPR

Thank you NPR for introducing me to:

The Caesars (Old news, still a great song)

The Arctic Monkeys (And yeah, I learned of my favorite rock band through NPR.)

Gaby Moreno

Connie Willis (and her time traveling historians)


The Book of the Dead

The first book that I read for my Western Canon reading project was The Book of the Dead by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge. I think it is important to note here that for much of the first half of the reading list, I am getting whatever version of the work is available on Project Gutenberg . Also, the first things I am reading are all the religious texts. I thought reading them all together would be interesting.

So, back to the book. This is the Egyptian “Book of the Dead.” Before I cracked this open and actually read it, I had some wonderful anticipation that I knew was going to get crushed. I love anything having to do with ancient history. Anything from the rise of civilization in Ur, Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome up to the fall automatically gets a little rush of excitement going through me. The problem with Egypt is that reading about it is actually a little anticlimactic after my wild imaginings. Egypt is remarkable in the fact that it found something culturally that it liked, and just stuck with it. For 2000 years.

The Book of the Dead is actually a latter-day compilation of spells and texts that were called “Chapters of the Coming Forth into the Day.” They get the name “Book of the Dead” by grave robbers calling the scrolls of papyri they found with mummies “dead man’s books.” Because it isn’t necessarily a cohesive, standard religious text (although I believe it does get standardized at one point), it is possible to trace an evolution in burial rituals based on which version of the text was left in the tomb, and how it is presented.
The texts were believed to be written by Thoth for the benefit of the dead, and were basically a formula to make sure the deceased would get through the underworld. A “get into heaven free” card, if you will. Thoth, in Egyptian mythology, is the arbitrator in the battle between good and evil- the great mediator.

The scrolls provide a guide through the underworld. They provide the hymns that must be recited at certain times, the magical names of the door-parts that you must recite to gain entrance to come before Thoth, the answer to the riddle Thoth will pose to you before you can come before Osiris and the gods to be judged. This part of the mythology may sound familiar: in order to obtain your immortality, your heart will be weighed against a feather, and if you are found lacking, Ammit, the Devourer of Souls, will eat your heart and your soul will be restless forever.

The heart was considered” the seat of all will, emotion, feeling, reason and intelligence” and the feather is symbolic of truth and righteousness. The interesting point here is that you weren’t expected to “kick the beam” of the balance, you only had to counterbalance Truth. You didn’t have to be especially good, you just couldn’t be evil. In fact, you got through if Thoth’s pronouncement was “He hath done no evil.”

These religious beliefs are interesting to muse about today, when religion is much more metaphysical. Egyptians believed that the afterlife intersected this life. Part of your soul came back to your body each day to rest. The land of the dead was a physical place you could point to on a map. You lived an eternal existence with your loved ones in paradise. (Wait a minute…)

So, while my wild imaginings of reading a book of magic weren’t necessarily fulfilled, I did get a dollop of mythology (my favorite!) and some food for thought on what humans expect to happen when we die.



Perfection is totally ruining my life. Or rather my overwhelming desire for it is. 

Perfectionism isn’t generally something we complain about in ourselves. It’s usually something we say about other people, as they drive us up the wall with their unreasonable demands and expectations. Well, I make myself crazy. (I’m not discounting the reality that I make everyone around me crazy too- I love you dear husband!)

I almost feel kind of silly writing this post also, because my mind is telling me “Perfectionist? Hah! Look at your kitchen! Do you have any idea what you are making for dinner? Your bed isn’t made! You didn’t call about that thing! And look at your writing- is that really as good as it gets?”

And this is exactly the problem with being a perfectionist- nothing could ever be good enough in your life, because life is never perfect. I blame a lot of my high-strung mentality on my perfectionism:

Inflexibility, because life can’t possibly turn out perfect if I haven’t had enough advance warning to think through and plan out every detail of any move I make.

Irritability, because if anything goes against my internal rubric of perfection, usually small things, (background noise, things out of place, turns of phrase, on and on) I can’t help but fixate on the small imperfection until I snap over another ridiculously small annoyance.

Indecision. I cannot allow myself to attempt or to start something until I have convinced myself that it will have the exact outcome I expect. Usually things as small as calling the cable company. (I did that today, honey!)

And I just realized that I totally unconsciously made a list of the three I’s of my worst personality traits.  


Are you a perfectionist? What is your personal neurosis?