Monday, August 25, 2014

The Time I Catfished Someone

I was watching a recent episode of Catfish and laughing at the how silly these people are having a relationship with someone they haven't met. Then I remembered how I catfished someone...

Way back when AOL was new and it was the only way to connect to the internet; my teen-aged self use to troll around in chat rooms.

One day this guy read my profile (AOL was really the original Facebook) and asked me about a quote that was featured on it. The quote was anti-police and he said he was a police officer. He wondered why someone would openly hate the police.

We began to chat. I wasn't as anti-police as the quote made me seem. Typical online conversations at the time always started with a/s/l (Age, sex and location). I started the crafting my online persona then. I made my age older than I was. My location was close to where I lived but not exactly (actually that was just a safety measure).

I'm not sure why I told him I looked like someone else. I wasn't trying to get over on him. I wasn't even interested in a relationship or friendship. The internet allows you to be anonymous. I could be be anyone I wanted. Being the extremely creative person that I am I was able to craft my perfect online persona and feed my imagination. 

It was fun, exciting and a way to escape. The thing I feel most guilty about is I used a picture of an acquaintance of mine. These were the days of shitty digital cameras (I think I had to take a picture of a picture) so the picture he received was blurry. It is wrong to steal someone's picture. 

We talked for awhile (close to a year). We didn't have a romantic relationship but there was titillating conversation. I can easily see how people can get wrapped up in it. There is that anticipation of logging on hoping to "see" the person online. Feeling like you have a friend to talk to. It is easy to feel a sense of intimacy behind a computer screen. 

Obviously if this took place in 2014 I think the conversation and results would have been different. It truly embarrassing that I had the nerve to do something like this. I'm glad he didn't take me seriously. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Real Bodies Taking Over the Internet

Recently Buzzfeed posted this article about plus size women posting "gorgeous pictures of their real bodies with the #fakini hashtag." I absolutely loved the pictures of women. I thought it was empowering and incredibly brave.

I felt proud of these women.

Then I read the comments. The comments were disappointing, negative and mean.

Real Comments:
"Fat is fat. Obese is obese. Stop with the crap." 
"Stop trying to make people believe obesity is beautiful. These women are not even fat.. they have morbid obesity. I am obese and working to lose weight, i do not want to get diabetes, I do not want to die young of a heart condition and I want to feel better about myself. You accomplish that by eating better and exercising, not trying to make people believe it is ok to be this big"
         "Surely having a massive gut is unhealthy.."
"The issue I take with this is that, quite clearly, most of these women are obese if not morbidly obese. To willingly call them 'curvy' is a way of masking their poor health choices behind a fantasy of body confidence for all. Obesity shouldn't be a lifestyle choice, and there is nothing clever or empowering about passing on the message that women can be proud of being dangerously unhealthy because other people happen to be slim. They are not the antithesis of being slim. There are comments on here that women can be sexy no matter what their weight and I agree wholeheartedly, but at what point do we call out obesity for its complete lack of sex appeal? Is there really anything sexy about an early death, diabetes and heart disease?"

What people don't understand is it takes confidence to wear a bikini (skinny or not). It takes extra confidence to wear one as someone who does not look like what everyone else considers "normal."  On top of that, to take a picture of yourself in said bikini and post it to social media is brave!  
Photo: GabiFresh/Instagram

I don't think the article and pictures were encouraging obesity. I think they were about being confident and challenging societal norms. Society says it is not okay for women over a certain clothing size to wear a bikini (or even swimsuits).  People want "larger sized women" to cover up.  The truth is....we shame plus sized people. 

However, there seems to be a counter-culture body positive movement going on via bloggers, YouTube, and sites like Pinterest and Tumblr.  And there's nothing wrong with that. 

These women know that they are not an ideal weight. Some are working on losing weight. These pictures are not about unhealthy vs. healthy. They really are about acceptance and not being ashamed.  

If you are able to accept where you are in life then you can begin to change it. 

The other big argument in the comments section was the use of the term "real women." Some people feel that using this term for plus size women is throwing shade against skinny women. Every women is a real woman but by using that phrase, plus sized women are acknowledging that many women are over a size 10 (and considered plus sized), that most women are larger than the models we see in magazines and that plus sized is real sized. 

Once again it is about empowerment.  

How do you feel about the article and/or comments in the article?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The New Gig

After a year of unemployment (and "on call" employment) I'm finally employed FULL-TIME!!! I'm so excited. 

I really wanted to work at this school. I was a substitute there. I love the teachers and the school culture. I was "all in" but after two interviews and a demonstration lesson, I was turned down for the position. I was extremely disappointed. 


6 weeks later, I received a email from the school principal personally offering me a different position. I am now a full-time substitute. I'm at the school everyday and filling in as needed or like right now I'll be in one class for a few months because a teacher is on maternity leave.

While I don't have my own classroom I am at the same great school with those amazing teachers. It is a step in the door. It is a way to feel grounded in one place. 

It is humbling to be turned down for a teaching position and still show up and accept a lesser position. People keep asking me why I'm not a "regular" teacher since I obviously have experience. I have to explain the whole situation. 

I'm hoping that the powers that be see my strength, commitment, and willingness to improve. I'm putting in work this school year. I'm also going to beef up my portfolio; meaning I am going to get certified to teach another subject. I'm working on my classroom management techniques. I will also take every professional development chance I can get. 

Next year there will not be any question about if I am good enough. They'll know. 

Being unemployed has been extremely hard for me but I think I needed this struggle. I needed a shake up in my life. I spent too long living a fearful life and settling for the easy way. I needed to put my trust in God and let him lead my life. 

My husband says, "God's thoughts are not our thoughts. In times like these he is teaching us to trust him. We have to trust HIS process. God always has more for us than what we can see. He knows our needs and wants." 

You can't have a testimony without a test.