Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennet

I watched through The Lizzie Bennet Diaries this week. I blew through them videos for the main story in two days, and today (day 3) I watched all of the supporting videos. If you haven't seen them and liked Pride and Prejudice, I suggest you go watch them on YouTube. There are 100 episodes of the Diaries, with 10 Q&A videos, 2 epilogue videos, and 33 videos from Lydia Bennet's point of view. They change a few things from the books (Mr. Collins proposes a business partnership instead of marriage, Mary is the Bennet sister's cousin and Kitty is Lydia's cat, Mr. Bingley becomes Bing Lee and loses a sister), but the changes don't detract from the story. (The biggest change is what happens between Lydia and Wickham. Well, that and Caroline Lee being the one to give Darcy hope instead of his Aunt Catherine.)

And it got me thinking about Mr. Darcy (both the one in the book and the one in the show). He comes across, to Elizabeth, as very proud and stuck-up. Lizzie calls him a robot at one point. And he does have a very old fashioned way of speaking (in the videos, period appropriate for the book). But, as he eventually shows in the videos (once he starts actually being in them), he's more shy and awkward and not quite comfortable with being in the public eye (which is weird, because he's a CEO of a company, someone who would be in the public eye). He does seem to relax around Lizzie and start showing his softer side, even before he thinks he might have a shot with Lizzie after all.

And I realized that most introverts and shy people seem to wear suits of armor to people. Mostly because they don't know what is going on in our heads. We seem distant and unapproving and judgemental, when we are really just listening and thinking and caring. Because talking can often be hard, words can be hard sometimes. And people seem to think quiet people are judging, even when we are mentally checked out.

The problem with trying to pin much of any characteristics to Mr. Darcy, I will admit, comes from the fact that we learn things mostly from Elizabeth Bennet's point of view. And her view is limited, partly by her own pride and partly from her not being present for so much of the backstory of the Darcy family and their dealings with George Wickham. Which is not to say that the book Elizabeth is an unreliable narrator (nor the video Lizzie), but that we only learn things as she learns them. We don't know what Bingley (or Bing Lee, in general) thinks of Darcy. We don't know how much of his initial insults of Miss Bennet stem from being shy or introverted and being forced into conversations and dealings with all manner of people when he's not ready for it. He does seem, in the books, more comfortable in Bingley's house (even with Jane and Elizabeth there). Anyone who might have slowly warmed up to him the first time they read the book might warm up to him faster the second time around when seeing his attempts at showing Elizabeth his warming interest.

I will admit that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does end without anyone married or engaged, but Bing Lee and Jane are dating and seem to be moving towards that and Darcy and Lizzie are dating with potential for future marriage. Lydia is single and trying to figure out what to do with herself, after her disastrous relationship with George Wickham (and her videos show, even before the relationship, how much the Lydia in the videos is trying to hide her loneliness and fear of losing her sisters behind a party girl attitude, which was her armor).

I don't know what Jane Austen would think of her characters being portrayed like they are in the videos. I would hope that she would enjoy it, even with some interesting changes. I know that I did.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Vulnerability

I have been watching some Ted Talks lately. Brené Brown has a couple of them, talking about vulnerability. And Glennon Doyle Melton talked about her past, sharing her vulnerability.

And it amazes me how much people try to numb themselves. Not that I don't understand the desire. I've felt those scary lows. Deeply. Intimately. And I know how bad they hurt and how much you start wondering if this is your new normal. That is, when depression isn't numbing me to nearly everything.

But you can't just numb the lows. You would numb all the highs, and I wouldn't give those up for anything. As bad as depression is, as bad as some of my life experiences have been (and I'm not ready to talk about them yet), I know that numbing the pain won't work.

That doesn't mean I've not done something to help in those bad times. Chocolate is helpful in keeping depression from fully taking over or pulling me away from the edge sometimes. My husband is even better at helping.

But I don't want to dim my life because I'm afraid of the lows. I don't want to miss the highs. I'd rather be vulnerable.

I'm pretty sure that I would probably find it easy to get addicted, if I let myself. (Sometimes it's a good thing to be a bit of a control freak.) But the lack of control, the lack of being able to think clearly, would spiral me further into panic.

So, I don't numb myself. I remain vulnerable. I keep my heart tender. And I suffer from people being stupid. But I get to feel joy at the idea of my sister's wedding (later this month). I get to rejoice at how precious my niece is (My sister had a baby nearly a year ago!). I get to be present and smile and laugh and cry and hurt. And I don't have to fight to figure out how to get past all those long ignored emotions to be here.

I don't proclaim myself better than anyone else. I'm just doing my best. I'm trying to figure out my next right thing. I have hardly any of the answers.

But I do know that numb is not the way to go through life.

(At some point, I will post about something positive. I just don't know when that will be. I seem to be working through some things.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Let's Be Honest Here

Note: I haven't posted in forever, I know. I don't even know what I last wrote about, and I know at one point I promised funny stories about trucking. This is not that post. I don't know if that post will ever exist, because sometimes that is how my life goes. I have these good intentions, and then other things become urgent and important (not the same thing, by the way) and they take over everything. (End random semi-explanation, start actual post)

I'm getting more honest with myself. We were watching a documentary on Netflix about Tony Robbins (called Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru). I realized that if I had been there, the biggest thing I want to change in my life does not have to do with our finances (even though I want them to change) or the fact that we are still not parents yet (I realized how much of a blessing that has been the last few years, even though I've been wanting to be a mom through them all). The biggest thing I want to change in my life is to stop hating myself.

I don't always hate myself. In fact, I'm often fond of me. I know I have my issues, but I am working on them. I am not just settling and declaring myself done with growing.

But then there are those days. The ones that I spend the whole day wanting to go lay back down because being upright is just so pointless. The ones where I feel like I can do nothing right and all the mistakes I've made in the past two or three years come back to haunt me. And the memories won't shut up. Depression tries to come back.

And on those days, I hate myself. For feeling week enough to believe the lies that depression makes. For believing the harmful things that my mother said so many years ago are things that are still true. For not loving myself enough.

I don't want to hurt myself, even on those bad days. But depression isn't about physical pain, although there is usually some of that with the emotional pain. I just want to lay down and not move, because it feels like there is no point.

I am thankful for my husband, who doesn't let me dwell in the pain and spiraling lies. He brings me food and does whatever he can to make me laugh. He hugs me and gives me the love I can't seem to give myself. He won't leave me alone in my pain, which is the best thing for me, despite depression telling me that I don't deserve these things.

I want to stop hating myself. I want to love me, even on bad days. If I do, maybe they won't be so bad. I want to know, without a doubt, that I am better than all those bad thoughts tell me I am. And most days, I do feel that way. And I am so thankful for that.

I am stronger than I think.

And so are you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Modest Post

Today, I'm going to talk about modesty. Which almost makes me want to roll my eyes because why is this something to have to write about?

(I will post weird stories from the road sometime... I'm just not sure when.)

Recently (meaning in the last two weeks), I've read two different blog posts and an article on modesty. The article was about one of the blog posts. They were all fairly reasonable statements about modesty and all of them coming from a Christan basis. Apparently, there was a big uproar about them online. Which strikes me as stupid, because most of the people complaining were probably not the intended audience.

One of the blog posts was about the author's decision to stop wearing leggings as pants outside her house unless her shirt covered her behind. To help Christian men to not have as big a problem with lust. She wasn't necessarily trying to tell everyone else what to do or that they should wear clothes that are a size too big and cover from neck to knee at minimum. Just that maybe wearing leggings as pants is not the best thing for a modest woman to do. She put it on her blog to encourage accountability, most likely. To help her keep to her new decision. It was something she had been thinking about and struggling with for a bit and finally decided and shared her decision. It was a nice post that reminded me as a Christian that I am accountable for my intentions behind my clothes and caused me to think about my wardrobe for about 5 minutes before remembering that I'm actually a fairly modest dresser naturally and that, other than one t-shirt, most of my shirts come to at least below the waist (that one comes down to the waistband of my pants) and that I plan on replacing it later this year, before I'm likely to wear it.

The article I mentioned was based off that blog post. About how people need to calm down and carefully read that this woman was talking about changing her own behavior. And to not give her grief about following her own morals about modest dressing.

The other blog post was written by the mom of teen boys. She was writing to teen girls about appropriate pictures to take and post on FaceBook. She and her husband monitor what their boys can see and will weed out female friends of their sons if they are wearing immodest clothing. Her main point was that posting pictures in pajamas from their room was not becoming and that it will get them dropped and don't they want their future husbands to think of them as being modest. I struggled more with this blog post, because I see both sides better. This was not someone talking about their own behavior only, but about what they feel other's should do. But I understand, from a Christian standpoint, what they meant. The pictures may have been less modest than should be shared on FaceBook or anywhere online.

I found that post based off a link that briefly mentioned that she should be teaching her sons that they are responsible for their own thoughts. And there is some truth to that, but I understand wanting to help them by removing a source of potential temptation to sin. It's not a bad thing to remind people that their actions have consequences, even if the consequences are as simple as being unfriended for posting less modest pictures.

The thing is, I'm not anyone else's voice of morality at this point. I just have me, and only slightly Ace when he is really tired, to concern myself with. I don't have to tell a daughter that her clothes are immodest or tell a son that he needs to not think lustfully after someone just because of what they are wearing. I can understand both sides of the conflict that is in people's heads. I don't have the right to tell you what to do. But I also need to take my actions and intentions to heart when I make decisions based on what I wear.

As I said, I'm a fairly modest dresser. Right now, I'm wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt, with a pair of exercise pants under the jeans and a hoodie over the shirt (It's cold outside, so I layer to stay warm). Tomorrow, I'll go without the exercise pants. The hoodies are a most of the year thing, dropped completely only in summer, and still with one not too far away because I get cold long before my husband. My hoodies are not really all that form fitted, even if the shirts under are somewhat. Until I finally get around to having breast reduction surgery (because I doubt that I can just lose enough weight to drop my bra size down to a reasonable size), there will be no questions about my gender from the front. 38H is just too large to hide. And I'm currently just grabbing appropriately sized shirts from Walmart to replace my old ones, so the shirts will mostly be snugger than the older ones (I may grab some of the more fun ones from the men's department next time, because I want fun shirts).

I don't generally flaunt my body to anyone but my husband. But I don't try to hide it all away either. I'm much more likely to go for comfort over tight fit. Because I don't want to feel uncomfortable all day. I've always gone for comfort first. That's why I wear sneakers or flats if I have to dress up. Because I'll whine if I'm uncomfortable. Thankfully, comfortable clothes are generally fairly modest. I do have a couple of shirts that show cleavage, but unless you are looking over my shoulder, you shouldn't see that much. And if you are, why are you looking over my shoulder? (Not you, Ace. I know why you are looking over my shoulder.)

What you decide to do when it comes to clothes is not really my business. But, if you are Christian, please keep in mind that the Bible tells us not to be a stumbling block to other Christians. If that means you stop wearing leggings as pants without long shirts, then that's not generally that big of a thing to give up. If that means you wear shirts that are less cleavage bearing, go you. I'll support you in that. But if you aren't Christian, you've got to figure out your own moral compass. I would suggest that leggings as pants are probably not the best plan, but that's up to you.

These thoughts are by no means my only ones, but they are the only ones I feel comfortable sharing.

P.S.: Sorry for the title. Unless it made you smile.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Spam Is Sometimes Hilarious

First, without comment, the spam email.

Subject: WE NEED A SOLID PROVE FROM YOU TO ENABLE US RELEASE YOUR FUND.
Date: 2014-06-03 07:35
From: "Federal bureau of investigation"
To:
Reply-To:



Anti-Terrorist and Monetary Crimes Division
FBI headquarters in Washington , D.C.
Federal bureau of investigation
J. Edgar Hoover building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington , D.C. 20535-0001
Ref: FBI/DC/25/014.


Attention: Fund Beneficiary,


This is an official advice from the FBI foreign remittance/telegraphic dept. it has come to our notice that bank of Nigeria has released 10,500,000.00 U.S dollars into bank of America in your name as the beneficiary, by Inheritance means. The bank of Nigeria knowing fully well that they do not have enough facilities to affect this payment from the United Kingdom to your account, used what we know as a secret diplomatic transit payment (S.T.D.P) to pay this fund through wire transfer, they used this means to complete the payment.


They are still waiting for confirmation from you on the already transferred funds,which were made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. Secret diplomatic payments are not made unless the funds are related to terrorist activities why must your payment be made in secret transfer, if your transaction is legitimate, if you are not a terrorist, then why did you not receive the money directly into your account? This is a pure coded means of payment which we have had in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, we do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your account, so it is our duty as a world wide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account.


Due to the increased difficulty and unnecessary scrutiny by the UK/USA authorities when funds come from outside of America , and the Middle East , the F.B.I crime commission has stopped the transfer on its way to deliver payment of $10.500.00 through a secured diplomatic transit, account (S.D.T.A). We govern and oversee funds Transfer for the World Bank and the rest of the world. We advice you contact us immediately, as the funds have been stopped and are being held in our custody until you can be able to provide us with a diplomatic immunity seal of transfer (dist) within 3 days from the world local bank that authorize the transfer to certify that the funds that you are about to receive from Nigeria are terrorist/drug free else we shall have cause to cross and impound the payment, however, we shall release the funds immediately we receive this legal documents.


We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the amount involved, we want to make sure that the legitimacy of the fund you are about to receive is not in doubt whatsoever. Note!! The fund is in the Bank of America right now, but we have ask them not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and verifications from you before releasing the funds, to this regards, you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you are about to receive is clean and legitimate by sending to us FBI Identification Record and also Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) to certify that the fund is not for terrorism/money laundering. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you do not have it, let us know so that we can direct you where to get it.


These Documents are to be issued to you from the World Local Bank that Authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don't have the document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain the document because we have come to realize that the fund was Authorized by the bank that initialized the transfer Identification Record and Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) often referred to as a Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet, is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances, federal employment, Naturalization or military service. These conditions is Valid until 9th of June 2014 after we shall take actions on canceling the payment and then charge you for illegally moving funds out of Nigeria.



Guarantee: funds will be released on confirmation of the document.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Final instruction:

60fCredit payment instruction: irrevocable credit guarantee
61eBeneficiary has full power when validation is cleared
62 Beneficiaries bank in USA/outside can only release funds-
62 Upon confirmation from the world bank/united nations.
64 Bearers must clear bank protocol and validation request
NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety welfare and security of Society while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimacy of the fund you are about to receive.

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S and outside. An individual may request a copy of his or her own FBI Identification record for personal review or to challenge information on the Record. Other reasons,individual may request a copy of his or her own Identification Record may include international adoption or to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country or receive funds from another country (i.e., Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer, letter of good conduct, criminal history background, etc.).


FBI Director
James B. Comey.


And now for the explanation as to why it's funny.

In April of this year, I started driving a truck. The company Ace and I drive for requires us to have a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) card. I had to undergo a background check from the FBI to insure that I am not a terrorist or a wanted criminal or a lunatic. There were fingerprints and it cost over $100. I passed the background check in two days and then spent two months waiting for my card to be printed (Ace got his in a week 6 months earlier. They changed something right around the time I applied for my card, which caused delays. That's the government for you.)

So, imagine how much I laughed at being told that I have cleared the background check by the FBI by the TSA and that I am considered a terrorist by the FBI in a spam email.

This, like taking cheese to Wisconsin, will never stop being funny to me.

P.S.: I have my TWIC card now and we almost never go anywhere that it's needed. I'm about half disappointed about that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Random Thoughts No One Else Probably Cares About

I still suck at this posting more than once in a blue moon thing. Sorry. I hadn't quite realized how long it had been since I had posted.

Since I don't really have much in the way of coherent thoughts right now, here is a random list of what is on my mind.

1. Some people are really good at circumventing the rules. Sometimes it's impressive. Sometimes it's bad. (Ace is reading me a follow up article about a kid who got suspended for selling full sugar Pepsi. The kid figured out how to keep selling the soft drinks without breaking the rules.)

2. Why are we, as a society, so hung up about gender and what people have in their pants? Does it matter if I'm female or male to anyone other than Ace and me? Should it?

3. Did I use proper grammar in that last point? Should it have been Ace and I instead of Ace and me?

4. I need to post that email that made me laugh sometime. With the explanation as to why it was so funny.

5. Ace and I traded trucks. We love our new one, even if there are a few things we don't love about it it. It is so much better than the last truck. (I can drive this one without messing up my hip!)

6. I should post about weird/random/whatever things I've seen since I've started driving. (I have a weird story about a wheel. Short, but weird.)

7. Today kind of sucked. But we made it through the day without crashing the truck or yelling at anyone.

8. I had to pay a quarter to use a bathroom that didn't even have soap or paper towels (or a hand dryer) to clean my hands. That sucks.

9. I'm glad people are talking about depression and not just ignoring it. Why do we stigmatize mental illnesses? Are we afraid they are contagious?

10. I don't have a ten, I just like even numbers.

My brain is kind of active lately. But now I think it's time for a nap. Hopefully I'll get back soon with those posts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Suicide Is Hardly Painless

I know it's been forever since I last posted. Sorry about that. Things have changed some, and I'm now driving (at least sometimes) and that has lead to being more tired and less inclined to write. I'm also less inclined to read as much. It's making me sad. That, however, is not the point of this post.

I want to talk about my theory of suicide. (Robin Williams is still having a profound effect. Hopefully people will get help instead of following the leader.) If that bothers you, sorry. Hopefully I'll post something less emotionally traumatizing soon after this. You might want to skip this post if you are fighting that fight, although I'm not really planning on going into hows as much as whys.

I have a friend who posted a link on FaceBook about depression. And it got me thinking, once I got past my emotional first reaction of finding depression entirely too close for comfort.

I used to believe, back before I ever fought depression, that suicide was selfish. I was a stupid teenager who wondered how someone suicidal didn't see the impact on their loved ones who were left to mourn the loss. I didn't understand that sometimes people are just pushed to the edge of what they can handle and the lack of hope is the final straw. I did understand that as bad as things seemed, ending my own life would never seem likely a good solution, because I'm probably more scared of the potential physical pain than I am of finding a way to just keep going. I'm kind of wired oddly sometimes, but it works well for me in the long run.

Today, I saw much more clearly that suicide is much more about someone who couldn't hold on any more. The pain and rawness of depression are too much. The numbness seems unending. The lies of depression seem too believable. The self-loathing is too acute and the belief that no one else cares seems too real. You know that it's not true, but you just can't fight any more.

I'm still not the kind of person to attempt suicide. I'd rather just hide from society and just not move until something motivates me enough. I struggled two years ago with depression crippling enough that I wasn't eating right and couldn't find it in me to want to do anything about it. But I found the motivation to go shopping once a week and go to a prayer team once a week and to do the minimum that I needed to not become one with the bed. It was horrible, because I just felt so bad and I wasn't sure how I was going to be okay again. And then, it got better.

But it helps me understand better why someone might give up. When 3 steps is too far for food, you learn things about yourself. And they aren't pretty things.

I survived. I've not had anything even remotely as bad as that happen again.

We are, all of us, more than our weakest moments.

Even when we fail to make it through those moments.

If you are depressed, please find help. I should have. I wish I did. I wish I could have. I'm thankful that my will to survive was stronger than my lack of motivation. I am willing to listen/read. I don't have answers for you, but sometimes just sharing with someone helps. If I'm not your cup of tea, please find someone who is. There are plenty of people out there willing to help. And not all of them require making a phone call. (Sorry, my own weird phone phobia is slipping in.)

And remember, please, that you are more than your weakest moments. It does, eventually, get better. Depression lies. And someone does love you.

Thanks.