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.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Have Some Things to Say

Dear World,
You do not get to define me. I am much more than your limited views of me would suggest. I am not just anything, except for just me.

Because you do not know me, you cannot tell me that I can't have problems because I am a white woman. You cannot tell me that I cannot have problems just because I don't have children to figure out how to feed. Life is hardly ever as simple as outward causes for mental problems.

You cannot tell me that my husband can't potentially have problems because he is a white man. That his weight is where it is simply because he's lazy. That he doesn't care about me intensely because you don't see him doing whatever you think shows his care.

You can't tell me that everyone is hurting and then expect that everyone is fine emotionally. That someone who outwardly has their life together can't be lost inwardly. That depression only affects those whose lives have obvious complications and the rest of us are just weak or lazy or overly emotional.

You can't tell me that depression only attacks when things are bad. That I've never felt fine emotionally when things were at their bleakest from the outside and barely able to semi-function when things were starting to get better because it suddenly attacked with every trick in it's demented book.

You can't tell me that I'm the only one that's happened to.

Stop telling women that if they don't look like this celebrity or that supermodel that they are fat, unhealthy, and worthless. Too many of us take it to heart and it causes more problems. Quit implying that any woman who has any noticeable body fat anywhere is overweight and needs to diet and exercise. Quit implying that every man finds your insane standards of beauty to be the only standards that are acceptable. Quit lying to us all.

Quit acting like who someone loves is more important than that they have someone they love. That only one religion could possibly have the answers to everyone's questions. That just because I go to this church instead of that one that I am going to Hell because God is so narrowly strict on who he accepts. Quit denying that the Bible says that God wants to save as many people as He can. Quit telling me, without words but with attitudes, that I am going to Hell for any minor wrong and that I've got to be careful to never have a bad day (but apparently judging people based on their sins is okay, despite what the Bible says).

Quit trying to pigeon-hole everyone. Let us all be as free to be ourselves as we want to be. Let us be individuals or a group based on our social understanding and let us label ourselves.

Quit labeling women with negative words when they do things that a man would be praised for. Quit acting like a woman's worth is tied into being perfect at all things at all times while a man's is tied into what he earns. Quit acting like my opinion on anything might be less than my husband's because I am female and he is male.

I think it is time we all grow up and treat each other as we would want to be treated. Let's try that for a while, instead of judging and labeling everyone for convenience.

We are all more than most people see from the brief glimpses we get into each other's lives. Maybe we should try to respect that more.

Love,
M.A. Smith

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Exhausted Rambling

I would love to say that things are going swimmingly over here. They are going pretty well, but today has been long and I'm tired and sore and cold (Pennsylvania is cold in February, especially right after a snow storm, spread the news).

Ace got a load today that we drove 20 miles, maybe? Before he got 5 miles from the shipper, we got a call that he needed to head back. But we had to wait, somewhat, for a call from his dispatcher (because the first call was from someone else) and now we've been waiting for over an hour for getting into a door for them to unload the load they just put on the trailer and...

It's nothing big. We're getting paid well for that short trip. But it just made half the day feel pointless and I already had problems with not wanting to get up this morning.

I just want to wake up and not feel tired. That is where I'm at today.

Tomorrow, we get to be up and have the truck moving by about 6 am to make it to our next pick up on time. And I'm feeling like I've not been getting enough sleep for the past month (I really have, but it's been not so great sleep). And it sucks and I'm whining and feeling annoyed about that.

Things are going well. This is a small issue and I'm not getting depressed over it. I'm just ready for the day to be done. Because I think Ace is coming down with my cold/sinus gunk/whatever, which strangle came back when we got to colder weather. And I just need one of us to be okay right now and it doesn't seem like it's going to be me.

I'm just glad I have my blanket to wrap around me and help me feel like something is going... at least not completely pear-shaped. And I'll get to lay down and sleep soon, I know. I'm just ready to be past soon (and to have some heat warming my toes).

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Literary Tattoos on the Brain

I've been fascinated with literary tattoos lately. And this is unsurprising, seeing as I am usually reading several books at once and stories with meaning stick with me and if I enjoy (or don't absolutely hate) getting tattoos, I may consider one someday.

I, somewhat recently, read a book about literary tattoos. Mostly it was looking at pictures of tattoos, but still. It was fascinating. Some people explained their tattoos and some people didn't. One woman wrote a story (or was in the process of writing a story) by having words tattooed on people. Some were tattoos that related to writing more than just being about a specific book. Most of the tattoos were quotes.

I'm not sure there has been something that I've read that I want to put permanently on my body. That, however, is not necessarily going to be true forever.

So far, I'm planning on getting "I am stronger than I think" and "It gets better" tattooed on my wrists (possibly in white). As reminders to myself that dark days don't last and I will get through them. Ace and I have talked about getting matching tattoos, and even potentially picked out what we're getting. Of course, if I don't like the process, that will put a damper on the idea.

I've never thought of myself as someone who gets tattoos, and yet I'm considering getting not just one, but three.

Anyway, none of this is set in stone. But I am fascinated by why people choose the tattoos they choose.

And now I think it's past time I went to bed.