Someone posted on a Facebook forum, describing a humiliating experience she went through today. While bicycling (and then locking up her bike), a gang of young men made increasingly aggressive cat calls and noises at her. She usually finds it easy to ignore them, but it disturbed her more today. She wrote to the group partially because we can empathize and maybe we might have advice on how she could have handled it differently.
My response apparently struck a chord, because just a few hours later, it now has DOZENS of “likes” on Facebook. I thought maybe some of you might like to consider this, too. Here’s what I wrote to her.
Here’s the thing: NONE OF THAT WAS YOUR FAULT. It’s not your fault they taunt women. It’s not your fault they taunt fat women. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ANY REACTION YOU CHOOSE. You get to choose what you do. Regardless whether you walk away or turn and face them or say something or not say something, YOUR CHOICE IS NEVER WRONG. We’re not to be blamed for walking away, or being silent, or speaking back, or speaking up — because the confrontation was never about us. **HUGS**
Remember, what matters most is that you get a chance to take back YOUR CHOICES from the pressure of society or family or friends or media or strangers. It’s entirely up to you if you want to smile, or if you want to exercise, or if you want to travel alone, or if you want to pursue a specific career or education, or if you want to be in an intimate relationship, or if you want to change relationship status, or if you prefer to be alone at this time, or if you want to eat this instead of that, or if you prefer to…. You see my point?
While there might be limitations in your life that are outside your control whether that’s a medical condition or a learning disability or a minority status that affects your very day-to-day existence, and others may have privilege that you don’t have access to, what you DO HAVE is personal autonomy. There are many decisions which are *entirely yours* to make.
And if you ever need an ally to support you, please feel free to consider asking me to be there. Because it’s very possible I would be honored to be there to support your right to make your own personal choices.
In my original post, I admitted I’d never seen Blade Runner and then I took recommendations for movies I should see. In six hours alone, I received a *TON* of recommendations. Here’s the sorted list with duplicates removed and the titles sorted into “haven’t seen, won’t see,” and “already seen” categories.
MOVIES I HAVE NOT SEEN YET
…that have been recommended (currently 213 titles or franchise/series)
2 Smoking Barrels
50 First Dates
Across the Universe
Addams Family — all the movies with Angelica Houston
The Adjustment Bureau
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (anything by Terry Gilliam really)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
American in Paris
As Good as it Gets
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
The Big Sleep (1940s version)
Big Trouble in Little China
Blast from the Past
Bringing up Baby
Breakfast at Tiffany’s — might have seen part of this
The Clash of the Titans (original)
Clear and Present Danger
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dancing at Lughnasa
Don Juan de Marco
Dracula (Bram Stoker’s)
Empire of the Sun
The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — oooh, I’ve wanted to see this
A Face in the Crowd
The First Wives Club
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers — I’d have to pull the list of these
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Game (with Michael Douglas)
Gone With the Wind
The Great Escape
Harold and Maude
The Harvey Girls
His Girl Friday (almost anything with Cary Grant)
Hope and Glory
House of Flying Daggers
House of the Green Dagger
How to Lose a Guy in 10 days
Ice Age — any of them
In & Out (Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck)
In Her Shoes
In the Line of Fire
In the Name of the Father
Indiana Jones — need to see which ones I missed, I’ve seen I think the first one and maybe most recent
James Bond — need to make a list and possibly watch them all in release order. (not sure if I’ve seen any of them or not)
Jason Bourne — any of the Bourne movies
Kate & Leopold
anything with Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi
King Kong (the one by the guy who did the Lord of the Rings movies)
Kingdom of Heaven
Kung Fu Hustle
The Lady Eve
Lawrence of Arabia
Legend — not sure if I’ve seen this or not
Legends of the Fall
Leon the Professional (Director’s Cut)
Less than Zero
Like Water for Chocolate
Lion in Winter (O’Toole, Hepburn)
Little Women (Kate Hepburn)
Madagascar — any of them
The Man Who Fell to Earth
Master and Commander
Meet Joe Black
Meet Me in St. Louis
Merry Christmas Mr. Laurence
Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Mission Impossible — any of them
Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
Much Ado About Nothing (the Kenneth Branagh version) — maybe I’ve seen it?
Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon version)
My Left Foot
Ocean’s Eleven — not sure if I’ve seen this
Only Lovers Left Alive
Out of Africa
Peggy Sue Got Married
Phantom of the Paradise
Pitch Perfect — not sure if I saw this or not, need to check. maybe?
Pride & Prejudice (the 1995 mini series)
PS I Love You
The Quiet Man
A River Runs Through It
Robin & Marion
Robin Hood (Errol Flynn)
Romeo and Juliet (Zeffirelli’s)
Sabrina (1950s version)
Scent of a Woman
The Secret of Roan Inish
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Shanghai Noon (Jackie Chan)
Shirley Temple, anything with ST in it
Singing in the Rain
Six Days, Seven Nights
Snatch and Lock
Take the Lead
Thomas Crowne Affair (original with Steve McQueen)
The Time Traveler’s Wife
To Have and Have Not
Total Recall (the original)
Tron (original or reboot)
Troop Beverly Hills
Under the Tuscan Sun
The Usual Suspects
Waking Ned Devine
What Dreams May Come
What Women Want
Willow — maybe I’ve seen this? or only part of it?
The Wind in the Willows (2006)
The Wind Rises
Withnail and I
Movies that were recommended
…but I will NOT be watching (currently 6 titles)
Clockwork Orange — Nope, nope, a world of NOPE
House of 1000 Corpses
Mad Max Fury Road — not really my type of movie
Pitch Black — or any of the Riddick movies
Warm Bodies — I don’t do zombie movies
Movies I have seen!
(currently 68 titles or franchise/series)
Alice in Wonderland (Disney’s)
Almost Famous — I may have seen this
Bridget Jones’ Diary
A Christmas Story
Dead Poet’s Society
Devil Wears Prada
Fight Club — didn’t like it. not my kind of movie.
Harry Potter — seen all of them 🙂
Highlander 1 — Dearheart, there HAS BEEN ONLY ONE!
How to Train a Dragon — seen all of them 🙂
Inside Out (animation)
It’s a Wonderful Life
Jurassic Park — seen all of them
Kingsmen (with Colin Firth)
Kiss Me Kate
Kung Fu Panda — seen 1 and 2, need to still see 3
Life of Brian
Lion in Winter
Lord of the Rings — seen all of them
The Man From UNCLE (2015)
Marvel – I’ve seen *ALL* the recent Marvel movies. 🙂
Monsters Inc — seen all of them
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life
Muppets — seen all of them
Night at the Museum — any of them
Nightmare Before Christmas
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Pirates of the Carribbean — seen all of them
Real Genius – LOVED this!
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Serenity — OMG, seen so many times, plus all of Firefly!
Shakespeare In Love
So I Married an Axe Murderer
Star Trek — seen all of them
Star Wars — seen all of them (although I might have missed II or III, in the prequels)
Once again, I spouted a wee bit on my own Facebook page, and then I thought a little (after the fact) about how I might have been perceived. So I’m going to take the time to write some clarification, because these things matter to me.
I wrote: By the way, any one is welcome to do whatever they want with their bodies. You can diet or not, exercise or not, have surgery or not, that’s YOUR choice. But for me? I will make my *own* choices and I have *specifically* rejected the default diet industry notion that my “after” photo is any different from my “before” photo. Just in case you’re wondering. Also? Best line of the weekend from #ATSHomecoming, when Angie Never told me how awesome it is when she sees “big belly gals” baring it all on the stage. Personal choice is personal — and I’m proud of my personal choices for me.
Now, before any more people tell me about how inspiring this is, etc. I need to possibly apologize to the friends of mine who *are* pursuing various changes in body size as their personal choice. I have friends who have had bariatric surgery. I have friends who are doing various shake programs or weight loss memberships or other diets, based often on a desire to change their body size. Know this: I do NOT think any less of you for any body or food choice you make. You are STILL lovely people I value and applaud and care for.
So how do I really reconcile my rejection of the diet industry and my love and support for personal choices? I think of it like having favorite or least favorites for flavors. Your choice to do XYZ about food/body size matters as much to me as whether you like the taste of chocolate or coffee or raspberries or pork or cheese or rye bread or licorice. I have no preference for which flavors you like. That’s a personal choice! For example, I hate the taste of licorice. I cannot stand the smell of hazelnut. I never want to eat a persimmon or a mango or an avocado. Does that mean I’m less of a person? Of course not. In fact, it means that if you like mango, I’m going to give you mine.
As I see it, my notion of “bad” foods versus “good” foods is COMPLETELY different from the articles you see pushing one food choice over another. You know what a bad food is? One that will cause you harm. Did you have surgery on your intestinal tract and you can no longer eat specific raw vegetables? Eating raw vegetables would be *bad* for you. It would cause you harm. Are you diagnosed with celiac disease? Then eating wheat gluten (and likely a host of other foods) would be *bad* for you. It would cause you harm. Do you have religious reasons to avoid pork and shellfish? Then eating shrimp and oysters would be *bad* for you. Do you have an old memory of a food served that made you sick in the past? Is that flavor disgusting to you now? Then this would be a *bad* food for you.
What’s a good food? One that you enjoy. One that you want to eat. One that is not going to cause you harm. Personally, when I’m served breakfast in bed, that’s a *good* food. (wink) Sometimes it might not be the food I would have picked out, but it was served out of love and affection, and that matters to me. Do I like the taste of poppy seeds? Nope. But when I’m served a meal at my friend’s house and the dinner includes Caesar salad with croutons (which I’m not a fan of) and poppy seed rolls, then I enjoy the meal made with love (and I can even sometimes pretend I’m not tasting poppy seeds).
So rock on, crouton — by the way, someone want my croutons? — and you pursue what makes you happy. If you are truly happier doing a shake program or a weight loss program, then you enjoy that flavor in your life. It’s not the flavor I enjoy, but that’s not the point. The point is I care about whether you are pursuing what flavors *you* like in your life. Because, by gum, I’m going to pursue the flavors *I* like in my life. (Bubblegum is a flavor I enjoy, btw.)
What are my favorite flavors in life? I’m a fan of the flavor of diet coke. Doesn’t matter what science article you have about the chemicals, etc. I like the flavor. I like the flavor of coffee, chocolate (dark, preferably). I like my chocolate without nuts. I hate chocolate and orange together. I love chocolate and cherry together. I like the flavor of pineapple (but I cannot eat it raw, it makes my mouth swell up). So canned pineapple is good for me, raw pineapple is bad for me (it causes me harm).
I also like the flavor of hard work in a dance class. I like the flavor of long walks, even if I have to walk slow. I like the flavor of pursuing fitness habits, even at my current size, without waiting to change body sizes. I like the flavor of smiling. I like the flavor of laughter. And I like the flavor of friendship with people who like things different than I do. I like the flavor of communication and understanding and a willingness to be different.
And I hope that helps with understanding me. Because being kind is a flavor that I’m very fond of.
I am not a person who works on the schedule for “Resolutions” on January 1. Many of you know that my two rules in class are, “No Pressure, No Shame” and “This Body, This Day.” It’s about living honestly *here and now* as much as possible, and trying to be at peace with “what happens, happens.”
However, I have also selected words that characterize where I am headed into a calendar year. One year it was DANCE, the next was FOCUS, followed by CREATE, and I started 2015 thinking about MASTERY (with a sub theme of COLOR!). Not sure how much of my theme words shaped 2015, although my October craft theme was “Finish the UnFinished Objects.” And I feel good about how that turned out.
Now I look at 2016 and I have some ideas about the year, most notably the word HABITS. I see some specific plans for the habits I want to shape and adjust and encourage. Paired with my top two rules, I think that I am looking forward to 2016.
I just wanted to wish you all a wonderful evening, however you observe December 31. And I hope that I will see many of your throughout 2016… A habit of seeing friends and family in person, whenever I can. 💛💚💙💜❤💖
I have the good fortune to have a Sweetie who is a professional Storyteller and now a professional Santa. This year, I posted some “live updates” on the road between several gigs, just to friends on Facebook. They were so well loved, I have collected them here in one blog post. Enjoy!
* * * * *
Sunday, December 20, 2015 – 7:03 AM
When Santa is facing a daunting day, gallavanting around the known world, and it is NOT an office day job kind of day, sometimes Mrs. Claus grabs the day and makes it hers. We have five gigs today, two with tight travel times. I’m up, showered, dressed, been organizing my gear, answering gig lead emails [decline, sorry, already booked] for Santa, and will be starting my first cup of coffee after these stripey socks are on. On Dasher, On Dancer! #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Sunday, 8:34 AM
So then I packed for the day…
Sunday, 11:05 AM
First Santa trip, arrived VERY early, parked briefly near beach to check messages and don the jacket on the Claus before delivering him to the door. Then off to Vons for free parking, bathroom break, and noms for the car. Answered another gig lead (sorry, decline, already booked), and texted next Appt to assure him we see him next. Back now to pick up the Big Red Man. 🎅
Sunday, 1:01 PM
Second gig: We got to town 90 minutes early so time for filling up the car with gas, finding a private bathroom for Santa, and enjoying a car picnic together before he suits up again. 💙⛄💙❄💙
Sunday, 1:36 PM
More fun for Mrs. Claus: Answering texts, emails from two inboxes, and messages on a FB page, while the correspondents on the other end are accidentally texting Santa instead of their Mom. *cue gentle laughter here* ….plus *lots of encouraging emojis* … Oh, and juggling two phones. 🙂
Sunday, 2:07 PM
Sunday, 3:33 PM
Third gig: On the way, we realize we have an extra hour to find a Santa-safe bathroom. We also realize we are driving past a friend’s house in 10 minutes. One phone call later, we are safely off to see a dear, trusted friend for 5 minutes, just for a pit stop. Yay friends! Now we have arrived 45 minutes early, found a shady space behind a school sports field to relax in the car, text the hostess, and post to Facebook. Also, breaking Santa’s heart because we can hear the “sonar ice cream truck” and we cannot go buy any soft serve cones. Poor Santa.
Sunday, 4:01 PM
Sunday, 6:21 PM
Fourth gig. Arrived in time to search out restrooms and dinner. Poor competent manager was training highly incompetent new guy. Order took 12 minutes to fill. *sigh* Back to site, perfect parking lot to prep Big Man in Red. Customer phoned as I picked up phone to text her. Fingers crossed there are a lot of happy rhythmic gymnasts and gymnastic parents, on the Armenian side of town.
Sunday, 8:16 PM
Arrived 30 minutes before fifth and final Santa gig tonight. Gated community (didn’t warn us) but we were able to piggy back in on the car ahead of us (yay). Houses had *lighted* house numbers (yay) but no sign of *our* assigned house (boo). Nice host answered texts immediately, gave us directions (yay), and met us at sidewalk (ah ha, it *was* a hidden house behind the last one, around the blind corner). Big Man in Red back into fancy duds, Jingle Bell bandolier, and walk back to the waiting new hosts (likely some family brothers or uncles). Now Mrs. Claus waits and prepares to whisk him back home again, jiggedy jig. #ActionSanta #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Home from the final gig. Frozen things back in the freezer, cold things back in the fridge, furry velvet things soon to be on hangars. Details in spreadsheets to tally, tomorrow’s trip-tickets to print. But apparently the last family was filled with all the love and appreciation that gigs 3 & 4 were missing (because of wild, rambunctious behavior). Bonus for cross-cultural love: The Indian matriarchs in exquisite saris for photos with Santa. I cannot wait to see a pic or two from them, fingers crossed they may share them with us. 💖💙💖❄💙⛄🎅💖
Monday, December 21 – 7:55 AM
So. Sleepy. But, the handwashed Santa clothing was tossed in the dryer in the 4am hour, today’s trip-tickets were created and printed, showered and dressed in the 5am hour, dry shirt and gloves retrieved and put back for Santa, computer packed up, breakfast and coffee, the coffee fairies brought a fresh cup to Santa in bed, drive over the coastal valleys, sunrise view on the ocean, and now I am at the train station so I can relax for the last part of my commute. Santa has a long trip to San Diego and back today, and I can run errands on my lunch while holding down my day job. Spent part of my drive day dreaming about having a home with a washer/dryer inside. Oh, domesticity.
Tuesday, December 22 – 6:17 AM
The early-morning Mrs Claus fairy today fixed a button on the Big Man’s coat, updated an event printout with children’s names, found Big C’s reindeer umbrella, and sorted more email into folders. Lead Elf last night set up the trees at home so we have pretty lights now. 🎄🎄🎄
Thursday, December 24 – 3:15 PM
In the world of “Live Updates from Santa True and Mrs Claus,” today’s adventures are once again a five-gig day. Round One: Prep. Shower, nap, breakfast in bed (that was nice!), then laundry, computer work to finish up the trip tickets for the day. Santa braved the grocery store and packed the cooler of food snacks for our car picnics. Then a fresh bleaching of all the roots, and we have achieved SNOWY WHITE HAIR again. Pack the car, endure some small traffic, then up the windy roads near the Hollywood bowl, sorta. He’s in with children now, then we go back towards home for his 2-5.
Five minutes later
“Shower then nap” happens when you normally get up in the 4am hour and on a sleep in day you are wide awake at 6am so you shower early just because. Then you crawl back in bed and blissfully pass out until someone brings you coffee and breakfast in bed two hours later. 💛💛💛
Thursday, 3:57 PM
First gig a success, although funny thing afterwards. There was a round about down from the home, so I directed Santa to walk down the hill while I flipped the car around to pick him up. Suddenly the neighborhood was filled with people and cars. One Mom stopped to brag that her daughter gave up getting presents so she could buy presents for all the babies at the pre-natal ward. We stayed so they could take pictures with Santa. Then we had to wait for them to drive away so Santa could take off his coat and drive back down the hill.
The family at the first stop was lovely and very international. Santa and the Mom got to chat about Swedish Christmas traditions. Go international fun!
Thursday, 5:47 PM
There was a nice gap between gigs 1 and 2 today, so we were able to go home, heat up some sweet tamales, and have dinner before heading back out. Now we have arrived 20 min early before gig #2, and are patiently awaiting show time. Houses 2, 3, and 4 are back to back tonight, so it was nice to relax briefly indoors with food and coffee. #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Thursday, 6:15 PM
Thursday, 7:09 PM
Gig #3, arrived 20 minutes early and the dad was happy to have Santa come in 15 minutes early. It is very odd to realize how working-class my Sweetie is, working hard as a single Dad, and we live so *adjacent* to SO MUCH wealth. This home is not only in a gated community with a guard who needed to see our ID plus have our names on the guest list, but this is HORSE country. Huge, sprawling estates, large roads with room for horses to be out on the paths, and coordinated home signs with the street addresses and the family names on each. Santa works hard for the money, and these people can afford him. I suppose that is a good match. I will continue plying my handspun yarn in the car, in the near dark, by the light of the moon (and the phone screen keyed up to our next gig already).
Thursday, 8:29 PM
Our house was between gigs 3 and 4 and we had an hour but only a 15 min drive. So we stopped at home, quick bio break in privacy, said hello to the Boyo, and headed back out. Arrived 20 minutes early, had time for a quick car selfie then he’s headed indoors. I am in the car, grateful fory blanket and shawl… The temps are rapidly dropping and the wind has kicked up. It’s now about 49°F outside, but feels more like 40°F.
Thursday, 8:42 PM
….And the Sheriff just stopped to check on the “suspicious lady sitting in the dark in a car.” I explained that “Santa is visiting a home two doors down, for 30 minutes. No, not friends of our, he’s a professional Santa. Yes, there are five children there, and he’s here for 30 minutes. (Brandishes official paperwork for gig.) No sir, we don’t live in this neighborhood but we do live in [neighborhood only 20 minutes from here]. Yes sir, Merry Christmas to you, too.” #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Thursday, 9:05 PM
OMG the adorable nosy neighbors just came out to apologize and offer me a cup of coffee!!! Nice List for certain!!!
In a travel mug! Which they told me to keep!! 💖💖💖
Thursday, 10:04 PM
So house #4 absolutely adored Santa and sent him on his way with a Plate of cookies. Of course, I was able to say, “Would you like a sip of coffee with your cookies?”
House #5 was back again the other direction, past our house, so once again we were able to stop at home long enough for quick bio breaks, drop off the cookies and coffee (because, too many things to juggle in the car) and hit the road again. This last stop has a mom that has been *giddy* with excitement in her texts and emails. The dad met us out front (ostensibly out to go to the store) to sneak Santa in the back door. Then dad snuck back out to me (with the balance due plus a tip) and was headed back to go enjoy the Santa visit. He’s Jewish, so I am certain this whole evening has amused him greatly. I can only imagine what giddy-Mom is like. #ActionSanta #MrsClausTacklesTheDay
Thursday, 11:24 PM
Thursdsy, 11:33 PM
And… We are home. Gear is stowed, and everyone in the house needs to get to sleep… Because if we are awake, we know that Santa cannot come by to bring presents and fill our stockings. *wink*