30 September 2007

Hero Worship, Fat and Political Correctness

Man, I am beat. The boys and I spent the weekend visiting my family in Columbus. Matt was in a giant airshow at Rickenbacker, and so we went to Aunt Chris's house for the weekend. We went to the airshow on Saturday and the kids thought that they were such big stuff, because they got to go up to the flight deck and no one else did. Perks of being the pilot's kids. Kids were asking Matt for his autograph, which my sisters both got such a kick out of. They said they didn't know that their brother in law was a celebrity ;)

Today Matt got to meet a guy who is an honest to goodness war hero...a double ace from World War II. He sounded like a jazzed-up little kid on the phone when he was telling me about meeting him. Which got me thinking.....I never got into hero worship as a kid, not the way some kids idolize sports stars, or music stars, or pilots, or doctors or whatever. Idolizing someone who does the thing you want to do when you grow up. I don't hero worship now. There are people who would be really awesome to meet, but I don't know what I would ever say to them. I walked through the WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilots) tent at the airshow, and while I think those women are fabulous and truly made history, I wouldn't have a clue what to say to any of them. They were signing books and lots of people didn't wonder at all what to say. Am I just strange? Wait, don't answer that....

Matt was talking about meeting the ace and how he was stumbling all over himself and my first thought was, "Well, what did you say to him?" What would you say? He could barely contain himself. And he's a grown man! Most of the time.....;)

That's the random thought that kept coming back to me today.

Oh, and here's another one. My sister thinks she is fat. I disagree, but whatever. Which kind of ties back into my previous post, but I digress. None of us is perfect looking....maybe she could lose a few pounds, but she's not FAT, like she thinks she is. She's always down on herself and worrying about what she's eating....how she's doing on her diet, etc. Well today, we were at lunch, waiting for a table, and Lucas said something about her belly. I don't know, I didn't hear all of it, but she said,"That's just Aunt Chris's fat belly," making fun of herself and laughing about it. I told her the same thing I always tell her, that I think she is way too hard on herself. But then we dropped it and I didn't give it any more thought.

Tonight when he getting out of the bathtub, Lucas stuck his belly out really far and said,"Look, Mom, I'm fat." That is when it started to bother me a little bit. So we talked a little bit about fat, what fat is, what it means to be fat, and if it's ok to say someone is fat. I told them that we all need to have fat on our bodies, that it helps our bodies do different things. But then I also said that too much fat isn't healthy. I said that some people are too heavy and that isn't healthy, but that it is rude and hurtful to call someone fat, and it's never ok to say mean things to hurt people's feelings. But I hate that my seven year old (who is literally skin and bones) and my five year old (who is solid and stocky) are even thinking about such things.

Am I pandering at the altar of political correctness, to tell my kids that it is rude and hurtful to say that someone is fat, even if they really are? Can we not call a spade a spade? I was called fat plenty of times as a kid....my nickname was "Elsie." As in, the Borden cow. My own father told me that I was the only "fat broad" in our family. This is when I was about 145-150 pounds...I am 5'6". Not skinny-minnie, but not morbidly obese either. Just for some perspective. That doesn't change that "fat" definitely has a negative connotation and it hurts people's feelings, though.

Someone once told me that political correctness is a form of intellectual terrorism. I agree for the most part. We all need to grow a thicker skin, I think, and learn to get over our differences. But we also can't have people saying whatever thought comes to mind, about whoever they please, without any kind of filtering process going on. Words only have as much power as we give them. Where do we draw a line?

27 September 2007

What I am pondering today

Did you ever know someone who had an opinion of you that differed dramatically from how you see yourself? Like someone else thinks you are the best thing since sliced bread, smarter than Einstein, better looking than Cindy Crawford? Or someone whose standards you never quite measured up to? And they push their opinion on you, trying to MAKE you see yourself in a different light?

Is it more important to try to see yourself as you really believe you are, or does what other people think matter more? Is perception everything? Is what other people see the real truth? I mean, obviously there are some people in the world who have terrible self esteem and think very poorly of themselves. But I just mean, by and large, people who have pretty realistic assessments of themselves...is it possible that how others see you is closer to the real truth of who you are? People who know you well, not just casual acquaintances or people who know you very superficially, I mean.

Example : my husband thinks I'm hot. Which is good :) But he tells me I'm hot often, and I SO don't agree with him. I think I'm reasonably attractive, but not Hottie McHott Hott. Should I take him at his word? Yes, yes, I am Hottie McHott Hott. Thanks for noticing :::come hither smile::: Check me out. I'm ready for my close-up. Or is my assessment of myself more accurate?

Another good friend of mine, and colleague at work, thinks I am the epitome of academic excellence. Unfortunately, this friend does not have any influence whatsoever over my grades at University of Cincinnati ;) He thinks I write like a dream, I have razor sharp insight and am head and shoulders above the rest. Any professor who doesn't see my genius is blind (tongue very much in cheek). I think I'm reasonably intelligent and I am proud of much of what I have written. I work hard to write a quality product for the publications that I write for, and my military work hinges on my writing skills. I think I'm pretty good at what I do. I also think I deserved the bad grade I got last night on a paper....it clearly wasn't my best work.
Who do I believe? Am I being hard on myself? Am I really that good?

Growing up, I was told I'd never amount to much. That I'd be a wife and a mother because that is what I was capable of. Not that there is anything wrong with wifehood and motherhood...far from it. I am proud and glad to be those things. But to be told not to dream big dreams, because I'd never make it anyway....shoot for something attainable, like getting married and having babies, because that is what women do.

Whose assessment is right? Does it matter?

26 September 2007

New to this blogging thing

You may be wondering..."A Good Joe?" My oldest son, Seth, LOVES Looney Tunes cartoons. LOVES them. One night after he had watched cartoons before bed, he told me, "Mommy, I love you. You're a good joe."

Apparently Yosemite Sam thought Bugs Bunny was "a good joe" at some point in the cartoon.

This is high praise indeed from a three year old. Hey, I'll take what I can get!

That three year old is now seven, and in second grade. Lucas, the proverbial (and literal) middle child started Kindergarten this year and just turned five, and little man Conner will be three shortly. He is at home with me for a couple more years.

I am married to a travelin' man, and it'll be eleven years next month. Some ups, some downs and some crossroads. Marriage, over the long haul, is a lot harder than it sounds when you're wearing the pretty dress and you've got the stars in your eyes. But so far, it's worth the effort. Some days are better than others.

I am a jack (jill?) of all trades, and master (mistress?) of none. I am a Catholic stay at home mom, I go to school, I am a military reservist, I am a freelance writer, I am a runner, I scrapbook and make cards, I am an avid reader, and I am one of the room moms for Lucas's Kindergarten class. I really hope to finish my undergrad degree by the time I turn 40. That sounds so far away to me, and yet it really isn't. Just a few years to go. Maybe I'll even get that Masters degree I've been mentally kicking around....

I will have to wait and see what my life looks like in a couple years. If I have learned anything, it's that life happens while you are busy making other plans. The end result of that lesson, for me, is that I don't make a lot of plans :)

My prayer each day is that God will light the way for me to do the next right thing. A friend of mine once told me, that is all you have to do, at any given moment, in any given day....just do the next right thing.