The rest of away

It’s taken me a bit to somewhat process this past weekend.
(Side note, I’m watching Teen Mom 2 and this is the second one of these dumbass girls I’ve watched act like an invalid after her boob job. What the actual hell is the matter with me, watching this nonsense?)
Anyway, we spent the weekend at my first comic convention. I was prepared and not prepared – I mean, I’ve watched the documentaries and the sitcoms and read articles, nerds are weird. I know this.
But it was a good opportunity for the podcast, so I went. With Prozac. Prepared to network and schmooze.
While there’s lots to tell you about the weekend in general (like hello awesome food!, and being in the same room as Billy Dee Williams’ pee, and the time I thought I might see a man die and I acted anything but admirably), right now I want to focus on the actual event.
How it was stinky. Crowded. Germy. Confusing. And absolutely spectacular.

We had preordered our tickets (which was my first time ever to use Passbook on my phone, and I totally felt like the Jetsons with my virtual roboticket), so there wasn’t much of a wait to strap on some armbands and stand in line with pretty much every variety of person on the planet.

Seriously, this was as good as people watching gets. Costumes and pajama pants, stilettos and flip flops, and absolutely everything else imaginable. Spandex. Sequins. Feathers. Rubber. Metal. Cardboard. Want to wear some ears and a tail? Awesome. Top hat? Help yourself. Flippers with no other hint of a costume? Have some nachos.

And yeah, they stunk. Some of them did. Some of them smelled fantastic – particularly these two chicks who I’m fairly absolutely concretely certain were prostitutes. But they were all so… connected. It was such a community of all these people who mostly didn’t know each other. There was trust in so many iterations – from the toddler in his Iron Man outfit who won a sword fight with a Stormtrooper to the mom of two in her steampunk corset and bustle who didn’t give a shit what you thought about her cellulite. It was freeing just to be there, to be able to take in the attitude of acceptance.

And also…the talent. It was a grab bag of you-pick-it eeney meanie miney holy balls. I have never been in tossing distance of so much ability in my life. It was amazing and humbling and completely exciting. I still don’t really have the right words.

I am not and never have been what anyone would call a cool person. I’m not with it or hip or anything the kids like these days. And in theory, neither were these people, right?

I mean, according to the movies and high school and anything I ever learned from band camp, these are the punch lines, right? The nerds, the geeks, the people who don’t fit in.

Except these people were amazing. They were real and colorful and…themselves.

That’s it. That’s what it was.

There was no apology in any of this past weekend. No one was sorry for being whoever it was they wanted to be. It was open and obnoxious, and the most authentic experience I’ve ever had.

I met some amazing people. Made some connections I will treasure. Hopefully some of the people I met will take a turn to post here sometime soon, and I’m excited about that.

For now though, I’m still sorting through everything I learned this weekend. About myself, about my world. About comic books and zombies. About how lucky I am to realize that just because there’s no one like me doesn’t mean there’s anything to change about me.

***all photos used with permission, courtesy of Keith Reed, whom I found on the Twitters.

 

Untitled because I can

This week is drawing to a close and oh my GOD can you believe it’s December? That is just crazy. Really, insane.
I mean December is for Christmas and holidays and Hanukah and Kwanzaa.

Max asked me one year if we could celebrate Kwanzaa. However I wasn’t really sure what all that entailed so I told him we could have a menorah and that seemed to appease him.

I generally despise Christmas.

I love giving gifts, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I just don’t like giving gifts on a strained budget. I want to buy everyone the iPads and iPhones and xboxes they want and I want to watch their faces light up because they got a kickass present from someone who loves them. Me.

I just can’t do that yet. Maybe one day.

Oh, and there’s some exciting happenings with school stuff, maybe I’ll be able to fill you in soon. Yeee!

I am out of sorts with the weather. I love the cooler, but it’s moving a little too quickly into bitter ass cold. And that’s not cool.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Lucy has a permanent marker.

Thoughts on competition

(looking for the giveaway?)

So we’ve talked about the competition that I’m in for the blogging scholarship. A normal person would link to the voting thing right about now, but I’ve pretty much given up hope of winning. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Which is good, because it frees me up to say what I really think.

I mean, I was never officially hindered, but if I were talking trash and then I accepted ten grand from them that would be a little bit of bad form. Which I try to avoid. Sometimes.

But I won’t be accepting any money from them, so I’ve got some things to say.

Within a few hours of the email announcing the finalists, several of the finalists had hundreds of votes. Within a day or so, the numbers had escalated to tens of thousands.

It was intimidating, especially considering that the top contender at one point had 64,567 votes to my 75.

Then Friday night I got an email saying that the votes had been reset, due to “ballot stuffing” – which is a term I’ve never heard before. But I suppose it makes sense.

The same people are winning now, which is what was expected I guess.

The reset, though, led to a situation I hadn’t anticipated. I soon received an email from a fellow contestant, and this dude is PISSED. He’s angry that the suspected cheaters were not removed from eligibility (basically there was no way to know that it wasn’t done by a third party, the people said), and he’s calling for people to petition the proprietors. Then the website edits his comments calling for the petition, saying they don’t appreciate “hate mail.”

Hence commences a series of “reply-all” conversations, picking and sniping and keeping serene zen all in turn.

Which brings me to my reevaluation of the entire situation.

I think online voting is a shit way to determine something like a scholarship. I purposely haven’t perused the other blogs because I tend to get down on myself, so I don’t know how I stack up against any of them, hence this statement is unbiased: I think merit and need and all around awesome should be factors in the decision. I think it should be decided by committee or whatever. The current system is obviously flawed.

Besides that, we all know that popular doesn’t always equal best. Ashton Kutcher has five zillion followers on Twitter and Ke$ha is a thing.

Proof provided.

I am woman. Hear me… more?

(Last night was the election, but to spare you political yammering, I’ve asked Lindsey from Campfire Song to grace us with her presence. I found her on Twitter, and I think I love her. Also, if you’re new here, you can follow me using one of the buttons on the right. I love it when people do that.)

When I asked Emily for a topic to write about today, she suggested, among other things, maxi pads.

I really wanted to write about maxi pads, just to see if I could do it.

Annnnd, I couldn’t.

But I thought for a few days about her suggestion, and what maxi pads mean in the world today… or at least who uses them.

Here goes – sort of.

I’ve never really considered myself to be a feminine woman. I know I’m attractive and all that, but somehow I’ve always thought of myself as slightly masculine. It might be the short haircuts I sported during my teen years or the fact that I’m an awful dresser or that I don’t have a cutesy voice or that many of my friends are men – I don’t know.

At face value I can identify myself as a woman in terms of being a wife, mother, sexual being – but what power does being “woman” give me? What makes me special to the world as a female? What do I offer that a male can’t?

Femininity can’t be all about hemlines and boobs and a sultry perfume, right?

Are my best qualities what they are because of my gender, or my personality? What makes me different from my husband, for example, might be

• my sensitivity
• my generous spirit
• my ability to make our house a home
• my desire to take care
• my drive to do what’s right, even facing adversity
• my profound ability to talk (much like every other woman, right?)

Recognizing the benefits of the female gender is difficult for me because both sexes have their strengths and purpose. Many of my best (and worst) traits are also shared by men. An individual’s actions don’t represent the entire gender. And gender transformations lend to the idea that femininity might not be all about biology or looks, either.

Maybe it’s… a feeling?

Some women don’t feel like women unless they’re done up in the mornings. I don’t feel feminine without a great hairstyle. For some it’s clothing, others it’s pampering, yet others it’s attention from their men that makes them feel powerful.

To me it seems to be something that’s in our heads. It’s a desire to embrace who we truly are, without conforming to societal expectations, that allows us to truly be feminine.

Have you ever wondered why you were born the sex you are? Or what your responsibility (if any) is to fulfill that role in your life? I’m still figuring out what my femininity is for.

Because some days (like when I’m 40 weeks pregnant or PMSing) I’m sure it’s a curse.

Lindsey is mom to four kiddos under the age of five. She writes at Campfire Song about life as a military wife and SAHM, growing up, social media and funny stuff. She’s @dashingly on Twitter, and she sometimes haunts Facebook too.

Antisocially awkward

I have no clue when my life became so disconnected.

Obviously not “disconnected” in the sense of being offline or off the grid or anything like that, because that would be, you know, a travesty. I mean, if I didn’t know when Suzy Jane was irritated with some random coworker whom I’ll never meet or know, then…my god, my eyeballs might bleed for sheer lack of knowledge.

I mean I can go days and days and only come into real human contact with my kids, my husband, and Dan, and I only realize that it’s weird after the fact.

I keep up with people via Facebook and twitter, and while it’s great and I love it, I wonder what it’s actually doing to my ability to interact with flesh and blood people.

Not that Twitter and Facebook people aren’t flesh and blood people. It just becomes easier to overlook their flesh and bloodliness since they’re behind a screen/phone/whatever.

It’s easy to make a shitty life appear shiny and flawless if you don’t actually have to interact. I find myself glossing over a lot of things, especially on Facebook. It’s not that I’m being dishonest, it’s just that I don’t want to say, “Boy today sucks,” and then be bombarded with “O no watz wrong? :(” or “You’re in my prayers,” or directed to read 1 Davinia 4:11 by some chick I knew in 1993 because it will certainly cure all my woes.

If my husband’s being a shit, I can’t say that because it’s like I’ve posted an ad for amateur marriage counselors and evaluations of my relationship when in reality, I’m being too touchy or he’s just being grumpy and before the bytes have crackled to the online we’re already back to normal.

I’m not knocking the caring or sincerity of the Facebook community, but…you know.

So I wonder if we’ve all been lured into thinking we live in some storybook universe, just because people interact by being removed. We have a false sense of what’s normal, what’s not.

I don’t think enough people are honest about their problems. People fight. People make mistakes. People get annoyed with the people they love most. And then people get over it.

But the Internet doesn’t get over it. The Internet has a long memory.

Maybe I just need to get out more.

Call me pathetic, but…

As you may recall, I’ve talked once or twice lately about a contest I’m a finalist in.

There’s this website, http://www.inthepowderroom.com, and the best way I can think of to describe it is like a mom/women online magazine/talk show. They have daily articles that are hilarious, timely, sometimes poignant, and always at least a little thought provoking.


They’ve had a contest to fill a “permanent blogger” spot, which basically means that the winner has a static gig of one published article a week, a spot in the community, and moves up at least six points on the stalkable scale.

I want it, I won’t lie.

I have wanted something like this for years. An audience. Motivation. A reason to watch some TV (you know, for cultural relevance).

Validation.

A “hey, you’re not bad at this, come be a part of us.”

I never said I wasn’t needy.

So, the contest runs until the end of the month. One vote per person/IP address is permitted.

You can vote by clicking here, which should open up your email with the subject “emylibef”. Just send it, that’s a vote.

I’m being featured on the site today, and if you’ve come from ITPR to check me out, then read this because it’s my favorite recent post.

I will work my ass off for this. And as anyone who knows me knows, I don’t have much in the way of ass. Flab I’ve got, but ass is precious.

And mine is yours.

Challenge stolen from tumblr

I used to tear up MySpace bulletins like this. I love it. I’m gonna do it so prepare for multiple blog posts in a day. I’ll start tomorrow. For now, peruse and anticipate.

30 DAYS OF GROWTH CHALLENGE

day 01- Guilty pleasure

day 02- Something that inspires you

day 03- The five songs you would have with you on a desert island and why

day 04- What you imagine paradise to be like

day 05- A thank you letter to someone who has changed your life

day 06- Earliest thing you can remember

day 07- Favorite cover of your favorite song

day 08- Someone you think would make a good president

day 09- Five things you want to see change

day 10- A dream you had this past week described in detail

day 11- Favorite picture ever taken of yourself

day 12- Your favorite musical artist’s life story

day 13- A memory that never fails to make you laugh

day 14- Best mashup you’ve ever heard

day 15- A moment, phrase, or song that has changed your life the most.

day 16- Something that you want to do within the next five years.

day 17- What you want to remembered for.

day 18- A picture that makes you feel

day 19- A passage from a book that has touched you

day 20- A band that you immediately liked and the song that made you like them

day 21- Your favorite medium of art.

day 22- Someone you would give your life up for without question.

day 23- Most awkward first impression you feel you’ve ever given

day 24- Something you did as a child that other people remember you for.

day 25- Something you would do if no one stopped you or if you knew you wouldn’t fail.

day 26- Your definition of love.

day 27- Your definition of the meaning of life.

day 28- A moment you remember being completely happy in and a description of why you believe you were. what is your definition of happiness?

day 29- What you live for.
day

30- Ways you believe you have grown over the past thirty days.

To dog be the Glory

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, do. @emilysteen), then you’ve read in the past few weeks about how we’ve been planning to get a dog.

By we, I mean the adults of the house. Dan approached me with the idea, and I immediately agreed. Without thought or sense of reality. Which, let’s face it, is how I’ve made some of my greatest decisions.

I MAKE NO APOLOGIES.

Josh was on board, and we knew the kids would love the idea eventually. Kids adjust, right? I mean our kids live with us, all three of us, and after that a dog seems kind of a laughable adjustment.

So since the dog we were slated to get had just had surgery, we had to wait a bit.

Well, as everybody knows and no one ever admits, things get built up in our imaginations. Things like cleaning house, working a job, weaving baskets…having kids. Having a jowly slobbery English bulldog is one of those things.

So this morning, I got the text I’d been waiting on.

“TODAY IS PUPPY DAY!”

I was beside myself. I had clearly long since divorced myself from any sort of reality, because I had these scenarios in my mind of a languid, cuddly beast who I could pet and love and not walk away smelly. Who I could bond with and tell my secrets to and who would secretly love me just a little better than everyone else.

Not obviously, of course. And certainly I expected her to love everyone else, too. Just maybe if a murderer was breaking windows and the dog could only pick one of us to protect to the death, it would, you know, be me.

If you’ve read my asslong list of things about me, then you’ll know that two of those things are 1. I love the idea of a dog in the house. 2. I hate the reality of a dog in the house.

Just thought I should mention that. In the interest of full disclosure.

So today. Today, Glory came home.

That’s her name. Glory. I cannot express the vehemence with which I despise that name, it conjures images of huge southern belle walmart hair and stars and stripes with skoalspitting and ruminations about “lovin’ Amarikuh.”

Dan brought her in the door and she shot over to me, wriggly and adorable and waggly. Then Dan came in and she shot back over to him and slid around her snorty nose on the floor, then she shot over to Max and then Lucy wised up and started screaming.

Not exactly the peaceful soultwining homecoming I’d imagined.

It’s going to take a while. I get it.

She’s going to stink and scare the shit out of my kid and she’s going to always make snorty juicy noises.
She’s going to chew shoes and chase flies and look around with her face that looks like it caught a truck bumper.
She’s NOT going to lounge and cuddle and listen to secrets.

But you guys, I think I love her.

Gainfully or leechfully

I’ve been looking for a job.

I haven’t said that out loud in wow, a long time, but there it is.

I just really don’t think I have what it takes to be a stay at home mom, wife and whatever else. You guys already know I have a habit of staying in my pajamas all day, but lately I’m realizing that it’s been so long since I’ve actually put on makeup that maybe perhaps I might’ve forgotten how. Like Wednesday – I was going to the school to get the kids and hopefully catch Max’s awards ceremony (which I didn’t, because they started at 8:30 instead of 9:30 like I thought, which meant that instead of calm clapping and proudness I spent almost an hour walking muggy elementary school hallways that always seem sticky, trying to locate my children in end of school hoopla), and in getting out the neglected makeup bag I was totally intimidated. It was like being thirteen. If I’d had time to get into eyeliner and brow pencils and such I probably could have managed to leave the house looking hungover, bruised, and old instead of just tired.

There’s always next time.

So, job. I’ve been looking. I probably don’t have to elaborate for anyone out there with a pulse and a credit score, but just in case you’ve missed how things are…

Guys, it sucks trying find a job.

I mean seriously, even if I had degrees and a love of human fluids and my CDLs, I think I’d still be out of luck. I haven’t worked in over a year, and I haven’t worked locally in…almost two? Is that RIGHT? Ugh.

But y’all I am not even playing – I am a stellar employee. I really am. I even friend my bosses on Facebook. You would think that I’d have no problem finding some place to slip in and make my own – except how do you convey that? Without sounding like everyone else, I mean. Because of course everyone will say that to get a job. People will say anything to get a job.

WANTED: Nancy Drew expert who has never broken a bone, farts glitter and eats sunshine and ponies, for secretarial and surgical duties. Salary DOE.

I’M YOUR GIIIIIIRL!

Except of course it can’t be like that. There are all sorts of hoops to jump through and then what if the job ends up not even being worth paying someone six figures to manhandle my three kids (three kids, my sweet rubbery trouty mouth, three kids!)?

I mean really. I want to work. I enjoy working. I’m good at it and I can learn almost anything very quickly. But it’s like dating – how do they know I’m the one? Do I say, “Hey, if you want to know me, read my blog, I ramble and sometimes I’m foul and if you look at my Twitter feed on the side can you please ignore that one tweet about feeling bad about bleeding on my cute maxi pads?”

I’m thinking maybe no.

But you know what, this is me. It in no way means I’m unfit to work, and if it were going to offend a potential employer I probably wouldn’t really enjoy working with them anyway, so why not head it off at the pass?

I’m not an idiot. I know boundaries. I can veil things and situations that don’t want to be colorfully exploited via the Internet courtesy of yours truly.

It just seems like a lot to ask. And maybe it is.

I’ve changed.

Kind of in keeping with yesterday’s post, I’ve been doing some introspection.

I went through some pictures, remembered some people and places.

I’m so much different. So much has changed.

Before, I was so unsure of myself. I was unfocused and judgmental. I had a narrow view that only encompassed the things I knew to be right and sure. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. I wanted so badly to be in love, but I had no idea what it was like to love myself.

Some things haven’t changed. I’m still insecure. I’m still unfocused, and while I try to keep them at a minimum I can’t swear that judgmental thoughts never skirt my mind.

But I can say that my views are no longer narrow. I know how to love, and judgment mostly comes from the completely opposite side that it would have come from before. While I’m still not perfect, I like to think that I’ve made some giant leaps.

I’ve always heard that people don’t change. If that’s true, then I…well, I know that’s not true. I could tell you deep dark secrets to prove my point, but that’s not really the point. And besides, I don’t really have any deep dark secrets. Does anyone? I mean really, with Facebook and twitter and what have you, everyone’s life is pretty much an open book.

I’ve often wondered how my life would’ve panned out if the Internet and texting and social media were as prevalent when I was a teenager/college student as they are now. Basically I knew even then that I was way cooler hiding behind a screen than I am in person, so that’s why I jumped on with ICQ and AOL IM as soon as I could. Too late, though. Too late.

I say all this to say that people do change. In light of that knowledge, I wonder just how far I can go and still be me.