Sexism and Female Figure

blog pic august 16th

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged anything. For those of you who listened to last week’s Podcast entitled Fatphobia and The Lies I’ve Been Told, this is pretty much piggybacking off of that podcast and adding more thoughts to the topic because I feel that there is so much more to talk about regarding this very important issue.

I read and re-read Virgie Tovar’s book You Have The Right To Remain Fat and she spoke so much to every problem I’ve had basically since I was a small child. I was raised to keep quiet, to be obedient and to just accept life the way it was without getting angry or fighting back. There were pressures regarding my weight and for nearly forty years I’ve tried every diet in the book to try to “fit in” with society and act and be just like everyone else. For years, I’ve blamed myself for looking differently than others. For years, I’ve blamed myself for being outspoken, for advocating for myself, for not allowing people to tell me how things are going to be, especially men. This has created so much friction for me in terms of finding full-time work.

In my twenties, I was much quieter in the workplace and just took life as it was, as I was raised to do. I was dieting on and off, wearing compression garments that made me sick to my stomach and produced too much acid reflux and would make me nauseous and made it harder for me to use the bathroom. I would slap on tons of makeup, do my hair, wear loud jewelry and wear sexy clothes because I wanted to be recognized as a beautiful, sexy, vibrant woman. After I went to school to work on my masters and Ph.D., my mind changed. I began questioning everything. I realized right away that everything I had been taught in the past was a lie to keep me submissive and to keep me obedient and to keep me “normal” and suitable to the eyes of those in society, particularly men. I was trained that if I didn’t diet excessively that I’d die early from diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. etc. etc. I’ve had an active eating disorder since I was in the first grade. I went from being anorexic to binge eating to being anorexic, and so on and so forth. I was so anxious, so neurotic, and made myself so sick for so many years. I saw my mother go through something similar. She married someone who was shallow and superficial and only cared that my mother was thin and never gave her the positive feedback she so desperately needed to hear in her life. My mother was always beautiful, my mother was always strong, my mother raised four kids essentially alone while my father did everything in his power to not come home until later in the evening where he would just end the day sitting on the couch watching tv until he fell asleep. The last thing in the world he wanted was to be near my mother. She developed such a complex throughout her life. But there was no need for it. She was and is the most perfect woman I can think of. She has beauty and grace and is such a fighter. She endured so much and keeps fighting each and every day and for what? So she can take care of a man who treated her so abhorrently throughout her life. She is a special type of hero as I watch her give my father such quality care each and every day while he is lying in the hospital bed in our living room. The man who called her every name in the book just because she enjoyed her food. That was her only flaw, food. I, to this day, never quite understood how it was such a sin to be full-figured.

I am my mother’s daughter to the T. I have her figure. I enjoy eating good food but the difference between her and I is that I’ve stopped caring what other people think of me. I don’t feel that societal pressure to be thin and perfect. I don’t wear compression garments anymore, I barely shave my legs and pits. I only wear makeup on special occasions and I have tiers of the type of makeup I will put on.  I call light makeup “Tier 1” makeup where I’ll wear a light BB cream, some blush, some gloss, some mascara, some cream-based eyeshadow and setting spray. Then the next level is “Tier 2.” When I worked as a sub/teacher full-time, I had “Tier 2” every single day. It was expensive, it was exhausting and I realized many years later that I wasn’t putting this on for my sake I was putting in on for other people’s sake. So that I wouldn’t look like a monster to them. So that I’d look pleasant in their eyes. So they wouldn’t have to suffer looking at this grotesque Grendel that I truly believed I was. Dressing the part and wearing all that makeup gave me attention I didn’t even want. I was sexually harassed in the workplace at my last teaching job. This crusty, old, toothless man on the brink of retirement kept coming on to me and kept saying wildly inappropriate things to me. He would tell me I smelled good and would ask about my perfume. Our students went on a class trip to this facility that taught kids about the workforce. One of the booths had a medical set up and he asked me to disrobe and put on a patient gown and wait for him to examine me. I was so desperate at the time for full-time work that I dutifully kept my mouth shut. But if I was the me that I am today, I would have ratted out his dirty disgusting ass so fast. This loser would also fall asleep in the middle of class and the whole building knew and no one said or did anything to reprimand him. They used fear to keep the non-tenures in check but now I have such an “I don’t give a fuck” mentality. I feel so empowered after all of the things I was able to accomplish that I don’t feel tied to these superficial rules or unspoken understandings. I realize that I won’t sacrifice my standards for anyone ever again.

Ever since I got laid off from my last teaching gig, I changed so, so much. As a writer, I read voraciously every article, I follow everyone’s social media, I read people’s thoughts, current events, what is really important to people and I’ve read so much about feminism, sexism, people fighting to be accepted in life and in the workforce and a fire awoken within me. I realized how fooled I was. I was re-living my mother’s life hiding in the shadows because of my physique, feeling guilty and ashamed for being heavier than the societal average. I fell for all those gimmicks and things that we hear about in commercials or see on t.v. or in the movies. The work culture shaming me into not buying that chocolate chip cookie that I really, really wanted.

I follow this body-positive woman on social media who discussed getting fat-shamed in public under the guise of being complimentary. She stated that the person sang the song “Baby Got Back” while she walked past her suggesting her backside was large. She brought up such a wonderful point stating, “How is that an insult?” I wrote and commented on her post and discussed my own experiences with being insulted over my figure also through similar means. The years I’ve spent substitute teaching, I was body shamed so many times by the students and they used supposed complimentary means to give me the hint that I was viewed as undesirable. They would tell me that I looked like Nikki Blonsky, Adele, or any other perceived fat celebrity out there. I knew it wasn’t a compliment. I remember when I first started substitute teaching, I was a lot thinner and I was once compared to both Amy Lee from Evanescence and Drew Barrymore. Why are we trained to view being compared to thinner actresses as a compliment but being compared to fat celebrities as an insult? I’d kill to be ANY of those celebrities fat or thin. They’re successful, rich, and financially set for life. Why wouldn’t I want to be any of them regardless of their physique? I’m so happy that I am able to live in a world where I finally see more representation in Hollywood of women who look more like me. I admire Nikky Blonsky, Adele, Britney Young, Chrissy Metz, Lena Dunham, Tess Holliday, Beth Ditto, and all the curvaceous and wildly talent beauties of Hollywood. I would love and be honored to be compared to any of these amazing women!

I just recently had my annual physical expecting to hear horrific news about my health. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I am in damn good shape. No high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no diabetes. My doctor said, and I quote, “You look like a healthy thirty-eight-year-old woman to me.” Thank you! That’s all I needed to hear. Now don’t misconstrue my words. I recognize and understand that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to have heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. But I don’t have any of these issues. I remember my last doctor before I switched to the wonderful doctor I have now, he told me that someone my age that looked how I looked should be taking Lipitor.  He said this without doing any bloodwork. He based it strictly on how I looked! He also told me without doing any tests that I have sleep apnea. Just by looking at me. I don’t snore. I only snore when I have a cold and I sleep the whole night and don’t wake up gasping for air. I can’t believe I allowed myself to be mistreated for as long as I was with that horrible, horrible doctor!

I feel so free now. I realize that other people will have their opinions. People like what they like and that’s fine. Just like some people might prefer rock music and others prefer country music. Some people prefer to go to the gym and exercise and others prefer to enjoy food and not be slaves to what others think of them because that’s what it all boils down to. Anyone who says they want to look good for themselves is full of shit. You do all of that so that others will compliment you and praise you for being dutiful and doing your job at being socially acceptable to look at. Who wants to be fat-shamed? No one. So we are brainwashed and manipulated into being good boys and girls and starving ourselves so that people won’t mock or make fun of us. We are in a society now with raised awareness where we now respect and accept people of all races, abilities, sexual orientation, etc. How is body shape any different? We aren’t the last classification that you’re allowed to mock or make fun of. We, like everyone else, deserve respect.

I realize being back in the dating pool since my break up, I am having a bitch of a time finding someone, not because of my looks. I’ve had guys tell me how sexy my figure was and people automatically assume that fat girls are “Down to Fuck” which is how one guy described me. What I’m finding to be the issue is that I consider myself wildly ambitious with my writing, intelligent, outspoken, and fierce, and have accomplished quite a lot over the years since I started this venture. Money doesn’t equate success to me. The amount of time, research, writing, creating, executing, marketing, blogging, attending webinars, reading books, social media, etc. Doing all of that and then finally seeing your work printed that’s what success looks like to me. Not the money in my wallet or bank account. Not my hair or makeup or pretty clothes or handsome men who give me attention who will only end up mistreating me in the future. That doesn’t matter to me. Being a successful writer, that matters to me. I’m done with superficiality. I want something real and I realized going back to dating that I may never find another man to be with and I’m at peace with that. I realize that men don’t want strong and independent and smart women. They want obedient, thin, submissive women who will spend hours praising them and allowing them to be successful while the women are barefoot and pregnant making jam in the kitchen. That isn’t going to be me. So until I find a happy complement to who I am, someone who appreciates me for every flaw, my makeup-less face, my greying hair, my clothes with stains and tattered fringes, my sandals with holes and broken straps, my hairy pits and hairy legs, my stubbled face when I don’t want to use depilatory measures to remove my facial hair. This is me. The real me. The unabridged me. The unafraid me. The me who no longer conforms to societal pressures. I don’t have to lose weight to fit in because I’m a metabolically healthy woman who is smart, sexy in my own way, independent where I can be given my finances, and I will pleasantly surprise you when I finally make it as a famous writer someday.  And I will do it looking just how I look today. Like the me I want to be, not what you want me to be.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading. Remember if you comment to keep it positive and nurturing. Only positive contributions get published on my blog. I don’t even read negative ones they end up getting deleted after reading the first few words so don’t waste the time or energy being mean or cruel. It’s unnecessary, foolish, and futile.

I am currently working on my new project. I am nowhere near ready to announce what it is yet. I like to keep things pretty quiet until I have a good working copy of what I’m doing. When I’m ready I will blog about it and let you all in on my latest project.

John of Art’s audiobook is currently in production (Thank you, Chris!).

Click on the link below if you’re interested in checking out any of my writing. Thanks so much! Have a great weekend everyone!

PSG Lopes/ The Moonlit Goddess Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/psglopes

 

Mercury Retrograde and the Seven Three Seven Enigma

blog pic july 21st, 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

A lot of really bizarre things have been happening to me over the last few days and I was wondering what the ever-loving fuck was going on here? Then I read an article that stated that apparently, Mercury is in retrograde (I’m not going to waste time explaining what that is, I’m not your teacher, Google it, that’s not what this blog is about). I am a hokey person. I love reading my horoscope daily and I may not necessarily “believe” in zodiac signs and follow it like a religion; however, I enjoy reading about all that stuff for entertainment purposes only.

The article said a lot of enlightening things about relationships and about how bad luck would come my way from now until August 15th and that now wasn’t the time to find a relationship and that I should focus on having a summer fling instead. Ha! It was a real hoot reading this article. I feel like I’ve lived my wild years in my twenties. After being in a long-term relationship for two years and now being single again, I miss that connection, the realness and seeming permanence of a lasting, monogamous relationship. I loved the intimacy, and I’m not just talking about the sex part, I’m talking about having someone to share my most intimate, deepest and darkest conversations with at all hours of the day and night, having someone support me and take my side when it seems like no one else will. I miss a lot about being someone’s girlfriend, cheerleader, fiance, and soon to be wife. That idea of being together in perpetuity. After almost seven months broken up, I’m only now coming out of my shell and just testing the waters very, very lightly to see what’s around. I have a very particular taste. I am picky and I don’t just pick anyone to engage in a relationship with. It took me thirty-six years to find my ex and wanted to stay with him until the revelation of his inevitable betrayal. I’m not in any sort of hurry to find the next individual to engage in a long-term relationship with. There’s time. I just feel fortunate enough to be in a healthy mental space that I’d want to date again after that whole ordeal. To me, that is triumphant in and of itself.

I rejoined this old pen pal site I had signed up for several years back when I got my gall bladder removed. The recovery was painful and I was suffering from mild post-traumatic stress over the whole ordeal and needed a distraction so I joined this pen pals program. I met so many people along the way and out of all of those people I only kept in touch with one of them. Now that I rejoined, I realized what a completely different person I became over the years since I last used that site. I realized how much more self-aware I am. I am more confident, self-assured, and much more intelligent. I am well-educated, very accomplished with my writing and art and other endeavors. It may not be demonstrative monetarily yet but I’ve learned a fuck of a lot and most people can’t do what I do. The things I’ve learned took great patience, many hours to learn, persistence, resilience, and perseverance. It really is not for the faint of heart. I feel empowered, outspoken, courageous, brave, opinionated, strong, and all of these unfamiliar feelings I hadn’t felt just a few short years ago prior to my relationship with my ex. During that time I was with my ex I was writing, blogging, photographing, creating art, etc. and growing stronger every day with everything that I had learned.  I picked up new neat tricks and utilized them. I learned how to podcast, how to create book covers, how to format my books, learned all these neat tricks utilizing social media, etc. I hadn’t realized that with each skill I had acquired I was becoming more and more intelligent and capable and independent.

I am finding it very difficult to find pen pals now to talk to because I feel that I am threatening to men. When you talk to me I can be quite intimidating, I’m not going to lie. Not superficially, of course, I’m average to look at. I’m a cherubic woman with a rat’s nest hairdo that I trim myself every few months that I can barely comb through. I only wear makeup on special occasions and when its cooler out. I don’t like the clown effect where makeup just slides off my face at the hint of a warmer climate. I don’t shave anymore because I don’t feel the need to and I really don’t give a fuck who complains about it. My body, my house. I have to live with myself and if I’m comfortable that’s all that really matters. I have no one to impress. I am a vastly different person than I was just a few short years ago. I have this confidence; however, and self-assuredness when I speak to men that regardless of my superficial imperfections appeals to a lot of men.

I have no fear when I talk to men. I feel autistic sometimes in that I can just fearlessly approach the ones I’m interested in and strike a conversation. I have an intriguing look but when I speak that’s when the problems arise. It becomes awkward and strange after a few minutes of giving someone the “who am I” part of the introduction. The effect I have on men is synonymous with the movie, “So I Married an Axe Murderer,” where Mike Myer’s character Charlie begs the bellboy to “Stay for a nightcap” and the guy is so freaked out after being asked numerous times he just storms out. That’s the effect I have on men after speaking to them.

I claim to be outspoken, argumentative, strong, powerful, etc. and men will message or approach me thinking they’re herculean and decide “let me attempt to tame the beast” and go in fully cocked and when I fight back with my cunning words, I actually get responses like “Uh, good luck to you, I don’t think we’d get along. Take care” or I don’t hear back from them at all. No more text messages, messages on messenger, e-mails, etc. Total radio silence. It kind of makes me laugh and I feel triumphant and more powerful that I actually have that power to intimidate men. I’m not interested in getting into a power struggle with men and I definitely don’t believe I’m better than anyone else but I know that I am a rare breed and I’m not an easy person to confront or get along with. I’m very choosy who I talk to and I don’t have the best luck and I realize that most will run when they speak to me. And I’ve accepted that. The attitude I have now when guys dismiss me because they can’t handle my intensity and intelligence is “Argo fuck yourself.”

To go full circle with this discussion, let me go back to the whole mercury retrograde and the significance of seven, three, seven. So another interesting point the article made about this mysterious mercury retrograde is that past exes will come out of the woodwork and reach out to you out of nowhere. And what do you know, at exactly four fifty-four, Eastern Daylight Time, I received an e-mail with the last three digits seven, three, seven that became synonymous with this man I knew many years in my past. To me, he and I had an interesting dynamic. We were never a couple, per se, we always knew each other just as online friends. But there was something different about this gentleman. The years I knew him felt passionate, wild, reckless, and freeing. Pardon me if this sounds strange, but I always felt that even though we never physically met, I always considered him one of the greatest loves of my life. He was someone whom I needed at that point in my life and I don’t regret the time we shared getting to know one another. He stopped talking to me inexplicably many years ago and I always wondered what happened and thought I was crazy, and worthless, and foolish, and dumb, the whole a la cart list that women pick and choose to blame themselves over a guy to justify what happened.

He messaged me yesterday and I messaged back and he saw my e-mail signature at the end of my e-mail with my author name, company name, work title, and all of my websites and social media. He actually commented stating, “How many social media accounts do ya need in ya life, woman?” And I laughed it off and explained to him what I had been up to. It felt good to tell him how I’ve lived these past few years when he was not involved in my life. Telling him about my education, my accomplishments and all of the hardships I faced this year (breaking up with my fiance, my dad nearly dying, etc.), along with all of the good things that happened (publishing three new pieces so far, the audiobook production, being in the newspaper twice, etc.). I felt so empowered, so damned strong. And wouldn’t you know, the enigma dissipated as fast as it approached, damned mercury retrograde! He did not return my e-mail. The old me would’ve been weak and e-mailed him repeatedly pleading with him to come back, apologizing, making myself feel like I was at fault or that I did something wrong as to why he didn’t want to message me back and spend hours neurotically overthinking what I had done wrong even though in actuality I had done absolutely nothing wrong. I feel nothing either way now. And that made me feel so fucking powerful.

This time, I’m the one in charge. I’m the one with the power. And that person can’t make me feel diminished any further. He took enough from me years ago. Ruined my self-esteemed made me feel like I was beneath him and not worthy. I’m more than worthy now, sugar. What have you been up to? You couldn’t even answer me because you’re probably right where I left you all those years back. Still running in circles chasing your own tail while I am out there working my ass off trying to make it in this world. Like Captain America stated, “I can do this all day.” Thanks for e-mailing me and helping me understand and verify that I’m too good for weak men. Take that, Mercury retrograde!

No One

blog pic july 16th, 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

I am a little late to the party when it comes to Game of Thrones. I am in the process of a major binge of the series and I am about to embark upon season eight, episode three. I have done very well avoiding all spoilers and despite all of the heartbreak and sadness that the series delves into each season, there are so many valuable moments to pick apart at and consider that are worth discussing.

One major storyline that really struck me involved the wonderfully written character, Arya Stark. This poor young girl endured so much throughout the series and instead of floundering and balking, she persisted and became stronger, more determined, and more resilient. With each heartbreak of watching or hearing of the death of her family members and other massively upsetting setbacks in this young individual’s life, she, to me, embodies true power and strength.

The part of the series I was most impressed by was Arya’s journey in Braavos apprenticing under Jaqen H’ghar and the waif to become one of the Faceless Men assassins. All of these scenes were so striking from where Arya learned to tell stories about her fictitious personas and learning to make them sound believable, to the moments where despite wanting so much to believe she was “no one,” she stubbornly hid and buried her precious Needle as a means of maintaining a link to her origins.

Like every strong and powerful woman in the real world, no woman wants to compromise her own values in order to fit in or advance. And no woman should. Arya knew she wanted to be a Faceless Man assassin, but she did not want to lose who she was, all she knew was Arya Stark. That was her identity, her whole way of being. After getting beaten, chastised, blinded, and nearly killed several times, she finally learned the lesson she was meant to learn. She was not no one. She’s fucking Arya Stark. And she can do it all. She can be Arya Stark and the Faceless Man and whoever the fuck else she wants to be. One of the most satisfying moments was her last encounter with Jaqen H’ghar when she told him flat out, “I’m Arya Stark,” after she places the waif’s face in one of the spaces on the wall and he nods in acceptance and lets her leave.

I saw the parallels in my own life and my own struggles as a writer and living my life each and every day trying to make myself known and respected in the writing world. I’m unremarkable to the naked eye. A “no one,” if you will. You could walk past me on the street and feel nothing towards me, other than possibly pity, by how disheveled I’ve become due to extreme poverty along with my bouts of depression and anxiety. I am a beaten woman. But I’m far from defeated. I know my worth and I will keep writing. I will keep screaming in word form to show the world that I have value and that what I have to say has meaning and is worth knowing. And when I finally prove victorious, I will have my moment of shouting to the world that I am someone. I am The Moonlit Goddess!

My second novella, John of Art, is completed and is in the formatting and publishing phase. I am trying not to be hasty with its release because I want to make sure there are no formatting errors or other aesthetic issues before finally publicizing the release of this novella. Also, it is in pre-production for the audiobook as well. Special thanks to Chris for serving as a beta-reader for my novella, offering her advice and guidance, and also for agreeing to voice the audiobook for John of Art. True loyalty is a very rare thing in this day and age. I am very fortunate to have her in my life. She has never said anything negative and as a true educator, she beams with positivity and encouragement and knows that gentle push to steer me in the right direction without a word of malice or a negative petty or jealous slight that I’ve been met with by several people whom I thought were friends of mine. It is a rare gift having someone like that in my circle and I am perpetually grateful.

In the spirit of Prime Day, if you are interested in obtaining the audiobook for free for A Wynter’s Tale, the first novella in my Seasons of Change novellas, you may do so by redeeming one of the promo codes below and using the appropriate link below to redeem the code. I thank you for anyone who downloads the audiobook and if you listen and like it, please offer a review either through Audible, Amazon, or iTunes. I appreciate you all taking the time to do that. A Wynter’s Tale is the first novella in the series. John of Art is the second book in the series and should be released in August. I will let you all know as soon as it is available. Thanks, everyone for your continued support and continued readership. It means everything to me. Sorry I have not been very active blogging. I have really been working hard not only publishing the book but also writing away for some paid pursuits. I am really trying my best to get some funding for future projects and it’s hard for me to juggle social media, blogging, podcasting, and freelancing along with the publishing responsibilities as well. I thank you so much for your continued patience. I am very eager and excited to present John of Art to you all.

This little book was an idea I’ve been sitting on for two years. After many false starts, it took me six weeks to write, along with two more weeks added on to create the book cover, blurbs, edit, format, publish, etc. I do it all myself (with Chris serving as my second set of eyes for fine-tuning! Thank you!). So I’m spread rather thin at the moment.

Without further ado, here are the links for the free audiobook downloads. Just take one of the codes and redeem it in the corresponding link whether you’re in the US or UK:

Audible Page: A Wynter’s Tale

Promo Codes for A Wynter’s Tale:

For UK Listeners:

63YY6XLB44SX2

6SD66HTRRHZ5K

86WWER9THC4UL

9MFBR9DYZTWRY

A7W8DJA3QRCK8

UK link to Redeem Code:  https://audible.co.uk/acx-promo

For US Listeners:

2YWGDZFK55E82

3SAWYYYYBSP5U

5M3LUUT8JKEBK

5MQ4KUELAE2K4

6PAGMCWSY9ZRW

US link to Redeem Code: https://audible.com/acx-promo

Also, if you are interested in my other works you can check all of them out below. Just click on the picture and it will direct you straight to my Amazon Author Page. All of my books are available in ebook Kindle and paperback format on Amazon. Thanks so much for your continued support and patronage.

PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/psglopes