A Bird and a Fish in Love

I recently came across this blog that a friend on Facebook shared, and it was one of the best things I have read in awhile, even though I’m sure for a different reason than the author intended.

It’s point of reference was about him letting his spouse go–but not in terms of separation or divorce, but celebrating their differences and learning to compromise. Apparently, they are very different–her an extrovert and him an introvert. She once compared them to a bird and a fish. She said that a fish may love a bird and a bird a fish, but where would they live?

As I said, you can read their story here, but basically they put their faith in the love they shared and did the only thing a fish and bird could do–which was to build a bird bath, which was a symbol for their middle ground.

The blog is a great read–be sure to check it out!

The main thing that stuck with me throughout it were the metaphors of the bird, fish and bird bath. I am most definitely a bird. My head is in the clouds 99% of the time, and I like to fly around (without much direction) and am very free spirited. I do better when not caged in, as I have been throughout much of my life, which is why I started this blog. My husband is more like the fish, he is content with the “norm”, and while he is always striving to improve himself, he does so with a lot of stability. Even when he was going all over the world as a missionary, he had stability. It’s just who he is. I have rarely seen the man lose control, whereas I often have trouble maintaining it.

We are very different people, but we make each other better by living in the metaphorical bird bath. We find a way to celebrate our differences while respecting the others’ needs. As for my friend who shared the post, she said that her and her husband have made this life-long commitment to each other knowing their differences, but have agreed/learned to compromise so that they can live happily in their bird bath together, instead of a hypothetical small cage and aquarium, alone.

I kind of needed this reminder in my own marriage. What I am lacking in, my husband is strong in. Sometimes he pulls my feet back down to the ground and I lift his off the ground. Many somethings made me fall in love with him 8 years ago, and they have been enough to get us through 6 years of marriage this April. It’s okay that we are different, and that we don’t always see eye to eye–as long as we meet in the middle at the bird bath and keep loving each other and coming back to each other, we’ve got this.

Thank you, Seth, the author of the post that inspired me, for giving me the chance to see that analogy and to see my own spin on it and apply it to my own life.

A bird and a fish can definitely have a happy ending.
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A Barbie World? Why Does an Iconic Toy Cause Such an Uproar?

Barbie. Love her or hate her, she’s been a cultural icon for over 50 years. Talk about staying power! Just about every young girl owns one or a few, and probably some of her clothes, shoes and accessories/”necessities” like a pink convertible or Dream House, and never mind all the Barbie merchandise adorning shelves of stores. Most grown women can remember playing with their dolls, and maybe even passing them on to their daughters, and reminiscing about the ways Barbies have changed.

Some people view them as toys, as I did, frantically tearing open the boxes to play with them as soon as they were received, and some people, children and adults alike, are collectors who keep them pristine in their boxes and original condition and wouldn’t dream of finding them scattered about a bedroom floor or shoved in a toy box. Mattel themselves consider her more of a cultural icon than a child’s toy.

However you view her, Barbie is a doll. She can’t walk and talk on her own, and no matter how many real-life looking objects she has, she is not real. But, for something that is just a toy/cultural icon/collectors item, she sure has a lot of controversy surrounding her. Critics will say that if she was real, her measurements would be about 36-18-33 and that she would not be able to menstruate, hold up her back and neck, would have to crawl on all fours due to her legs and feet and would have many medical problems. Harvard and Yale did studies on this! HARVARD AND YALE! (Credit for this info here.) Here is a diagram that elaborates this.

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The key point here is the fact that she IS NOT REAL! She is a doll!

Critics say that Barbie’s measurements set unrealistic expectations and cause body image issues for young girls. But why would a young girl who is of Barbie playing age be concerned with such things? I know I sure wasn’t! I do get that body image has become a bigger deal at a younger age these days, but I find it hard to believe that a doll has as much to do with this as we give it credit for. And, shouldn’t parents play a part in keeping their child healthy and creating a good self image? Not leave it to a doll? Besides, don’t even kids realize that Barbie is not real? Just like they know their baby dolls aren’t real? As for the collectors, I doubt they concern themselves with such things! I do realize that there are women who want to be “real life Barbie’s,” but these are adults who are making this choice. For the most part, I hear little girls wanting to be princesses (even if Barbie princesses) for Halloween and when playing dress up, not actual Barbie’s. But maybe I’m out of the loop. Which is fine. I just don’t see all the controversy over this doll, especially when they have this! But that’s a whole other situation.

Apparently, the latest uproar over Barbie is the doll being in a (LIMITED QUANTITY) 50th Anniversary edition of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. People are in an uproar that this “kids toy” will be in such an “adult” magazine. Remember that Mattel considers Barbie a cultural icon, not a toy, and they are the ones who paid for her to appear on the cover anyway, again, in limited quantities, which goes to show that it’s probably more for collectors. People are saying that the doll is “oversexed” and that this crosses a line.

At first, I found it a little strange too, I’ll admit it. I (incorrectly) assumed that Barbie was a young girls’ toy, and wondered the logic behind putting it in such a magazine. Upon seeing Mattel’s statement of how they view Barbie and discussing this with a friend who happens to be a lifelong collector who happens to not see them a toy either, just a collectors item, she thought it was a cool idea.

It’s not that the magazine will be marketed to young girls,  and since Barbie won’t be gracing the cover and several pages of every newsstand issue, it won’t be for the typical audience either. I see this as strictly a good marketing ploy from Mattel, and a new item for collectors, and a new collectors doll to go along with it, of course. And in my experience, the collectors dolls cost more!

Furthermore, the swimsuit Barbie is wearing for the photo shoot is quite tasteful and not the usual for the magazine. See for yourself…
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Besides, there are Barbies on the toy aisle and ones I myself have owned, that wore way less or were more skimpily clothed! I certainly don’t remember a big fuss being made about this!

My advice is, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. You probably weren’t going to anyway if you’re not a collector, right? For Barbie’s stance, she has remained #unapologetic, and yes, she’s used that hashtag.

When you think about it people, it’s Sports Illustrated, people. It’s a pretty big magazine here in the States! They mostly focus on (you guessed it!) Sports! The Swimsuit Edition has itself become a cultural icon, much as the figure gracing 1,000 copies of its pages. How Brilliant for them to team up!

Now, if Mattel wants to pay Hugh Hefner to feature a lingerie clad or nude Barbie in Playboy magazine? THAT would be inappropriate and cause a (rightful) controversy! Don’t get any ideas now, Mattel!

UPDATE: “Barbie” has written an open letter on the subject. You can read it here.

Bad Birds

Before I met my husband in July of 2006, I had not really been in a true healthy relationship. This could be for many reasons. My parents weren’t the best role models, during their marriage or after (for very different reasons), because I was not mature enough mentally and emotionally, because I was not fully honest with myself or others, or because I did not feel like I deserved better. I was, for one, caged by the fear that someone would not love me for me, flaws and all, and this made me make up stories about myself, my family, etc, creating a persona that I thought was worthy of love.

I didn’t date much during high school, but had a couple of relationships during my junior and senior years. I had some “online” relationships that only got me in trouble for racking up large phone bills, but nothing really serious until I met someone in the same circle of friends I was in in school.

We had a class together and began dating. At first, as far as I can remember, our relationship was okay. We came from very different backgrounds, but young love didn’t care about such things. That summer, I prepared to go off to college about 400 miles away, and he was going to stay behind and work and try to attend the local community college. We planned to stay together and see where the road took us.

My college experience did not go as I had hoped, and I ended up having to move back home before the first semester was even over in less than ideal circumstances. I was not necessarily welcomed home with open arms into my parents’ homes. I was set up in a small one bedroom apartment with some basic necessities and told that I was going to have to get a job and fend for myself. Some of the most “tough love” I had yet experienced. I was used to my parents bailing me out of the troubles I found myself in, and so this was new to me.

For some stupid reason, I let my boyfriend move in with me too, in part to “escape” his family life. We had been through “a lot” at this point, and I was convinced we were going to get married one day (dodged a bullet there!), so I justified it.

We would have fights every now and then, and it was living here that he first got physically abusive with me, a cycle that would continue for another couple of years. I should have left him, kicked him out of MYapartment, but I was in a very dark place and so I kept tolerating it as it got worse and worse. We ended up moving to a bigger “better” apartment that we really couldn’t afford some time later. Our problems worsened. We had no money, and neither of us was college educated, and once it got so extreme, we had to go to the food bank for food, or often to his parents house for food. Our apartment was filthy and unlivable.

He had been working as a manager at a car wash, but for some reason or other ended up quitting his job and would spend a lot of time playing pool at the local bar. He would drive my car, sneak out when I was asleep and use money from my waitressing job, and give nothing in return. At one point, my mom had offered to pay for college for both of us at the local community college, and he wouldn’t even wake up to go to classes. I was a damn fool for tolerating this, but I hung in there. I felt trapped and had no idea where I would go if I left.

We began to fight more and more, and again the fights were increasingly physical. He would push me, knock me down, hit me, and more than once knock the wind out of me. The cops got called to our apartment more than once, after he locked me out without my insulin, and the neighbors got concerned. Too bad a night in jail didn’t teach him a lesson.

I finally left when my mom and I had a heart to heart and she was going to let me come stay with her to get myself back on track. He had ended up back in jail and so my dad came over with his truck and we packed up all of my belongings and moved my stuff into my mom’s garage and me into my sister’s old bedroom.

Looking back, I now understand why I stayed all of that time. When someone is in that situation, they are being beat down in every sense of the word. You truly start to believe what the other person is telling you and you feel like you deserve the treatment you are getting. I wasn’t easy to live with during this time (I’m still not), yelling and screaming and spinning out of control, but he used this as leverage to beat me down more. Having been talked to similarly as a kid by my father when going through their divorce and custody battle, I accepted this behavior. If my own father would talk to me like this, and he loved me unconditionally, why wouldn’t someone else. That is the mindset I had.

I finally broke the door to that cage wide open, and let him go. In future relationships, I have still struggled and I still have to watch my over-reacting to small things, in case it escalates too far and causes unnecessary damage. But, as with everything, I have learned how I want to be treated, and have learned how to treat others I love in the process.

I finally met the right man almost eight years ago, and I credit my life turning around with that. He loves me unconditionally at my best and my worst, and always makes me want to be a better person, for myself and for our marriage. I feel that the past abusive relationship I was in has helped me to be a better partner in marriage to him.

Please know that you are not defined by your circumstances, or what others say/do to you or think of you. You deserve to be treated right. You have the free will and choice to leave, even if you feel like it has been stripped away from you. Please call for help if you are in a domestic violence situation. There are many resources to and you are not alone.

The hardest part is leaving–but once you are free from that cage, you will see how great life is and how worthy you are. It may take time, as it did for me, but I can promise you it will happen. Stay away from bad birds. They will not change, ever! As my great grandmother once said, the only time you can change a person is when they are in diapers, and even then its a little crappy.

Things That Cage us in the Name of Standing up for our Beliefs

Sometimes, we don’t even realize we are being caged in by something because we are so used to encountering it in our daily lives, or because we think and believe a certain way because of how we were raised, or in spite of it. A lot of times we start to feel that our way is the only way, and that everyone who doesn’t believe our way is wrong, and we get caged in by that. By not being able to think freely and respect others’ opinions. Sometimes we try to become a “martyr” for a cause, but in doing so, we lose respect for others and don’t really serve our true purpose. I’ve seen this in politics, marriage rights, religion, abortion rights, etcetera.

We are all individuals who are all entitled to our own opinions and to express them, that’s what makes the world go round and our country a free one. But, sometimes, when someone disagrees with us, we get so caught up in our beliefs, we seem to forget this.

I blame social media for a lot of this–people can post whatever they want at any time, with no regard to anyone else. But, when someone tries to counter them with a differing opinion, they get very defensive and downright rude. (Not saying everyone!)

Here, I will list some of the things that I notice most, and the reactions I have seen or experienced first hand–my point of all this will be to show that we can all disagree on things, and that’s okay, but we need to respect others’ opinions too!

POLITICS I am pretty much middle of the road, meaning I see both right and wrong on both sides. I will admit, I tend to lean a little left on some social issues, but I am no means full blown liberal, which is what I get called when I state something that is not far right! The problem I see across social media is a huge amount of hatred for the POTUS and FLOTUS. I didn’t vote for President Obama, I did a write in vote, and I certainly don’t agree with a lot of his policies or how he handles things, but I feel that since he was elected by our nation, he deserves respect for that as our leader, even if that’s the only reason. I feel like social media is a huge problem in allowing people to say racist comments, make meme’s, etc, under the protection of the First Amendment.

I feel like we are all entitled to our own opinions, and should be allowed to express them accordingly, but if we want people to listen to and respect ours, we owe them the same respect of doing that for them. This is apparently harder than it seems. Did you like it when people were bashing your candidate? Why would you want to do the same thing as someone you were finding so much wrong with? Besides, our elections happen every 4 years with a maximum of 8 years that a POTUS can be in office. If you don’t like it, get out and vote to change it! Social media isn’t the way to do it. The one thing I realize from the two sides pitting against each other is that we are growing farther apart as a country. Instead of working together to make this a great place to live, we are pushing further and further away. I am reminded of the quote

United we stand, divided we fall

I sure hope that we can put our differences aside and get back to where we need to be. We may not always like who is in office, but we can respect them and others who do! Especially if we want the same in return.

GAY MARRIAGE Another social topic I see people getting involved in is gay marriage. My biggest issue with this one is that if you are not gay, why are you so bothered by it? I feel we all love who we love, and that God loves us all. He doesn’t discriminate! He loves us all!

Due to the influx in social media, etc, this has been a hot topic. I see a lot of hatred and people quoting all sorts of sources saying all gays are going to Hell. Well, if you’re going to quote Leviticus, we are all sinners. Men, do you shave or cut your hair? That is sinning there! Hmm! Did someone tell you who you could love or marry? I bet not! So, why should we, or our government, have the right to do so? I do understand that there are people who don’t want it “thrown in their face”, but don’t people also do this with politics? Other rights? Religion? Why is your way the only way?

News flash–people have been gay for hundreds, if not thousands, of years! The Romans, for one! Just because we have more outlets to express our feelings on it, doesn’t mean that it is a new occurrence. I feel that if you don’t like something, you’re entitled to that, but it’s not your job to instill your own personal beliefs on everyone.

I support gay marriage as a straight married woman because I have gay friends who are wonderful people; couples who love each other dearlyF and I feel like they should be given the same rights I have. At the same time, I don’t go around trying to get a rise out of people by forcing my beliefs on them. I will express my opinion, but I do state that it is mine, and I will always listen to others’ as well. And probably tell them if I don’t agree, and why.

ABORTION/BIRTH CONTROL The final topic I’m going to address here is another hot topic I feel like people get caught up in. That is a woman’s right to use birth control or have an abortion.

Again, I am right in the middle if this issue. As for birth control–if you believe that it is wrong and don’t want to take it, don’t! Easy! But it’s not your business what someone else does with their body. If a woman does not want to have children, why can’t she take preventative measures other than abstaining, to make sure she doesn’t get pregnant? Why is that your call to make, not hers?

I do agree that certain religious employers such as churches, etc, should be able to choose if they cover it on their insurance, but feel that a woman should have access to affordable birth control if she so chooses. It is not the employers business what she is doing in her bedroom, so they shouldn’t dictate if she can take it or not, but, they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Now, regarding abortion. This is such an extreme issue. So extreme that some are saying they are going to boycott Girl Scout cookies because the organization supports pro-life individuals. Really? What point does that serve?

I personally feel that it is a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted or harmful pregnancy, but with many regulations and stipulations. I feel that no abortion should be performed after say, 20 weeks at the latest. I also feel that if someone keeps getting pregnant and keeps getting abortions, they should be implanted with some form of birth control to prevent the situation, and given more education.

I feel that before every procedure, all other options should be exhausted, such as explaining about adoption, and providing counseling. I feel that counseling should be provided before, during and after, and that women should never feel stuck, and that it should be handled on a case by case basis, not one law saying “that’s it for everyone.”

I feel that making the procedure illegal won’t stop it from happening, but will cause a more “black market” for it with much greater risk. I feel that if it is regulated, there can be a “happy medium” of sorts.

As for those who protest at abortion clinics, heckle the patients there, post things all over Facebook in the name of Jesus, can you see Jesus behaving this way? Or would He take this person in His arms and love and comfort them in their time of need? If Jesus had a Facebook, would He bash people all in the name of His word?

No matter what, getting an abortion can’t be a very easy time for the woman having it, so why can’t we do as Jesus would and love her, not hate her? Not make it worse. That doesn’t mean we agree with what she is doing, but we are looking past ourselves to help someone in need.

Again, we live in a country where we are entitled to our own opinions and beliefs, and we can express them as we see fit, as I have done here. But, when we say we are doing something in the name of Jesus, are we really? Or are we doing something in the name of our own beliefs and losing sight of what Jesus would do? Or are we being caged in by society and social and mainstream media? There’s no reason to just go with the flow, to not stand up for what we believe in, but maybe we should think outside ourselves and put the shoe on the other foot, if only for a little bit. Food for thought.

**I welcome all comments and will not just post ones that agree with me. But, I will not approve anything that is rude, crude or hateful. Be nice!**

Thoughts From a Super Bowl ad, or Being an American

As everyone knows, Super Bowl was this past weekend. I was happy with the outcome, as I had been rooting for Seattle from the beginning, especially when my teams collapse started with them (Texans fan!). Also, I really just love the city of Seattle. I was happy they won, but like a lot of people, kept hoping for a better game.

For the most part, I felt that the commercials were lacking. But, one really stood out to me, and apparently to a lot of others too, because there has been a huge reaction to it–a lot of which is not positive and some that is just downright awful.

You probably know by now that I am referring to the Coca-Cola ad called America is Beautiful. In case you missed it, please watch it here. Please watch it and listen closely. Yes, it starts in English and transitions to Spanish, which even I was upset about at first. But as I kept watching, I realized not only that other languages were being used, but that the point they were trying to convey is that this country is beautiful because of all our cultures, religions and heritages, not in spite of them.

So many people took offense to this, going so far as to say that Coca-Cola is terrorists, and that they are boycotting them. Okay, why? Because this is America and we all look the same and believe the same, and all speak the same language? That doesn’t seem like the country I was born and raised in! And I suppose that everyone who had issue with the ad has no ancestors that immigrated to America, and are 100% American? That again, if someone doesn’t look like you, speak like you, or believe what you believe, they are not American?

Last I checked, we do not have a set religion or language, so telling someone “This is America, only speak English” is absurd.

I watched another video by Coca-Cola, featuring the real life Americans who participated in the ad. You can watch it here. I was most taken by the Native American who stated that someone had called her a foreigner, and her pointing out that we are all the foreigners. Think about it. The Natives didn’t speak English; we came over and took their land, brought them disease, etc. But we have the right to say what is American?

To the people saying they are going to boycott Coca-Cola, and that they are un-American, what does that prove? That you are close-minded and judgmental and don’t understand what it means to truly be an American? That you need to go back to school for a history lesson or check your own heritage?

To me, America is beautiful BECAUSE of our differences, and I applaud Coca-Cola for embracing that.

Being a Caged Bird

I love birds. Not particularly the loud, chirping kind, like our pet parakeet that my husband adores, but the kind in paintings and pictures that adorn my walls at home, figurines scattered about, and on many pieces of jewelry and purses I own. I especially love birds that are represented outside of cages, right near them, but not in them. I own a couple of pieces like this from the brand Fossil, and I feel that it is a true representative of where I stand in my life. I love that it seems that a bird is now free, outside of the literal or figurative cage, but that it remains close to the cage, as if a reminder of where it came from.

I’m not sure when exactly this love of birds of mine came about, as I’ve called my mom “Bird” affectionately for years, but in the last few years especially, I’ve been drawn to them. I suppose it may be because for too many years of my life, I was “caged” myself. I mean this mostly figuratively, but also literally at times.

For far too many years, I let my own anger, OCD, and personal demons prevent me from reaching my full potential. In turn, I was a bitter person who let my anger and lack for control cage me and in turn, make me do things that I knew better than to do, and things that ended up negatively affecting not only me, but those I loved the most–those trying to help me and guide me through. I will touch on these events, and others, such as my Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis and how that too at one point “caged” me as I continue my blogging journey, and how I have overcome these and started to reach my full potential. I have learned something from each and every experience, and while I still have a long way to go before I fully spread my wings and fly, I am no longer a caged bird, held back by that metaphorical cage, and am out spreading my wings and learning to fly. I have my birds objects around my home and close to me at all times to remind myself to fly free and away from my past. I hope you enjoy this journey with me!

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