Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I fail at flirting

Today I realized that I still don't know how to flirt. After a year of college, you'd think I would have gotten at least marginally better at it, but oh no. My favorite means of expressing attraction is still endlessly debating obscenely obscure theological topics. (While sitting an appropriate distance apart, of course. Don't worry, I am queen of conservative Christian propriety. Leave room for Jesus? I left room for four OBESE Jesuses.)
For me, the closest I'd come to confessing love read something like this:
"So, ummm, what's your eschatological viewpoint? Are you pre-millennial,  post-millennial, or amillennial?"
It didn't matter what they were. What mattered was how well they could intelligently and thoughtfully articulate their position. Using many scripture references too, of course. There's nothing more impressive than a man who can out quote my scripture memorization, or one who can actually remember where the verses live in the Bible (an ability I have never mastered).
Yeah. #flirtingfail. #nerdychristiangirlproblems too. #conservativejeanjumperwearingchristiangirlproblems, for that matter.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Little, leaping moons 
of reflected light 
silver-gold spark, 
sun on water. 
Spray smacked face, 
sail against sky. 
Sun warmed skin,
wind pulled hair. 

A sail at sunset 
could carry my soul
to heaven.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

all good gifts

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -James 1:17

Good and perfect gifts are everywhere I look lately. Here are just a few: 

  • my brother marrying my best friend 
  • walks in summer rain
  • bedtime stories and cuddles with my littles 
  • the ever-present urge to play dress-up in my bridesmaid dress
  • counting down the days till I get to see my Africa-friend again
  • holding a sleeping baby, and feeling quiet awe
  • living a constant dance party
  • waking up, going to sleep, and spending the vast majority of the moments between with my favorite people
  • uncontrollable giggles with Meredith 
  • waking up to omelettes and coffee like I'm the queen of sheba 
  • long profound talks with my almost-ten-year old brother 

Monday, May 14, 2012

the secret to weight loss

A recipe for weight loss…
Don’t sleep or eat
If you have trouble with that, do a hundred and twenty-five hours of volunteer service, and be a hopeless perfectionist in the honors program, during your first semester of college. Then you’ll be so stressed it’ll come easy, I promise.
I accidentally invented this weight loss recipe last fall, though the goal was just to survive. Accidentally reversing the normal “freshman fifteen” was just a surprising by-product. I was honestly just annoyed; none of my jeans fit me anymore. But whenever I came home for a visit, suddenly my weight was a big deal. I got a lot of welling meaning comments "Oh, how's college? You look so good, have you lost weight?" all the time.
They meant well, it was supposed to be a compliment, but it bothered me. It was just so hastily assumed that losing weight was a universally good thing. And it's not.  The societal assumption (propagated by the media) that losing weight it always a good thing, always to be desired, is giving rise to a lot of really bad things. The mortality rate for anorexia is twelve times higher than any other cause of death for girls age fifteen to twenty-four (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders).Younger and younger girls are being affected as well. In an international survey forty-two percent of first- to third grade girls said that they want to be thinner, and eighty-one percent of ten year olds were afraid of getting fat (Martin, 2).
            Losing weight is not always a good thing, and we need to stop being so quick to hail it as one, to congratulate girls on losing weight when we don’t know if their weight loss is a symptom of a disease (that’s what eating disorders ARE, people). Obviously, if my weight loss had been really drastic and clearly unhealthy, the ladies who congratulated me on it would have been concerned instead, and I am sure would have at least checked with my parents to see if I was ok. But eating disorders are physical and mental illnesses, and by the time the physical symptoms are an obvious problem, the mental illness is already ingrained. The obsession with losing weight, the compulsions, all of the mental bondage of eating disorders are there long before the physical symptoms. And when the first (healthy seeming) start of weight loss is hailed as a wonderful event, it just re-enforces the idea that weight loss is good, no matter what unhealthy lengths it is taken to.
For the record, I don’t have an eating disorder, and I never have. But still, I would have appreciated it if people had asked, “Oh, have you been trying to lose weight? You look thinner.” That at least would be asking for a little bit of the story behind it, instead of hastily assuming the story was all peaches and cream, when it could very well be self-hate and fear. In my case, it was just a ton of stress resulting in a loss of appetite, but for people with eating disorders it’s much worse.
So this is all to say: Let’s be careful to respect the untold stories around us, and not be so hasty to jump in with congratulations before we’ve checked to make sure therapy isn’t a better reaction. Be someone who invites people to tell their stories, to ask for help if they need it.
P.S. Thanks for listening, and here’s my works cited. Sorry, habit…

Crow, S.J. et al. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. n.d. Web. 12 April, 2012.
Martin, Jeanne B. “The Development of Ideal Body Image Perceptions in the United States.” Nutrition Today 45.3 (2010): 98-110. Lippincott’s Nursing Center. Web. 8 Mar. 2012 were afraid of getting fat (2).