Tag Archives: culture

refer to the first few lyrics of “a moment like this” by kelly clarkson

1 May

I’m not quite sure if this comes as strange information to anyone, but I actually tend to take my horoscopes pretty seriously. For whatever reason, whenever I check my horoscope (which is kind of rarely, I always just forget it’s a thing to look up), it always seems to be directly related to what I’m thinking in my mind or what I’m expecting to happen in the future. Sure, you could tell me that I’m just choosing to look into it the way I want to because I want the horoscope to be directly related to what’s happening currently, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening. For example, this is my horoscope for the month of May. I find it eerily related to what will be happening in my life:

“Embrace the Unknown

 Although you start this month with your feet on the ground managing your responsibilities, you grow more reflective as the days wear on. However, it seems as if your progress is being thwarted at every turn, but your strong resolve enables you to prevail. Four planets traveling through determined Taurus and your 11th House of Long-Term Goals can make you stubborn, encouraging you to resist the pressure to change. 

 
However, adaptability becomes your secret weapon when magnetic Venus enters inquisitive Gemini and your 12th House of Soul Consciousness on May 9, stimulating your curiosity about spiritual practices. Meanwhile, a Taurus Solar Eclipse the same day reveals the instability of your current plans, suggesting that maintaining the status quo is no longer working.
 
The direction of your life is shifting, and transformations also occur on a more subconscious level as thoughtful Mercury joins visionary Jupiter and desirous Venus in your spiritual 12th House of Contemplation on May 15, followed by the Sun on May 20 and Mars on May 31. Although these planets in restless Gemini increase the noise level in your head, these are not conversations that you want to have with anyone else. 
 
You are given a chance to contemplate your inner journey and its impact on your daily routine when the freedom-loving Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse shakes up your 6th House of Habits on May 25. There’s plenty of change in your professional world, too, as the long-lasting Uranus-Pluto square on May 20 influences your 7th House of Relationships and your 10th House of Career. This dynamic aspect isn’t only about a single event, but rather the continuation of a metamorphosis that began on June 24, 2012, and lasts through March 16, 2015.” 

As I’ve written on here before, I’m planning to move to New York in June. Right now, I am going through the grueling and tedious processes of looking for both a place to live as well as a job for when I finally make the move. The fact that the horoscope discusses a major life change and changes in my professional life really stand out to me, as both of those are (hopefully) going to be happening for me within this month. Sure, we can say it’s just easy for the horoscope writers to throw in some bullshit about jobs and life changes and blah blah blah, because that’s an easy cop out instead of actually being connected to a person’s life. But, I don’t know. The fact that I chose to check my horoscope at this particular time when I am about to embark on so many changes really means something to me. I do actually happen to think that everything happens for a reason, but I will never ever be aware or knowledgable of the reasons behind anything. I apologize for sounding so sentimental or crazy or whatever, but as I’ve said time and time again, no one actually reads this. This is essentially my 3rd grade diary. The one that had teddy bears on the cover. I wish this blog had teddy bears on it.

My wish is my command.

My wish is my command.

Added bonus...BABY in bear costume!! AAAHHH!!!

Added bonus…BABY in bear costume!! AAAHHH!!!

So, but, yeaaaaah. Happy May, everyone! Maybe I’ll think of something worthwhile to write about in the upcoming days/weeks/months/years/lifetimes. Probably not. Probably just more of the same shit I’ve been spilling out for decades. Since I was born. I’ve just been spewing shit for y’all to take. And y’all is takin it like champs. Dream until your dreams come true.

a moment on the lips…and you know the rest

19 Apr

I’ve written before on here that I work for Weight Watchers. What a lot of people don’t tend to realize is that to work for Weight Watchers, you need to be a lifetime member of the program. This means that you need to have hit your goal weight and remained in your goal range in order to work for the company. People who come into the stores or see me working at the weigh-in stations tend to not realize that you need to have done the program and lost weight to work for the company, and they always seem to assume that I’ve lost 20 pounds at most, despite the fact that I wear a nametag that says “Weight Watchers, Alaina, I lost 66 pounds in 2008”. I guess people don’t read nametags anymore (folks nowadays, huh?) or are just more for jumping to conclusions or assumptions about people, but we pretty much lay it right out there for all members to see that we have been through the program, are on the program, and we know what they’re going through. Everyone who works for the company has been where the members have been and we are still dealing with our own weight loss battles, despite our successes.

So I lost my weight in 2008, but my weight loss journey began far before then. I’ve never actually written anything about losing my weight, but I feel the desire to now for some reason. I might as well share my story since I’m constantly grasping for topics to write posts about. So congratulations, (imaginary) reader! You get to read my story, whether you want to or not (don’t you DARE go to a different website, you hear me?)!

As I said, my journey began before 2008, probably about 10 years before. The first time I thought to myself that I needed to go on a diet was when I was eight years old. I had started gaining weight and I decided that I should do something about it. I didn’t tell my mother I thought I needed to go on a diet, I just tried to eat more fruit pretty much. That’s what television taught me a diet was: eating fruit. But, I was eight. When you’re eight, you’re usually not as much in control of what you eat as you’d like to be. And also, what an eight year old would like to eat is probably lots of ice cream. So I was already getting that. Also, most members of my family have struggled with weight problems throughout their lives, so we really weren’t the best support system for one another in terms of trying to lose weight and learn to live a healthy lifestyle. My main point here is that what bothers me is the fact that I was eight years old and I thought I was fat. At the time I obviously didn’t think much of it, but looking back, it’s so sad to me that I was thinking that way about myself. I think that part of this realization came from secretly knowing that I could never own a life-size Barbie because the commercials advertised the owner of the Barbie sharing clothes with her, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that because I would be too big. Just add that to the list of what’s wrong with Barbie and our society (more like what isn’t wrong with Barbie, amirite?).

All through middle and high school, I struggled with my weight. I always felt like I was the heaviest of all of my friends. On top of this, I hang out with a lot of small and short people, so I felt like a monster in comparison. I just never felt like I was cute or looked good like my other friends did. I don’t know if my friends felt cute, they probably didn’t because middle school is like walking slowly through hell while being whipped and having your braces mercilessly tightened consistently for three years, but I thought that my friends all looked cute and wore cute clothes. Boys liked my friends. Boys did not like me (not much has changed except that now, no one likes me). As I got older I learned that this wasn’t the end all of life, but it was fucking middle school. As I said, three years of walking through hell slowly. Seemingly no end in sight. Of course then I thought life was miserable because boys didn’t like me. If “Lizzie McGuire” had taught me anything, it was to be as cute and adorable as possible to win over your crush. I was neither cute nor adorable. I eventually learned after a few years to use my personality to charm (hence why I’m the uproarious person you see in front of you today), but for the most part I feel like I was pretty unpleasant and as I have stated, I felt like a monster.

Once, I was considering performing in a talent show with some of the other girls in my grade, and I went to a friend’s house to figure out outfits to wear. The girls decided they wanted to wear halter tops, which I did not own because I tried to avoid showing off my arms and rest of body at all costs when I was in middle school and then for pretty much all of high school and into college for a while. I wore floor length dusters when one should never wear a floor length duster (i.e. never. You should never wear a floor length duster). My friend told me I could borrow one of hers, but it was a bit tight on me. By “a bit tight”, I mean it flat out didn’t fit me. As a side note, I was never imagining that I was heavier than my friends. I physically always had been from 8 years old on. Anyway, we decided we should saran wrap my stomach to try to hold it in. And then we did that. We actually practiced wrapping saran wrap around my stomach to try to flatten it. Nothing went as planned and I ended up not being in the talent show (but come to think of it, I feel like the talent show itself was canceled or something. I don’t think I formally just quit the group because I felt too uncomfortable. Probably for the best if it was canceled, no one needs to see middle schoolers doing poorly choreographed dances), and although my friend wasn’t making fun of me for being heavier, it was the first time someone really noticed my weight problem and acknowledged aloud to me that I was heavier (see, I told you I wasn’t imagining it). It’s one thing to know that yourself, but really another thing for someone to point it out to you, despite how innocently they may be doing so.

But, that was really all there was in my life having to do with other people being a negative factor in my own thinking that I was fat. When most people talk about their weight loss journeys, they mention being teased about their weight throughout their k-12 years. I thankfully never had many experiences with that, aside from one or two encounters (one of these times being when a boy told me and my friend that we were the “fat sisters who looked alike” or something to that nature. It was very clever of him. The second experience was my grandfather lovingly telling me that I would get a boyfriend if I lost weight. I brushed it off as him being an old man); my low-blows came more from what I knew or thought I couldn’t do due to my size rather than from anyone actually pointing it out.

The fat-shaming came from not being able to shop at the same trendy stores as my friends because of my size, or because the store’s twisted version of my size was majorly skewed (I’m referring to the store Limited Too, mostly. I never even bothered stepping foot in there because I didn’t even want to bother trying on clothes and bringing down my self-esteem more).

It came in the form of not being able to understand what feeling satisfied from eating was, because I was constantly shoving food in my mouth as a way to handle all feelings, so I only knew what feeling sick to my stomach was. It came from not being able to adequately deal with my feelings because I was taught and thought for far too long in my life that food was the solution to every single emotion.

It was not being able to run the mile in gym at a normal time because of my asthma, which I still have regardless of my size, but I know was horribly worse when I was heavier. It was knowing I would never feel comfortable in dance costumes because I’d have to add on straps or extra material, and then the proceeding feelings of dread over having to wear them in front of other people at recitals because dance costumes, while usually unflattering regardless of size, happened to look even worse on my lumpy and uneven body.

It was always just the little things that no one would think to consider a source of what was bringing me down. Yes, negativity came from the outside world and outside factors. Obviously the media shows us what we should look like, that especially being true for women (from birth until death we’re taught how we should look a certain way), but it was really from taking what was fed to me from outside sources and how I chose to eat up and interpret them in my own way. People didn’t come up to me and tell me I was fat; I already knew from what I couldn’t do that I was fat. And I hate using the word fat because it just sounds so ugly, but when you’re at that point and you feel that way, it’s really the only way to describe how you perceive yourself. But, my point is that while all of the outside factors surrounding me were telling me to look and be a certain way, my unhappiness with my weight was ultimately on me.

So, when my mother asked me if I wanted to join Weight Watchers with her, I was at the point where I didn’t even hesitate to say “yes”. I needed to for me, because I was so fed up with myself, I was at my heaviest weight, and I just did not feel good about myself in the slightest. Weight Watchers taught me portion control and how to make smarter eating choices. I joined the program right before my senior year of high school and lost the weight through that year and the beginning of freshman year of college, and I think that was the best time for me to ever join. I can’t even think of how different my college experience would have been if I hadn’t lost the weight and had an understanding of how to eat while I was in school.

But, I have to stress that I didn’t automatically feel a huge boost of confidence because I lost weight. I felt better about myself, but I was still at the point of comparing myself to other women around me, because that’s what I’d been doing to myself my whole life. And I still do it now; I think it’s impossible to not compare yourself to other people at least every once in a while. But, I do feel like I was more outgoing once I got to college because I was at least happier with myself. I was happy that I had lost the weight, but I was also really proud of myself for doing so. I lost 66.6 pounds in total, and it still makes me happy to think about that fact that I accomplished that because it really has helped shape me into the person I am today. My mother always says that she thinks joining Weight Watchers was the best thing we’ve ever done together, and I am prone to agree with her. I don’t know where I’d be today if I hadn’t joined the program. I don’t know how I’d look, or more importantly, how’d I’d feel currently. Because while we all want to look good, I really did learn that how you feel about yourself is really most important. It sounds like such a simple lesson, but getting yourself to the point where you’re not horrified and angry with yourself all the time is really more difficult to do than some people understand. I still struggle with not getting mad at myself about certain choices I make, but at least I can say it’s not on a consistent daily basis anymore, and more often than not, I at least still feel healthy, or I know what to do to get myself back to feeling healthy. I’m learning (slowly) to accept my body for what it is, despite the flaws I know I still have. I’ve put a lot of work into doing that and perceiving myself more positively, and no one can take it away from me.

And thus ends the “positive” Alaina post of the week. As I always say, at least no one reads this blog. It might take away my cynical, pessimistic, cool kid edge if someone were to read such positivity coming from me. This stays between us. Just me and nobody.

a clever title about the irony of a show called “the real world”

26 Mar

For some reason, a new season of “The Real World” begins on Wednesday, and for another reason unkown to me, they are filming in Portland. Why? Just why? Well, whatever the reason, in honor of this occasion, MTV made the incredible decision to air older seasons of “The Real World” over this past weekend. On Saturday, there was a marathon of the original “Real World Las Vegas” from 2002 and on Sunday, they aired “Real World San Francisco” from 1994. MTV did a pretty solid job of fucking up any chance of productivity I was going to have. I spent literally over an hour arguing with myself if I was going to work out because I really wanted to watch Vegas and I don’t have cable in the room I work out in. In case you’re wondering, television shockingly won out, and I stayed confined to my bed for as long as humanly possible, basking in the glory of the early 00’s drama and straight up astounding wardrobe choices (so many bandanas and terribly fitted and designed pants).

Seriously. Those pants.

Seriously. Those pants.

People, no one, whoever I am addressing who could possibly reading this blog (but I find that highly doubtful), I cannot even begin to explain to you how different “The Real World” is now from how it used to be. It’s as if it’s an entirely different show. I actually think they should give it a new name, since the world on the show now clearly does not depict real life (yeah, I went there. You knew it was coming, and there it is. The irony of the name). Even from the two seasons I watched, the shows were different. It had to evolve (unfortunately really) over time, and this marathon just showed me how asinine and degenerate both the casts and show itself have become.

“The Real World Las Vegas” was actually the first season of the show I ever watched. I was 12 and absolutely should have not been watching the show. I had no place there. I had no idea what a three-way was and it occurred like three episodes in. I was in for a world that I would not understand for years to come. Or even now, really. Irulan, my favorite, was in an open relationship. Not to undermine anyone in an open relationship, but I don’t get that shit. Either commit or break up, don’t keep it open ended. That’s just being greedy as fuck. But, it left room for her to engage in the romance of a lifetime with Alton and not feel too guilty about it (they didn’t have the romance of a lifetime, I just like to idolize their relationship in my head because they were so cute together). This group of people was all about drinking, getting wasted, having sex, etc etc, what we’ve come to know (and hate) about the show in recent years, but unlike what I’ve seen recently, the show did try to actually deal with other issues. Pretty much every cast member had a deep dark past that was explored. Three of the female roommates had eating disorders, one of the male roommates had been molested when he was younger and was homophobic because of it, another roommate’s mother died when she was 14 and she never felt like her father thought she was good enough. Along with this, there was drama other than who was hooking up with whom on the show, such as Trishelle thinking she might be pregnant. That shit right there got real. No other season recently has dealt with anything like that, I think, or at least not seriously (I’m not the best authority on this because my interest in the show has waned over the past few repetitive years). Alton’s ex-girlfriend before coming on the show thought she might be pregnant. Everyone thought they were pregnant apparently. I feel like in recent seasons also, there is a cast member that everyone bands together to hate, or they don’t all genuinely like one another, but I feel like this cast actually did bond and grow to love one another, despite their problems. Also, their outfits were hilarious. The early 00’s were a terrible time to be alive and wear clothes. I know from experience. That was the height of my ugliness. But the original Vegas season just had a different feel from it than the newer ones. Aside from Brynn throwing a fork at Steven (hysterical, he had frosted tips), the housemates weren’t getting into fights with each other or anyone else every single night. The house didn’t get destroyed. They still had to go to their jobs and work. They had to pay their bills still and had money problems. The show was just a lot less surface than it is now.

I unfortunately couldn't find any worthwhile pictures of their outfits :(

I unfortunately couldn’t find anymore worthwhile pictures of their outfits 😦

Now, turning to an even different show, the 1994 season in San Francisco was literally like nothing I’d seen. I had never watched the season before, but had known about it because it was famous for housemates Puck and Pedro. Puck was a dick and got kicked out of the house because of his disrespect of pretty much everyone, but mostly Pedro, who was HIV positive. Pedro actually died months after the show aired and it’s incredible to me now that his story could have been documented in such a way, especially in the early 90’s, where although the stigma of HIV as a “gay disease” was wearing off, it was also very prevalent still. You’d think that since we’ve evolved as a society (I guess, we’re at least supposed to think that) since ’94, the show would portray someone like Pedro today. But really, I don’t think that’s what the show is about anymore. On this season of “The Real World”, the housemates literally carried on with their every day lives, but lived in a house together. Some of the housemates were students and still had to go to class, they had to go to their jobs that they already had, they had fun days out at the park, or roller blading and riding their bikes. They went rock climbing, Puck’s replacement, Jo, had to go to court because she had a restraining order on her ex-husband. It was literally people living their real lives, but just in a shared environment with new people. They weren’t just there to get drunk and have random hookups with people. These people were there to have an actual life altering experience for the better. My friend Amanda was texting me during the marathon and she pointed out that a difference between the ’94 cast and the cast of today is that these people actually had dreams and ambitions and were going about furthering their fulfillment. The casts of today don’t have those same desires, it seems. Sure we get our “wants to be a public activist” or “wants to catapult their career in music/entertainment industry” every once in a while, but really, the people on the show are there to be assholes for a few months on MTV’s dime. It’s just crazy how the show has changed. Another difference is that to be on the show now, it seems like the cast members have to have amazing bodies and be particularly good looking (by MTV’s standards. I could point out some uggos for you, though). On San Francisco, everyone was just a regular looking person. They weren’t all models thrown in a house together; they were average joes just living their lives. And there was something so incredible about watching that.

So. Much. Denim.

So. Much. Denim.

Watching the older seasons made me sad that our culture has advanced (or declined, really) in the way that it has. Obviously, “The Real World” was revolutionary and the first show of its kind at its time. They had license to do what they wanted and not have to worry about competition from other networks, so it was possible to create an amazing season about the social issues it covered in the earlier seasons. However, over time, as other stations created other shows to compete, MTV had to push the risk-factor, had to include more sexuality, drinking, and drama. This was apparent in the late 90’s and early 00’s, as Vegas was definitely a different season from San Francisco, but still, it had some heart. You didn’t immediately hate all of the housemates. They may have had their off moments, but there was something to like about everyone that lived in the house. Now, it seems the more unlikable a person is, the more likely they are to be cast for the show. The more likely they are to cause drama, have random sex, steal someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend, not give a fuck about repercussions, start fights, get black out, go to jail, etc, the more likely they are to be first in the house. It just makes me sad. Every season there’s a housemate who doesn’t really get that much air time, and it’s because they are the least dramatic and therefore, the most likable as a human being. They are also probably the most likely to do something beneficial for the world (in my opinion, who knows really). If you’re not going to be a mess the entire time, you’re not going to be recognized as a cast mate.

So this retro rewind to the glory days of “The Real World” did not get me excited to watch the new season of the show. Instead, it made me nostalgic for how it used to be, and I wish there was a station that only aired old seasons of the show. That’s what MTV should really consider doing instead of whatever the hell it’s doing now. It’s also just upsetting that the show has changed the way it has also represents our culture changing in the same ways. We are in such a sad, disparate, drinking, regressive culture. We’re not moving forward anymore. For every step forward of social activism there is, there’s twenty steps back from girls who say they’d let Chris Brown punch them if he kissed them after, or from guys who still think that it’s funny to make jokes about sexual abuse against women. I feel like we should be learning and we need to be learning, but instead, we’re being fed garbage. We’ve seen what “The Real World” is capable of with seasons like San Francisco, yet we’re stuck with the Neanderthals in the current seasons instead. And unfortunately, as much as I’d love to see a season like San Francisco happen again, I know it wouldn’t stand a chance surviving in our current market. That’s just sad to think about. I may sound like a hypocrite because I’m unfortunately living the life of some of the current “Real World” casts (I enjoy the occasional beer or sixteen), but as I was maturing and growing up, that’s how the seasons were evolving. The show has probably shaped me in ways I didn’t even realize, and now, this is where I am, when instead, maybe I could have been a doctor like Pam from San Francisco (that’s how life works, don’t argue this logic, “The Real World” decided who I am as a person now).

This is all the show is now. And it's making me jealous that I'm not in a hot tub drinking right now. I blame "The Real World" for all of my problems.

This is all the show is now. And it’s making me jealous that I’m not in a hot tub drinking right now. I blame “The Real World” for all of my problems.