I contained multitudes.

March 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm (my life)

I have been writing about body issues a bit these days, and I am starting to undertake a much larger project that is just going to be about body issues, so I’ve been working on upping my comfort level in showing you me, in words and pictures, as I was.

And what I was was pretty damned awkward. I won’t use the “ugly” word to describe myself, because it seems to make people feel the need to correct me or compliment me, and this isn’t about getting current validation, or making you feel sorry for me, or anything like that. I am just dipping a toe into talking about myself when I liked myself least and trying to find some comfortability there, because at this point is hella uncomfortable.

For a long time, while I was awkward-looking and even now, I refused to acknowledge that I was awkward-looking. I’m not sure why- maybe I thought that if I didn’t acknowledge how ugly I felt, no one else would notice either. More likely, it was because I grew up around a bunch of girls and women that self-depricated their appearances way too much, and I hated it. Some of them did it for attention, some of them did it because they truly believed they weren’t attractive or worthy, some of them did it so that it wouldn’t sting as much when you did it, some of them did it to make you laugh. All of them, I felt, were traitors to themselves. I didn’t like how I looked, sure, but I wasn’t going to let you in on that secret. I wasn’t going to let you become part of my self-hatred. I had enough of it as it was and didn’t need help with cutting myself down. So I did a lot of ignoring of comments, staying away from bullies, and not trying on clothes on shopping sprees with girls half my size. I was constantly scanning the environment to see if anything in any given situation could set me up to feel embarrassed, and if it seemed like a possibility, I refused to do it.

This, of course, was before I adopted an alt/punkrock/badass way of being, which allowed me to adopt an incredibly helpful “I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT HOW I LOOK” attitude that built my eventual backbone and self-esteem. We’re talking the seminal years of middle school, at the tail-end of which I started dyeing my hair with markers and wearing band shirts, experimenting with my ugly.

I am currently on a plane flying home from a lovely trip to NC to see my family, and one of the things we did was go through a ton of old pictures. There are plenty of me as an adorable child, quite a few of me as an awkward overlarge middle schooler, but less still of me as a teenage punk rock princess. Objectively, I look equally ridiculous as both a middle schooler and teenager, but in my eyes, the teenage me looks…. free. Middle school me, full of self-loathing, appears to be holding her breath in pictures, always trying to twist out of frame, wearing enormously oversized sweaters that approach her sister’s style but can’t copy it, refusing to smile or smiling a desperate smile. Teenage me, clad in black and sparkly ill-fitting clothing, looks pretty ugly too, but by god, she appears to be okay with having her picture taken. She appears to be breathing. It took me years to perfect the simple tasks of inhaling and exhaling into my own body.

If you’re interested, take a look at a few pictures of me from my awkward years.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

March 29, 2013 at 7:14 am (gynomite's reading room)

I probably won’t be blogging much over the next couple of days, but in the meantime, here are some fun things for you to look at and read.

This post is fantastic because not only do you find out what celebrities dated back in the day (Kathy Griffin and Jack Black!), but you also get to see tons of pics of celebrities when they were very very young and sharp.

This is a lovely profile on the lovely Tig Notaro in Elle magazine, a sentence I never thought I’d write.

I am very interested in how we choose to perform our age. Age, like gender, is a thing to be performed. I read an interview with Liz Taylor that talked about how actresses now all want to seem like children, but in her day, actresses all just wanted to be seen as grownups because it was the only way to be taken seriously. If you look at a picture of Liz Taylor at 21 and Sandra Bullock at 21, they look years apart. A friend of mine who is in his mid-20s is dating a girl who is probably 22, and she and I frequently show up wearing similar outfits. I’m over ten years older than her. I would like to think that somehow I’ve done something to age-appropriate my outfits a bit, but that’s up for debate. Regardless, I like how I dress, and I know how to pull out grownup stuff when I have meetings, and I’m lucky that I get to dress like a lunatic at work. Because of all this, I’m very interested in seeing two celebrities who are the same age, chronologically, that seem very far apart developmentally. Here are two posts devoted to that topic.

Shia LeBeouf continues to fascinate.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

March 26, 2013 at 9:47 am (gynomite's reading room)

It’s amazing how much more interesting the Today show is now that we know all its dark secrets.

This week, the Indoor Kids, the podcast I do with my husband Kumail, welcomes Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead! One of my favorite episodes!

This is a cold-blooded, “daaaaaamn” PSA about rape that was made in Scotland. Enjoy!  (no trigger warnings)

Victoria’s Secret is making a line of clothing and underwear aimed at teens and adolescents… or are they? (Spoiler alert: the most likely are)

Flapper dictionary from 1922! I want to believe these are real and not just some fun prank that a sassy flapper played on a journalist, but come on…. monogolist?

Our friends Blair and Jessica had a baby, and Blair is blogging about being a new Dad every day. It’s adorable and sweet and hilarious.

I am impressed with the thoughtfulness of this ranking of all 27 seasons of The Real World, done by Vulture and sent to me by my childhood friend Christine, who has been awesome for a good 24ish years now. (I can’t speak to her pre-3rd grade years, I didn’t know her then.)

 

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Ask Gynomite!

March 23, 2013 at 11:25 am (ask gynomite)

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on rebounds and exes and etc.

Hi there Emily, long time listener (Indoor Kids, your blog) and first time emailer with some thoughts. I was recently browsing Ask Gynomite and came across a video response of yours – Jan 14, 2013, “I’m always concerned my boyfriend is going to cheat on me” – that unfortunately I saw a little too late to help my relationship. I’m a straight dude who, up until about a month ago, was dating a woman (nine months) who sounded very much like the girl in the email, except my ex had actually been cheated on in the past (she also cheated once herself). In another relationship I’ve kiss-cheated, but never sex-cheated, although I know the distinction doesn’t mean much. She was constantly suspicious, would habitually accuse me of flirting with my female (and occasionally, male) friends, to the point we would get into arguments nearly every weekend and/or after most social functions. My argument to her was I was only having conversations with these people, trying to connect with them on a friendly human being level, while she, claiming to be a very intuitive person (which wasn’t entirely inaccurate), would say it just “felt wrong” to her, and I should just stop talking to girls to make her feel better. Honestly, I never cheated, nor had any intention to, and so it was the main issue that eventually ended our relationship. When we would fight about it, only during the knock-down-drag-outs would she admit that her behavior was unfair, and that she’d like to change (although she still would scoff at therapy).

 
Throughout the relationship, and now after the breakup, we’ve tried to stick to the complete-honesty-even-if-it-kinda-hurts route. We’re currently in the not-talking-to-each-other (enough hyphens already) phase, although our main friends are all mutual so we still run into each other occasionally. So before I blather too much, question #1 I probably already know the answer to: Should I send her your video response? I know she probably (definitely) doesn’t want to hear more from me about my issues with her, but towards the end of the relationship she had started to soften on the idea of therapy, but now that we’re no longer together and I’m not suggesting it, I really don’t think she’ll follow through. Not to mention she has had a few girlfriends reinforce her point of view on the “intuitive suspicions” bit, and I don’t want some unsuspecting sap like me to suffer the consequences in her next relationship. I’m starting to realize that this sounds a little controlling of me, but all I really want is just to show her some outside advice on pretty much our exact problem (all your arguments about trust being all or nothing, friendships not being threatening, and the importance of respect were pretty much verbatim my arguments to her). Before our vow of mutual silence, we had a long discussion about why the relationship didn’t work, and agreed that an eventual friendship was possible. I’m not trying to get back together with her or anything, just want to help out when I can. But I also don’t want to go poking around somewhere that’s no longer my place. Should I just accept I’m not really in a position to give her unsolicited advice anymore?
 
Second related, and hopefully easier question: How does one avoid falling into a rebound? I had told myself that I’d like to be single for a while after that breakup, but of course this weekend I meet a pretty and interesting girl with whom an instant romantic connection was made. One date later, and we seem to be pretty into each other as best as I can tell after only a few days. I understand the importance of being honest with her – she knows I got out of a long relationship recently, although she doesn’t know the details – but I’m more concerned about my obsessive personality and trying to quickly shape this new girl and situation into something it’s not, namely the good parts of the relationship I just left. Is it simply a matter of being open and taking things slowly, or is there some secret trick to not obsessing over a new shiny lady and wanting to jump right into Extreme Cuddling, Living Together Edition that inevitably ends in creeping her out? I’d be lying if I said I’ve 100% recovered from the breakup, but I don’t want to let a great opportunity, for lack of a less objectifying term, go by, whether that opportunity is a fling or something deeper. 

 

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Tilda Swinton: Holy Shit.

March 23, 2013 at 11:21 am (art)

Tilda Swinton continues to expand her Festival of Weirdness, because all this month she will be sleeping in a glass box at MoMA.

tildasleep

Yup.

MoMA staff has no idea when she’s showing up, but she’s supposed to be there randomly, throughout the month. All that’s in the glass case are cushions and a water jug. Also, the box she hangs out in won’t ever be in the same place.

tildaagain

Lest you think that this is just some weird famous person thing, this piece, called “The Maybe”, was something Tilda and another artist came up with in 1995, when she performed it (slept it) in London. She’s also done the piece in Rome.

MoMA says:

An integral part of The Maybe’s incarnation at MoMA in 2013 is that there is no published schedule for its appearance, no artist’s statement released, no no museum statement beyond this brief context, no public profile or image issued. Those who find it chance upon it for themselves, live and in real—shared—time: now we see it, now we don’t.

Pics from Gawker. Holy lord, you can’t make this shit up.

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Ask Gynomite!

March 22, 2013 at 6:10 am (ask gynomite)

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on the friend zone.

 I am a 17 year old stuck in the friend zone.

Is there any possible thing I can do to change her image of me. We are very good friends yet this whole ordeal has made our overall relationship awkward. We used to talk on the phone everyday for hours. With this girl in general she has dependency issues and has stated multiple times that I am her best friend and we talked about everything, past relationships, we hang out all the time and her family loves me, but we make out periodically and nothing comes of it. I don’t want to keep getting my hopes up or force her to keep rejecting me because she has expressed her difficulty with that.
 
I don’t know if i should stay friends with this girl who has caused me various problems  (an example being a guy wanting to fight me over her and getting kicked out of a party as a result) and perhaps attempt something with her or give up on that aspect and live like i am now as a jealous frustrated person. Or should i walk away entirely?
 
I don’t want to be bitter and jealous because she doesn’t deserve that but i don’t want to abandon a good friend either, i love her deeply and am still hoping there is something there.
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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

March 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm (gynomite's reading room)

The backlash to the NYMag piece on feminist housewives is in full swing. In this edition: the author, Lisa Miller, tries to set her article in opposition to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and gets dealt with.

American Eagle reveals their new plan for the skinniest jeans ever: spray on jeans. An early April Fools joke, or history being made?

MTV is airing old seasons of Real World, marathon-style, all this weekend. In other news, I have canceled all my plans for this weekend. Never forget PeanutButterGate.

Now this is a White House petition I can get behind: requiring Senators to wear the logos of the corporations that back them, like race car drivers do.

Gucci Mane fell asleep during a sex scene in Spring Breakers and blamed pot. Yup.

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Ask Gynomite!

March 20, 2013 at 4:00 pm (ask gynomite)

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on dating someone with a history of abuse.

Hey, Emily. I just had a question and didn’t know where else to turn or who to ask. My girlfriend, prior to dating me, was in an extremely abusive relationship. She was beaten badly on almost a daily basis. I’m her first “official” boyfriend she’s had in four years. She loves me to death, and I feel the same way about her. Even with that, we’re definitely taking things slowly. I’m okay with the gradually building trust part of our relationship. That much I completely understand.

The thing I had a question about is that sometimes, very infrequently, she has a flashback to those instances from her past and goes to a really dark place. It may only last for 30 seconds or a couple minutes, but I can’t speak to her or touch her or anything. If I do, which I learned the hard way, she completely freaks out and the situation gets exponentially worse. 99% of the time she is totally fine. It’s just that other 1% that breaks my heart. I wish I could do something to help, and I’m not sure if there is anything. Once I know the moment has passed, I hold her and maybe say something if it seems appropriate.

Other than slowly learning what the triggers are (I can’t touch her on the back, say something playful like “you’re gonna get it”, etc) is there anything more I can do? I know she doesn’t want me to feel bad for her, and she hates it when it happens to the point she’s profusely apologizing to me like she’s the one who did something wrong. I just don’t know if there even is anything I can do for her other than just be there and reassure her that I love her. Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

March 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm (gynomite's reading room, Uncategorized)

Jon Hamm has a big penis.

I don’t agree with Lily Tomlin 100%, but I do like her comments on young girls’ sexuality.

Green Street Methodist Church in my hometown has refused to marry another couple until gay people can marry. Maybe this is the legacy my milquetoast religious brethren can get behind…

How beauty pageant contestants‘ bodies were judged in the 1950s.

Matt Wyatt told me about this yesterday- a high schooler in the mid 90s made a documentary about the “dirty girls” in town who didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of them. It’s an amazing slice of the 90s. A must watch.

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Ask Gynomite!

March 19, 2013 at 2:34 pm (ask gynomite)

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on waiting for love to go wrong.

I’ve known my current boyfriend for six weeks. So far, he’s been incredible. In fact, I kind of feel like dating him is what it must be like to date me. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think I usually go out of my way for people I care about through little gestures and words and a part of me is thinking, Huh, so this is what it’s like? 

He’s very sweet to me, he’s respectful of me, he’s smart, funny, handsome, kind, he helps me out around my place, he wants toexperience all of these adventures with me. One example of his care for me is that when when my car was in the shop for a week, he adjusted his work schedule so he could drive me to and from my carpool every day and then said he was going to miss spending the time with me in the morning when the week was over. I don’t think I could dream up a better boyfriend if I tried.

The problem is, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I joke that he must be a serial killer, because he’s too good to be true. But a part of me is actually worried that he will turn out to be emotionally abusive. I just feel like no one could care for me this much and not have it swing the other way, too.

There is no basis for this other than my own paranoia. We know some people in common and I’ve never heard any horror stories. I’ve never had any prickles in the back of my neck when he has said or done anything.

I’ve expressed these concerns with him and he’s assured me that what I’ve experienced is what I will continue to get. He asked meto be open with him about when I’m feeling scared or unsure so we can work through it together.

I’m afraid I don’t know how to be with someone who really wants me and is kind. I know this is kind of a big question, but how do I work on that?

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