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In Humor/ Love/ Not Unbeautiful

The Misadventures of Skeletor | Allegory for Marriage

This is a story about cat poop.  And marriage.  And Skeletor.  Keep reading.  It’s all gonna make sense by the end.


Today, the Four-nado (that’s my four-year-old daughter) woke up at 6:00 am making all sorts of unreasonable demands.  She wanted to play and she wanted pancakes. The nerve of that child! At around 7:00 am, I fell out of my bed and attempted to plod down the stairs to oblige her. I didn’t make it to the kitchen.  Instead, I tripped over Skeletor – my couch-barfing, husband-startling, child-biting, marriage straining, Gross Cat Skeletor – and nearly broke my neck.

As I’m sitting on the bottom step wondering if I should call for help or just keep sitting there until my everything stopped hurting, I noticed that Skeletor had done something especially disgusting this morning.  She left a tiny turd on my carpeted stairs.  Gross Cat’s odors are horrendous.  I probably would have just sat there forever waiting for death if not for the smell.

Skeletor’s litter box is always clean.  It’s one of the conditions that I had to agree to in order to keep her in the first place.  She has never missed the box unless she was trapped in a closet or something by the Four-nado.  It was an odd poop, because it was teeny weeny, and Skeletor’s poo usually looks like something a grown adult human could have done.  I know this story is grody, but this is Gross Cat that we are talking about.  Stay with me.

More about the poop.

When I picked up the poop in a napkin, I realized what must have happened.  Hanging out of the turdlette was a bunch of hair.  MY HAIR.  You can’t really tell from my photos, but I have ridiculously thick waist-length hair.  It gets everywhere.  No matter how much I sweep or vacuum (admittedly it’s not that much) giant tumbleweeds of my hair roll around all over our apartment. A spaghetti Western could be filmed in my master bath. Somehow, Skeletor had ingested several strands of it.  My guess is that it fell into her food bowl.  Poor kitty.

I imagined my poor darling Gross Cat running around this morning with my hair hanging out of her butt, dragging around the turdlette until it eventually fell off.  Whatever was going on, we all slept through it. She must have been miserable, but she didn’t complain. And when she complains, she wakes the entire household and all my maidens, too.  I should probably disinfect everything.

Imagining this cat dragging her poop around the apartment made me think, oddly enough, about marriage.  About how we internalize things we shouldn’t, and then we carry them around for far too long. They make a mess, they hurt us, and they hurt the people we love.

Let me tell you about the hubs.  I love to talk about him.

My husband thinks he is funny but he rarely is.  He is loud.  All of the time.  I’m quiet.  We have different parenting styles.  We come from different ethnic backgrounds. He is from New York City and I’m from Texas. Neither of us likes the food that the other one cooks.  We compromise by eating out a lot.  He talks to his family on the phone or via group texts all damned day and most of the damned night.  I talk to mine when there is a reason to.  It’s not that I value or love my family less than he does, that’s just how we are.  We are as different as right and wrong, night and day, hot and cold.

If I had to describe Mr. Rosa in Disney prince terms, I would say he is a lot like Prince Phillip.  I bet you don’t know which one that is.  Lemme ‘splain.  Prince Phillip as in Sleeping Beauty.  You know, the badass, dragon-slaying, insurmountable obstacle overcoming rock star.  The only Disney prince worth kissing. That’s my husband, and the dragon he had to slay was me.

We had a rocky start.  We almost didn’t make it.

I was as mean as a snake more often than not, super jealous of his close relationship with his mother, lacked the ability to trust in anyone or anything, and had a habit of getting rid of intimate partners as easily and as thoughtlessly as I would get rid of a toilet paper bookmark. I’m also a little bit insane. To this day, I don’t know what he saw in me, or what made him fight so hard, but he did.  Then I did.  And now we are a family and I am the luckiest woman alive.

I know that I’m still dragging some nasty stuff around, and I sometimes make a mess of things.  Prince Phillip can be a dick sometimes, too. But he hates cats and he agreed to let me have one just to make me happy.  He is learning to love Skeletor because I love her.  (He still doesn’t let her on the bed, though.)

That’s marriage.

It’s all dragons and crazy and cats and cat shit. Sometimes the shit lands appropriately in the litter box and sometimes it’s all over the place.  At the very least, you have to give the cat credit for trying. You have to give yourself credit for trying, too.

You also have to find a way to let go of your shit. Especially old shit.  Old shit that has nothing to do with your current relationship has to go bye-bye or you will both go cray-cray. Prince Phillip and I have been together for over six years and married for more than three.  We have some lingering shit that we made for ourselves in the beginning of our epic love story that we are still working on.  It’s hard, but it’s so worth it.  He is worth it.

He killed a dragon for me.

In Love/ Not Unbeautiful

3 Reasons to Stop with the Proverbs 31 Thing | Be Valorous Instead

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31 does not help women.

We talk a lot about the unfair standards that women are held to.  By now, most of us know that the women in advertisements are not real. We are learning to love our bodies, and our stretch marks, muffin tops, weird butts, and silver hairs.  But what about the unfair standards we set for ourselves?  I have a major beef with the way Proverbs 31 has been used to make women feel crummy. We do it to each other, we do it to ourselves, and that sucks.

Presently, I do not claim to be Christian.  Sometimes I have total faith that a magical baby came to save us all, and sometimes I don’t.  That is my personal struggle and not the focus of this opinion piece.  Still, no matter where I find myself on the faith spectrum, I have always retained my love for the Bible. I have read it in its entirety many times.  The KJV is my favorite. I love it because my Baptist mother loved it and because it is the version that I am most familiar with. But just because I love the Bible, that doesn’t mean that what certain people do with it can’t piss me off.

This Proverbs 31 thing is a theme that I see repeated over and over again in the blogs that I read. So many of us want to be a Proverbs 31 girl, Proverbs 31 woman, or a Proverbs 31 wife. We wrongly believe that modeling ourselves after the woman in Proverbs 31 – being virtuous –  is the only way we can be good enough for our ourselves, for our children, for our husbands, and for God.  I say screw that.  Killing ourselves to be virtuous, as defined by some interpretations of Proverbs 31, is for suckers.

Proverbs 31 wasn’t written for us.

It documents a mother’s advice to her son, and it was written for dudes, by a dude. It is a how-to-pick-a-wife guide, and not a set of instructions for women to follow. That poem was never meant to be used as a ruler for you to measure your womanliness with.  Trying to be the woman in Proverbs 31 is stupidly unrealistic. It is really good advice for a man, but not for you, chickadee. Lemme ‘splain to you:

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” 

Does this mean we should get up at the crack of ridiculousness every day to make breakfast? Remember that this is advice from a mother to her son.  It is totally understandable to want your boy to get a proper meal, but he can make breakfast sometimes, too.  There is no reason to get up so early.  Scrambled eggs take like 5 minutes to make. And cold cereal never killed anyone’s household or maidens.

“She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”

This virtuous woman has some serious business savvy and a green thumb. Forget about business savvy or lack thereof, I just hate being outside.  No giant floppy hat or 100 SPF lotion is going to prevent me from getting a nasty sunburn. Does anyone really like gardening?  I tried it and didn’t like it.  Having fresh tomatoes is nice and all that, but to me, they don’t taste different from ones I can get at the grocery store. I guess virtuous women can’t live in apartments, either.

“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”

Um. What?  Do women who don’t live at the gym lack virtue?  Is this supposed to be a body image thing?  Perhaps strong arms were a womanly requirement in the Old Testament days for warding off predators. Or was that just for cave people? What’s this loins stuff? Are we talking about Kegel’s exercises here? Also, please leave me and my loins alone. Do. Not. Bother. Me. About. My. Loins. (Shut up. Stop screeching, church lady. Un-wad those undies. I know what the girding of loins thing is all about.  I’m trying to entertain while I inform and this is comedy gold here!)

 “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.”

This poor woman has to get up early and stay up late?  That is so mean.  I wonder if King Solomon’s mom knew about the importance of adequate rest in weight management.  Lack of sleep causes high levels of cortisol and high cortisol levels make you really hungry.  You knew that, right?

“She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”

This virtuous woman is incredibly crafty and has never experienced an Epic Pinterest Fail like I have. I’m so down with helping the poor and needy, but when is this virtuous woman supposed to have time for charity work?  She isn’t getting any sleep as it is.  Where is the verse about coffee?  Or diet pills for energy and hunger control?  Cocaine for energy and hunger control?  Seriously, trying to do all of that would make anyone turn to stimulant drugs because there is no other way that anyone could actually accomplish so much with so little rest.

“Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

What is he doing sitting around with some old dudes in the gates?  Does he not know there are chilluns to be fed and, apparently, a vineyard to tend?  Maybe this virtuous woman has servants and farmhands as well as maidens, but if that is the case, why does she have to get up so freaking early? Why does the mister get to sit around at the gates – or at the bar – while the missus is working herself into an early grave?

“She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”

This sounds like she has a job outside of the home, but it is her responsibility to feed everyone?  Forget the cold cereal.  Everyone gets cold Pop Tarts on a paper towel.  No time for dishes, a virtuous woman has to get to that day job and make mad money.

“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

This.  This I like.  No beef with this.  We should all be kind and wise.

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

But what about her day job? Virtuous women stay at home with all those kids or have a 9-5 or a 10-6 or an Etsy store but do not allow laundry to pile up?  There are no sticky surfaces in a virtuous woman’s household?  But she has kids, right?

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Oh, she definitely has kids. Y’all better be blessing and praising this lady. As for me, I will happily forego the blessings and praisings of my family to not feel like I’m about to die of overwhelm and fatigue.

Proverbs 31 doesn’t mean what you think it means.

What? Really? Rachel Held Evans says “a virtuous woman who can find” is best translated, “a woman of valor who can find?” Valor?  How awesome is that? We can all strive to be valorous – and kind and wise – and still get some shuteye.   Rachel’s post inspired me to learn more and to write mine.

Now, hold on to your pretty hat, church lady, and get ready to with that fan. You are about to get a mini bible lesson from a part-time agnostic, full-time heathen.

In case you forgot, the KJV version of Proverbs 31:10 reads thusly:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.”

The actual Hebrew words translated to “virtuous woman” in the KJV and in other versions of the Christian Bible are “eshet chayil.” Eshet is a form of the Hebrew word for woman, and Chayil connotes bravery or strength.  Bravery and strength are virtues, so it is understandable that the scholars who put together the KJV chose to use that word.  It’s still wrong, though.

The Tankakh is the Hebrew Bible and it is the textual source for the Christian Old Testament. In the English version published in 1917 by the Jewish Publication Society of America, that verse instead reads:

“A woman of valour who can find? For her price is far above rubies.”

Going out on a limb here, but my guess is that Jewish scholars of the Hebrew Bible probably did a better job of translating the Hebrew language than others would have been able to do.

I don’t think a valorous woman is all that hard to find.  I do believe that she is an amazing and precious creature. Are you valorous?  I bet you are.  I’d love to hear what you think about valor vs. virtue.


In Love/ Not Unbeautiful

Setting Goals | How To Make Your Dreams Your Reality

When you imagine your perfect life, what picture does that giant head full of brains paint for you? Do you dream about losing weight?  Maybe you want to be a better parent? Perhaps you want to stop fighting with your intimate partner. I have some bad news for you.  Your dreams are never going to become reality unless you form a plan.  You gotta live with intent. To do that, you gotta have goals.

 Goals Dreams Reality

When setting goals for myself, I use the SMART format.

By setting SMART goals, those dreams of yours will become your reality.  You can’t just will goodness and abundance into existence.  This is hard, grungy, sweaty, sometimes-not-fun work.  Actually, it’s almost never fun.  Because it’s work.  If it was fun, it would be called “play.”

Let’s get to work with the example of losing weight.  That’s a vague idea, a dream, and not a goal.  What’s the difference? Goals have actionable steps that form a plan.  Dreams are just wishes. A dream may be a wish your heart makes, but wishes never made anyone skinny.

The S is for specific.

Having a specific goal is better than a vague idea. A vague idea is just a dream, remember? How do you get specific?  Ask yourself the “W” questions.  Don’t freak out, there only three of them.

  • What do I want to accomplish? “I want to lose weight.” Not specific. “I want to lose 50 pounds.”  That’s pretty specific, but we aren’t done.
  • When does this need to happen? You have to have a when. Your when is never optional.  Let’s say you want to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year.  That’s December 31, btw.  Be specific.
  • Why does accomplishing this thing matter to me? Nothing is more important than your “why.” Having a clear understanding of your “why” will help you stay motivated. Why do you want to lose weight? To be healthier?  To feel good about your appearance?  To improve your sexual ability or stamina? To be hotter than your boyfriend’s ex?

“I want to lose 50 pounds by Dec 31st so that I feel sexy.” That’s pretty dang specific.

The M is for measurable.

How will you measure your progress?  Set concrete – and realistic – measurements to track your success.  Let’s say you have 12 months to lose 50 pounds.  That’s an average of a little more than 4 pounds per month.  Totally measurable and totally doable.

Do measurements apply to other types of goals?  Absolutely.  Perhaps your dream is to be a better parent.  First, Let’s work out our W’s.

  • What do I want to accomplish? “I want to be a better parent.” Not specific. “I want to stop yelling at my kids.”  That’s a fantastic, specific goal.  But you know we aren’t done, right?
  • When does this need to happen? Again, you have to have a when. You probably want to stop yelling at your kids immediately.
  • Why does accomplishing this thing matter to me? Why do you want to stop yelling at your kids? Because they are precious to you. You want them to be well-behaved, but you want them to listen to you out of respect, rather than fear. Maybe you have noticed them acting out angrily, and that was a wake-up call for you.

How will you measure your progress?  This is a toughie. You might decide to measure this goal using time.  Decide that you will not yell for the next ten minutes, the next hour, this afternoon, or this whole day. Again, this is totally measurable and totally doable.  Those little ones of yours deserve your best.

The A is for attainable and action oriented.

When your goals involve others, your “A” might include “agreed upon.”

Let’s change scenarios again.  You want to stop fighting with your significant other.  Is this attainable?  This dream involves another person.  You can only control your own attitudes and actions.  You can set goals for yourself about the things that you can control.  A proper goal might look like this: “I want to reconcile my attitude and my actions toward my husband, whether he changes or not.”  This is an attainable goal because you can choose and control the way you relate to another person.

The R is for realistic.

Earlier, we talked a little bit about being realistic when we discussed weight loss.  “I want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days” is not a realistic goal.  “I will never yell at my kids again” is also unrealistic.  “I will make husband to love me like he used to” is unrealistic because it is not something you can directly control.

To be realistic, your goal must be something you are both able and willing to work towards. A goal can be lofty and realistic.  You decide what you want to achieve. Lower level goals may serve as steps to attaining a lofty goal.  Be realistic.  Some examples:

  • I will lose 4 pounds each month for 12 months.
  • I will not yell at my kids this afternoon.
  • I will not say snarky things to my husband if he pushes my buttons today.

The T is for time.

This needs little explanation. Remember your when? Someday doesn’t cut it.  It does not help you to say “I want to save $10,000 for a down payment for a home someday.”  You won’t get anywhere. You can – and should – say, I want to save $10,000 – or whatever amount you choose – by the end of this year.

Need a little help setting goals for yourself?

You might need a little help with the details.  I have some extra reading for you:

From Zahra Barnes at Self Magazine: Small Lifestyle Habits Help Lose Weight

Written by Amanda at Dirt and Boogers: Simple Tip to Stop Yelling at Kids

From the desk of Stacey at The Soccer Mom Blog: Save Your Marriage

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