Monthly Archives: April 2012

your body: objectified.

Have you ever thought about why things are designed the way they are? Like, why does a pair of shears have a particularly shaped handle? And why does a chair look the way it does? Why are the keys on a keyboard shaped as such?

This weekend, some friends and I watched a documentary called Objectified that addresses the theory and beauty behind the design of objects. What the documentary shows (I think, anyway… I can’t be totally sure because I feel as though the film, as well as the other people that were in the room watching it, is infinitely more intelligent than I am) is that a lot of people don’t really give a lot of thought to why things look a certain way. They just use the products, completely unaware of the intricate and meticulous intentionality behind their design.

The best example of this, I think, was a Japanese toothpick — at first glance, it looks like any regular toothpick. But on the end, you’ll find two little grooves that cause the toothpick to break. This isn’t because the toothpick is defective. This is intended for two reasons: 1) to communicate to other people the toothpick has been used, and 2) to create a nifty little toothpick “stand” for it to sit on.

[Image source]

On the other hand, some people are drawn to objects simply because of their design. The design cultivates some sort of emotional response within the user: This product is reliable (Toyota Camry). This product is promotes a youthful image (MacBook Pro). This product is what’s in right now. (Prada sunglasses). Whatever. 

When I got pregnant, I scheduled a meeting with one of my favorite female mentors to tell her the good news and pick her brain about the next stage in my life. Not parenthood, mind you — but pregnancy. I had no idea what to expect being pregnant and, even more than that, was overly concerned about what I should be doing/should not be doing while gestating a child.

The best thing she offered me went like this:

“Lindsay, God is a perfect designer. He has already designed your body for this. It is already doing what it is supposed to do. You just get to enjoy it.”

My body was designed for this. This, among every other thing I do in a day. I was designed.

My body (as well as yours) is an object that was delicately created, each part with a specific purpose. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hands to feel and lungs to breathe. But, in contrast of, say, the toothpick, our bodies are also objects that evoke emotion, whether they were created to or not. And in this society, women’s bodies in particular have been known to conjure up some pretty gnarly emotions.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought of was how uncomfortable and obnoxious my even-bigger-than-before-if-you-can-believe-it boobs are. Now that I’m about seven months pregnant, my body is hardly recognizable to me anymore and, on top of that, hurts everywhere. While wrapping my arms around my ever-expanding frame, I squeezed so hard I winced in pain, praying silently that it would just STOP. I thought of all the celebrities who have babies and are back in bikinis on the cover of magazines the following week, loudly proclaiming that they, “Got [their] body back!” as if their selfish and menacing children stole it from them and I wanted to scream. I remembered all the times I tried to starve every lump, rump, and bump on my body away, wishing they’d disappear forever, never to be pointed out by raunchy men or ogled over by pissy women ever again.

But what if it the toothpick was subject to the same standards we are as women? Though we are both equally designed for functionality and appeal, what if the toothpick had to put up with the same stuff we women do, both from ourselves and society as a whole?

Imagine for a minute the toothpick is sentient (let’s call him Toothy McPickster) and someone came along and pointed at the grooves in Toothy’s abdomen and demanded he get rid of those disgusting “love handles”?

That’s ridiculous, right? Those grooves were put there specifically to fulfill a greater purpose after Toothy does his duty of picking someone’s teeth. So why must they be scrutinized? Particularly when he can’t do anything to change them that doesn’t require some sort of painful procedure, probably in the form of carving away these grooves? (Insert plastic surgery/crash dieting/other harmful way of body modification metaphor here.)

Just as I was about to curse my body yet one more time today, I remembered my son. And how my body is an object that was designed to give him life.

I’ve pored over the words of Psalm 139 countless times in my life — I’ve even written the words across the top of my bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker — but they take on a whole, new meaning after watching Objectified.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

We were designed for a purpose, whether we know what that purpose is (feet to walk, eyelids to blink) or we don’t (big breasts, small butts, wide hips, bumpy tummies).

In a world that does everything it can to objectify us on its own terms, let us be objectified on our Creator’s terms. 

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embracing discomfort.

Do you know anyone who is always legitimately cheerful in the face of adversity and/or pain? The type of person who has been known to utter something along the lines of:

How am I? Oh, I’m just great! So blessed! The other day my mother died and then I ran over my childhood pet by accident, breaking both of his legs and leaving him irreparably deformed, oh, and then I failed college. Like. The whole thing. Just failed it. But my life is great, and I am blessed, and I have no reason to be unhappy because God’s in control!

I’ve always desired to be classified as one of those people. As a Christ-follower, I feel like that’s supposed to be part of my DNA: unshakable optimism.

Unfortunately, whether it be due to irreversible exposure to the darkness and cynicism of the world or just a developmental defect, I am not one of those people. In fact, I’m usually quite the opposite.

I’ll never forget the day my husband said something to me that shattered my soul so finely that it’ll never be the same.

As soon as I opened the door after work, I threw down my purse and started up my daily ritual of pissing and moaning about my what happened at my job — I don’t even remember what I was so upset about, ironically, but this was evidently the umpteenth day in a row I was firing off complaints like missiles toward my undoubtedly exhausted husband, expecting him to take every shot lying down. After what seemed to me like minutes, to him like hours, of me complaining, he fired back.

“You’re a really negative person.”

He didn’t even address the things I was complaining about. He just got right to the point — the point being, maybe it wasn’t my job that was so awful. Maybe it was me.

I’m sure that’s something that Dan wishes I’d forget (it was, after all, a comment he made in the first, and arguably most arduous, year of our marriage) but I never will. Not because I think it was mean and awful and I want to yank it out and use it as arsenal anytime we get in an argument. But because it challenged me. It convicted me.

It changed me.

Since then, I’ve never complained about my day to Dan unless he asks, “So, what happened at work today? Anything bad?” Because, honestly, what’s the point? What good does complaining do? Sure, it’s nice to vent, but I’ve found that after doing so, I only feel worse, not better. I only feel as though I’ve taken my can of worms and not only opened it, but spilled it all over the floor of my home and tackled my husband to the ground and forced him to roll around in it with me.

Sick.

This morning, I came across an article entitled, Why You Should Embrace Discomfort, and everything inside of me fought against clicking on it. I figured that reading that article would probably reinforce the accusation my husband made all those years ago. (It didn’t help that it was originally posted by my church’s Spiritual Transformation Pastor — that is, The Pastor Who Knows Everything About God and Life and Everything and Probably Intimidates You Because of It.) And I was right.

As I sit here, breathing in strange intervals while my son uses my lungs and ribs as his own personal punching bags and thinking about how I need to stop by my house later to visit the cats and pick up a few things before heading out to our friends’ to sleep, I am becoming increasingly aware of the amount of discomfort I’m currently experiencing, both physical and emotional. And I can honestly say that, even before reading that article, I was and am doing everything in my power to embrace it.

  • Instead of complaining about our current “homeless” state, I’m embracing the help of generous friends (who are truly like more like family) that allow us to not just stay with them, but live (eat, sleep, breathe, fellowship, laugh, cry) with them until we find a new place.
  • Instead of shutting people out, insisting we rebuild and replace our things on our own, we’ve allowed people to give to us. At this moment, we have just about enough money to replace everything – everything – that was stolen from us. I am speechless. So humbled.
  • Instead of focusing on the real darkness of the situation, we’re focusing on the true light — the real God moments – that have taken shape over the past week. There have been several.
  • Instead of mourning the loss of things, we are rejoicing in the abundance of love — for and within each other and those around us.

I know it sounds cliche and strange, but when you ask me how I am today, I can absolutely say, without a doubt, something along the lines of:

Oh me? I’m great. Really great. I am blessed, and loved, and humbled. I have such a supportive and loving family, one I wouldn’t trade for the world, and I am incredibly healthy. I am taking part in one of God’s greatest miracles by growing a tiny life inside me, one that has been entrusted to my husband and me to care for as long as we live. I am free to laugh and to cry without judgement or question and I know a Man who died to save me from what I deserve on the days I’m not perfect. Even though I am experiencing some real discomfort right now, I am embracing it, because I know that not only will it pass, but it will further mold and shape me into the woman God has called me to be.

I am great. Thanks for asking. 

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things i love thursday! (april 26, 2012)

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week. So much has happened. So many wonderful things. We are so blessed. On to this week’s list of love.

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Having a wonderful place to stay with friends we adore.
  • Being able to blog, thanks to a friend loaning me her laptop.
  • Chrissie’s bachelorette party! Yeah!
  • Sparkly shoes.
  • The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Disposable cameras, and Gary’s use of them.
  • Finally getting Chrissie married off. What a gorgeous wedding!
  • Being able to hang out with good friends during said wedding.
  • Shirley Temples.
  • Hanging out with Stephen and Ashley finally. We’ve only been trying to do that for a year and a half.
  • Hearing my sweet little boy’s heartbeat this morning.
  • Walking around the neighborhood.
  • “Camping” with my husband.
  • Mocha frappes.
  • Sweet friends buying us dinner.
  • Brownies.
  • Seeing the kitties and Nikki and Chris!
  • Naps in my car.
  • Hanging out with my girlfriends.
  • Being prayed for.
  • Bible study shenanigans and birth analogies.
  • Baby Isaiah snuggles.
  • Chocolate (shocking, I know).
  • Being part of a wonderful, generous, supportive community.
  • Frozen yogurt.
  • Sleep.
  • Baby kicks.
  • Life.
  • God.

What do you love this week?

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a wee bit of an update.

The outpouring of love and support we’ve received since the break-in is immeasurable. From loaning me a laptop so I can work and blog (!!!), to housing us and our cats, to praying for us, to donating to replace our stuff, everyone around us has been so supportive. We really feel loved and taken care of. It’s amazing. Typing out “thank you” seems so trite and useless, but seriously – thank you.

The night we were burglarized (not robbed, sorry — that was a journalist fail on my part) we packed up whatever else we deemed valuable (including, but not limited to, my camera, Dan’s guitar, our Harry Potter wands — no joke — and Dax’s first bowtie) and some clothes and went to crash with some friends. We’re still staying with them because,  even though Dan’s comfortable going back to the house, I can’t stomach it. Just driving through the neighborhood sends chunks rising up my throat. The police investigation (sparked by one of our items being listed on Craigslist) confirmed that the burglars were more than likely people who live in our neighborhood.

Our neighbors. I feel so watched. So violated.

So, we took it upon ourselves to look up the reported crimes that have happened within 1000ish feet of our house in the past six months: one weapons violation, two instances of grand theft (though our burglary is also considered grand theft, so let’s just say three), four auto burglaries, one armed robbery, twelve instances of battery or assault, twenty-one residential burglaries (including ours, yay), and one teensy-weensy little thing referred to as an attempted homicide.

Of course, these are just the instances that were reported to police.

So now we’re just trying to figure out what’s feasibly next for us. We have two months left on our lease, which makes things really hard. As much as we appreciate having friends to crash with, it’s really stressful to not have our “own” place, our own home, especially when I’m so pregnant and wanting desperately to have a safe place to house my child.  Thankfully, we have really narrow parameters (a fixed dollar amount for rent and NONE of those crime stats) so our options have been limited to three apartment complexes around town that fit our needs. Here’s hoping we can snag one soon!

Thanks for your continued support and prayers. Seriously. We are so blessed.

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things i’m thankful for thursday.

I’m writing this blog post (very tediously, I might add) from my cellphone (I apologize now for typos) because last night, while Dan and I were out getting frozen yogurt, our house was broken into and we were robbed.

Obviously, they took both of my laptops (hence the cellphone blog) but they also took Dan’s Xbox 360, all of the games, and our brand new TV. Unfortunately, we did not have renters insurance. So those things are gone forever.

This comes on the heels of having to suddenly finagle a car payment last week after the Jetta died.

I’m a bit discouraged, but we still have a lot to be thankful for.

THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR THIS WEEK:

+ The things that were stolen are replaceable.
+ People are more important than things.
+ The fact that we weren’t home at the time.
+ The fact that I ran back inside the house at the last minute before we left to get my wedding rings.
+ The fact that despite two windows being forced open, neither of my cats got lost. They were freaked out (Hamlet was found hiding inside our bed box spring) but they were both okay.
+ The outpouring of love and support we received through texts and calls, even though it was late at night.
+ Nikki and Chris taking care of Romeo and Hamlet for us until we figure things out.
+ Sweet friends letting us crash at their place.
+ God.

That’s all I got, folks. Blogging on a phone is obnoxious.

That said, a friend of mine suggested I ask FBDC readers for donations for a new computer. I feel super weird doing that, but I guess it can’t hurt.

If you’re interested in donating so I can continue to blog, you can do so via our ChipIn account here: http://durrenberger.chipin.com/home-theft-replacement

Have a great weekend; what are you thankful for this week?

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beauty and torture.

The other day I was putting on make up in front of my husband. Usually I don’t do that because Dan hates when I wear makeup, so I like to keep up the guise that I don’t actually wear it by waiting until I’m alone to put on just a tad of concealer to cover my blemishes. But this time, we were both getting ready for an event we were going to together, so I had to lift the veil.

As I was taking the eyelash curler to my lids, I had some interesting thoughts to myself:

This kind of looks like a torture device. I wonder if Dan, or any other male who is unfamiliar with such an apparatus, thinks I’m torturing myself? 

Wait. As a matter of fact, curling my eyelashes IS pretty bizarre, whether it looks so or not. These little hairs aren’t even an inch long. Does anyone notice whether I use the curler or not? Come to think of it, if I catch my eyelid at just the WRONG angle, it absolutely IS torture! I’m torturing myself! Ah!

Why do we do such strange things to ourselves in the name of beauty?

Today I stumbled across something on the Internet that takes the torture-for-beauty cake (and doesn’t eat it, apparently):

Image via The Daily What

(From TDW) Disturbing Trend of the Day: In a last-gasp attempt to fit into the THE DRESS, desperate brides-to-be in the U.S. (like Jessica Schnaider, pictured) can now have a feeding tube inserted into their nose that provides a drip of liquid protein and fat (with no carbohydrates) through the esophagus into the stomach. The $1,500, 10-day treatment is effective: The tube delivers just 800 calories a day, and generally results in the loss of at least 10 percent of body weight — and perfect wedding pictures. But… ew?

This makes me so sad. And hurt. And angry. Mostly, though, it makes me want to put my two weeks’ notice in on life on this earth.

I think about all my close friends whom have gotten married recently. I think about my close friends who are talking about getting married soon. I think about my wedding almost three years ago. And my heart breaks into a thousand pieces just imagining any of them literally torturing themselves like this before the happiest day of their lives.

I never watch the show Mike & Molly, but last night it was on while Dan and I were doing chores. The subject matter of last night’s episode was Molly being on an unhealthy juice fast in order to drop several pounds in three weeks to fit into her wedding dress. Sigh. Granted, the moral of the episode was that what Molly was doing was turning her into a crazy person, not at all the person that Mike wanted to marry, but still — the mere fact that this was portrayed on television at all puts the idea into girls’ heads that you can’t possibly wear a wedding dress without obsessing over your weight first. And oh, ha ha ha, it’s a comedy, so let’s all laugh at how silly it is instead of talking about how serious and disturbing it is. Oh ha ha ha, CBS, you’re hilarious.

So how did we get here? How did we get from ha ha ha, silly sit coms about overweight people, to bloody feeding tubes?! Are you kidding me? When will the insanity stop?

Why, oh why, are we perpetuating this? Why are we continually sending out messages that this type of behavior is acceptable and normal? WAKE UP, WORLD. THIS ISN’T OKAY.

I have no more words to offer. Instead, here’s Internet phenom Jenna Marbles on diets, F words and all. Enjoy.

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things i love thursday! (april 12, 2012)

Wow, have I really not done one of these in weeks? I can’t believe I’ve let my life slip by me without blogging about it!

Oh wait. Yes I can.

Well, don’t worry. It’s not for lack of happy things in my life. It’s just merely been a lack of time and energy. Being six (seriously??! six?!?!) months pregnant will do that to you.

So, without further ado, TILT!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY (possibly this week, but maybe not):

  • Allowing my blog to take a backseat to my life.
  • Instagram for Android! FINALLY! (Follow me @helenlindsay!) Now I won’t be a deadbeat parent who can upload pictures of her child through filters! (I’m only half joking about this.)
  • Getting messages that more of my friends are pregnant!
  • Also, ALL OF THEM ARE HAVING BOYS SO FAR. We’re going to have one motley crew come this fall!
  • Holy week, which made me smile in a reverent way. (Also made me cry a lot but whatevs.)
  • Easter, and being able to spend time among people with whom I feel safe.
  • Blessings from dear friends in our bible study. Seriously, we are not worthy.
  • Good chick-lit.
  • My husband getting a SLAMMIN’ deal on a new car for us after the Jetta’s demise. Now we own TWO Camrys! (Well. One of them we own. The other one Bank of America owns until 60 months from now but hey, we’re driving it.)
  • Finding out about about not one, but TWO baby showers being thrown for us in the same week! What the heck?! How did I go from zero showers to two? My friends/bible study people rule so hard.
  • My 80s prom commercial going semi-viral. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it because I’m silly.
  • GETTING READY FOR 80S PROM TOMORROW.
  • Side ponytails and spontaneous dance parties.
  • Throwing Chrissie a super fun bridal shower! Tea and crumpets and hats! Yay!
  • Mocha frappes from RedEye.
  • Homemade mint brownies. What?!
  • My husband’s undying support and love throughout the last crazy months.
  • My cats.
  • Oh, which reminds me: Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, is pregnant again. After naming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we have decided to refer to all of Gertrude’s future children simply as, The Players. Hooray for theatre nerds and their uncanny senses of humor. (Read: us.)
  • Touching two giant bodies of water (The Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico respectively) in just as many weeks!
  • Fried pickles and hugs from Erica, whom I haven’t seen in YEARS! Just as gorgeous as I remember her, of course.
  • Floating with Emily and having ridiculous but awesome conversations.
  • My cousin and his FIANCEE (!!!) Katie.
  • Somehow comfortably sharing a twin bed with my husband.
  • My best friend.
  • Other people’s blogs.
  • Anniversaries.
  • Cake pops.
  • Music and the ability to make it.
  • New books.
  • Old books.
  • Potlucks.
  • Hearing my friends refer to themselves as my kid’s aunt (makes me think that more people love him than just us).
  • Grace.
  • Hope.
  • Community.
  • Safety.
  • The freedom to be myself.

Okay! That’s it for me this week. Sorry it’s been a while but, hey. Life happens.

What do you love this week?

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