Category Archives: rants

a christian’s open apology to gay people.

Dear gay people,

Yesterday World Vision, a Christian organization that sponsors needy and hungry children all around the world, announced that they were lifting a ban they’d previously had in place on hiring people who were married to/in love with someone of the same sex. And I, a Christian, was elated.

“Oh, this is going to be huge!” I told my youth pastor husband when I got home from work. “Finally, we’re turning a corner!”

When I went to bed last night, I thanked God for this public proclamation and I also thanked him for making you, each and every one of you, just the way you are. And I thanked him because in that moment, I felt like you might actually know that you are really loved by Jesus. Because you are

This morning my son woke me up at 5:30 (he’d had a bad dream, I think) and after I snuggled him back to sleep I found myself having a hard time drifting back myself. So I mindlessly checked my Twitter feed, hoping the methodical scrolling through tweets would make my eyes heavy enough.

What a huge mistake.

I tumbled down a black hole of tweets from fundamentalist Christians and Christian organizations who were withdrawing their support from World Vision. Unfortunately, it seems that these people/organizations hold doctrine over love and serving the poor. And I got angry. And very awake.

I tossed and turned in my bed, fighting the anger, and then thought there was only one way to go about this. So I got out of bed and opened my laptop just to say one thing:

Gay people, on behalf of all Christians everywhere (including the ones who treat you this way) I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you’re consistently battling against a group of people whose entire platform is love. I’m sorry that you are made to feel like you’re broken by a group of people who are called to lay their own brokenness at the foot of the cross. I’m sorry that you’re made to feel like the “least of these” by a group of people who are called to serve and love the least of these and who also somehow ignore that call when it refers to you. I’m sorry that you’ve been told that your marriage is any less God-honoring than a heterosexual one, even if that heterosexual marriage ends in divorce.

Please know that you’re not alone, gay people. While I’m not gay and have never had to endure the pain you have endured from Christians, I’ve been hurt by them, too. And I grew up in the church!

When I was nine years old (a baby!) I was brought into a meeting with the children’s director and the lead pastor of the church I was attending. They sobbed as they told me that I was too outspoken and too loud and that, “God didn’t like that.” Being an opinionated kid without a shy bone in my body, I furrowed my brow.

“But didn’t he make me this way? And doesn’t he love me? Why would he make me be a certain way if he didn’t like it?”

They didn’t have an answer for me.

This was the first of many encounters like this; I’ve always had Christians wag their fingers at me for the way I talk, behave, or think. And as a Christian, sure, I believe that God does call me to be one of his priests. I do believe that he calls me to a higher standard of living. But he also calls me to be an ambassador for Christ, the one who dined with sinners and threw parties with tax collectors. And above all else, he calls me to love him and love his people. (Mark 12:30-31)

People have told me that I have a low view of scripture because of my love and affection for gay people. Maybe I do. But if loving others regardless of their sexual identity (and, you know, also occasionally sporting a polyester cotton blend) means I have a low view of scripture, then fine. I’ll concede that argument.

One last thing, gay people: if it makes you feel any better, my marriage isn’t any more biblical than yours. Sure, I may be a woman who is married to a man, but last I checked, my husband isn’t splitting his time between four other wives and 700 concubines. So fret not. You and your “unbiblical marriage” are in good company.

I love you. Each and every one of you. And Jesus does, too.

And once more, I’m so very sorry. Please forgive us/them. We know not what we do. (Someone said that once.)

Love,

Lindsay

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Filed under God, personal, rants, the media

getting real on instagram.

Jennifer Lawrence has been known to speak out against the way the media attacks women’s self esteems. She’s a body image/self-love warrior if I’ve ever seen one.

Over the past couple weeks, though, a GIF showing a recent picture of her and its dastardly photoshopping has begun floating around the internet. When I saw it, naturally, I was livid. (Click here to check it out and to likely get mad, too.)

A couple days ago, when Dan, Dax, and I were on our way to meet our friend Zach for a family photo shoot, another friend of mine texted me about the Jennifer Lawrence thing. I told her I’d seen it already and that OMG HOW COULD THEY DO THAT TO HER, UGH. 

Mere minutes after that text, I posted a picture of myself to Instagram expressing my concern over my hair. (I’d used a volumizing shampoo that morning and it was dreadfully humid outside and so my hair was quite huge.) Here’s the photo I posted:

02996E1F-CC14-4A93-B570-1468988B953A

 

I got lots of comments along the lines of, “ZOMG U R SO PRETTY”, to which I sheepishly replied, “Awww thanks guys!” And my self-consciousness faded away more and more with each new LIKE and praise-worthy comment.

But about an hour later, I got really convicted. You see, I am no different than the magazine that photoshopped Jennifer Lawrence.

That photo I posted to Instagram is a picture of a very pretty girl, for sure. But I am not that girl. I WISH I was as pretty as that girl. But that girl on Instagram is covered in makeup and filters. She, like the Jennifer Lawrence-imposter on the cover of that zine, is not real. It’s not enough to compare myself to fake women who aren’t supposed to look like me; now, I’m comparing myself to fake images that really are supposed to look like me.

It’s making me feel all kinds of weird.

I’m about to do something really ballsy. I’m about to post a picture to the internet of me without any makeup or filters. Want to see the real me? Here she is.

gross

 

See? Way different.

I’m not sure why my face looks like it’s been through puberty five times in the past month. It could have something to do with being pregnant and then miscarrying, all while still nursing a toddler, but really, the reason behind it doesn’t matter because it’s so bad and I want to hide under Instagram filters forever so who cares.

As if Instagram isn’t bad enough, there are actual apps you can download for your smart phone so that you can actually photoshop photos of yourself before you post them to Facebook or Instagram. So you can make sure you look extra perfect before choosing which filter you can put on your photo to make you look even more perfect.

Instagram is, no doubt, the egg to the photoshop chicken, so how can I, in good faith, use it to perpetuate the problem and claim to be a champion for self-worth?

I love using Instagram to keep up with my friends (especially those who live far away and have babies who, for some reason, keep growing despite my distinct instructions for them not to do so) but I hate the way it makes me feel like I have to have a perfect photo before posting it. Furthermore, I hate comparing my pimply face to perfect pictures other people post of themselves. It’s not fair to my spirit and it does nothing to fight against the media’s insistence that images can only be published once they’ve been doctored to unattainable standards.

So I’m taking a pledge — rather than quitting using Instagram (because I love it) from here on out, anytime I post a photo of myself or any other person to Instagram, I will not use a filter. I can’t promise I won’t be wearing makeup because holy acne you guys I want to claw my face off but I will forego the filters.

Get ready for a slew of pimply selfies, y’all. It’s about to get real.

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Filed under personal, rants, the media

giving a crap.

Six days ago I moved from Tallahassee to Naples. Not even a week has gone by but everything is already different and changing so drastically that I can barely stand up straight. It’s as if the ground is moving swiftly forward beneath my feet and I have nothing on either side to hold to, either for stability or for stalling. We hit the ground running, as they say. (Stumbling, really, in my case.)

During my last bible study meeting with this guy before I moved, we spent the majority of our time fawning over ink pens, journals, and other writing instruments, particularly those that are well crafted and expensive because, he argues, if you’re going to write you might as well do so using the best utensils.

“Life’s too short to not give a crap about stuff,” he declared.

I wrote that sentence down in my journal the moment he said it and, while he carried the conversation elsewhere, I repeatedly ran over the phrase with more and more ink to make it stand out on the page.

Why? Because I find it way too hard to give a crap about stuff these days.

I think my Give-A-Crap turned off because I was moving away from a city and a community for which I have great affection and I knew, were my Give-A-Crap at all functional, I wouldn’t be. I would just be a walking, sort-of-talking-but-mostly-sobbing, mess of a girl. And no one likes a sad sack, am I right? I mean think of my poor husband, for example. To quote the always-lovely Emma Thompson from Love, Actually, “No one’s ever going to shag you if you cry all the time.”

boxes

Right now, our apartment is mostly unpacked and organized, but there is still quite the lengthy list of things that need to get done. I haven’t really started my job yet so, while my baby is currently napping, I really should be organizing my bedroom closet or unpacking the last few boxes or hanging pictures or sleeping or putting on some damn makeup for crying out loud or something rather than blogging but I just can’t do it because why. Who cares. I certainly don’t.

To compensate, I think my son’s Give-A-Crap has jumped into overdrive. At 10 months, he suddenly gives a LOT of craps about EVERYTHING. My sweet angel baby who used to go down for naps happily now screams bloody murder whenever I try to put him down. As I am no stranger to hyperbole on my blog I have to clarify that I’m not exaggerating here. He literally screams so loud that I’m legitimately concerned. It’s so bad that his voice has actually become hoarse in the past week. I’m not joking, guys. Kid really gives a crap.

Last night he really gave a crap about being awake unless he was in my arms which kept me awake all night. It’s been awhile since that has happened (sorry to burst your bubble, new moms I know — the sleepless nights don’t always end when the newborn phase does) so I was quite the emotional wreck this morning. A ticking time bomb, all I needed was a stern email from my new boss to cause me to crumple into a heap of sobs on my new, south Floridian tile floor and weep for the better part of an hour while my husband tried to hold us all together.

All of a sudden, this morning, I gave ALL THE CRAPS.

I gave ALL THE CRAPS about leaving Tallahassee. And about the first week living in a foreign land with zero friends. And about how my husband and I have actually been in a fight for the majority of our new life in Naples. And about the fact that I CANNOT STOP SWEATING. And about the fact that no matter how many times I Swiffer this EFFING tile floor my feet are ALWAYS black after I walk around barefoot. And about the fact that we didn’t have internet until FREAKING yesterday. (I know. I know. All of these are first world problems. Which leads me to…)

I then gave ALL THE CRAPS about GIVING CRAPS about stupid, meaningless, arbitrary B.S. that, if I’m lucky, won’t even hold a spot in my memory this time next year.

That’s a lot of craps to give at once. Not sure if you’ve tried to give that many craps at one time but it is exhausting.

So. Instead of unpacking the last few boxes that need to be unpacked or putting away the clothes that are just in piles in our bedroom or starting the OVERWHELMING load of laundry that is staring me down, I’m writing.

Because this is the one thing right now that isn’t too exhausting to care about.

Thanks for reading my crap.

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Filed under motherhood, on the job, rants

naked and unashamed.

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2007 and have since made it my mission to figure out how to love myself — inside and out — relentlessly. My blog has been instrumental on this journey. I’ve blogged my way through all sorts of self-love hangups, from navigating self-imposed pressures to be the perfect wife to finding my sexy.

I’m thankful to report that, in the past year, I haven’t had many reasons to turn to Ye Olde Blogue in order to make myself feel better about my self or my body. With God’s help (along with the assistance of my sweet husband and faithful mentors) I think that it’s safe to say that I’ve finally made peace with my own body and any chance of ED relapse is behind me.

However, regardless of my own personal growth, a recent chain of unsettling events has made me realize that this world is still, if I may be so bold as to say, effed sideways concerning the ways we women view ourselves:

+ My mom hasn’t had a nice picture of her taken in a while, so a few weeks ago she requested that I take one of her with my SLR. As soon as I was done she pleaded with me to Photoshop away some lines from her face.

+ During prayer requests at my bible study a week ago, a girl asked for a way for her to use her body to get ahead in life.

+ There are hundreds of leaders (male, of course) in the church community that have come out recently speaking against women for what they wear for being the cause of men to lust after them and even cheat on their wives. (Yes, read that again. The women are at fault for the men who cheat.)

+ Someone told me that of course I’m happy with my body because I’m beautiful. And there’s no way they can be happy because they’re not.

You know me — I can’t just sit back and not blog about how much these events (particularly the last one) infuriate me.

I’m currently fumbling my way through the book of Esther and trying to make sense of it; a story about a Jew girl who was integral to saving God’s chosen people because, quite frankly, some batshit crazy pseudo-king thought she was hot and, for that reason alone, wanted to “know” her. (This is, of course, the New Lindsay Translation of the story. I suggest you read it for your own context, even if you aren’t a believer.)

The other day, I hopped in the shower ever-so-quickly while my son was napping and gave myself the New-Mom-Speedy-Scrubdown, my ears tuned to the static sounds coming from the baby monitor in my bedroom. When I finished actually washing and found that, surprisingly, my child was still asleep, I stood very still and watched the streams of water race each other down my body.

For a while, I just stared blankly, sure my child would rouse any minute. But each second that passed with no sounds from the monitor, I would turn the COLD knob just a bit more toward the OFF position to allow the stream to increase in heat. As soon as my skin adjusted to the temperature change, I’d turn the knob just a little bit more.

I did this until the COLD knob was completely off and, though the water was scalding, my skin was comfortable (albeit considerably more pink).

Under the stream, my eyes surveyed my exterior and — as bizarre as it sounds — I marveled. I couldn’t believe that this vessel at which I was staring had done so much in its 27 years of life — danced its 10,000 hours, learned scales on the piano, grew and sustained another human life — and, yet, took the brunt of my own abuse for the better part of two decades. And then I thought about Esther.

And my mom.

And that girl from my bible study.

And men who blame their missteps on their victims.

And all the girls in this society that think their bodies are as deep as their worth goes.

And I got mad. Like. Really mad.

I think the main reason I got so mad is because I feel like I can’t do anything. I’m just one person in this giant effed up world and, as these recent events have pointed out, this issue is much bigger than me.

I said what I could say in bible study in order to encourage that girl. Ultimately I don’t know if anything I said made one bit of difference; I left feeling like something had been stolen from me. Perhaps that something was the notion that this problem is suddenly gone just because I’m not suffering from it anymore.

You know that played-out Goo Goo Dolls song from the 90s? You know, from the City of Angels soundtrack? Meg Ryan and that other dude? I can’t remember the name of it, but there is one line that sticks out to me:

“And you bleed just to know you’re alive.”

I think these events have served their purpose to cut me open and remind me that there is still work left to be done and that lots of people are still bleeding. And we’ve got to speak the truth to those people.

Because God knows no one else is going to.

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Filed under God, life, psychology, rants, the media, transformation

to be known and, yet, LIKED.

A while back I wrote this post on being fully known and also loved at the same time. There is something so beautifully freeing about being able to let your hair down and let out an exhale and just be in the company of those who, even in your darkest moments, love you.

But what about being liked? That’s a completely different ball game.

This week, as we’ve finally let the craziness of Holy Week and Easter pass us by, three different sources in just as many days have all independently of each other communicated the same message to me: Jesus knows me. And of course he loves me. But maybe he even likes me, too.

That notion is worth celebrating, no doubt. Even outside of the context of my faith, the idea that I’m known by people and also liked is definitely a good thing. But it’s hard for me to believe right now, so I don’t really want to hear it. I don’t want to hear that anyone (let alone the savior of the world) knows me because, the way I see it, if you DO know me, you probably know that there isn’t much to like about me right now.

I can already see the stream of comments I’m going to get for this post. Relax. I’m fine. No need to talk me off the bridge (unless chocolate rivers are involved).

The thing is, though, my situation isn’t fine. In a little less (!!!) than a month, my family will be somewhere new. Somewhere foreign. We might have jobs or we might not. We might move back in with my mom or we might not. Whatever is on the other side of this is completely unknown to me. The only thing I do know right now is what I’m losing.

My faith community.

My friends.

My comfort zone. 

I am still Jonah. Through and through. I want to hide out on a boat and hope I’m not found out.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that three independent sources have all sought me out to convey the message that I am known and also loved. It’s the thing I need to hear right now. But I hate hearing it because if I do, I can’t spend my days like this. Hanging out with me must be the pits lately. Sorry, guys.

Have you ever felt this way? Like, you might be loved but aren’t exactly likable at the moment? 

 

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Filed under life, psychology, rants, transformation

if a tree falls in the woods and you don’t tweet about it…

I know. I need to blog. But what’s a blog? I don’t even know. I’ve been spending so much time pretending the Internet doesn’t exist that I don’t even remember how to interact with it anymore. I haven’t Facebooked, Tweeted, or Instagrammed anything in weeks. What am I doing? Where am I going? I have no direction in life!

And this is what befalls a blogger who goes on a social media fast.

Can’t I just tap dance for you? I’m really good at it. Promise. Took lessons for so many years.

Speaking of lessons, here’s something I’m slowly learning on this social media fast.

You know those people who put pictures of their food on Instagram? Or post a Facebook status about finally being able to fit into their skinny jeans? Or tweet about getting a promotion? 

I’m not so far removed from the social sphere that I don’t understand the appeal of doing any of those things. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I love me some food (but not as much as my baby). But I think now that I’ve stepped back a bit, I have a better grip on the why behind this behavior.

Before I go on, I’d just like to dust my shoulders off and say that I do have a degree in mass communication with a minor in psychology from a Florida state school so I obviously know what I’m talking about to an extent. (I also know which bars you should go to and on which nights in order to get the highest volume of alcohol for the lowest amount of cash.)

The old adage asks the question, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” I’d argue that today the question is, “If you do something in life but don’t tweet about it, did it really happen?”

While I don’t know for sure if this is the root of our Internet addiction and our need to be virtually affirmed, I definitely know that our culture does suggest that if it isn’t on social media, it isn’t real.

How sad.

That’s why when you tell your best friend that you’ve started seeing someone, she immediately asks why it isn’t “Facebook official” yet. Or why you upload a picture of your baby smiling to Instagram (but not a picture of them screaming). Or why the first thing you do when your alarm goes off in the morning is sleepily scour your Twitter feed.

I’ve been struggling a lot with this. Inner parts of my being are wracked with guilt over the fact that only a handful of people (those who I can show it to in person) have seen my baby say “dada” because I haven’t uploaded the video to Facebook. So, like, what if no one believes me? Or cares? I can’t gauge the world’s affirmation of my personal life because no one can like or comment on this video! It’s terrible!

I don’t think I’m ready to come back just yet. But I’m really enjoying re-learning how to process things and experience life in private.

That said, if you’re struggling with being affirmed by trolls on the Internet, just look at this gif.

i_can_typing-26439GOD IT JUST GETS ME EVERY TIME! I CAN’T STOP LOLLING RIGHT NOW.

 

 

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Filed under commentaries, life, psychology, rants, the media

mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, food bytes, life, motherhood, rants