I blog because…

Today’s DP topic: Why do you blog?.  The question seems simple, but is loaded.

First I want to make the distinction between blogging and writing.  It’s easy to talk about why we write, but why, specifically, do we want to use this forum to share our ideas with the world?  What is the difference between writing publicly and privately?  (I’ve already talked about this here, I just think it’s a really fascinating conversation.)

I blog because I have this urge to get all these weird ideas that I have out into the world in a way that hopefully makes sense and is interesting enough that others can appreciate it.  The best is when other people read me and it makes them talk and think about the world differently.  I definitely like to challenge people’s assumptions about things.

Writing in general is the main way I exercise my brain, but when this morphs into connection, conversation, dialogue…I am blown away.  It’s so inspiring.  I love doing this face to face as well, but there is something so unique about conversing via the interwebs with virtual strangers.

I blog because I like to talk about myself and am not ashamed:  I mean come on, admit it, don’t we all?

Also, though, I like snooping.  I really like getting into other people’s heads, hearing about why you write, or, just making that guess myself based on some of the stuff you write about.

Here are 5 random picks of blogs I follow and why I like them.

  • I like Play Outdoors’ various details about how she came to blog, especially how blogging is good for writing about screwing up and laughing about it.
  • I like reading about hobbies that other people are passionate about, even if they are not things that I personally do (check out Stacey’s Knitting!).
  • I like how the act of blogging is an avenue to be admittedly self-involved but at the same time we are still offering this amazing gift to others.
  • I like how bloggers like Wisejourney  share bits and pieces about their own creative processes, including photos and tips about writing.
  • I admire bloggers like Knocked Over By a Feather for being so open and raw in writing of her struggles with depression and Fibromyalgia, while still keeping an awesome sense of humor.

It’s such a strange phenomena, being able to share our personal details with the world like this.  The ways that blogging can connect us (sometimes on a very personal level) and forms little communities with people we might never otherwise meet is just the coolest thing ever.

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Daily Prompt: Hate to Love

Today’s DP: Tell us about a guilty pleasure you hate to love.

When I first read this I thought, ooooh, fun, I can write about something bad.  Something that gives me that little high that I get when I’m doing something I’m really not supposed to do.  My mind started wandering towards the sex, drugs, rock and roll realm of things.

I love you Bowie
I love Bowie

My curiosity piqued, I began to read what others were writing about.  After reading a few, I started feeling pretty guilty about my guilty pleasures.  They seem much more extreme than Pinterest, Jesus Christ Superstar, Twilight, and special coffees.

(Now, Pawn Stars.  That is something I could get into.  That’s a little bad ass.)

So, fellow bloggers.  I don’t mean to pick on you, but take this as a friendly nudge: on the one hand, you might need to have more fun.  On the other, you are probably way healthier and more well-balanced than me if these truly are your guilty pleasures.  Besides this, it’s inspiring me to think of another prompt that gets you to expose your true bad ass side. 😉

I just read Hastywords’ daily prompt post which clarified where my head was at: it immediately went to the ‘hate to love’ part of this prompt. That is the part of the prompt that lead me into thinking of more intense, life-altering things, like relationships.

james-dean-motorcycle-photo

So here is one thing I hate to love: Bad boys.  I have (basically) learned why I shouldn’t date them.  But I still like looking and flirting and thinking about being whisked away on the back of that motorcycle.  Yes please.

Now, about that guilty pleasure: I’m trying, really hard to think of something.  You know why I can’t?

Life is too short to ascribe the world ‘guilt’ to these little pleasures. Seriously, do it or don’t, but if or when you choose to do it, please just do yourself a favor and enjoy the heck out of it!  

Why I’ll never look great in a bikini (and I don’t care)

Ladies, look at this bikini: is it not the cutest, sexiest thing on the planet?  Would you feel confident slipping it on, showing off your flat abs and prancing around on a beach?

I’m going to guess that most of you expressed a resounding “no way” and experienced an inner ‘shudder’ at the thought of your (belly) flab bounding around instead (if you answered yes to this, you are one of the lucky few.  And if you are naturally thin and see the drawbacks to that, still consider yourself one of the lucky few for the purposes of this article).

I went bathing suit shopping recently because I was looking for something I could swim in, because I swim for exercise (and fun) once a week.  When I mentioned this experience to other women, I was happy to find out that most of them – even people that I thought would look/feel great in swimwear – hated bathing suit shopping just as much as me!  Even people who appear to be confident, well-balanced, healthy, and in good shape – they hate it too!  It is so comforting to know I’m not alone.

Why do we hate it SO much, though?  Well, besides the ugly fluorescent change room lights  that highlight everything we don’t really want to see (ugh!! why do they do that to us?) we hate it because the beauty industry sets impossible standards.

But wait, we already know that!  By now we’ve probably read countless articles blaming the media for our body image issues, etc.  We are relatively educated about that and are probably maturing beyond many such insecurities.  We get that not every body is the same, we are learning to appreciate our ‘curves’, we are accepting of each other, etc.  We are intelligent, open minded, mature, healthy people.  Carefree but slightly less skinny TV characters (like Hannah in Girls) are popping up a little more frequently in the media and inspiring better body acceptance.  We understand the values of exercise and healthy eating, and many of us do just that.  We know why and how to keep our weight to a reasonable level, and we learn to stop judging our Oprah wings/cellulite/belly/etc.  as bad things.  So why is something like bathing suit shopping still such a bane?

I think we still have a misconception that we can all ‘get’ to looking (something) like this

if we work our asses of.  But I’ll bet that for most of us, this is an unattainable goal.  And focusing on any unattainable goal will ruin the FUN!

So, do us all a favor: the next time you are trying on a swimsuit, will you please try to think really hard about how much FUN you will have while you are in it, instead of how you look? Of course you want to find something flattering and comfortable for your needs and your body type!  Being comfortable is a given.  But, most of us will never look anything like this picture.  And that really has to be OK.  It just does.

Even if you have some kind of extreme diet/exercise regimen and get close to looking this way, how long will it really last?  What are you willing to sacrifice?  It depends what you value.

I have to say that I completely support all those out there who have made a lifelong commitment to genuinely healthy, fit lifestyles, and this shows.  Ko Kaleo is certainly an inspiration and I hope to have a journey similar to hers.  But it took her years to really get off the weight and get toned.

I am not saying you can’t transform your body or shouldn’t try.  I’m just encouraging us to be realistic about our expectations and priorities: we must align your goals to your lifestyle and your natural body type, including your naturally fatter or muscular areas.  Some types of fat will take a long time to go.  Some of us will end up with loose skin.  Sometimes we can build muscle and fix this kind of thing, but it’s just not going to be the same for everyone.

I have been exercising more and watching what I eat more, trying for a while now.  I’ve not  really lost alot of fat but I DO feel a little stronger and more energetic.  I recognize now that I have to keep building muscle for the rest of my life or that I will gain weight/age more rapidly and probably develop way more health problems.  I will probably always be a bit stocky, and have sort of muscular arms.  I am aligning my fitness goals with my body type and they DO relate to the way I look but are not about an unattainable image.  I’m expecting it to take years to really change my body composition.

Given this, here are my workout goals:

1. To lose some fat around my waist, because it is a risk factor in diabetes, etc.  This will probably also make me look more proportioned and womanly (bonus) but I’ll probably always have some belly fat.

2. To have a strong core and better posture.

3. To have more energy, especially as I age.

4. To challenge myself and learn new things.

5. To have fun, be social, and be outdoors.

I will probably never look ‘great’ in a bikini, but maybe I’ll just stay healthy and avoid many health problems as I get into my 40’s, 50’s, 60’s.  Maybe I will be good and feel loved (love myself) anyhow.  Maybe I’ll even prance around on a beach in one someday anyhow, despite the bits and pieces of flab that will probably be bouncing around.  Maybe I’ll surprise myself and my body will really transform unexpectedly as I get used to exercising more and push myself harder.  I don’t know.

I do know that every time I put my bathing suit on and have fun and get exercise, I care a little less about how I look, and a little more about how I feel, and I know that’s a huge step in the right direction.