I call the two months between Halloween and New Years the “eating season.” No matter where you turn, there’s a bowl of your favorite candy on someone’s desk, decadent holiday treats at your doorstep, and invitations to parties. The holidays are packed with stress, and we all know the easiest, safest, most affordable place to…
Prepare, prepare, get ready, get set.
Prepare, prepare, and don’t forget.
This is a special time of year.
Christmas is coming, Advent is here.
Prepare, prepare, make ready, make way,
to hear the story of Christmas Day.
Prepare, prepare, the time has come,
soon we will welcome Mary’s son.
I heard this on an online Advent Calendar from Ireland – there are two short audios, both recorded by a young Irish boy and they are both lovely. Listen HERE if you would like.
…in this time of inclusiveness,
why should 80 million women be marginalized?
~ Tim Gunn, Fashion Designer on Project Runway
On the one hand, all I want to do during this month-long break from school is to rest and be lazy. On the other hand – I want to read and do things that have nothing to do with American Sign Language or interpreting.
The first thing that caught my eye on my Facebook feed this week was a short video clip from Tim Gunn, a fashion designer on the reality TV show “Project Runway.” A dear friend who lives at a distance has been helping me to come to terms with my poor fashion self – esteem, so this clip was perfect timing. Last August, just before classes started, I sent him a message that included a plea to help with ideas about how to organize my clothes. We have small closets and I had just finished adding a new bookshelf and organizing my growing piles of school books and materials. My desk and school things are in the same room that I have my closet. So, one day I went on a complete ninja culling marathon. I kept on finding ugly clothes that I never wear. I was stressed about my final and very busy year of classes for the ASL-English Interpreter Training Program that I am working on, so it makes sense that I was worrying about my looks as well.
Its interesting – it only took one hissy fit and one hour of pulling and dumping a pile of every single piece of clothing that I have in my dresser and those items plopped on the floor of the closet – to know that I needed a friend. I was so upset with myself.
I found item after item that was either: 1: sloppy and huge, 2: impossible to fit into, 3: possible to wear, but don’t make me feel even close to good, or, 3: were totally unflattering.
So, my friend messaged: “We can do this together – do it! Garbage bags pronto!! Send me photos, I want proof that you are doing this.”
So, a few weepy fits later and about 15 garbage bags I started sending him photos.
“Good job, I’m proud of you – still too much shit there girl. Keep on dumping.”
And, it started to get fun, and I started trying things on. My friend, and then also my cousin, started chatting about specific fashion and colors that would work for me.
“You are amazing and I’m so proud!” said my cousin. “Get rid of those thick ass socks and show your legs!” said my friend.
So, the Tim Gunn clip I saw this week? It talked about how unfair it is that larger women’s clothing is not backed by the fashion industry, because it makes the industry less money and it is, well, “not fashionable” to be less than thin and fit.
Because of my classes and being mildly Hard of Hearing my self, equal access is on my mind and a part of my every single day – most often all day long. Then, the other day I stumbled onto some amazing sales at a store for larger sized women and I was incredibly excited to find some work clothes that looked and felt professional. So, the follow-up of stumbling onto this rant by Gunn about how unfair it is for my body type to not have equal access, not just to clothes, but clothes that fit right and feel spiffy – well, it cheered me up almost as much as the heeled boots I found. See for your self what the clip says:
And what is the connection to the St. Lucy doodles I made a while back and included above? For the Catholic Church, St. Lucy is the Patron Saint of eyes. She was tough and blunt, and legend has it that being her own woman got her killed.
“Rather than accept the hand in marriage of a lover who desired her for the sake of her beautiful eyes, (Saint Lucy) she plucked them out, and sent them to him with this message: “Here hast thou what thou so much desirest; and for the rest, I beseech thee, leave me now in peace!” Nevertheless, as the legend expressly tells us, her sight was restored to her the next day. Her martyrdom, instigated by her rejected lover, was accomplished by a dagger thrust into her neck in AD 303.”
So…there you have it. The struggle is real, and I’m so very proud of my now very bare, but well fitted for the most part clothing collection. Moving on up!
“Green was the silence,
wet was the light,
the month of June trembled
like a butterfly.”
― Pablo Neruda,
American Sign Language has hand shapes that represent English ABC’s.
I carved rubber stamps to make the letter A, C and L.
My friend is having a Deaf baby and her name requires that I need to also carve the letters: R, I, B, and E. Soon I will have the whole alphabet!
~ End of the school year sunrise photo by Linda – thanks Linda!
I stumbled on, of all things, a lipstick ad that really speaks to this experience of adjusting to not singing in tune…and now occasionally right on task. I’ve never been a professional in music – but I dreamed of it as a girl. And, as far as coping with life goes, hitting all of the notes, especially in church, was a fail safe relief for almost all of my first forty some years. It wasn’t funny after a while when my kids had to break it to me that I was not just singing too loud in church, but I was way off key, more times than not. I rely on their honesty. But, it’s hard to explain how quickly I, for the most part, got over my fears about the fact that I may lose most of or all of my hearing at some point in time in my later life. Losing some or all of my ability to accurately hear music? That’s a tough one too, but this year I’ve learned to watch and listen and just enjoy. It’s less work anyway.
But, feeling left out, experiencing exile – it’s tough no matter how, or why, or for how long. It’s tough.
(photo credit: Beth A. Richardson – thanks Beth 🙂 )
The closed captions are not totally accurate on the lipstick ad that I mentioned so here is a transcript. It is SO beautiful. You don’t have to be thinking about anything other than that life can be challenging to appreciate it – it just happens to also be about the Deaf experience and the joy of singing music in key.
Here is a link to the ad: #LOVEYOURNATURE “Silence”
Burt’s Bees “Silence” ad re: #LoveYourNature
Closed Caption Transcript
In life you have a lot of barriers and you have two choices: you can allow yourself to stay stuck and do nothing, or you can find your way around and experience life.
I started performing when I was about four and I was always the singer, but I had problems with my hearing so, losing my hearing was always my biggest fear.
When I was in music school I started noticing that I couldn’t understand my teachers. Everything just got quieter and more muddled, and it was just….
it was gone.
I lost all of my dreams.
I lost everything that makes sense.
I could have stayed angry and fearful, but I made a choice to face my fears and find happiness again.
(musical tuning sounds)
I had to start small, so…I wanted to find the notes.
I started on a journey of feeling vibrations. Through the floor I could feel the drums. And, the bass, I can feel through my chest, and the high frequencies I can feel on my skin, my arms, my face.
(Mandy to accompanist) “I can’t tell if you are playing lower or just louder, so I just kind of want to look. (finger snaps, 1-2-3-4 followed by music). Pull back just a little.”
Before I was just terrified to actually sing in front of people, but losing my hearing was my biggest fear. So, now I don’t have that fear holding me back and I just enjoy singing.
Now I feel the music, like I am a part of it, even though I can’t hear it.
And….I love that about myself.”