Reflections on St. Lucy and the “Plus” Sized Women’s Clothing Industry

…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:

Why the Fashion Industry Needs a Makeover

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!

Advertisements

The Start of June 2016

 

148920_364332623624257_1921187685_n

“Green was the silence,

wet was the light,

the month of June trembled

like a butterfly.”
Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

 

13393982_10154191483478810_752444500845285452_n

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!

Burt’s Bees Ad: #LOVEYOURNATURE, “Silence”

pain let's the light in for all of us

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.

about exile.jpg

(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

(Violin music)

 

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….

 

“poof”…..

 

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.”

Another Day

“My love is stronger than the winter you were frightened of…” ~Lucy Wainwright Roche

 

12141511_10153571468129017_8416523183578790201_n

I hope that this summer offers time to write more about this – this thing of an enjoyable challenging winter. One that ended with finally getting a hearing device and yesterday, James Taylor and I singing in perfect harmony for the first time in what may have been years.

I would have been okay if I’d never hit those notes again.

More than okay.

That’s how happy with my full life and all of it’s changes.

Seriously.

 

 

Thoughts on making a “Nice Please Face”

IMG_1805

“A good thing to think about is

what kind of face to make when you say please.”

~ Ruth Krauss,

Open House for Butterflies

 

So – in a jiff I need to start to catch up  on homework and prepare to deliver our son to a nice snowy hill somewhere, but…

I sort of want to put into a few words why still, in view of this strange generation that my youngest son is in: I really cringe at the phrase,”kids these days are just Bratz!”

It’s what we say – always have and always will. I get that.

But on a deeper level, let’s look at this thing of :”kids these days are selfish brats.”  Maybe, but are they also selfless leaders, or is it some of both?

I say both.

My friend has a daughter that has for, three years now I think, has proudly shaved her head to support the St. Baldrick foundation (a cancer fundraiser).

Give my son a few minutes to spout his thoughts and he will in no uncertain terms tell you about his feelings on why he supports Bernie Sanders. He can back it up with historical facts that tie back to the underground railroad and will make logical ties to the benefits of rap music and storytelling.

And these two young people are only 14 years old.

I posted a quote from a really good article about narcissism a minute ago which includes a link. (Hit the button up above that says “earlier post” if you’d like.)

On one hand, to be honest – I’m less sure every day that when I get my interpreting certificate and/or license – I’m not sure that I want to go back into school work. Is it because the challenges are many these days and I’m not up for it? Sort of – not sure I’m interested in the stress of what childhood and education has become these days. More so, it’s just so loud – literally. Loud speakers, amplified voices, super sonic toilets – it all hurts my ears and grates my nerves.

But – that’s just me.

And,

I miss being on the floor reading Maurice Sendak books to my boys and blowing up wooden train tracks with megazords.

521763_468577739879432_1808654085_n

If you find any good articles about raising teens during this super selfish time of history in the 1st world – please pass them on!

 

 

 

 

Online Lenten Guide: The Ignatian Solidarity Network

“Following Jesus means to incarnate an attitude, a disposition, an openness,

and a receptivity to the divine offer of grace actuated in loving service;

it means taking up a new way of being in the world for God and for

the flourishing of all God’s creation.” ~ M. Shawn Copeland

Found in The Ignation Solidarity Network Blog

11010592_826178114114644_2229700990738125524_n

Heroes: Bella and George

oral meme“He’s actually really small….I use him like a crutch.” ~ Bella

I’ll give fair warning – yes this post is eventually going to lead to another opinion about the recent mayhem of reactions to terrorist attacks in Europe and Africa and the Middle East…but not until the end.

Now,

first – please watch this video – I don’t think it is more than one and half minutes. If it doesn’t make you gloriously happy and astounded with hope, I’d so appreciate knowing why. I don’t mean to judge, I want to know! Actually, with the career that I’m wanting to develop – I need to know. I need to know why stories like this make some people sad or afraid.

Ok – do it, please. Watch this one:

Bella and George

Did you hear her say:

 “He’s actually really small…..I use him like a crutch” ?

I grew up with a great dane – they are not small! They are nothing less than ginormous.

My goodness – this story – this family, this mobility access project – it’s a beacon.

This success story is proof that the world has not yet totally gone to hell in a handbasket.

If we take care of ourselves – we get to choose who and what is

going to limit our perspective

about who and what is the…

can’t find another word, who and what is the enemy.

But, come on America! I’m fed up – stop rolling over to and hiding behind your shallow and selfish and vain points of view.

Stop the cover up – take your hands away from your mouth so we can see you and hear you, and for God’s sake – stop interrupting each other. Insane. It’s insane these days.

Take care of yourself – and no, I’m not referring to Botox and man scaping – I’m referring to morals and ethics and decency and intelligence.

I read an article just now that echoed exactly what upset me so much in the past week. I was  upset so much that I considered quitting everything that I’ve worked so hard for the past three years. I went into the week – even after having had a most wonderful, fun, and relaxing weekend away with a dear friend, I went into my classes feeling…yet again – ready to just quit.

I’m registered to at last start the really meaty classes in the American Sign Language – English Interpreting degree that I am seeking. By the time the crocus bust through the now frozen ground – my brain will once again be playing the language two step. I’ll be learning to hear my first language, put it through a quick spin cycle in my head, and according to my instructors hopeful words, my hands will learn to respond with a visual representation of what was said in English.

However, a few days ago  I asked myself: why bother?

“You are gradually losing your hearing – this makes absolutely no sense. Hearing aid or no hearing aid – this makes no sense. If you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The doubts passed though – and it’s all going to be fine. I don’t have to know for sure where all of this is taking me – I’ll graduate from the program and I trust my gut that the purpose of these efforts is to pull together work experience and education from the past.

It’s okay that I’ll be in my 50’s by the time I graduate. Lucky am I.

And, the saying I hear often among interpreters is not “if you can’t hear it, you can’t interpret it.”

The saying is “If you can’t understand it, you can’t interpret it.”

And, going back to Bella and George – understanding is a very complicated thing. That little girl is full of depth and I’m going to be careful to not give up my freedom to perceive the world as safe.

Here’s another link to learn more about the accessibility program that connected Bella and George:

http://servicedogproject.org/ – check out their donation project – it involves chicken poop.

And here’s the article that I loved this morning:

http://calltolight.org/2015/11/16/people-are-demanding-non-pc-comments-on-terrorism-so-heres-the-mother-of-them-all/

So – that’s it. No more avoiding the weekend full of homework ahead. And yes, it snowed in Iowa last night. A big, whole lot.

Be well – Kate.

Is What We (Who are Not Pumpkins) Need Here?

early novThis is the sunrise in Ripley Ohio today.

My stomach has been in knots for several days now – in no small part to the terrorist events in our world – far and near.

For me, my sadness is only in part about the bombings in Africa, and Beirut, and Paris – it’s about noise. Our world is so full of superficial noise. I don’t want that for my grandchildren.

That is not what I want for them. I want more than for them to know that Granny’s new favorite phrase in ASL is “my hear is your heart.” I want more than to teach them to say that to me in silence. I want more than to sing them to sleep. I want far more than to hear their squeaky little voices. I want them to trust the world beyond the front door…beyond the village borders.

I want them to trust the feeling of joy – but if I don’t – how can they? And I don’t.

As I get older I question joy, all….of….the….time.

1970850_10152469197688775_3579754846068571407_n

Every year at this time I have the same dilemma, one that is shared with the couple of weeks that come before Lent: how will I celebrate Advent this year?

“What do you need this year?” I ask myself – “Where are you hurting? What do you need to deepen? Question? Celebrate? Learn? Strategize?”

Don’t know about you, (you who do the Advent thing that is….) but it’s a matter of setting up routines. Likely, most people fall into the comfort of old routine – pull out or make the wreath, gather a prayer book, set aside a few extra minutes.

But of all church seasons….Advent means the most to me because it is about quiet. I love quiet as a way of life more, and more, and more….every day.

Neurotic am I though….part and parcel of not coming into the world as a pumpkin in a patch or a set of shoes on a store shelf – I worry.

So, every year at this time ruminations are about what routine will be set forth in a week or so for the next month of preparations for……drumroll…

the

                                                          holidays.

This year I’m going to try and write.

My prayers, unless they go in a different direction…will be about abandon. The process of finding work, making friends, committing to a bit of a career shift, and enjoying the luxury and privilege of yet another educational gig – it has softened me. I hadn’t realized how lonely and bitter I’d become because…well,

because I’m not a pumpkin or a shoe.

So, that’s that….here are the flagship words that sit by my desk and tempt me to walk out the door as I do these days….

“What We Need is Here” ~ Wendell Berry

Geese appear high over us,

pass, and the sky closes Abandon,

as in love or sleep, holds

them to their way, clear

in the ancient faith; what we need

is here. And we pray, not

for new earth or heaven, but to be

quiet in heart, and in eye,

clear. What we need is here.

Lord have mercy.