Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm Coming Out

I watched the Grammy's last night and was inspired by the performance of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Mary Lambert. It was beautiful and moving and it just cemented something that I haven't shared with many people. But I've decided to change that.
I'm coming an ally.
For a long time now I have struggled with and been conflicted about my feelings on gay marriage. I was raised in a very strict Christian upbringing. One that denounced homosexuality and taught that gays were sinners.
Even as a young teen, being taught by a gay theater teacher, who I loved for his unique vision and way of seeing all of us as beautiful and worthy, I felt conflicted. How could I love him, if I was supposed to denounce him as a sinner. Did that make me a sinner? Because I loved him and wanted his happiness. While he was instrumental in teaching me about my self worth he made me doubt the things I had been taught about "his kind". It was confusing to say the least.

I've kept my mouth shut for a long time. I've resisited taking a stand. I've resisted being drawn in to arguments about gay rights and I've felt horrible about it for a long time. But this...this my friends is going to change.

You see...when R, who is now 19, was 15ish, she let her family know that she liked both boys and girls. She considers herself Bisexual. I was astounded and initially disapproving. Husband-Man was the same way. We didn't denounce her though. We waited. Was it a phase? Was she just being "cool"? It was tough to tell...and kind of still is, because to my knowledge she's never been in a committed relationship with another woman. However...I don't profess to know everything about dear R. Nor do I need to.

But over the years I've slowly come to the realization that no matter who she is, who she loves, what she believes about herself...I will always know these things about her. She is a member of the human race and she was created by God to be loved and I will do everything I can to love her the way she needs to be loved. Tough love. Kind love. Love through obstacles. Even when I felt like she hated me...I loved her. It may not have seemed like it...on either side, at different points, but there is much much love between me and R.

Of all the things she has taught me in the 13 years I have been with her...she taught me how to accept my conflicted feelings. She taught me how to feel about my LGBT friends. She taught me that the lessons I had learned in church long ago may have been wrong.

So I'm declaring now...I've chosen a side.

I'm on her side.


If she decides to be in a relationship with a woman...I'm OK with it. I'll still love her. That will never change. She'll always have my support.

I refuse to sit in judgement of anyone on this issue. Who am I to tell you who to love? I'm not Him. I'm not God. And one of the most fundamental lessons I did learn from a young age is "Judge not lest ye be judged."

I'm not going to call you a sinner. I'm not going to say you aren't.

What I am going to do is campaign for you. Your right to love who you love. Your right to be who you are. Without restrictions. Without condemnation.

You can agree. You can disagree. I care not.

All I know is that when I meet my Maker on Judgement Day...if he asks me why I chose as I did I will say to him..."You taught me to love unconditionally. You bid me to not judge. I've done as much as I can to follow your example and I'm unashamed."

Because I'm not ashamed.

To my friends; Jeff, my Disney and Downton Abbey buddy. Jennifer, who becomes Godzilla as opposed to my decision to Sparta Kick people when they make us our heads of course. Tyson, who is so quietly kind and thoughtful and just the nicest person to talk to. Katy, who works and giggles and makes me smile when I see her. John, who is my brother. David, who is also a Downton buddy but is also a sewing friend...I love how he says "Hey girl, Hey!" every time we chat. Tony, who taught me to be me and to be free and to value myself when I was only 15 and so scared to be who I thought I was.  And all of you others that I can't name or think of at the moment.
I'm with you. Wholeheartedly. You have a new ally. I have a lot to learn and a lot to continue to change in myself. But I want you all to know that I am your champion. No matter what. I love you all for who you are not who you love. And I feel so much better about it. No conflit. No confusion. I'm out and I'm proud.

When I was at church they taught me something else
 If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
 That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
 When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
 Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
 I might not be the same, but that's not important
 No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

 ~Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert


PS: Don't forget to find me on Facebook at here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Helicopter Hatred

My last few posts have been a little more serious than I typically get. I thought today would be a good day to show you what life is really like in my home.

First allow me to say this: Our house is almost always a wreck. 


I have an almost three year old baby who loves to climb on things and get into stuff. 

I have a Husband-Man who is a DJ and so equipment is moving in and out of my home all the time, which means that other things get rearranged constantly. 

I have no art on my walls because its kind of safer that way and wood floors are much easier to clean liquid off of than carpet. 

With that said...I'll beg you to not judge what you are about to see of my home too harshly. 

I've accepted the fact that my house will look like a tornado has blown through until G is at least a little older. 

Diaper boxes full of DVDs and book shelves with no books are pretty much going to be my life for the next little while...But when you see the pure fun and silliness of this video...I hope you'll understand why I just can't seem to mind the chaos wrought on my home. 

The fun we have as a family is worth so much more than a perfectly put together home. The laughs and giggles and silliness we share makes up for all of the feelings of insanity I have when I look at book-less bookshelves. I know it won't be this way long...So I'm choosing to treasure these moments. And I get to share them with you. Which is also worth it. is how some of my morning was spent. 

The item G is using as a racket is the lid to one of those Pampered Chef microwave steamer thingy's. I can't remember what they are actually called. But just today it has been his hat, my hat, a tennis racket, a microphone and a few other things I cant remember. It's never a dull moment with this cutie. 

I hope you enjoyed the video and the respite from my recent seriousness and I promise I'll work on curing myself of Vertical Video Syndrome soon.

Have a super awesome weekend, my darlings!


PS: Don't forget to find me on Facebook at here and follow me on Twitter @InANutShelley

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Letter To the Future (Inspired By An Incredible 12 year Old)

Have you ever noticed how wise kids are? How they can kind of cut to the heart of a problem or think of something in a completely new and fresh way. Have you ever just been in awe of their brains? How they think?

I learned today about Taylor Scout Smith, who, aside from having an incredibly awesome name (seriously...her parents made her middle name Scout. I love them!) was apparently very forward thinking.

Taylor Smith passed away recently of complications stemming from pneumonia. Before I go any further I need to take a time out and address her parents specifically.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. As a mother of two boys and step-mother to one girl, I can't imagine what you are going through. To lose a child is every parent's worst nightmare. To lose a child unexpectedly is even worse. Everything I have learned about your daughter indicates that she was as perfect as you thought her. And we parents always think our babies are perfect, because they are. They are perfect for us. They were sent after all. I'm in awe of the child you raised and she has inspired me in many ways, as I hope you'll see fromt he further contents of this post. Know that you are being lifted in my prayers. And thank you for sharing your daughter with us.

After Taylor passed away her mum and dad began finding out new things about her. The stories from friends and teachers and others who Taylor had made some kind of difference to. Whether in a large or small way it seems this girl touched many. What a great legacy.

But my favorite thing was the letter they found in her belongings. A letter she wrote to her 22 year old self. A letter clearly questioning where she would be in 10 years. A letter comforting her 22 year old self with the knowledge...even at 12 years old that if "they" didn't go to college it wasn't a big deal because she knows "they" already have good judgement and reasoning. Self awareness...from a 12 year old.

She was goal building. She was looking into her future in a way many of us never do. She was projecting where she would be and more importantly WHO she would be and I find that incredibly, deeply inspiring.

She also was curious about Doctor Who and if it was still on. That fact alone pleases me immeasurably. Anyone who loves The Doctor is a friend of mine and I love that she asked about the future incarnations. Whovian to the core, is our Taylor Scout Smith. Once again a sign of great parenting.

I write a lot about how I see myself. Things I do to make myself feel better when I have a bad day. I write thigns that no one will ever see because they are private and hidden and for me only. I've never given a thought to what my children my find of me after I'm gone.

Ok..that's a bit of a lie. I have. But I've never really, deeply, thought about it. I've thought about the Facebook posts I make and the tweets I've tweeted. I think about this blog and how they don't read it now but I really hope they will when they get older, so they can see their mum is more than just their mum. I want my children to see that I had thoughts beyond them. I want my children to see that I had goals and needs and wants and loves and passions that they weren't aware of.

So...Thank you Taylor Scout beautiful, intelligent angel. Thank you from the very bottom of my currently 31 year old heart. Thank you for changing my perspective and making me think about what a letter I write to 41 year old self might look like.

If you are interested in reading all of Taylor's story, and you really should be, you can find it right here.

Meanwhile...Here's my letter:

Dearest Shelley,

We're 41 years old now. Do we love it? we always said you weren't afraid of aging. Did we stay that way? Were we excited to blow out the candles on our 40th? Did Husband-Man throw us the surprise party we really wanted but didn't feel like we could tell anyone we wanted? Ever...for any of our birthdays? He's our Husband-Man...he should have read this letter...since it's on our blog and gotten busy. I hope, for his sake, he did.

Are we happy? Happy with our body? Did the Weight Watchers thing work out for us? Do we even remember that? For the, as of this writing, we have just finished eating our lunch and it was only 6 points after we had a 4 point breakfast. I'm kind of ridiculously proud of us at the moment.

Our life? How're the kids? All healthy? Do we have any grandbabies? If not...R needs to get busy. Tell her from me. We need babies. I know how much we are looking forward to being a grandmother. I've even spent time trying to figure out what we want our grandbabies to call us...if they ever get here.

But really...Is M still DJing? He's 13 now and really into it and he says it's what he wants to do when he grows up. Did he? Or did he completely change course when he got to college? Or did he maybe go to a trade school? Trade schools are getting good press right now. Because not many people are entering into trades and instead are going to college because that's where the emphasis has been put over the last few years. Everyone is pushing their kids to go to college. No one is thinking about who is going to fix their toilets in 50 years. No one except you. Because you're kinda smart. I'm we still do that? I hope so. Life is more fun when its lived in a stream of consiousness.

Speaking of stream of consiousness...Was Eddie Izzard ever The Doctor in the last 10 years? If not...I'm sure you'll be as upset about that as I am now at the mere thought of it. Rupert Grint and Eddie Izzard are my two dream Doctors currently. I hope we finally get to see them. I refuse to believe Doctor Who is no longer on the air...but I am kind of hoping that Moffat has moved on. I'm getting a little bored of him.

What about G and R? Did R take over the third world country like she planned? Or did she set a less ambitious goal? Is G on the way to being the rock star we all think he is? Are we managing him? OMG! Please tell me he's better than Justin Bieber at everything. Tell me he's not obnoxious. Tell me he's kind and sweet and fame hasn't gone to his head. Or you can tell me he's just G. Being sweet and cute and 12. I'd be totally OK with that too. Actually...I'd be much more OK with that than the whole rock star thing...but if he has dreams I know we'll pursue them for him.

How about your career? How's that going? Did you ever figure out for certain what path you wanted to take? I recently learned that my career is going to be taking a turn but I'm still not sure in which direction. I'm hoping it turned out great. I'm hoping we love what we are doing now. Or at the very least that we finally went back to school and finished our degree or at least got our hair license. Careers are important but they are a means to an end. The end is the place you want to be. The end is the most important part. Right now my end is having the money to support my family and being about to take the time to love them in the way they deserve to be loved. I hope that hasn't changed.

I also hope you know that I love you. I sometimes don't sound like it when I talk to us in the mirror, but I'm working on fixing it. Did I do it? I've loved you for as long as I've lived. I've loved every minute of being us. I've loved everything we've learned and every goofy thing we've done. I've loved our personality and just being who we are. I really hope that we are just the same, silly, goofy and utterly filled with love for everyone and everything. Willing to open our eyes wide and see the world and experience it as only we can.

Who ever we are now...I know we're awesome. Taylor Scout Smith taught us that.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gender Equality Seems To Be Unequal

I read an article a few minutes ago. It's right here. I'll wait while you go read it.  
Here's my take:
I completely understand the issue with gender stereotyping. I've dealt with it myself a few times. Just because I'm a woman I can't change a tire...Psh. Please.
But I'm getting a little frustrated with the way it's portrayed as being one sided. That girls are the only one's who face these issues. Don't get me wrong. They face a lot of them and they continue to face them as they grow. But you know what? Boys do too.
This article says: "When they can only pick from princesses or fashion dolls, it teaches girls a limited definition of who they can be and that gender is the most important part of their personality, says Wardy, of Janesville, Wisc., who argues boys have a wider range of choices when it comes to clothing color and toys."
Um...forgive me but boys do NOT have a wider range of choices when it comes to clothing.
Color maybe...But not clothing.
For God's sake...I haven't cut Gabriel's hair since he was born and I can't go a DAY without someone telling me I need to take him to the barber. I think his hair is gorgeous and I love the way it looks long. I love seeing it tucked behind his little ears and the curls in the back. I love seeing it when it falls in his face and he brushes it back. And who made the rule that boys have to have short hair?
Also...Why is it OK for girls to be "tomboys" and like boy things, because they're just breaking free of the feminine princess mold we put them in, but it's not socially acceptable for a boy to play with a baby doll or a Barbie? Why can a girl dress in boy clothes and expect to be left alone...but if a boy wears a skirt or a dress or something sparkly he gets picked on? By everyone?
I never really paid attention to it until I had G. For me it started when people all bought him boy things before he was even born. Then I didn't cut his hair when it started getting long.
Then there was the time I was asked by our Lodge's Ladies Auxillary what he would like for Christmas so that they could get him something for Santa to give him at the annual kids Christmas party. I wrote down on the form they gave me "Please get him a baby doll". He got a power drill. And when I asked why he got the power drill instead of what I asked for they told me he was a boy and boys like tools. Not babies.
Don't get me wrong. I adore all of the women at our Lodge. I know how much they love G and they were just being sweet and loving. They didn't take me seriously. I kindly explained that I wanted him to have a baby because he had taken an interest in babies in the few days he spent in day care this year when his Daddy-Man was traveling. He was interested in all things baby. When he heard a baby cry he would say "Aww baby sad" and then want to go pat them or kiss them. I thought he'd love having a baby of his own to love on. After dolls teach us emotional empathy. He's going to be a daddy some day and I want him to be a kind, loving and empathetic one.
Not to mention the educational opportunities. He could learn how to dress and undress the baby. How to count it's fingers and toes, eyes and ears. Once I explained all of that they totally understood and realized I made a good point. Again...I love these ladies. They are sweet as sugar. I could never be mad at them. And they catch on really fast.
I'm all for gender equality. But I really, really, really would like for it to be completely equal. On both sides.
My friend Nashville is getting ready to go back to school to become a nurse. Nursing is a female dominated role, isn't it? Why? Are men less caring? Are men less capable of being caregivers?

But traditionally women were nurses and men were doctors. At this point I'd say there are many more female doctors than there are male nurses. Nashville is going to be a great nurse. Kind and caring...anyone who has him looking after them in their time of needs is going to be incredibly lucky. But I can't help wondering how many men will graduate with him. Who knows...maybe he's using nursing school as a way to pick up chicks. (Love you Nashville...only joking...a little. Ish.)
I remember being scandalized when I watched Jerry Maguire for the first time...Ray had a Manny?!?!? Who hired a man to take care of their kid? Didn't they know nannies were supposed to be girls? Who directed this movie? Who cast the guy?
In my defense I was 15 when I watched the movie for the first time and had no clue what gender equality was...but still...What does it say that I was shocked that a man could be considered a good care giver?
I get upset at commercials that portay fathers as buffoons. The TV shows that my kids watch that do the same.
Husband-Man is a fine and wonderful, loving, generous, father. He does the Hot Dog Dance with G any time he wants him to. He's very much an equal partner in raising our kids and while there are things I wish he did the way I do (like finger paints and Play-doh) he is in no way a buffoon. Unless he intends to be. Just because I would do things differently doesn't invalidate his way of doing things. It means our kids get the benefit of seeing us co-parent as a team 
So how about we come down off our "Girls Deserve Equality" high horses and just demand equality for everyone.
If your son wants to be a dancer or ice skater...let him take dance classes. And talk with him about stereotypes and what he can expect.
If your daughter wants to be a race car her video of Danica Patrick and get her driving lessons. And talk with her about stereotypes and what she can expect.
We are all human. We are all worthy of being able to do what we love without being judged for it...unless what you love is killing people or puppies...Then be prepared to be judged and harshly.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The First Day

So... Quick post.

Finally set up Weight Watchers. Downloaded the phone app and logged in and started in putting data.

I'm gonna be real with you and tell you the honest to goodness truth.

I am 5 foot 6 inches and I weigh 239 pounds.

Ask me if I'm happy about this.


Now that all of that is input I have discovered that I am allowed 37 points per day and I have a surplus of 47 points each week in case I want to splurge.

I did not wake up this morning with the intention to join Weight Watchers today. So I wasn't eating with points in mind this morning when I had a blueberry scone with my three cups of Earl Grey. Nor was I thinking about it when I ordered the cheeseburger and onion rings for lunch.

But after I finished the cheeseburger and onion rings I felt icky so I started looking for things (other than chocolate)  to make me feel better. I landed on Weight Watchers and, like the impulsive person Husband-Man always accuses me of being, I joined.

I went way over my points today. I ended the day with 61 points used. Almost double what I am allocated.

But I don't feel bad about it really. Much. Hardly.


Time For A Change

Hey ya'll!!!
Remember this post?
Remember my assertion that I was going to rid myself of my double chin this year?
Well I took steps today to do just that.
I literally just hit "Complete" on my first ever subscription to Weight Watchers.
I'm a little nervous about this.
A little scared of failing.
I'm that person who avoids doing something she thinks she might be bad at because failing is worse than not doing it in the first place. Maybe it's time to work on being braver as well. Ya think?
I have never done a diet before. I know there are some of you who have been on WW before and trust me. I'm really interested in hearing your stories. I want to know if the point system worked for you? Was it really as easy as they say it is?
Husband-Man and I are horrible at staying in for dinner. We try very hard to do so but life gets in the way for us a lot and we end up going to have Mexican or sushi or something else because it's easier, there are less dishes and neither of us has to sacrifice time we could be using to do something productive (like play with Baby G and M, or watch the next episode of Castle, or exfoliate, or try a new hairstyle...) to cook.
Are any of you like me? Or do you all have your heads on straight? If you have your heads on straight...can you help me straighten mine?
Anyway...I'm looking forward to trying this. It's something I've looked at a million times and thought about and considered and thought about and considered and then backed away from because I was scared. I'm starting to think I really am a "Fraidy Cat" and I don't think I like this new part of myself I have discovered. I'm gonna "Woman Up"!!!
I'd love it if you join me. I haven't logged into my account yet but if it is possible to have friends on WW, like you do on Facebook...I'm listed as ShelleyFrank7 and I'd love to be your friend. Find me!
Wish me luck. I hope I don't need it but I'd like to have it just in case.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Where's Mom?

Over a year ago one of my coworkers shared a blog post, on our corporate social media site, written by a mom who realized that she was in very few pictures with her children. She always deleted pictures of herself because she was unhappy with the way she looked. Her double chin. Her lack of makeup. Her hair wasn't perfectly coiffed. 

While reading it I realized I do the same thing. All the time. Either that or I am the one taking the pictures. I went to school partially for photography and so I spend a lot of time documenting my family from behind the lens. The only problem with that is that I very rarely end up in front of it. Most of the time I'm OK with that. But when I read the blog post I decided that I wanted that to stop.  

After my coworker posted this all of the moms in the group posted pics of ourselves with our littles and vowed to be better at doing so...

But I didn't stick with it.

I stayed critical of myself and too ashamed to keep a picture that showed my double chin. It occurred to me, the other day, that in doing this, I have inadvertently shown M, at a very impressionable time in his life, when he is starting to recognize the beauty of the female form, that the "ideals" of beauty that are promoted in the general consciousness by the media, really are the standards that he should be holding the young women he is starting to notice to.

I realized this when I heard him talking with a family friend at a NYE party. He was complimenting her hair and telling her she looked great and she responded with " I don't. I look a mess" and I thought to many times have I said that, or done that and shown him that his compliments, the way he views me, what he loves about me...are the things I can't stand about myself.

How many times has he heard me call myself ugly, fat, a cow?

How many times has he heard me say that I hate my hair?

How many times has he heard me say I wish my butt was just a bit smaller?

How many times has he told me he thinks I am beautiful only to hear me tell him that I am one way or another?

How many times have I told him to change the way he views me....without realizing it?


It made me so sad. To think that I am teaching my son that I am and should be ugly to him. 

I shouldn't be. 

And not only that... I am teaching him that I, as a woman, find a womanly and motherly shape to be disgusting and undesirable. How can I ever teach him that a woman's body is beautiful in all it's forms if I reject his ideal of beauty when he thinks me beautiful? 

I'm not teaching him how to love his future wife. I'm teaching him to look for the impossible. 

For example:

He once asked me if porn was something he should watch and I responded with "I'd rather you didn't, at least not until after you have had your first few sexual experiences...which of course shouldn't happen until you're 40 or I'm dead."  When he asked me why I explained that while porn is becoming more and more acceptable it isn't becoming more and more realistic. The women in those movies are paid to "enjoy" it. Its not "real" even though its real. The representations of a relationship in porn are in no way similar to real life relationships and that I would think he would want to experience his first sexual relationship free of expectations that won't be achievable by either party. He seemed to understand my point. How can you truly enjoy something real if all you have to compare it to is a lie?

Then I wiped away the metaphorical sweat and gave myself a congratulatory mental back pat...That had not been a topic I had expected to address with him. But I love that he asks me these things and feels comfortable doing so, so I will continue to try my hardest to give him the non-judgmental answers he deserves.

But here I him a false expectation. Every time I tell him I'm fat or reject a compliment either from him or in front of him, I am reinforcing a preconceived idea of beauty that is incorrect. I am essentially telling him that Hollywood's idea of beauty is the truth. Silicone, starvation, thigh gaps. All of it is true. 

Every time I duck the camera or delete a picture of myself with him or G or Husband-Man or R...I am telling him I am not beautiful. 

I'm also deleting myself from my children's lives. 

How are they going to remember what I looked like when I'm gone if they don't have a picture of me?

How are they going to show my grandbabies what I looked like when they were their age...if they don't have a picture?

I have to stop this. I have to stop judging myself and robbing my children of memories of me. And  have to learn to accept that while I may not always be pleased with my appearance...They don't see it. They don't view me through my eyes. They view me through eyes filled with love. They don't see the double chin. They she the smile above it and the lips that kiss them. 

So...I'm just going to encourage you to join me in a New Years Resolution that is very much worth keeping. 

This year, I am going to love myself. I am going to love myself every day. 

I am going to look in the mirror and tell me that I am beautiful. I'm even going to try to believe it. 

I am going to take pictures with my babies as often as I can. 

I am going to say "Thank you" when some one compliments me. 

I'm going to accept my differences and my double chin (though I plan to work on ridding myself of it because I am not healthy) and I'm not going to delete a picture or untag myself in a picture on FB. 

I am going to talk with M and Husband-Man and let them know that I need them to call me on these things if I slip. Because I need to start speaking to myself in a loving way. No more name calling when standing in front of the mirror or looking at a picture. 

No more Mean Girlling myself. No more hating my jiggly thighs or post-baby belly. 

NO MORE!!!! 

Starting now!

Because I really want to learn to see myself the way my babies see me. I think I just might be beautiful. 

Who's with me?