An Open Letter to Ronda Rousey


Dear Ronda,

First and foremost, I want to say I’m a huge fan.  You have singlehandedly put women on the sports map for MMA.  However, from recent articles it seems you are in need of a pep talk from a female friend.  Let me be that friend.

There was an article published online where you told your mother your new mantra was “FTA”.  (For frequent readers of this blog who might be under 18, we will just say that stands for “Forget Them All”).  I agree with your mom.  You don’t need to use this mantra. 

Look, I know you are dealing with a lot on your shoulders with your upcoming fight against, “what’s-her-face”.  You are angry from your loss in November of 2015.  You are angry because people tried to put you down or tried to steal your shine.  Let me put things in perspective for you for what it’s worth.

Nobody will really know the name of the person you fought 15 years from now.  Heck, I don’t even remember her name now and would have to google it.  Look at what happened after that loss; you fulfilled one of my long time dreams of being on Saturday Night Live.  Note who they asked…YOU.  Not the other gal.  You.

You performed a skit in which you stood against bullies.  You know what it is like to be bullied, and I don’t see anyone else performing that skit better than you.  That skit was so funny, I showed it to the kids I help teach.  

After your loss you admitted to depression and facing a lot of dark areas.  You opened up a lot of minds with that statement.  You could have kept it secret, but instead you let it out there into a world where there is still a stigma attached to it.  You helped others to see it is okay to be dealing with stuff in a dark way, which is completely normal even though society tells us it isn’t.

You say your new mantra is for your nieces, family and fans who haven’t given up on you.  Ronda, I haven’t given up on you.  I will say this though; if you hadn’t had the backlash from “haters”, would you have had the anger to fuel you for this next bout?  By saying, “FTA” to te opposition, you are only proving them right.  You are proving hate is a way of life.  You are feeding into what the other teams want; which is you getting angry enough that you sabotage yourself.  They are betting on the false hope that your anger will open up any weaknesses they can exploit.  Don’t let them do this.

In a strange way, anger can get you through some tough times (trust me, I’ve had some).  Be thankful for the anger, but don’t let that anger dull anything that makes you happy.  Don’t let the anger get in the way of your passion for the sport.  Ultimately this is why you are still in.  Not just any woman would voluntarily train as hard as you do to get a few licks to the face.  You obviously are putting yourself at risk because there is something you love about the sport.  

Prove the others wrong.  You aren’t fueled just by anger.  You are also fueled by love.  Love for the sport, love for your family, love for your friends and your loyal fans.  Never give up, never give in.

Merry Christmas and Sincerely yours,

Quirky Girl

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Caucasian woman voting

Last Tuesday was voting day in the United States for most people.  Though it wasn’t the president we were voting for, we were electing state officials which is equally as important.

Bear in mind, I do not affiliate with any particular political party.  I do not feel an American can be defined as a whole by the ideals of one party.  We all tend to lean one way or another and share some beliefs as our counterparts on the opposite end of the spectrum.  It would be unfair to say we are definitely ANYTHING.  You could say I’m a fence sitter, the voter candidates want on their side.  It doesn’t mean I’m special, or think people should fight over me for my opinion.  If a candidate gets my vote, it is an earnestly thought out decision.  Many people fought for the right to vote so people like me could, and it isn’t something I take lightly.

When Tuesday rolled around, I made sure to get ready early for work and vote on the way there. Dressed in my work uniform, equipped with my name tag, I pulled up to the school where we vote.  The school is lodged between two large pieces of farm land and sits across from a gas station.  It’s right in the middle of a burgeoning district where a lot of voters my age are parents and raising families.  We also have the older crowd who are either grandparents, or they are in the age where their children are already moved out of the house.  We are the generations starting to make this place a city, a place to be, a place to live.  As I strolled up the sidewalk, there was a small gathering of middle-aged people in sunglasses.  Fifteen years ago this was a different story.  Fifteen years ago I was 21 and inundated by a gauntlet of volunteers; people my parents age, to vote for fluoride use in the water systems, or not.  I had a handful of flyers and talked to 5 different people by the time I reached the voting booth.  This time I was surprised.


It was close to 100 degrees out.  Everyone seemed to huddle in the sun near their campaign posters.  As I got closer I flashed a huge smile to the man with a pot belly in his 50’s wearing a straw hat and police issue glasses.  He kind of smiled back.  Finally I said, “How ya’ doin’ today?” He exchanged a mundane platitude and a comment about the heat.  Just past him was a woman who just looked at me, had a slight smile on her face, not saying anything to me. To her side was another male in his late 60’s shooting the breeze with someone close to his age.  The woman still didn’t acknowledge me.  They all stayed close to their signs like lizards wearing shades under a heat lamp, not speaking a word to me.

Once inside the school library where the voting took place, it was a different story.  Air conditioning may have greeted my skin but the poll volunteers there (who are to be impartial) greeted me with warmth.  They were glad to see the turn out they had.  We talked about education and teased about penmanship.  It was a contrast to the “heir” outside.  Their smiles made me want to stay and talk to them longer and have an intelligent conversation about topics that ACTUALLY matter.

After filling in the little bubbles next to soon-to-be-important names,  I turned in my voter ballot.  It was anti-climactic.


I wanted to celebrate for those who couldn’t vote in the past, for my great grandmothers, my great aunts, those family members who wrote in newspapers trying to get the word out that our voice, though it may feel as though you are one, lone, female voice, it still matters.  I wanted to celebrate that I wasn’t taken away in handcuffs like Susan B. Anthony for being a voting female, or that I was allowed to vote even though my ancestry isn’t 100% white.

Yes, that is Susan B. Anthony being beaten and pummeled for standing up for her right and women’s rights.

Confetti didn’t rain from the ceiling, the pollsters didn’t start a slow-clap erupting into applause. It was silent. Silence followed by the whir of the machine sucking in my ballot like a spaghetti noodle and two elderly people trying to remember what they were going to do next.

With my hand on the metal bar of the door, I was already regretting the feel of the heat on my face, but even more so, I wasn’t looking forward to the secret cold judgement of the political volunteers that stood on the other side of the sidewalk.  To my surprise, when I opened the door and moseyed down the sidewalk, a man was approaching the school the same manner. Idid.

The man was in his mid 40’s, Caucasian, wearing a plaid collared dress shirt, nice dress slacks, a black leather belt and scuff free shoes.  The volunteers moved toward him and started to bring him into their huddle. They did all but break out the ticker tape parade. The man had to greet, greeted this guy with open arms, a smile and a polite exchange. The woman said a sentence to him. The other man who couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to a potential voter when I came in,  greeted this guy with a huge hello, open arms and a pen.

I went back to my car, got in, and while waiting for the heat to dissipate I looked out wondering, “Where’s my pen?”

Have you experienced anything like this at the voting booth?  Was it due to age, gender or race?



 

To be or not to be…sexy

 

Earlier today I read an article published about Beyonce’ blazing trails for women everywhere by appearing on the cover of Time magazine.  Even though Time Magazine recognizes her efforts, they still put her on the cover in a two piece swimsuit.

Image

Where are her ‘Flaws and all’?

 

In a twist, Olivia Munn in another article said she would not trade in her character’s sexy outfits because she wanted to people to notice said character’s brain.

Both women were applauded for feminist efforts, however the latter was applauded for keeping it sexy.  Why?

This is what frustrates me as a woman.  Why is it alright for one woman to be sexy and one woman to not be?  Is this the reason why some women think it is acceptable to be objectified?

In my own experience, I have been on both sides of the coin.  Overweight and appreciated for my mental gymnastics and humor.  On the other side, skinny, sometimes physically fit and eyed as someone who could be molded into an ideal in someone else’s brain; a veritable human canvas.

When I was overweight, there was a lot of pressure on aesthetics. I noticed skinny people more.  I noticed how nothing cute was in larger sizes.  Everything was skewed to say, YOU ARE NOT DESIRABLE OR NORMAL. Sure, women appreciated my advice and what I had to say, however people didn’t really take notice of me until my appearance changed.  Men listened to what I had to say more while my former female comrades gave me the stink eye.

It took me a while to figure out why the ladies leered at me while I gave them quizzical looks to say, “What?”  I literally had no clue.

Now I am more aware and more cognizant.  The more I think back on the time people knew me during my physical transformation phase, the more frustrated and angry I get.  Why did it take me slimming down for men to take note of my brains?  Why did the women I once admired and talked to during their lunch breaks no longer talk to me in the same regard?

When I dated someone during this time, it became apparent it was important to him I dressed a certain way.  I drew a line and this is where the break down with him and the realizations about women and body image came for me.

He felt there was no shame in putting the hard work I went through on display.  I had to explain to him, what feeling like a piece of raw steak felt like.  Not to mention it would be disrespectful for me to ask the same of him. He wanted bragging rights, a chance to put me on a pedestal and parade me around in front of other men.  I’ve never been one for this kind of behavior.  By prancing around in short cut off shorts with each cheek hanging out the side, I knew not only how cold I would be, but I would constantly have to have my back toward the door so no one could see my posterior.  I had the foresight to know no one would want to hear what I had to say, male or female.  I wouldn’t listen to me wearing those shorts.

I am still uncomfortable in my body even having kept off the 40 pounds I lost 3 years ago.  There are dimples, there are rolls, there is cellulite for the life of me I can not figure why it’s in the same spot it was when I was a baby.  Even if I had a rear like a Victoria Secret model, I STILL wouldn’t ask people to listen to me while I walked around like a duck so everyone could see my backside.

How you dress is a message you send out to the world.  When you dress yourself, people know how to appropriately listen to you. I’m not saying a woman can’t wear what she wants.  It is all in what she feels comfortable with.  However, if you are a woman touting feminist ideals, for the rest of us gals who have insecurities instilled in our minds, maybe put a robe on, or something. For the love of God put a robe on.  That is all we ask, just so we know your thoughts are appreciated for once before your body.  It is nice for women of ALL sizes to have that peace of mind.

Time Life Magazine, if you are not going to portray one of my favorite women as a feminist, then by all means…allow her to be a feminist through her curves.  No more 14 year old thigh gap, no more unrealistic proportions, if she is going to be celebrated in a two piece, at least let her do it in her real skin; flaws and all.  This way for us ladies who are paying attention, we can tell our daughters, nieces, friends, the words Lorde famously uttered, “Flaws are ok.”

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