What’s the Skinny, on Jeans?

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Skinny.

Super Skinny.

Rock-star Skinny.

Boyfriend Skinny.

Always Skinny.

Any way you slice ’em or dice ’em the supply of pant options with the title “skinny” attached to it is incredibly “plump”.  Just the names alone make me cringe.

Over the past few years, while the Skinny Jean style took off, those around me heard my dislike for the trend that just keeps on giving, most thinking my disdain for this cut is because of personal preferences. I’m not one to put importance on another person’s fashion choices because I’ve been nothing but a fashion victim for most, if not all, of my life. For me, it’s not what you wear but how you treat others that matters. 

When the trend first reared its head I was cool with it.  No one was forcing me to wear them.  No one was forcing me to buy them.  I could easily walk past the skinny rack and pick up a pair of “Relaxed”, “Wide Leg”, “Loose” “Straight”, “Flare” or “Boot Cut” jeans. 

But things changed, like an infestation the “Skinny Movement” took over.  “Wide Leg” the first to go followed by “Loose” and next “Relaxed”.  Before I knew it “Flare” jeans were a thing of the past leaving only the “Boot Cut” which eventually became the “Skinny Boot Cut”.  

For me it’s not about disliking the fashion, it’s about disliking the lack of providing options. 

It’s one thing to introduce something new and allow the freedom of choice.  It’s another thing to introduce something new and take away all the others flavors that added spice and creative expression to our world leaving us with, literally, very slim pickin’s. 

Walking into the mall over a year ago to replace my old tried and true “relaxed” fit jeans,  I was floored when my favorite shop told me they were discontinued. Obviously disappointed,  I asked the clothier to direct me to my options.  Imagine my surprise when my options all had the word “skinny” attached to them.

Needless to say,  I left empty handed yet hopeful. Hopeful because I was in a shopping mall and shopping malls are chock full of clothing stores that are chock full of options. Little did I know my only choices would be the type of color or wash I preferred rather than the fit. 

I left confident that online shopping would serve me well. 

I logged off feeling defeated.

Rather than give in to the skinny, I gave in to sewing, poorly might I add, the only proof of relaxed fitting jeans possibly left in existence. 

Seeing skinny jeans everywhere I turned made me question if I was the only person left who wanted a relaxed or loose pair of jeans.

By it’s very definition relaxed means 1. Not rigorous or strict. 2. Free from strain or tension. and 3. Easy and informal in manner. How could no one want a pair?

And skinny, by it’s very definition, means 1. lacking in flesh  2. consisting of or resembling skin and 3.tight

Add “super” to the mix and we are essentially looking at a product that is “extremely tight lacking in flesh”.  Throw in “Rock Star” and we stress the importance of achieving “celebrity status”.  While we’re at it, toss in words like  “boyfriend” and “always” for more pressure, so in the end we have a product that, whether we like to admit it or not, sends a message to our youth that in order to be included and accepted, you have to “always be extremely skinny, with a rock star edginess in order to be loved (because we all know what great role models most rock stars are).  

What no “Girlfriend Cut” for the fellas?

So what’s really being pushed here?  A simple pair of jeans?

Ask any preteen or teenager in today’s world and a majority of them, if answering honestly, will tell you they worry about their body image. Not in the sense that they want to be healthy and physically fit but in the sense that they want to be accepted and adored by others.  They want to be sexually desired by those around them. They want to be who and what they see on television, in movies, on stage and in magazines, leaving very few of them wanting to be or evening knowing who they are themselves.  And the fashion industry, by taking so many options away, has chosen this pressure filled lifestyle for them, dictating what they should wear, by giving them only one style with a zillion variations of it.  

We live in a world that heavily bases worth on looks and sexuality.  If we give our youth a variety of different options, these options will promote creative expression, intelligence and an understanding of oneself, if we continue to promote the mantra that sex sells then that’s about as far as they’ll get. 

At this point, what choice do they have?

It’s not about their fashion, it’s about their options.

“Awkward!”: A Piece of Fiction Inspired by an Awkward Fact

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We froze, staring at each other.  Him standing, me sitting.

A brief first encounter but not one I’d easily forget.

My gut and clenched jaw conveyed to me that I was being an inconvenience to him.

His face was incredibly stern, lifeless, what counselors would call “having a flat affect”.  I wasn’t intimidated, though I certainly should have been.

A sneaky grin, coated with sarcasm, curved onto my face as I innocently answered his first question, while shaking my head, “Oh no, the picture I took of you…it’s for Facebook. You know…to teach my friends a lesson, while learning mine.”

His initial silence spoke volumes as he handed me a thin piece of paper, “If you wanted my number all you had to do was ask for it?”

Without saying a word I crumpled it up and shoved it into my overly stuffed purse.

Hoping I would never see him again, I watched as he walked away.

Arrogantly, he stopped and waited for me to leave first. Determination kept me there but I finally gave in just wanting to be as far away from him as possible.

It took me a few minutes to be sure he was no longer near me before I felt safe.

Even though I couldn’t stand him, when he was out of my sight, he was anything but out of my mind.  For the remainder of the night, he was all I thought about, as I committed the structure of his face to memory.

Immediately, his stolen image was texted to my closest friends and of course, my status updated with it too.

What was he thinking stopping me like that? He knew it wouldn’t make me happy.

Sleep was the only remedy for moving
past our uncomfortable encounter.

The night seemed much shorter than it really was.  The vibrating buzz next to my head gradually brought me out of my coma-like sleep, my thumb putting my phone on snooze.

Ten minutes pointlessly felt like ten seconds, “Ugh!” I had to get up.

An oscillating fan blew my bedroom window curtain to the side, “Just like I thought…cold, dark and drizzling.”

There was always comfort when it actually rained, like visible drops of rain, but when it drizzled, it felt like I missed something big and only caught it’s miserable end.

I scratched my kittens head with the corner of my phone as he rubbed up against mine, “Time for me to go again, Fluffernutter.”

Having a mind of its own, my thumb sneakily slid to the photos app to reveal his picture once more,  “Like I really need to see that!?” Moving past last night wasn’t going to be easy.

An early breakfast certainly wasn’t going to happen, so rather than dwell on it, I darted out the door, covering my head with my hood, to shield me from the obnoxious “rain”.

Fourteen hours had passed since our cold encounter, but who was counting?

I was.

It took some concentration but as soon as I convinced myself that he no longer mattered and that I never had to see him again, there he was, insidiously behind me, like he totally knew I was going to be right there at that exact moment.

Did he know where I lived? Was he following me? Was I safe?

Pulling my cap as low on my forehead as I could, I held it’s brim looking down, ostrich style,  hoping he wouldn’t notice me, even though I knew he did and rolled down my window before he asked me to.

Extending my arm out to him, holding exactly what I knew he wanted from me, I shook my head slowly back and forth, still looking down, in shame.

He reached over, taking what he came for, “I clocked you in at forty-five miles per hour this time, Miss.”

Flushed with reddening cheeks I didn’t look up, “I am so so sorry.”

“Where are you headed, Miss?”

I continued to talk to my lap, “School.”

Three of his fingers wiggled in my periphery, “Well, I’m not going to write you up this time but three’s a charm.”

“Thank you.  You have no idea, I am so so sorry.”

He wished me well, “Be safe out there”, and like a champion, strutted away.

By this point I knew the routine and pulled out first.  The heat of his stare followed me from behind all the way to my next turn.

While coasting away, slowly, I beat myself up, not for getting pulled over twice in less than twenty-four hours but for not asking him to take a “selfie” with me.  You know, to continue teaching my friends a lesson as I continued to learn mine.  Lord knows that after being forced to go thirty miles per hour, I certainly had enough time to think about it.

 

 

 

When fashion gives you lemons…write tart fiction

The kittens smiled at me. I tried to ignore them but they were so damned cute, I couldn’t look away. At the same time, they kind of disturbed me. There were just so many of them, twenty maybe more, with that Cheshire Cat grin on their infantile faces.

“Wanna pet one?” she asked.

I shook my head out of its otherworldly daze, “Um, are they…in…space?”

“The Milky Way, I think. Wanna bite of my candy bar?”

A pang ran up my neck as I jerked away from her shoving a half eaten chocolate bar into my face, “Uh, thanks, but no.”

With a shrug of her shoulders she stuffed the rest in her mouth in one sloppy bite, “Your loss, pal.”

She sat inches away from me. I tried to scoot over but there was an elderly man to my left, snoring. How the hell he slept with all of those kittens glaring at us was beyond me.

I felt a rubbing up against my knee. “It looks like this one really likes you,” said the girl.

The outstretched face of a white blue eyed kitten wrapped tightly around her knee as it continued to touch mine. I couldn’t shake the fact that she found shiny, spandex, kitten laden, leggings to begin with much less that she was actually wearing them.

“I guess so,” was all that escaped my mouth, as I held my breath, praying she’d be called in to see the doctor next.

A short and stalky nurse threw the door open, “Melinda Frances!”

The girl was so close to me now, too close. I could feel and smell the heat of her bubble gum breath as she blew a bubble in my ear.

“Melinda…Melinda Frances!”

*pop!*

“Yeah, yeah, that’s me,” the girl barked annoyingly in my reddening face, “I’m coming.”

Music to my ears.

She stood up showcasing the Milky Way galaxy of kittens from her hips to her ankles, most of them looking scared to be on the curves of her body but none of them as scared as I was to be sitting next to her.

Her pointy toed high heeled boots clicked as she walked away, “Catch you on the flip side, Evan.”

I knew I should have covered my name on the doctor office’s questionnaire.

Melinda flipped her long ombré colored hair as the nurse held the door. From a distance she was actually kinda pretty, except for the whole annoying, gum chewing, kitten, boot thing.

“Kevin O’connell?” appeared a much taller and younger nurse holding the door.

“It’s Evan. Evan O’Connell,” I corrected, wiping sweat from the palms of my hands, onto my thighs, as I went to stand.

“Well…Evan,” she said with a gentle smile “The doctor will see you now.”

Suddenly, I preferred the company of stretchy cats to the company of an actual diagnosis.

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Twenty Fourteen: Conflict Resolution with New Year’s Resolutions

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The last, and probably the only, time I cared about a New Year’s Eve Countdown was when MTV promised to air “Nirvana: Live and Loud” in ’93.

Whoa!

Who just got smacked in the face with a passing of time wake up call?!

This gal!

I better go out and buy a power suit and heels to prove my maturity and years of success.

Change my personality to one that meshes well with the Joneses.

Add to that list, less cursing, lose weight, quit smoking (which will be super easy since I actually don’t), read more, write more, Facebook less, curb my phone addiction, enjoy the outdoors, enjoy the indoors, listen to my parents, be kind to others and save the world.

But wait, don’t I have enough demands and responsibilities to worry about? Don’t we all? Don’t you?

There’s not a single one of us who doesn’t bare the heaviness that life presents us with.

A death.
A life.
An illness.
An accident.
Financial gain.
Financial loss.
New loves.
Old flames.
Loneliness when we’re surrounded by people.
People surrounded by nothing but loneliness.
New friendships. Broken ones.

Responsibilities to our families. Obligations to our friends.
Love to our fellow human beings.

Eventually, our glasses spill over and personally I’m ready for a couple of straws in mine and am willing to share.

Time on Earth is limited, wouldn’t it be in my best interest to live day to day? I don’t know what next year will bring. I don’t know what will be brought within the next hour. What I do know is that whatever is meant to be will happen whether I welcome it or not.

As my father wisely told me yesterday, as we drove quietly to the beach together, “We must make peace with our Creator before we make peace with His creation.”

My father has a way with words. Even though we were in the car together for over an hour, all it took was that one sentence to get me to truly think. The remainder of the ride was spent in thoughtful silence.

That being said, I wish you strength, patience, joyful moments, love, shoulders to cry on, health, blessings, true friendships, happiness and peace, not only in the new year, but every day from this moment forward.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me because apparently if I’m planning on giving up smoking I’m going to have to start but only after I save the world first.

New Years Bring New Books: Presenting Graphic Novel Blades of Hope’s First Book Trailer

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Book trailers, not so new for authors and avid readers, particularly in the young adult sect. Do a google search and you are bound to find a plethora of trailers for books soon to be released.

In 2014, Jabal Entertainment will bring to you book one of the graphic novel “Blades of Hope”. Complete with intelligent and strong female characters, fraught with martial arts skills, “Blades of Hope” is not only geared towards female young adult and adult readers but all gender readers who are not yet accustomed to reading comic books or graphic novels as well.

But fear not, avid comic books fans, the creators of “Blades of Hope” have also kept you in mind.

Though we have not yet released artwork from the book, we have put together our first “Blades of Hope” book trailer/teaser for your viewing pleasure, until we release our official book trailer later this year.

Until then we present to you our first teaser:

Happy Merry! My Somewhat Secular Life

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Religion.

Just by typing the word I feel like there are already some people becoming uncomfortable reading this blog.

I’ll be honest. I’m kind of uncomfortable writing it.

The way I see it, however, when people become uncomfortable in any given situation, the wheels of stimulation are turning in their heads and that is good enough for me.

I’d be lying if I said my thumb isn’t considering hitting the delete key on my phone. But I’ll resist (for now).

After all, it’s discomfort that can create truly deep conversations, providing all parties involved are showing mutual respect towards one another.

The inspiration of this blog actually happened because of two encounters at toll booths on December 25.

The first toll booth I pulled up to hosted a woman wearing reindeer antlers and a blinking light necklace. Obviously, I knew when she handed back my change a “Merry Christmas” was sure to follow. When she placed the money in my hand and gave the obvious greeting I replied with my standard greeting, “Happy Holidays!”

The second toll booth I pulled up to hosted another woman wearing a Hawaiian styled shirt. Our exchange was nothing but “Have a nice day!” and my reply “You too!”

Let me clarify, I am both a religious and spiritual person with a deep faith in God. Like everyone else, I have my views of life and a structure to which I live.

And for me, I’m not one to engage in religious discussions unless I’m specifically asked and the ground rules for mutual respect are firmly placed.

Typically, my religious thoughts and views stay in my mind and in my home. To me there is no compulsion in religion. Meaning, I don’t believe that anyone should be forced to follow any specific religion.

That being said, I’m not certain as to when any holiday greeting, religious or otherwise became offensive.

Now, I say I live a somewhat secular life because, as stated before, religion and God are very dear to me. At the same time secularism is as well.

Living and being born in America, I have been blessed with a nation that hosts all cultures, colors and faiths.

Living in America, I’ve thankfully been given the opportunity and have taken the important steps of going out of my way to meet and form bonds with people of all cultures, colors and faiths because what I hear and read on the news doesn’t cut it for me.

I’m a person who must experience things first hand, from reliable sources, before my thoughts on any given subject are formed.

And because of my willingness to do so, I’ve gained respect for those around me and an understanding that even though we all have differing views we can still understand one another, without having to agree with one another, in very peaceful ways.

That being said, I prefer life outside my doors to be completely secular. Not only for my sake but for the benefit of others.

Do I get offended by the use of “Merry Christmas”? Absolutely not. I understand the intent behind the greeting just like I understand those expressing it are expressing their beliefs even if they are assuming I am right there with them.

Do I prefer the use of “Happy Holidays” instead? Absolutely, because I prefer people don’t assume things about me. (Though I’ll admit guilt to making a plethora of assumptions about others myself.)

The use of “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” will always be a staple in my life, for all those around me, because I respect we are a nation of so many differences through and through.

I believe in being inclusive in my well wishes particularly since we are, fortunately, a country that claims to be inclusive.

If we truly are a nation of inclusion, people of any faith should not be offended when various religious greetings are used around them.

My hope is that those who wish a “Happy Hanukkah”, “Merry Christmas” or “Ramadan Mubarak” at one time of year truly don’t get offended when hearing “Happy Hanukah”, “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Merry Christmas” another time of year.

For me, it’s all (faiths respected) or nothing.

“Merry Christmas” may come from
Christianity.

“Ramadan Mubarak” and “Eid Mubarak” may come from Islam.

“Happy Chanukah” may come from Judaism.

And many other greetings, that I’m admittedly ignorant about, come from many other religions.

Providing you are not Atheist, we all have one thing in common, belief that we all come from God.

Regardless of who you are, where you are from, and what you believe, my stance remains that all human beings deserve love, inclusion and respect.

Until, we are a nation that comfortably accepts that we are different, believes in true inclusion and genuinely respects one another it will always be “Happy Holidays” or another variation from me. And know when I say those words they come straight from my heart.

So, Merry Happy to everyone.

Now where’s that delete key?

“Insta” Gratification: QUICK! Read this NOW!

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Like most, I’ve become accustomed to the speed with which information is gathered, dispersed and received.

Technology has boomed so rapidly that it’s become second nature for me to constantly have my phone at my fingertips.

Even when I’m not using it practically I’m tapping it’s screen out of habit, and maybe even comfort, because I find the new iPhone OS to be quite airy and soothing.

Just looking at the apps “float” on the screen relaxes me especially when I choose an ethereal background image.

So yes, I’ll be the first to admit that I love my phone. I’ll also be the first to admit that I’m addicted to it too.

Certainly, it has it’s benefits with accessibility and functionality. It comes in quite handy when I’m on road trips and for that funny Facebook moment I just have to update about…immediately.

Even more importantly, I’ve sadly justified that my phone has proven to be beneficial while walking through parking lots because I’m always ready to wield my phone as a weapon if need be.

So, yes, there are many benefits to technology, granted, some unconventional ones like the one listed above or as Stephen Colbert once pointed out, using an iPad to chop salsa.

Any way you look at it, being “connected” is a double edged sword.

On one hand a pro is that I have the world and all of the people I know right at my fingertips. On the other hand…I have the world and all of the people I know right at my fingertips.

Currently, I’m using my phone to blog and listen to a playlist on Spotify while my brother is driving us to the beach. A text message notification from
a friend just flashed at the top of my screen only moments after I took a photo of everyone in our car that I texted to my father.

All of the above may be good and well but really when I think about it, my God, what a waste of time.

Instead of writing about the palm trees zooming past my window I should actually be looking at them.

Instead of talking about the music I’m listening to I should actually be listening to it.

Instead of blogging about the pictures I’m taking of my family I should be in the center of their universe engaging them in conversation.

Unfortunately, addictions are a bitch.
But admitting it is the first step.

So on that note, rather than enjoying the airiness of my iPhone I’m going to shut down my phone, roll down the windows of my car, breathe in the fresh air and soak up some real sun…right after I tweet about.