The time has come to admit something to you all: Bicycle commuting is a lot easier when you work for yourself and set your own schedule. I actually never really realized this until last week when I got a part-time job and wanted to stick with my commitment to continue bicycle commuting. Wow, it isn’t as easy as it used to be, when I had no schedule to worry about and could go anywhere in my sweat pants!
My new job is just about 3 miles from my home – an easy bicycle ride. I also have the good fortune to have my shift scheduled for the middle of the day (usually), which means that in the winter time, it’ll be the warmer part of the day for both “ends” of the commute.
However, there are a lot of new factors I’m dealing with, that I didn’t realize before (when I was spoiled!).
For one thing, I’m always worried that I’ll be late. I tend to leave excessively early, getting there at least 20 minutes early. But I suppose better early than late!
Eating is an issue, too. Though my middle-of-the-day shift is great for traveling during the winter, it stinks as far as my eating schedule goes. I am not able to eat at all during my shift, due to how busy the schedule is. So I eat breakfast at 7:30 AM, a snack around 10 AM, then a small sandwich when I arrive at work around 11:30 AM, and then…I don’t get to eat again until 4 PM. It is hard to ride home when I’m so hungry, but I don’t like to eat right before I ride. So I end up eating a HUGE meal at 4 PM, then another small meal at 7 PM. Yeah, this job is going to majorly screw up my metabolism!
And now we come to the issue of appearance. I have to wear a low ponytail in order for my helmet to fit right, which means I either have to leave my hair like that all day, or restyle it at work. I also don’t feel as free to wear skirts as much as I’d like. But I have a few skirts that seem to be working fine, thankfully.
Storage is yet another issue. I don’t know why, but I always seem to have a lot of stuff that I travel with. My large messenger bag, water bottle and of course, with the autumn weather (super cold in the mornings, very warm in the afternoons), I end up needing yet more room for my coat and scarf on the way home. I have been putting everything in and on top of my handlebar basket but it has been awkward. My load of stuff gets pretty heavy and sometimes, my bike has fallen over (when I stop to adjust my helmet) from the weight.
Finally, the bike rack at work is out in the open. I’m worried about that when winter comes. I don’t want my bike out in rain or snow for hours.
Most of these things, I can’t really do much about. I’ll be asking if I can bring my bike indoors in inclement weather, but maybe it’s just something I’ll have to deal with. And the one problem I CAN fix – storage – has theoretically been solved. But that’s another story for another day.
In the meantime, I bought new tires for my mountain bike, since the old ones hadn’t been replaced in at least 7 years. It’s definitely ready for further commuting. And I’ll talk about my new commuting option in the next post, so stay tuned!
I always feel a little guilty promoting my products, but I was so so excited to hear the feedback about the Coconut Tonka Bean Balm that I had to share it!
“I never expected it [Coconut Tonka Bean Balm] to be so delicious….I mean I knew it was going to be yummy of course but WOW! Just as you described, I can smell vanilla bean, cinnamon, almond, coconut, chocolate, it’s like an explosion of gourmand flavor, but not overpowering in any way. It just kind of envelopes you.
The oil [Tonka Oil], I use on my hands, and it is just as good. Has a subtle different aroma, probably because of the cocoa butter:). I did a little test, I just used it on one hand, just to see the difference, and immediately it sunk in (no greasiness) and the difference between my hands was incredible, the one was so moisturised, and about 10 years younger LOL! Love them both so much!”-J, Canada
“Oh my… this smells amazing! I used this on some rough patches, then used the vanilla bean massage oil for an all-over massage of tired, fatigued muscles. They’re wonderful separately, divine together. Thanks for another amazing creation!”-K, Georgia
Before we get back to the feminism discussion, I wanted to share some exciting news. (Well, exciting to me!)
I only change the oil in my car once a year – partly because I don’t drive it much, and partly for other reasons. Of course, I’m extremely vigilant about checking the oil regularly and making sure it is clean.
So…I got my oil changed last August (2010) and they put the usual sticker on the windshield reminding me to come back by November, or when I hit the next 3,000 miles. And I didn’t think much about it again until…
September 2011 rolled around and I realized I was overdue for an oil change. I looked at the sticker and imagine my surprise to find that I was 1,000 miles below the 3,000 miles they estimated I would reach by November 2010! Thirteen months later, I still had 1,000 miles to go to reach a number they estimated I would reach in just three months! It just goes to show how much I’ve been bicycling this year – and I didn’t even realize what an impact it was making!
Silly as it sounds, I like to think that I saved a polar bear – or two – this year!
Yep, you knew it had to come – the discussion about makeup*. Empowering? Or does it make us a slave to vanity and sexual objectivity?
I actually love makeup, which may surprise some of you. Yes, me, Miss Sneakers-and-Cotton-Panties. I love makeup.
I think that it’s wonderful that we have the option of playing with colors and lines and shadows to enhance our features. Makeup speaks to the artist in me, and probably in all of us! It’s just plain fun.
Fun or not, though, I never wore much makeup. I started out a little besotted with it, though the feeling didn’t last. At 11, I begged my mother to let me buy an eyeshadow compact that contained 10 different colors. She graciously allowed me to have it so long as I promised to only wear the eyeshadow on weekends – never at school. And I obeyed, slathering electric blue eyeshadow on my eyelids every Saturday morning. (What can I say – it was the 80′s.) At 12, she let me buy clear mascara – a purchase that made me feel so grown up because I was allowed to wear it to school.
Oddly, when I turned 16 and was allowed to wear makeup regularly, I lost all interest in it. I sometimes wore mascara to school, but that’s it. The only things I faithfully applied were concealer, foundation and powder.
This trend continued until I was about 28 and met a woman who always came to work wearing the most beautiful, color-coordinated makeup. Around this time, mineral makeup was becoming the rage, and my mother was having a ball buying BareEscentuals products for me on QVC. And I wasn’t complaining!
I started dating someone some time later, and was suddenly very aware of my face. Or should I say, my makeup. For the first time in my life, I was hyper-vigilant about wearing makeup and keeping it looking fresh all day long. I’d sneak into bathrooms on dates to make sure my mascara wasn’t running or that my blush was still shimmery.
One night, after I washed my face, I looked in the mirror and was not thrilled with what I saw. I thought my eyes looked awful without the makeup. The feeling of dissatisfaction alarmed me – I had never felt inadequate without makeup on before.
Not long after that, I had another unsettling experience. My boyfriend was talking on the phone while waiting for me to get ready for a date and, not wanting to interrupt his conversation, I slid him a note saying, “What kind of makeup should I wear tonight? The usual? Or something hot and spicy?” He scribbled something down as he was talking and slid the paper back to me. It read: “NONE!!!” He wasn’t a big fan of makeup and had been encouraging me not to wear it all the time. After reading that note, I decided to go for it. And once again, I was disturbed by how hard it was! I was so scared he would think I wasn’t very pretty. (And keep in mind, even though I wore makeup every day, I did not wear a lot of it.)
That was my second wake up call, and I decided to listen to it. This was also around the time I started “going natural” with my routine – making my own shampoo, discontinuing my use of harsh chemicals, etc. I had already felt that perhaps it was not good for my skin to absorb so much makeup every single day. And after realizing just how inadequate I felt without wearing it, I knew I had to take a serious look at it.
Some of you may remember my Naked Face Campaign from last year. I encouraged women to wear less makeup and to do something radical – send me a picture of themselves with no makeup on! The plan was to make a collage of all of us. You can see me here, and Melanie, of My Magical Journey, here. I also got a few photos from brave readers but in the end, I did not receive enough to make a collage. (I think I have a total of four pictures, including me and Melanie!)
So all this brings me to a familiar point – as much as I love makeup, how does it become such a crutch to our vanity? (And please understand, I’m using “our” in a generic way – I’m not suggesting every woman has a problem being in public without makeup.) Do we have to wear it to be considered sexy? Do we have to avoid it to be considered empowered?
I’m going to do something I don’t normally do in these posts and answer these questions myself. NO on both counts. I definitely think we can wear it or not wear it and just be our own amazing selves.
However, I think makeup disempowers us when we begin to dislike the “naked face” we see in the mirror. If we don’t feel pretty without it, then I think we’re on dangerous ground. On that same note, I think it becomes disempowering when we wear too much makeup most of the time. (Not to name names, but Kim Kardashian comes to mind, fake lashes and all. I find her much prettier without makeup.) Can you go to bed without makeup on? Has your partner seen you without makeup? If we can’t accept the way our faces look without embellishment, then again, I think makeup becomes more dangerous than helpful.
Is it just me or is she way prettier without all the embellishment?
Yet when a dab of blush or swish of mascara or touch of lipstick gives you an extra boost of confidence? Well, that’s just awesome!
What do you think?
*Please note that I decided not to discuss the potentially hazardous chemicals in some makeup products, or anything related to that topic since I feel I have covered that in past posts – and will likely revisit that in the future!
I’m not usually one to write posts like these, but after recently seeing a bumper sticker that said, “Never forget who started it,” and after receiving an incredibly kind email from a reader that said that Five Seed “promotes spiritual beauty,” I thought I would share a few words from some wise, loving sources as we reflect on what happened ten years ago.
::”Do not seek the truth; only cease to cherish opinions.” -Seng-ts’an
::”Forgiveness is the healing of the perception of separation… The unforgiving mind is in despair, without the prospect of a future which can offer anything but more despair… Forgiveness is the key to happiness.” -A Course in Miracles
::”The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.” -Pema Chodron
::”No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong.” -Elie Wiesel
::”May we not succumb to thoughts of violence and revenge today, but rather to thoughts of mercy and compassion. We are to love our enemies that they might be returned to their right minds.” -Marianne Williamson
::”Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant.” -The Holy Qur’an (7:199)
::”Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” -The Holy Bible, Luke 6:37
::”We achieve inner health only through forgiveness – the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves.” -Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman
::”All major religious traditions carry basically the same message: that is love, compassion and forgiveness … the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
::”Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Unlike my last two posts, I don’t have a strong, hard opinion about sexy underwear – for the most part. As always, I think if it makes you sexy, go for it. And the best part is – it doesn’t (hopefully) hurt to wear lingerie (like high heels), nor do you have to alter your body in order to wear it (as with bikini waxes – though I know some people who wax so they look good in their thongs). In this post, I simply want to discuss the psycho-sexual issues of lingerie, as well as talk about one of my favorite subjects: comfort!
Cultural icon Victoria's Secret
So let’s jump right in: Why do we wear lingerie? I suspect the first answers to these questions will be similar to the questions about why we wear high heels or wax our lady bits: because it makes us feel sexy and empowered. But again, WHY do we feel sexy and empowered by these rituals? Because they make us sexy and empowered, as defined by our culture? Can we truly remove the feeling of being sexy and empowered from the cultural strings that are attached to those feelings? Why, for instance, couldn’t you (why shouldn’t you?) feel sexy and empowered in a pair of white, cotton panties?
Once again, I think this issue is worth exploring. While there is certainly nothing at all wrong with wearing sexy lingerie, it is interesting to trace our desire to wear to it back to its origin. Is it a true desire of our heart, or cultural conditioning?
Personally, this is yet another societal definition of beauty and empowerment that I reject – though purely for the reason of comfort, not to make any feminist statements! Fancy underwear is pretty, to be sure. But it is often a little on the un-supportive side. If you have a large chest like me, it can be impossible to find ANY bra in a store – and when you do find one, you grab it, lacy and sexy or not! Frankly, I need a lot of coverage and strap support and that isn’t always super sexy – but it does the job I need it to do, and I’m not complaining.
As far as panties go, it seems we have to choose between cotton blends (generally classified as not-so-sexy) or synthetic fabrics. Panties made from synthetic fabrics tend to be more attractive, I admit – lacy, shimmery. However, I hate the feel of those fabrics on my skin. Give me cotton any day! And thongs? Forget it! I do not find thongs the slightest bit sexy. In the movie Because I Said So, Diane Keaton’s character defends her “granny panties” by saying, “…this underwear enhances the female form, highlighting the elegance of the waist and making the legs appear longer, instead of the…awful…foreshortening aspect of a thong, which breaks up the body disproportionately.” Honestly, I couldn’t agree with her more. I think thongs cut the body in a way that is unflattering. I also don’t feel that it does anything to enhance the bum – and if you have a slightly chubby butt like mine, then why wear something that makes it look worse? Further…I cannot stand the whole “floss” thing, if you know what I mean. I know many women who say thongs are the most comfortable underwear they’ve ever tried, but how is that possible? Do you just get used to it working its way…in? I never could tolerate that, especially when I ride my bicycle so often. Ick.
Is it just me or are thongs just not flattering to a woman's body?
So for me, its full-coverage bras and nice cotton panties. And I feel perfectly “sexy” in my choice of underwear.
But this brings me to another question. Why does it seem like all feminist arguments boil down to sexiness? One school of thought says that bringing the issue of sexiness into feminism demeans us as women, stripping us of our souls, our intellect, all the things that make us HUMAN (not just female). Others ask why we shouldn’t use feminism to embrace our sexiness and play with it.
When posing for a GQ spread wearing lingerie in 2010, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had this to say about feminism: “I don’t really love that word. That connotes a harshness and almost a shrillness that I find unattractive… I respect women like Gloria Steinem who paved the way. But when you say ‘feminist’ now, there is a message that if you are sexy and you acknowledge that part of your personality publicly, then it’s somehow an affront to women. And I reject that.”
Megyn Kelly of Fox News
I, too, reject any notion of feminism that tries to take away our ability to celebrate our sexuality, but I think sexuality and sexiness are two vastly different things. Here, I think Kelly is talking about sexiness. She’s talking about her choice to pose in lingerie and still be considered a strong woman. I certainly think that a woman should be able to “be sexy” in any way she likes and not have it compromise her feminity or her strength. But, again, I simply question the issue of sexiness. What makes only certain things “sexy” and why is the definition of “sexy” so rigid? You don’t see any women doing features in men’s magazines in which they are seductively draped in their plaid pajamas or white cotton panties. So who defines what is sexy for women?
Sometimes, I feel that lingerie is a “buy-in.” In other words, there are often things we feel we have to do as humans (and sometimes, specifically as females) to “buy in” to something. To buy in to feeling sexy, for instance. Or, in one case, to buy in to do what we want to do, like some of the ladies on the Lingerie Football League. Team member JJ Thacker said, “We want to play football and let’s be honest, we’re not going to bring people to our game without some sort of gimmick. Maybe one day we’ll be playing fully clothed, but right now I want to play football so I’ll play in whatever you put me in.” Is this a “buy-in” that’s worth the price? Do we still live in a world that forces us to play the game in order to get what we want?
Again, please let me say that I really have no problem with lingerie, in general, and certainly not with the choice to wear it. I have issues with waxing and high heels, my two previous topics, because those are potentially dangerous and certainly painful beauty props/rituals. But lingerie? No problem. If you like it – go for it! However, now that I’ve got you on this topic – what do you think about the relationship between lingerie and “sexiness?” Is it organic, or the product of cultural programing? If you think it’s the latter, then how does that affect female empowerment?
I’ve been venturing outside my comfort zone with the business, lately. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m painfully shy and the thought of doing fairs, events and festivals filled me with anxiety. Thanks to the encouragement of many, many supporters and friends (you know who you are!), I have started dipping my toes into the water.
9/7/11: Music on the Green
Thankfully, I have some friends in town who are fellow entrepreneurs and crafters and the idea of sharing booth space made this step all the easier for me. The first event I did was Music on the Green on August 10th, and it was great fun to hang out with my very talented friends (whose shops you can find here and here). We did not attend the next event, due to rain, and almost didn’t go today – my partners both had schedule conflicts. With their encouragement, I decided to go alone, and while it was challenging (it can be really boring being at a booth by yourself!), I had a great time, thanks to the Hokulea Dancers, the night’s featured performers.
Even the younger dancers were great!
I wanted to share some photos and a video here, in case some of you may not follow Five Seed on Facebook. Hope you enjoy it!
Don’t miss us out in Shaniko this weekend! I’ll be there Saturday.
First of all, my apologies for taking a week off the blog in the middle of the feminism series. Posts like the last two take a long, long time to write and I haven’t had any time recently to keep going. Until today! Hopefully, I can bang out a few more posts and have them set to publish over the next ten days or so.
As for this post, I wanted to write a quick follow-up to the last one on the subject of bikini waxes. It was one of the most-visited posts I have ever written on this blog and I think it brought in even more comments than my past giveaways! People definitely had a lot to say.
Everyone made really good points on one side of the debate or the other, and I found myself sometimes vacillating wildly as I responded to each one. Some people said that going bald was a gift to their partner – a way of honoring their partner’s preference as well as making certain intimate acts more “palatable.” Others said there is never a reason to alter our looks for another human being no matter how much we love them – we are who we are and we should be accepted in the package in which we came.
I kinda agree with both points. As far as compromises go, don’t we make them all the time for lovers, physically, emotionally, mentally? I could give a lot of examples of this, but will refrain in order to keep this post from getting too long, but think of your past relationships and how many times you altered something about yourself on any level in order to meet your partner halfway. In a way, changing our bodies is the same thing, isn’t it? Yet at the same time, I do want to hold on to the beautiful truth that we are loveable and attractive in just the package we came in. I want to hold on to the truth that our bodies were designed by a beautiful Creator (as you understand Him/Her/It) and therefore, reflect that divine beauty in every nook and cranny.
Another argument was cleanliness – that “going bald” is cleaner, or that it makes keeping our nether regions clean easier. Others asked why we need to remove what’s there in order to keep this area clean. After all, pubic hair is a functioning part of an intensely intelligent, self-cleaning area of our bodies. Again, I understand the argument for cleanliness – especially for those of you who use pads (cloth or commercial). However, do we really need to be bald to be clean? I don’t know. One reader suggested bidets for this issue, which is think is great, no matter how much or how little hair you have.
As for one of my biggest issues with going hairless – the psychological-sexual implications of being a grown woman with genitals that look like a little girl’s and how many men in our culture are aroused by that – seemed to be disturbing to EVERYONE. Not surprising! The only debate was whether or not this was a “niche opinion” among males. Niche opinion or not, it still worries me that it’s out there at all. And I can’t help but wonder how much more prevalent it will become as the porn industry expands throughout the internet, airing this trend of hairless female genitalia.
And again, our girls, the next generation of young women coming of age – it is for them that I worry the most. We have enough limiting cultural definitions of beauty for them to struggle with. Do they need this, too? To worry about how their bodies will appear to a lover? To feel that they have to have their pubic hair ripped out by its roots in order to be attractive?
As for you readers, according to my polls, about 79% of you never go bare down there. Seventeen percent of you sometimes remove all your hair, and 4% of you keep yourselves hairless all the time. A whopping 79% of you felt that this trend is damaging to women, 11% were indifferent, believing it was another trend that would eventually pass, and 10% of you indicated that your feelings fell in the “Other” category.
I guess we’ll all have to wait and see how this plays out in our current cultural atmosphere. But I can’t help but hope that one day, we can embrace everything about our bodies with love, respect and acceptance from everyone.
Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to write such thoughtful, interesting comments on this subject. I appreciate all of your feedback!