Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Life is Sticky. Life is Sweet.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Which Amy Ponders Labels . . . and James McAvoy

I had this whole post about labels and labelling written in my head Sunday night, but couldn't get it down because, by the time I was done helping Erick with his homework, I was too tired to watch one of my favorite movies, let alone write. (How do pass up watching a movie with this foxy Scot? I must have been really tired.)

So tonight, while everyone's asleep, I had every intention of sitting down and doing a whole post about labels and how people need labels to define themselves and others to feel more control of their lives.

Dude, I'm exhausted just reading that paragraph.

I'm still really want to do that post, I really do, but I found myself treading a very fine line with the topic. If I kept it light and fluffy and talked about labels in reference to clothing types and personalities, I would feel like I dumbed down the post because I was 1) tired or 2) afraid to piss people off.

If I wrote what I really wanted to write about--how people are so desperate to make sense of the senseless, they slap labels on themselves, their kids, their jobs, everything--I'm pretty sure I would have a lynch mob of villagers at my door with torches and pitchforks, baying for my blood.

(I just made myself snicker at the idea of blood screaming villagers having to get in their cars and driving to MOFN to threaten me, but then getting bored with the idea somewhere along 78 and turning around to go home, texting, "Dude, she lives too far away anyway." back and forth to each other.)

Why are there labels? Are we so frantic as a society to understand why things go the way they do that we need to have everything spelled out for us? I guess it's just human nature.

What makes me laugh (well, not laugh laugh, but chortle in a bemused way laugh) is the way parents--particularly mothers--will label their kids:

"This is my son Johnny. He's got ADD."

"This is my daughter Janie. She's got Asperger's."

Why? Why do we feel compelled to do that? Why do we feel the need to proclaim these things? I'm not suggesting we hide a condition our child might have, but why do we have to define people by their alleged shortcomings? Imagine if we did that with ourselves:

"Hi, I'm Amy. I'm loud and sarcastic, have daddy issues and violent sibling rivalry, develop crushes on unattainable men, and live in a fantasy world where I'm Queen of Narnia so I can make out with Mr. Tumnus."

(Why, hello, Mr. Tumnus. Is that package for me?)

It certainly would make job interviews and business meetings nip along faster, wouldn't it?

I hate labels. I was always labelled 'loud,' 'obnoxious,' 'loser,' or--my personal favorite--'a slut.' Now, this is where my Inner Mom will start saying things like, "They only say those things because they don't know you." or "They only say those things because they're jealous." And now this is where Inner (Teen) Me raises my tear-and-snot-smeared face off the table to wail, "Believe me, Inner Mom, the people calling me those names are, like, popular and stuff: they aren't jealous of me!!"

(That'll be $100 for the hour, Mrs. Stott. My receptionist can validate your parking on the way out.)

I'm guilty of it too, though, the labelling. I'll make a snap judgement in a second. The worst part is, until you prove to me otherwise, I'll keep thinking my snap judgement is gospel. Worse than that? You prove my snap judgement (for example, that you are a total asswipe and douche-canoe) correct.

I would love to Disney Princess out on you and say that we have to learn to live in a world without labels and see past the outside and judge people on their actions and not what we think we know about them, but guess what? Not gonna happen.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a dirty, toothless man in a No Fat Chicks tee shirt leaning up against my car. Man, I hate rednecks.

No, that wasn't a label; that was the truth. ;)

Friday, April 15, 2011

In Which Amy Talks Junk . . . Food

Have you ever opened your cabinet, examined the contents and thought, "Damn it, there are just not enough snacks in here."?

Have you ever lingered a little too long in front of the Little Debbie display at the grocery store?

Have you ever jammed your kid's Goldfish crackers into your mouth while hiding behind the open door of the fridge as you dig them out a healthy snack of carrot sticks?


Me either.

(hanging head in shame)

I grew up in a house where junk food/snack food/good food was nearly non-existent. No soda, no chips, no sugary cereals, no candy, no snack cakes. Nothing. We had two drink choices: water or milk (if we were really lucky, there was a container of iced tea in the fridge, but that was only during the summer). Until I was about 10, I thought ice cream only came in one flavor combination--vanilla-chocolate-strawberry--and was served in minuscule servings of each flavor. The portions were so small, one scoop be eaten in one go and then you were down to two flavors. Nacho chips brought into the house were for "recipes" only, but I have no idea what freaking "recipe" Mom was using them for since I never saw them in or on anything that was served at dinnertime. And if a 6-pack of Diet Coke somehow snuck its way into the pantry, I would sniff that shit out so fast, bloodhounds would look at each other and say, "Damn. She is good."

We got candy three times a year: Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. And, honestly, there wasn't even that much on those days either. The Easter baskets and Christmas stockings would have candies in them in accordance with their respective holidays (ie chocolate bunnies, chocolate coins, and etc), but mostly the goodies were fun little tchotkies or--my favorite--new panty hose to wear to holiday dinner but would promptly rip as soon as I tried to put them on. Halloween candy never seemed to last as long as it should. Dad would commandeer the mini Snickers bars and Mom would reassure us that she was going to "check" the candy after we went to bed for the urban legend trifecta of razor blades, poison and syringe puncture marks.

(Check the candy my ass, Mom. Where the hell did all my Three Musketeer Bars go?)

One of my first paychecks from my first job was spent solely on junk food. No, seriously. I blew an entire paycheck on chips, candy, and other junk which I hid around my room. I made myself a list of the hiding spots (which I lost almost immediately, of course) and got down to the delightful business of eating all the snacks I could find. I never ate $40 worth of Lays potato chips and Twizzlers faster in my entire life. So fast, in fact, I'm not even sure why I hid it since I ate it all in one night. Except for the Milky Way I found later that summer melted all over the inside of one of my sneakers.

(Stop looking at me like that. Those actions are not signs of an eating disorder.)

The first time Erick and I went food shopping as a newly-moved-in-together couple, he asked me if I wanted anything to snack on.

"What? Like chips?" I asked.


"For real? Chips?"

Erick looked at me kind of oddly and a little nervous like he was thinking, "What the hell is wrong with her?"

Oh, the potato chip aisle. It was like something out of a dream for me. I couldn't have been happier than if you had told me Wonka's Chocolate Factory was a real place and I was allowed to live in the Chocolate Room. Chips and salsa had a regular spot on our shopping list from that day on.

My love affair with junk food has hampered me though. Trying to squeeze into a wedding dress while consisting almost solely on a diet of soda and pizza is nearly impossible. Realizing that taking in a dress is easier then letting out a dress, I dieted my ass off and slid into that frothy raw silk confection on my wedding day like a spoon slides into a container of Fluff.

(Again with the looks. It's an analogy, people!)

I had a flat stomach for the first time in my life. Turning sideways in the mirror while on my honeymoon, I admired it. Wow, I was hot. There was no way I was going to loose that flat tummy and thin (okay, thin-ish) thighs. Then Erick and I went to Disney World and I proceeded to eat my weight in Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bars.

If you read my statuses on Facebook, they're pretty unvarying: rum, Lizzie, Erick's obsessive fantasy sports habit, food. In fact, one of my statuses tonight was about how I couldn't decide whether to eat another Little Debbie snack cake or crack open a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

Surprisingly, Lizzie doesn't share my swoony delight of the crap food. Oh, don't get me wrong: that girl can put away a serving of Ben & Jerry's Fair Trade Vanilla like a pro (it could be the fact I ate 3 to 4 pints of B & J a week when I was pregnant), but she will choose fruit over candy any day. In fact, she hates candy. Don't try to give her chocolates or gummy bears. She'll turn her perky little nose up at them every time and ask for grapes or carrots instead.

She certainly didn't learn that behavior from me.