Hey there. I miss talking to you. I know most of it is because of how busy you are, but I know another part of it, a big one, is that you chose to distance yourself from me. It wasn’t hard. I mean, there was already a physical distance. We’re on different time zones, even. And there was always an intense attraction between us. You figured it would make no sense to even try when we had so much obstacles, so we didn’t. And then I fell in love. And I heard from you even less. And it’s weird. Today I was cooking and I had Ella Fitzgerald playing. I had this image of you coming up from behind me and telling me “That is some sexy music, López” while I chopped onions. It’s ironic because I was cooking everything you try to stay away from; carb-loaded pasta, bacon, heavy cream, dark meat chicken. Also, it was weird because I’m happy. But I think of you sometimes, wondering where you are and what you’re doing. Now I’m not gonna call you or text you saying “hey, I just imagined us together” because there is no way one can do that without it sounding like “I want to be with you”. So I’ll just keep it to myself and write something that I’ll never send you and hope I get to hear from you soon. Take care, cowboy.
Disclaimer: This post includes plot details from the movie Like Crazy. Enjoy.
A couple of days ago I was reading a Refinery29 article about Netflix hidden gems. I felt proud of myself for having watched some of them and having had several others already on my queue. The funny thing was when I got to the suggestion of “Ira & Abby”, one of the first movies I added (I admit I joined Neflix very late in the game, as in this summer). It stars Chris Messina (already a winner) and Jennifer Westfeldt, who also wrote the movie. Now, Jennifer Westfeldt is a smart writer, and happened to have made one of my favorite movies of the past couple of years, Friends With Kids. If you haven’t seen that movie, go do it as soon as you finish reading this because it’s perfect. The poster and synopsis for “Ira & Abby” reads like a generic romantic comedy, but being by Westfeldt I knew it would be smartly written one. Apparently, that was also the impression Tara Rasmus, the assistant beauty editor got. I’ll let her explain it.
“I think my husband and I are both still scarred from the time we watched Ira & Abby, which seemed to be a smart, NYC-centric flick in the Neflix rom-com section (it’s written by Jennifer Westfeldt, which is awesome). Instead of a breakup-fall-back-in-love story, it ended up being an extremely painful realistic tale of how marriages can go sour. Needless to say, it made both of us really stressed out, and we almost didn’t make it through the entire movie. That being said, it was also kind of awesome (girl-writer-power!), and I think everyone should see it. But only once. Now it’s an inside joke whenever we’re trolling the internet for a movie. ‘Remember Ira & Abby, and how it made us feel too many feelings?'”
Now, I realized two things from this entry. One: Jennifer Westfeldt really likes misdirection. Anyone who sees the trailer for Friends With Kids and has seen the movie knows that while it presents itself as a straight up comedy, there is a lot more to it than that. Two: I think we’ve all been in a situation where a movie brings up things we’d rather not think about. In mid 2011 I saw a trailer for a movie called Like Crazy which looked amazing. Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence… it looked amazing. When it came out in early October critics said it captured perfectly what it was like to be that in love, where you felt like it consumed you, and praised it universally. I’d never really been in a situation where I was in love and it was reciprocated, so I’d watch it as an observant. It never came to theaters here (downside of living in a smallish island), so I bought it when it came out on DVD, in March. I often buy movies but don’t watch them until I’m in the right mood to do it. So Like Crazy went unwatched for a while. The movie features the crumbling of a relationship when distance and absence take its toll on people. A couple of months went by and something unexpected happened; I developed a long distance relationship. And I fell in love. Big time. And the movie I had been looking forward to watching before was now a ticking time bomb on my shelf. Or at least that’s how I saw it.
I remember at one point I posted on Facebook how I wanted to see the movie but couldn’t bring myself to do it, along with the link to the trailer. The responses it got were intense. People talked about sobbing and being heartbroken by it. One girl was living away from home and decided to watch it upon me posting it, then later posted again how it was a huge mistake that left her devastated. Holy crap! This movie was basically giving my friend list PTSD just by being mentioned! Needless to say, I kept it in my shelf. Months passed, and my wonderful boyfriend left for almost a year on a Marine Expeditionary Unit. As I write this, it’s been over 6 months since we’ve seen each other and we have about 3 more to go. And about two months ago I saw the movie. I remember watching it and feeling relief because the relationship was not like ours. While away, their interactions were awkward and forced. Ours are always giddy and natural. Almost every day I wake up to find a message from him in my email inbox and every single time my heart jumps a little. I’m in love and I can’t help it. So I kept watching the movie, already feeling better about myself and my relationship because my boyfriend and I weren’t like the main characters. At one point the characters break up and start seeing other people. Jacob (Yelchin) starts seeing Sam, played by everybody’s girlfriend Jennifer Lawrence. Sam is sweet, fun, and has an easygoing relationship with Jacob. At one point, out of the blue, Anna (Jones) calls Jacob and asks him to marry her. And I was watching it calmly when all of a sudden I went HOLD THE FUCK UP. See, before my boyfriend went back to North Carolina he met up with his ex girlfriend. They’d talked about getting married when they were together, but ultimately she realized she couldn’t do long distance and didn’t want to move to NC because she wanted to go to New York and find herself in the city while she pursued writing. About two months after my boyfriend had been on the ship he emailed me that he didn’t tell me anything because it had happened on the second-to-last day he was on the island and didn’t wanna ruin our last memories together, but that his ex had asked him that when he got back from deployment he MARRY HER. Say what now? My first instinct was jealousy. I mean, sure, the email also stated that he turned her down and that it wasn’t going to happen, but at some point he wanted that. My second feeling was pure, unadulterated rage. THAT BITCH. She knows I’m dating him. She had her chance. It was specially adorable that at some point during that conversation he invited my boyfriend to go to a festival so he could meet up with her mom, and mentioned I could come along too. Don’t know if that was before or after she proposed to him, but it was a nice touch. Bring the girl I want to get rid of to this beautiful reunion where she’ll feel completely uncomfortable and out of place. I didn’t get mad at my boyfriend because he was right. If I’d known about the proposal beforehand, the night would’ve been sem-ruined, and my memories of it would have been tainted. The reason I’m mentioning this is at that moment I went “wait… what if I’m the Sam character in the equation, not Anna?”.
I’d like to tell you I became paranoid and freaked out, but I didn’t. Truth is, while I don’t trust that chick (seriously, posting on his wall, asking him where he is? there’s an inbox for that), While it would probably make for a more riveting story about how I overcame my relationship insecurities, the truth is I trust my guy. He tells me he’s crazy about me every single chance he gets and demonstrates it. A lot of people ask me if I don’t worry about him being faithful, or tell me that I impress them because they would never do that. Some people ask me out of genuine curiosity, some being spiteful (trying to make me doubt my man isn’t gonna make me come running to your penis, fella). The thing is, if I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t be doing this because a relationship without trust isn’t one worth having. The movie didn’t have a happy ending, but it didn’t matter. We can have one.
However, if you still want a story about how a movie can make you feel too many feelings I’ll tell you about the time my high school boyfriend and I watched Million Dollar Baby. I picked it out thinking it was a boxing movie. Like Rocky, I told myself. It was a very silent car ride home.
This is just pure awesomeness.
Let’s be honest, there’s alotof Pokemon fan art out there. But these creations are on an entirely different level. In the most epic pairing so far, artist, Kuisuku, matches Disney characters with Pokemon, showing us what it would look like if Disney characters were Pokemon Trainers. All of Kuisuku’s art was drawn in Flash and textures were added using Photoshop. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What would Princess Jasmine’s Pokemon of choice be?” you now have your answer.
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Time-lapses of Manhattan are nothing new, but this new one called “Midtown” from District 7 Media is particularly enamoring. Sure, it’s shot very well: bright lights, vibrant colors, familiar city sounds pulsating in the background. But perhaps it’s the focus on the one section of Manhattan that many of its residents despise—and even more of its foreign tourists dreamt about for years—that reels you in for a two-minute, 43-second escape.
The man who led the production is Andrew “Drew” Geraci, a Washington, D.C.-based cinematographer who specializes in motion time-lapses and produced the opening sequence for House of Cards. In the description of the video, which was released on Wednesday, he mentions the cameras (four Canon 5D Mark IIIs), the lenses (two Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 IIs, a Canon 24-105mm f/4 and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II) and the slider gear (two of the Dynamic Perception Stage Zero with…
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I was always a very healthy child. My pediatrician had a scale of all the kids he took care of, and I was always in the 99th percentile in terms of height and weight. I wasn’t a chubby child with pudgy cheeks. I looked like a girl who would enjoy playing sports. I remember loving being outside, going to parks. The swings, the slides. The first 4 years of my life were like that. When I was in kindergarten a boy called me a made up variation of the word fat. I wasn’t fat at all, but I remember being hurt at the insult, because he had meant it as one. The fact that the boy itself was overweight didn’t register on my brain, the only thing that stuck was the insult. Days later, when my older cousin was bothering me, I told her the same word the boy had used on me. I didn’t know all the ramifications that word had, I was too young to understand how society worked, and Barbie wasn’t something I saw and wanted to emulate physically, she was just something I could use to re-enact every overly dramatic telenovela scene I’d overheard at my grandmother’s house. My cousin, 12 years old at the time, looked like she’d been slapped. Stunned and hurt, she turned her face and stopped bothering me. She knew what the word meant, how much it could hurt.
My mother had always been very beautiful, and very petite. She had a slender waist and narrow hips, olive green eyes, dark straight hair and a luminous smile. I have very early memories of her being on diets. I remember that while the rest of the family drank juice, she’d drink pink grapefruit Crystal Light. I didn’t know then, but after growing up with 3 older siblings with weight issues, my mother worked to make sure she would remain slender. My mother, an excellent cook, rarely ever made lasagna. When as I child I asked her why, she said because it was very “caloric”. I had no idea what that meant and wouldn’t process it until many years later when I remembered the exchange. However, my house was still a normal house. Chocolate Chip Deluxe cookies were bought. Cake was made on birthdays. Teddy Graham cookies were eaten with delight. Food was loved and celebrated, and I grew up with an intense love of broccoli as well as chocolate. And through it all, I was beautiful. Shy, bullied, and called ugly, but I was beautiful even if I didn’t believe it. My self esteem was low, but so was my BMI, although it didn’t matter. I grew up looking very different to most people here, and while I had physical traits that the western world prizes, it wasn’t any help to me that my eyes were blue when nobody else had them, that my skin was pale and rosy when everybody else was different shades of tan, or that my hair was a big auburn nest of curls when all around me were straight dark locks. When you’re older, being different is a prize. When you’re young, it makes you an outcast. But throughout all of it, weight was never an issue. I never felt fat. That all changed, though. I developed breasts, and big ones. Even though my frame, my arms, everything else about me was still a healthy size, being a C cup when you’re 12 years old and all of the other girls wear training bras wasn’t very helpful to my popularity. Boys called me a cow everywhere I went, making mooing noises as I walked and talking about my udders. I’d hunch over to cover them up, but there’s only so much you could do. And I had to wear larger shirts to keep my ever growing breasts contained. I was the second tallest girl in my class when I graduated from the 8th grade. I wore a dress of hers under my cap and gown. At some point during my elementary school years my mother’s thyroid became hyperactive. Facing a possible heart attack in her 30s, she had radioactive treatment for it. After that it slowly became hypoactive, and my mother’s weight fears became a reality. I saw her struggle, follow extremely strict diets only to gain weight. She was miserable.
When I started high school we had mandatory gym class in the 9th grade. I wore a very large t-shirt the first semester of gym. At some point during that first semester we went to the university next to our school to use their pool. Girls were supposed to wear athletic one pieces, so I bought mine. The day of the swim class I wore my swimsuit while every other girl basically ignored the teacher and went with their usual bikinis. While this sounds like something that would make me miserable, it wasn’t. What did happen was that people got to see the shape I had been hiding. My close friend told me “everybody just assumed you were fat, but you actually have a nice body!”. We were going through some money troubles at my house so I didn’t ask for a set of new polos, but a smaller gym t-shirt my parents could afford and I wore it with amazing confidence. At some point I gained a bit of weight. Not much, but enough for me to lose my confidence, so my mother took me to a nutritionist who helped me. I lost the weight. I never had unhealthy eating habits, but having small meals throughout the day kept my metabolism working and did the trick for me. In my senior year of high school I had my first boyfriend. We started dating at the end of my junior year, technically. I was never slimmer or prettier. My hair hadn’t been dyed so it was still my natural auburn color, my breasts had grown to a D-cup (which I denied as long as I could stuffing my breasts into a C-cup bra), and my jeans were a size 4. I was never really in love with him, but he was a nice guy. Unfortunately for him, I started gaining some weight. I wasn’t doing anything different, or eating more, but I was steadily gaining some weight. He never really commented on it except for one time when he told me I could lose the weight or stay as I was, but I couldn’t gain any more. It sounds jerky, but it’s understandable. He fell for a girl who looked a certain way and all of a sudden she started changing. By the time I started my second semester of college I was already single. I wasn’t really broken hearted, and it lead to my having more experiences with men and understanding them and him getting a girl who truly loved him, so win/win.
At some point I went to an endocrinologist. Cysts were found on my thyroid, which explained my slow but consistent weight gain. It wasn’t hypothyroidism, so I wasn’t being medicated as aggressively. And the weight kept coming. In this weight I met many of the people I now have in my life and discovered there’s nothing quite like being chubby to land in the dreaded “friendzone”. And I knew it. I knew guys didn’t see me as someone they could get involved in, so from the get-go that possibility was ruled out of my head, making me the wingwoman, the girl “bro”. And I was awesome at it. And sure, it has the potential to be heartbreaking, but since I never expected anything to come from it, I didn’t get myself into that situation. It lead to hookups. Guys surprisingly wanted to fuck me, although never actually date me. This led to the belief that there was something wrong with me, and that thing was my weight. I felt ashamed of my body during sex, always wondering how my stomach or my jowls looked, often closing my eyes or hoping for darkness in the room. Then a man came who was crazy about my body. He called me voluptuous and curvy and buxom. My DD-cup breasts were seen as godly, my hips womanly, my ass astonishing. Slowly, over the course of this casual (by mutual choice) relationship, I began to feel more and more comfortable naked. Then there was this TV show. Almost every girl loves a good makeover show, having people help you improve your looks like fairy godparents is a dream. But this one show was different. They didn’t want to change people’s bodies, they wanted to change people’s feelings about their own bodies. They showed people how to wear something that would flatter you and highlight your best features. And everybody has great features. They also said to dress for the body you have right now. That whole buying clothes a size smaller because you know you’ll lose weight, or not buying clothes that you love now because you don’t want to stay this shape was dismissed. So I started focusing on the things about me I do like. I may be overweight, but that weight is distributed evenly. I have a large butt and am quite buxom, but I also have strong legs and a small waist, all things that are worthy of celebrating. So slowly but surely, acceptance and confidence started coming.
I can’t say that I don’t wish I could lose weight, because I do. And I should. And not from an aesthetic perspective, but from a health one. I’m a size 12 and weight 201lbs. I never ever say my weight out loud because I know it’s a big unhealthy number, and I guess part of me thought that saying it would make people suddenly realize I was fat. Because we do that. We trick ourselves into thinking people will see us differently if we admit to weighing a certain amount or buying clothes at a plus size store. We pray regular stores have a plus size section so we won’t have to be seen going into a Torrid. Such bullshit. We tell ourselves that some numbers are okay to be and some are dirty. We stuff ourselves into something that barely fits because we don’t want the size that would flatter us, because it’s one of the dirty digits. But I digress.
Over a year ago my mother finally found a nutritionist who was able to help her. She developed a very strict diet, which was nothing she hadn’t done before, but this time it worked. My mother was thin again and felt happier and more confident than I had seen her most of my life. She’s kept the weight off, in spite of my sister and father telling her she should gain back some weight. Ironically, the biggest defender of her weight loss is the daughter who weighs the most. Because my mother isn’t skinny or bony, she’s healthy and radiant, and beautiful as always. A couple of weeks ago we were laying in bed while my dad was on his chair in their room and I talked about my boyfriend (more on him later) and how I’d gotten a call from him, which had me very excited since he’s in deployment and we haven’t seen each other in months. Once again my mother suggested that I lose some weight while he’s away so I welcome him home “improved”. I told her that I was expecting her to bring it up. Because she does. Not often, but every once in a while. And I know it comes from a good place.
So I started writing this. Last week while running errands with my mom we stopped at a fast food place and I bought lunch for us. I got a piece of Hershey Pie, because I wanted it. I brought the tray over and she said “you always have to get sweets” in a concerned voice. I got defensive and told her that what she was doing was something called fat shaming and that it wasn’t helpful (the conversation is in Spanish, so there’s really no graceful way to translate it except to say it in English). Then I told her about writing this. I told her that all my life I’d seen her live in fear of getting fat, like it was the worst thing she could be. I told her that somewhere along the years, while I was still a teenager or pre-teen, she told me that I should lose weight because tall and thin women looked delicate while tall and larger women looked grotesque. She looked like she was about to cry. I felt guilty about telling her that. I told her I knew she was trying to protect me. She then told me that she grew up listening to people talk about her sister’s weight and how if she was fat it was her fault for letting herself get that way and how she never wanted people to talk about me like that. I’d never known that. When we were in the car she said that she tried so hard to keep me from getting hurt that she ended up being the one hurting me. I told her I knew she was trying to protect me, but that every child wants to feel that their parents find them beautiful. She said she did, but she also wanted me to be healthy, and thought my thyroid wasn’t under control at the moment and needed to get my levels tested. Then she mentioned my boyfriend again. I told her my boyfriend had met me when I was 13 years old and thin, and had seen me in a variety of weights over the years (he’s the brother of my oldest friend, so while we knew each other, we saw each other sporadically over the years). He’s told me that there are people who look better thin, and others who look better heavier, but that I look beautiful in every size and shape and he’s crazy about me. He doesn’t care if my body is bigger or smaller, as long as I feel happy in it and he gets to enjoy it as well. So my mother and I agreed that I would get my TSH levels and start eating smaller portions and forsaking carbs at night. I told her I wouldn’t mind dropping to a size 10, or even a size 8, but that I didn’t want to be skinny. She told me she just wants me to be healthy. Because, in spite of all the amazing bodies in bikinis I see every day on TV and magazines, I don’t want that body. I worship Christina Hendrick’s figure, and find the most beautiful women to be models like Jennie Runk, who also poses in bikinis, but looks more pleasing to my eye that the Victoria Secret Angels. I don’t see thin girls and get angry or insecure. Her being thin doesn’t make me fat, and her metabolism being fast won’t make mine any slower. I’m able to appreciate beauty in every shape. I’m happy, and soon will be healthier. When I wasn’t yet in high school and I was still hiding my changing body I read an article about a woman who grew up longing for Audrey Hepburn’s figure and style, but found her curves to be a deterrent. She concluded the piece saying that not all of us could be Audrey Hepburns, that some of us had to be Sofia Lorens. And I wish I could tell her how much that helped me. Because there’s space for all kinds and shapes in the world, and I am happy to take my place among the Sofias.
So, I wrote something. Something very personal that took me a couple of days to write. Not that it’s long (although it kinda is, at least for a blogger as unreliable as me), but my ADD, and the sometimes uncomfortable subject matter made me do it little by little. It features my mother in a human, flawed way, which is what probably makes me nervous the most. My mother is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known, kind and loving to no end. But she makes mistakes. We all do. And I mention them. And even though those mistakes come from a desire to protect and keep me from harm, the fact that I could portray her in anything other than the most flattering light in the world terrifies me. But part of me thinks I should post it. Because while it is extremely personal, to millions of people it is relatable and universal. So I’ll post it. And immediately freak out about it.