Eyebrows, Va-jay-jays and Instagram – Oh My!

I could have titled this, “Amber Rose and her Mighty Bush”, but that seemed like a tag line from a new superhero series aaaaaaand I already am feeling uncomfortable and conflicted with my commentary about said Bush. I assuage my uncomfortable feelings by telling myself that courageous women like Amber are using their public platform to demystify the conversation on and about pubic hair and by their refusal to beat around the bush about pubic hair – they are taking one for the team. Let’s be real though….Amber Rose is no Malala

Here goes……

Yesterday as I refreshed my Facebook feed I was greeted with a story about Amber Rose and her Instagram post where she shared a photo of her laying naked featuring her generous swath of pubic hair, aka the mighty bush. I am surmising that her pubic hair was what was being featured in the photo, but she could have been simply asking for her followers to help her with her annual check for suspicious moles. Whatever the reason for the picture it didn’t matter, the photo had already been removed by the Instagram Police (but of course it had been saved elsewhere and was included in the story I was reading). The conclusion: Apparently it was important that we all realize that 2017 was the year that we #bringbackthebush

Who knew that The Bush needed a campaign to help it to return? Was The Bush in peril like the White Rhino? Where do I donate money? Can I use Apple Pay?

FYI, The Bush has never left. Millions…..nay billions of women world-wide still sport full pubic hair growth, they just don’t talk about it. A large percentage of them don’t care, don’t have time to worry about it and have more pressing matters that occupy their minds #longhairdon’tcare. Plus…. women living north of the 49th parallel need to consider the winter months…brrrrrr.

Why is a ‘Mighty Bush’ newsworthy or instagram-photo-worthy? Please tell me that people are not going to start posting pictures of their generous or otherwise pubic hair growth on Instagram. This is not the same as Instagram eyebrows people…..please remember that. And no…..your pubic hair is NOT the ‘Eyebrow of your Vagina”. We (most women) honestly don’t care if you let ‘it’ grow until it blends into your thigh hair; don’t care if you wax it so you look like a plucked chicken or if you Edward Scissorhands it into a work of art. It is like fingernails — let them grow, trim them short, paint them, embellish them….whatever. We don’t care…..or do we?

Judy

Devil thy name is a carpet rake

What I am about to tell you can go no further. I mean it…..NO FURTHER. In fact, telling you about this is going to place my membership into this exclusive Facebook group in jeopardy. By disclosing this information I am probably breaking one of their Cardinal Rules and one of the ‘Admins’ will probably track me down and delete me from the page.

Seriously.

For real.

They are a tough bunch.

I became a member of this particular Facebook page a few years ago after my adult daughter mentioned that she had recently begun ‘Stripping’. Being the progressive parent that I am, I concealed the look of horror on my face and said, “Pardon me? Did you say stripping?”.

“Yes mom…..stripping…..as in stripping laundry” she responded.

“Stripping laundry? Like removing sheets from the bed?” I ask…..confused.

“No…stripping laundry in the bathtub to remove the buildup of minerals and soap from my clothing”.

She went on to explain how she has begun stripping quite regularly and when she wasn’t stripping she was deep cleaning. “The ingredients for stripping laundry are quite different from deep cleaning laundry. For stripping I use washing soda, borax, and…. ( I am not going to tell you the ingredients because then FOR SURE I will be expelled from the group) and for deep cleaning I use a combination of detergent, and…..(again….not going to say). Mom seriously you SHOULD SEE THE DIRTY WATER!!!!! ”.

This is the same girl that drinks wheatgrass in the morning and devours kale chips for lunch. This is the same girl who once told me that she couldn’t remember the last time she washed her hair. THIS girl is mixing together a witch’s brew of chemicals to remove any “impurities” from her sheets and towels.

She then got all animated as she explained how the Shark Navigator vacuum was way better than the Dyson and how she created the ultimate all purpose cleaner by combining two household staples (not gonna say) in a spray bottle.

I looked around to see if I was being Punk’d. Then I teared up because she knew what a vacuum was *sniff*.

What is this Facebook page you ask? The page is called Laundry Love and Cleaning Science and has over 150,000 members from all over the world. These folks take cleaning very, very seriously.

I asked to join and was quickly approved. Let me tell you…….an entirely new world opened for me.

There is an endless stream of posts and they cover a wide range of questions. Here is one from today, “I forgot to take out the trash before leaving town. It’s over 100 degrees outside so I don’t want to open the windows. Any ideas? I don’t have any Febreze or citrus. Should I just throw handfuls of baking soda in the air??”

Cleaning porn is posted on their Facebook page all the time. Cleaning porn is described as a before and after that is so different that you wonder if it is the same home. Cleaning porn is when someone posts short video clips of power washers slowly removing sundeck or concrete stains. Cleaning porn is when someone posts a picture of a carpet with perfect vacuum ‘lines’. Cleaning porn is when they create a super-duper grout-cleaning machine out of a cordless drill and a scrubbing pad.

I admit that I was intrigued at the lengths that these members go to get things, ‘hospital’ clean.

I wondered how long it would take for my home to get into the state of some of these before pictures. If I quit doing dishes, my kitchen would be wreck by mid week. If I quit doing laundry, it would pile up to a seemingly insurmountable mountain in two weeks. I get it….it could happen to many of us. I actually have a couple of rooms that could qualify as pre-hoarding but that is a completely different Facebook group.

Which brings me to why many of the individuals feel comfortable sharing their messy and/or dirty homes. A few of them (admittedly) suffer from depression or are overwhelmed with their responsibilities of working and parenting. Only a small portion of them are OCD, whereas the others are posting pictures to keep themselves accountable. In fact, you cannot use the term ‘OCD’ on the Facebook page or your comment will be deleted. The group is there to support one another not disparage.

So….while the page does have its weird updates, I have grown to appreciate the role that it plays in many of their lives and I continue to stalk the page from the sidelines. Have I ever tried any of the strange things that they suggest? Sure, but I also take it with a grain of water softener salt. In my 20’s and 30’s I would have been all over their ideas and trying to hold myself to an unbelievable standard. This Judy doesn’t care if there is a little mess here and but I do get it…..I do understand how having the opportunity to be in control of one part of ones life can help keep the rest of the life from spinning out of control. If that opportunity comes in the way of perfect vacuum lines on the carpeting then who am I to judge.

Cheers!

Judy

Why Doesn’t Anyone ‘Like’ me?

A friend menfacebook-liketioned to me recently, “I can’t believe people haven’t liked your recent Facebook post about XYZ?”. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Meh….sometimes people just don’t feel like pressing the button. I don’t take it personally”.

We continued our conversation about how some social media posts get very little traction whereas others are liked and shared hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

What keeps someone from ‘liking’ your post? Why is a post of someone holding a sign that says, “I told Robbie that he could go to Disneyland if this post received 1000 likes” so popular? I mean….they are literally asking for you to like them.

Reminds me of the movie Notting Hill where Anna Scott (played by Julia Roberts) stands in front of William (played by Hugh Grant) and says, “I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her”.

Julia Roberts Crush GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It begs the question. If you constantly post updates and no one either comments, likes or shares it – did anyone actually read it…..or does anyone really care? And……if they don’t….should we quit posting updates? Also who is ‘they’?

The psychological mind warping that has happened since the introduction of social media is….well….significant. We Instagram a picture of our dog looking adorable and then we get a little jolt of (Simon Sinek says it’s Dopamine) chemical in our brain when someone ‘hearts’ it or comments with an emoji.

If I created a graphic that said, “I get a rush of a neuro-chemical akin to a mini-orgasm to my brain every time you ‘like’ this post”, would that make a difference? If Robbie asks to go to magical Disneyland, why can’t I request a rush of magical dopamine?

If Simon Sinek is correct and our brains are becoming re-wired due to our use of technology, does that mean that at some point we will no longer get the same rush of dopamine when we exercise or laugh out loud?

If I knew that I could get a “runner’s high” and not have to run…..wellllllll I might just quit running. (hahaha – I would have to start first).

But….as usual I digress. We were discussing why some posts receive many ‘likes’ and others receive none.

I have no clue. Well…I do have a clue, but it is the obvious:

  • No one saw it
  • No one understood it
  • You were vague posting and few people like a vague post
  • You were sharing some bullshit yellow rose of happiness crap
  • It was the 10th inspirational quote you posted that day
  • You were being insincere
  • You are an antagonistic, narcissistic jerk or jerkette
  • You say mean things
  • ………who knows why

If there was an eye-roll detector that allowed us to see how many folks rolled their eyes at our most recent social media update that would probably give us some insight on why it wasn’t liked or shared. Pfft! I am certain that my posts receive plenty of eye rolls!

Do I care? (I would be lying if I said that sometimes it didn’t bother me a weeeeee bit)

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Sad Woman GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

At the end of the day, the ‘likes’ you receive on Facebook does not determine your value nor should you allow it to control how you gauge your worth as a person.

Your ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ do not define you.

Now….let’s all log off and go for a brisk walk – a jolt of dopamine awaits!

Judy

If I were to be honest…..

sometimes-the-black-fog-sneaks-up-on-you-and-before-you-know-it-you-are-surrounded

If I were to be honest and walk the talk, I would admit that this January has been pretty hard for me. My brain is not in the right place and I am having difficulty controlling my emotional wellbeing. You know….hypersensitive, angry, generally bitchy and wanting to spend some alone time.  Nothing to worry about really because I am aware and conscious of how I feel, but just wanted to let you know that if you feel the same way – it’s okay and we will get through it and the days will get longer and spring is around the corner and the sun will come up tomorrow.

When we admit that we are feeling kind of shitty and a wee bit blue we are not asking for hugs or pats on our hands or pity or judgement, we are just letting you know that we are struggling to find our footing. We will find our footing, I know we will, but in the meantime if you see us taking a few moments to ourselves, maybe even look like we have shed a tear, or seem a little different than normal, it is okay. Still ask us “how are doing?” because we might just need to tell you.

Judy

 

Cara Speaks….

I met Cara at our first TEDx Grande Prairie practice session. She sat in the first table directly in front of our makeshift practice stage and I could not help but notice how invested she was in each of our presentations. During my practice, she assumed the role of silent cheerleader, her smile encouraging, her nodding of understanding……I locked my eyes on her and clung as if it were a life preserver and she was keeping me safe.

We, the TEDx Grande Prairie 2016 speaking team, had just met for the first time and we were hearing our presentations for the first time. It was “solidarity in terror”, all of us feeling the pressure of our looming TEDx talks.

I knew that Cara was special. I felt her empathy for others – she wore it like an invisible cloak of feathers that fell softly as she moved. I felt safe around Cara.

You know when you meet someone and you feel like you have been wrapped in a hug of happiness? That is how I felt after spending time with Cara – especially after the evening where we all stood on that stage and shared our personal stories to the TEDx audience.

Here is Cara’s TEDx Talk – Familiar Strangers. It will fill you with hope.

 

Are you interested in hearing more from Cara? Well…..you can! She has a podcast where you can further experience the light that is Cara…..

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/cara-jones-speaks/id1131004280

Follow Cara on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carajonesspeakstv/?pnref=lhc

TEDx Talk – The Broken Window

Recently I was fortunate enough to cross an item off my bucket list. I was invited to do a TEDx Talk!

It was terrifying…..I am not gonna lie, but so empowering at the same time!

I would love it if you would watch it and share it – the message is so very important.

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TEDx Grande Prairie – 2016

Sing like everyone is watching!

Fall has arrived! School is back in session and so are all of the extracurricular activities. Dance classes and figure skating and band practice…..where everyone gets an opportunity to do their best and shine their brightest. When disillusioned parents imagine their contemporary dancers being in the Sia music video and their little hockey players are the next Sidney Crosby. There will be dance recitals and band recitals; figure skating festivals and hockey games. There will also be talent shows………

There is nothing more endearing than the small town talent show where those with the gift of song can trill to a full audience and those with the gift of dance can tap to their little hearts content. Piano players and jugglers, flutists and sax players – all have the opportunity to shine their bright light upon a crowded auditorium.

Such was the case in my small town of Worsley. The school gymnasium was our auditorium; it could be a dance hall, a banquet room, a church for funerals, a farmers market or an election polling station. At one point during the long, cold winter, it also became the home of the local talent show.

I come from a musical family. My father plays a myriad of stringed instruments and we often sat in a semi-circle (a la the Andrew’s sisters) and sang along with Dad. He played many of the old favourites done originally by Cash(Johnny) and Snow (Hank) and occasionally threw in fun songs like:

“Bimbo, Bimbo, where ya gonna go-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, whatcha gonna do-e-o
Bimbo, Bimbo, does your mommy know
That you’re goin’ down the road to see a little girleo”

Dad is a good singer and his sense of musicality is enviously en pointe. Let’s just say that the apple(s) fell far from the tree and Jessie and I (come on Jessie…you have to admit you can’t sing either) were not blessed with the gift of music. June and Jaki – yes, Jessie and I – no.

That didn’t stop us from singing…..nope! We sang ‘Delta Dawn’ into our hairbrushes and recorded “One Tin Soldier” on our little tape recorder.

It was January, 1972 and I was eight years old. The school announced the community Talent Show would be held at the end of the month and everyone in the small community was invited. Let’s face it…..we were 60 miles from Fairview and in the grip of a cold winter, we took every opportunity to immerse ourselves in local cultural activities.

The gymnasium would be turned into the next “Worsley’s Got Talent” extravaganza and the entire community would be present and accounted for, as trucks idled in the parking lot for two hours in the -30 degree winter night.

I would sing! Yes! I would sing at the Talent Show. I met with my musical director (dad) and we decided on a little known Hank Snow song titled, “Nobody’s Child”. Dad sang it often and I loved the part where he would sing, “no mamma’s kisses and no-oo (his voice went up) daddy’s smiles”.

THIS was my song!

I practiced and practiced AND practiced. I sang the song over and over again, so scared that I would forget the words. Memorization of lyrics is my albatross – I cannot remember words to any song. To this day when I sing an Abba song that I have listened to hundreds of times, I sing, “Tonight the Super Duper…na na gonna find me…find me like the sun”

I was concerned.

I had reason to be concerned.

The night of the Talent Show finally arrived. Dressed in a dark green ,long-sleeved dress with ric-rac in red and white sewn sewn around the hem, short hair parted on the side – a barrette holding short bangs back from my eyes – an effort to inject some femininity into my boyish styling.

Irene Bass, teacher and evening M/C announced, “Please welcome Judy Stanley – accompanied on guitar by Edmund Stanley”.

We walked out to polite applause, the auditorium was dark and there were so many rows of chairs FILLED with people: My tummy began to churn, my tongue began to twist.

Dad sat in a chair behind me and I stood in front of the microphone. I heard him whisper, “1 -2 – 3” and he began to strum.

I stare through the darkness at the basketball hoop at the end of the gymnasium and I begin to sing.

“I was slowly passing an orphan’s home one day
And stop there for a moment just to watch the children play
Alone a boy was standing and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that couldn’t see and he began to cry.

I could see my Auntie Evelyn in the front row. She appeared to be tearing up! So I sang the chorus:

I’m nobody’s child I’m no-o body’s child
I’m like a flower just growing wild
No mommy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles
Nobody wants me I’m no-o body’s child.

Auntie was REALLY crying now and I had a “They like me! They really like me!” moment and I completely lost my focus and the words left my brain. OH MY GAWD – I have forgotten the words. So I sing:

“I was slowly passing an orphan’s home one day
And stop there for a moment just to watch the children play
Alone a boy was standing and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that couldn’t see and he began to cry.

Dad knows that I am panicking and I can hear him whispering the proper words, but I was so freaked out I wasn’t listening to anyone and wanted to get off that stage before it swallowed me whole. I cranked up the internal volume and belted out the chorus again:

I’m nobody’s child I’m nobody’s child
I’m like a flower just growing wild
No mommy’s kisses and no daddy’s smiles
Nobody wants me I’m nobody’s child.

And then I stopped singing because for me, the song was over. I could not sing the same verse a third time. Dad sensed my panic and stopped playing almost simultaneously and he stood as the people in the huge gymnasium clapped politely and poor Auntie Evelyn cried herself into a puddle in the front row.

I walked off the stage vowing never to return. No…..my talent show days were over. I still sing, but no one ever hears me cuz I keep it to myself 🙂

For those of you who want to hear what Nobody’s Child was supposed to sound like – here you go!