Wednesday, June 30, 2010

DC Comics Can Bite Me

The news from DC Comics, announcing a new look and storyline for Wonder Woman, is a travesty.

First, let me say that the changes made to the storyline don’t bug me; I recognize that they have to do something like this to keep the character and her adventures interesting and relevant. I suppose that the writer in me understands that this is a necessity if she is to stay "alive." I don't know that the specific story they've come up with is any good, but whatever. Who can concentrate on that right now when there's a bigger problem at hand?

The tragedy here is what they’ve done to her look.

Why has a perfectly awesome superhero been revamped to look like… like…. this? I can’t even describe it, it’s so bad (though articles I’ve read referencing the 90’s aren’t far off!).



What the hell is this? She looks straight out of a biker bar in some small town in the middle of nowhere. Shoulder pads? Those hideous gloves? And is she not wearing boots anymore? Who is this? She is just so ugly!

Wait, forget the outdated, unimpressive, dull, ugly outfit and let's get right to the obvious:


(I'm linking from Deadline Hollywood, who has this as an exclusive)

Those boobs!! My g-d, REALLY? How exactly does one kick ass with those knockers? My first thought was, clearly, a man is behind this (and I was right; she was redesigned by Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics). Oh, and look: she's anorexic. How surprising. This new Wonder Woman is so cliche it's laughable. It's like they asked a 13-year-old fanboy to come up with this!

This is seriously awful, on so many levels. Nikki Finke’s take on the matter completely echoes my thoughts, and I especially agree with her thoughts about how naturally it's "a bunch of men" who have crapped all over the best female superhero ever. As she points out, the head of DC Entertainment is a woman, and I honestly wonder how she ever approved of this.

The problem for me is that while comics might be more popular with boys and this new look is geared toward them, there are many, many females who idolize Wonder Woman (like ME, for example). And this new look – it’s trash. It’s an insult to the legacy of Wonder Woman and all the little girls who wanted to BE her when they grew up (like ME, for example). The old costume was sexy, but it wasn’t ugly or trashy (dated, you could argue and I would disagree, but there was nothing wrong with it). And while Wonder Woman was voluptuous, she didn’t have these ridiculous tits popping out of her outfit, nor was she anorexic. Recent renderings of the Amazon princess have had her looking harder than before, something that I have not approved of. She's supposed to be tough and powerful, but feminine. This new look just takes her further away from femininity and sexiness.

Maybe I'm too much of a purist for this kind of change, but I see nothing good in this. Far from it.

DC Comics has turned my hero into a joke. I can’t even take this nonsense seriously.

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To explain a little about my passion for this topic, you should know that I am a die-hard Wonder Woman fan. It began with the TV show and an awesome, exact costume my aunt made for my sister that I inherited. I've never been too interested in the comic books (I have always followed the storyline without buying or trading them); it's the history, books and especially items that captivate me. I have a huge collection of items, a ridiculously geeky source of pride for me (and by "huge" I mean, the collection fills an entire bedroom, though it's in storage right now). Hell, prior to starting this blog as "Tere," my Internet handle paid homage to Wonder Woman. I've always seen something beautiful and admirable in this superhero: she was smart and strong and badass and resourceful and independent and honest and pretty and desirable - a perfect combination. What can I say? I fell in love as a little girl and she's never lost her place in my heart.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/30/2010   | | | links to this post

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Report on Motherhood

There's been a very definite, and very remarkable, change in this boy of mine. I've spent the last few months noticing the longer sentences, the more complex thoughts, the increasingly complicated questions, how short his pants and shorts suddenly are, how he’s a little more aware of the world around him. He's grown mentally and physically and is right now looking so much like a boy, a full-fledged boy, that I find myself staring at him often, wondering where time's gone and where it's leading us.

There is this whole other side to him now, so much more inquisitive and curious and hungrier for knowledge and activities. He's exhausting but fascinating. Life with him is non-stop talking, to the point that in the car (where traffic easily stresses me out and I need music just to cope), I have to hush him up at some point: "no more talking now, let's just enjoy the music." It doesn't stop him, and sometimes I have to get stern: "I need a break, no more talking!" But inside, I'm marveling at him, at the constant questions and commentary and the way he remembers things I tell him.

I've realized quite startlingly over the last few months how around him, my brain can't rest. Not only that, I have to be 10 steps ahead of him, not letting opportunities to teach a lesson pass by, and making a game out of things so that he'll either do what he has to do or learn something new. This is different than how it was just a year ago, to not speak of two. This is more cerebral, and I have to be savvier, subtler, two things I’ve never been good at. We cook together and in the process we discuss heat and how food gets cooked; he plays with his letter magnets as I fold laundry and I call out words, running across the room to high-five him when he gets them right; he asks about numbers now, and I try to find ways to get him thinking about addition and subtraction. Wherever we are, as he points things out and asks questions or makes (absurd) declarations, I try to walk the fine line of correcting/educating him and letting his imagination run wild.

The feeling I get frequently with my son, that motherhood is basically a series of heavy sighs, hits me hardest lately when I look at him. I don't know if there's any trace of baby left in him. Some moments, I could swear there is, but I'm pretty sure it's just wishful thinking on my end. He’s been through a growth spurt that’s affected me more than I thought it would, and I guess it’s a big deal to me because this is still the baby who was born at four-and-a-half pounds and who's always been way smaller than his peers. He is still smaller, still in size 3T clothes at almost-five years old. But he's grown. Those 3T that are big on his waist are short, too, coming up over his ankles or knees. He reaches my hip and has a messy head of hair that I frankly don't comb, letting it fall as it may. His lips are fuller, and he seems to look a little more like me and my side of the family. He maintains his lisp, which I find endearing.

But it's watching him just be, as he does his thing, that I'm overcome with awe and pride and wonder. He's reached a new level of understanding recently, connecting dots to form and communicate more complex thoughts. Some are hilarious because he's just repeating phrases he's heard; and while he uses them correctly, they seem odd coming out of this small creature's mouth. Some things are so normal, like the sudden leap in spelling and reading skills, but from this side now they seem so amazing and I'm filled with pride. But other things... other things are harder to hear, like when he tells me that when he's with his dad, he thinks of me and misses me. He is more aware now of the fact that he lives in two homes, though so far he has not ascribed a negative connotation to this.

This last part is where I'm most deeply affected. While he is simply beginning to notice these aspects of his life - and I encourage him to talk about it and ask lots of questions - I am the one filled with anxiety over how he will ultimately absorb all this. It is vital to me that he not look at his having two homes and all that comes with it as something *bad* - I lose way too much sleep lately thinking about this, wanting so badly to believe that this entire situation can in fact be something positive, something that won't traumatize him.

The larger problem with me is how much I want to spare him any kind of pain and trauma, when that's completely impossible. Lately I've been getting too locked up in my head, going in circles with worry and frustration and anxiety, thinking about every possible scenario - every thing that could go wrong with Max - and the outcome of each one. Over the last week I reached a breaking point, realizing that the anxiety does me no good and trying now to regroup.

Meanwhile, this boy remains as sweet and affectionate and challenging and awesome as he's always been. His energy is boundless: he is currently in preschool versions of tennis, soccer and karate and none of it slows him down; he comes home from camp and asks me or boyfriend to play baseball with him in the backyard. He loves mangos as much as I do and is obsessed with trains. He is saucy, pushing boundaries then giving a sweet look when busted.

In the middle of my own complicated feelings, I try to keep going back to the most elemental thing here: my son is healthy and happy. His laughter is frequent and joyous and he is surrounded by love.

Maybe that's all I can ask for, all I can hold on to.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/27/2010   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When One Post Eats Another

Damn, I almost made it. I've been writing some thoughts out over the last few days and am so close to finishing it. In fact, I've been sitting here this evening, writing, with the goal of wrapping the post up and putting it out there for all the world to see.

But then I got distracted by something else, and it quickly became clear that the original post would go unfinished for yet another day, and here we all are, reading a post that's not the post I intended to share.

The thing that distracted me, funnily enough, was my own words. I was thinking of something that I realized I needed to look up in order to confirm, and I remembered the one place where that info would be: my old blog. I've mentioned before that for years I blogged anonymously; and while I deleted (but saved in my files) a lot of my last anonymous blog, it's still up, floating in the Internet. I felt this odd attachment to it (and I really enjoyed writing in it, something about how easy it was to write short blurbs of thoughts and the safety of anonymity), and, I don't know. I didn't want it completely gone. I just left it there.

And then when my marriage ended, I felt like I needed that space again. I wanted anonymity, a place where I wouldn't feel ashamed about expressing the deepest levels of my pain; I wanted an empty space (because I changed the URL as an extra layer of protection and knew I had no readers) to see everything in writing: my analysis, my pain, my anger, my crazy repetitiveness and over-thinking.

Going back tonight to check that piece of info I was looking for, I consciously chose not to re-read what I wrote around this time two years ago, and then again a year-and-a-half ago, the two periods where I was really struggling with some really intense feelings. I don't have the time to read it all, and at the same time, I just don't want to. I know what's there; I know what I felt and how it was killing me. I scanned enough to see that I wrote in those two time periods a series of entries that I'm sure are ridiculously over-analytical and repetitive and slightly crazy; I remember them as an intense effort in trying to make sense of things that I've come to realize make no sense, and of trying to label and define and explain every single thing I felt.

But while I felt no desire to re-read or recall that period, I found myself once again missing this blasted journal, missing anonymity, missing the thing about this particular place that - when I wasn't being a completely depressed, sad, obsessive thing - allowed me to be silly and geeky and a lot like how I'm not here. And if I can illustrate this thought somehow, it is to say that there, I can write (and have written) something like, "Can't wait for my new shoes to arrive!!" and that's it, while here I feel like I can't do that. And "can't" is such a strange thought, since this is my blog and I can write whatever I please!

I don't know why I have these blogs in these respective boxes. That one, while it contains a lot of long, personal stuff, is mainly an irreverent place that seemed so much more immediately accessible to me. With the exception of the post-marriage craziness, even the personal posts were surprisingly brief and to the point. Here, I think it's annoying to write short posts that in essence say nothing, and here I try to cram all these deeper, more comprehensive thoughts. I wonder if the fact that here I have a readership while there I don't is a factor. Possibly. When the anonymous blog had readers, I knew who they were and I knew it was "o.k." to post junk because they didn't mind and even enjoyed it. Here... I don't know... I guess it's just different.

Meanwhile, all this distracted me from the real thing I've been writing about. It's happening more and more lately; I have like a dozen posts full of notes and half-thoughts of things I need and want to write about, but I can't seem to finish them. I get distracted, or I get too overwhelmed and need a break. And in the end, I either don't post anything at all, or I do what I'm doing right now and write about something I never even planned to write about and at the same time go on about how this is not the topic I wanted to share.

GAH.

My blog is a cannibal.

Chomp.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/22/2010   | | | links to this post

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No, Damn It, I Don’t Want a Ring on It, and Neither Does the Baby Jesus!

So can someone please tell me WHAT the appeal of Bethenny Frankel is? I fail to see it.

(Actually, who on earth is she?? Was she anything special before her TV show? Or is this yet another completely fabricated "star"?)

No, I don’t watch her New York housewives show (though I’m utterly riveted by the New Jersey one, and anyway, wasn't she, um, not a housewife?), so perhaps I’m missing out on something awesome… but I’ve seen enough clips about her to seriously doubt that.

And it’s one of those clips that has me annoyed as all hell right now. My g-d, Bravo TV, if I have to see one more promo for her new show, I’m going to blind myself. Actually, I’m going to tape my ears shut because what annoys me, what grates on my every last nerve, is her freaking voice and that awful, stupid, sound bite they keep playing, where she’s flashing her engagement ring and saying, “I guess he liked it so much he put a ring on it.”


GAHHHHH!!!!!

This sound bite has come to represent everything that I think is wrong with modern relationships: it all boils down to the ring. A flippin’ inanimate object that at the end of the day means nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

My word, do I hate engagement rings. I mean, they’re gorgeous, sure, but I hate them. I hate the pressure around the guy to blow money on one when that money has like 5,000 better uses; I hate the way women obsess about them, like the ring says something about the relationship or the guy’s love for them (uh, no, it doesn’t); I hate the importance they’re given and how so much (so much that is insignificant) seems to rest on them; I hate how the proposal becomes about the ring, with guys practically shoving the ring at their women without barely a heartfelt sentiment and women caring only about the ring, not paying attention to anything else. (However, I think wedding rings are a whole other matter. Those to me are important, I see a lot of meaning and symbolism in those and think that really, the investment should go into those.). This post alone cannot possibly contain the intensity of my anti-engagement ring feelings.

But my engagement ring tizzy just makes me think about my other related pet-peeve and now I'm doubly annoyed: marriage proposals done on holidays. No, o.k.? No no no no no no. NO.

(Pause. Before I even get into it, let me just apologize to everyone I know who got engaged over a holiday. Girls, I know it's your special moment I'm commenting on here, and that for you it's an awesome memory; and guys, really, you made a nice holiday like 3,000 times more special for the women you love - and I totally respect that. I do. I've heard your stories and find them sweet and shared in your happiness in those moments (I even admired the rings, because heck, they are beautiful and you were all clearly happy and that’s what matters), and this is not meant to diminish that in any way. I don't want to insult anyone with this. Really, I don't. I'm a bit worried that I might hurt or offend someone with this, and this is not my intent; I'm just talking about my personal preferences. My thoughts on this matter bear no negative reflection on my opinion of and feelings for anyone in my life to whom this applies.)

But here's the thing: I know TONS of people who got engaged over Christmas and/or Valentine's Day, and that's the problem: it's unoriginal and saps from the proposal its own special place in the history of the relationship.

(I'm sticking with these two holidays since they seem to be the most popular for proposals. A Fourth of July proposal doesn't really rile me up.)

(Oh, and except Halloween. Anything done on Halloween is usually excellent.)

I suppose the responsibility falls on the guy, who plans the proposal in the first place. Men, what compels you to propose on Christmas or Valentine's Day? I'd honestly like to know. I see no relation whatsoever between the two things. See, for me, I like my holidays to be just about that holiday. Christmas for me is about pig and family and love - just not "will you marry me?" kind of love. And Valentine's Day is a fake holiday, totally made up for no discernible reason. So I don't know the thought process behind proposing on a holiday. And I know I'm in the minority here, because it's so common that clearly, there's some appeal that I'm missing. Is it because no one else minds co-opting the holiday for engagement purposes? Does the holiday itself make the proposal more romantic and memorable? Is it about knocking out two gifts at once? Is it the stress of having to come up with something super special and the holiday somehow resolves that?

I know I sound really unromantic here, but it's because I really believe in the romance of a marriage proposal that I feel this way. I just think that a marriage proposal should stand on its own, as its own special moment. (Actually, I used to think that the best time for a guy to propose would be his own birthday, because the message there is, "on my special day, the best present would be to spend the rest of my life with you." But, you know, I came up with that one when I was a teenager, neck-deep in memorizing the Romantic poets, so it might not hold much water.) And I do believe in making a marriage proposal unique (without going overboard; no one needs to sky dive for my love or any crazy shiz like that) without being dull. I guess that for me, a proposal that's very personal to the relationship, that clearly shows some real thought and effort, makes the most sense (or, since we're talking about romance here, is what's most romantic). (And I wonder if most women wouldn't agree with this?) So given these thoughts, I just don't get the holiday proposal thing.

The thing is now, not being 22 (my age when I received my marriage proposal), and not being so clueless about what marriage really is, and instead seeing marriage for the deep, challenging, beautiful thing that it is, I look at the proposal as this moment that is not at all about how many bells and whistles it brings (and holiday proposals, rings, dramatic gestures and forced romanticism are all that - bells and whistles and little else), but about something deeper, something that is intimate and fun and tender (and not with a ring, or on a holiday, and most definitely not followed by public appearances where you flash the ring and quote terrible pop songs).

I have to change the channel now before I smash my TV to pieces.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/10/2010   | | | links to this post

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Sensitive Matter

I'm telling him - for probably like the 10,000th time - about my temper. I'm explaining that it's bad and ugly and a stigma I can't run far enough from, when he points out that he's never even seen this temper, and does it really exist?

He's right: he's never seen the temper, not in any more than brief flare-ups. I've tried like all hell to keep that temper under control, not just around him, but in general. I've been trying to lose that temper for years now, most consciously in the last few years. It's just another thing that motherhood has changed inside me.

As it is, the temper is not gone, not fully dealt with as I'd like it to be - as I need it to be. It is my son who gets the brunt of it, and this is a thing that troubles me on a daily basis. On the one hand, I view it as a work-in-progress, one that gets better every day. On the other, it's inexcusable; I can't have such a short fuse; I need to be more patient; I need to try to see life more from his perspective. So I just keep trying. I keep it front and center and try every day to be better. Some days are better than others; some days are devastating.

So there on his couch, when he questions this temper, I find myself trying to explain the temper more deeply than I ever have before to anyone who wasn't a licensed professional. This isn't easy. This is a part of me I'm ashamed of, yet I want him to know about it. I want him to know what he's getting into, even if he might not ever know it in full force. And I want to know that I can do this, reveal something like this with enough trust in him and us and myself - whatever it is I've become. I think often about what it is that I need to be able to do this - bring someone into my life and build a new life with him and have it be something I want and find fulfilling and worth the trouble and trust. And this is one of those things. I need to be able to speak without fear of judgment. I need to know that underneath the passion and common values and shared dreams and regular, wonderful laughter, we are friends, real friends.

I tell him, as briefly and plainly as I can. I wasn't even very prepared for this, so it's not really much that I say. I have no idea that I've shed any light, or elucidated him, or made an impression of any kind.

When I'm done, he says, "you're a sensitive person." He doesn't roll his eyes as he says it, nor does add such anywhere in there. His voice is not harsh, nor is it fake-understanding. He says it half like he's just figured it out, and half like it's just a fact. Like, there it is, isn't it obvious?

And the thing is, I'd never used that adjective on myself; I don't even know what compelled him to say it that way. But he explains a bit, and from there I find myself telling him the thing. The thing I'd never been able to verbalize until a few short years ago that was the thing that made so much about myself and my life so clear, but which I haven't discussed much with others: my temper is the manifestation of my hurt. All of it. Any given tantrum or outburst can be the culmination of hurt that's never been able to be expressed without severe consequences and the frustration and sense of unfairness and repetitiveness that this has filled me with. I grew up knowing - and life repeatedly has proven - that I could not, should not, ever, ever, ever show hurt for what it was. To show hurt was to basically ask that hurt to be made worse - amplified, deepened, exposed. Be taken advantage of. You all may know something else about hurt, about safety in expressing it, but I don't. I know that I have to be a brick wall and reveal nothing, unless it is in the form of the crazy temper, because that temper, up until a few years ago, felt safe.

And in this, I guess that, yes, I have a major sensitivity. I can take things personally and feel crushed and rejected by the slightest things. My sensor about these things tends to be off. The people I love have an incredible power to hurt me because their love and approval means everything to me. And discovering all this stuff about myself was one of like three key revelations, because it was essential to setting me on a better path.

The moment he told me I was sensitive, I wondered at that word and wasn't so sure. But I think about that conversation and so many others we've had... I think about our relationship... I think about who he is and how he treats me. And I think, finally, I can express my hurt. Finally, I am understood.

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Posted by Tere @ 6/07/2010   | | | links to this post