“Business” hair

As a mom, artist, aspiring writer, and Zumba® instructor, I don’t always take advantage of my “free time” (if, like “extra cash,” there even is such a thing) by primping and pampering myself.  However, for some reason or another I usually am out and about town approximately a billion times a week, and I like to feel like I am at least putting in some effort to care for my appearances.  Most of the time, like when I am leaning over a detailed drawing or when I am moving all around in fitness classes, I can’t stand having my hair hanging down in my face.  So (especially when I am between professional haircuts) I often sport what I call the “business” hair.

In this instance, “business” is not actually the suit-and-jacket, job-interview type of business.  It is actually more like a “Let’s do this!” type.  You know — taking care of what needs to be done.

I remember “poofy-top” hair becoming a fad for my generation around the time Fergie branched out from the Black Eyed Peas; I used to think it was ugly and annoying, but it was in style for a while.  I now happily pull my hair into a poofy-top pony just because it is on the practical side but also more interesting than the simple ponytail.  It’s not the hottest look for me personally, but because I apparently inherited my dad’s long forehead, I like to interrupt the hairline and otherwise flat-head form.  See the below illustration for my quick visual analysis of flat-head vs. poofy-top ponytails.


How I feel with a regular ponytail (left) vs. how I feel with “business” hair (right).

Appropriate attire: Men in suits, women in next to nothing (Part 2)

— Este artículo fue escrito originalmente en inglés.  Desplácese hacia abajo para leer la versión en español.  —

A while back I posted an undeveloped rant about the apparent primary societal role of Mexican females as sex symbols/objects of beauty.  Today I am circling back to share more of my thoughts about the matter.

A couple of nights ago, my husband and I were watching his (perhaps) favorite Mexican program called Queremos Más con Oscar Burgos*.  I don’t take much time to sit down and watch the program regularly, so I usually only see it in passing.  But I sit down to enjoy the full show now and then, and share some laughs with Aron.

QM offers a variety of skits, conversations, and small talent competitions.  The show features a range of personalities, including comedians I have enjoyed watching over the span of several years, including Ingrid Leija, El Burro, El Pato, Omar, and Oscar Burgos himself.


Photo source: http://www2.esmas.com/entretenimiento/

On QM there is also a group of attractive, flirty women whose responsibilities include improv dancing, occasional one-liners and singing, and opening the prop elevator to guests who arrive on set, all while wearing skimpy dresses (except on Bikini Wednesday, that is) — low cut on the upper portion, and on the lower portion just covering enough not to flash anyone while standing still.  None of these women is by any means a part of the core group of professionals on the show, but rather a target of admiration and comedic attention based on appearances.  I’m not sure they even have microphones most of the time.  Many times when the women dance or bounce around, an annoying sound effect is played, and/or the camera focus is on a specific “private” body part.

Ingrid is the only regular multidimensional female on Queremos Más.  She is witty, inventive, sincere, and physically beautiful.  While she sometimes goes skimpier for a particular show or segment, her wardrobe generally consists of skinny jeans, tall shoes, and a trendy blouse that doesn’t show too much of any particular body part.  And despite the fact that she does not bounce around with her boobs 3 inches in front of the camera, all kinds of people around the world adore her.

I was thinking last night and this morning about why exactly the exposed skin, booty-shaking, and innuendo bothers me.  In all honesty, as a fitness class instructor I am not afraid or ashamed of the human figure.  I have become more and more confident and comfortable with my form and myself in the past 6 years, and I appreciate how much effort it takes to maintain good physical condition.  I also appreciate feeling physically attractive to my husband.  However, it becomes practically exhausting to so often be seeing skin and hearing about sexual acts instead of witnessing any sort of demonstration of dignity or intelligence.  But in terms of Mexico, I finally figured out a way of better explaining why the sex-symbol cultural expectations disturb me.  So here goes…

I love Mexico (in case this is your first time reading, I thought I would just make that clear, haha).  The pace of life in the parts of Mexico in which I have lived and visited is refreshing.  The hospitality of the Mexican people is incredible, particularly in comparison to that of the majority of their northern neighbors.  The neighborhood sight and sound of folks on foot and with carts to sell products/services to make a living signifies the sight and sound of hardworking, caring, invested people.  The ingenuity and determination of the students with whom I studied are inspiring.  The vivid colors of homes and decorations create warmth; the nation’s architecture and history are even more colorful!  The flowing language and regular laughter of the people during conversation is simply beautiful.  

Mexico is where I found grace.  Where I found my husband.  Where we started our family.

To others who do not know Mexico, though, the country stands for something else entirely.  From most movies and news reports, foreigners gain a negative impression of the country and its people — even setting aside the political corruption, floods of violence, and presence of the drug trade.  We see footage of brothels, strip clubs, and sex shops with neon signs flashing; and of gross, scantily-clad women on street corners.  We have a stereotype of Mexican women being flashy and flirty; and of the men being aggressive and unfaithful.  What we see on film and in the news takes precedence over the underlying beauty of Mexico.

The “seedy” image is perpetuated as Mexican children pay more attention to these one-dimensional, one-liner, Bikini-Wednesday role models than to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and local leaders.  The young’uns obsess over looks and relationships at an early age.  Insecurity, jealousy, and malevolence fly.  Self-respect deteriorates before it even had a chance to develop.

The example we set as adults has a huge effect on the path our youth choose to take during their lives.  When we approve of the public boob-shakers and coy comments, we undermine the integrity and potential not just of Mexican women but also of Mexican men.  I know we can do better than to accept the negative influences as commonplace and suitable.  Although I respect Burgos, I am disappointed with the way in which he supports this type of cheap entertainment.  Mexican men and women are strong, beautiful, inventive, kind, and capable of achieving much more than what we are allowing.

What good things do you predict for Mexico’s future?  Where will the improvements come from?

*Burgos is a talented comedian, idea man, television host, and a great representation of the Televisa network.   Not only has he been virtually welcomed for decades into the living rooms of families internationally, but he has also lent his hand over the years to a myriad of people, sharing his stories and educating people about addiction and rehabilitation.  You can learn more about him here: http://www.oscarburgos.mx

——————– Traducción en español: ——————–

Hace un tiempo, hablé brevamente acerca de cómo me parece que el primer papel social que tiene la mujer mexicana es ser símbolo de sexo/objeto de belleza.  Hoy vuelvo a compartir más de mis pensamientos del asunto.

Hace unas noches, mi esposo y yo vimos su (tal vez) programa mexicano favorito llamado Queremos Más con Oscar Burgos*.  No tomo el tiempo para ver el programa al diario, así que usualmente solamente lo veo en pedazos cuando lo está viendo mi esposo.  Pero de vez en cuando, me pongo a verlo en su totalidad para compartir la risa con Aron.

QM ofrece una variedad de parodias, conversaciones, y pequeños concursos de talento.  En el programa hay muchas personalidades, incluyendo a unos comediantes a quienes he estado viendo en la tele durante varios años, tal como la Ingrid Leija, El Burro, El Pato, Omar, y Oscar Burgos.

En QM también hay un grupo de mujeres atractivas y coquetas cuyas responsabilidades principales incluyen el baile, chistes espontáneos y un poco de canto, y la apertura del “ascensor” para que pasen los invitados al escenario – todo mientras presumir sus vestidos chiquitos (excepto en “miércoles de bikini”) – que les cubren solamente lo suficiente para no exponer las partes privadas mientras se quedan ellas nada más paradas.  Ninguna de estas mujeres es parte del grupo central de profesionales en el programa sino más bien el objetivo de admiración y atención cómica basada en sus apariencias.  Muchas veces cuando bailan estas mujeres, suena algún efecto de sonido fastidioso, y/o la cámara se fija de cerca en una parte “privada” específica de la mujer.

Ingrid es la única mujer multidimensional que sale habitualmente en Queremos Más.  Ella es ingeniosa, creativa, sincera, y físicamente hermosa.  Aúnque a veces se viste a la moda de las demás mujeres por un segmento en particular, su vestuario por lo general consiste en pantalón delgado, calzado alto, y blusa bonita que no expone demasiado de ninguna parte de su cuerpo.  Y a pesar de que ella no anda por todos lados saltando con su pecho a unos centímetros de distancia de la cámara, hay bastante gente por el mundo que la adora.

He estado pensando en las razones por las cuales la piel expuesta, el trasero meneando, e la insinuación me molesta.  Con toda honestidad, como maestra de clases de fitness, no me avergüenzo ni me asusto del cuerpo humano.  He vuelto más y más segura de mi figura y de mí durante los últimos 6 años, y aprecio el esfuerzo que requiere para mantener la buena condición física.  Además, disfruto de sentirme atractiva para mi esposo.  Sin embargo, me siento aburrida y casi agotada por ver tanta piel y oír de actas sexuales en lugar de ser testigo de cualquier forma de dignidad o inteligencia.  Pero por fin encontré una manera de mejor expresar mi oposición a las esperanzas sexuales de la cultura mexicana.  Así que, aquí va…

Yo amo a México (se lo digo en caso de que sea su primera vez leyendo mi blog, jaja).  El ritmo de la vida mexicana en donde yo he vivido y visitado es refrescante.  La hospitalidad de la gente mexicana es increíble, especialmente en comparación a la de la mayoría de sus vecinos al norte.  Las vistas y los sonidos del barrio cuando pasan las personas a pie y con carrito, buscando vender productos/servicios para ganarse la vida, para mí significa la vista y sonido de la gente trabajadora, bondadosa, y dedicada.  El ingenio y determinación de los alumnos con quienes he estudiado son inspirantes.  Los colores vívidos en los hogares y ornamentos crean calor; ¡la arquitectura y historia del país son aún más vívidos!  La lengua nativa y la risa de la gente durante la conversación son simplemente hermosas.

En México encontré la gracia.  Encontré mi esposo.  En México formamos nuestra familia.

Para otras personas que no conocen al México, el país es símbolo de algo completamente distinto.  Por culpa de muchas películas y reportajes noticieros, extranjeros tienen una impresión negativa del país y su gente – sin hablar de la corrupción política, olas de violencia, y presencia de narcotráfico.  Vemos filmaciones de burdeles, los “tables” (clubes de striptease), y tiendas de sexo con letreros de neón parpadeante; y de mujeres asquerosas con poca ropa, paradas en las esquinas en la calle.  Tenemos los estereotipos de las mexicanas siendo ostentosas y coquetas; y de los hombres siendo agresivos e infieles.  Lo que vemos en las pelis y en las noticias toma la precedencia sobre a la belleza que existe bajo la superficie.

La imagen sórdida se perpetua cuando niños mexicanos les ponen más atención a los modelos unidimensionales, con pocas palabras, que participan en “miércoles de bikini” que a sus padres, abuelos, maestros, y líderes municipales.  Los jóvenes se obsesionan de las apariencias y las relaciones a una edad temprana.  La inseguridad emocional, los celos, y la malevolencia prosperan.  El autoestima se deteriora antes de que tenga la oportunidad para desarrollar.

El ejemplo que ofrecemos como adultos tiene gran efecto en los pasos que toman nuestros jóvenes durante sus vidas.  Cuando cedemos a las que se sacuden las teclas y coquetean, estamos socavando la integridad y el potencial de las mujeres mexicanas e igualmente de los hombres mexicanos.  Sé que podemos hacer mejor que aceptar las influencias negativas como comunes y adecuadas.  A pesar de lo tanto que respeto a Burgos, me decepciona su apoyo de esa clase de entretenimiento.  Los mexicanos son fuertes, hermosos, inventivos, simpáticos, y capaces de lograr a hacer mucho más que lo que les estamos permitiendo hacer.

¿Cuáles cosas buenas predice Ud. para el futuro de México?  ¿De dónde vienen las mejoras?

*Burgos es comediante, hombre de las ideas, conductor de tele, y gran representación de la red Televisa.  No solamente ha sido bienvenido virtualmente por décadas a las salas de familias alrededor del mundo; también les ha dado la mano a muchísima gente durante los años, compartiendo sus cuentos propios y educando a la gente sobre la drogadicción y la rehabilitación.  Ud. puede aprender más acerca de él aquí: http://www.oscarburgos.mx

Our miscarriage story


Celebrating early for D’s birthday: out and about in the city

Every miscarriage comes with its own story.  I would imagine that each is painful for distinct reasons.  For some people, it is one of many miscarriages, and indication of a more severe medical condition.  For some, it is equivalent of failure and shame.  For some, it is a test of faith.  For some, it is loss of the growing creature that has been the only hope of keeping two adults together.

Many folks (in Mexico, particularly) had been giving us grief for years about not popping out more children — D is almost 4 years old, after all!  Our response had always been the same:  we would wait until this Güera finished her university degree, and until all 3 of us were in the U.S. and with more financial stability.

So overall, within the past several months, the timing had been right for us to have another child.  It was a lot to think about, since there would be many differences between my pregnancy with D and this one.  But it just happened that our little one, who would grow into our second child, was not developing correctly.  As far as we know, there was not much else of an explanation for how it occurred except that the timing, apparently, was just not right… not yet.

But amongst the sadness we felt, there was no anger, no blame.  On the contrary, there was an increasingly intense appreciation for all that
IMG_8561 we currently have.  We were still early in the pregnancy, so our attachment was not as great as if we were to have seen it through more development.  Comparatively to others I know, there was little physical pain, and minimal emotional pain.

We were able to explain everything to D, who was initially very upset about the loss of our to-be family member.  We kept the science of it simple, and gave a Christian view of the event that was comforting to him.  He asked questions, and we answered them.  And it is partly because of this loss that he has already begun to comprehend the way the world works, and approach life with a positive outlook.

It has been less than 3 weeks since we discovered that there would be complications.  Since that time, I start to cry whenever I have to talk about it.  But there have been bits of silver lining that dry my tears, and I have prayed more and more just for the sake of giving thanks.
IMG_8369As much as we wanted another child now, we have been able to step back and see that we are so fortunate in general.  My spouse has been with me to comfort me and let me know that we will be okay, and that there is still hope for more children in the future.  We have a tremendous group of friends and family who have been marvelous inspiration to us to keep our chins up.  And more than anyone else, our son D has been a more brilliant light to us than we could ever have imagined.   Not everyone is so lucky.

It’s difficult to describe all the details without you knowing us personally, but in essence, this loss has brought us even closer together, giving us a different perspective and greater appreciation for our blessings in life.  Some people would respond that it is better to not announce the joy of pregnancy before knowing that everything is going smoothly; I would argue that I will always want to share our joys with others, and likewise I will summon up as much grace as possible to share our falls.  I hope to use this experience as a way to further understand the sentiments of others and gain the ability to reach out.