Body Negativity

I’m addicted to Instagram. All the cutsey, kawaii, colorful, bejeweled, delicious photography speaks to my immature and wistfully materialistic soul. Not long ago, I noticed more body shots appearing on my feed. Of course I see the occasional size 0 Instagram model wearing a barely there bikini, posing in front of a white sand beach. But I noticed the bodies didn’t look quite as small. In fact, they were larger. Much larger.

What is this? Someone who sorta looks like me is wearing a thong! Her ass is the size of Australia and its eating that scrap of fabric into oblivion! How is this happening? Where did this come from? Who are these bold Amazonians?
I’m a librarian so I spend many hours reading useless facts and researching useless information. It’s my form of entertainment as much as it is for people to watch mindless reality shows about selfish narcissists. I spent hours learning about Body Positivity, BoPo. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and seeing. There’s a movement on loving yourself and accepting what you look like, and forcing the entire world to do the same. I was on board!

I would like to consider myself mostly healthy. I’m a runner. I ran my first half-marathon in January and actually finished! It was a huge accomplishment and I’m still prouder of myself for that than anything, even graduating with a master’s. So I’m healthy-ish. But I’m not thin. My fiance calls me “curvy” and I guess that’s the appropriate term used nowadays as opposed to “chubby chub chub.” I, like many women, struggle with body image. It’s hard, as you well know, to see beautiful women plastered everywhere and know that you could never achieve such beauty unless through photoshop, or excruciatingly painful, costly surgery.
Most days it’s not so bad. I look in the mirror, do a little twirl and think, “I look great.”
Darker days, especially after eating junk food, I look at myself and almost wanna cry. But I internally mope and remind myself to eat healthier for the next couple of days and all that bloating will go away. It works every time.

My mind slowly changed about BoPo, though. There are tons of #recovery and #eatingdisorder pictures of young girls and women showing their emaciated before pictures, then more life-like after pictures. Their after pictures were skinnier than me and I was jealous. I was fucking envious of girls who recovered from literally starving themselves to death! How is that fair, I would ask the sky!

Then on the flip side, there were tons of before pictures of healthy, curvy women who looked like me, and their after pictures were of their current obese selves. In the caption, they talk dramatically of how they obsessed over food and exercised to maintain the body image they thought they should have, but decided fuck it, hand me that Big Mac.
I was like, wait, what? But I’m that way too! I obsess over food. I think about food all the time! Food is delicious! Everyone thinks about the things that are important to them. I plan almost all our meals and cook often. If food wasn’t on my mind, I’d mindlessly walk to our next door Taco Bell and order three days worth of calories in burritos!

Not to mention, I get seriously offended when thinner women post a picture like, “this is what I look like when I’m sitting down, or bending over. I have belly rolls. It’s normal!” Uh, you crackpot fucking twat, some women have rolls even when they’re standing up straight. Some women aren’t blessed with hidden belly rolls that only make appearances when they bend their bodies!

I guess this is one of those cases where in their effort to promote something positive, women actually made things harder, more confusing and sadly…negative! In a well- intended attempt to stop perpetuating women as sexual objects with Body Positivity, they actually brought more attention to women’s bodies!

My wedding is in six months. I know that my fiance fell in love with who I am and to him, my size is perfectly fine. But I also know that if I don’t look and feel like my absolute best, which is actually a size 6 in Vera Wang, I will regret it forever. Those pictures are forever. We’re spending a fortune on wedding photography because our parents don’t have wedding pictures. We’d like that to be something we can give our descendants, the lovely memories of our happy union. So yes, I am eating healthier than usual, running more often than usual, and I bought small dumbbells for lifting! I HATE lifting! But I want Michelle Obama arms so bad!

I believe everyone should love themselves, but also take care of themselves. Eat the cake, but also the carrots too. I feel amazing when I eat berry chantilly cake, but I also feel amazing when I run that extra mile. There are a lot of “buts” when it comes to body image. Pun intended. Loving myself doesn’t mean I have to be 100% satisfied with myself right now. Loving myself also means I can have realistic and attainable goals. I love myself enough to work towards those goals, whether they’re career or fitness oriented.

I just can’t relate to the BoPo movement and I probably never did. It made me feel like less of a feminist and I struggled with it. But as Luke said, “the Jedi must end.” One extreme way of thinking isn’t better than the other extreme way of thinking. There must be balance.  For the time being, I support and encourage all women in their love for themselves regardless of size, their eating disorder recovery, or their struggle with weight loss. But excuse me while I reluctantly attempt bicep curls.

Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Bubba Bear and DooBeeDoo-2

If you work in customer service, you probably have regulars and most often, those regulars are god awful. You know exactly what I’m talking about. As soon as that person walks through the door, you cringe inside and might even find a way to duck and hide away until they leave. I have many, many customers like that and they all have their own stories.

All the worst patrons I had were adults. I even got hit by an old Chinese herbal medicinal doctor once because I wasn’t going to stop helping a patron to help her use the copy machine. She had to wait in line like everyone else, but she thought she was above lowly things like lines. She also kept telling my coworker she was a stupid pregnant bitch, even though my coworker wasn’t pregnant…
Thank god that crazy bitch died because not only was she a terrible person, I’m pretty sure she was malpracticing and I wouldn’t put it past her to have endangered lives.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, all my worst patrons have been adults. Until this current job. I have a child patron I can’t stand! There’s a first for everything, I guess. Should I rejoice? Do I get a medal of achievement?

I call her DooBeeDoo-2 because it sounds like a cute little astromech droid’s name. She’s loud, obnoxious, whiny, but cute as a damn button. For weeks, I was absolutely certain she was speaking an entirely different language and her negligent mom occasionally responded to her in English. What was this mysterious language I was hearing? It doesn’t sound familiar at all. I grew up in the diverse Bay Area of California. I probably grew up hearing all the languages. But DooBeeDoo-2’s native tongue was more than foreign to me.

One night, I stopped what I was working on and listened hard. I mean, I had to strain really hard. My listening skills were probably at their all time high at that moment. I jotted down what each word sounded like. To my horror, I discovered the truth. DooBeeDoo-2 wasn’t speaking a different language. In fact, it was English, if you could even call it that. You see, DooBeeDoo-2 added the “d” sound to all her words except Mama, Papa and Bubba, her older brother’s name. I don’t get it either.
So when she says, “Die dant dat dook dover dere!” that translates to, “I want that book over there!” I mean, some words she’s adding an extra letter and that seems like adding extra problems to an already bad speech problem, right?

Do you know how fucking crazy this makes me? It was already hard enough listening to her roaring voice almost every day. Now I actually know what she’s saying! Somehow that just makes it worse! I find myself doing what I do with Spanish when DooBeeDoo-2 speaks – I translate it in my head! Ugh! The distraction! I need to focus! Work productivity is dying here, DooBeeDoo-2!

Specific parties I loathe constantly gripe about how everyone in America needs to speak English. Our current president even said, “while we’re in this nation, we should be speaking English.” Well, I’m a child of immigrants and my second language was English. My life got a lot easier when I learned English. So I sorta, kinda agree with that quote to a degree, but that shit needs to also apply to little white kids like DooBeeDoo-2. What she’s speaking can’t even be considered English. It sounds like some basic Star Wars Outer Rim galactic slave language.

Cheap Caitlyn

Years ago, way back when I was a freshly new librarian, unaware how civil service and customer service could slowly suck out my soul like a Dementor, I had a coworker named Caitlyn. Caitlyn was very cheap. She rode her bike everywhere, refusing to drive her car, or pay bus fare. If you read my first blog post, you will know that such a lifestyle is beneath me. Why waste time travelling? Unless the point is to enjoy a road trip, biking to get from Point A to Point B and back again is beyond my understanding! NO, this wasn’t a healthy lifestyle! This was pure cheapness! Caitlyn and her husband by no means were in good health. They once rode their bikes for hours to get to a little local theater in a neighboring city where they volunteered to usher so they could watch the play for free. Not exactly what I have in mind when supporting local community theaters.

I find that cheapness to such a degree is normally found within individuals equipped with all the means necessary to live a privileged life, but they choose not to and prefer to inconvenience themselves and often times other people. We threw a retirement party for a supervisor and were left with a lot of unopened leftovers. The staff responsible for hosting the party wanted to return the leftovers to Costco, but they couldn’t because Caitlyn took all of it home, leaving only half a packet of deli ham slices.

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the circulation supervisor went to the library to empty the book drop. In case you didn’t know, book drops fill up fast when libraries are closed. And if you’re closed for several days, the thing could be overflowing. So it’s common for someone, normally the employee that lives closest to the library, to go to work for maybe a couple of hours during the holidays just to empty the thing out. The circulation supervisor found Caitlyn and her husband having dinner in the staff lounge, watching TV!

Now, if you ever worked in civil service, you know that you cannot use work resources for your own personal, selfish needs. Everything down to the measly paperclip must be used for work and work only. So watching TV with your spouse, who shouldn’t be in the staff only area, when the library is closed due to observing a national holiday is definitely on the list of things not to do. Who knows how long that was going on for! They didn’t wanna pay for their own TV and cable bill. Like I said, cheap.

I never found out what happened to Caitlyn because I left my job not long after that and moved onto what I thought were greener pastures, only to find the same bullshit, but with different folks. I wanted to buy egg shakers to be used during storytime and was willing to shell out $50 since these things last years. Someone at work suggested to save money, I use toilet paper rolls and fill them with beans instead. Hello, Caitlyn 2.0.

Who’s the Boss?

Jon and Gerald are supposed to do Adult Summer Reading and Teen Summer Reading. It’s literally in their job descriptions. Surprise! They don’t. So in previous years, the circulation staff have done it. Now that I’m here, that will all change this summer and those two lazy bastards are gonna do summer reading.

But Vivien was very upset upon hearing this. She apparently liked running the programs and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t anymore. I was frank and told her she’s been taken advantage of and certain people are going to have to do their own jobs from now on. She rolled her eyes in disbelief. Yes, sister. You better believe it. Your Saint Jon could give zero fucks about you! As long as you’re doing his job, he gets to do his Library Trivia and book thieving in peace! I didn’t say the last part to her, of course.

After I walked away, she told the other staff that, “Bunny Librarian is not my boss and she can’t tell me what to do!”

Come again? You might wanna run that by me one more time. I was hired as a supervisor. I am her boss. What the fuck does she think I’ve been doing here since I was hired?! Hanging out because apparently a young, attractive 30-year-old has nothing better to do with her free time?! Does Vivien think I’m only here because I enjoy the ratchet stories of her youth?! Being married five times is not an accomplishment, Vivien! If I were you, I would keep that heinous fact a secret. Because anytime someone has to wonder why the fuck you are the way you are, they’ll just think to themselves, “how the hell did Vivien not know I was also her supervisor?! Well, she’s been married five times so I shouldn’t be surprised.”

The Book Thief

No, this isn’t going to be a review on that award-winning book, though yes, I think it’s magnificent! This is about Jon, my library branch manager.

Jon is probably the most unassuming person I know. In fact, he’s so unassuming, he might as well not exist. However badly I want people I know personally to be just as unassuming, this doesn’t work well in a workplace where we’re supposed to manage a library and its staff together.

Jon doesn’t like to face…well, anything. I’m not even sure if he wants to face himself in the mirror!
Meth addict patron passed out in our chair? I wake them up. Mentally ill patron screaming on the phone about being taxed too high? I tell them to shut their yap. Staff getting bitten by fleas because apparently we had a flea infestation? I called pest control. Diaper Lady’s diaper leaked on our decrepit furniture again? I got the furniture reupholstered. Get my drift?

Do you wanna know what Jon likes to do? I can give you a hint: not his job! He spends a bulk of his time working on Library Trivia, which is an email he sends every couple of weeks to all the staff in our library system. It contains library humor, library news, quirky library services, and this:

Literary Lines

All the numbers from 0-100

“I am riding the bicycle and I am on Route 31 in Monument, Massachusetts, on my way to Rutterburg, Vermont, and I’mpedaling furiously because this is an old-fashioned bike, no speeds, no fenders, only the warped tires and the brakes that don’t always work and the handlebars with cracked rubber grips to steer with.”
Robert Cormier, I Am the Cheese (1977), opening line

“And what was the first thing her husband said to her, after the birth of their child, as she lay reverent, chastened, smug, and remarkably uncomfortable, owing to thirty-two stitches?”
Ellen Currie, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing (1977), opening line

“Allie was in a fitting room with a thirty-three-year-old man named Jonas, pulling pinches of cocaine out of a Wonder Bread bag that was more than three-quarters full.”
Jessica Anya Blau, The Wonder Bread Summer (2013), opening line

He really goes from 0-100. I shit you not. Where does he find those lines, you wonder? In our library books. Yes, he spends countless county-paid hours going through pages, looking for numbers. Try it. You’d think it would be easy and fast, but it’s pretty hard trying to find specific numbers in a book that isn’t already the page number. This is what my boss does while I deal with the likes of Loretta (see previous blog post), or getting yelled at by another grandma because she thinks her precious grandbaby (actually spawn of Satan) should be allowed to walk and climb on our furniture! Bitch, does your house look like the Marauder’s Map?!

Oh, but it gets better. It really does. See the title of this post? Yeah, he STEALS books! It took me weeks to uncover this truth with my sleuthing skills and yes, I have brought this up to administration and no, it seems they are doing nothing about it because this is a government job where everyone is afraid to confront anyone and we just pretend nothing sinister is happening and hope for the best.

Besides his Library Trivia, Jon is passionate about books. Rare books, first editions, out of prints. You know, the things that sell in the book collectors world. Of course the best places to obtain such commodities is a used book store and, you guessed it, THE LIBRARY! Not only does the library often have first editions sitting on the shelves, but we get unaware people donating books to us daily. You know that ratty box of moldy, smelly books sitting under boxes of baby clothes in your attic? You might have something worth more than just a couple of bucks in there. And Jon knows it.

Public libraries have the most angelic group of selfless volunteers called The Friends. Friends handle donations, sort through them and decide what could sell and what should be recycled. They sell used books in the Friends Book Store and all proceeds go to the library. But sneaky, unassuming Jon gets to the donations first! He sorts through them, claiming he’s just making things easier on The Friends. How saintly! But he secretly bags and boxes the ones that sell well online. And when he thinks no one is looking, he loads up his car.

Now, if he was only taking one or two books at a time, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. Our Friends are kind enough to let us have our pick. But when you’re taking tote bags and boxes full of books? You might wanna throw in a couple of Lincolns in our honor system Red Box. Keyword: honor.

You see, I like rules, policies and structure. I can’t deal with chaos and mayhem. If I’m getting paid to do a job, I’ll do it to the best of my ability, fuck up sometimes, lose sleep over it, learn valuable lessons and take on the next day like the goddamn winner that I am. So for me to know someone is doing something wrong, illegal even, at my workplace and I can’t do anything about it? I feel helpless. Like the world is unfair and unjust and well, why should anyone else around here feel like they need to actually do their jobs? Sometimes my morale is incredibly low. But I hold onto hope that people get what’s coming to them and it will work itself out in the end somehow. People have a knack for shooting themselves in the foot around here. Two employees were fired before I came along. (Those stories will be blogged later!)

Also, Jon was written up for not changing the Saturday rotation work schedule when his bosses, our administration, told him to. Changing the schedule would have forced him to work every other Saturday, which of course he doesn’t wanna do because that would be inconvenient for him and he deserves the best Saturday rotation!
Can you tell I’ve been seething? Anyway, him being written up for the Saturday rotations is a good start. For now, I’ll just continue fantasizing how I’ll celebrate his termination.

Loretta

Now that I’ve gotten my first blog post out of the way, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty – my job. I’m a children’s librarian and supervisor of a small eclectic group of people in a little, not-so-humble public library. I have an unhelpful assistant, Loretta. Loretta and I make up the children’s department.

Loretta is forty-something years old. A good catholic woman, or so she claims. She and her freakishly tall husband have been married over twenty years and have three strapping sons.  Loretta’s entire life is revolved around quilting like how my life is currently revolved around Star Wars. Did you see that Last Jedi trailer?! The Jedi must end?!
Oh, yeah. So Loretta loves quilting more than anything in her entire life, I would wager.

Before our Easter break, I gave Loretta a real talk. I have been working with Loretta since last August and she has been an absolute terror since Day One. I’m a new supervisor and was unsure of how to handle anything and needed a lot of guidance. Long story short, I was sorta thrown into this promotion somewhat reluctantly.
I reached an epiphany. I’m not gonna let this woman stomp all over me or the rest of the staff! This is my department and it will be ran the way I want! Who is she to be bossing everyone around?!
I wrote notes for myself to refer to during my talk with Loretta lest I forget something important. The list was modified slightly, but remains true:

Yelling at other staff. If it doesn’t sound positive in any way, don’t say anything at all.
Use yelling at Gerald as example. Must be respectful and professional.

Being bossy when you’re not anyone’s boss. Never tell anyone how to do their jobs. Don’t even make suggestions, unless it’s during our staff meeting and people ask for suggestions. Suggestions can be misconstrued as telling people how to do their jobs. Not your department, not your business.
If you have concerns on how someone else is doing their job, let me know and I’ll forward it to their supervisor.

Follow instructions. Don’t bend instructions to your liking. Gerald and Lauren also outrank you. You cannot tell those 2 what to do, but they have every right to give you instructions and tasks. When Jon and I aren’t here, they are the supervisors.

No more gossiping to people outside this library, especially during work time, with work phones.
Use engagement as an example. If it’s not your news, or your business, it’s not your right to tell anyone. People receive gossip differently and can spin their own versions, then lies are spread.

Tardiness is unacceptable. People rely on each other being here even if we don’t work in the same department. We need 2 people to open and if you’re late, that other person must wait for you, it effects their job performance. Mention policy. Must be at your desk, or reference desk by the start of your shift.

Schedule change. It’s what’s best for the branch. Starts 24th

The meeting took over an hour. Loretta is like a mad barking bulldog and I thought shit would hit the fan, but was surprised when it didn’t. She appeared more guilty and ashamed than anything else. But I couldn’t be sure if she was internally raging and plotting my murder, her resignation, or what!

I returned to work this morning after a long Easter weekend. I fantasized that she quit last week and everyone else failed to text me about it. But to my disappointment, I drove up to our library parking lot and there was her red truck parked in it’s usual isolated spot.

She was on her best behavior today, also to my surprise. Though she did question Lauren’s decisions on not having volunteers do the work that our staff get paid to do…

Road Trip

A couple of times a year, I get so frustrated with all the Facebook angst that floods my News Feed that I end up taking a break. After about thirty-one days of social media-free bliss, I fall back into the addiction again. This time’s trigger was a “friend” posting a blurred picture of a road and a heartfelt story about how someone offended her (it was me) when they said road trips are for college students and how it’s a much better use of your time when you just fly to your destination to get there faster. Those weren’t my exact words, by the way.

First of all, she was driving to another city in our home state, which is only three hours away. I don’t consider that a road trip. And why was she taking pictures when she was driving?! Pay attention to the road, bitch! Second of all, I’m almost positive she has never taken a road trip further than the neighboring states. Third of all, she almost always flies to her destinations. Fourth of all, her vacation breaks have not changed since college because she’s a public school teacher and if she actually took road tripping seriously, she has far more free time to do it than someone like me, who has to take their meager two weeks of vacation per year very seriously!

I guess you can say it pissed me off that she took something I said over a year ago at some party to prove how well-driven and cultured she is. I actually commented that if I am who she mentioned, I stand by what I said. All she did was like my comment. I’ll admit, I was prepared to have a total Facebook comment smackdown and was thoroughly disappointed it wasn’t.

I have reflected on my thirtieth year of life just how truly awkward and horrible I am at making new friends and keeping them.

So it’s time for a Facebook hiatus and I decided this time, I’ll try to replace that addiction with blogging. I haven’t blogged since my high school days with Live Journal. I’m almost ashamed of how out of touch I am with this whole blogging thing. It took me over an hour to create a domain and username and I’m still trying to get over the fact that the names don’t match after already paying $35.88. I’m sure replacing one type of social media addiction with another isn’t a wise decision, but at least this way I remain anonymous and say what I really mean without offending anyone I know personally.

I’ve decided in the most narcissistic way that my blog will focus on me, my life! I’m newly engaged, anti-social, cat loving, Star Wars and Harry Potter fangirl, children’s librarian, suffering from body negativity. The stories I tell are real and all the names have been changed to protect the assholes.