At the end of every month, I share my favorite comments from that month's posts, and you're invited to do the same and link up below!
This month's blog posts covered everything from privilege to weight to gun control to Christmas gifts to books. As always, whatever I wrote about, you responded with thoughtful and challenging comments.
Rather than highlighting specific comments from my Privilege 101 post, I invite you to read the discussions there and also see the additional links I've added since posting it.
I loved what Alice had to say on Ask Jessica: The Weight Edition post:
I totally agree it's about confidence, and loving what you do have. As an overweight child who became an overweight woman, it seems as if I've always really struggled with my body. This hasn't been helped by the fact that I've never dated, and my family isn't much on giving complements about anything.
It's only been recently that I've started to look at my body somewhat objectively, and beyond the labels that *I* put on it. I can see my strong legs, my delicate hands, the unique color of my eyes, and how I do have a shape that can be described in terms other than the ubiquitous "round."
I found My Body Gallery especially helpful in getting an objective look. It's a project that allows women to upload their photos, and specify their clothing size, weight, and height. Users can then type in their information, and see these pictures. I feel like it gives a much more realistic picture of what I really look like. No, I'm not thin, but nor am I as big as an elephant. I know of a couple other women who have appreciated looking at bodies much like their own, and have been pulled back into reality from that image our culture has so heavily promoted.
I absolutely agree that's about the health, rather than the number inside the dress or on the scale. It's all about being healthy and fit. Being underweight can be just as dangerous as overweight. It's all about finding what is best for your body.
Thus endth the novel :)
I provided a Snapshot of a Happy, Unconventional Marriage (mine!), and Beth could relate:
It was so refreshing to read this! My husband and I are both on weird schedules, each of us regularly getting pulled from first to second shift and back again. On top of it, we're both in grad school and involved in volunteer organizations. It might not be an ideal situation, but it works for now. Whenever one of us comes home or leaves for the day, we'll give each other a kiss and say "I love you," even if it means we both end up getting woken up sometimes. (This is not a suggested technique if your significant other is as liable to throw a pillow at you as they are to kiss you if you wake them up mid-slumber). We do little things for each other. Despite his lack of expertise in the kitchen, my husband made a valiant effort to make me a grilled cheese when I was sick this week before he disappeared into his office to work on a final project for class. The sandwich ended up a pile of soggy bread and melted cheese and butter, but it made me smile anyway.
So anyhow, we make it work and we're happy, even if it means fielding a lot of questions and ignoring some raised eyebrows when he or I go places without the other. Now and then, the plain truth is just that my husband would rather get some much-needed sleep than have dinner with my girlfriends, and since I'm ok with that, and he's ok with that, then I guess everyone else just has to be ok with that :)
Then I shared my Thoughts on Sandy Hook, or How America's Talking in Circles.
Mórrígan made an excellent point:
I just wish people would stop theorizing and listen to the experts, look at the statistics, and have a fact-based discourse leading the beneficial changes.
And Melbourne on My Mind shared a non-American's perspective:
I've actually been avoiding commenting on the whole thing. Partly because it affected me far more than I would have thought possible, and partly because as an Australian, I find it difficult to understand America's determination to keep access to guns unchanged.
I've mentioned the changes to Australia's gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996 (semi-automatics and privately owned hand guns are illegal. Automatics were already illegal for private citizens) on Facebook in the past, and ended up trapped in conversations with gun nuts that ended in "Well, f*ck you, we've got nuclear weapons and you don't". So part of why I've been avoiding commenting is wanting to avoid similar arguments!
I totally agree with you, there's no simple solution. I just hope that America can work together to actually FIND a solution, rather than treating the symptoms of the problem individually. (If I see one more person say that the solution is to have armed police and metal detectors in every school, I will SCREAM. Because NO. That is not a solution.)
Finally, I gave you some Last-Minute Gift Ideas for Hard-to-Shop-For Folks, and several people added their own suggestions.
Queen of Carrots said:
Love the postcard idea. It is so hard to get gifts for the elderly and that would be really special.
I agree on the coupons. Nobody ever cashes them in. Well, hardly ever. My parents did give us coupons for overnight babysitting this year, and we did use them. It actually helped a lot because it let us know how much they were willing to do, so we didn't feel bad about asking. I notice there's a large package for us this year, and I'm kind of hoping they still tucked those overnight babysitting cards in somewhere--otherwise I don't know if I will be willing to ask or not.
Katie made me laugh:
A lot of good ideas here! I'm done with my shopping for this year, but these are good to keep in mind.
Charity donations in someone's name always makes me think of Seinfeld, where George was giving people donations in their name to "the Human Fund," which he had made up.
And Rachel added some great ideas:
For the birthday of a good friend of mine, I wrapped up two copies of a book, one for her and one for me. I knew neither of us had read it, even though it had won many awards and had great reviews. We read it at the same time and met at a coffee shop to have a "book group" of two (my treat, of course, since that was also part of the gift). It was a gift that was fun to give and receive!
Giving to charities in someone's name can be good if you tailor it carefully to the person. For instance, I sometimes donate to the humane society for my partner's family, since they are BIG animal lovers. I love when people give me charitable donations as gifts, too, but that's just me.
An important question for my commenters: I started getting hit incessantly with spam comments, so I turned off anonymous commenting, but this kept some people from commenting. I switched instead to Captcha about two months ago, which also stopped the spam, but which I know people hate. I tried turning it off last week and the spam onslaught immediately started again. So which option would you prefer going forward: Captcha, or no anonymous commenting?
Thanks for all the fantastic conversations this year that have made this blog what it is. I'm looking forward to many more enlightening discussions in 2013!