Get Rid Of Your Bra Bulge With These 7 Exercises And Yoga Poses

Get Rid Of Your Bra Bulge With These 7 Exercises And Yoga Poses

Stopped wearing your backless dress because of your bra bulge? The loose skin and the bulge out along the bra area can ruin a backless dress for you. It’s time to give your body some love. And by that, we mean workout. Grab those shoes and yoga mat as we list out 7 exercises and yoga poses that will help in toning your back and getting rid of that bra bulge.

1. Burpee

Burpee

Start with standing position, then bend down with your hands touching the ground. Now move to the plank position by making sure that both your arms are touching the ground with elbows at 90 degrees. Now bring yourself up and jump with your arms overhead. If this seems too advanced for you, simply start by doing planks and gradually learn to do burpees. You can do 10 reps before moving to the next workout.

2. Side Forearm Plank

Side Forearm Plank

Lie on your side with your forearm touching the ground. Keep your forearms straight, legs together, and roll sideways so that the outer edge of the right foot is touching the ground. Make sure that your legs are straight with your left leg stacked on top of the right. Raise your other arm by holding it straight. Doing this will help strengthen your core muscles as well as the shoulder and upper back. It also targets the waistline and the midsection.

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain Climbers

Start by doing a solid plank. Keep your body straight with abs pulled in. Now slowly pull your left knee to your chest. As you do this, make sure you keep your abs tight to stay in the plank position. Now switch to your right knee and continue doing this by slowly picking up pace as if you are in a running motion. Body stability is crucial in this workout. So, make sure to keep your spine straight and not let your head droop. Doing this exercise for even a few minutes will help in firing up every muscle in your body while also getting rid of the bra bulge.

4. Rocking Plank

Rocking Plank

Start by doing a basic plank. Keep your elbows and forearms on the ground. Now slowly rock your body forward by moving your shoulders and head ahead of the arms and being more on your toes. Go back to your initial position and again sway your body forward by remaining in the plank position. You can do this for about 10-15 reps.

5. Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose/Ardha Matsyendrasana

Half Lord Of The Fishes PoseArdha Matsyendrasana

Make sure your bowels are empty while doing this pose or do it 4 to 6 hours after having a meal.

Sit on the mat by stretching out your legs in front and your spine straight. Now bend your knees and slide the left foot under the right leg. Twist your body towards the right while keeping your spine straight. If you have never performed this pose before, it is best to do it in the presence of a trained professional.

6. Bow Pose/Dhanurasana

Bow PoseDhanurasana

Lie flat on your stomach on the ground with your legs apart. Bend your knees backward and hold your ankles. As you inhale, pull your chest off the floor simultaneously lifting your legs up. Lift your body in such a way that you are now resting on your belly button. Stay in this pose for a minimum of 5 breaths.

7. Fish Pose

Fish Pose

Lie on your back on the floor. Now bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground. Slowly bend your elbows with your palms lying flat on the ground. Now slowly lift your body up from the floor such that your palms and feet are touching the ground. Hold this pose for a few breaths.

If you are a beginner or have never tried any of these asanas before, it is recommended to do it in the presence of a trained professional by seeking proper guidance.

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Predicting The Baby’s Gender – 7 Old Wives’ Tales

Predicting The Baby's Gender

Ask any expectant mother what her thoughts are about pregnancy and she may have varying opinions (depending which way her hormones swing). From a miracle to a painful journey, a lot of things might come to her mind. However, for people surrounding her, it also becomes an amusing guessing game regarding the gender of the baby she’s carrying. Why? Because in some countries like India and China, revealing a baby’s gender is banned due to its rampant misuse. It is a crime and can amount to serious legal punishment. With no access to the technology that reveals the baby’s gender, people fall back on old wives’ tales to predict a baby’s gender before birth. Here are 7 such old wives’ tales. Read along and amuse yourself.

1. How You Carry Your Bump

How You Carry Your Bump

This is a very popular old wives’ tale when it comes to predicting the baby’s gender. It is often believed that the way you carry your baby bump can give away a lot about the baby’s gender. If your baby bump happens to be low, you might probably be carrying a baby boy. However, if your baby bump is slightly higher or in the middle, in all likelihood it might be a baby girl.

2. Pregnancy Glow v/s Pigmentation

Pregnancy Glow vs Pigmentation

The way you look during your pregnancy is another popular predictor of the baby’s gender for old wives. Of course, logically we’d want to believe that the pregnancy glow and pigmentation are caused by the hormonal upheavals. But old wives believe otherwise. If your face glows even during the fag end of your pregnancy, it means you’ll have a little baby girl. But if you have excessive pigmentation, then blame it on the little boy growing inside your belly. Oops! Did we just reveal something??

3. Choice Of Pregnancy Food Cravings

Choice Of Pregnancy Food Cravings

With pregnancy changes come the inevitable pregnancy food cravings. They can be different for each woman. But under a broad category, they are usually spicy or sweet food cravings. So, if you crave something sweet, it could be a sweet little baby girl. And a spicy food craving would mean there’s a naughty little boy in your belly!

4. Intensity Of Morning Sickness

Intensity Of Morning Sickness

Some women may or may not experience morning sickness during their first trimester. However, the old wives suggest that if you have intense morning sickness and vomiting, you’ll give birth to a baby girl. But if you had little to no morning sickness at all, then surely it’s a boy!

5. Extent Of Swelling In Legs

Extent Of Swelling In Legs

The swelling of the legs and ankles is pretty common during pregnancy. Some women might get it due to hormonal changes whereas others might get it as the baby’s weight begins to increase. Then again, some pregnancy health complications like preeclampsia can increase the swelling too (1). However, according to one old wives’ tale, if you experience excessive swelling of the legs, then it is probably because you are carrying a boy. And if you don’t, quite obviously, it is a baby girl!

6. Pregnancy Dream Predictor

Pregnancy Dream Predictor

Pregnant women might discover sooner or later that their dreams are different too. They might even have frequent nightmares and anxiety-inducing dreams too. This is associated with changing pregnancy hormones (2). However, as per an old wives’ tale, dreams during pregnancy can also predict the gender of the baby in a very curious way. According to the tale, if you dream about a baby boy, chances are that you’ll deliver a baby girl. And vice versa.

7. Baby’s Heart Rate

Babys Heart Rate

Another old wives’ tale to predict the gender of the unborn baby is related to the fetal heart rate. For this, you’ll have to wait until your first ultrasound. As per the old wives, if the heartbeat of the baby is above 140 beats per minute, then there is a high chance that you’ll be delivering a baby girl. However, if the heart rate is 140 beats per minute or below that, then in all probability it’s a boy.

Aren’t these old wives’ tales of predicting the baby’s gender before birth quite amusing? What old wives’ tale did you get to hear during your pregnancy? Did it turn out to be true? Share with us in the comments section below.

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Read The Label: Essential Ingredients In Newborn Baby Care Products

Read The Label Essential Ingredients

What is it that you look at when you pick up a product to buy it for your little one? Expiry date? Date of manufacture? Or the ingredients list?

Let us answer that question for you. A lot of us consider the first two factors while selecting a baby product so that we can determine the shelf life of the product before investing our money in it. Though the more important factor has to be that of the ever mystical ingredient-list.

We know how precious your little one is to you. It’s only fair that he/she gets the best. After all, babies have the most sensitive skin and their immune systems are still developing. So, they should come in contact with only the purest and mildest products. However, to make that distinction you require a working knowledge of ingredients.

We agree that it can be quite intimidating to see difficult-to-pronounce ingredients listed at the back of the baby product you want to buy. However, not all of them are harmful or non-essential.

To help you find your way around the maze of that ingredient list, we have compiled this primer with the help of the dependable and much-loved baby care brand, Johnson & Johnson. So, go ahead and give it a read.

Decoding The Label

Decoding The Label

Contrary to what you might’ve read or heard, not all chemicals used in baby care products are harmful. Rather, some of them perform quite specific functions which improve the efficiency of the product and make them safer.

Johnson’s, itself, has been practising a very stringent testing process of selecting its ingredients since its inception, over 125 years ago. However, now with the launch of the New Johnson’s, they have made this process even stricter by subjecting each ingredient is tested for 12 months and all its products pass through 8000 clinical tests that ensure they are safe and pure for baby’s gentle skin. Johnson’s baby is visibly pure and transparent and lists all its ingredients at the back of pack also on their website

https://www.johnsonsbaby.in/gentle-care-standards/ingredients

When you are buying a baby care product, make sure that all the ingredients are listed, and that they are all essential. They shouldn’t contain any dyes or sulfates. Following the same logic, all of the ingredients used by Johnson’s in their products, serve a purpose. There is nothing in there that shouldn’t be there in the first place. Harmful chemicals like phthalates, sulfates, asbestos, dyes, parabens, and formaldehyde are not present in any of their products. Now, let’s look at some essential ingredients that should be present in all baby care products.

  • Preservatives

Preservatives

Baby care products such as body wash, shampoo are often kept in warm and moist places like the bathroom. The environment in our bathrooms is quite encouraging for the growth of bacteria. Also, we apply most of baby care products using our hands and often dip our fingers into their container to scoop out the product. This allows the bacteria present in our skin to make its way into the product.

To keep these bacteria in check and prevent them from multiplying and infecting your little one, baby care products often contain preservatives. Preservatives are essential because they save the product from rotting and prevent the growth of bacteria.

Fragrance

We know what you’re thinking – how is fragrance an essential ingredient in baby care products? Johnson’s, who are also leaders in baby care science and research, have revealed that the sense of smell plays a great role in the development of babies. It also found that scented products provide comfort to babies, and help in their sensorial development. They also improve the baby’s mood by evoking familiar memories and help them bond with parents.

However, fragrances, even natural ones, can contain common allergens, which can put the baby at the risk of developing allergies. To avoid this from happening, Johnson’s use only those fragrances that meet the highest standards set by International Fragrance Association (IFRA).

  • Moisturizers

Moisturizers

We have already established how the skin of babies is fundamentally different from that of adults. Mostly because it’s thinner than that of adults, which is why it’s also 10 times sensitive as well. To help maintain the skin’s natural barriers, it needs to be hydrated and moisturized properly. That’s why moisturizers are an essential ingredient.

  • pH Balancers

pH Balancers

Another way in which a baby’s skin differs from that of an adult is in terms of its pH level, and therefore, its more sensitive and prone to contracting infections, etc. To remedy this, Johnson’s products also contain pH balancers like sodium hydroxide and citric acid, so that they match the pH level of the baby’s skin.

  • Mild Cleansers

Mild Cleansers

What use would a shampoo or wash be if it wasn’t able to do its actual job? Not much, right? And that’s why mild cleansers are also essential ingredients in most baby care products. However, Johnson’s uses extremely mild cleansers, which like all other Johnson’s products must pass a series of 4 stringent allergy tests to earn their “clinically proven mild” tag.

The main purpose of this article was to educate you about what goes in the making of the products that you use on your precious, little one.

You can also choose to put your faith in a reliable brand like Johnson’s baby. Not only do they have a stringent testing process, but they also test their products on 5.5 lakh people globally to make sure that only the best and gentlest products enter the market. In case you need more information or if you want to add something to list, let us know in the comments section.

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Beverly Tries to Throw the Perfect Holiday Celebration in ‘Angst Giving’

She wants things to go swell for the whole family but that might be a tough goal to achieve

angst giving, the goldbergs, tv show, comedy, season 7, review, abc

Beverly wants everything to be perfect in ‘Angst Giving’

In past years, Thanksgiving has not be a fun holiday for this family. Something always happens to make it a real pain. Each year someone ends up doing or saying something that ends up putting a damper on the celebration. Yet Beverly will try to do all she can to make it perfect for once in ‘Angst Giving’. I was able to watch a screener of this episode and here is what I thought of it.

angst giving, the goldbergs, tv show, comedy, season 7, review, abc

(c) ABC

You can read the premise for ‘Angst Giving’ here:

Even though Beverly’s patience with Pop Pop is put to the test due to his endless Thanksgiving demands, she is able to put aside her own feelings to help heal the long-standing rift between Murray and Pop Pop. Meanwhile, Barry and Erica are ready to return home for the holiday, but Uncle Marvin accidentally drives them to Pittsburgh. Marvin attempts to make it right not knowing if they will make it to Jenkintown in time to celebrate the holiday.

angst giving, the goldbergs, tv show, comedy, season 7, review, abc

(c) ABC

Beverly wants everything to be perfect this year in ‘Angst Giving’. She hopes it will be an opportunity for Murray and his dad to finally work things out between them. Sadly that plan turns sour rather fast. Meanwhile Marvin picks up Barry and Erica from college, and takes them on a wild journey. Yet just when it looks like Murray and his dad may never get along, something amazing happens. As this episode comes to a close the celebration goes better than any of them could have expected. If you want to learn more about The Goldbergs click on this website.

angst giving, the goldbergs, tv show, comedy, season 7, review, abc

(c) ABC

The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays at 8/7 c on ABC. You can follow this show on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

On Marriage: Father to Son

Dear Nick,

I always enjoy sharing thoughts with you about almost everything so today I wanted to talk about marriage. The time is right for a couple of reasons. First, you are actively seeking a meaningful relationship that might lead to marriage and, having been married for some time seems like there may be something you could use.

As your grandad used to say: “Time is on your side.” This is especially true in relationships.

In some ways you are beyond me here. You have learned what many times I didn’t.  You know that love is an action word. You know how to treat a woman, how to have fun and what’s really important in life. You are not needy.

You know your value without having to fill yourself up with talk about yourself to make up for what you think you lack. There is much that I admire in you and, everyday,  I thank God that you are really my son.

Hopefully, you can still learn a few things from me without them all being things you shouldn’t do so here we go.

Some people say that you can love anyone with hard work. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Yes, it’s the hardest work there is. That’s why you need all the positive support you can muster. But there is a certain chemistry. Loving a woman, especially in the beginning, for the right reasons, deals with the question of risk. “Am I willing to risk marrying this person knowing all that I know about her so far without knowing everything to minimize my risk?” If there are more than just a few things you love about her- she’s basically honest and does not suffer from addictions or is too much of a looney tune- then you are on the right path.  Let’s dig deeper.

There’s the issue of intelligence, inquisitiveness and common sense. Someone can be very bright and not read The New York Times every day. Does she have a sense of emotional intelligence? Does she have a sense of humor? Can she laugh at herself? Does she tell you like it is about yourself, about your blind spots (and we all have them). Does she connect with your brain as well as your heart?

Here’s the bottom line. Does she love you? When she looks at you does she see the eternal ‘you,’even the  good parts of you that you don’t see. Is she kind and warm? Does she have an ease of being herself (comfortable in her own skin as some people say)?  Is she generous of spirit? Does she accept you-warts and all?

Do you feel proud to love such a woman? And prouder that she loves you? You will begin to understand exactly what I mean by this in the following way. You will think her beauty is all-encompassing, not just her looks.

You have heard the phrase, “love is blind?” You will see her as beautiful in a myriad of ways. You won’t care what anyone else thinks about her, and you will never feel the need to “explain her” to anyone. You absolutely will not care.  And any other women you see who are attracted to you will pale compared to her. No matter how beautiful or kind or giving other women may be, you will just see what they lack compared to the unique attributes possessed by that one woman you love. No one can take you from her. She will “own” your heart, and she will cause your soul to soar with the pride of knowing she loves just you. And you will love the fact that she ” owns” you without having taken anything from you, but by having given you herself.  You will have a sense of complete satisfaction when you are with her. And you will have the feeling that your relationship with her is as great a love story as any told- from Romeo and Juliet to Dr. Zhivago. You will know in your heart what it feels like finally to come home.

Does she see the “best you” or does she berate and pick away at every fault? If she does the latter, don’t walk, RUN in the opposite direction because there is something missing in her soul and she will not be able to fill it up with yours or anyone else’s love.  The missing piece is love of herself. The reason I tell you this is because most of the primary problems in relationships have this one issue at the heart of it.

Does she have that difficult-to-find combination of love and sex-the whole package? Both are important

Do you love her for just who she is now? Just the pure and eternal “her?” Not for her accomplishments or her aspirations. Remember you don’t want her autograph and you don’t love someone for her resume.  Martha Stewart has many qualities, but it doesn’t mean you should love her. It’s the qualities you consider important-no matter what they are. You are not out to be a “good boy.” You have to live with the choice.  Don’t marry someone for “your own good.” Marry someone who is good for you.

Finally, with what you know, are you willing to risk the rest of your life to do whatever it takes to love her forever? If the answer from your gut is “yes” then do it.  If you receive any other answer (I mean any other answer) the real answer is “no.” Keep looking. Why? Time is on your side – always.

Love,

Dad

Photo: Nathan Cowley / Pexels

Overcoming Mental Road Blocks

When You Are a Person Who Thinks a Lot (Like Me) We Sometimes Have Trouble Thinking Our Way out of a Problem.

Sometimes we don’t know why we feel a certain way or we are continually hitting the same road blocks. If you’re feeling like this right now I want to tell you something: it’s not your fault.

When you are a person who thinks a lot (like me) we sometimes have trouble thinking our way out of a problem. Problems require strategies and concrete actionable plans if you want to move forward in a productive way. Here is what I have realized: it is okay and necessary to fail. And you’re going to fail over and over again until you get that sh*t right. You will (as I have) make the same mistakes repeatedly until you don’t like it enough to change. Change is hard, requires patience (which I have a limited quantity of) and it happens with time (which I have an abstract concept of).

The simple concept is this: you don’t like something that you’re doing; change it.

The complicated part of is: it isn’t easy to change and it takes work. I know there are things about myself that frustrate me and I am working on them. That is what I can do and I’m doing it.

You can do it too, and by “it” I mean change your behavior. You don’t like something about yourself; change it. Some people try talk therapy to do this, other people write in their journals and fins common themes that they want to change. Whatever works; do that and you can do it well.

Do your best and you will be surprised at what follows. I am not the same person that I was three years ago because I made a conscious effort to work on myself in therapy and talk honestly with my friends and support system about what I wanted to change.

A good friend will tell you when you have food your teeth or ice cream on your shirt and they might also point out lovingly that you’re doing something that isn’t helping you. Whether that is hard to hear or not, sometimes it is necessary and ultimately will help you in your metamorphosis to the next phase of your life.

In many cases it is difficult to prepare for what comes next. The most we can try for is to work on ourselves consciously. Go inward and find what you want to do differently and change that. I know that is what I want to do, and I am doing it.

A version of this post was previously published on huffpost.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Global Warming Hot Spots Pass Safe Limit


By Alex Kirby

LONDON, 15 September, 2019 − By land and sea, some of the planet’s hot spots are already above the temperature agreed by scientists and politicians as the maximum allowable to prevent a disastrous climate crisis.

The limit was accepted by 195 governments in the Paris Agreement, reached in 2015: it committed them to preventing the global average temperature rising by more than 2°C (3.6°F) above its pre-industrial level, and doing all they could to keep it below 1.5°C. It is making slow progress.

But a novel study, an analysis of scientific data by a leading US newspaper, says that about 10% of the Earth has already passed the 2°C level, with roughly twice as many hot spots above the 1.5°C mark.

The analysis, by journalists on the Washington Post, examined four global temperature data sets, from the 1800s to the present. It found that dangerous hot spots are spreading, both on land and in the seas.

Using data from US federal scientists as well as several academic groups, the journalists find that over the past five years − the hottest on record − about 10% of the planet has exceeded warming of over 2°C, or 3.6°F. Areas that have warmed by 1.5°C are about twice as common, already beyond 20% of the Earth’s area over the last five years.

“Much more than just the Arctic has crossed this threshold. Depending on the analysis used, we see 2°C of warming in much of Europe, northern Asia, the Middle East, and in key ocean hot zones”

The writers say defining how much heating has occurred requires choosing two separate time periods to compare. They considered two pre-industrial periods − from 1850 to 1899, and from 1880 to 1899 − and what they call two “end periods”, 2014 to 2018 and 2009 to 2018.

They acknowledge that some choices clearly push more of the globe beyond 2°C, especially choosing the very warm years between 2014 and 2018. They comment: “But the lowest total we got for how much of the globe is above 2°C was about 5%. That’s still an enormous area.”

The fastest-warming part of the world is the Arctic, but they say what they found applies far more widely than the far north: “Our analysis … shows that huge swaths of the region are above 2°C − if not 3°C”, they write.

“But we also find that much more than just the Arctic has crossed this threshold. Depending on the analysis used, we see 2°C of warming in much of Europe, northern Asia, the Middle East, and in key ocean hot zones.”

The analysis shows, they say, that changes in ocean currents are creating “dramatic” hot zones. Huge ocean currents, which transport heat, salt, and nutrients around the globe, are on the move, driven by changes in winds and atmospheric circulation.

Rapid heating

And because these ocean currents are warm, when they reach new areas those areas heat up fast. This is a particular problem in the southern hemisphere, where changes have occurred in every major ocean basin, leaving distinct hotspots in the regions of the Brazil Current in the South Atlantic, the Agulhas Current in the southern Indian Ocean, and the South Pacific’s East Australian Current.

The newspaper’s analysis focuses on the Brazil Current, which shows a particularly rapid warming. But the writers say it’s not alone.

The Agulhas Current, which travels southward along the coast of south-east Africa before swinging east towards Australia, shows a warming of well above 1.5°C in many regions — and occasionally even above 2°C in some datasets and scenarios.

Scientists have been studying this change for nearly four decades, and the newspaper says it is significant. The Agulhas is now spinning off more rings of warm water that swirl into the South Atlantic, transporting heat and salt from the Indian Ocean and potentially affecting a global circulation of currents.

The analysis reports on the plight of Uruguay, where a fast-warming ocean hot spot, linked with the Brazil Current, has been associated with major disruption of marine ecosystems.

Changing catches

Clams are dying on beaches, ocean heat waves are killing fish, and algal blooms are worsening. Uruguay’s fishing fleet is now bringing up up more tropical, warm-water-loving species in its nets.

The journalists point out that while fish can swim elsewhere, that’s not always an option for other species, including humans. Some species may adjust easily − for instance, many fish swim towards cooler waters nearer the poles. But shellfish and corals have to stay put. Fishing communities depend on specific fisheries, and may not be able to move or adjust.

The Paris Agreement deals in global averages, and by definition there are exceptions to averages, in both directions. So this analysis can expect to be received with some scepticism.

But the writers are convinced that the climate crisis is happening too fast for safety, and that more of the globe will be at 2°C very soon. The Post’s method considers five- and 10-year averages to identify which regions have already eclipsed 2°C. The past five years have been especially hot so, naturally, they show more of these hot spots.

But over the long term, they say, both averages are marching steadily upward. It just takes a little while for the 10-year average to catch up. − Climate News Network

This post was previously published on Climatenewsnetwork.net and is republished here under a Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 4.0.

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ALL THINGS GEEK EXCLUSIVE: ‘The Coin of the Realm’ by Quinton Peeples

This month, Humanoids — the Los Angeles-based publisher of some of the world’s most groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy graphic novels— is publishing Peeples’ graphic novel debut THE BIG COUNTRY, a Texas noir about toxic masculinity and the cycle of violence, illustrated by Dennis Calero

In his remarkably candid personal essay he shared exclusively with The Good Men Project / All Things Geek, Mr. Peepels writes candidly about being abused as a child and the impact of violence and toxic masculinity. –

“The Coin of the Realm”

Everyday violence as inspiration for “The Big Country”

An essay by Quinton Peeples


I’d been on the floor for six or seven minutes, absorbing the kicks and blows that came from three boys who outweighed me by fifty pounds each. Initially, I tried to smile through it, as if it were some kind of mild hazing or a joke we were sharing, but this seemed to make them angrier.

Finally, the PE coach emerged and asked them to get dressed. The bell ending fifth period was about to ring and he didn’t want them to be late to their next class. He never spoke to me. I was ten years old.

I don’t remember now what I did to set them off. And it doesn’t matter. They didn’t need a reason. This was just the way life was. What they couldn’t have known, (or maybe they did, and we were alike in this way) was that I suffered the same type of abuse at home at the hands of my parents.

From the time I was five until I was thirteen, I suffered so many spankings, beatings and incidents of physical violence, I almost lost count. With a therapist’s help we roughed out a number nearing two hundred and fifty.

Until I was in my thirties, I thought this was normal.

The neighborhood I inhabited, the kids I grew up with, the people who surrounded me on a daily basis doled out casual violence with a kind of nonchalance that would be breathtaking in today’s culture. Part of my wanting to write my graphic novel “The Big Country” was to cast a glance back at a life that is, thankfully, fading. Or, at least, I hope it is. Part of me wonders if it’s just gone underground.

What is currently discussed as “toxic masculinity” would simply have been called “being a man” when I grew up. Violence was, and I would argue still is, the coin of the realm when it comes to male identity.

You should be able to take it and dish it out without hesitation. Your ability to endure it in the right way determines your value. Your choice of when, how and whose ass to kick is an indicator of currency.

Watch how often in contemporary media our “hero” throws a punch when his “girl” is threatened by another male. Would you have been disappointed if he simply had taken the young woman’s arm and escorted her to a less aggressive part of the bar? I bet you would have.

But let me clue you into something, a little insight gained from the personal experience laid out above – no one gets out of that violent moment without significant damage being done.

What television and movies avoid at all costs is the reality of violence and what it brings about in the human being, not to mention the sheer ugly physicality of it. It is never beautiful.

Someone’s teeth shattering, a broken jaw that swells and bruises instantly, an eye whose cornea is torn – that’s not Tom Cruise-worthy. It’s ugly and mean, and once you’ve been on either side of it, you are never the same.

And when it becomes routine, life around you begins to tilt into perpetual darkness. That’s the world of “The Big Country.”

The story of the graphic novel is invented, but the characters who inhabit it are all based on real people I grew up with.

The world they inhabit is the one I just laid out – a place where everyday violence has become routine. No one knows there is another way.

Each character suffers from being caught in a world that doesn’t question violence and its consequences. And when someone doesn’t respond in kind, they are viewed as suspect. To some of the citizens he serves, the protagonist, Sherriff Grissom Callahan, seems to have lost his edge.

He is a pale imitation of his father Clem, who was his predecessor. Grissom is chided and bears the psychic weight of “not being the man his father was”. That’s code for “You don’t know whose ass to kick.”

The entire novel revolves around how violence infiltrates and poisons both the private and public lives of the characters.

They are completely unaware of this, because, like me, they accept this as a way of life. Our culture is defined by the things we accept without question. And in “The Big Country” if you think getting kicked is something to smile about, you’re not worth talking to.

I’ll be reviewing and hope to interview the author in an upcoming All Things Geek.

The Big Country is available for pre-order at Amazon –

About the Author-

Quinton Peeples has been writing, producing and directing for television for over 30 years, including Runaways, Iron Fist, Flashforward, The Last Ship, Unforgettable and Hulu’s adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel 11/22/63, as well as the film Woodlawn.

Image courtesy of Humanoids Publishing

Mom Shuts Down Former Coworker who Said Her Preemie Will ‘Definitely Need Service’

Every mom is subject to scrutiny from “well-meaning” people in their lives, from family members to coworkers, or even very nosy strangers. It’s always hurtful; as a parent, it’s impossible not to second-guess your child’s health and safety, and even harder not to beat yourself up when someone else makes a nasty or insensitive comment.

Reddit user QueasyTangerine shared an encounter in which her former coworker made a condescending remark about her preemie daughter. “My daughter was born at 31 weeks old in February, where I eventually transitioned to SAHM life and quit my social work job as a child development specialist,” QueasyTangerine said. “I miss my old job frequently, but my background allows me to put all my knowledge to test with my 9 month old.”

Two months ago, QueasyTangerine stopped into her work with treats for a coworker’s birthday. It was a sweet surprise, and no easy feat for a mom of 9-month-old baby. Mostly, her coworkers were excited to see her, and told her she could come back to her job.

Unfortunately, not everyone was as kind. “One asked if my daughter was in the same services we offer. I stated no – I felt she didn’t need them.”

That should have been the coworker’s cue to drop the subject.

Instead, she said, “She’s GOING to have serious issues, QueasyTangerine; she will definitely need them.”

Even though the incident took place two months ago, the hurt was clearly fresh in QueasyTangerine’s post. So was the mom’s determination not to let her hurt get in the way of seeing all her preemie daughter’s accomplishments.

“Fuck you, Mary-Beth,” she wrote. “My daughter is 9 months old and standing against furniture, saying ‘Mama,’ ‘Baba’ and ‘Dada,’ she’s signing ‘All done’ and ‘Milk’ and is starting to walk against furniture. Her motor, social and communication skills are excelling for a 9 month old who was supposed to be 7 months. She’s crawling, climbing and trying her best – just like I am. My daughter is a warrior. She survived a 2 month NICU stay without your advice and we’ll continue to do great without hearing a peep from you.”

Adults who were born prematurely and went on to live perfectly healthy lives were quick to dissuade the mother from putting too much stock in her former coworker’s comment.

User Kittenmckitten wrote a particularly encouraging response:

“Hi adult preemie here! My mom went into labor at 23 weeks and a couple of days and they gave her medication to stop the labor so I was born at legal treatment limit (at the time) of 24 weeks. I was the smallest baby they had at the nicu. I spend 3.5 months in the hospital, had 26 blood transfusions multiple surgeries (one on my heart) and had five strokes. My birthweight was 620 grams but I dropped to about a lb/ ~500gram because I couldn’t eat.

I am 26 now. I am about 7 inches shorter than my family but they are all 6ft giants so it’s fine. I am the only one in my family wearing prescription glasses and I had a lot of hearing problems/ear infection as a child. But that is it! Everything that people were scared about for me didn’t happen.

I did not have major complications with my digestive system/lung development or brain. I don’t get sick often. My heart is healthy. My blood values are great. I box and Kung fu and I have no problem keeping up. I I like to think I am pretty smart. Studied neuroscience and do research. I read very fast. Trying to go to med school. Working hard.

I have scars on my body as a result of my NICU time. A very long one on my stomach and one on my left hand from the surgery. A couple on my side and in my neck. I hardly notice them anymore. People think they are white ink tattoos since they are very symmetrical shaped so they look like art.

Your child sounds fine to me. Don’t worry about hitting certain milestones too late especially with height and weight. I never got those until I was 18. Even if she is a bit behind on things initially (which it doesn’t sound like that at all! Nine months is pretty early for those things) she get there eventually.

You got this, mama.”

QueasyTangerine reiterated her concern over her coworker’s comment at the end of her post. “I wondered if she was seeing I wasn’t… But I look at my daughter and realize how much she’s overcome, and remember that not every child develops at the same rate and that’s OK. We’re OK.”

Of course, there’s no shame getting developmental services and support for a child who could benefit from them, as determined by a loving parent and a healthcare pro of the parent’s choosing. There’s only shame in offering unsolicited opinions on the development of other parents’ children.

5 Ways to Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve in a Relationship

Dear Terry,

Ryan and I have been dating for over eight years and we don’t seem to be moving any closer to a commitment. It feels like I’m spinning my wheels and growing more and more dissatisfied every day with being in a state of limbo. You see, I’m twenty seven and most of my friends are engaged, married, or enjoying being single. I don’t really fall into any of those categories.

Don’t get me wrong, Ryan’s a great guy but he just isn’t the marrying kind. Even his mother, Laurie, told me this at his older brother’s wedding reception after a few glasses of wine. It’s almost like she was warning me but I just can’t seem to break things off with him. When I ask him why we’re not moving to the next level, he says he doesn’t see the point since his dad walked out on his mom after twenty years of marriage. He just doesn’t believe in marriage and thinks most are doomed to fail.

I grew up in a divorced home too but both of my parents remarried and are pretty happy. Although their divorce was hard on me when I was young, I mostly got over it. Ryan’s got a lot of great qualities. He’s handsome, charming, and affectionate. We have similar interests but we argue a lot because he wants to go out with his friends. When he does, I can’t deal with it because I’m worried he may meet someone else that he likes better.

My mom and a lot of my friends think I’m settling for less than I deserve with Ryan because I’m afraid of being alone. I tell them they’re wrong because I do love him and he says he loves me. But it’s true that I’ll do almost anything to avoid being alone.

Please help me figure out whether or not I should break things off with Ryan. I don’t want to have regrets if we split, but I don’t want to be alone in my 30’s and 40’s. Do you think Ryan will change if I hang in there a little longer?

Sincerely,

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Yours is a common problem. You seem to know intellectually that you shouldn’t have to settle for less than you deserve in your relationship with Ryan but your emotions are conflicted. You may be unwilling to take the chance of breaking things off because you fear you won’t meet someone else and will be alone for a prolonged period. You seem to hold on to the hope things will change even though you and Ryan don’t share the same goals for your relationship. After all, even his mother warned you that he is not the marrying kind. In my opinion, it’s unlikely that Ryan will change his mind in the near future because of his intense fear of commitment.

It appears that ambiguity in romantic relationships is on the increase in the 21st century and options range from friends with benefits to indecision about permanent commitment. According to Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, “Ambiguity is now the norm as opposed to clarity.” Author Jessica Massa, who interviewed hundreds of singles and couples for her book, “The Gaggle: How to Find Love in the Post-Dating World” informs us that many couples claim exclusivity but won’t call it a relationship. No wonder you fear breaking things off with Ryan and have anxiety about the possibility of establishing a permanent relationship.

Like many people, the primary reason why you may fear breaking things off with Ryan is because you are afraid to be alone. Many people question: Will I be alone forever? I’d like to challenge you a little and say: So what? There’s more to you than being part of a couple. Tell me about other relationships in your life. Tell me about the hobbies and passions that bring you joy. Tell me about your dreams. What makes you happy? What more is there to you than the person who is afraid to be alone forever? I promise you, there is a lot more to you.

The good news is that new research is being conducted on this topic. A study by Stephanie S. Spielman demonstrates that fear of being single is a meaningful predictor of settling for less in relationships. In her groundbreaking study, Spielman discovered that the fear of being alone is a strong predictor of staying with a partner who is wrong for you. Further, Spielman’s results showed that individuals who report being fearful of being alone will stay with unresponsive, less attractive partners rather than face that dreaded fate.

Of all the difficult experiences that individuals face in life, being alone can be among the most challenging. Growing up, you probably weren’t given good examples of how to be alone. It seems like everything you see in movies and TV and on the internet is about how to find the right partner, and make it work. There’s nothing wrong with seeking love, because it’s beautiful and can bring about some of the most treasured moments in our lives. But very few people know how to be alone and do it well. They aren’t happy to be alone. They fear it and seek love wherever they go. Too often the pleasure they find with falling in love is the sweet release of no longer being by themselves in the world.

Often single women may be reluctant to acknowledge the challenges of being alone for fear of being seen as desperate or needy. According to author Sara Eckel, many of the stereotypes we have about single women are misleading. She writes, “The single life isn’t a prison sentence nor is it a cocktail party. It is simply a life – a life with responsibilities and rewards, good days and bad ones, successes and failures. In her article “Stop Telling Women They Are Fabulous,” she reminds us that we don’t really know how to discuss single women in our culture because in times past they were seen as lonely spinsters, quietly languishing in their studio apartments.

Too often I hear women (and some men) who are coupled up rationalize why they are still in a relationship, when maybe they shouldn’t be. They say things like, “I know my relationship isn’t perfect, but at least . . . he doesn’t yell at me.” Or “he really is a good dad.” Or “he will always be faithful to me.” When I hear things like that I am reminded that breaking up with someone is an act of courage. To be honest with someone about why the relationship isn’t working is an act of love. When you can accept that your relationship doesn’t make you the best person you can be, and you correct course by breaking up, you become immeasurably stronger.

Although the answer varies from person to person, one factor that causes someone to settle is past experiences of romantic rejection and another is fear of prolonged singlehood. Whatever the reason, if you assess that you are staying with Ryan even though he’s wrong for you, it’s important to take a steps to determine if you need to end your relationship. This can take time and a commitment to loving and respecting yourself. However simplistic this may seem, you are responsible for your own happiness.

According to author Whitney Caudill, “Feeling loneliness or fear from time to time as a single person is normal. In fact, it is normal for everyone.” The key is to recognize this and realize that these are just feelings. Staying in a relationship that is going nowhere to avoid loneliness rarely produces good results.

Here are some signs that you are settling for less than you deserve in your relationship:

  • The relationship brings you down or you are often dissatisfied with it. Ask yourself: Does your significant other inspire you to do your best? Perhaps he or she is overly critical or too focused on his or her needs to be supportive of you.
  • You feel you have to change yourself – your values, goals, or dreams for your partner to accept you.
  • You are ready for a commitment and he or she is not. This is one of the main causes of breakups. Being in a relationship where two people hold drastically different goals can set the stage for disappointment and unhappiness that are rarely reversible.
  • You are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship. You may have hidden this from family or friends due to shame or codependency issues – putting your partner’s needs before your own. Verbal or emotional abuse can be very damaging and lower your self-esteem.
  • You’ve been cheated on repeatedly and keep giving him or her more chances in spite of the fact that he or she has proven to be untrustworthy.
  • You sacrifice too much. Since your partner is unable or unwilling to compromise – you morph into someone else to accommodate his or her expectations, needs, or desires.

Facing your fear of being alone is the first step in moving forward. In her Huffington Post article How to Be Alone (And Not Be Unhappy) Poorna Bell writes, “There is a problem, a serious cultural problem, about solitude. Being alone in our present society raises an important question about identity and well-being.” Bell posits that there is a contradiction in the 21st century because our culture values individualism and autonomy, yet we both fear and dread being alone, and denigrate those who embrace singlehood.

Here are 5 ways to stop settling for less than you deserve in relationships and cope with your fear being single:

  • Accept that fear is normal and come up with an action plan to change. Identify your fears and make a list of them. Gain self-awareness about their source – such as fear of rejection or of being alone. Set two or three goals and monitor your success daily. Writing in a journal is a good way to keep track of your progress.
  • Use positive self-talk . Practice changing negative thinking about being single to positive. For instance, if you worry about being alone forever, try telling yourself “This is just a feeling. It doesn’t mean it’s true. I can enjoy my own company.”
  • Realize that it takes courage to try singlehood. Congratulate yourself for your decision to withstand the social pressures and expectations to be part of a couple.
  • Embrace some of the pleasures of being single. Take a class, join a book club, watch your favorite movies, etc.
  • Discover your strengths and highlight them. When you remind yourself about what you like about yourself and what you are good at, your fear will fade away and you’ll feel more self-confident.

In closing, you may need time and perhaps the help of a skilled therapist or relationship coach to figure things out. In the meantime, remind yourself that you are worth the effort and deserve to be loved and to have a commitment from Ryan. Often, the courage needed to end a relationship that is no longer meeting one or both partners’ needs shows the greatest strength. Perhaps one of the toughest pressures of being single comes from within yourself. However, if you decide to stay in your relationship because you feel it’s worth trying to save, consider couples counseling if Ryan is willing and motivated – before you walk away.

A version of this post was previously published on movingpastdivorce.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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