Thursday, May 30, 2013

Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or her breast size.


Throughout my life, I’ve endured harassment, remarks, and teasing about two prominent personal characteristics: my accent and my breast size. I am not complaining, just explaining, or should I say, “I ain’t whinin’, ima just splainin’!”

 I think Winston Churchill said there is no more beautiful sound than the voice of an educated Southern woman. The women of my mother’s family come from the Deep South—Georgia and Alabama. Their Southern drawls drape their phrases like Spanish Moss softens the branches of a live oak. If a Deep Southern woman’s accent is coconut rum, mine is sour mash. I am an East Tennessean. We have our own sound. My words clang and clash like the breaking down of a moonshine still. I do not sound beautiful.

 In addition to my twang, my breasts have always been a point or points of intrigue to many and have driven me crazy most of my life. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate being well-endowed. A lot of confidence comes with breast size. Maybe watching Miss Piggy swat other Muppets down with her boobs (or was it her snout?) helped me. I felt empowered by her feminine yet confident example.  I had something most girls wanted and couldn’t have, until silicone came along. At least I could still brag, “Mine are real.” But I’m not sure that’s a good thing, especially at my age and size. At least the fake ones are perky. If mine were a yoga position, they’d certainly be called Downward Dogs.

 I suppose everyone has characteristics or features that must be overcome, embraced, or worked around, just like I have this thick accent and these large breasts.

 A friend suggested I post a video book trailer for my novel, The Eye of Adoption, to YouTube. Another writer told me it’s the second largest search engine behind Google. I know a guy who can film me, and I know the marketing is worthwhile, but I am extremely self-conscious about how my voice sounds in a microphone. Think Ellie Mae; just subtract the bailing twine belt and add pollen-induced hoarseness, or, as we say in the hollers, a frog in my throat. Ugh. I fear that my uneducated-sounding self would turn off potential readers. Maybe I can find Julia from “Designing Women” to do a voice over for me. My best friend at work also sports a country accent and a nice set of knockers. We talked a few days ago about how we worry that colleagues from other parts of the country may underestimate our academic and professional ability. I apologize that they must wade through our swamp of colloquialisms, but they do eventually cotton to us!

As far as the “girls” go, I do my best to conceal them as I teach high school freshmen. I steer clear of v-necks and always wear tight camisoles, which my work buddy’s daughter calls “squeezers,” over my high-dollar, minimize bras. Just after Tall Child and I married, I told him that, although I came with little money, he should consider my boobs as a dowry, since many of his friends had to purchase their wives’ attributes.

In college, my accent drew harassment from romantic competition. I was on a date with a really cute frat boy when his “sorority sister” questioned me in a valley-girl condescending tone, “Oh my goodness, your accent is so thick. I’ve never heard anything like it! Where are you from?”

I replied (typed phonetically here), “Well, I’m French. I grew up in Pea jhion four czhay, which is just east of Ville` day Seveeyay.” (Pigeon Forge, just east of Sevierville.) Frat boy laughed. Sorority sister did not.

Also, in college, because of the boobs, boys mistook me for a wild girl. In the early 90’s, when I was at The University of Tennessee, fashion trends called for tight tops. I had to be in style, so my girls were on display. I got lots of attention from boys, but their expectations were as large as what they wanted to see. And, I was a good girl. So, they often called me a tease, based only on what I looked like! At least they had goals.

One summer in high school, I attended Tennessee Governor’s School for the Humanities in Martin, TN, in the northwest corner of the state. Basically, it’s language arts nerd camp. Shakespeare in a classroom in July. Not cool. The high-brow crowd had a hay-day with my dialect. Back where I came from (Gatlinburg), we all sounded about the same, but when I got to Governor’s School, I was called out mercilessly. That was tough on my fifteen-year-old soul who was already showing up at nerd camp with size 34DD boobies and praying I didn’t have to swim there. My roommate finding my mother’s letter to me, which detailed how Delicious had dipped the dogs for fleas, did not help. I tried to soften my twang, employ the other campers’ catch-phrases, and convince them I had a brain, but ended up sounding ridiculous, especially when I returned to the hollers. I should have left the fake voice in Martin, like Madonna should leave her British accent in London. 

In high school, the no one called me a tease because Delicious was there to make sure all the boys knew I was a good girl. But, she couldn’t protect me when I ran track. Trying to keep my royal blue Umbro shorts from sliding up my rear to expose my lily-white thighs was bad enough, but that was before sports bras, too. I was all over the place as I pounded around the track, “running” the 880. My most memorable moment came as my team, the Gatlinburg-Pittman Highlanders, raced against the Seymour Eagles. I had a bad crush on a Seymour boy and he was on their track team. I remember plodding slowly down the long side of the track opposite where he sat with his teammates, and hearing a chant of some sort. As I rounded the turn, the chant became louder and clearer. Along with my Reeboks hitting pavement and my labored breaths, I heard, “Boom chugga lugga lugga. Boom chugga lugga lugga. Boom chugga lugga lugga.” Then it dawned on me. They were chanting with the rhythm of my bouncing breasts! I closed my elbows in toward my chest to try to control things, but it was hopeless. I gave up and let it all hang out, even my thighs. I crossed the finish line in last and walked straight up the bleachers to confront the crowd of skinny teenage goober boys. I said, “I’m glad y’all enjoyed the race. If you liked that, you should see me dance!” Oh, they liked it alright. I went to the prom with that boy a couple of years later. Boobyah ya’ll!
                                                                 Show some respect!


Which brings us to Theory 5: Play a sport, even if you suck at it.

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!

Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Facebook: The Eye of Adoption
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Google+: The Eye of Adoption
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Author website: www.jodydyer.com
Read reviews and/or purchase The Eye of Adoption here: Amazon.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Theory 3: You should be nice to everyone you meet, because you will meet again, especially if you were not nice in the first place.

I have to start with my mother again. To protect her privacy, let’s call her by the nickname my cousin “Roscoe” gave her when he played college basketball. The players decided to give all their mamas nicknames. Well, Roscoe’s mama has a “donk” so they deemed her “Big Booty J” or “B.B.J.” for short. My mama sports colorful blouses that stretch across her well-endowed bosom and chandelier earrings that swish below her short black curly hair. And, at all times, she carries a drink and snacks, typically a tall fruity drink and popcorn or peanuts. Thus, the boys named her “Delicious D.” I’ll call her “Delicious” here on Theories: Size 12.

While Delicious is eccentric,  she’s also a great teacher in my life and the lives of others—in theory and example. My whole life, Delicious has beaten maxims into my brain, especially during our four years of driving to and from high school together. She taught at my school, or should I say, I attended hers? I had no social life, so we were pretty much together  24 hours a day. I mean, I couldn’t skip school because she would notice I was not in the passenger seat. Maybe. So, I sat, listened, and learned. One of her favorite lessons is “Be nice to everyone one you meet, because you will meet again.”

This Theory has played out over and over in my life, but I’m going to illustrate with two examples, in hopes that you avoid similar mistakes. In the first, Delicious is the instigator. In the second, I am the victim, until I am the victor!

Example 1: Delicious was shopping at The Kmart (in The South, stores names are amped up with the article The, as in The Wal-Mart, The Exxon, The Co-Op). Perhaps she was balancing a Styrofoam cup of Coca-Cola or pouring a plastic sleeve of peanuts through her Wine with Everything lips. Perhaps she just wasn’t paying attention, but Delicious made a driving error in the parking lot of The Kmart. A female driver behind her angrily honked, and Delicious flipped her The bird. As the woman—likely aghast at the obscene gesture—cruised by, Delicious peered into the driver’s window. There she spotted her now frowning co-worker and friend of 20 years, Mrs. R! What did Delicious do? She laid low, finished her peanuts, and washed them down with some ice cold refreshing Coca-Cola. Once Mrs. R was out of sight, Delicious peeled out in a flash of embarrassment.  She never apologized. She never admitted her sin. She simply hoped Mrs. R never noticed her in the first place. You see, in The South, you can just keep things soft, smooth, and simple by not confronting such situations. You can both pretend The Thing never happened. Delicious learned her lesson, and has not flipped The Bird in The Kmart parking lot since.

Example 2: Picture me, Mountain Mama, 20 pounds lighter (yay) 20 years ago, all decked out in a navy blue business suit, panty hose (yep), and taupe high heels. Painful, neutral, nervous shoes: taupe. The suit jacket did its best to conceal the professional woman’s enemy: giant boobs. I prayed the minimizer bra kept its promise. Taupe means business.  Boobs mean bimbo. I was one month away from graduating from The University of Tennessee and was as broke as a haint. A haint is a low class ghost who basically hangs around and harasses. Haints haint. Full of self-confidence with a touch of naiveté, I typed up a resume` and cover letter and set out to bust the world wide open, professionally speaking, beginning with downtown Knoxville. My first stop was Home Federal Bank. There, I planned to drop off my documents, give my practiced not-too-feminine, not-too-masculine handshake, and politely introduce myself to the director of human resources, who would no-doubt be impressed by my finance degree, outgoing personality, confident handshake, and taupe shoes. The receptionist said, “Thank you for your resume, but Mr. M doesn’t usually talk to anyone unless he calls you for an interview.” I replied, “Well, I am about to graduate and just need one moment of his time to introduce myself.” (I was coached at the UT Career Center to personally hand off my resume, make eye contact, use the handshake, etc. to increase my chances of a call back.) No deal at Home Federal. But, Mr. M did, just at that moment, open his office door and walk right into the room! I pounced, “Good morning, Mr. M. May I speak with you for just a moment?” Mr. M grumbled, did not make eye contact, and walked off.  For a human resources director, he did not act very human at all! Needless to say, I ended up working for another bank. About five years into my career, I was promoted to be branch manager of The Main Office! Whoop whoop! The first day on the job, I met my staff, which included………… MRS. M! What?!? Payback is a B. Well, it can be if you are a jerk. I was nice to MRS. M, though I admit I cut her zero slack. I felt sorry for her, being married to the non-human human resources officer, but, boy did I get a chuckle out of being her boss.

All this is to say, listen to Delicious and Bug. Be nice to everyone. Which reminds me of Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or her breast size.

See you next post. Until then, think outside The Barn!


Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!

Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Facebook: The Eye of Adoption
GoodReads.com: Let's talk books.
Google+: The Eye of Adoption
Google+: Theories: Size 12
Twitter: @jodycdyer
Author website: www.jodydyer.com
Read reviews and/or purchase The Eye of Adoption here: Amazon.com

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theory 2: Anyone can learn from anyone.

My mother, who taught senior English for almost 40 years, says the number one learning disability in America is heredity. She also says that teenagers get a bad “rap” and are actually loving, lively, tolerant, and compassionate.  I agree. Plus, they are FUNNY.  We are not all created with equal ability, but enlightened, positive educators like my mother know that every student can learn. We also believe that every student has something to teach others! Even though the Internet is blocked, the doors are bolted, and teachers are vetted through drug and background checks, schools are the most REAL places on Earth. The shielded environment actually creates a bubble where teachers and students share a unique bond of trust, open communication, and good times. Parents, be careful what you say and do at home; students tell us everything!


The Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse in The Great Smoky Mountains
To become a certified educator, I had to perform an 18-week student-teaching stint in a rural, yet culturally diverse high school. My mentors were solid but, hands down, I learned significantly more from my students. I changed students’ names to protect their privacy and help them avoid the inevitable teenage tendencies of embarassment and self-loathing. Here are a few things those high schoolers taught me:

  • High school boys are not attracted to girls who smoke. Wilson explained, “Man, soon as I see a hot girl cough up tar, I’m done wit’ her.”

  • The future of the medical industry is sketchy. Shelley, who plans to be a nurse, announced, “I had strep throat but I’m not airborne anymore.”  Jonie said, “I will be in college 15 years to be an ob/gyn, but the last four years are residential.”

  • American teenagers have unique interpretations of race. Charles questioned, “I don’t know why my last name is Rodriguez. I’m American Indian.”  Wilson declared, “Mrs. Dyer, we can all be ghetto sometimes, even white people.”

  • Teenagers are romantic and see the real beauty in others. “Mama C”— the regular sub at the school—growls instructions like she starts every day with black coffee, a sausage biscuit, and a pack of unfiltered cigarettes. She’s pretty hairy, too. Derron, a junior, flirted with her, “Mama C, you know I make you want to be young again!”

  • Teenagers are spiritual. Felina told me, “My grandma is in Heaven. My grandpa is in Louisiana.”

  • Teenagers interpret their parents’ behavior in a literal sense. After discussing his ADHD diagnosis, John disclosed, “My mom has a screaming disorder.” Hmmm. That sounds familiar.

My student-teaching experience confirmed that I am meant to be a teacher.  Not because I love to teach, but because I love to laugh! I absorbed valuable information from my time at PHS. Before I left, I surveyed students to gain feedback on my teaching skills. I begged them to be honest. They were. Here are a few of their suggestions for me:

Give lots of praise.
Don’t be a pushover.
Get to know all your students.
Don’t talk the entire class.
Don’t talk about the band so much. I don’t like the band. I don’t care about the band.

Those are all good points, but the best advice came once again from Wilson as I prepared for the principal's final observation in my 9th grade typing class. I confessed to the students,“I hope nothing goes wrong during Mr. D’s visit to our class. I will freak out if I mess up or the computers don't work!” Wilson offered crucial insight and tried to comfort me. He said, "You know Mrs. Dyer, he’ll understand if something goes wrong. I mean, shift happens.”


See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!

Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Facebook: The Eye of Adoption
GoodReads.com: Let's talk books.
Google+: The Eye of Adoption
Google+: Theories: Size 12
Twitter: @jodycdyer
Author website: www.jodydyer.com
Read reviews and/or purchase The Eye of Adoption here: Amazon.com

Friday, May 10, 2013

I have a theory: People write diaries hoping someone else will read them.

Blogs are basically techy on-line diaries, but with purpose. I hope to offer more purpose than personal, so please forgive me as I talk about my family and myself a little on my first post to Theories: Size 12, Musings from a Mountain Mama. Let’s get the introductions out of the way, then we can move on to more engaging topics!

My name is Jody Cantrell Dyer. My nickname is Bug because I used to stand in the backseat of my parents' car and lean over the front seat, stick my head right in between theirs, and chatter. Constantly. “Bugging them to death.” Yes, I talk. All the time. And, I’m direct. Here’s an example of how direct and honest I am! I turned 39 in February 2013. I stand 5.5 feet tall and toggle between 150 and 157 pounds. I’m 150 in the summer because I weed my yard and trim my hedges (for JoeyC). Then, when football season starts, I fatten up with water-retaining tailgate foods and, uh-hum, beverages. I stay thick through the holidays to keep warm and because it is just plain rude to refuse a sweet treat brought to me by a co-worker or student (I teach 9th grade). Ah, good times. But each spring, I pull that dang Land’s End catalog featuring over-promising, under-delivering swimsuits for big-breasted women out of the mailbox and panic. I cut out carbs and start working in my yard, and the cycle starts again. I wear a size 12. Always have. Probably always will. In addition to teaching school, I am an adoption enthusiast and writer. I recently published The Eye of Adoption: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby.

I do have a husband. He turns 50 next Monday. Let’s call him by one of his nicknames, Tall Child. We have two little boys. Our older son is eleven. His baseball coach nicknamed him Sharky because he is “all cartilage” and swims in a strange, fluid, zigzagging motion around the bases. I think the nickname also fits because Sharky had to move like Michael Phelps on Wipeout to navigate the gauntlet of my reproductive system. He is medically unexplained. Tall Child and I also have a three-year-old toddler. I call him The Roaming Gnome because he works a room like he’s age 45 and at a cocktail party. And, he’s little bitty. He can turn into a ball like a Roly Poly bug! We adopted him after an eight-year journey through infertility and adoption, and all three of us are madly in love with him and try to follow his instructions as best we can.

A few summers ago, my nieces (I’ll spare them public humiliation and use their nicknames), E and Cake, came to visit us. E and Sharky were 8 years old. Sharky was teasing E and hurt her feelings. She retreated to the guest bedroom, and wrote in her journal, “When I first came to Knoxville, I thought I would have a good time, but [Sharky] is being mean.” Then, she stomped into the living room, opened the book at Sharky, and demanded, “Here [Sharky], read what I wrote about you in my journal!”




Bloggers (online diarists) write to vent, inform, heal, sell, and entertain. I will be completely honest; I hope to do all those things! But, my focus is on you, not me.

Like many of you, I’ve had or have my share of struggles, heartaches, and frustrations. I hope you feel validated here.

I’m a public school teacher; it’s in my nature to explain things. I hope you learn here. By the way, “I’m a public school teacher" is my defensive sentence against aggressive sales folks. It works like mace on a Smoky Mountain black bear!

I suffer from secondary infertility, anxiety, and a clotting disorder. The clotting disorder complicates things, but it also prevents me from getting a much needed breast reduction. Writing and reading are therapeutic activities. I hope you find healing here.

I wrote and published a novel titled The Eye of Adoption: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby, to encourage, enlighten, and entertain women affected by infertility and/or adoption. I hope you buy it!

I crave laughter like a junior leaguer shakes for Pinot Grigio at 5:15 p.m. and a Georgia fan requires barbecue at a tailgate. I am a humorist at heart. I hope you laugh here.

I named this blog Theories: Size 12, Musings from a Mountain Mama for three reasons:

1. I have lots of theories. I really annoy Tall Child, who is not always interested in my theories. You may agree with my theories. You may hate them. Who knows?

2. I wear a Size 12. That is the most common clothing size for American women. I’m like most of ya’ll.

3. I am a daughter of modern Appalachia. I grew up in Sevier County (Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg), Tennessee. I grew up tubing in the Little River in The Great Smoky Mountains, and spent most of my first dates flirting my way through eighteen holes of putt-putt.

My goal is to post on Fridays. Think of Theories: Size 12 as a casual column in a small town Friday paper that you read when you are tired of working all week and need a distraction. But, you just might learn something from this nobody in a size 12!


See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn!

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!


Like what you read?
You'll LOVE my book of fleshed out, ramped up,
risk-taking Theories.
 


From the back cover

                            


Let's talk! Find me and friend me and please post a superlative!
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Welcome to Theories: Size 12! Go on and get mad, but you know I'm right.



On Theories: Size 12, I will present personal musings from week to week on all kinds of topics. You will either find  yourself here or think I am nuts. Either way, I hope you at least laugh.

The first post is coming soon. Until then, please visit my website www.jodydyer.com.

Also, take a look at my novel, The Eye of Adoption, on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Eye-Adoption-Story-Turbulent/dp/1481040138



I will write adoption-related posts from time to time, but I have theories of all sorts and I plan to muse all over the place!

Topics may include: teaching freshmen, being married to Tall Child, raising two children of two generations, Grandmama drama, the Yorkie from you-know-where, having a barn, only children, youth sports, bras, wine, The Holy Bible, quotes, other authors, obnoxious people, awesome people, organizations, charities, friends, the importance of wearing lipstick, my hero Dolly Parton, and whatever pops into my anxiety ridden, sleep-deprived, adult onset ADHD mind!

Ya'll Come Back Now!

Jody

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Jody Cantrell Dyer
Facebook: The Eye of Adoption
GoodReads.com: Let's talk books.
Google+: The Eye of Adoption
Google+: Theories: Size 12
Twitter: @jodycdyer

Buy The Eye of Adoption here: Amazon.com