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Author: whereslindsey

Female Toplessness

Female Toplessness

The double standard allowing male toplessness but barring female toplessness needs to end. My brother can walk outside and feel the warm sun on his bare chest without shame, hesitation, humiliation or fear or legal repercussions. Yet I am prohibited from experiencing this simply because I am female. To condemn me for my gender and anatomy, neither of which I chose, is wrong and keeps me and millions of other women from living our lives to the fullest with the same dignity that men enjoy. As long as there are laws prohibiting women from enjoying the same rights that men have, gender inequality and rape culture perpetuate and noxiously hinder women from enjoying full liberty, freedom and happiness.

Until the day I can legally walk outside without having to censor my ‘indecent’ nipples, I am being discriminated against because I am female, and that is the true indecency. These laws forbidding female toplessness hyper-sexualize and objectify my nipples by equating them with genitalia. However, a chest is a chest and genitalia is genitalia, and to mix or confuse the two is a veiled excuse to perpetuate gender discrimination. Nipple exposure does not actually negatively affect other people, and the only reason these corrupt laws exist to is to continue the archaic and unfair demonization of my gender which has only ever contributed negatively to the female experience. It perplexes me why we are so educated about the historical hardships women have suffered throughout history only to continue them in some semblance in the present.

If our culture implored boys to respect women instead of shame and humiliate them, it would help remove the negative stigma attached to women’s bodies that promulgates our suffering. The encumbering stress that society places on women to censor themselves creates a needless fear of ‘nip slips,’ ‘wardrobe malfunctions,’ shame, and legal and financial repercussions. Juxtapose this experience with men who are completely free to be bare chested sans consequence. This shame-fueled culture which tears down a woman’s self esteem while building up a man’s from a very young age is emotionally, mentally and psychologically scarring to girls. Further, it sends the message that women are not worthy of the same dignity and respect that men are. If society were instead encouraged to respect and honor women, it would help grant women equal respect and dignity, close the inequality gap and move society forward.

Every morning in school growing up, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and the last line, ‘With Liberty and Justice for all,’ was always my favorite. Liberty is defined as ‘the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.’ Justice is defined as ‘fairness,’ ‘equity,’ and ‘impartiality.’ Therefore, prohibiting female toplessness denies women Liberty and Justice as it discriminatorily imposes ‘oppressive restrictions’ on women due to their gender. Further, the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states that (1) no state shall deprive any person of Liberty and (2) no state shall deny any person equal protection of the laws. Therefore prohibiting female toplessness denies women the right to (1) Liberty and (2) equal protection under the law, thereby denying us our Constitutional rights. This must be rectified.

Demeaning women by not granting them the same rights and privileges that men enjoy perpetuates this abusive, shame-fueled, sexist culture which creates the illusion that women are not worthy of the same respect and dignity that men are. This arcane and inhumane double standard poisonously preserves gender inequality by dehumanizing women, sexually objectifying them and making them second class citizens in their own country. My whole life I have felt like I have been punished for being a girl, and that is not fair or right. I hope together we can free women from these sexist, discriminatory, disrespectful and unconstitutional laws. I dream of the day when I can live with the same basic liberty, freedom, dignity and respect that men enjoy every day of their lives.

 

Los Angeles: Truly the City of Angels

Los Angeles: Truly the City of Angels

I moved out to Los Angeles after I graduated from college because I was interested in acting. I loved Calabasas and found a wonderful place to live. I did extra work on sets such as Glee (Lea Michelle is just as amazing in person as she is on screen and Cory was a sweetheart), The Longest Ride, The Crazy Ones and other famous movies and TV shows. I was even featured in the pilot for Monday Mornings/Chelsea General starring Ving Rhames (which of course never went on air). This was a really special experience because I was cast as an ER patient who had just been in a car accident due to having a brain aneurism, and Ving Rhames was my doctor. The director told me what he wanted from my character and I acted it out for the camera, and afterwards Ving came up to me and said ‘are you a real actress’ and I was stunned and said ‘yes.’ He said ‘I was just asking because that was really impressive.’ I don’t remember if he said ‘impressive’ or awesome’ or ‘really good,’ but it was some kind of really kind and inspiring compliment and it totally made not only my day but my year!

While on the set of The Crazy Ones I had an incredible spiritual experience meeting the one and only, late and great Robin Williams (Jesus Christ in disguise). I have never met someone so beautiful and wonderful and his soul just shined from the inside out. I will forever be so grateful and happy that I have that moment forever to keep in my heart.When I first got to set on The Crazy Ones I honestly had not looked up anything about the show. I was also having a bad morning. I had driven for 2 hours through traffic to work that morning (typical CA morning I guess?) and had spilled the spinach protein shake I had brought from home for breakfast all over my clothes in my bag and wardrobe had to give me a new set of clothes for the day. When we were being placed for the first scene, they say a bunch of us on a bench in a classroom-type area and a bunch of kids sat on the floor in front of us. Then a hunched over older man tip toed past us whispering, “hi guys, hi guys” and I leaned over to the girl to my right and said, “is that Robin Williams?” I kid you not, I asked her that question at least 5 times because I was in shock.

When Robin sat down in front of the kids he proceeded to read a children’s book to them and acted out the voices of the characters in the book. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and it made me feel like a child again to have this man that created so many beautiful memories in childhood to read to me a children’s book as if I was five years old. It was surreal. This man had ruled my childhood with Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, and his other hit movies. After the scene I walked over to krafty, and when Robin walked over I just died a little inside because I wanted so badly to go introduce myself but felt like this would be unprofessional. A lady standing next to me noticed my anxiety and said “what’s wrong” and I said, “that’s Robin Williams.” She said something to Robin about me, I forgot what it was, and he hurried away, which hurt my feelings. At that point I felt like I would never get to meet him and tell him how amazing he was and what wonderful things he had brought to my life.

As I would learn later, Robin had this habit of walking up to extras on set, introducing himself and shaking their hands. I did not know this at the time. For the next scene we were all organized and placed in an office space area, and between scenes Robin went and introduced himself to extras. I was one of the extras. The girl in front of me extended her hand and shook his as he approached her and introduced himself with a smile. Then he came to me. I was dying inside. This man was an angel and I was going to have the chance to meet him. He walked up to me with that kind, genuine smile and pure light and goodness in his eyes and shook my hand as I extended it to meet his. “Thank you Robin Williams for my amazing childhood” were the first words out of my mouth, and to his he smiled and laughed and said, “bless you, bless you.” He asked me what my favorite project was that he did and mentioned Mork and Mindy, and I had no idea what that was at the time. I said the Genie from Aladdin was my favorite character he ever did, and he told me that was his favorite project. We laughed and smiled together for the few minutes he had before the next scene was to be filmed, and then he went back to work. I sat there wondering if I was hallucinating.

As the day went on, Robin and I walked past each other on set maybe a few hours later. When we made eye contact we both turned around as I could tell he had something to say to me. He said, “that was really nice what you said,” and to this I put my hands on my heart and said “I love you.” I am not totally sure how this made him feel, as he turned and walked away. Maybe it was overwhelming for him, I don’t know, but I surely hope it was a good feeling of being overwhelmed, hopefully by my adoration. I will never forget his genuine kindness, sincerity and the beauty of his soul when I met this amazing creature and for the rest of my life I will cherish this memory.

I had another great experience with another celebrity as well. I was at Costco trying on glasses and the guy helping me, Patrick, said he knew the guy that voices the character of Squidward in Spongebob Squarepants and directed me to his hang out place on Thursday nights. I went to that place and did meet Rodger Bumpass, the voice of Squidward, and he invited me to his house in Burbank, CA where he had a huge collection of SpongeBob paraphernalia on his wall and a beautiful backyard with rose bushes. Rodger was very nice. The story is funny because when I graduated from high school, my friends and I went to Universal Studios where there was a painting of a life size version of Squidward’s house, and I posed in front of it acting like I was about to open his door. Fast forward 10 years later and I really am opening his front door. Life is crazy sometimes!

Houston, TX: Beyonce

Houston, TX: Beyonce

For Beyonce’s Formation tour, I flew out to Houston, Texas to see her perform on Sept 24, 2016 because I wanted to see Beyonce perform in her hometown and I had already missed her performance in my own hometown. I visited Parkwood Park where she used to run growing up and was pointed in the direction of her old house where I took a selfie. When I watched her perform I belted out her music. Ah, the magic of Beyonce.

I spent rest of the week exploring Houston. Top highlights: Johnson Space Center, the Museum of Natural History (the dinosaur exhibit is amazing), the Czech Museum (like exploring a castle), Kemah Boardwalk (for some downtown eats and a walk on the pier), and Galveston (19th century homes and architecture). I had some amazing BBQ ribs at a local Texas chain. Overall a fun southern vibe with historic homes and nice people.

Oaxaca: The Heart of Mexico, with Chocolate

Oaxaca: The Heart of Mexico, with Chocolate

20161031_222707Oaxaca is a beautiful part of Mexico and is probably its chocolate capital! Filled with all kinds of ‘mole‘ – green mole, black mole, mole in tacos, mole de pollo, etc. Apart from chocolate-inspired entrees are the Mayordomo chocolate shops where you can walk in and buy chocolate in bulk – mole, frozen chocolate malts, and chocolate blocks.

I have been told by a few locals that Oaxaca is considered by many to be the ‘heart of Mexico.’ Stroll through the Calle Macedonio Alcala from the grand Templo Santo Domingo all the day to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption and accompanying zocalo, past surrounding shops, restaurants, art galleries, book stores and street vendors and artists day and night.

Also to note is the Anthropology Museum whose entrance is located right next to the Templo Santo Domingo and is filled with historic relics and a gorgeous overlook of the cactus garden in the back. Take a stroll over to El Llano, an outdoor marketplace where there is FOOD GALORE. Shopping, knick knacks and as many tacos al pastor and mole de polls as you can stuff in your face! Enjoy!

Oaxaca is especially a great destination to take part in celebrations for Day of the Dead. There are parades and people make ofrendas (offerings) with candles and flowers to the dead at the Panteon General and the Panteon Xoxocotlan. 

However, one of the greatest treasures of Oaxaca is the incredible pre-hispanic city of Monte alban. Come and gaze upon the awesomeness of the ancient pyramids and hike to the top where you can see 360 degrees panoramic views of the mountains around you. It’s a site to behold. I stayed here for 6 hours.

DAY TRIPS

If you have an afternoon, cruise on over to the little town of Santa Maria Del Tule where they have the widest tree in the world – El Tule! Also make a stop at Hierva el Agua, an area of thermal pools coupled with the gorgeous overlook of the stunning topography of Oaxaca. If you have time, check out San Agustin Etla, the best place to observe a 300 year old Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead parade where locals dress in incredible costumes and dance all night long to a live band in front of a church.

Puebla: A Beautiful Downtown Area A Hop, Skip and a Jump From Cholula

Puebla: A Beautiful Downtown Area A Hop, Skip and a Jump From Cholula

The enormous and awesome Catedral de Puebla is a site to behold both inside and out. Check out their world-famous organ and the stunning architecture of this grand church. Also to note is the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and Parque Paseo Bravo where you can stroll along taco stands and buy freshly pressed vegetable and fruit juice for less than 50 cents. Don’t miss the El Reloj monument next to the large church here.

DAY TRIPS

Please go and see Cholula, a charming and lovely pueblo magico only minutes from Puebla. Climb the Piramide to find the golden church at the top and cruise over to the Zona Archeologica de Cholula where they have preserved the remnants of a pre-hispanic city.  Cruise over to the Plaza Concordia, San Pedro Apostol, and the Convento de San Gabriel which surround the main square and zocalo where there is shopping, restaurants, artisans and more.

Puerto Vallarta: Sunset Blvd with a Beach in Mexico

Puerto Vallarta: Sunset Blvd with a Beach in Mexico

Puerto Vallarta was amazing. I stayed here for literally a month a half because I just couldn’t leave! The Malecon boardwalk that extends along the ocean shore  has the gorgeous sea to one side and restaurants and shopping on the other. There are artisans and street vendors selling jewelry, food and knick knacks from morning until night. The sunsets are especially beautiful.

The vacati0ners rent hotels and swim in the ocean during the day and eat out at restaurants at night while the locals swim in the green jungle river that runs under the bridge of the boardwalk that filters out into the ocean. The jungle river is pretty cool to swim in and if you swim up the river you’ll see all kinds of wildlife like birds and iguanas. I spent a couple days swimming in this jungle river and never once had anything bother me in the water. It is really a nice place to relax.

Unfortunately I almost had my purse stolen as I left it along with my clothes onshore, so be careful where you leave your stuff. As always, someone is usually watching you. Lucky for me two guys were watching my stuff, one being a protector and the other a thief, and I was alerted before my stuff was stolen by the protector. Mexico, like many other places, is full of all kinds of people. Always watch out for yourself.

The Malecon Boardwalk stretches from one beach to Playa Los Muertos where there is a seahorse sculpture. Go past the sculpture and follow the path up through the rocks to the other side of Playa Los Muertos and walk along the path with ocean to your right and mansions to your left. Lovely hike.

DAY TRIPS

Going up north of Puerto Vallarta, check out Marina Vallarta where you can pick one of the large red flowers growing on the bushes alongside the marina and hand feed the iguanas! Then cruise on over to Nuevo Vallarta which has a long stretch of beach leading to a gazebo looking out over the ocean.

Take a bus up to Sayulita, a charming little pueblo magico, about 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, for more beautiful beach views, surfing, little shops and restaurants. Further up the northern coast is San Francisco beach, another place to catch a luxurious sunset and relax by the water all day long while the pelicans fly by. Also in this area is Punta de Mita where you can catch a boat tour to the gorgeous Marietas Islands for a couple hours (DO IT). Coming back down the coast is Bucerias, another great place to explore and watch the sunset.

Down south of Puerto Vallarta, find Mismaloya & Los Arcos National Park where you can take a boat tour to the national park and snorkel where the rocks are vibrant and colorful and the fish are friendly! Also find Boca de Tomatlan, another beautiful beach. Yelapa is also beautiful and is reachable by boat. Spend the day here and go hiking to waterfalls, then relax in a beach chair until sunset when the boat leaves again for Puerto Vallarta.

Certainly worth mentioning is San Sebastian del Oeste, a quaint and charming  pueblo mágico  in the mountains about 2-3 hours east of Puerto Vallarta. Take the red line bus from the Las Glorias area. This beautiful little pueblo magico has got everything you want to see for a day of magic and culture in Mexico.

Valle de Bravo: Where Eva Longoria Got Married in Mexico

Valle de Bravo: Where Eva Longoria Got Married in Mexico

Valle de Bravo is a cute little pueblo magico and worth checking out. Unfortunately the water in the lake looks polluted and I wish they would clean this up, but the downtown area is pretty cool and there are lots of little shops and restuarants. This town is really a pleasure to stroll through. The main church at the downtown area is Parroquia de San Francisco de Asis and the accompanying Plaza Independencia and zocalo. It’s a lovely plaza and central downtown church with surrounding street vendors, art, sculptures, etc. You can also walk along the shoreline of the lake where there is more shopping, restaurants and a movie theater.

Queretaro: A Beautiful Downtown Area in Mexico

Queretaro: A Beautiful Downtown Area in Mexico

Queretaro is not one of my favorite places because I sprained my ankle really badly here and my couch surfing host was not so great, but the downtown area is beautiful and worth seeing. Find the Acueducto de Querétaro & Panteón and stroll on over to the Plaza de Fundadores & Templo de la Santa Cruz. The Alameda Hidalgo Park is a nice walk and very relaxing with a zocalo in the center. The Templo de Nuestra Sra del Carmen is beautiful and make sure to find an hour to see the MUCAL Calendar Museum which houses all kinds of ancient calendars from around the world. The Catedral de Queretaro, Parroquia del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Templo de San Francisco & Zenea Garden, Monument of the Corregidora, Templo de San Antonio Padua, and Templo de la Congregación de Guadalupe are all beautiful churches to check out. The Jardin del Arte is a lovely place to check out and relax with some live performances and and the Plaza del Armas is also really lovely. The wealthier people of this area live in Juriquilla which has a golf course and a lake and is a nice tranquil place to relax.

DAY TRIPS

Find some time to see Tequisquiapan and lovely Bernal, pueblo mágicos nearby.

Leon: Where I Almost Became a Doctor in Mexico

Leon: Where I Almost Became a Doctor in Mexico

I had one of the best Couchsurfing experiences of my life in Leon. I shadowed bariatric surgeries in a teaching hospital almost everyday thanks to the father of my amazing host family who was a bariatric surgeon, and I absolutely loved it. On my other days I strolled through downtown Leon which has some beautiful architecture. Find the exquisite Templo Exporatorio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus and just spend some time in this incredible church.

Cruise on over to the Museo de Arte e Historia de Guanajuato and find the Metropolitan Cathedral. At the other end of the city is the Arco Triunfal de Leon. Walk to the Plaza Principal and find the Archivo Histórico. Also worth noting is the Fuente de los Leones and the Parroquia del Sagrario.  You may also want to check out the Instituto Cultural de Leon.

Guanajuato: Color, Charm & Culture in Mexico

Guanajuato: Color, Charm & Culture in Mexico

I cannot say enough good things about Guanajuato. Like San Miguel Allende, its cobble-stone streets, colorful buildings, beautiful architecture, rich history, affordability and safety make it another perfect place to vacation and/or retire. Stroll through the streets past the coffee shops, restaurants, health food stores, street vendors and artists, colorful churches and friendly people and experience the charm and serenity of Guanajuato.

Stroll through the Plaza de la Paz from Teatro Juarez to the Parroquia de Basilica de Nuestra Sra de Guadalupe. Hike to the overlook at Monumento al Pipila for a panoramic view of the entire city.

Other notable churches to step into include the Templo de la Compañía de Jesus and Inglesia de San Diego. Step inside the Museo de Quijote and nearby Templo de San Francisco. Also to note is the Museo Casa Diego Rivera, Callejon del Beso, and the gorgeous architecture of the Universidad de Guadalajara.

Something not to miss is the haunting Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato where they have displayed the remains of those who died from a Cholera epidemic in the 1830’s. Those who died and were buried were later exhumed because a burial tax was enacted and if it was not paid, the bodies were removed from the local Guanajuato burial grounds and stored in a building above ground. People started paying to see these naturally mummified bodies in the 1900’s. The bodies are naturally preserved due to the climate of the region.

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