This blog is a stream of conciousness from my head to the keyboard to the screen. There will be talk of random subjects. If you have delicate eyes, proceed with caution. I like to talk about controversial subjects and sex a lot. So, take heed my friends. This is not a blog for debate, but for love and sharing. If your views do not match my own, love to you, but don't bring the rest of us down. That's all I'm saying.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who is fat?

It was brought to my attention yesterday that there had been a conversation between two family members about my daughter. Now, there are a lot of things that can be said about her. She is smart, caring, inventive, loves animals, highly creative, generous, exhausting, dramatic, anxious, and has a mind that is never still. None of these were the subject of the conversation. The talk was about her weight and eating habits.

We are vegetarian. My husband, in fact, is vegan. For clarity sake, that means the girls and I eat no meat, fish or poultry, but will eat dairy products and eggs. Blaine eats none of the mentioned animal products. Because of this choice, we research our food heavily. We make sure the nutritional content is sufficient for our growing girls' needs as well as our own. Between the vegetarian/vegan issue, the food texture issues that abound in our home and my severe food allergies, we take buying and preparing food seriously.

Back to the conversation. The one member of my family told the other one that she was concerned that my daughter was fat and she was going to really have a problem when she was older. She said we needed to stop this vegetarian nonsense and make her eat more protein so she stopped snacking on junk food all the time. The family member this was said to was not please by the conversation.

My daughter was on the competitive gymnastic team at her gym this summer. She practiced, and worked, and sweated for 12+ hours a week in that gym. On top of this, my kids live outside running with a band of neighborhood kids all summer and have to be drug in for dinner, then they are back out until dark. She is the same shape and size now as she was then. I think this is the size her body is and wants to be. By the way, her pediatrician agrees.

Did I mention she is 10. Yes, pre-pubescent 10. She already has some curves going and does have a slightly soft belly. She is compact and little. And she's 10.

What is our weight obsession in this country. Why do we perceive there to be one body shape and size that is the standard and the only standard on which to judge ourselves, our children and each other? Is the standard we have even healthy for all people?

I love the show The Biggest Looser. I have to admit, it is a guilty pleasure. I love watching these people find the strength and confidence that they didn't even know they had. To me the weight loss is secondary to the emotional healing they are achieving. The pounds being shed are just a physical representation of letting go of those past memories and/or pain. There is no doubt that these people are not in a healthy life situation. They are physically ill from complications due to their weight. It is clear.

What about someone who is model thin. We love to look at these people. They are looking good and are to what we should aspire. But, what if they are ill all the time because they do not have a healthy system or enough fat to store energy? What if they are smoking to keep that weight off or obsessively exercising to look that good? Do they really look that good?

What a bout a 10 year old who may be a bit rounder than some of her classmates. Can we accept that? What if she only sees the doctor once a year because she is always active and healthy and never gets sick? What if she is happy and loves fashion and feels good about herself? Can we accept that?

There are clear lines of ill health on both sides of the shape and size spectrum. It's that fuzzy grey area in the middle that's tough. When do we accept ourselves and each other rather than talk behind backs about "problems?" Do we even know what the problem areas are for each other?

That one family member's perceived problems are completely unfounded. My daughter's diet is more well researched than most children's diets that I know. She eats well above the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day giving her plenty of minerals, vitamins and fiber. She eats protein with two meals each day. She is active and we don't keep junk food in our house. So, when she goes to her grandma's she is allowed to go a little crazy with the junk. That's approximately twice a month. Her pediatrician, who has been with her since she was 9 months old, feels she is doing great and is super healthy.

So, the next time you go to pass judgment on someone's size or shape. Ask yourself, to whose standard are you measuring them to? When looking at yourself, ask the same question. Are you happy? Are you healthy? These questions seem a lot better judgement of the right size and shape. So, now, who is fat?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My current Face Book status reads:
While you scream at your woman, there's a man wishing he could whisper in her ear. While you humiliate, offend, and insult her, there's a man trying to flirt with her and hoping to remind her how beautiful she is. While you hurt her, there's a man wishing he could take her pain away. While you make her cry, there's a man wanting to steal smiles from her. Post this on your wall if you are against Domestic Violence!!

I copied this from a friend's status who has gone through this hurt and pain. I re-posted it because I am currently supporting a friend who is going through this hurt and pain.

I'm not sure what to write about this subject. I know this post made me cry. I have seen first hand what this kind of violence does to a person's spirit. My friend, who is such a bad ass, cooks amazing meals, keeps a beautiful home, is hilarious and talented and artistic and creative was reduced to a woman who laid in bed most of the day, crying. She avoided the world because she was convinced she was crazy. There was something wrong with her. She thought all those things she felt about herself were false and weren't true. But, they were true. She was and is that amazing.

When it all hit the wall a while back, I also saw what it does to a woman's body. I have pictures of the bruises and scratches. I saw the torn shirt that was thrown away by him. He continues to deny any wrong doing and continually states that his behavior was to help her. It was for her own good. She was trying to get out of the car after all. We wouldn't want that, would we. Her phone was taken away. She was not let out of her bedroom. She was then physically assaulted by her older daughter.

She has four children.

All of this and more that I do not want to talk about was not enough to make her leave. She had a family after all and really, it was her fault. She had made horrible mistakes and she was not strong enough to be on her own. She would never make it. She knew this because he told her so. He was her protector and there to help when things happened. When she was sad, or wanted to get out of the car, reach out to a friend, admit herself to the hospital, he was right there to hold her tight. Tight enough to leave marks and scratches. But, it was for her own good.

She believed this for almost 20 years.

Then a light went off and she started to not believe it.

But, what would the family say. What would friends, colleagues of her husband, the school, neighbors say. They had seen her act crazy as he "helped" her and whispered "sorry" to them. Those people not knowing that nails were dug in. Those people not knowing that her struggling was not because she was crazy but because she was not. Because, she was not crazy. She was struggling to get free from his grip because it hurt and no one likes to be treated that was. But, his sad pleading eyes, turned to anyone who witnessed his help, served to confirm the lie he has been telling all along.

Finally, she did leave. It took 20 years, pictures, friends vowing support, my family stepping in for the family that might or might not stick with her, a psychiatrist, a counselor, and a wonderful group called ALIVE that saves women from this kind of shit. 

It was not easy. It was hard. It still is hard. There were orders of protection, court dates and lawyers, on his side anyway. There are confused children and friends that have believed the lie for too long to let go of it. There were rude and hateful letters sent by her husband's colleagues whom she has always respected. There was the fear that he was right and that she was incompetent. There were the good times stuck in her head that told her maybe it was not so bad. So many things that would make a woman turn back. Many do. But, she has not.

It's hard. It will get harder. (and that's what she said) *don't worry, the person I am writing about will laugh her ass of at that, I promise you* But, everything he said was a lie. She is strong and smart and beautiful and creative, thoughtful, caring, respected, hard working, a great mom, an incredible face painter, and an amazing friend.

Thank you for being so strong my friend. I could not drive you back to that house to be with him one more time after consoling you regarding the latest abuse. It was killing me and it was destroying you. You have people rallying around you ready to support, love and help. Let the others go, as hard as that is (she said that, too) let them go! Like I always say, they are keys in lava baby. They are gone, just let them go. The truth is there and can only be denied for so long.

I love you my friend and you amaze me!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

So Sleepy

I was watching the show "Born Different" the other day. There was a young man featured, in his early twenties, who was born with Congenital Amputation. He has arms just to the elbow joint and legs just to the knee. What kind of a life could he have? How sad he must be. Right! He owns a gym and is a personal trainer and nutritionist. No freakin' joke. He is super cute, too. He wrestled all through high school and beat several state champs his senior year. He then went to college to become certified in his given field.

There is an incredible man named Steven Wampler. This summer he summited the Zodiac route on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Attempting to summit El Cap is only attempted by seasoned climbers. It takes an average team 4-7 days to get to the top. The attempt is successful for around 60% of the teams. Steve and his team completed the route in 6 days. Did I mention Steve has severe Cerebral Palsy and only has the use of his upper body? He sat in a "cradle" that was created especially for him. He lay in that apparatus, staring into the sun, focused on the top of the mountain, and pulled himself up using just his arms as he hung like a spider from the ropes. No one pulled him up. He did it all through his will and determination. (Check out his amazing foundation website http://www.wamplerfoundation.org).

I also have a friend that has had double hip replacement by the time he was in his mid-forties and he still kicks ass on the slopes and on the rock.

So, know that the following is understanding that I have nothing to complain about. I think that's what makes my fatigue all the worse.

I am tired. Really tired. I have been for about 2-3 weeks now. Tired to the point that my children have been late to school because I can not get out of bed. Tired to the point that I wanted to cry with joy at the announcement of a snow day as it meant I did not have to try to get out of bed at 6:45.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome a year and a half ago. At that time I was not able to function for about 5-6 months. They said that this fatigue could come and go at anytime. It may never come back or it might never go away. Hearing this, I started doing a lot of research on the subject to figure out a way to never feel like that again. What I found was that this syndrome, like most other maladies, is largely routed in emotion.

So, at that time, I figured out what my big issues were and tried to fix them. I quit my job, which I actually had to continue until July of that year, I started making plans on getting my house together, Blaine and I started talking and communicating more, I tried to eat better and make sure I was moving and not sitting around too much. Eventually the symptoms subsided. They have been gone for almost 12 months.

When I started to feel this same fatigue a few weeks ago, I panicked a bit. Then remembering that it is emotionally based, I really started evaluating things. This problem is, this time I can see no issue to be resolved. I do not know what that magic switch is. I have spent the last 3 days cleaning like mad to make sure the house isn't a stress. The retreat I am in charge of is next weekend and it is all ready to go. My kids are awesome and doing well in school, with counseling, friendships, eating, etc. Blaine and I are in a wonderful place in our relationship. I have friends that I feel close to and can call to do things with.

What is the problem?

Why am I so tired?

Is there an actual physical issue to take care of?

I strongly believe that ever single illness is born out of emotion. I want to find what it is that I need to correct. I could sleep all day and still be tired. My body feels like it is made out of lead right now. Yet, I know my body is strong, well formed, free of disability, and able to move. Why won't it move? I feel embarrassed that I am so weak. There are people out there who struggle for life on a daily basis and yet I am letting fatigue get the better of me.

I am off to move. Cook some lunch. FInd something else to clean. Do some computer work. Anything to distract me from this pervasive feeling that all I should bee doing is laying in a dark room with my eyes closed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Remember Today and Get Off the Damn Phone

Do you remember when people would patiently wait their turn? As you were at the soda dispenser, people would stand back until you were finished filling your cup with the beverage of your choice. At the grocery store, people would stand back until you completed your transaction. If there were two registers open, generally you would make one line so that as a cashier was open, the next person in line could advance.

Well, I find these pleasantries to have fallen by the wayside. I have been reached around as I am trying to get a drink so that someone could fill their cup. I have had people standing unnecessarily close to me at the grocery store as I am trying to pay for my goods.  I have also experienced people walking around me to get into a line that I, too, am waiting for because I was giving space to the person in front of me.

Why are we so disconnected to each other? I have had people give me heartfelt thank yous for holding the door open for them. It's no big deal. Is this not an expected courtesy? I do not talk on my phone at restaurants or when in line to check out. I may be one of the few left that considers this rude. I have also witnessed confused looks as I greet someone with a "hello" or "good afternoon" as I walk by.

Now, the world has not gone to hell in a hand basket, yet. However, I don't want to think we are getting even close.

Today is the day we are to think about a great man that made extraordinary sacrifices, including his life. Great strides have been made in the wake of his work. Many people joined and continue to advance his cause. If we can not show each other the most basic of courtesy and consideration, then what will be lost next?

So many important political and social movements have been based on connecting with each other, finding similar passions, dreams, hopes, and even ways to interact. How can we do any of those things if we can not even acknowledge the physical presence of another human being who is two steps away?

So, today, open a door for someone, say hello to a passerby, give someone a little time and space to take care of their transaction, and for the love of all things holy, hang up the phone and interact with the people around you. Do this and know that you are actually advancing important social causes much like and important man. Many small steps can advance you quite a way toward your far reaching goals.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Speaking of Sex

I was at book club last week, not that I read the book (or even remembered the title), but there was the promise of martinis so, I went. The pre-book conversation turned to sex. Since this is a subject I enjoy thinking and talking about, I was happy. Then it turned bad.

Apparently the conversation was not to extol the wonderful virtues and pleasures of sex, but to describe the drudgery and inconvenience it involved. What? Really my good friends? I have to mention, these ladies are lovely, well read, intelligent, not prudish in the least and I consider them very open people. But, intimate acts have become that difficult?

They were further horrified to find out that I still have sex frequently and actually enjoy it, nay love it. While  I crave the physicality of it, the sensations, the sound, the smells, the heat. What I love most is the intimacy. To literally bare yourself to another person is an exercise in love and trust.

When my husband tells me how much he loves and lusts my 37 year old, post baby, slightly too soft body, and I know he means it deeply, that is a connection. That is the feeling of closeness and love that these friends are missing out on. My husband and I still talk incessantly about our feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, etc. and still laugh our asses off together. We have new, usually juvenile, inside jokes all the time, too. I strongly feel this comes from our intimacy.

We have found when we are having a rough time connecting verbally, sex is off. In the same way, whenever our sex is disrupted (i.e. illness, pregnancy, etc.), our communication is more difficult.

People wonder why Blaine and I don't fight more often as people do after they have been married for a while. My answer is, we have a lot of sex. We still experiment. If something doesn't feel good, we let the person know. If something feels really good, we let the other person know. If we want to try something new, we talk about it. If we are no longer into something, we tell the other one. All this translates into awesome sex and important communication outside the bedroom.

So, I encourage everyone today to go have sex. Talk, feel, communicate, even if it's with yourself. If you don't have a partner, you still need the release and intimacy. I'm not joking folks! It will deepen your relationship and it feels hella good.

In closing I would like to say: Viva sex!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I woke up at 5:45 this morning. No alarm. Just woke up and laid in bed for a bit. As a side note, I have to leave early to teach gymnastics so that I can drop my daughter's lunch off at school. Why? I didn't get it made in time.

These things are related. You see, while I woke up exceptionally early, I didn't get out of bed until 6:45. I even got out of bed once to check something on the computer and then went back. I can't seem to get out of bed in the morning. I'm not sure why. I like to call it "morning paralysis."

I experience morning paralysis often. Sometimes the kids are even late to school because I can not get myself up and going. Starting the day is so overwhelming to me. I think it's similar to what I wrote about yesterday. It's like there is a giant list of things I have to accomplish during the day and it is so intimidating to get it started. For example this morning this is what was the list I saw in my head:

- wake up
- get dressed
- brush teeth
-fix hair
- put on make-up
- wake up girls
- make breakfast
-make lunches
- make sure girls are dressed
- make sure girls hair is fixed
- make sure girls have their book bags
- get girls coats on
- get girls out the door to the bus on time
- clean up breakfast
- make coffee
- check e-mails
- bring Kalyn's lunch up to school
- teach gymnastice

This brings my day up to 9:30. While nothing on this list is hard, in my head the list is so long that I can't get the motivation to get out of bed to get started. Once I am started, all is well and I am moving.

Often in the afternoon, a very similar thing happens as I am looking to after school and evening activities and anticipating the list starting over the next day.

It's crazy. It's nonsense. Why do I have a pity party so often. It's embarrassing to even put this particular thought out there because I know how much other people struggle. But, this is me. This is my brain and my psyche.  It's all good.

Time to go take lunch to school.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Catching Up

Well, with the holidays gone I am in the midst of catching up with what I am supposed to be doing. I came up with a list of exactly what that entailed during the last few days of the girls winter break. I have to say that making the list was a lot more exciting than executing it.

I love to be organized and get ideas on paper. I love to see how with just a few hours of work the house can be clean and orderly. It's the same way I feel after I design a beautiful quilt and pick out all of the fabrics, figure the measurements and then look at what will be created.

That's where the excitement ends and the paralysis begins. I love the idea stage. I'm not so hot on the now do it phase. The list I made to care for the family, my actual job at the moment, is hard to jump into. But, it's not. It's a good list. It's reasonable. I am frustrated with and do not understand my stuckness. Do other people go through this and I just don't know about it?

I'm also very good at solving other people's problems. I come up with ideas of how they can better their situation, I can get their houses clean and organized, I can entertain their children, help them fill in their orders of protection for the court, just about anything. So, how come when I see my list of 3 things to do to keep up with what I am supposed to do I find 5 other things to do instead?

I have a beautiful quilt designed for my niece who is 1 year and 5 months old. It was a gift that I was to start right after she was born and we found out if she was a girl or a boy. I have about half of the material cut, but just can't seem to get the rest cut. I love to design, I don't like to cut, I love to sew, I don't like to quilt.

How do people power through what they struggle with in life. My life is plush. I get to stay at home, work 3-4 hours a week, volunteer at things I like (although I am trying to reign, this in a bit), and take care of the family. This should not be this uphill battle it feels like.

I don't clean because I want to be working on creative things, I don't work on the creative things because I feel guilty that I should be doing house stuff. So, I end up endlessly volunteering so that I am not here and I feel like my time away is justified because I am helping others. Well, it's a new year and it's time to help myself and my family. So, I am off to scrub toilets and then read, cook dinner and then sew a bit, put away clothes and then have sex with my husband.

See, I know what the balance is between work and fun. I just made a list. I love the idea stage!!