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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Who’s to say?

So if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what about the beholden?  This is something that has been on my mind.

I am incredibly lucky to have someone in my life who tells me on a near-daily basis (and often upon waking) that he thinks I’m beautiful.  I want to believe him, but years of conditioning have me unable to fully embrace that concept.  I know he thinks I’m beautiful, but if it’s up for debate, am I truly beautiful?

Isn’t it fucked up that I even have that thought?  How did it get like this and can we ever do anything about it?

I know the reason why people have been put into the beautiful/not beautiful camps but you might think it’s crazy.  It’s to sell products.  It can’t be that simple!  What if it is?

What if the only reason society even perpetuates any standards (which are often unreasonable and highly unobtainable) for beauty and desirability is to sell more shit, shit we don’t need if we think we’re beautiful to begin with?  Stick with me here.

Every time you see an ad for shampoo, soap, perfume, make-up, diet products, clothes, cars, etc. look at it through a new filter.  Look at it through the filter of “there is something wrong with me and this product will fix that”.  That’s what advertising is, that’s what it does to sell you shit you probably don’t really want or need.  They create the need.  You suck and we can help with that.

I’ve spent years cleaning up the crap in my head but being told I’m beautiful at the exact time I weigh the most I ever have is bumping up against what’s still left in the cracks and corners.  I didn’t put that shit there, but I’m the one stuck with it.  I imagine most people have some of the same nonsense up in their mental attics too.

Perhaps we’re all due for a good mental spring cleaning.  A good high powered hose should do the trick.  And then, since nature (and our brains) seems to abhor a vacuum, you have to restock the shelves with something that’s worth having in your head.

Here’s a great place to start.

You are what You love, not what loves You.  You are what You think You are and not what others think of You.  You are the final authority in Your life.   ‘Nuff said.

I’m not just beautiful, I’m Dyno-mite!

Bitter, Party of One

So I have to admit, I have a compulsion… to read the comments section whenever I’m looking at things online.  They’re like a sociology experiment gone horribly awry.

Regardless of how innocuous and non-controversial an article or video may be, there is always someone who feels the need to unload some crazy in the comments, and it usually has little to do with the actual material presented.  The comments have more to do with the consumer than the content.

Have you ever read an article about something, anything and in the comments section someone goes off on a rant about Obama (or it was Bush, back in the day)?  Or some tool voices some derogatory comments about a woman’s looks in an article about her getting a Nobel Peace Prize or something.  What the hell is wrong with you people?!?!

Trolls, as they are affectionately known as, are symptoms of a larger disease.

What set me off this week, though, about the comments section are those resentful, bitter assholes who would rather people suffer than be helped, because they didn’t need any help.

Fuck you!  That’s all I have to say.  Fuck you.

This particular breed of troll hit an all time low for me after I’d come across this outlook more than once this week.  I was reading an article about the utter failure rate of diet drugs and the endless quest for something that might actually work.  Habit compels me to drop down to the comments section and I came across this one:

Carol from Canada

I do not know if medical science has discovered a universally applicable solution to permanent weight loss. Drugs and surgery may be helpful for some people but we need to stay skeptical about their long-term benefits and risks. More research needs to be done to find out why some obese people get terribly sick while others get through life without any serious metabolic disease. In some cases, focusing on the obesity might not be beneficial.

For me, the teasing, rejection and finger-wagging I received from my classmates, parents and doctors back in the 1980’s has helped me maintain a lifetime, daily commitment to a modest diet and regular exercise. All this effort to stay non-fat does have its drawbacks: the time I spend exercising and preparing healthy meals could be used to work longer hours or travel more, for instance. My morbidly obese colleagues consider me a bit antisocial because I don’t go out for lunch and I walk by myself instead of taking the car. My boss also makes snide comments about how little I eat and how much I exercise.

Yes, I would be really, really ticked off if a magic cure for obesity was found.

Really, you would be pissed off if someone finally found a medically sound and effective way to help people lose excess fat?  Fuck you and your bitter, resentful self.  You need a hug or a cheeseburger or something.

The mentality of ‘I did all of this so you must too’ and ‘what about me’ is simply childish.  If you are unable to find joy in other peoples’ victories and feel compassion for their woes, you should take a good hard look at yourself and see why that is.  Why do you think anyone else should have to suffer if you did?

I think this mentality is at the heart of the conflict between those who believe there should be social safety nets and those who don’t want to pay for all those losers so to hell with them.

One of the things we need to really look at deciding as a country is what our responsibility is to those around us.  What do we see as promoting the general welfare (as stated in the preamble to the Constitution) and what belongs in the realm of individual responsibility?  The myth of the rugged individualist needs to die.  We no longer live on the frontier.  Most of us live in cities.

And you didn’t build all of what it took to make you successful.  We did, together.  You found a way to take advantage of what’s available for your own benefit.  Good for you.  And the sky is blue.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever – we are all in this together.  E Pluribus Unum.

Perhaps something from a ‘higher authority’ might help clear things up (and you don’t have to be a Christian to see the wisdom in these words):

“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15)

“For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:48)

Life Goes On

Tomorrow, we vote for the POTUS as well as many other positions in Congress.  Locally, we’ll vote on propositions and bills and what not.  And then we’ll get the results.

And life will continue on.

I’m not saying that the outcome isn’t important.  I’m saying the world is not going to end if your guy doesn’t win.  Some things may get easier or harder for you and yours but things will continue on their merry way.

If your guy doesn’t win, please don’t do anything that might cause harm to anyone (including yourself).  One of the great things about The United States is that even when we get divided on some issues, we are generally civil.  We may yell and scream, but we rarely see our representatives throwing punches at each other.  We save that for our sports.

If your guy loses and you fear things will change in a way you don’t like, well that’s your cue to become more politically active.  Pester those people with phone calls and correspondence so they know what you want and need.  The political process isn’t just something that happens once every four years.

I am a huge proponent of Proposition 37 in California.  I want processed foods to be labeled if they contain GMO ingredients (genetically modified organisms).  The opposition (e.g., the creators and sellers of said GMO’s) is pouring lots of money and sometimes even faulty information into defeating this proposition.

I suspect that enough people might have been confused or mislead or they just don’t think it’s that big of a deal and this proposition may fail.  That doesn’t mean I’ll just forget about the whole thing.

What there is for me to do after that is to exercise my vote with my wallet and stop purchasing products made by the opponents of this measure (and that information is readily available) or to purchase more organic products and those labeled as containing no GMOs.  I will also continue to communicate with my representatives so that this is not forgotten about.

If the GOP regains control and begins to threaten my reproductive rights, then a march on Washington will be in order.  We will not let things go down without a fight.  If the Democrats remain in power, those of you who feel that they are being fiscally irresponsible should do the same.  That is your right, nay, your obligation as a citizen of this country.

This cannot be a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” if the people aren’t actually involved.  Then it’s just the government of those who continue to do whatever they like unopposed.

Haters Gonna Hate

While I do appreciate all of the lovely people who read my last blog and told me I’m beautiful, I have to say not everyone is surrounded by the same kind of people as I am.  I have been fortunate to be blessed with a great group of friends and family.  Most of the urging to lose weight came in my childhood and while misguided, was always well-intentioned.

But have you been on the internets lately?

We all know that the anonymity of the web has allowed people to spew some hateful garbage at strangers.  But where fat people are concerned, it’s downright vicious.  I came across lots of cruel comments on blogs and articles regarding weight and fat acceptance.

Fat-hating seems to be one of the last forms of acceptable bigotry left.  The excuse of “they did it to themselves” seems to give people free reign to try and heap shame upon people whose life stories they cannot possibly know just by looking at a body.

And regardless of how much science is beginning to support the absolute ineffectiveness of dieting (which has a 90 to 95% failure rate for long term success), they’ll continually hurl simplistic cure-alls like “stop eating and get up off your ass, fattie”, like that’s something fat people have never heard before.

My own research into why I’ve been such a colossal failure at the weight loss game has led me to the understanding that playing that game is essentially being at war with your body.  And your body will win most of the time.  Your body is only trying to keep you alive and when you starve yourself, it doesn’t know you’re doing it on purpose.

If you are interested, there are now great resources such as the Health at Every Size movement as well as Intuitive Eating programs.  They are about making peace with food and your body and seeking health above and before weight loss.  Institute healthy habits and you can be healthy even if you are carrying around some extra weight.

That’s not what I really want to talk about here though.  I want to talk about the haters.  There have been haters for as long as there have been people.  Some of us, whether consciously or unconsciously, categorize other people as acceptable and unacceptable.  This can be done by ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or political and religious leanings.  It can also be done for nothing more than how someone decides to dress.

However, in our current PC climate, so many of the usual targets of hate have been taken off the table and bigots are being chastised for those once allowable prejudices.  But fat is their last bastion of vitriol and they are allowed to spew it with a self-righteousness that is astounding.   And some of these bigots have medical and science degrees to back it all up.

Perhaps if I didn’t fall into the fat camp, I might not have noticed it.  But I’m really starting to recognize it for what it really is and I’m not going to allow it in my sphere any longer.  Fat people are people too, with feelings of all things, and you can hurt them… badly.  Cut off our heads, will we not bleed?

When that urge to criticize a fat person strikes, remember… there but for the grace of God go I.  You too could be struck by an illness that causes weight gain, an injury that sidelines you and you can’t exercise or you can’t seem to lose that post-pregnancy weight no matter how hard you try.

Your body is not a machine or a lump of clay.  It is an ecosystem and should be treated with more respect.

And when I said I’m fat, I wasn’t searching for compliments or anything to negate that.  I am fat and I’m owning the body that I’ve inhabited now for 40 years… finally.  It takes courage for someone to be who they are in the face of no agreement from their society.  Recognize!

And if there is something so fundamentally wrong with being fat, why was this an ancient symbol of fertility and femininity?

Venus of Willendorf (circa 24,000 B.C.E.)