Sunday, July 27, 2014

my body is an anachronism

trapped in the wrong age, unable to see its value
I’ve been to lands older than the place of my birth and have feltl the pull of time…..
welcoming me back, lulling me home….

I am the Venus of Willendorf
fertility goddess
the ideal of motherhood
bringing forth life to a barren landscape
wanton and wanted

I am the muse of Rubens
Botero’s dream
the void on Lucian Freud’s couch
a living canvas
untamable and wild

I am the mirror of ancestors past
the strong women smiling in a black and white photograph from a pile of memories in my Grandmother’s shoebox
women with my same breasts, same hips, same build
tillers of the land, shelters of my genetic code
my bones, my skin hold the history of ages past
I must find a historian in this world of the now
who will love each inch of me like they love each tome on a dusty shelf in a library
each word read firing like neurons; the lightest touch of a lover’s caress

I will not be ashamed of this body 
for I love it as I love history
and literature
and poetry
I see the magic in my limbs, the grace in its movement

the strength in my narrative

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

That moment when wondering if you were a bad ally means that you probably actually are...

One way to make me truly annoyed is to make me lose sleep over something....I'm so tired on a regular basis that I ususally sleep the sleep of the dead.  However, after playing Clickomania on my phone for the past hour, I'm declaring a loss in this battle and just getting up for the day.  I foresee alot of coffee and/or eating alot of mini-meals to keep me awake in my immediate future....wow...yoga is going to be interesting tonight.

I digress...

What am I losing sleep over?

Last night we began a new 40-Hour Rape and Sexual Assault Advocacy Training at work.  The co-host agency we work with demanded that they do a half hour exercise before the training because they think we aren't doing enough emotional check-ins with the participants.  We've allowed them to do this because as an agency we are open to critiques on how we do things.  After this however, I'm gonna raise some major objections at the next recap meeting.

Normally when we start a 40-hour we do brief introductions and then jump into an overview of rape and sexual assault.  My co-worker indulges me and lets me do the opening for the majority of the trainings.  I hope this means that I am half-way decent and engaging....rather than my co-worker feeling pressured into letting me do it.  I'm trying to not be as tied emotionally to the presentations I do and my performance with them....but the operative word there is "trying".  Because I really do pride myself on being a good presenter, being able to actively engage an audience, and on being able to set an upbeat tone for the rest of the training.  If you have agreed to do 40 hours of training on this topic, you already know that it is going to be difficult.  Honestly, we don't need to make it any harder than it already is.  We do want people to stay and work in the field after all.  Ugh....I'm digressing again....

Last night, we let the representative from the co-host agency do this half hour exercise before the training.  They gave out slips of paper in which everyone had to write down their fears and anxieties about taking the training.  Then they were to talk about them after everyone taped them to the wall at the front of the room.  Even though they had the full half hour they wanted to do the exercise, they didn't finish fully talking about it.  Also, the slips of paper were left up on the wall so others can look at them.  The idea was that this was supposed to create a camaraderie among everyone there.  The reality was that people were triggered, not completely heard, and then the rest of the presenters had to present their information with everyone's fears and anxieties symbolically taking up the wall behind them.

Ugh.

My presentation went ok....but it wasn't up to my usual standards.  I felt like I wasn't really connecting with the group.

When my co-worker went on after me, she got called out on something in her presentation.  She was covering rape myths and discussing the myth that handsome men don't need to rape.  She had a photo of that NFL guy who has been in the news recently for having a victim in pretty much every place he's played.  This man is black.  And the women of color in the room were rightfully upset that the first image that we see of a perpetrator was of a black man.  My co-worker acknowledged that she didn't think of that when adding the photo, acknowledged that it was her privilege that blinded her to the fact it could have been upsetting, and promised that she would remove and/or change the photo.  It was a tense moment, and I think that she handled it well.  While it was unfortunate that the conversation had to be had, it was a good thing that the group felt comfortable enough to bring it up with her.

Shortly after this, I headed home for the evening.  I checked in with my co-worker and things seem to be ok.  The evaluations will be interesting to read. 

While I was attempting to sleep, my brain could not stop noodling over the unease I felt about my presentation.  Why didn't I connect with people more?  And the epiphany moment I had (also the reason why I can't get back to sleep) is that I connected perfectly well....to all the white people in the room.  Before I even started speaking I felt a barrier....which is very unusual for me.  My general nature is easy-going and amiable and I use it to my advantage.  I rarely face hostility in a room (even if I am working with cops- not that cops are hostile- but my subject matter makes them gear up for a possible fight).  The times where I have faced any hostility...the presenter before had had an issue with the audience.

So I began to review that half hour exercise.  The presenter let a white survivor talk for several minutes about how she was worried that her voice wasn't going to be heard, that people would judge her, etc.   An important discussion to have to be sure.  However, when a woman of color raised her hand and said that she was afraid that her race and issues affecting victims of her race where not going to be heard in the training, she was answered with "ah huh, that's a concern too.  Other thoughts?"  She dismissed her completely.  That woman and the other women of color in the room who had nodded in acknowledgement were the people in the audience that I felt I couldn't connect to.  The co-host representative ended with a series of questions that anyone could ask themselves if they were having problems with the content: what? so what? and now what?  The idea being that you identify what is bothering you with the first question.  Look deeper into all that surrounds that issue for you.  And then figuring out what you do with that bit of information to move onwards.  These sound great and all...but just like that half hour exercise, you can't just unload those items and not discuss them fully.  I should also note, that after she completed this exercise....she left for the evening and will not see the group until their Saturday session.

I would like to use her question system to further flesh out my problem-

What?  I witnessed someone actively oppress a group of people and did not react immediately to it or recognize that is what I saw until several hours after the fact.

So what? My awareness counts for shit. 

Now what?  This is where I need help.  Badly.  What can I do about it?  I'm going to raise the issue for sure in our wrap-up meeting.  I will be taking down those little notes when I get into the office today and I'll contact the amazing woman we have presenting on cultural competency to ask her advice and let her know what happened.  But ultimately....it doesn't matter how much I tried to be open and honest in MY presentation, it doesn't make up for the fact that I failed to act when I should have.  Do I apologize for my inaction to those women? Or would that be rubbing salt into a wound?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Really? Who trys to scam a small non-profit with the offer of fake PSAs anyway?

Now I understand that scam artists are unethical by nature, but every once in a while....they still manage to surprise you with what they do.  For example, today in the office we get a call from a gentleman who wants to put up a PSA advertising the sexual violence hotline on two local radio stations in Utah over the Memorial Day weekend.

Its an odd cold call to get, but we do get members of the community that will call the office truly wanting to help out.  So I listen to what he has to say.

Keep in mind.....we do training specifically in my office that teaches individuals about honoring your gut feelings and of specific red flags to look for in predators.

So, he begins by telling me that this is an issue close to his heart as he once dated a woman who was abused, etc.  Typically, someone giving you more information than what is necessary to the conversation is a red flag....it confuses the primary issue and more often than not, it is used to lower your guard and create sympathy.  It's an excellent tool.  You can't do that to an advocate though.....our training makes our brains switch and we aren't feeling sympathetic....rather we are trying to figure out if you need services.  Basically...an attempt to tug at the heartstrings of an advocate turns them into a customer service rep.

I listen to his story....not reacting, but just letting him talk....because an advocate is supposed to be a non-biased active listener.  I'm sure at this point, he's thinking that I'm hooked.
He then reads me the PSA he has written and wants to put on the air.  Its highly impersonal, persuasive- but in a slightly condescending and completely detached from the issue type of way.  It mentions a hotline number multiple times and directs people to donate.  It needs alot of work, but the spirit is there.

Still in advocate mode, I start to tell him that he needs to have a different number.  As I'm starting to give him the correct information, he interrupts me and begins to list a bunch of figures for the air time.

Cause really?  Who calls a non-profit offering a PSA and then 5+ minutes into the call turns it into a sales pitch?

This guy apparently.

Incidentally this bait and switch thing is also a red-flag for a predator.

I wanted to hang up on him, but I didn't...one of us needs to be professional, right?

I tell him that for a large campaign such as this that I need to have board approval and ask if can please email me the figures. 

Guess what?  He doesn't have an email.  A "salesman" in 2014.

He then explains that he is actually a "volunteer", who also happens to have the authority to offer free days of advertising.  When I ask him to tell me the costs again so I can write them down, he prefaces the list (which was different than his first list by the way) by telling me that he's written over a thousand sermons and that he really wanted to marry the abused woman but it wouldn't have worked and so on and so forth.

I wrote down his cell number and told him we would be in touch.
A short internet search later there is a bunch of forum posts confirming just how shady I think this guy is.

He can take his sermons somewhere else.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Goodbye Grandma- An Incomplete Eulogy

Everytime a person dies, a library is burned to the ground.  -African saying

Grief doles itself out in bite-size chunks
Not allowing you to feel everything at once
Not allowing you to avoid thinking about it at all

Grandma's home smells of her
Her pills are laid out on the dining room table
Freshly cut daffoils in a mason jar
Dishes still in the sink waiting to be cleaned
or put away
I'm not sure which

Her home is a living thing
And a time capsule
It breathes, and coughs, and ages
Photos of my brother and I from varying ages covered in varying amounts of dust are in every room....placed in the midst of photos of her own children in similar ages and covered with similar layers of time
There were calendars up everywhere....most of them for this year, the occasional one from 2012, 1967, 1980...
Her home was a place to watch the time pass
A home that still housed the family members that no longer lived there
My father's books still on shelves, his drawings, the telescope he built but no longer wants

Part of me desperately wants these things.....to take with me all that I ever gave her, made for her, all that was my father.....because in some place in my mind if I kept all these things that I would no longer feel regret at not knowing her better.

In the end, I only left the house with a few books....to save symbolically the library I never really knew

During the viewing this morning, the lighting made it look like she was breathing
Nature sounds playing over the speakers
Crickets and babbling streams
The very appearance of life
Cruel indeed

I sat next to my father then
Our knees touching
The odd comments....when did we see her last? remember when she did this?  that shape of eyeglasses is not her usual, they look good...
I want to know if they leave those eyeglasses on her when they close the lid, or do they gently take them off and put them next to her?

It felt weird leaving the room without shutting the door behind me
Like I was being rude at not respecting the sanctity of a nap undisturbed

If they hadn't told me it was her, I wouldn't have recognized her
Not because she had changed, but because I have no memories of her eyes being closed or not having a smile on her face
Strange the things we think about when someone passes....
My grandmother always smiled when she was around us...a breathless, happy smile
I would tell others of the silly, annoying things that she did when we saw her and I never realized that she was always
Always
Happy to see us
Happy to be near us in the flesh
I never appreciated that

Grandma never aged
She told me once that she was 65
She's been that age for 25 years now
Our parents age, but our grandparents do not
It is only after they die do we realize that their struggles mirrored our own
That they loved and lost, worked and lived paycheck to paycheck, were something separate that the titles that we gave them....mom...grandma
At one time she was a full complex amazing human being
Someone who left a note to herself to water the plants last Thursday
I wonder if that got done



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Carrying the Donkey....reviewing my word for the year

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all of those "year in review" articles that circulate the interwebs.  But oddly enough for all of my loving those articles, I've not ever reviewed my last year on the blog.

Don't worry....I am not going to give you highlights, but I do want to review my word for the year, which was strategic.  My intent was that it was supposed to be a word that was to guide all of my actions, and in many ways I think that it did.  I thinned out alot of my extracurricular responsibilities and somehow managed to expand my current ones.  However the past few months of this year, strategic has not been the word of focus, but herculean.  That is how finishing everything has felt- herculean.  Going into work, bathing, finishing tasks, following through on my day-to-day responsibilities....all requiring a level of effort that seems almost impossible to conjure up.  But I've managed.

Those close to me have noticed....and I seem to have a variety of people making comments about how I should drop this thing or that thing, work less, etc.  I get it.  I do.  These are all very well meaning things to say to me.  However, right now....it all comes off as criticism.  That not only am I not managing but that I am doing everything WRONG.  There is a Hodja story that I find particularly appropriate to this situation...

One day Hodja and his son were traveling to a neighboring city.  Hodja felt like walking and allowed his son to ride on their donkey for the journey.  As they were walking people on the road exclaimed "See? Look at the selfishness of today's youth!  That boy is forcing that poor old man to walk! How disrespectful!"

So Hodja decided that maybe it would be better if he rode the donkey and his son walked alongside.  As they continued on their way, more people commented "I can't believe it.  That old man is making that poor little boy walk that whole way!  How rude of him!"

At this Hodja decided that maybe both he and son should ride the donkey, but even then people commented, "Look at those two! Riding on the back of that poor donkey like that! That is animal cruelty!"

Getting frustrated, Hodja then decided that neither of them should ride on the donkey.  That, however, still did not stop people from talking, "Look at those two idiots walking when they have a perfectly fine donkey to ride upon!"

Completely fed up, Hodja then picks up the donkey and puts it up on his shoulders.  "If this doesn't stop people from talking, I don't know what will!"

When I first read this story, I only thought about how people are criticizing others and where do they get off thinking that's ok....blah blah blah.  Which is true.  When I told this story to my boss, her immediate response was "I get that! We keep changing the ways that we do stuff to please other people, but they still keep complaining.  If we make one group happy, another one isn't."  That interpretation has been really resonating with me lately.  No matter what I do, I can't seem to make anyone else happy....least of all myself.  Trying to constantly adapt and change to others people's whims are annoying and slow down progress....but the goal is the same.....just like Hodja,  I am still traveling from one place to another.  Does it really matter how I get there, just so long as I get there in the end?

So while I feel like I am carrying a donkey on my shoulders,  I'm still on the path. For all the struggles, the path is kinda interesting at the moment.  When I was re-reading the strategic post, I was surprised to see that I had written that I was having trouble with the season in general.  This holiday season has been awful for me.  I don't have the Christmas spirit, I don't want to give people gifts, and I've been avoiding all holiday type activities....I've been depressed (I actually took a sick day because I couldn't will myself to leave the house), I've been crying alot and generally emotionally raw.  It's because I'm triggered and have been in an emotionally triggered state for a couple of months now.  So many anniversaries of Mr.3 awfulness, so many feelings of abandonment, loss, and that I will never truly fit in anywhere or with anyone ever again.  These past few months have been awful....and I'm not out of it, I'm still right in the middle of it....and I will be, for a while.

When I first thought of writing this post, I was going to suggest changing my annual word in acknowledgement of my failure to let it guide me.  After deeper thought (and can I just say that the amount of thinking I've been doing lately is exhausting!) I realized that I am where I am at the moment because I have been strategic.....very much so.  By working earlier in the year by really asking if everything that I was doing was really serving me....I created a situation of stability-financially and emotionally.  A place where I can actually have the space to deal with all the boxed up issues I've got. 

Now the best-case scenario out of this would be able to continue the work that I am doing without taking much more criticism from others, because carrying a donkey is hard enough as it is. 
I'm trying folks, I am. 
But no, I don't want to talk about it. 
Yes, I am making sure that I am ok and will see a professional if I feel that I need to. 
Yes, I am going out and doing non-work related things but no, there are times when I need to stay in and work because bills don't go away if you are depressed. 
No, I'm not being "too nice" to others, that is just my leadership style. 
No, I'm not being too hard on you, I just have a low tolerance for your bullshit, excuses, and lies (and lying is a major trigger for me so if you are caught in one, run for the hills). 
Yes, I believe that honesty is the best policy but if your really don't want an honest answer to your question, you should perhaps rethink asking me that....because as you can see....I lost my "tact" filter a few miles down the road.
Yes, I will let you know what I need....whenever I figure out what that is.
No, I am not being evasive on that question, because I really don't know what I need right now.
And yes, if I said that I would do something, I will.....but the timelines may not be on your schedule, and sometimes, depending on the day, may not be on mine either.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

And the internet rewards my feminist activism with the beautifully sarcastic #MenUnderSiege...

Thank you internet.
Sometimes your awesomeness cannot be contained.

Earlier today while I was scanning through the news for my day job I came across this article on GV: High-Profile Editor Tarun Tejpal Accused of Sexually Assaulting Young Reporter.  This is just one of many articles to come out from India about rape and sexual assault lately....but then again, as I research the news everyday for work---there is rape and sexual assault in every country...it is only the news coverage that seems to vary, never the abuse.

So I promptly read the article, posted it up on the UCASA twitter feed and then went about my day.

Then I started to notice this hashtag #MenUnderSiege popping up on my tweetdeck account.  Apparently in response to the news of these allegations against Tarun Tejpal, columnist for India Today, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, wrote a piece entitled "Men under a state of siege".  In this article he sites the "grey areas" now present in India's new rape laws, such as "The police are duty-bound to register a case as soon as they receive information, even if the complainant hasn't come forward."  Because, of course, crimes don't happen unless a victim reports, right? Which under that reasoning would mean that murder wouldn't be a crime because their was no complainant....right?   He's also very upset that the definition of sexual harassment includes " 'sexual overtures' (like sending an email or a text message), demanding 'sexual favours' and 'forcible disrobing.'" I can only imagine that he's not seen a definition of the word harassment which includes the terms 'demanding' and 'forcible' before.  He's upset about a lot....I'm just going to post a paragraph here and insert my comments in [ ].

"Frighteningly, the new law makes it clear that consent given under intoxication does not translate into informed consent. [Standard law just about everywhere, bub.]This means that a drunken consensual tumble with a woman can come back to haunt the man the next day, or even ten years later. [Tumble? Are all of his sexual encounters tumbles?] This seems grossly unfair. [Oh, I am sorry- Not.]And what about demanding sexual favours? Clinton, for example, was clearly demanding a sexual favour of Monica Lewinsky. [Hee hee hee....he's really going there?] But if a man offers to 'go down' on a woman - is he offering a submissive sexual favour or demanding one? [He has some issues I think on defining what masculinity looks like I think- cause I don't think that many would consider that as 'submissive'] Many Indian men admit privately that they feel they are under a state of siege. The bedroom has been criminalised. [That's a stretch....] Is it going to be impossible to form relationships from now on? [Not necessarily, if you get sober consent for tumbles, he should be good.]"

In response to this article, there was a brilliant piece called "Dear Indian Men, breathe, you're not 'under a siege'....you should read her full article, but her opening is priceless:
 "Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra."

And then the rest of Twitter has chimed in with the BRILLIANT hashtag of "MenUnderSiege".  Here are some of my favorites:

How can I prove to my wife that I am a man if I cannot beat or rape my her? #MenUnderSiege from sexgenderbody

A bar full of women wanting to buy their own drinks, have fun, dance and go home, unraped, unmolested #MenUnderSiege from GreaterBombay

 Had to find the other sock on my own.  #MenUnderSiege from dangertoon

Asked to tell the difference between brown and beige. #MenUnderSiege from saureign

Had to make my own sandwich. #MenUnderSiege from over_rated

asked, but she said no #menUnderSiege from i_r-squared

We never get asked to drape ourselves over new cars at auto shows #MenUnderSiege from SanSip

Picked her up from her place. Took her to a fancy dinner. Won't sleep with me because don't know her well enough.Prude. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

Expects to be loved for who she is. Seriously, a boob job never hurt anyone. #MenUnderSiege from Mansimusing

And my absolute favorite:

The seat is down #MenUnderSiege from Vnemana

Next to someone inventing a sarcasm font, this whole scenario could not have made my day more.

Gentle and not-so-gentle men of India, I am writing to you in your hour of crisis. You, sirs, are under siege. Chances are you didn’t realise this because you get paid more than women on an average, enjoy greater freedom than women in your demographic, face no gender prejudice, are applauded for your progressive liberalism when you do revolutionary things like treat a woman as your equal, and generally benefit from living in a patriarchal society. But don’t let this facade fool you. Listen, instead, to author Palash Krishna Mehrotra.

Read more at: http://www.firstpost.com/living/dear-indian-men-breathe-youre-not-under-a-siege-1263097.html?utm_source=ref_article

Sunday, December 01, 2013

I Miss the Old Days of Blogging

Back in the day when no one was really sure what a blog was....
Back when I could write whatever I wanted about whoever I wanted with the knowledge that no one was ever going to read it in the first place.....
Back when I knew that I could vent my true feelings without getting contacted by whoever to see if I was ok or not....

I kinda feel like I live in two places....the public face where I show everyone what I want them to see.  And the private....that space where you want to unburden your soul but know that you could never trust someone with that information.

I also feel like I've been thinking too much....its exhausting.  Friends and family are noticing it now apparently too....this inclination to want to be by myself, not wanting to talk about it, and the strange unanswered tears when I try to vocalize any of it.

Who knew that my numerology reading for the year would have been so accurate.

So for those of you who think that I'm ignoring you....you have alot of company.  You should all get together and have a party....for you don't know what I'm saving you from.  For those of you who seem to think that by criticizing how I am spending my time is a way to make me change or that it will 'snap me out of it'.... you should know that any criticism at the moment is being viewed as condemnation.  Don't make fun of how I choose to spend my time, or how I approach my work, or my weird thing where I never ask for help when I need it.   You either love me or you don't.   And if you love me....you'll be patient.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fractions

How strange to reread the poetry of your youth
Written in a time before
Love
Loss
Tragedy

Your eloquence and idealism 
Intertwined
With your naivety

You were so worried about being alone then
The world could end if you had to endure
One
More
Day
Alone

Now, you know of the safety in being alone
How to define yourself
As a true individual
Not some twenty year old who believed that she 
Had
To be with someone
To be whole 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thought About Reading a Fat-Shaming Diet Book, Decided to Love Myself Instead

Once upon a time, or rather this morning as I was getting out of the shower and looking/admiring my naked belly in the mirror (we all should be able to look at ourselves in the mirror with love!), I overheard the local newscaster say "The obesity epidemic is at an all time-high and on our show today we have an expert to help us get fit!"....or at least they said something like that.  Honestly the second that I heard "obesity epidemic" I could feel a spasm of eye-rolling starting.  But I took a short break from my mirror-gazing-vanity to walk over to the tv to watch.

They were interviewing this guy about his "new" book (cause 2010 is new apparently) called "Die Fat or Get Tough".  To summarize the 2 minute interview....fat people are fat because they think like fat people and that in order for their life to improve dramatically they have to get 'mentally tough' and think like "fit" people.  The female newscaster tried to ask him about how people's bodies are different, genetics, nature vs. nurture, etc.... but he promptly cut her off with his assertion that fat people think all the same and that if they just had the mental toughness they could be thin....and of course that their life would be full of butterflies and roses instead of a dun....dun....dunn......an early grave.

I had a brief.....BRIEF.....moment where I thought that I should read his book before making any judgements about it or writing a scathing review of it, etc.  Instead I looked up his website....his gimmicky, cliche website.  Because he's deigning to you, reader of his website, by sharing his 'life changing' secrets with you in this book.  He had to take precious time out of his busy, successful motivational- speaking career in order to write this book.  He felt morally called to this task apparently.  He also "gets it" because he once gained 40 pounds when he was traveling for work and had some unhealthy habits.....he went from a 32 waist to a 36 (gasp! horror!).  And then he exercised  and was 'mentally tough about his fitness', lost the weight, and is now your new weight-loss savior.

I would like to note that I read his website while eating a particularly delicious chocolate cake doughnut.  Incidentally, I have some left over if anyone wants to visit me at my office today....

But I digress.

After reviewing his website, I decided that I didn't need to or want to read his book.  He mentioned in the news interview that he had received 'death threats' because of how difficult his message was to hear.  And while I don't condone anyone giving death threats in general or over a fat-shaming diet book....the guy seems like a bit of jerk.

What I would rather do..... is love myself.  I want to see and look at myself with love and possibility.  And yeah....my chunky knees and thighs bug me.  But they are still part of me, part of my legs that allow me to move about this world everyday....they hold me up, support me, and are bendy and soft and seem to be constantly changing.  And ultimately, they are pretty damn awesome.

I would also rather listen and spend my time reading the words of people who don't need to scare and shame people so that they can live a lavish lifestyle.  I want to read the works of people who are human and average and not 'well-off'.  I want to connect with people that I can relate to, and people who can relate to me as a person.....and not some statistic that they think I fit into.

You know what else I would rather do?  Tell you about the strangeness of my clothing choices today.  I decided to put on the one pair of bluejeans that I own....which I haven't worn in a couple of years.  They fit, no problems there....no weird laying on the bed to zip them up or holding your breath for a minute while you try to inch up the zipper.  Wow....are blue jeans restrictive!  I can still bend over and touch my toes and all that....but it is by sheer force of will!  This just adds to the superiority of skirts, dresses and yoga pants....

....and of course....

.....shame-free doughnuts.....

......and a whole lot of self-love!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sitting in Possibility

I'm having the very strange experience of having no pressing deadlines. 

It feels like that for weeks now, every single night has been fraught with the "you didn't get everything done you need to" panic followed by completely crashing out....then waking up in the morning with a groan because your need to sleep cuts deeply into your time to get all the silly things you committed yourself to done.

Frankly, it has been exhausting.

This last Friday I did a 2-hour workshop on the stories behind the yoga poses.  I've been researching all the stories within the Hindu tradition that correspond to various yoga poses for several months now.  It's fun research....the stories are oddly crazy but their application and meaning are incredibly profound.  I procrastinated way too much in getting ready for this....but I pulled it off.  And not just in the way of barely skirting my way through it....I nailed it.   It was the first time, in a very long time, that I truly felt like "I've got this, this is going to be ok."

I'm still sitting within that feeling....that I've truly got this.

Which is good, because it feels like the new ventures I've been trying to undertake have been failing.  I really needed to not feel defeated/hopeless about something for once. 

I hope that this lasts.  In the immediate future, I get to have an evening where I can do whatever I want....there is no rush, only the feeling of possibility.

And so now, I am sharing a video of Tarkan for no other reason that I can, and I realized how much I missed watching this beautiful man dance..... these are the things that you get to do when you don't have a pressing deadline....pretty nice....


Monday, July 08, 2013

Like a prayer

I'm beat.
My body hurts.
I've got a weird headache.
And damned if it isn't the day before Ramadan fasting starts.  You totally have to mentally psyche yourself out for the month....and right now, I am not sure if I will make it until 5pm.
Ugh.

Once again, the holidays associated with my faith have snuck up on me.  Of course lately it only seems like I remember a holiday if I see copious advertisements about it.  And while I want to create family traditions....I haven't had the time to think of anything.

I want to fast.  I haven't done it in a very VERY long time.  But I also don't want to disappoint myself....or have others (who are or are not fasting) judge me for deciding not to fast....or of not being able to keep it up.  Plus....if my body is aching this much because it hasn't gotten used to my new yoga teaching schedule...it makes me a little worried about this next month.

I'm whining. I know.

I also don't want to make myself sick....and right now, I feel like I am on the cusp of it. 

I need to figure out a way to make Ramadan mine.  That is part of the freedom of being in the religious minority right?  If I am the only one in my immediate circle of friends practicing, I get to choose how this works right?  Yeah, there are rules.  But there are also a ton of rules about prayer...and I'm pretty set in my ways and beliefs on that.....so why not with Ramadan?  Maybe that is what I need to do.  Prayer is a mental state and a way of living: every breath is a prayer (which is why I also love yoga as much as I do).  So maybe what I need to do is that instead of obsessing over the rules and trying to figure out how to schedule this in....I need to focus on the intention behind Ramadan.  People gain weight during Ramadan because they gorge themselves on food after sunset, and take naps during the day.  How is that appreciating what it is to have nothing to eat?  What is more rewarding? Giving alms or actively serving?  Is the intention put into our lives more important that the items we check off a list?

Rather than freaking out about times (and buying a prayer time app like I just did)....I should be cultivating mindfulness of my actions, how I view my faith, and how I view my relationship between myself and the divine.  Perhaps that will be more satisfying than being bitchy for a month...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

News! I'm now offering classes in Salt Lake City!

After what seems like forever, I am now going to offer yoga classes in Salt Lake City!

I'm going to be offering two classes to be specific:

Monday Mornings starting on June 24, 2013- 7:15am-8:15am
Yoga for Advocates is a trauma-informed yoga class designed to meet the self-care needs of those individuals who work with survivors of violence.  This class will offer gentle and restorative yoga postures, as well as focusing on a variety of breathing and meditation techniques.  Start your day and week off right!  This class is open to all that wish to come and is a donation-based class.

Wednesday Evenings starting on June 26- 6:30-7:30pm
Every Body Yoga is a beginning level flow class designed to be accessible to yoga practitioners of all ability levels by its creative use of props and sequencing. This gentle yoga practice offers a body positive space for people of all shapes and sizes and focuses on celebrating and loving the body that you have today.  $10 drop-in rate 

And where will these classes be held?  At a wonderful new studio that has just opened: the Urban Arts Studio 25 East Kensington Ave. (1500 South)

At the moment, I am not taking online registrations, just show up!  But if you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email deborah.ann.dilley@gmail.com or call 801-520-3582.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Always remain a student, no matter how often you are the teacher- in Yoga and in Life

I love teaching....I love teaching yoga, I love teaching about sexual violence, I love being in front of a group pontificating on one thing or another.   
Love. It. 
Love.
Love.
Love!
It is my total natural high.  But sometimes, I get so wrapped up in being a teacher, that I forget how wonderful it is to be a student.

Last night I subbed for another teacher at Infusion.  It was cool...new students to mold to my will....muwahahah!  Unfortunately, I couldn't read them very well....at least the women in the class.  The one lone gentlemen was more forthcoming.  It was his first yoga class ever...and for lack of a better term, seemed like a jock.  At the end of class I asked him how it was, and he told me that it was more intense then he thought it was going to be.  Woot!  Score for the fat girl!  After that class, I decided to stay for the last class of the night, which was Yoga for Sleep.  The class was excellent! And I needed it....one, cause this week has been a bear, and two....I am forgetting how it feels to be a student.  The wonder in doing something new, the sensation of relaxing into Savasana (which I don't take when I teach because someone has to bring everyone out of it), the feeling of awe and excitement with discovery....I was forgetting what it felt like to be that, that eternal student.

Re-discovering the joy of being a student is what makes me a better teacher....it lets me grow.

Today with my private student, I tried to channel that same excitement as I felt in the class the night before.  I pushed her today.  I pushed her harder than I ever have.  I made her go into a modified forearm stand.  She looked at me like I was crazy when I showed her what we were about to do.  Then I assisted her.  The look on her face when she came out of it was breathtaking.  It was pure joy.  I knew that she would want to do it again (because when I first did the pose, I did) and I offered to take a photo of her.  She allowed me....and she doesn't like her photo taken at all.  I'll put up a photo of myself the pose
instead of her however.  This was such a turning point for her and for me.  For her, as she doubts her beauty
and her strength
and her grace. 
For me....because it brought it back to the forefront that I need to teach with the spirit of a student.

So, my advice to you.... 
Always be the student.
Love it.
Honor it.
And let that joy guide you as surely as your intuition does.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Overloaded

I received what I am going to term as a cosmic bitch-slap this weekend.  Or maybe I could term it as a sucker punch... in any case...bleck.

It's been an incredibly busy week.  I had a friend visiting from out of town, which involved alot of gatherings with other friends who knew her.  Then on top of that, there just seems to be a shit-storm abrewing with this board that I am chair of, then adding in my normal stuff, and then we get to the incident yesterday...which I will detail in a few paragraphs.

The issue exploding on the board I'm head of revolves around the executive director of the organization.  I've never been as continuously mad at someone as I have been at him for the past few weeks.  Normally I am good at letting the anger go, but I still reserve the right to make snarky comments from time to time.  Tomorrow is the board meeting, and I've just sent out emails letting everyone know that the executive director is not coming.  There is no good solution to this problem.  Either I go, he goes, the board agrees to work on the issues to resolve the problem, or we just make plans to close the non-profit.  All of these are good solutions- none of them are great solutions.  Part of me just wants to hide under the covers and not come out until this next weekend.

And then we get to the "incident".  So yesterday at my Theosophy meeting, there was a new guy there.  As soon as I sat down he remarked at how he loved my profile picture on the Meetup.com site.  I thanked him, introduced myself, and sat down.  I was a little bit more vocal than I usually am during the meeting, but the topic was historical gender issues...and of course, I was chomping at the bit to get a chance to pontificate.  During this little soap-box moment, he made several comments about how much he liked my passion on the subject, how he loved opinionated women, and wow...she's a leo...no wonder...I like leos, etc.

After the meeting he asked me if I wanted to go somewhere and talk.  Appreciating the directness, I accepted and we sat outside at a shop near the library where the meeting took place.  I'm going to give the highlights here rather than a blow-by-blow account.  What started out as me getting hit on, turned into a sales pitch for the self-hypnosis program he does, and then became this very creepy pushy attempt to have me sample his technique so that I could teach it as well.  There were alot of things that didn't add up.  He would tell me about how he left a job installing heaters and air conditioners that paid him $2000 a week, to becoming a life coach/hypnotherapist earning $700 a week because the "spirit called him to do this work".  It isn't the money that concerns me, but the excess information about these things that he was giving me.  People who give too many details that don't matter are often lying.  He was also driving a 20-year old 2-door geo metro that looked like his life was in the back.  He was excessively touchy.  His complimenting of me (while in the beginning was nice and sort of sweet) became almost oppressive.  And then his insistance that I experience his hypnotherapy technique so that I could "teach" it to others....he even offered to lead me through it right then for free, although he suggested that going to a park might be more comfortable...and of course noting that one of the two parks nearby might be better because it was more "secluded".

I agreed to meet with him, which I will cancel in the morning.  After our discussion I got into the car, and freaked the fuck out.  Complete panic attack, the shakes, random crying....the whole scary melt-down thing.  I ended up texting the HBM saying that I needed a hug and for someone to tell me that I was safe.  He immediately came over, and was able to give me what I needed.  He made me feel safe, he calmed me down, and he distracted me.  Of course, I think that I might have also ruined everything by putting myself in the category of girls he regularly rescues, or I might have fixed everything because I was vulnerable and needed him...or something like that.  Who knows...

I am not sure if HBM really understood the reasoning for my freak out....I wasn't very coherent to begin with.  When I told Libby the story this afternoon, I wasn't even halfway through it when she said "You met another Mike" which for those who don't remember is my ex-husband, aka Mr.3.  And its true, I did.  Although Mike was much better at the manipulation, or maybe I am just better at spotting it.  Later that evening, Jimmy and I looked at this guy's website....all of the women who had testimonials about how wonderful he was....all looked like me.  Again, shades of Mr.3....inducing a hell of alot of shivers and that creepy desire to shower in scalding hot water.

I'm still trying to process what happened.  Part of me feels a little betrayed... just when I decide that I need and will be more open with people (especially with the likes of HBM)....I then have a run-in with the type of person that is precisely the type of person I have been hiding myself because of.  On the other hand, it was a very clear realization that HBM is not ever going to be the person who would hurt me....as my immediate response after this meeting was to contact him.  Then on the other hand, this makes me worried that I attract a "type" and that I should just forget any notions of being with another person ever ever again.  And then on the other hand....I spotted the deception and was able to get myself out of a situation before it ever became bad.  Too many things going on here...so I am still really confused at what the moral of this story is going to be.

I do know this....It's Sunday evening, and I already feel completely overwhelmed with the week ahead.  I feel like I am setting tiny deadlines...if I can get through writing that email, if I can make it through this meeting, that appointment, I'll make it past this all.  Oh, to be out of this crisis mode of operating, that would truly be lovely!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Safety is more than being behind a locked door

Safety is a state of mind.  Safety is being solid, stable, sane.  I'm not feeling too safe at the moment. Or for that matter, not cogitatively at 100%.

Last week, my ex-husband, Mr.3, was sentenced.  And overall it was a success.  His lawyer had asked for 15 months, the state recommended 15-20 months, and the judge....gave him 48 months plus three years of supervised release PLUS when he is done with the jail time (federal prisoners don't get parole so he serves every day of it) he will be turned over to the authorities in Maryland to be prosecuted there.  I wrote a victim-impact statement that was read in open court.  A victory. Right?

I should feel safe.  I should feel elated.  I will know where he is until at least 2016.  He won't be able to hurt anyone during that time....everything should be wonderful.

But I'm not.  The euphoria wore off and I've been re-triggered.  In my line of work we teach advocates about the healing spiral   The idea is that healing travels along that spiral   You have the initial trauma, the crisis response, then a period of healing.  Along the spiral there will be moments where the memory of the initial trauma sparks a crisis response, then another period of healing sets in.  Re-triggering events will happen from time to time, but the effects of crisis lessen each time.

Of course, there are always complicating factors to that. One of those factors being that I really thought that I had dealt with the emotional stuff of what happened to me.  I guess that I haven't. Plus there is the realization that I haven't been able to be myself with a romantic interest of mine.  The last time that I liked someone this much, they used everything that was "me" against me.  And while I rationally know that this person would never do that.  I am still haunted by the fact that Mr.3 manipulated me so much, controlled me, made me feel like I was the only insane person in a world of coldly rational people.  I've been evaluating the stories of other women who have had run-ins with Mr.3, comparing their stories to mine.  Which is wrong, I shouldn't compare.  No one but me will ever fully understand the day to day of being under his thumb.  How he could be across the country, and yet every day for a year I was up at 4am, went to bed at midnight, was constantly by the phone, the computer, desperate for word from him.  How everyday, there was some sort of contact...he was never out of touch with me long enough to file a missing person's report....  Others were given the satisfaction of knowing that he wasn't going to come back.  I was continually reminded of him, by him.  The psychological toll of that...can't ever be truly expressed.  Even when he was physically with me, I was overpowered by him.  It was slow...gradual...but he dictated everything: how the money was spent, what food we ate, what happened in the bedroom, how I dressed, and even how I felt about myself.

I've been trying so much to overcompensate to make it look like I have it all together that the stress fractures are starting to show.  The current romantic interest has this "thing" for rescuing the damsel in distress.  Which normally revolves around some other girl that he knows who just can't seem to cope with 'whatever' and the drama/crisis/emotional 'whatever' just explodes all over everything.  I watch him pick up the pieces, be the hero...I've even gotten dragged along for the ride on some of these missions.  For the effort he makes, I wish that they would be more grateful....maybe that would placate some of my anger/jealousy for being left behind while he is on a rescue mission.  My "go-to" guy friend says that all men have this need to be needed.  I will never be the type of woman who let's her guard down enough to need to be physically rescued like the girls I've seen rescued lately.  And in saying that, I fully understand the irony in which my next statement will be read with...  I feel like I'm screaming out "rescue me, save me! Can't you see that I'm crumbling? Can't you see that I need you more?"

This is all so ridiculous.  This is all about me being scared.  About me being overprotective...of myself.   Right? There is a Regina Spektor song lyric that says "I'm the hero of this story, I don't need to be saved."  I listened to that album alot when I was in therapy.  It was my anthem. It was me coming to terms with the fact that no one was going to fix this but me.  I recently learned that in the hero's journey there is a period of death, rebirth, and redemption...and I am not quite clear that redemption happens by the hero's own volition or if the hero is redeemed by someone.  I am not sure it is even fair for me to even hope for someone to help me pick up those pieces....

There are just too many variables....too many places where my vulnerabilities are exposed.  So....I'm just going to cry when I need (and hopefully with an audience of zero), I will use lots of eye drops and under-eye cream, write obnoxiously moody and contradictive blog posts, and hope...that I will come out of this loop of my spiral soon.

So have patience with me...especially since I can't seem to even have patience with myself at the moment.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rating quite high on the creep-o-meter

Yesterday I was unsuccessfully searching for the turtles when I came across this thing behind the bookcase.. Honestly it looked like an albino hermit crab without its shell. Thinking that there is no way that a random crustacean could have died behind my bookcase, I just figured that it might have been the world's creepiest looking dust bunny/hairball and left it there until I gathered up the courage to actually touch the thing.

So this morning I mention it to the lil bro. Thinking that I was crazy and have finally officially lost my mind he goes to investigate.

I am not crazy... There really was a dead crustacean behind the bookcase.

Apparently a mutant crawdad that the lil bro had taken home in high school had escaped in the house, we've now found it. Lil bro insists that he told me about the disappearance but I think that I would have remembered a mutant crawdad on the loose in the house.

Seriously... Who wouldn't have remembered a crustacean on the loose?

In the meantime....I'm gonna remain a little grossed out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

There are times to embrace those moments where we are feeling new things & out of our comfort zone- this is not one of them.

I'm panicking.
Blind panic.
The type of panic where if you were alone you would indulge in some screaming and tears and your average over-the-top hysterics.
But I'm not alone. 
I'm at the office....trying to keep it together and I am doing a really REALLY bad job of it.

About 9 times out of 10, in the face of a conflict, I am the cool, calm, and collected one.  The one able to sift all the crap out of the way, make a clear picture, to-do list, and then spring into action.  Before today, I probably would have would have said "normally", "usually" or "10 out of 10 times".....but right now, in this moment, I am experiencing this one time.  So, I'm trying to allow myself a bit of catharsis here in the hopes that I can do something more than just being stuck, frozen, staring at a computer screen.

I'm not even managing cathartic writing very well....cause I keep freezing.
Trying to keep your breath normal is difficult.  So is not completely losing it at random things in the office like the scanner that is on strike or the fact that the coffee creamer curdled two days before the "use by" date.  Maybe the waves of panic flying off of me curdled it.  But it took everything in me not to launch that cup of curdled cream coffee across the room.

Why? There's a work crisis. A crisis that I can't fix.  A crisis that I could help with, but ultimately I feel so blind-sided by everything that I am just stuck in this wave of inaction.  And now....now is the time for action. 

And I'm sitting here.  Inactive.  I can't prioritize.  I've been having to narrate to myself what I am doing so that I can complete simple tasks.  Just when I think that I've got it managed, that I'm in the groove of things....the worst case scenarios come flying into my brain...and I freeze.

I just want to be able to do my job.  Without worry.  Without the drama that seems to be permeating the field that I am in at the moment.  There is more than enough work to go around, there is more than enough money to fund it....why is it necessary to make some random power play that ultimately will do more harm to victims in the state than good?

And then.......freeze. Panic.
I must remember to breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe... 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My word for 2013 is Strategic

Ahh....so it is that time again.  Time to review 2012's list of schemey/resolution type things.  
Here was the quick run-down of what I wanted to do:
Yearly Goal One: Pay off my private student loan: Whoops!  Still paying this and not really concerned about it.  Oh well.

Yearly Goal Two: To be kissed romantically: This happened, but it was my neighbor who was really drunk at the time.  I'm not sure if that gets full points or not....but sure, why not?

Yearly Goal Three: Work on finishing all of those books that I have started: Excellent progress has been made on this!  I feel confident calling this one as good.

Yearly Goal Four: If I am not going to celebrate on a paid holiday, at least spend some time learning about the holiday: Also accomplished!  Plus I have made it a policy not to really shop on the Monday of a three day weekend.

Yearly Goal Five: Master freetime at home: Hee hee hee, I really wrote that? HA HA HA HA!  I take more baths and try to spend time in silence, so....well....I guess it is a go.

Overall, I have definitely had worse years and I've definitely had better.

So what about 2013?  Trying to come up with specific goals has been difficult this year.  I've been angry and annoyed at alot of things lately.  And it is because I just can't let stuff go.  So... if I have a goal for this year, it is going to be summed up with the following word: strategic.

I feel like I've been trying to be a little good at everything for far far too long.  I don't feel like it is serving ME at all.  So rather than just saying "no" to something, I am going to ask myself, "how is THIS serving me?"

Global Voices for instance- it's been wonderful not having to work on the digest email everyday.  In fact, I came home late from a night of training yesterday and was excited to realize that the only thing I needed to do before going to bed...was nothing.  It. was. amazing!  I've also been considering cutting all volunteer ties with GV.  Which isn't much really....I am more than likely going to let myself fade out.  Just a few moments ago, I sent a resignation email to UPD telling them to remove me from the on-call calendar.  I have had much more angst about this volunteer opportunity than reward.  I love it when I am on a call......but 3 call outs in 9 months?  That is not really serving me.  And I'll admit it....being an advocate is a no-brainer, but my real push to get the experience was for a job that I didn't get. 

This week, I was elected as the board chair for SALAAM.  I feel that it will be more work, but that it will serve me in the end.  I have items that I want to work on with my co-masonic lodge.  I want to work more on my yoga teaching.  Those items I feel serve me.

Do you have a word that you feel sums up your hopes for the next year?

Monday, December 31, 2012

Saying goodbye is hard to do

So I've done it.  I have just finished my last bit of work as the Digest Editor for Global Voices.  I'm crying....tears of joy, relief, and then of sadness.  Saying goodbye is hard to do.

For 4 years and 8 months, I have been compiling the daily digest email. Through travel (nationally and internationally), daily life drama, computer crashes, hectic schedules, etc...the digest email would still come out with almost computer-like regularity.  I would say that I was good at what I did because I did it with such efficiency that I went pretty much unnoticed most of the time.  That ability is what has made me a good assistant, a good administrative person....but I am tired of being someone who is just really good at paperwork.  I am something more.

I've thought about leaving Global Voices for months now.  After being an author, and then a board member, being digest editor really felt like it was the last toe-hold that I had in the organization.  Global Voices has been a major part of my life for the past 7 years or so...wow, can it really have been that long?  GV was an emotional and financial anchor for me.  But I need to move on.

When I first took over, David, my predecessor said that he loved doing the email but that it was becoming a burden.  At the time, I thought that he was crazy.  I would get to play on GV everyday, and get paid for it!  I understand what he means now though.  And so do the people who are near me all the time, who have been listening to me lament after my average 12+ hour workdays: "Damn, I can't go to bed yet, I still have to do GV".  The digest editor needs to compile that email with passion, with life....and I am not the person to do that anymore.

The past few months I have felt like I am standing on the edge of a cliff....at the very tip of a major change in my life.  Letting go of GV is one small foot wiggle to that change on my horizon.  I don't need the money....although it has helped me greatly paying for rent, my yoga instructor training, and even a year and a half of college for my little brother in the past.  But now....now, I am in a place where I don't need it...and the time that it will free up is much MUCH more valuable to me than the stipend I would collect every two months.

So Goodbye.  Goodbye digest.  I won't be able to completely say goodbye to Global Voices, not yet.  There is still work that I can do, that I want to do.  But it will be on my terms how I can give my time back to them....back to an organization that has given me so much.  Goodbye.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Cost of Weight Loss

Recently I had a bit of a mental crisis.  The crisis stemmed from the realization that my thighs are falling and also what I lovingly refer to as my "lower hemisphere".  They are falling because I am slowly toning up (teaching 2-4 yoga classes a week can do that to a person).  Gravity and I aren't friends on a regular basis but this new development.....grrr.  Its making me a bit self-conscious. And for those that know me well...that is very VERY hard thing to do.  Plus....clothing isn't fitting me right and well....my underwear falls down way more than I would like to admit.

Here's the thing- if you listen to the psycho-babble/multi-billion-dollar-a-year-diet-industry losing weight makes your life better.  You will instantly become loveable, men/women/whatever-you-are-in-to will start falling at your feet, you'll have more money, you'll live happily every after, etc, etc, etc.  This frankly is bullshit.

Bullshit.

The diet industry has a 95% failure rate.  If all of those silly diets worked, they wouldn't make any money anymore.  So they sell you a dream.  A dream that once you achieve that strange ideal of beauty that your life will really start.

Again- bullshit.

First of all...that "sameness" ideal of beauty is damned boring.  Everybody looks the same and have the exact same neuroses.  My ideal of beauty is something that changes, that looks different everyday.  My ideal of beauty is about the personality, intelligence, and outright silliness that a person is willing to exhibit.  My ideal of beauty is much more real and dynamic than anything that is being shown in a fashion magazine.  Of course, my ideal is not what everyone else is looking for.  Dating has never been the easiest thing for me and I've come across more than one person in my life who assumes that since I'm big that I have no self esteem and they could take advantage of me.  Shame on them.  But I have NEVER felt like I have had no life, or that it is on hold because of my weight.  For those that think I should feel this way....I would like to invite you to one of my yoga classes and just see how much this 300 pound yoga instructor can make you sweat.

Weight is one of those issues that everyone feels like they can talk to you about.  Concern about "your health" is just another way of people saying "you being fat reminds me that I could be fat and that scares me".  I've had doctors- who I wasn't even seeing- see me in the halls on the way to an exam room and tell me that I would be a good candidate for lap-band surgery.  Whoa! Hold on, I'm only here for my annual exam buddy!  Of course, since everyone is apparently deathly afraid of being fat, the extreme weight loss shows are very popular.  You get to fat-shame people and then see them become something that is much less scary to you.  You see them get yelled at while they are working out, being told they are worthless.  You get to see they cry over failure because they had a cookie.  You get to watch people bully others, tear them down mentally and emotionally, all because you are worried about "their health".  What you don't see on these weight loss shows are the hidden costs of this body transformation.

I hate to tell you this folks, but skin just doesn't bounce back if you are heavy and have been so for a long period of time.  What happens...is gravity.  Everything falls, deflates, and you are left with disgusting amounts of skins that just hangs there reminding you...that you are still fat and ugly.   The only way to get rid of this is surgery, and lots of it....which is more than likely not covered by insurance.

I have always been comfortable with my fat.  I have never really had a knowledge of myself or my body as being thin.  And frankly, being thin scares the shit out of me.  Being fat means that I can be myself, rejoice in my squishy-ness in the right places; being fat means that people know me for all that I am, not as some sexual object.  In many ways, fat is my hijab.  I have never really sought out to lose weight because I know that there are some hidden costs that I don't want to have to deal with.  Realizing that I was having some "gravity" issues made that all come the forefront and has resulted in a couple panic attacks.  Being thinner means that I would end up being part of a culture that prizes that beauty esthetic...there is a strange girly competition there that I have luckily never had to be a part of, and I really don't want to have to deal with that now or ever.  Being thinner means that I might have to deal with people finding me attractive that wouldn't have looked at me before when I was bigger.  That is only going to make me more mistrustful and bitter.  I want people to love me for me, not just on my appearance.  And monetarily....being thinner also means spending money on clothes and....surgery.

So what is the cost of losing weight?  I can tell you actually because I had a consultation with a surgeon today.  The cost is $11,104, not including time off from work, complications from surgery (months of drains were mentions and some horrible thing where you end up risking getting a wound that never heals).  That is also $11,104 that needs to be paid in full before the surgery.  That's a car.  That's a year's worth of day care.  That is a whole shitload of money.  And it is also something that I am not going to be doing right now.  I will reevaluate in 6 months.  I will plan to set aside the money so that in a year or two or three that I might have this done.  Or not.

I will also go back to actively loving my falling thighs.  I will continue to rock my yoga-ness.  I will continue to be my fabulous, silly, intelligent self.  And I will continue to be outraged everytime I see someone telling me that I should lose weight for "my health".  Sure, I'll do that....if they pay for the surgery.  Until then....those people can just kiss the little baby butt that my upper thighs resemble at the moment.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How to celebrate a holiday that you've never really felt you could claim

Today is Eid el-Adha.  And I am kinda depressed about it.  Kinda is an understatement as I have actually cried at work about it.....stupid emotions.   Twice a year, I am reminded that while I have been a member of a faith for 10+ years now, I've never been in a position where I can be in a community that celebrates that holiday.  I celebrate Christmas and Easter with my family because we come from a Christian background.  We don't have religious ceremonies with those holidays that we perform but we still celebrate traditions with them and those traditions would be recognized and accepted by the community we live within.

Not with Eid.  In the past, I tried to celebrate Eid el-Fitr with my family.  Which wasn't really successful....I tried to cook a Middle Eastern feast that seemed to just be more about it being weird food that they would probably not eat again.  I tried it once and never tried it again.  Now, when an Islamic holiday comes around it feels like an afterthought.  I have that moment of getting annoyed with myself that I wasn't paying attention to the calendar.  I shouldn't have to feel like I need to watch the calendar, I want these holidays to feel like an innate part of my life, like I do with Christmas and Easter, as a part of what happens to mark the passing of a year. 

I want traditions. I want that happy buildup to a holiday.  I don't want to celebrate it alone either; I am tired of that.

I guess I need to work on this.  How does one create a tradition....just dictating it? Well...I'm definitely not going to be sacrificing any animals and give the meat to the poor today.  I might have had some feeling that I should give to others this weekend, because I am scheduled to volunteer this evening and tomorrow night.  Now, I just want to partake of a meal with family....next item to figure out....