Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cut and Callous of Words

I don't want to harp on the subject of Fat Sensitivy any longer- the media has thankfully, picked up on the firestorm resulting from the blogger on that Magazine site, whom I am refraining from mentioning, because they are reveling in the publicity. After all, there is no "bad" publicity when it comes to getting your name out there.

What I had wanted to say though, before this spawns into another tangent, is that words hold amazing power. They can inspire, cause our hearts to swell, or tear up in empathy.

Words also have the power to cut with razor sharp precision, inflicting pain, and forever imprinting themselves in our memory. These cuts, though they may heal, don't ever really go away. They callous and scar, always there, laying in wait to remind ourselves of their presence. Therapists, Life Coaches, touchy-feeling Self Help books, they all try to help "overcome" those scars in order to make them disappear, but they don't disappear. What you learn in therapy or in self help books, is merely to recognize the trigger point... but the words and their scars - they don't ever go away- you always remember them, triggered or not. They may not always have the same affect, and you may learn how to deal with the triggers once recognized..but the words and the pain that was inflicted always sticks around.

The problem with what was said by the insensitive blogger, wasn't that she was expressing her opinion, because as it is said "opinions are like a-holes, everyone's got one, and they all stink" But rather, that her opinion only reinforces feelings of worthlessness amongst people who haven't been accepted. And, this isn;t just about accepting the overweight- it goes deeper than that... it could have been an insensitive comment about a gay person, or a minority, but whomever the comment is directed at- it will trigger some suppressed feeling from some time in their past, when they felt that way.

People who have been told they are worthless if by one person or a gaggle of people, has an easier time believing others when they are told them same thing again, because they already believe that about themselves. And, this isn't some veiled post about me and my feelings... I'm just trying to help people to see how heavy insensitive words are.

Ive been told before that my posts tend to the long side, and that people lose interest with them after only reading half of them.. so I will try to say this in fewer words... but I wanted to give you an example of the power of words.

I've said before, that I had heard through the grapevine, that some of the people I had gone to school with, had questioned another person about my training for a triathlon and laughing about the fact that I was even attempting it. I used those words to fuel me, to keep me inspired as I trained, to be the motivation that got me out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and into a cold pool on snowy days.

When I completed my triathlon, I was on cloud nine, I had DONE it. I set a goal, put my mind to it, and DID it. VALIDATION! !! ...

Or, so I thought. The same girls, commented to eachother via facebook (whether they remembered I could see their comments back and forth to each other in my feed [since we were friends on facebook] or not, was never anything I ever bothered to pursue) in short truncaed sentances might I add.. its not like anyone ever said "damn, that Millie is HUGE! I would never post pictures of myself in a bathing suit looking like that" it would be less obvious, like "I didn't know creatures that large frequented our lakes" or " some pictures are not meant for facebook"

The argument could be made that they weren't actually talking about me, and that they could have been having entirely different inside joke kind of conversations, but the point is that I saw them, assumed they were about me, as they were made in a fairly short time span after my Tri pics going up- and perhaps that would be the correct argument to make. But, it still goes into the same point I'm making about the power of words, and scars.

The point is, I saw those comments, and the wind was pulled completely from my sails. I was crushed. I looked at my pictures, looked at my time, reflected on my struggles and no longer felt pride, but instead felt shame. And that shame stuck with me all summer long... I couldn't even think about my Triathlon without a sense of embarrassment coming over me. I stopped talking about it, I put my scrapbook away, my medal- which had been a sense of pride hanging from my rearview mirror in my car, became a jumbled knot in the bottom of my purse.

I saw myself through their eyes, instead of continuing to see myself through my own. All those weeks of starting to feel good about myself, were stripped away in a matter of days.

Yes, I know, I gave them that power. I handed over my pride and allowed them to replace it with shame and embarrassment. But that is also the power of words, and deeply imbedded scars. Instead of seeking validation from the ONE person who really matters (Myself)- I put my own self worth in the validation of naysayers.

Now, a few months removed from the situation, I think to myself "yeah, but that beached whale, FINISHED a TRIATHLON" ,,,
that Large, Flabby, inner tube gut completed something that some attempt and fail, and some never attempt at all.

I did that.


And they can all go eff themselves, because my Sprint Tri, regardless of how short the distances, requires dedication, perserverence, and faith in ones self- something that clearly they do not have, or else they wouldn't hate on someone who did. Oh yeah, and they were all cut from friends list a long time ago. It felt good to let it (and them) go. They weren't ever really my "friends"- just people that I reconnected with when Facebook exploded. But, we've caught up, clearly they never left high school and are still bitches, so I cast them off into the "have a nice life" ocean a long time ago.

But words have power. That was the point.

So, my word, right this very second, that gives me power... TRIATHLETE.

Thats me. I did it. And right now, today, I am going to reconnect with the TRIATHLETE once again. No more of this half assing it as Ive been doing the past few months.

I have a 5K that I'm running next Saturday, the 6th (or maybe its the 7th) regardless, it's next weekend. Sadly, I am grossly under prepared for it. And I don't mean in the same neurotic "Oh Im afraid im underprepared for the Triathlon" thing I did back in May.. no I'm really truly like "Last Saturday was my birthday, the saturday previous I was in South Bend, the Saturday previous I decided to sleep in" UNDER prepared for my 5K.

It's going to be laughable. But I'm going to do it, to show myself what happens when training goes to the wayside. Its time to buckle down, and refocus. My eye is once again on the prize, and the prize is the 2011 Triathlon season.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Big People, Sizist Society

I have all of these half started blogs saved that I have meant to go back and finish, but time is a slippery snake these days that always evades me. However, this morning, I am fired up and pissed off enough that I need to say something about some really ridiculous crap that is going on of late.

First of all, I had wanted, last week, to address the issue of bullying and discuss how bullying affects everyone, how it’s not right, how I’ve had to face my own series of “mean girls” growing up… and though my tangent right now is fueled by a different emotion, and one that will not really project empathy in regards to bullying, I do still feel it has somewhat to do with what I want to say.

Perhaps you have heard there is a lot of hubbub about this show entitled “Mike and Molly” which airs on CBS. The show, about two heavy people who meet and fall in love at Overeaters Anonymous (a fact in the story I was really peeved at when I heard about this show… why couldn’t the main characters meet at a Barnes and Noble, or at a Bar like the rest of the population? Is taking a pot shot about OA really necessary- but I digress). Anyhow, the bones of the story though, were still hopeful. It was nice to see that someone in Hollywood had decided that not every main character in the world needs to be a size 2. But apparently, an Op-Ed writer at Marie Claire seems to feel differently…
She has written and I quote “"I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair."

Apparently though, the inability to spell or string intelligible sentences together doesn’t matter to the people at Marie Claire, as long as their writers are Cacomorphobic (that’s the fear of becoming fat) for those who aren’t a walking dictionary- don’t worry I had to Google it too.

Apparently, not just Marie Claire is on this anti fat band wagon. CNN also decided to “weigh in” (pun, intended) on the subject of viewer discomfort watching fat people fall in love.

It stuns and amazes me that in a society where people expend energies about equality in races, equality in sexes, equality amongst alternative lifestyles' and the list goes on ad infinitum on what we should be “accepting of” and you find the everyone from the President, Newscasters, and a slew of impassioned friends proselytizing on these days, it’s still o.k. in mainstream America to hate fat people? These same people (like Ms. Maura Kelly of Marie Claire Magazine) would scream and rant about inequalities if someone said that she shouldn’t be able to write for a magazine because she was a woman. It’s been forgotten I guess, that just a few decades ago, that is exactly what occurred in this country. Or if someone told Neil Patrick Harris, or Ellen, that their shows were being cancelled because seeing homosexuals on TV grosses someone out. Apparently, we’ve forgotten the decade of the 1990’s too, when this very thing was discussed.

I am dumbfounded that in 2010, and after all kinds of “accepting each others differences” and “diversity sensitivity training” we’ve received, and all this love and flowers that has been preached to us that people can honestly laugh and poke fun at people because they look different. Would people be making jokes about a blogger who commented on a person’s race? No, people would be up in arms screaming and yelling and every news outlet in the country would be calling for her dismissal. So, why on earth is it okay for someone to make comments about how disgusting someone is because they are fat, and no one even bats an eye- and it was barely a whisper in the news.

This is NOT Ok. And it’s this kind of attitude that also propagates the acceptance of bullying and a bullyistic (I'm Sure that’s not a word, but whatever) tendencies in kids. The kind of close-minded hateful but not outwardly so opinions, like “oh man that kid is really dorky and never talks, I’m going to pick on him because he’s weak” or “hey look at that fat kid that can’t run, I’ll pick on him because I'm better than him” or “look at that kid wearing a veil over her head, I’m going to pick on her because she looks different than I do” None of this is okay- and if we are going to be a society that says love everyone regardless of race,sex or creed= we also have to start buying into the mentality to love everyone no matter what they look like too. We as a society can not be a walking hypocrisy.

Also on my shit list- Old Navy, owned by the Gap company. Now, originally when Old Navy announced they were going to be selling plus sizes I was over the moon thrilled, because well, Old Navy clothes are very reasonably priced…and for a wanna be fashionista as myself, and has a streak of vanity in never wanting to repeat an outfit when going out, lest it get published on Facebook… Old Navy was the affordable answer to cute tops for outings.

One tiny problem. Apparently, Old Navy wants our Plus Size dollars, but not our fat asses in the stores. Plus sized clothing from Old Navy can ONLY be purchased online. At first, I didn’t care, it was still Old Navy clothes, so I could still fit in with the rest of the known universe wearing Old Navy’s clothes. However, the kicker came when they STOPPED accepting returns in-store (see again my comment about not wanting our fat asses in the store) and made us return everything by mail. Then, as a double kicker--- the cost of the return is deducted from your refund. So, essentially, I’M Paying Old Navy $5.99 for the “HONOR” of TRYING ON their clothing? What crap.

So- until things change - and believe you me, strongly worded letters are going out to both Marie Claire and to Old Navy-

I am asking that you join me in a boycott of both of these companies. If you are so inspired, perhaps you too will be motivated to send them letters of complaint as well.

Gap Online
100 Gap Online Drive
Grove City, Ohio 43123-8605


Marie Claire- Editor in Chief : Joanna Coles

If nothing else, let's keep in mind that we are all people just trying to navigate through our lives... and hopefully think twice before making an insensitive comment about someone.
Until next time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Best Laid Plans....

Well, after a crazy fun weekend spent with the Fighting Irish in South Bend... we arrived back home to the realization that our weekend of freedom came with a price- and we both find ourselves buried under the mountain of homework that we neglected all weekend. Which, word to the wise, if you're ever in South Bend and the sun comes out to bring a surprising heat wave to a fall afternoon, shop the perimeter whilst in Hammes Bookstore. I literally was trampled by two very determined men who made a bee-line for the $10 Game Day Tshirts. In this process of said bee-line, they trampled directly across my foot, and seriously I think they broke my toes. Just two of them, but still, toes for the most part are necessary to propel oneself forward.
Damn toes.

So, on the way home today, in place of running I went grocery shopping. Sure, there's only 3 weeks until the 5K but seriously, the toes are a cryin'. Tomorrow should be interesting... especially since a. I missed Saturday due to said Notre Dame game. b. we have descended from slightly torturous to full on satanic workouts in which by the time we are done I am red in the face and soaked with sweat. This 5K is going to fun with a capital F!

As promised, I planned out my weeks worth of dinners, wrote my list and shopped for non-pizza food. Here is my list of dinners for the week. Considering it's the first week of attempting this, and i have a new class that starts on Wednesday I am falling back on some staples instead of making a foray into my "Vegetarian Times Cookbook" and "The Thirty Minute Vegetarian" So- dinners for the week

Califlower Pasta
Black Bean Enchiladas
Mushroom Barley Soup
Vegetarian Chili
and since Wenesday neither of us will be here.. I have some Q'orn Chik'n patties that I will be chopping up and making a Low Fat Chicken Salad sandwich.

I come home and lo and behold my husband beat me home (he usually doesn't make it home until at least 8:00 of late and on nights he has class he isn't home until 11)

So for him to be home by 6:30 was a nice surprise...and of course he decided to "be nice" and "Pick up dinner" (read high sodium unhealthy Chinese food.)

So, tonight is Vegetable Lo Mein.... the rest of the week is my healthy plans.

And, a plan still needs to be figured out for working out and finding time for that. I'm pretty sure that if you look back in last October's blogs, I pretty much said the exact same things "oh I dont have time I don't have time" and I literally have no time.. but just as last year, come November Im sure the noose will loosen.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time Keeps Slipping Away

Wow, I can't believe it's almost been a complete month since the last time that I posted. Once school starts, the rest of my life flies past at warp speed. :(

Not much new to report sadly. I still suck at running- though I'm including Elliptical workouts on off days (well, I use that loosely because as of today I "used" the Elliptical for a week like 2 weeks ago.. last week I fell completely off the wagon and by completely off the wagon I mean, no run club, no working out (AT ALL) -and- I had Taco Bell for dinner last Wednesday night. Had this been a literal wagon, I'd be covered in bumps, scrapes and bruises. Why is it so hard to stay on that damn thing anyway (I'm still referring to the hypothetical wagon) seriously, I need a seat belt, or some tape, or Velcro. Apparently, I must have something against said wagon, or else it would be much easier to stay on it.

When I was using the elliptical it was helping (at least I think). The second I would step on the thing I'd sweat like a menopausal woman in the midst of a hot flash, in Arizona, at the height of summer, so it had to have been working. Granted, even on the elliptical machine, this huffy puffer couldn't complete a mile in less than 20 minutes, but I think if nothing else it helped my form. I'm still not a gazelle, and I'm still a huffy puffer, but every once in a while, I can feel my inner Nigerian trying to break out.

It still sucks though- running that is. I loathe running almost as much as I loathe the hypothetical wagon I keep falling off of. I'm sure, eventually running will (hopefully) get easier, and then perhaps I wont hate it so much... but right now, Running and I are not on speaking terms.

The other thing that has spun totally out of control are my husband and my eating habits. They aren't bad, as in "I run to McDonalds every day and order a super sized meal" bad... but we are not on a schedule, its pretty much every man for themselves because our schedules have become so bipolar. He works late or is at school, I'm at the gym or at school, or at home but pressed for time because of studying- so neither of us ever have time to cook. So our dinners usually involve a sandwich, a microwave meal, or a frozen Pizza (Whole Grain from Kashi) but a frozen pizza nonetheless.

So, inspired by my older sisters amazing blog (if you haven't checked it out, you should ) I have decided to buckle down and make some plans this weekend.

My intention :

Find easy, fairly cheap (I'm not kidding a lot of these vegetarian recipes, you have to take a 2nd out on the house just to pay the grocery bill), appropriately proportioned (I am a germaphobe and am physically incapable of eating leftovers) healthy and satisfying vegetarian dinners.

I have subscriptions to both Vegetarian Times as well as Eating Well Magazine, so if I plan out my meals and grocery shop accordingly- perhaps we can actually start eating normal meals instead of pizza and freezer food.

So- that will be coming up next week. Don't expect anything half as detailed as my sisters recipes, as a Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray I am not... but I'm sure I can figure out my way around my kitchen enough to make something fairly decent for dinner.

That's about it for now peeps- I'm once again up to my elbows in homework...and my frozen pizza (today is actually targets version of the Kashi Mediterranean pizza) is almost done.

~Millie :)