Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Weighted Issue of Weight

Posted: December 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

So, after a long pause I write again about a subject I try very hard to ignore but occasionally I just can’t run from. I went on a much needed shopping spree this weekend with my father and step mom and I got a lot of great clothes. It was definitely not the worst shopping experience I’ve ever had but as usual, I was faced with some cruel facts of reality. I am fat. I knew this was coming for me as I try very hard to not get lost in daydreams of skinny jeans and tank tops but nothing can prepare me for the tri-mirror horror of seeing every inch of me – front, back and side under harsh lights and surrounded by jeans that don’t button and shirts that I can’t put my arms through. I will repeat – nothing can prepare me for that. And what really irks me is the size discrepancy between brands. In the same store a large would fit perfectly and an extra-large would be two-sizes too small. I felt like the Grinch who shopped at Target rather than stole Christmas. So, this brought to the forefront of my mind several issues of the dreaded weight topic. I’ve been musing about this for some time and while this isn’t necessarily the cohesive, completed concept of this issue, it is something I want to put out there to think about and hopefully someday refer back to.

First of all (and this has no connection with the shopping trip, just thoughts that came afterwards), I’m noticing the trend in the initial reaction to me claiming I’m fat is a retaliation with “Noooo, you’re not fat.” But, what if I want to be fat? What if fat isn’t such a bad thing? Could it be that I’m proud to be fat, and owning the term “I am fat” is a step to accepting my body? The person trying to console a person by claiming, “Noooo, you’re not fat” is in many ways taking the power of the individual to claim ones body and saying instead “Even if you are, you shouldn’t admit that to yourself… That’s bad!” But instead, imagine a scenario where I claim “I am fat” and the response is “Good for you!” Not to say we should welcome obesity with open arms, but I think that a general change in conversation from ignoring the elephant in the room to wrapping our arms around it and understanding that this is part of someone’s identity is necessary. I know that I will not wear a single-digit size of jeans any time soon. If I do, I’ve done something drastic and unhealthy. And given that being in the single-digit size is an ideal size, I know that I am fatter than the ideal image portrayed to Americans. Therefore, I feel that I can claim the idea that “I am fat” or at least fatter than the American ideal.

I do need to put a disclaimer here in that I do not condone the American ideal as being realistic for many Americans. While I do agree it is probably a healthier body size and leads to less health risks (assuming it is naturally maintained through eating healthy, exercise and a genetic predisposition for that size), I have to say that we have not set up our society to support that image. The American ideal gives us thin, fit bodies to look at yet it yells at us to eat fattening foods, watch TV and shun most physical activity. I strongly believe the American idea of bodies and leisurely activities is horrifically misrepresented. How often does a sitcom, TV show or movie featuring skinny, fit people also represent them eating healthy meals, exercising daily and turning down sweet, lovely foods? Occasionally it’s implied, but rarely do they show the characters literally doing these things. It’s a shame because I would sure like to see how it’s done. Meanwhile, in between looking at these skinny bodies and perky personalities, we are fed commercials featuring fast food, chain restaurants and savory morsels. So let me get this straight, you want me to look like THAT while eating THAT…?

Another thing is the inability to properly understand how my body works. I’ve never been taught how fat is stored (except by an ex-boyfriend who was into fitness, but who knows how accurate he was) or what foods do what. I know that vegetables are good and sugar is bad. I know protein is good and carbohydrates will go straight to my hips. Great… So the logical conclusion is that I eat meat and veggies, which is probably a great plan. But I would also like to know how to properly do that for each meal and how to plan accordingly for times when I don’t have easy access to a kitchen. Most of my bad eating decisions happen when I’m not at home. I need a quick bite or something to eat after my 4th drink at a bar. So next comes the microwavable, drive-thruable, carb-loadable choices that I was brainwashed with on TV last night. Next thing I know, I can’t remember the last time I ate a piece of lean meat or beneficial vegetables. It would be nice to know how to avoid these situations without risking a blood sugar crisis. I also might have a better chance at being the skinny girl on TV.

This is all excuses of course because if I had paid attention I probably would know the answers to all of my concerns and questions. Plenty of people seem to know the answers so maybe fat people just weren’t paying attention during those life lessons. I’ve most definitely said, “Fuck it… This won’t hurt me” and eaten two helpings of ice cream instead of avoiding it all together. I can’t deny I am the one to blame for my current predicament. Part of me thinks it’s not that big of a deal. I’m happy with my body and I know that this is who I am, as I am. I look in the mirror and say “I am fat. That’s just who I am.” The other part of me looks in the mirror and says “I’m fat!” and follows up with “Nooo… I’m not fat… I just need to lose a few pounds here, here… and here. And suck it in here. If I wear an oversized, dark shirt and some baggy jeans until I lose these curves here, here… and here then I won’t be seen as fat. If I don’t move this way or let people touch me here, here… or here, then at least I can just pass for a while.” I also think by saying “I’m not fat,” I’m lying to myself. I am denying that who I see in the mirror is who I am. The person I see in the mirror is fat, but I am not fat. What’s that putting in my mind? Do I want to be skinny? Is my mind trying to disassociate from my body?

I can’t help being reminded of all the people who try to, want to or succeed in passing as white, heterosexual, able bodied/minded, of a particular religion, faith or class all because their natural self isn’t socially acceptable. The thing is that I’m not as fat as a lot of people and I sit right on the line between thick and thin. I can pass if I try hard enough but will that be suppressing part of who I am? I am fat. That’s just who I am… But on the other hand, I’m not fat. I just need to lose a few pounds…

I highly suggest checking out the blog of Corpulent, a fascinating blogger that has created a lot of second-guessing in my mind (in a good way) of the idea of weight, body image and the idea of skinny is healthy. The link takes you to the health posts Corpulent has written but she has many fascinating topics and thoughts on all sorts of topics, so I encourage you to browse further.

http://corpulent.wordpress.com/category/health/

This is What Americans Pays For?

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

I wanted to speak to an activity backed by our government that seems disturbingly unacceptable to me. The issue of the day is the wild horses in America that are being largely targeted for removal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Department of Interior. The removal of the wild horses is becoming a crisis for the long-term well being of the genetic viability and behavior of the herds. While horses are being rounded up and stored in private farms by the thousands, the general public continues to be unaware that their iconic symbol of the western frontier is vanishing. I’ll say truthfully that if it weren’t for the American wild horse, the west would not have the same history as it does now. The wild horses carried settlers across plains, mountains, streams and valleys to create their new home at what we now call the west coat. The west was settled on the backs of these wild horses and now the wild horses are being removed from the land they’ve inhabited for roughly 500 years. Unfortunately, we have no one to blame besides our government and the lobbyists who push to remove each and every one of them. With the idea that land can only hold several hundred horses per hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of acres, the wild horse has no choice but to wait and hope they escape the fate of their forefathers.

Roughly 41,000 and counting wild horses are in long-term holding facilities nationwide. Roughly 25,000 wild horses currently reside on public lands in the wild. The numbers are continuously shifting and by the end of this year more than 43,000 wild horses will be in some sort of holding facility, while 23,000 will be in the wild. The numbers of horses currently in the wild, which have no scientific evidence to support to begin with, are continuously diminishing because of the BLM’s ruthless roundup schedule. The general consensus is that the BLM feels a need to rush the roundups due to ongoing budget crises’ in the government. Unfortunately, while our children’s education, our veterans mental health care and our neighbors jobs are disappearing, our government continues to be able to fund a multi-million (possibly billion with everything included) dollar program in the name of “pest control”. Apparently, 500 years of survival, adaptation and cohabitation doesn’t allow you native rights.

The major flaw of this program is that it removes horses from the wild and then stores them in holding facilities for the rest of their lives. While the idea is that they adopt them to responsible homes, the reality is quite a different story. Barely 3,000 horses are adopted each year through the BLM’s adoption program. The removal rate from the wild is easily double that on an average year. This year alone the BLM has removed more than 4,000 horses from Nevada and they’re not even done yet. This doesn’t include Oregon, Wyoming or Colorado where they’ve been removing horses relentlessly all year long. In Oregon, for example, they decided that 30 horses were a genetically viable population and the appropriate amount for tens of thousands of acres of land. In some areas, each horse could have their own thousand acre parcel. Apparently, this is all the land can support.

Unfortunately, the abuse doesn’t stop at the removal of the horses. In fact, it’s only just beginning. From there, they will be shipped to short-term holding for processing and adoption. Most of which will not be adopted and then will later be shipped to private long-term holding facilities. These facilities are nothing more than large dry lots where they are grouped by sex (unlike in the wild where they consist of one stallion, several mares and one to several foals). They are fed alfalfa which is not part of their natural diet, and they will remain there until the end of their lives. Some unfortunate souls may be sold to slaughter in Mexico or Canada depending on the situation. Since the horses are moved to private facilities, the public cannot view or keep track of how many horses are sent to slaughter. We have to take their word.

And since we know that the government’s word is the word of honor, dignity and righteousness (note the sarcasm), we know that just like our under-privileged population they will receive the worst of care. In fact, on the rare occasions that cameras have been allowed into holding facilities (Most of the time they are banned even on the public viewing days) there has been documented evidence of moldy hay, chronic and life threatening injuries and illnesses and complete neglect of the wild horse. This is a disgrace to the name of humane treatment.

So, the casual reader must ask how this treatment is allowed to continue over the years (30 years to be exact) and the answer is same for all issues with the government – they do not care, nor are they listening. They merely continue with their zero-tolerance, zeroing-out policies of destruction and greed. Someone is profiting from this destruction. My guess is it’s the BLM officials who are skimping on care and treatment for the sake of saving a few pennies. It could be the contractors who have been documented striking horses with helicopters, breaking horse’s legs and separating families in the process of removing horses from our public lands. Of course, the contractors get paid per horse head that enters the trap. They’re not paid by the hour, by the job or by the overall quality of their performance. They’re paid for the amount of horses who are captured – condition not important. This is typical of our government and any large business (they’re one of the same entities at this point). Still, do you hear about this scandal on the news? Has your daily paper covered this torture and corruption? And even if they did, chances are it’s skewed to represent the government program due to cheap journalism that hopes only to share what’s uploaded onto the BLM website rather than witnessed reality.

The biggest laugh in this whole story is that the American tax payer (You and me) are paying for this destruction. Each dollar you make, a small portion goes to the removal and long-term holding of these symbols of American freedom and liberty. I had hoped that someday I could show my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews the wild horse herds I witnessed the summer of 2011. Unfortunately, all but one small herd has been removed forever from their home. Even today, I cannot go back to see them. I cannot say I’m sorry, or call upon their strength for guidance. I can merely wave as I drive by the private facility they’ll reside in for the next 15-20 years.

For more information about the upcoming removal and controversy of wild horses from the Calico HMA please visit the blog of the foremost wild horse advocate and witness of the BLM brutality Laura Leigh at http://artandhorseslauraleigh.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/calico-then-and-now/. For more general facts and numbers about the wild horses, please visit http://www.wildmustangcoalition.org/id43.html. If you’d just like more information, visit http://www.saveourwildhorse.com/index.htm. The information is out there.

The Fee of Life

Posted: November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Note – The following writing assumes that a person did not start off with a six+-figure monetary fund that they invested well in sustainable living.

To build off of my last post, I want to introduce another concept that needs to be ingrained in early education as a fact of life for all human beings that are present in our society. It needs to be well understood that when someone says “nothing in life is free,” they literally mean those exact words. I present it as the fee of life; the fee that applies to the moment you are born until the moment you die. Everything you need, want, wish for, think of or consider has a fee. This fee whether upfront or hidden, is not a matter that can be avoided. Therefore, I suggest that we adopt a new policy of telling our youth the facts about the fee of life.

The fee of life applies at birth, but for the sake of this argument I’m going to start at the entrance into adulthood. At 18, the fee starts applying directly to you. Or at least legally it does. The fee applies if you wish to eat, sleep in a bed, wear clothing, smell and appear decent and maintain your health. This fee applies because you exist in this money hungry world that expects you to pay to view the show. Society highly recommends that you pay these fees in full, or else they will start applying hidden fees. These are kept neatly hidden until they apply to your situation. At this time, they will whip out the fee for failing to pay the other fees. This fee is for failing to do any or all of the above. For example, if you choose to not pay for your food, well, stealing is immoral so there’s an immoral fee for theft. If you don’t sleep in a bed and you reside on a sidewalk, under a bridge, behind a dumpster or in a back alley, be prepared for a hefty fine again. If you don’t wear clothing in your daily adventures, consider that a double fee – for societal disgrace and also simply because it’s illegal to walk naked in the streets. And, if you don’t appear and smell decent, good luck finding the means to pay these fees. If your health isn’t maintained (fee! fee! fee!), then you’re even more out of luck and don’t bother going pass Go.

Your options seem pretty straight forward. You have a fee, or you have a fee. The choice is yours. The real dilemma comes when you have to find a means to pay those fees. You better hope you have all of the above fees paid or else there will be no funds to pay the fees. If that happens, then prepare for more fees until you are so indebted to the world that you have no way of climbing out of the debt you’ve accumulated merely because you exist. If only we could choose to sign up for this credit card with a 20% interest rate like we do at JC Penny’s in order to receive a discount on our latest purchase. Instead, this credit card is assigned at birth to your social security card and birth certificate with big, bold letters clearly printing your name; first, middle and last. And in fine print at the bottom of the card it says,

“You will now be charged the following fees for the rest of your life. If unpaid, we reserve the right to take your home, dignity, liberty and your right to pursue happiness. Thank you and we look forward to your continued payments.”

Remember growing up and fantasizing about your future life? I wanted to be a horse trainer for a while. I wanted to become a psychiatrist and work in a psychiatric ward. I wanted to be a police person for a while or maybe even work with computers like my parents. I knew early on I was highly dedicated to work as my genetics predisposed me to be. It was all just a fantasy but I based it on real life. The world around me told me I could be anything I wanted since I was born into a middle class, white family. There was never a doubt (If I wanted to) I would go to college and someday graduate, then go on to get a job where I may, or may not, stay for a few years before I found a new one. Down the road I would pursue higher education in the field I was interested in so I could make more money and have more fulfillment in life. Everywhere I turned media, teachers, family members and even strangers occasionally would tell me I could be anything I wanted to be.

This was a great romance to listen to. But just like with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the reality of the situation slowly set in as I’ve aged. Really what they meant to say was that I could be anything as long as I did it before 2008 (the year I turned 18). After that, horse trainers are nearly nonexistent, and jobs dealing with psychology and social services are rapidly laying people off due to budget cuts; police are now the bad guys and no one taught me how to work with computers (I guess they just assumed it was pre-programmed since I was born in the 90’s). My entire county has entered a state of depression with vacant buildings littering the streets and more homeless people around trash bins than seagulls. I’m not finding the so-called dream job the rumors told me about when I was young. You know, the kind of job waiting for you out of college? The kind that pays your living expenses without forcing you to get a second job, wear a dorky hat or wipe smelly butts? With another 2 billion dollars being cut from the state budget at the end of the month, hundreds (or is it thousands?) more layoffs approaching and every person on the block being financially squeezed like a lime at a cheap bar, how am I supposed to get an entry-level job straight out of college? I can relate better each day to the salmon of the Northwest. They swim upstream based on a dream, day after day, only to die once they reach their destination. I’m not saying that this dream job scenario doesn’t exist. In fact, it does exist. The job is out there. Unfortunately, I have to compete with thousands of other unemployed people in my area for that one and only job opening. The odds alone are intimidating.

Each day I understand more and more about the need for a youth uprising. It’s already started with the Occupy Wall Street movement but in many cases it’s deviated from the point, which is that youth have no future here. The youth cannot sustain with the current structure of our society. They are unwelcomed, untrained, uneducated and underestimated. What could society be like if each of our youth 18 years and older, registered to vote and voted at every election? What if the youth were well educated in the idea of democracy, utopias/dystopias or taught the importance of self-empowerment? Unfortunately, this is a huge “what if” because it doesn’t serve our government well in their own political game to educate the next generation. If they did, they wouldn’t have a job. The only reason the next generation buys into the idea of capitalism, oppression and dream jobs is because people have taught them over the years what each of those are without disclosing their downfalls. Capitalism, for example, can become a deadly weapon in the wrong hands (Quite possibly in the right hands too. It’s a very sensitive operation). Oppression affects everyone in some way or another. If we all understood oppression is universal (except for upper-class, white, heterosexual, fit, able-bodied, English-speaking men), imagine the progress we could make in overcoming it? And dream jobs should be lumped in with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, not with the “future plans I will rely on.” If we addressed these issues (among others) with our youth, the world could become a hugely different place. However, we don’t do these things, and I strongly believe it’s purposeful by the powers that run this country.

I see it this way – Education is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power gets shit done. That’s my quote for the night.