I am a large woman. I’ve made no efforts to disguise this fact.
I try to watch what I eat and I work out. The goal is 5 days a week. I usually hit at least three.
I post to Facebook and twitter from time to time about my workouts, usually when they are particularly good ones or particularly difficult ones. I don’t post about all of them, because really? That would get pretty boring after a while.
So, I don’t.
I post about food sometimes, or shopping for food. Or my love/hate relationship with foo
And I post about my weight, about my physical ailments. I talk about my lower back pain and my knees…about the nerve damage in my arms and the like.
I may post about increases in my exercise regimin, going further on the elliptical, adding weight or reps to the strength training.
One thing you won’t see me post about though are numbers. I don’t weigh myself. I don’t measure myself. So, you won’t see posts declaring how I’ve lost 2 pounds or 5 inches or any of that. Sure, weight loss is a goal of the working out and the eating right. But it isn’t the only goal, or even the primary one. I have an idea of how much I’d like to lose before a specific time, but that’s still not the driving motivator.
My first goal is to feel better. I know I move easier and have less pain when I exercise. I know my asthma and my diabetes are better when I exercise. I have more energy and my head goes to a better place when I exercise. I sleep better. I eat better.
Everything that comes after that is bonus. All too easily I can become obsessed by the numbers. I get hung up on them, and will do anything to drive them in the direction I want them to go, including behaviors that I KNOW aren’t good for me. Things like starving myself or overdoing the exercise.
The next thing on my list is reigning in my eating again. It is difficult to eat well when you’re have little money. You can buy 6 packages of ramen for a dollar and have six meals. Spend that same dollar on meat or veggies and you’re barely going to get one meal. I try to make most of my meals diabetic friendly…a lot of raw veggies, meat, some cheese…etc, but it gets pricey after a while. This weekend I aim to clean out my fridge and cupboards and emptying them of the things I shouldn’t be eating.
And when I go shopping on Monday, I’ll hold myself to the rules: nothing with flour in it, nothing with sugar in it, no starchy vegetables.
This grown up taking care of yourself is hard work these days. But hopefully I’m slowly getting better at it.
And even if I drop a ton of weight, you won’t see me posting the numbers. You’ll just see me posting pictures of me in my new clothes. That really is all proof I need that I’m doing the right thing.
The following includes descriptions, photos, and video that may serve as a trigger for victims of sexual violence.
Please be advised.
Someone asked me today, "What is 'rape culture' anyway? I'm tired of hearing about it."
Yeah, I hear ya. I'm tired of talking about it. But I'm going to keep talking about it because people like you keep asking that question.
Sometimes, when I think about my largely failed attempts at what society considers “normal” relationships, I wonder if maybe I’m just wired differently? I mean, even before I discovered my bisexuality and before I’d ever heard of polyamory, my relationships, such as they were, didn’t seem to be what everyone else around me appeared to be having.
My first “serious” semi-grown up, relationship was in my senior year of high school. His name was Clifford, and he went to my church. It wasn’t exactly traditional on my end, though I think for him it maybe was. He was clearly enamored of me, in that way that teenage love is meant to look…you know, with the moony eyes and grand gestures. And, I loved him, for some value of love, but I wasn’t moony eyed, I wasn’t head over heels. He made me smile, I liked the way his hands were so big and warm, I was comfortable with him.
It ended when he had moved away, though we tried the long distance thing for a bit, but in the end, we were seventeen and eighteen and neither of us anywhere near ready for the work that involved.
When it ended, it ended and I was a little sad, but even before it was officially over I was telling my best friend at the time that if she was interested in him, as he clearly was interested in her, that she should go for it because he was a good guy and a great kisser and she deserved someone to love her.
See, I still loved him and I loved her and it seemed logical to me that if I loved someone I should wish them happiness. To this day, if he were to suddenly turn up in my life again, I would love him the same and hope that life has been kind, and be happy to be friends.
There’s a thought in the back of my brain as I edit this from what I posted on my more private journal. It’s saying that I don’t throw people away just because they are no longer an active part of my life. I see that as very true.
I realize that my approach to a lot of things is very different from others around me. I’m realizing more and more that that is more true than I ever knew.
I connect easily. I form friendships easily. I love easily, and deeply, and strongly. I love unconditionally…or I attempt to.
Which is, I think, a part of why with people, friendships, I tend to let go easier than others. I don’t have a need to be in every moment of someone’s life, to be the one providing them with happiness. I don’t need to be in communication every day to continue to care about you.
That said, I don’t tend to connect on an emotional level really. I’m not an emotional kind of person overall (though I have my moments, don’t get me wrong I can do a marathon crying jag like you’ve never seen). I tend to be far more concerned with the emotional status of the friend or partner I’m engaging with. I want to bring them joy, happiness. I want to be supportive, give them space to feel and do what they need to.
Of course, I have to recognize that this is also in part due to my own insecurity, my innate, never fully gone sense that I am essentially unlovable but for that which I provide, whether that be money or transportation or big gifts or what have you, and that I don’t want to push myself places where I am not wanted.
Add in my own need to occasionally withdraw from the world at large, thus assuming everyone else has the same need, and you arrive at my state of mind.
This is not conducive to romantic partnering. And, to be fair, not to all friendships either. So many people need someone who is more hands on, more able to “show up” in ways that are more active, more involved. They want friends/partners who reassure them of their affection with words and contact.
I can’t be that person. I’ve tried and I find it so exhausting, so incredibly overwhelming that I hermit for months on end in an attempt to recover.
Sometimes I wonder if maybe something inside of me is broken. Like that part that is supposed to feel attachment and the giddy, heady sense of love so incredible it overthrows everything. Maybe I didn’t get one of those when I was born or it broke somewhere along the way.
Or maybe there’s some emotional block inside me that is keeping me from it? Am I afraid of abandonment? Am I afraid of being hurt emotionally, of having my heart broken?
I don’t honestly think so. But sometimes it feels like I’m missing something, not having that in my life…not being able to abandon reason in a well of love, of melting who I am into a pairing or group. I am loved, I know that. I feel that. I love others. I know that. I feel that too.
But true love is unconditional love, in my book. And that is what I try to practice. Which includes letting someone go when that is what will make them happiest.
It explains why I fail at the whole dating thing. I just can’t wrap my brain around the concepts. I have never been “in-love” the way romantic books and movies make it seem. I could never conceive any one person being everything to me. I don’t get sappy and silly about someone I am in a relationship with, though that relationship may occasionally embrace the sappy and the silly.
I’m open to love, to partners even…friends with benefits…or even something a little more formalized than that. I doubt ever really finding it though because people need more, and I don’t really have more to give.
This is just me. How I am. How I always will be. And even though I may occasionally think I want what others seem to have, I’m pretty happy with that. With me.
Did I get your attention?
On an opinion article on CNN.com, I am engaged in a conversation with someone that has little to do with the article itself (which is about a coalition of Christians petitioning the government to address the needs of the poor), but addresses birth control, and the subjugation of women.
Only, not really.
I haven’t decided yet if this guy really believes what he is saying or if he’s just a really great parody.
His position, as I understand it is a) birth control subjugates women, b) women don’t want sex, only affection, c) all women crave a man to keep them for life, d) everyone over 22 can afford to have as many kids as unprotected sex gives them if they are willing to sacrifice eating, e) married women only use birth control to have extra-marital sex or out of fear that their husband will leave them.
Like I said, I’m not convinced he isn’t just a really good parody of a conservative Christian or if he honestly believes these things.
A) Birth Control Subjugates Women
I’ve asked for him to explain this a couple of times, but mostly what I get from the responses is that women use birth control in order to give men what they want (sex) so that they can get what they want (love), and that doing this devalues the women because they’ve allowed themselves to feel used. Or something to that effect.
B) Women don’t want sex, only affection
No, really. He argues that women, ALL women, just want a man to take care of them and love them and that they do not, in fact, want to have sex. Obviously, no one has told him that women LIKE sex. The only women I know that don’t are women who are asexual and those who have never had an orgasm.
I will admit that many women want, even crave, affection and love. I mean, just look at the multi-million dollar dating industry for proof. But something I learned in the last 44 years: When you love yourself, that desperation for a mate to complete you vanishes. You approach relationships differently, more maturely. You are complete and whole and any relationship is a compliment to that completeness rather than the leg it stands on.
I don’t need someone else to love me, and when someone does, I can appreciate it a whole lot more.
C) All women crave a man to keep them for life
Obviously, I only think I don’t want to get married, but in my deep secret place I crave it with all my being. Or something.
As I said above, I don’t need someone else to love me, but if it happens I still won’t want to get married or even live together…unless we had a really big house and I could go days without seeing him or her.
D) Everyone can afford kids if they sacrifice
I’m not even sure this is worth responding to.
E) Married Women and Birth Control
He actually argued that married women who don’t want kids can just get their tubes tied. Never mind that most doctors will not sterilize a woman under 40 (I’ve heard 30 from some folks, but I was told 40). Somehow tubal ligation is better than birth control pills. I’m not sure how that works.
And planning to have kids when you’re in the right place financially and emotionally? Just don’t have sex. There. Problem solved.
I don’t know about the rest of you ladies, but I ENJOY sex. It’s good for you in many ways too. Thankfully, people who think like this are in the minority.
I’ve spoken in this blog before about some of my health issues, about my eating disorder (I’m a binger), and diabetes, about my agoraphobia and panic issues. Today, foremost on my mind, is another of my chronic issues. Pain.
I’m 44 years old, and I’ve never been gentle with my body. I’m a full tilt sort of person, and I always have been. As a result, I have a lower back problem that stems from a time when I was 13 and I slipped a disc in my lower back, then walked around on it for weeks until I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. Now, that area spasms at the slightest provocation.
I’ve also had my hands on a keyboard for the better part of my adult life, leading to nerve issues in both arms, which aren’t aided by the diabetes.
I haven’t been pain free in so long, I can’t remember what it feels like.
I know that my weight doesn’t help any of it, and exercise is beneficial to controlling the pain. But exercise often causes the pain too. But then, so does just about everything.
This weekend, I cleaned my living room on Saturday. This involved a fair amount of bending and lifting, getting up and down off the floor, etc. I also sorted laundry and loaded the dishwasher.
Sunday morning my back hurt so much that I couldn’t find a comfortable way to sit or lay or stand. My shoulders tightened up and made it difficult to do much with my hands. I had intended to go to the gym, but that never happened.
In fact, I intend to go to the gym every day. I actually manage it about three times a week.
It doesn’t help that pain is often a trigger for a binge, especially when it sidelines me. I can’t DO anything, so unless I’m really paying attention, I can start to graze, which turns into binging. Which leads to more pain in the long run because not only am I not exercising, I’m eating crap I shouldn’t eat.
And round and round we go.
So yesterday I distracted myself with writing and forcing myself to get through the laundry. I was down to costume clothes and not much else, so washing enough clothes to at least get through the week was important. It hurt like crazy, but I got four loads washed and dried and folded.
None of it is put away, but I can get dressed at least. Maybe tonight the pain will have dialed back enough I can put it away. If I’m very lucky it will be gone enough I can go to the gym.
It takes a pretty constant focus to take care of myself. It isn’t something I’m accustomed to. But the older I get, the more I realize I’ve only got one of me, and being single and living alone, I’m the only one there to do it.
It’s pretty much one day at a time, and sometimes, when it hurts, or hurts more than my baseline of daily pain, it’s one hour at a time…and learn to let go of the things you just can’t do.
Like most Pagans, I love my Mother, the Earth. I love flowers and trees, fruits and vegetables and I have something of a green thumb.
Unfortunately, I also have allergies that prevent me from actually enjoying the beautiful, growing things of this world.
To the degree that I can not garden at all anymore. Even mowing the lawn will send me to the ER. When the landscaping people are at my apartment complex, I have to make sure I’m shut in good.
In fact, I can not really enjoy outdoor activities at all from about the middle of February through sometime in September. One of the few downfalls for me of living here in California is that there are green growing things all year round.
In order to participate in anything that happens outdoors I have to take large quantities of allergy medication (and carry Benedryl on me for emergencies), and the fog that leaves me in does not lend itself to participation in ritual at all.
I think this, more even than my agoraphobia issues, is what leads me to a solitary practice. There was a time when I was planning a shamanic retreat for up to ten people, that would involve a lot of journey work, drum circles, and a lot of time outdoors. Not so much anymore. I’d still love to do it, but I would need an indoor facility to pull it off.
I can’t journey with any allergy meds in my system. I just can’t make the connections, can’t focus on what I’m doing.
It’s sad really, I miss the feeling of earth on my hands, miss watching the flowers and vegetables in my gardens grow.
Even being careful, I’ve already started the period of the year where I look like I’m crying all the time. My eyes are red and gummy and they itch like crazy. There are tears in my eyes almost all the time.
Funny thing is, at the same time I’m very aware of a tender emotional state. Actual tears not caused by allergies are very close to the surface. Tears of happiness, tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of sorrow. It doesn’t take much.
I miss the outdoors, I do. I wish I could join the world out there, enjoy the bounties our planet is replete with…but a day spent in a garden isn’t worth the night spent in the ER.