Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love comes in carelessly uttered words

I want to share something real quick. Yesterday morning, I wore a hippie skirt with a shirt that goes over a camisole with a big cowl, the kind thats large enough for you to stretch over your head should you want to do that.

It was nothing super special, just comfy clothes. But yesterday morning, for some reason, I decided to stretch the cowl of the blue shirt to go under my bosom, in an effort to make the top look something like this. Needless to say, it didnt achieve the goal. But stubborn, and I think a bit depressed (blame it on the rain), I went to show J. This was our conversation:

C: Does this look ridiculous?
J: A bit. Looks like your trying to bring all the focus on your breasts.
C: Well, what if I am? I have a nice pair.
J: Your not JUST boobs, Cyn.
C: What if I want to be? If people focus only on this (gestures at bosom), then they wont notice any of this (gestures at face, stomach and general body).
J: Your so much more than just boobs. Your intelligence, your beauty, your eyes, why would you want to take away from all that just to put it on something like boobs?

At which point I started to cry and then he put his arms around me and hugged me. I dont think he understood what he had just said to me. I know I mumbled something along the lines of: I hate you, why do you sometimes say the worst things at the worst moment and then come out with shit like this at the most random times. Men..

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The truth about being fat part 1

People really have no idea what its like to be fat. And by fat I don't mean slightly overweight, although I'm not minimizing the psychological downsides of people who have just a bit of weight to lose, were all fighting the same battle here. But there's a difference between 15 lbs and 150 lbs to lose. That nasty word, obese. Obese, obese, obese. A definition by which people term me and define me. Fat chick, beached whale, pig, lazy slug, etc. These are all things Ive heard many times over my life, and I daresay most overweight (and some even mainstream size, I'm sure) people have heard continuously.
This beautiful, first world culture we live in judges a woman's value and desirability by how much skin she can show, the size of whatever part of her anatomy you fantasize about most, and if her nails match her purse. Never mind judging her by the way she lives her life, the work that she does (no matter what environment), and the morals and beliefs that she holds dear to her heart. Thank God there are exceptions to this rule, people who look deeper than the surface. But in any case, having defined the sad rules of objectifying, consider how a person who is overweight feels in this world where average bodies have a hard enough time.
Now, after reading that last line, if you thought something like 'she should stop complaining and start exercising', or 'maybe if she stopped eating she wouldn't be having this problem' or 'its her own fault shes so big, she must obviously eat McDonald's every day' or anything similar, I invite you to stop reading and click that little x at the top right of your screen. Or, alternatively, you could keep reading and open your mind as to how it feels to be an outsider 24/7 because of your size. We cant escape it, there is no reprieve. That being said, I decided to put into words the truths that we live with, so that maybe if another person of a bigger size reads it, s/he will know its not just them thinking/feeling this way. And maybe it will give some perspective to people of regular size, to be able to see into the mind of someone that looks like me.
  • Fat people are ULTRA aware, at ALL times, of the motion of eating. By that I mean, we are always aware of everything we put in our mouths in public, the way we eat it, how we chew, what it is that were eating, how were sitting while we eat it, what we must look like to other people while we eat, etc. I absolutely HATE eating in front of other people, if I could go the whole work day without having to eat in front of other people, I would. I actually take the initiative to hide in the corner, in our lounge area, and eat as fast as possible in case someone sits next to me. I hate the way people look at me while I eat, no matter what it is. If its healthy, then I MUST be on a diet, and if its not, I'm just the fat chick who's eating again. And don't even think about asking for seconds, if I'm hungry. Don't even think about saying the words 'Im hungry' out loud. Your fat, so you must ALWAYS be hungry. I hate having conversation while I eat, I hate eating in a restaurant. No matter what I order, there's that judgment in their eyes. People from other tables looking at me while I eat, I overhear what they say about me often. I am absolutely paranoid, but with good reason. You say I shouldn't give a fuck, and deep down I don't, but day after day, meal after meal, there's so much a person can take, and I might be real strong, real proud, but I'm not made of stone, and I would rather remove myself from the situation if at all possible. Consider all the times you eat in the day, whether its just a small snack or a couple of sips of water, to a main meal. Imagine feeling observed and judged EVERY SINGLE TIME you open your mouth to eat/drink. That feeling, every day, multiple times a day. Next time you feel like making a comment about how I eat, or an unpleasant thought crosses your mind when you see someone like me eating, trust me, WE KNOW.

  • Fat people are ULTRA aware, at ALL times, of what their bodies look like. You know that feeling of not knowing what to wear, and just throwing on something and not thinking about it for awhile? That doesn't happen. Every piece of clothing I wear, I know exactly how my body looks in it. And I mean exactly, down to where the hem falls and how the fabric looks at this angle with that light. I know exactly what my legs look like when I'm walking, or how my arms move when I wave to someone. I know how my face looks like when I talk, what my neck looks like when I prop my chin up. What my stomach looks like in that dress, how I look when I'm swimming. It sounds like an obsession, but its not. Its more of a reflex that you develop after hearing/seeing everyone else around you notice these things. People do it subconsciously, and so do we. In an effort to see what other people see when they look at me, Ive even recorded myself going about doing things so I could observe myself. Sounds sick? So is my morale when day after day complete strangers hate me because I'm overweight. Trust me, we know IMPLICITLY, what we look like, at all times, and it is so fucking hard to have high self-esteem (or really, any positive self-esteem at all), to feel like you could be pretty today, or just to feel normal, when you see time after time people's judgment and derision in their eyes. It doesn't matter how much time I spend on myself, to look good, there is always a comment pertaining to my weight. On my own wedding day, the day when I felt the most beautiful woman in the world because J looked at me like I was (and truly, to him I was), I had my hair and my nails done, makeup the whole shebang, and I heard no less than 3 people tell me that I was pretty but if only I was skinny, I would have made such a beautiful bride. If your shocked at this, consider what comments I hear in my normal life, when I dont have an army of people to make me look beautiful.

  • There is a HUGE psychological effect that comes with losing weight. Overweight, and especially obese people, cannot just 'lose the weight'. People don't grasp the intense mental process that needs to come with a major weight loss. Think about everything that Ive written so far, think about the idea that overweight people get used to that kind of treatment day in and day out. Its the norm, for us. We build our identity, albeit subconsciously, around the fact we don't have an identity to others beyond 'fat'. For people, strangers, to befriend me, they must first get beyond the fat factor, which limits greatly the number of people that I call friends. Ive had people out of the blue tell me that I was a really great person, but couldn't hang with me because they weren't comfortable with my size. They weren't comfortable spending time with someone that garnered all that negative attention. They couldn't take the heat that wasn't even directed at them. And I understood, after a fashion. If I had a choice, I wouldn't willingly put myself under the fire either. So having gotten used to the idea that were nothing but our body mass, imagine if you will suddenly getting that rug pulled from under our feet. Not hearing, seeing anything pertaining to your weight every day? People assessing you and finding you attractive? People not even noticing you past a quick glance? Not being fat anymore would mean for the most of us, completely losing the identity that we most likely have spent years in. We lose ourselves, the people we know/knew, and have to redefine who we are as a person, what it means to interact with people, the things we know and have counted as daily occurrences don't happen anymore. We have a new body, an alien body, that does things the previous one couldn't, that works in a different, everything about us is different. If you were freaking out about getting used to a new hairstyle, imagine getting used to a new body. All these changes have to occur mentally, our minds have to catch up with our bodies, and its an extremely difficult process. When I was in high school, I lost maybe 50-60 lbs, I was very close to 'my healthy weight'. Instead of experiencing joy when people commented on my weight loss, I felt fragile, insecure, weak, and under incredible pressure. That's another unspoken aspect of weight loss. Once you start losing, people EXPECT you to go all the way and make comments to that regard, thinking that its encouraging, but really all it does is add pressure onto more pressure. And when the yo yo happens, the disappointment is unbearable. And constant. People exhibit pity or disgust, and it makes us feel even more like shit.
There is so much more that I have to write about this. Part II, and maybe even III to come!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Right Here is Beautiful

I'm a willow tree, you can't blow me over
And my roots go deep in anger
I wanna feel the wind as it whips me like a prisoner
I wanna be here
I wanna be here

No I don't feel like calming down, no I don't
I don't feel like hiding out, so I won't
I can't turn the volume down, so I sit here in this
Chaos and piss, watching the storm passing
Storms are beautiful, this life is beautiful
It is

This song by Pink has gripped my soul good and hard. I mean, Ive always had immense respect for her as an artist, her songs seem to either touch you right in the heart, or make you take a second look at certain situations and realize its not so bad after all. Shes used her voice and position often to bring light to certain issues and situations around the world, instead of just melting into her popularity and not rocking the boat.

So Ive been listening to that song of hers often and on repeat, and just observing the deepness of the lyrics. Really, in essence, the song speaks about finding beauty and peacefulness in the direst situations, which is something that Ive been pondering quite often recently. The idea that the NOW is beautiful, no matter what NOW entails, because of the human emotion attached to it, is not a foreign notion to me. Many years ago, when I entered my first retreat, it was a Buddhist retreat. Meaning that we followed (or closely enough) the daily schedule of Buddhist monks (meditation, mindful movement, light vegetarian/vegan eating with only water, complete silence at all times, etc) and those multiple daily meditation settings were often focused with a single message, and that was to focus on the NOW, perpetually and continuously, and to find peace and beauty in that NOW. Its something that Ive carried with me since then.

Of course, unless I became a nun, successfully finding peace in the NOW at all times is something that is incredibly difficult and near impossible. The daily turmoils of an involved citizens, including things like work place pressures and paying bills on time, are all deterrents to achieving piece of mind. Or one could say that the successful balance of said pressures IS piece of mind, I guess it all depends on what track your mind is in.

But beyond peace in the Now, before being even near completion of that onerous goal, comes acceptance. Acceptance of everything and anything that comes to you as something you cannot change in itself, but rather control the way you take it in and react to it. This comes in all shapes and sizes, pertains to all events in your life, from getting up in the morning to the death of a loved one. For example, when my father passed away years ago, I never accepted it, I never truly realized the depth of what that loss meant, and who can, really, especially at a younger age. But that refusal to accept caused years of emotional damage, and I am only now beginning to face what happened 13 years ago. Now how do I apply that buddhist concept of the NOW? By realizing that as atrocious as that moment (and all the others) was, there was a beauty in it. There was beauty in how many people came to the service. There was beauty in our joined sorrow and depth of our grief. There was beauty in the way my mother caught my hand and held on to it for dear life when we first entered the viewing. There was beauty in the intensity of raw human emotion. Despite the intense uglyness of the situation, there was beauty all around me. Its a sad form of beauty, terrible and atrocious and paralyzing in its intensity, as those who have lived through personal grieving and mourning for a loved one could testify. Nothing in the world can compare to that feeling. But there is also nothing quite as terribly beautiful as people sharing and upholding that burden together.

I believe that if I can turn my mind and thoughts towards finding that beauty in every situation, then healing will ensue. And after the healing process is underway, peace is just a few steps after that. And there is no worthier goal than finding that peace within oneself, because once it has been achieved, who can say the good one can do? Good to the world, good to others, and good to oneself.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Garden part 1

Despite this blasted rain, ITS STILL BEAUTIFUL SPRING which means..

I love to plant. I love green things. I love roots. I love the color of the earth when I dig a hole for a seedling. I love that even though I wear gloves, I still get my hands dirty. I could write poetry on how amazingly in love with the world and life and nature just the simple act of planting makes me feel. And you know what, just for the heck of it, here's a good one:

Teyethinonhweratons ne akwekon
onhwentsy√°ke kayen ne ohontehson'a
Otya'ke kakhwa itewaks.
Otya'ke ononhkwahson'a tewatstha'.
Akwekon teyethinonhweratons ne
Ohontehson'a tsi shekon

Etho niyohtonhak
ne onkwa'nikònra.
We give thanks for all of the vegetation on the earth.
Some are foods we eat.
Some are medicines we use.
We give thanks for all of the Plants that are still helping us.

So our minds will continue to be.

Its actually part of the Ohen:te Karihwatehkwen, the Mohawk prayer of Thanksgiving, which is really something quite beautiful to read and hear, and I encourage anyone to look it up and get a little glimpse of true Mohawk culture.

Now, that being done, lets talk about this years garden! Im pretty excited about it because I actually found a solution to my problem of lack of space/lack of permission from the landlord, and it came about so perfectly too. But before I reveal part 2, I want to introduce part 1. This year's exploring is all part of testing and pushing the limits of gardening in small areas. Im very into the whole 'grow food not lawns' thought, and that being said, I decided my flower beds would not have (although beautiful) flowers contained in their rectangular shapes anymore, but would rather contain a myriad of herbs. I love me some fresh herbs, and have been growing, using, drying/freezing my own for quite some time, a skill passed down from my mother. She's like my very own encyclopedia of growing things, that woman is. With a name, or even just a description, she can tell you where to plant, how much to water, sun/shade, harvest season, etc of pretty much anything that grows. Im in awe, constantly.

Anyways, the deal this year was to figure out what herbs I could plant with such a constrained depth for root growth and still get a maximum of produce. Here is what I planted:

Spearmint and Greek Oregano. Mint is such a vicious garden plant, if you dont wantch out for it, its going to take over everywhere! So the support is another experiment, I want to see if I can control its growth shape, like clematis on a trellis. So far so good. Those two are good to plant toguether, precisely because mint is so vocieferous and oregano just chills in its space, one giving balance to the other.

Basil, rosemary, and cilantro. Ive been working hard on the basil, trying to make it accept its constraints and flourish within it. Maybe if we could have some SUNSHINE it would be a bit easier. Rosemary and basil are both vertical plants, while cilantro spreads. If I could replant, I would have placed the cilantro between the two others, but so far so good. You can see how much cilantro grows and adapts quickly. A very healthy and vivacious plant that forgives easily.

Lemon thyme, chives, and curly parsley, all very calm and organized plants that dont need so much attention, excepting maybe the chives at this moment. I have to daily weed out the dying strands so the survivors can grow more firmly, but thats expected. Those three are like the chill neighbors who say hello but dont bother anyone or anything.

Potted flowers are pretty, but useless in most cases (although some are delectable). Besides who needs flowers when you can have friggin tomatoes on your front porch? The smell and sight of this always makes me happy. You see the little babies already growing? CANT WAIT!

From what Ive gathered with my previous notes from last year, the only plant here that could be in danger would be the basil. But also, Ive tried transplanting maybe 6 offshoots off the mint and theyve mostly fallen to their deaths, so I think theres more to observe in terms of shoot/stalk strenght vs root growth. From the amount of rain thats fallen in the last few days, I would say theyre more in danger of drowning than not being able to grow more, which was a major source of frustration. I had thought of bringing them in, sheltering from all that damned rain, but if I had planted them in the soil, I wouldnt have been able to protect them, and Im a tough love kind of gal, so in the measure of science, experimenting, and my own stubborn will, I left them out. The flower beds actually have great drainage as well.

Throughout this season, Ill give updates and how I use the herbs as well as how I preserve them for certain uses throughout the year. And part II will be finalized in the next couple of days, so thats going to be very exciting!