- The universe is delightfully contrary. I write that I hate to date and then suddenly dating gets good. Really good.
- Trust your instincts” might be complete crap, or it may be that trusting your instincts requires a surgical ability to slice through the fear that presents as truth.
- Talking about hard things that could hurt is a good thing. Understanding is collaborative.
- I’m tiring of the ‘blogging and social media for money’ drumbeat. Money is not a purpose, it is just a metric. (So is Google. I’m so inconsistent.)
- This is not to say that I don’t really, truly get that abundance – including material abundance – is amazing. Do not ever think I am above or beyond the lure of shiny things including coins. I’m just feeling like there is something really crass about the colonization of blogging and social media for profit. I absolutely get that profits are possible. I’m super happy for everybody making them. But the ‘end’ is not the blog or the social media. They are the tools. They are vehicles for distributing your contribution, and the contribution is the key. What are you creating? What are you contributing? And, in a related rant, anyone who writes that they have a turn-key system to make you money from blogging or social media is selling you snake oil. If you have something to share, some knowledge, the willingness to acquire knowledge, a truth to share, a story to tell, a unique perspective, a bracing critique, a rallying cry, the willingness to create community, then those systems will work. But in and of themselves they are nothing. And you can tell, when you read a blog, if the soul and the contribution are there or if the person is just another wannabe Steve Pavlina or Leo Babauta. Authenticity is everything. Plus I hate auto response messages on Twitter. And yes, that was a terrible, abrubt, unrelated pseudo-segue. I’m on a tight list here.
- Joy is about embracing your reality and your life. Savouring it. Blessing it. I know this because last week I spent time with my two of my my male and female best friends from high school. My male friend’s son was diagnosed with autism at 18 months and instead of gnashing his teeth, my friend talked to us about the benefits of autism, the upsides, the rewards. He glowed. The child glowed. What a glowing, loving, happy family. His wife is making a documentary about just that: the other side of autism. I want to interview her and learn more about her project. We all need to know more.
- I really missed out on the Ramadan experience. I got the fasting and the near-fainting and some personal insights; but I did not get the family, community, yummy break-fast dinners and celebration. Until the very last day. A friend called and invited me to a party to celebrate Eid. And it was wonderful: my girls cavorted with kids, my daughter put her forehead to the floor and told me she was talking to God, I cuddled babies and admired women who seriously, truly, really know how to dress and don’t shy away from shining, and we ate some grilled chicken that was so divine it may have been a religious experience. My kids ended up sleeping in their clothes and I couldn’t get it together this morning and had to buy lunches and to go to work barefaced but it was oh-so-worth it and then some.
- I heart Kanye West. YES I DO. I love his passion, his urge to speak the truth, his fraught and sensitive justice-o-meter. It is the source of his genius and his jack-assery. This is true of most of us: that which makes us great also trips us up, and the path to maturity is learning how to channel your talents and your truths so that they are gifts, not weapons. So, note to Kanye: I love you. I just think you’re wasting your time stealing the shine from a teenager when you started out calling out homophobia in hip hop and then the president of the United States. Justifiably. Righteously. Do more of that. Aim high, Kanye. Touch the sky.
- One of my friends is a master of facebook status update. He writes, Chances: take them.
Archives for September 2009
I have been thinking about artists, creatives, solo entrepreneurs and small businesses and why they should all be blogging and Ronna Detrick very kindly indulged me. My piece, “Why Blog? The Answer is Not Cosmically Sexy, It’s Google. Google Gives Good ROI” is hanging out at her virtual house today.
And yes, I’ve heard that great titles are essential to good blogging but clearly I’m not working that angle. My itles are so long that they might be posts in and of themselves. I may need help. [I definitely need help]
Fortunately. Ronna Detrick is a blog coach. I’m so glad she put me in.
one. of many reasons why. a work in progress.
I’m ending a relationship because I’m fat.
We have passionate, easy, hours-long conversations, warmth, affection, respect, and outrageous sex. OUTRAGEOUS. Friendship, respect and hot sex: a pretty great foundation, right? What more can I ask for?
Neither of us have butterflies. We were intensely comfortable with each other, right away. We’re both romantics, so naturally this worries us. Where is the infatuation? What does the lack of infatuation mean? Where can this go if it doesn’t start with addiction-like chemical highs?
I asked around. Lots of people seem to think this is no big deal, maybe even healthy. Mature. Real.
But I have a gut instinct about The Issue and it is this: I am everything he wants except thin.
I think this way a lot. I’m pretty sure that if I was thin, men would be lining up even further around the corner to date me. I am pretty, have a pretty good career, possess a dazzling personality if I do say so myself, am smart, talented, funny, artistic, warm, magic with clothes and makeup and ridiculously high shoes, and a sexual GENIUS. If I was thin, any man I chose would think he hit the fucking jackpot.
This is not (just) insecurity. This is cold-eyed social reality. Our culture trains people to see fat as a problem, as a shorthand for all sorts of moral failings. We don’t associate fat with attractive. And what, a good feminist might ask (ahem), is the point of a woman if she’s not attractive?
My friend keeps saying that he is attracted to my mind. Well, that’s wonderful, but you can’t fuck my mind. You can’t hold hands with my mind at an office party. You’re not walking down the street with my mind. You’re not introducing my mind to your mother. This mind comes in a fat body with all the social messaging and meaning that swirls around that presence and that word.
He has not said anything directly but I feel it. He is hedging about what we are to each other. I know what that means and it means I have to be strong. I have to believe in myself enough to stay out of a dynamic that will make me feel like I am not beautiful enough or thin enough or good enough. Because I am enough.
He’s not weak because he can’t accept me as I am. We all have physical preferences and attraction is not a choice. You feel what you feel for who you feel it and that’s the end (or the beginning) of it.
So that’s it. This is the choice I’m making: to walk away from an amazing friendship and even more amazing sex to preserve my self-respect and my faith that I am lovable just as I am.
I am. But the journey to that love is an uphill and tedious climb. The dating odds are stacked against fat girls. It would be easier to just conform, to diet and endure the mental and physical deprivation necessary for losing weight, and then choose from the queue that would form for access to my thin self. I may do that, not out of self-hatred, but out of sheer practicality: I want love. And, I can tell you from direct personal experience, fat can be a barrier to romance.
Despite what the fat-haters say about the dangers of Fat Acceptance, no one sets out to become a body outlaw. The rewards are vastly smaller and sparser than the risks and the social penalties. It would be easier to just conform. And I may do that. Because although I deserve love just as I am, and am lovable just as I am, and won’t accept anything less just as I am, just as I am is just not getting me what I want.
I shouldn’t have to alter myself to find love, but that might be the reality of this little social construct called the world. I don’t live in a world all by myself where I make the rules by myself and life unfolds according to the principles and whims I decree all by myself. Sadly. Happily. Really.
Sadly, happily, really, and almost.
This is an update. I wrote this post to fight-club my way to a decision and course of action that would not require a throw-down with cognitive dissonance every damn day.
Blogging is that process for me. I write to unwind my wooly thoughts, instincts and fears and arrive at a decision. Hopefully a good decision. A self-respecting decision. And I did. I chose not to join a relationship in which I would have to accept a ‘not good enough’ feeling. I chose not to trade my confidence for companionship. I decided to end things before they even got started. It felt honest, brave, and necessary. It felt fucking awful.
Even mixed with a triumph of the soul, the consequences of this decision were going to suck. Really suck.
The hard, unpleasant, unwelcome prospect of being without someone I like and respect forced me to do something even more honest, brave and necessary than walking away from him. I talked to him.
I checked to see if my ‘instinct’ was an intuition rooted in subtle signals (his, maybe) or fear and insecurity (mine, surely). I asked him about his feelings about weight and women and attractiveness and me.
We had an awkward, painful, inspiring and invigorating conversation. Turns out we’re good. Game on.
I fasted for Ramadan for a whopping six days. On the seventh day, I cleaned house. I was in full whirling cleaning dervish mode when the black spots began to coalesce and forced me to the playroom floor to contemplate the ceiling, breathe through the low blood sugar and pray for the near-faint to pass.
Choices. Sometimes they’re made a gunpoint, sometimes they’re made in ashrams, sometime they’re made on your knees, sometimes they’re made from the yet-to-be vacuumed carpet. This was my dilemma: I could have a dirty house and be a good pseudo-Muslim or I could clean my house, which required a snack as one generally can’t clean from the prone position, and eating would make me a bad, non-fasting Muslim. Since I’m not Muslim, and clutter makes me anxious, it was no choice at all. I chose to be a bad fake Muslim, and eat, and clean. I consoled myself with the thought that cleanliness is next to godliness. I may be mixing my religious traditions and aphorisms. Don’t judge.
So the discipline thing: I suck at it. I have new respect for people who can control their bodies and their desires and their blood sugar levels. Mine own my ass.
Still, despite the fact that I did it badly – and anything worth doing is worth doing badly – there are things I learned while fasting for six days:
- I get borderline frantic when hungry
- I started wondering about the borderline frantic: is it pyschological? Evidence of addiction behaviour? Am I literally tweaking for a hit? Or is it just biological and low blood sugar is signalling for nourishment?
- I think it is both. There were moments when I was intensely upset about Issues (dude. you know who you are) and literally didn’t know how to soothe myself if I couldn’t snack. That’s definitely psychological, habitual, possibly addicted stuff right there. And it was unpleasant. I was all shaky-frantic from fasting-induced low blood sugar, and then emotionally frantic about Issues, and then frantic about being frantic and not being able to mediate the physical and emotional franticness with snacking. It was an endless loop of frantic. No wonder I had Issues.
- I’ve also had the holyshitnewsflash that it is biological too. I’ve always been the kind of person who needs to eat every couple of hours and gets superfuckingirritable if I don’t. Right after I stopped fasting and started eating ‘normally’ I suddenly made the connection between sugar, coffee, hypglycemia and panic attacks. This is a great insight to possess but sadly mandates a tedious, unsexy action plan. This self-knowledge business requires a lot of work. Fuck.
- Getting up at 4am for the predawn meal made me mercenary in my food choice: protein. protein. protein. It is fuel that lasts a long time. And water. Fruit juice would just induced a sugar high and then a crash and the crash was really, really unpleasant when I was already jonesing for food. Coffee or anything that dehydrated me was just an act of self-hatred since I couldn’t satiate that thirst for 16-18 hours at a time.
- This mercenary approach to food, of absolutely needing to make the best choices to fuel my body, made me wonder: why am I not doing this all the time?
- Food is really basic. We need it to exist. Even taking it away – from yourself! – for 12-18 hours alters your perception of the world and yourself. Which, when I think about the cultural mandate around dieting and women, makes me think that our society really, actively, literally hates fat people and women. Because when we say things like ‘they could diet’, we are literally saying: they could starve themselves. They could physically deprive themselves and endure the emotional cycling and the physical crashes that ensue. And they should, and I actively want for them to do that, and feel that, and live like that, possibly for the rest of their lives. I want them to be punished. And wow that instinct is ugly and violent.
These new patches of knowledge, and my attempt to stitch them together into purposive consciousness, are why people fast. There is a point to fasting in religious traditions. Fasting gets you outside your usual routines, habits and experience. Fasting makes you focus intensely on your physicality and in that focus is transcendance, because sometimes when you’re looking for God, you look down, and in, not up. Fasting is outside of the accustomed and so it stands as a contrast to your habits, and in that contrast are questions: why? Why not? Does it have to be this way? How else could it be? Deprivation unleashes imagination. Creativity cannot be constrained and the more constraints introduced the wilder the creation. Fasting also induces mental illness. I’m being facetious, but only partially. Fasting makes you shaky and vulnerable and mental ‘illness’ is a construct of perception. I’ve been crazy, sort of, if clinical depression can be called crazy. It is not an easy place to live but it has a brilliance, too. To borrow from my beloved Leonard Cohen, who knows a little something about religious contemplation, it is in those cracked moments that the light shines in.