Wednesday, December 31, 2008

National Body Challenge

Yep, It's National Body Challenge time. And I'm signing up and trying again. Why? Because I continue to fight with my weight and health. It's a constant and it's depressing, which creates a vicious cycle.

So how did I get here? Years of not paying attention and being lazy, to be honest. When I was younger I was an excellent athlete. I played every sport under the sun. And I played it well. I had a name and an image. I don't know if it was the injury that caused my lack of enthusiasm or just trying to live up to the image. But at some point I gave up. I started to hide under a layer of chubby.

Unless you've fought the battle you can't truly understand the toll it takes on your mind and body. And it is a vicious cycle. You realize you put on 10 lbs and you think, "That's easy to fix." So you work at it. You exercise. You diet. And six months later, you realize you took off 10 lbs but gained back 20. Thus beings the yo-yo. Two steps forward, three steps back. Years go by. Next thing you know, you step on the scale and are completely disgusted with yourself. You've gone up 5-6 sizes and your clothes don't fit...again. Now you have a hard time with exercise because your joints ache and your body just won't do the things it used to do. That, in itself, is depressing all over again...and you order cheesecake to feel better.

The problem is that none of the food stuffing makes it better. It does great things to the chemicals in your brain, but it ruins your body. Now you begin to feel horribly unattractive. You buy baggy clothes. You hide out in your house. You turn down invitations to go out. You become a hermit. And you eat more.

Once a year, on New Year's, you make that resolution to change, join a gym, exercise daily, and eat more healthy. Once a year. Three weeks pass and you become disappointed at the lack of instant success. You proclaim yourself a failure and hide in your house with Blue Bell ice cream. And the cycle starts again.

So, it's New Year's and time for my annual resolution to get in better shape. I tell myself that it is a journey, not a sprint and it will take time. It took time to get here. It will take time to get back. Somehow, it's little comfort when you turn around in the shower and clean the walls with your backside. (fat humor)

I guess I'm writing to make myself accountable to someone. To you, my gentle readers. I need to do this and be consistent. I need to gain control again. I know at 49, I'm not going to be the athlete I once was. Fibromyalgia and age have taken care of that. But I do want to be healthy again. I want to be able to walk my dogs without gasping for breath. I want to be able to go out with my precious partner without feeling like people are looking wondering what a cute little thing like her is doing with a chubby like me. The inner talk is deafening! I want to tell it to go away.

I ask for your prayers and positive energy as I embark on this journey. I pray it's not another failed attempt, but a success and that I have the "stick to it-ness" it will take. So, here I go again...

Happy New Year's to all!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Obama and Rick Warren--Ewww!

Okay, you know I have to say something.

In case you've been living under a rock, President-Elect Obama has chosen Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Now, that wouldn't be such a big deal if Rev. Warren wasn't so blatantly bigoted and anti-gay. Rev. Warren was a HUGE force in California in regards to Prop 8. Remember Prop 8? That was the law that completely removed the civil rights of gays and lesbians that were originally granted as the court believed that lack thereof violated the constitution.

Okay, let's step back a bit, shall we?

First, I fail to understand how me wanting to get married and have access to my partner during illness and death, let alone the other 1000 benefits that marriage affords in this country, affronts the dear pastor. Good grief! I'm always amazed at the Christian religious fundamentalists.

Let's look at just a few of those benefits.

Access to Military Stores
Bereavement Leave
Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
Sick Leave to Care for Partner
Social Security Survivor Benefits
Tax Breaks
Veteran’s Discounts
Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
Automatic Inheritance
Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
Bereavement Leave
Burial Determination
Child Custody
Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
Divorce Protections
Domestic Violence Protection
Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
Insurance Breaks
Joint Adoption and Foster Care
Joint Bankruptcy
Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
Certain Property Rights
Reduced Rate Memberships
Visitation of Partner’s Children
Wrongful Death (Loss of Consort) Benefit

And the above list is by no means exhaustive. There are many, many benefits that come with marriage. Let's look at some of the more intimate ones:

Bereavement leave: When a partner dies, it's not often that the surviving partner has benefit of leave from his/her job. I don't know about you, but to tell me after many years of living as a spouse of my partner that I cannot take off work to make arrangements, attend the funeral, take care of the estate, or even take a couple of days off to mourn is inhuman.

Visitation or Decisions on Care in the hospital: I've run up against this one and it's a doozy. In my case, the one person who can make decisions, my sister, is estranged and certainly doesn't know, care about, or understand my wishes. But, as a blood relative, she's it. My partner can be, and has been in some cases, summarily dismissed by hospital staff. In one case I actually lambasted the patient advocate to get access to my partner.

There are so many!

These are the things that Rick Warren, in his narrow view, want to deny me and every other gay and lesbian person out there. I saw a video today posted on ( in which Rev. Warren states that, in his understanding, all gay people want multiple partners. He has in the past equated giving civil rights to gays and lesbians in the same context as pedophilia and beastiality.

I don't know about you, but that certainly doesn't describe my life. I go to work every day. I pay my taxes. I obey the law. My partner does the same. We don't go "clubbing." We stay home with our dogs and cats in the evening and check out the internet news and watch our favorite TV shows. We pay our bills. We give to charities. We donate our time. We visit sick friends. We attend church.

We're actually pretty boring.

And regardless of how "normal" our lives are, people like Rick Warren don't want to afford us basic civil rights. God forbid we use their term "marriage" to describe our relationships.

And it is in this context that I vehemently disagree with President-Elect Obama's choice of Rick Warren to lead the invocation at his inauguration. It's about fairness and civil rights. Civil rights. You know, those things that gays and lesbians don't have and have been fighting to have for decades? Yeah, those.

So, if you're one who espouses the mainstream Christian Fundamentalist view of gays and lesbians, I implore you to think for yourselves. Don't dig into the Bible and read it literally. It's not literal. It's allegorical. It's a history book. And if you feel the need to be literal, then be literal about everything. Don't eat shellfish. Don't wear clothing of two types of material. Do it all.

Once you obey the whole of the law, talk to me about gays and lesbians. And then after you do that, look at Jesus' teachings. Jesus said the whole of the law and the prophets were summed up in two commandments: love your God with all you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Then explain to me how denying civil rights to gays and lesbians is loving your neighbor.

President-Elect Obama has made a HUGE gaffe; a major mistake. And it would do him well to correct it before the inauguration and replace Rev. Rick Warren with a more compassionate, progressive pastor.

Blessed Be...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Up and then Down

I love this cartoonist. ( And I can relate to the doggie. Why? One word: bipolar.

This is a really personal post. And it's not the easiest to write. So hang in there with me.

I am bipolar (along with a few other initials and disorders--imagine that?). It's not pretty. And it's ruled my life for many, many years. I'm up. I'm down. I'm in between.

Up is good. Up is creative and wonderful, full of life and love. Up is always ready for a party or a late night dancing. Up is quick with a smile or a joke. Up writes wonderful poetry and prose. Up is a blast to be with.

Down is not good. Down is depressive and brooding, full of self-pity and self-loathing. Down would rather hide under the blankets and sleep life away. Down does not carry on conversations. Down does not laugh. Down just wants to eat and sleep and be left alone.

But, in between? In between is the worst of all. In between is rage, anger directed towards everyone and everything. In between takes everything personally. In between is ready to throw a punch without blinking. And in between copes by stuffing food in large quantities (and gaining weight). In between makes itself and everyone around it miserable.

So where am I? I've been in in between land for several months and it's getting worse with time. You see, I did the usual bipolar thing thinking I could live without medication. Yep, me. Me, who is always diligent with meds, understanding why I take them. My head-shrinker has said I'm her best patient. I know the disorder inside and out. And I have committed (pun intended) to being diligent with the meds. Inside I know better than to play that game. But, here I am doing it just the same.

So why did I try it without them? Besides being an idiot? Well, there's that voice inside your head that says you can't just live on pills. There must be a healthier way, a more natural way, to deal with the moods. So I tried to do the healthy stuff: take the herbs and supplements. Boy, was I wrong. And when I say wrong, I mean wrong in a BIG way.

The anger and hate becomes overwhelming. I've been biting the heads off of everyone who says anything to me. Everything is personal. Everything's an attack. And I just ran headlong into that wall of "stupid, it's time to give in to the reality." The reality is that I need medication.

So, for the past three days, I've been back on. Smart move. I'm starting to feel a difference. Today, there was no anger. Today I've been productive, actually. I've accomplished a good bit at home on my off-day. I'm still stressing over stuff. But, it's better. I'm better. Give me a couple of good weeks without missed medication and I should be good as new.

So why share all this? Because each of us has our "issue." Mine is bipolar. Yours may be depression. Or any myriad of other things. But we have to know when it's time to do a reality check and give in. So many voices out there tell us that we must suck it up; pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. Voices that say giving in is defeat.

I beg to differ. I'm finding that giving in takes much more strength of purpose. Surrendering to that which is best is not always the easy road to take. So I want to encourage you to look at your "issues" and find what is the best path to take for you. And then have the courage to take that path. It's your journey. Be healthy.

Blessed Be!