Holding nothing back…

Archive for November 2008

About a month ago, DH and I bought a 2003 Suzuki Intruder Volusia. Yes, a stinking motorcycle! LOL He gave up his motorcycles 16 years ago when we had our oldest, and promptly regretted it. I promised him that “one of these days” when the kids were older, we’d get him another motorcycle. Over the past 16 years, his taste in bikes has changed, thank goodness, from crotch rockets to cruisers so that’s what we got.

And if I’m being TOTALLY honest, I’m enjoying the hell out of riding with him! It’s just so much fun to get on the bike and ride out to the lake for an afternoon, or find some country backroad to ride down, or just get on the highway and cruise. We aren’t going that fast, in fact we’re going slower than we would in the car, so I can’t say it’s the speed. I always braid my hair and wear a helmet, so it’s not the “wind in my hair” or whatever. I just don’t know.

The biggest side effect of riding has been in MY attitude towards MYSELF, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. Since we got the bike, I carry myself a little taller, I look people in the eye and smile more, I’m more confident. I can’t explain it. Why on earth would something like a motorcycle, that I’m not even driving, change the way I feel about myself?!?

Whatever it is, I’m liking it on a bunch of different levels. The motorcycle is here to stay, and I just might get one all to myself in the spring. Why the hell not?

Oh, and here’s the bike =c)

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I feel… HOPE. After 8 years of crap, of politics as usual, of “I’ve got mine, who gives a crap if you get yours” policies, I HOPE.

I hope that the racial divides are finally truly closing. I know that they aren’t totally behind us. I know that there will probably always be some asshat out there that believes that he is better than someone else simply because of where his ancestors came from. But today I HOPE that we are finally coming to that promised land that Rev. King spoke of where people are judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.

I hope that this recession we are in will begin to turn around. For 8 years, I’ve watched my husbands net pay consistently go down, even as his hourly wage went up. I’ve watched the value of our dollar go down and down and down, swirling the bottom of the bowl, even as prices for the necessities of life skyrocketed. I’ve watched a budget surplus turn into mind-boggling debt. But today I HOPE that things will begin to improve.

I hope. Words I haven’t been able to say, honestly, about our government for 8 years.

I still find myself randomly breaking into laughter and tears. As I read Kate’s post, as I read Chrissy’s post, as I read fashionablenerd’s post, as I explained the importance of this historic election to my son who was just too tired to stay up to see the results come in, when that image in my mind of the young woman at Spellman College falling to her knees and crying pops into my brain, when I was explaining to my children why Rev. Jackson and Oprah had tears on their cheeks last night, as I explained to them the significance of President-elect Obama’s speech… I teared up.

In the words of President-elect Obama:

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

 

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

For the first time in a long time, I believe once again that all things are possible in America, and I am hopeful.

History!

Posted on: November 4, 2008

Wow.  Really, it’s the only word that comes to mind, just WOW!

I’m witnessing history tonight, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been MORE proud to be an American. The picture that will remain in my mind for the rest of my life was on MSNBC’s coverage. When they announced that projections were for Barack Obama to win the election one young African-American woman, she couldn’t have been older than 19, fell to her knees crying.  That’s when it really hit me exactly what I was watching, that I was watching HISTORY in the making.

Shortly after that they showed Jesse Jackson, a man that was present the day Martin Luther King, Jr was shot, and there were tears running down his face. I couldn’t help but be glad that he had lived to see this day and wish, as I’m sure Mr. Jackson was wishing, that Rev. King could have lived to see this day as well.

Now I’m waiting to hear our President-elect speak.

Congratulations President-elect Obama! May God be with you and protect you.

I’ve tried and tried and tried to think of a way to put all of this delicately, and I can’t. I’m so upset about it that I’m not even sure I can put it together intelligently even. So I’m just throwing it out there and asking for you to understand that there will be a LOT of frustration talking in this post and that this is bringing up some of my own issues that I am still dealing with. Please bear with me.

TRIGGER WARNING: Talk of childhood obesity, possible emergent eating disorders, and forced calorie/food restrictions follow.  Please be sure you have your Sanity Watchers points saved up, and proceed with caution.

Ok. So. I have this friend with a 9-year-old daughter who doesn’t meet the societal standards of thin. Said child gets teased at school and at home because of her weight. And in the interest of full disclosure, the child *is* technically considered “obese” by all measures of childhood obesity. HOWEVER, I’ve seen the baby pictures, and the toddler pictures, and the preschool pictures, and so on. The child is just BUILT this way! She has been since birth. 

The thing that is driving me absolutely batshit crazy is that the child’s mother, my friend, is constantly riding the child’s butt about her weight! The child’s clothes are all too small, emphasizing that Mom refuses to accept the child’s body as it is, where it is, and dress her accordingly and appropriately. This shouldn’t surprise me too much, considering that Mom does the same to herself.

I understand that MUCH of this is societal conditioning. That the mom is brainwashed into thinking that smaller is better, even if the smaller clothing size comes at the expense of comfort AND appearance; and in the case of this mom and child, is enough too small that it makes them both look much bigger than they are, which in turn makes them both feel worse on multiple levels.

There *is* a family history of Type 2 diabetes, so I actually DO get some of the mom’s worry about the child’s weight since there is so much hype about the correllations between obesity and type 2 diabetes (and I cannot get it through this woman’s head that correllation does NOT equal causation). It also doesn’t help that their pediatrician feeds her a bunch of mumbo jumbo about childhood obesity, AND that the child’s school gives her crap about the child’s weight. I GET these things. 

However, I absolutely, positively do NOT get the way this woman is going about trying to get her daughter’s weight “under control.” The tactics she is using are pretty much *guaranteed* to give the child a complex. I can actually SEE the eating disorders forming! I mean LITERALLY see the emergent signs of eating disorders. Sometimes I want to bop this woman on the head with a 2×4 for what she is doing to her daughter’s mental health! Seriously, it is that bad. The tactics include:

  • Drastically limiting the child’s caloric intake.
  • Severely restricting the types of food the child is allowed to eat.
  • Forcing the child to participate in exercise activities, whether the child wants to or not (including, but not limited to joining sports teams)
  • Not allowing the child to eat or drink anything after a certain time of evening, with the only exception being if they are eating dinner late for one reason or another.
  • Absolutely, positively, under-no-circumstances allowing the child to get seconds at any meal, ever.

I have actually SEEN the child sneaking food because she knew her mother would not allow her to have more, and get punished for it when she got caught. I have actually SEEN the child eat herself sick (literally eat until she vomited) when her mother wasn’t around. I have actually SEEN the child get into trouble for accepting one piece of candy that was offered to her (by my daughter) because she had “already had her candy for the day” and she “knew better.”

Since Halloween, the mother took the child’s candy and hid it in Mom’s bedroom because the child, according to Mom, “would eat it all in one sitting” if Mom didn’t.  She doles it out one piece a day, and the child doesn’t even get to pick the piece she gets!  If the child protests AT ALL (“can I have the cherry tootsie-pop instead of the miniature Hershey’s??”) she doesn’t GET her piece of candy that day.

How do I approach Mom about this? How do I tell her that she is destroying her daughter’s self-esteem, and setting her up for a lifetime of disordered eating? How do I point out to her that her daughter is ALREADY, at 9-years-old, showing the emergent signs of eating disorders? How do I gently, and lovingly, and without losing an otherwise valued friend, tell her that she needs to BACK THE F OFF about her daughter’s weight?

I do not feel that I can, with a clear conscience, tell her that I refuse to discuss her daughter’s “weight problem” with her because I feel that what she is doing to her child amounts to physical and psychological abuse. I want to HELP her help her daughter, not tear the family apart, so any comments about reporting them WILL be deleted.