Posted in Uncategorized

Just. Stop.

The other day I saw the most disturbing thing on TV. Now, I don’t normally watch this program because I think it’s just trash (no judgment if it’s one of your faves), but I was waiting for the show I DO watch to come on. And there, on Entertainment Tonight I saw them bring a child onto their stage to confront her about her weight.

I’m sure you all know who it was – Honey Boo Boo. Regardless of what you think of that girl’s fame and her family, she is a child. A CHILD. And they sat her across from this miniscule woman who asked her to basically justify her size.

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BULLSHIT?!

Read any article on weight and childhood and it will say that telling a child they are overweight is one of the worst things you can do, and here a TV show that parades the tiniest of tiny women as their hosts are telling this child these things. Has anyone ever asked these hosts about their weight? Would they like someone asking their children about their weight? No. No they wouldn’t.

And why do I point out the hosts’ size? Because that is the “normal” we are being fed. I’m sure the hosts are wonderful women, and if that is their god given body type then rock on! All bodies are good bodies! However, do you ever wonder what if that isn’t their natural weight? What kind of weirdness do they feel pressured to do in order to keep that weight? Would they still be employed if they gained weight? Why aren’t any other sizes shown on tv?

What about that one newscaster who was plus sized and got that nasty hatemail? What about the sizes in between plus size and size 0 – where are the size 8 and size 12 people? What’s wrong with them? Why can’t they be on tv? Do you know Amy Schumer is getting shamed by people who are saying she’s too chubby for movies – she’s a size SIX, people! A size SIX! This kind of bullshit needs to stop. It is harmful, sick, and just wrong.

If you think you are the authority of health, the authority of how much people should weigh and look, go fuck yourself. “Healthy” and “Fit” are this decade’s version of “Skinny”. New words, same idea – you are not ok as you are.

“Healthy” and “Fit” people die every day. They get diseases, too. A lot of those diseases cannot be seen from the outside, though. They don’t walk down the street with their disease on display for everyone to mock.

Is it OK to be “obese”? Well… Is it ok to have a face that looks like yours? Is it OK to be short? Is it OK to be very thin? Is it OK to be too thin? Is it OK to make fun of people with eating disorders? Is it really any of your business? Do you ask your friends for their cholesterol levels and blood pressure? Do you check up on your friends’ dental health? Is it OK to mock people at the gym? Is it OK to Instagram your every meal telling the world that you, too, “eat clean” and then you secretly scarf down a bag of cheetos but don’t post a picture of that? Is it OK to be alive?

There’s more than one issue here, but they all go hand in hand. Experts are learning a lot about obesity, from gut bacteria to inflammation and genetics. People who have obesity are screaming that they don’t only eat junk food, are not lazy, and sometimes actually under eat. People who have fought to get rid of their extra weight have been speaking up about what helps and what doesn’t, and shaming is certainly one of the things that doesn’t help. And people affected with bulimia and anorexia have been saying for years how media images only encouraged their disease to progress.

I just can’t honestly believe that Entertainment Tonight blasted that child for her weight – and she’s on steroids to boot! And this is entertainment, you guys. Disgusting.

My wish is health and happiness for us all. I want to see the return of fresh vegetables to everyone’s diet regardless of their size. I want to see processed foods on the decline all over, and I want to see people able to enjoy their favorite foods without being shamed because of their size. I want to see people embracing their bodies regardless of their size. I want to see body diversity on TV. I want to see people not embarrassed to participate in their favorite activities because of their size. I want to see us ALL move a little more and eat a little better regardless of our size. And I want to see the demise of the diet industry.

Is that really too much to ask?

Posted in Fibromyalgia

Haunted

Sometimes when I’m walking, I feel the ghost that haunts me. It’s a memory that has a predicted future, a ray with tangible purpose. I’m walking to an IEP meeting. I’m going to talk a parent at their home for the first time. My client is waiting for me at the park just a few more steps ahead. I can feel my work bag’s weight on my shoulders, gravity pulling down on all my paperwork and visual aids. God I love my visual aids.

Reality hits when I open the door. The ghost is gone, and instead of opening the thin wooden door to the office I’m walking through the tall, cold automatic doors of yet another hospital, another doctor’s waiting room, another disappointment.

The ghost never really leaves, though. I’m haunted by what should have been nearly every day, and I would do anything to get back there. This life? This one that I’m living right now? It was not in the plan and most days I’d rather succumb to the misty leftovers and imaginary continuation of my former life that plays in my head than accept what has really been laid before me.

I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of life.

I want the old one back.

Posted in dreams, life lessons

Car Games

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Driving in Dreamscapes

It was evening. My hands rested on the cold stainless steel sink as I peered through my kitchen window out towards the street just to see that my car was still parked there. It was just barely visible through the dense fog that had settled all around, but it was there. Right where I had left it. And it wasn’t going anywhere.

This was significant, and I noted it while I was still dreaming. For the past few years my car has ended up missing or stolen in nearly every single dream, so this was a welcome surprise. And I knew it meant something.

For as long as I can remember, cars have represented my life in my dreams. Who’s driving, what the car looks like, and where it goes all reflected what was going on in my life at the time. It is truly uncanny and absolutely fascinating to me.

When I was young, my father was always driving. This made sense because he was the boss. Then he started getting out and leaving me alone in the car. The vehicle would shift out of park and start rolling away every time, and reluctantly I would jump into the front seat and grab a hold of the wheel, attempting to steer or apply the brakes. It was scary yet invigorating.

As I got older, my first boyfriend was always driving. This was the time I realized the life/dream/car connection and I started to make a conscious effort to make more of my own decisions in real life. My very next dream after that was me driving my own car confidently.

When I moved out of the city away from my family for the first time, I stole a car and transformed it into a motorcycle.

When my fibro started flaring more, I would get lost. I’d drive around and around an ever-changing dreamscape of streets that seemed familiar only to turn back on themselves and lead me to where I started – or to someplace I wasn’t trying to go.

When I finally had to quit working and file for disability, my car would get stolen.

And that’s how it has been for several years now. I wake up and try to go to school or work only to find that my car is gone. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I don’t. If I find it and park it, it’s missing as soon as I turn my back. Fitting. Completely fitting considering my current circumstance.

Last night was the first time my car has stayed put, right where I had left it, in years. I could see it, even through the thick fog, and I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. All that was left to do was go out there and get it and move it into the driveway.

I think I can do that.

Posted in Fibromyalgia, pain awareness art

The Cycle of Hope

Yesterday I wanted to call my sister and tell her how amazing I felt.  I had so much energy that it felt as though I would burst right through my own skin, and my muscles were having a hard time keeping up with all of the things I was doing, yet I managed to accomplish everything I had thought about accomplishing. “This is it,” I thought. “I’m cured. It was my thyroid all along. And now I have a new life. I can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow!”

And then tomorrow came.

I should know better by now, and I don’t mean to be bleak or morbid. It’s just a simple fact of life with fibromyalgia – everything changes, nothing stays the same. The pain comes and goes, the good days come and go. There is nothing constant but the changes, and you must do all you can to not get caught up in the current cycle, good or bad. Forgetting that the bad cycles end is pretty typical and very depressing, but it’s the warm glow of the good cycles that is the most dangerous; when you forget that the good ends, you risk losing hope once again. And that letdown is worse than any depression that any bad cycle can bring.

Hope is dangerous when you have an invisible chronic condition. Again, I don’t mean to be bleak or morbid, but it is the truth. When you get that taste of what life could be like again and you dare to allow yourself to believe it is really within your grasp and that you can actually hold on to it… Well, it’s like watching a loved one die over and over and over and over again when the pain returns, yet again, tomorrow.

Tomorrow. It’s a four letter word when you have fibromyalgia. Today is all you can really plan for because today you feel good enough to take the trash out so you better do and it anyone and everyone around you better coordinate and cooperate along with you to make this trash taking out thing happen, because tomorrow you might not feel well enough to even lift your coffee mug much less a trash bag, so it is of the utmost importance that it get done RIGHT NOW while you still can do it. And so it goes with hobbies, chores, outings, shopping, friends… Do it now, while you can, because there is no guarantee you will be able to do it tomorrow.

But every now and then a good cycle comes along that is just so good that you don’t even worry about tomorrow because you are confident that “This is it, I’m free.” It just feels right. You just know you will be returning to work. Your whole new life unfolds before your eyes, and you go to bed eager to wake and do it all again.

But when you wake, your hands and face are completely swollen. You can barely grasp your coffee mug or lift it to your lips. Pulling your clothes on and off is suddenly two steps away from impossible.  Your feet feel like two overfilled water balloons. And every muscle feels as though you spent your sleeping hours clutching onto a rope for dear life.

And that’s when you know that you haven’t been cured, you won’t be returning to work, and your little dream has once again died.

Hope is a very dangerous thing.

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The Letdown, smihlenfeld 2015