A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘anger’

Fat Hatred

This weekend celebrated the second Women’s March in Seneca Falls. There were over 10,000 people there to voice their concerns. Voicing concerns is everyone’s right in the USA. I support that right as a woman and as a blogger. I am not able to accept and even understand what gives people the right to go on to someone’s blog and write an evil and threatening message. It happens all the time and to totally innocuous blogs.

Blogging is the opportunity for the blogger-author to express their thoughts. It is therapeutic at times and it can be a gift of education or just simply an outlet for the blogger to write about their experiences. It is a wonderful outlet.

I follow several blogs. There is one I find at times quite humorous called Dancing with Fat by Ragen Chastain. She is a large size lady who writes, is a triathlete, and a dancer. She also is a motivational speaker who encourages people of all size to be the best that they are no matter what their size. She is a true hero for the thousands of people who let their size inhibit their lives.

There are many other activists who are trying to simply educate people about size discrimination. It is totally acceptable in our country if not encouraged to harass and bully people of size. I do not get it and never have. But I was astounded by the hatred these activists have had hurled at them on their websites and even face to face.

In Regen’s blog she talks about trolls. She actually created a website and posted some of the comments and her very funny and witty replies. The comments are graphic and threatening and just frightening. She has never hurt anyone or tried to change anyone. She is only offering a glimpse into her life with joy and support for others. Pardon the language of this, but this is an example: “cant we just kill the fat people and make cat food out of them? 99% of obese people are just stupid lazy ugly pieces of lard,fuck em”  Can you imagine how this makes me feel as a large person to be judge that I should be KILLED and made into cat food simply because I take a larger dress size? Of course the sentiment loses value in the quality of the rant… and we move on. But how horrible is it that this person is out there expressing that much hatred and violence to an innocent group of fat people. Really? There are a lot more worthy groups to hate if you got to hate.

I am so naïve even at this ripe old age. I never knew there was so much hatred against fat people. This hatred is a learned behavior because it is not embraced by everyone in the world. What difference is to anyone if a person is large or small as long as they are not hurting anyone? This issue is becoming more prevalent now because people are standing up and saying “STOP IT!” Count me in!

We would never tolerate this type of harassment and hatred towards people of color. But I lived with that hatred growing up and I still hear it whispered behind closed doors. The fact is now it is unacceptable to slur and insult people simply because they have different skin color. It was an arduous fight. I am not saying the fight is over either. But when I was a young child it was a segregated world and it was nationally acceptable. But no more. It gives me hope.

I am not going to go on a political rant here. It would be too easy. Change has to happen. We need to be aware of this hatred in order for it to change. People don’t like to get involved in controversy and we have become a nation of complacency, which is why we are where we are with the leaders we have.

My goal is to just point out something that many people might not even be aware of. Next time you sit next to a fat person, understand that they know when they are being ostracized. They can see the looks and feel the shame you want them to feel for just existing. In many cases, their size is their protection from the harm and hurt their life has been. Try to understand and not judge.

Outrage

I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day and I became outraged. It talks about how Google was putting information down about walking distance and calories when asked for directions. She felt this was fat shaming.  https://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/2017/10/28/google-cupcakes-and-terrible-ideas/

I do not necessarily agree that this was the best example of fat shaming. I actually think it is kind of nice information if you CAN walk.  The calorie indication is just part of the diet culture we live in. But there are other messages out there that are not only fat shaming, but blatant discrimination.

She mentions that in some places they have turned off the escalators so that people will use stairs. Swell. That is discrimination of people with disabilities whether they are small or large. I know plenty of people who cannot climb stairs or even worse, like in my situation, go down them. I can go up with a hand rail for support but coming down is not happening. My one ankle now goes completely out at any situation and makes me fall if I do not have something to grab. Imagine my luck on stairs.

What about wheelchair access? She was saying that they are putting up signs next to elevators to remind people to use the stairs because you burn more calories. Talk about rubbing it in the face of people who cannot make a choice. That is not fat shaming; it is just harassment of everyone who is disabled.

In other blogs she talks about the discrimination or fat shaming that occurs with large people getting medical treatment. She states one person she knew was denied health insurance because she was morbidly obese. (I hate that phrase with a passion) How is that not discrimination? How is telling employees that if you are over a certain body weight, you will have to pay more for your health coverage not discrimination and for that fact, legal? But places are doing it all over the country. My company almost went there.

We lump every large person into one category. FAT, LAZY, and UNRELIABLE. We are treated like liars all the time. (Yes, secretly I go home after work and stuff my face with ice cream and cake… and even if I did, what business is that of yours?) Doctors accuse of lying all the time. In my own experience, I was accused of gorging myself by my two doctors when I put on 17 pounds in 6 weeks. They were sure it was what I was eating. On my own, I stopped a medication I was put on and almost overnight, the weight disappeared. But neither would listen to me and I sat sobbing in their offices telling them how awful I felt since going on the medication. The medication also caused dyspnea, but they didn’t seem concerned and again said it was because I was fat. I did not have shortness of breath before or after. It was humiliating and hurtful and neither of them said anything afterwards when I proved it was the medication.

In this culture, large people are the remaining targets of the worse discrimination out there. We are outrage if someone is discriminated for color or race. They just sanctioned a baseball player for making slant eyes at an Asian pitcher. Bet if he called someone fat nothing would happen.

I can only speak for how this makes me feel. I see people’s expressions. I hear their words of disapproval, and I feel the ostracization all the time. I hear all the girls at work constantly talking about their suffering when it comes to dieting and they wear it like a badge of honor. “OH, I can’t eat that” or “I would love a cookie, but no…”

But this pisses me off more than anything: I eat my lunch at my desk while I am working. And I do this because I do not want to stop working, but more because I do not want to be judged. I eat the same thing every day. I have a bag of chopped veggies, an English muffin with mayo and 2 slices of “just turkey” (has no chemicals in it). I leave the veggies out to munch on. Just last week, someone came to my desk and had the gall to say, “OH my, what a healthy lunch.”  I said, “Yes, surprise! Fat people eat better than most. Why are you shocked?”  Oh did she do a back pedal. This is not the first time either. I actually have had people just come into my old office cubby when I was eating a salad and start lecturing me on diets.

The image I used for this post is what as me all riled up. “Fat ballerina.” This is inexcusable. Dress up like a fat person and make fun of them all night. Yes indeedy. Be the star of your party by humiliating people who often have no choice of their situation or health. Next we should make a costume to mock developmentally disabled folks and call it “Retard.” Or how about a costume that makes you look like you have a prosthesis and we can call that one “Gimp”?  Think I am going over board? Try walking around in a real fat suit and see how it feels.

 

Obsolete

Getting older is a natural pathway we all cannot fight. It happens. I am turning 63 on Thursday. This year has been one of a lot of changes with me. I have not accepted them graciously. It has nothing to do with how I look as I don’t see a lot of change in the mirror. I think it is partially the fading of some of my vision. My physical condition has deteriorated a lot but there is little outside appearance of that other than a limp.

I have become obsolete at my job. It is very difficult for me to handle. I used to be enmeshed in every project, every improvement plan, and in charge of at least one major strategic initiative for the agency for the past five years. I felt needed. I thrive on multiple assignments. Now I am obsolete.

We became a Lean organization and it was my job to get Lean embedded in the organization. I was initially in charge of the whole Lean reorganization until the Medical Center decided to put someone from there who was much more experienced in Lean in charge. I was fine with that. But she took over everything. I will call her WtF. WtF was so dominating and controlling that many people struggled working with her, not just me. She got several people fired who had been with the company many years. All the time WtF was there, there was this undercurrent of fear that people had and rightly so. She had the CEO’s ear. She had her minions and she had her enemies. I was needed by her so I was neither. I know she permanently wanted to come into the agency but that was not part of her contract with the Med Center.

I was on the board that over saw all the projects. I was on about five other projects as a team member. The first project done was the changeover to a new capture system for billing for the aides. it was an ugly power struggle through out the project. The Director of the Aides (31 years with the agency) and the Director of IT (12 years) were the co-captains. They both ended up getting fired afterwards because of fighting or not getting along with WtF.

There was so much turmoil and change. Our financials were terrible. People were very unhappy, scared and some were just angry. It has been an unpleasant place to work for a long time.

About a year later, WtF was going to be leaving according to her contract and we needed a governing body to continue the Lean initiative. A small board was formed and I was not asked to sit on it. I was devastated. I knew it was because of WtF. They announced the group of five and they were all the minions of WtF. One of them had no Lean experience at all and was not on any committees. The next day after they announced the group, the CEO came over to my office and asked me to join the group. I was crushed and it showed completely. I did say yes, but by then, I was trashed. The damage was done. I was insulted that I was an afterthought. I look back now and I see that was the turning point in my career.

I was a captain of  the Culture of Improvement initiative and earning my certification to be a Lean Practitioner.I did complete my project and it took over a year. I would have been the first but  I had to fight with WtF  to get certified. She was in charge of saying who was getting certified. There were other people who were winding up their projects and those she liked got through easily. Those she did not, she fought with and had a harder time to get certified. It was so apparent and so unfair but the Administration was so blinded by WtF they allowed her. After she left, we certified five more people.

It will be two years this August when we first met for Lean. We won a huge award for the work done in the agency for Lean. The proposal for the award included a huge portion of the work I did in getting Lean imbedded the organization. The minions all went to the dinner and ceremony, even though they really had little to do with the initial projects that the award was based on. I did not go to the ceremony.

Meanwhile, these new younger folks are now the stars of the agency.  At first it was a slow progression of responsibilities. But now they are in charge of a lot. The one who had the least amount of Lean experience was made the Director of our Lean initiative. (Really, I know). I already see a slipping in the progress we made and projects stalling or failing.

I have watched several other projects that I was in charge of slowly slip out of my hands and into theirs. And of course, they don’t want my help. It is not their fault. And the truth is: I am not volunteering for anything anymore. I am not the first to raise my hands and say, “oh I will do it”. I am tired of working so hard for so long. So I am responsible for this change too. I do not trust anyone now. I do not want to fight and I do not want to get hurt. In truth, I want out.

I am the oldest Director in the whole agency now. I am older than everyone on the Administration team including the CEO. That’s scary. Four of the six administrators have less than three years with the agency. There were so many changes in the last three years. I guess it is a case of out with the old and in with the new.

I am hurt. I am wounded. I did so much for this agency for the last six years. And now I am being put out to pasture. I remember thinking that there were people who should retire when I first came there. There were many nurses and managers who had been with the company for over twenty five years. The Directors were my age or older with significant experience and education. (That’s another thing: Directors are supposed to have Masters and only three of the eight of us have a Masters.) Two of the original Administrators that were there when I started were older and have since retired or were made to retire. Only two of the directors who were there when I started are still there. Four directors were fired and one demoted.

How did I get to be one of the old fogies who need to retire?

It’s not like I all of a sudden became stupid. Yes, I walk slower but that’s because of my arthritis.  I see the committees I still sit on going through the same “stuff” that has been the issues forever there. It is like a hamster wheel and there are new hamsters. Life is a made up of circles and maybe now it is time for me to get off this one.

I want to either retire, or I want to find something that to do that will make a difference in the world. I prefer the second choice as I think I am still able to do something worthy. I think it is sinful how we treat our elders in this country. We remove them from being productive and then warehouse them until they die. I do not want to go that route.

Labels

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I felt the need this morning to not post happy pictures of animals and flowers. I am saddened by the on- going violence and killing that is happening in our world. And I am tired of everyone who is saying that police are racist and are out to get blacks. I am tired of people determining to fight people because of their outside appearances.

We had a situation this week where one woman turned to another in a cashier’s line at Wal-Mart and said something to her. In the paper, they actually used the words, “she dissed her.” She said she did not like the woman’s appearance and all hell broke loose. It caused a riot in the store and 33 people were arrested. This was not racial, it was just stupid. They had a protest here this weekend and 74 people were arrested. And the point of that is????? I struggle with this all.

I am not black, so I do not walk in their world. I am a woman and I am fat. I have my own baggage that I deal with when it comes to discrimination. I know what it feels like to be judged by my outward appearance which has nothing to do with my abilities. I am judge to be slovenly and lazy, which is the farthest thing from the truth. And some people have no trouble demonstrating their immediate disapproval of me on first sight.

But I do not rage and fight physically. Violence is so stupid. I believe that what is going on is an excuse to act poorly and out of control.

As far as people thinking cops are racist. Some are. They are that way because as time goes by on the job, they see and deal with a large body of people whose actions only foster this thinking. Cops do not trust, they can’t. They are doing a job that slowly eats away any sense of fairness. They do not get respect. So if an officer tells you to do something, it is for you and their protection. Just do as they ask. Reaching over to get anything will get you in a heap of trouble. Don’t argue and don’t be stupid.

I will never see a peaceful world. I am not sure that it is humanly possible for everyone to get along. Anger and frustrations start with the smallest and closest group we have, our family and then friends. By the time we make it to kindergarten, we already know how to stereotype and disrespect others based solely on appearance . Our acceptance is based on “like thinking” and so if one hates, we are trained to perpetuate the hatred. Fear and anger comes from not understanding.

We need to learn about each other. We need to not judge but embrace our differences and not be afraid of them.

Being controlled

Kitty

Ever have a dream just before you get up in the morning and know that it is going to stick with you for the rest of the day? I had a doozie this morning. The dream demonstrated my issue of not having control in my life and the reality that we never really do have control. And the best thing any of us can do is to stop fighting that very thing and trust that things will come out ok.

And for the most part of my life, this has been true. But, it does not always seem like it when I am in the clutches of something that has me wrapped so tight that I snap at things and I am not a very peasant person. I do not think there is a being in the world that does well being captured and under the control of something that seems beyond their ability to change.

And that brings me to a situation that I have along with many other people and that is being under the control of having to have a medication in order to survive. It goes hand in hand with having a disease that is inherited or brought on by no fault of the being. There is a lot of that out there. And until you have something like this or know and love someone who is in that situation, it is hard to understand what it does to the person.

I am writing about this because of something that happened recently. I have friend who has MS. She is well controlled most of the time. But she has flares and when she is in the clutches of a flare, she has a tendency to be a bit sharp. Normally, she is bubbly and personable. The last year has been terrible for her and I have seen the decline in her over the last couple of years.  She is on very expensive drugs to help her maintain. She just recently lost her job and it was due to her inability to get the work done and in her inability at times to get along with her team. No one on her team seemed to be able to look past her anger and forgive her for being nasty. She was letting the disease control her and she really needed some help with that anger.

I also do not think people understand the warrior she is. Every day she got up and came to work, even when the pain was so great she would have tears. No understood her humiliation when she had an accident at work because she could not get to the bathroom in time. It became a joke around the “watercooler”. And yet, she would come back to being her funny self when the pain was less and make jokes about her situation. Now, she has no insurance and no income and I pray she will find help.

I realize now why old people sometimes are just very nasty. As the body deteriorates and pain becomes your constant companion, it is very hard to pleasant all the time. Alcohol is a method for many in pain which then leads to alcohol issues. Sometimes, anything will do as long as it takes the pain away.

And this brings me to the point of being controlled because you rely on a drug to survive. We live in an amazing time that there are so many drugs and procedures to keep people going who in past times have died painful deaths. I am grateful for the medicine I have available that twenty years ago did not exist.

But at what cost?  Along with thousands of people, I am in the control of these drugs. I will need them for life. One keeps my blood from clotting. The cost is I can easily bleed to death. The others are for my Psoriatic Arthritis and the side effect possibilities also include a higher probability of death due to cancer. The most recent drug I am on is causing me to gain weight, which is the last thing I need. But it is a side effect and out of my control. The drug I was one before, allowed me to lose weight and the one before that put weight on. This new drug is not doing anything for my psoriasis, and so I am beginning to break out again and it also doing little for the pain in my joints. But it is working on my gut issues. I have to stick with it for at least six months before we try something else. Unless like the last one, I have an emergent issue like an inflated blood pressure or some other reaction. Again, all out of my control.

There are so many debilitating diseases out there and more everyday being diagnosed. It is an amazing world we are in if you can get the medicine you need in order to survive. This brings up the huge topic of insurance which is the king of control. I will never understand how an insurance company can refuse their insured drugs prescribed by a doctor. Who the hell are they to make that decision?  I have often had to wait months for a decision on a drug that my rheumatologist wants me on and all the time there is deterioration going on in my joints. This last time while waiting for my approval, my two toes started to curl up so bad that shoes were becoming a problem.

I am writing about this in hopes that someone will read this and be kinder to someone who is in pain. I am hoping this will help people to see past the nastiness and be patient and understanding. When someone is pain, it is easy to react in hurtful ways without even being aware. But it is not about you. It is like being a captured animal and the cage is pain.

very close kitty

Resolutions

dog1  It has been almost two months that I have been going through a “thing.” I am on the other side of it now and thought I would share. To help illustrate my thoughts, this young golden was photographed up at the docks in the TI Park, 1000 Islands. It is one of my favorite places.

Just before vacation, I took my shot for my Psoriatic Arthritis. I have been on Simponi for about eight months with some relief, but not great. This time, I had a reaction at the injection site which is something I have never experienced before.

At work, I was having issues with one of my employees who is enthusiastic, but a royal pain in the butt. She was working on a project and had managed to take a small pilot and manifest it into a major fiasco that was causing issues everywhere. She also was racking up hours that I did not have budgeted as she is per diem. I decided to have a meeting with her and my boss to get some clarity on her role. She went absolutely bat shit in the meeting and accused me of all sorts of mismanagement. She was almost screaming and my boss said nothing. And her main point was that I did not understand because “I am not a clinician”.  Anyone who knows me knows this is a hot button for me. I sat in the meeting listening to her accused me of cancelling meetings with her and not responding to emails and more lies. I felt my chest tighten and thought, “holy shit, I am having a heart attack.” The pain was sharp and frightening. I disengaged from the meeting and let her rant. I figured my boss would see through her lines of bull. But I was extremely upset.

The next day, and the last day before my vacation, I went to see my boss and expected she would say that this girl was nuts. Instead, she lambasted me with “I need to communicate with her and manage her better.” I was stunned.

By then, I was feeling really crappy. I was going to my favorite place in the world and I was anxious and upset. My gut was killing me. I never truly let go of the meeting and situation at work and at night, I was having heart flutters and anxiety attacks. During the day, I felt bloated. I knew my blood pressure was up. My stomach and gut was flaring with pain.

dog2

When I came back, I emailed the employee and asked that she validate everything she accused me of. She said in the meeting she had emails of me cancelling her and using a “tone” with her. I went through my stuff and found nothing; I have been keeping every email she ever wrote. I spoke with my boss who apologized when she came back from her wedding and vacation because she realized she had inadvertently validated this person. With both knew that was disastrous.

dog4

Three weeks from taking the shot, my blood pressure was still extremely high for me and I was dizzy and felt out of it. I was still having some flutters and tightness, so I called the doctor. He ran blood tests on everything and many of my levels were extremely high, including my sugar. (HA1C) By the time I saw him, it was a month from the shot. He decided to put me on a beta blocker to help lower my still high blood pressure. It was a tiny dose of metoprolol.

But OMG, did I have a reaction from it. First I had insomnia, then that went away. Then I was nauseous every morning and the short 20 minute ride to work was a nightmare as there are no bathrooms. I had several close calls. Then the diarrhea was all the time. I was gaining weight every morning which was counter intuitive to the output I was having. I felt like…pardon the pun, shit. I was going to see the doctor again soon. I had all the tests redone and then decided enough was enough and weaned myself off the drug. The results from the lab indicated everything was fine. After going off this drug that was supposed to help my cardiac issues, they all stopped. MY BP at the doc’s visit was 124/80. MY HA1C was back below my prior visits and so were most of my levels. Problems solved.

And this issue with the employee? She went off on a tangent and was spreading lies about me to people. She never validated any of her claims and when I met with her and again called her on it, she said, “oh, let’s not open that all up again.” She was racking up staggering hours and when I called her on them, she would push back with more bullshit. The results of her craziness combined with putting her nose in places it did not belong ended up with another meeting with three directors and myself and my boss, the VP of HR.

dog5

Finally, after almost two years of her torment, she will be put on a plan of improvement that will be so restrictive that she will probably quit. She will be mandated to remain solely in the position she was hired for, which is an instructor and abandon all other pursuits. But if she does not and continues with us, she will surely cross the line in a very short time and then we will severe her from the agency. She will have to eat crow big time because she is facing insubordinate charges but will remain under my supervision. Finally, someone heard me. One of the directors she went to with her garbage suggested she be mandated to go to EAP, for psych support. This employee has burned all her bridges.

And me? I am feeling like my old self for the first time in a long time. Was it just the shot? I do not think so, although a big contributor. I think it was a lot about not being heard and validated. It brought back many feelings from my childhood where I was invisible but took a lot of punishment for the sins of my siblings. I hate when people dismiss me, or say I am over reacting. I hate when I see people getting away with things because they lie or are weasels. I am a good manager and a fair one.  I have never had such a renegade employee in all my thirty plus years of managing people where I had so little control. The stress truly was affecting me. PTSD, the gift that keeps on giving.

 

Hurdles

mist

I think the hardest thing a human has to face is not diving into the drama of emotional turmoil. I believe that we are set on this earth to learn to overcome this. That enlightenment is learning to not cave or participate in the negativity that we are all born with and are force fed through our lives. The challenge is to believe in the higher force that is there to pull us out of the mire, however you achieve this relationship. We are given the tools, but like the treasure this knowledge is, we have to search for it.

Along the way in the journey of life, there are obstacles of huge and small proportions. How we deal with them is called Grace. The Higher-self is the Captain of the ship we call life and we are the sailor. The trouble is that we cannot always hear this voice, or we think the voice comes from without, and not within. It has to be a unique set of directions for each human is unique in design and creation. The internal navigation equipment in time can get obliterated with the noise and clutter we subject our over-stimulated lives with. The chatter in our heads is like the static of a radio fueled with the nonsense of television and other media. Ever notice how TV has transformed from simple comedies and joyful family life to intense drama and the emotional targeting of watching others suffer? People watch this stuff because it fuels the ego’s need for superiority. “I would never do that”, said in arrogance. “Look at that poor fat slob trying to lose weight,” uttered while shoveling potato chips in their mouth in the safety of their overstuff chair.

Many spend years trying to find their way using other people’s road maps, only to find the wrong destination for them. It is also easier to have someone else guide us; to have someone else create a chart for us. There are thousands of books out there to read on the “way to enlightenment”. There are multiple people willing to take your money to feed your junkie need to be told how to find peace in your life. We all want it, whether we admit it or not. We think we want to be safe, and that is part of it. The more difficult part is trust. I am not just talking about trusting others, because that’s a disastrous route. We need to trust in ourselves that whatever happens, it will be ok. And that is the tricky part.

In my situation and many others like me, grow up to learn that people cannot be trusted. What does that really mean? Trust in what; that they will do something for you? Protect you? Keep you safe? Somehow I must have been able to keep safe enough to survive and that is all that matters. The bottom line is trusting in others has to have some limitations. Drama occurs when you put your self-worth in someone else. Inevitably, they will disappoint you. The degree of infliction will vary, but your reaction to it is what will harm you for the rest of your life. Children expect and deserve protection and love. But I truly doubt that anyone gets through life unscathed in parental disillusionment. Friends disappoint and so do spouses and your own children. The only solution to this is the act of forgiveness and the realization that the infliction is harmless if you believe in yourself and are able to move beyond it.

We are programmed for daily doses of emotional targeting. Being human means being emotional. Media feeds into this by playing on your emotions in order to sell you things. Pay attention to the input that makes you feel emotional and decide whether that emotion is something you really want in your life. I truly feel that the news and other forms of media are helping to bring this world to its knees. We are bombarded with how imperfect we are, how horrible people treat each other and how we are poisoning the world. It is very difficult to more past this constant feed of negativity. Hence we become helpless, angry and emotionally crippled.

Do I have the answer? Yes and no. I have the where-for-all to find it for myself. And what I discover is meant only for me. How I achieve that is also my solitary path. I have been given the tools of discovery but I need to sift through the garbage floating in my head. I must be mindful that the destination is obscure and will never ultimately be reached. Life is discovery and that is the miracle. How we treat people along the way is our legacy. We all have the same opportunities yet each accomplishment of life is as individual as the person participating. For me, overcoming my own negativity, accepted people for who and what they are and learning to be non-judgmental are my biggest hurdles.

I originally wrote roadblock, but that implies the inability to get over something. A hurdle is something to get over. What are some of your hurdles?

 

Never a borrower nor lender be

reaaching

This first week of June, my most favorite month, has been amazingly raining and cold. Adding to the gloom is a family situation that arrived in my email last week. Seems my second oldest brother is in need of a substantial loan. It happens all the time in families. Accept in this family, for me, there are always triggers. And this situation has triggered all sorts of things for me especially anger. And because of that, I am physically suffering now.

My brother is 70 years old, 10 years my senior, and married to a woman who is younger than I am. He moved to Florida this winter under a big fanfare of how wonderful it was going to be and how fabulous their new place was. Prior to moving, they had the condo completely redone. They moved down there from Colorado after completing their annual cruise, this time for 16 days. Mazel tov!

When my Aunt passed away three years ago, she left to all of us a very large inheritance. We all got the same amount. I put a portion of mine into my house and the rest remains invested in hopes of an easy retirement. My sister bought a huge house, but that was her dream. My oldest brother put into his investments and retired. My other brother bought a vintage car and spent his whole inheritance on this car. He is broke. We all thought that this brother had put his into their Florida dream. Not so. He is penniless, neither one of them have a job after being there six months, and the condo is mortgaged to the hilt. He is in deep do do and could lose the place and the small amount of money he put down on it.

The problem is he is not explaining how he got into that situation in the first place since he could have bought the condo outright and still had money left over. He has nothing. They have been there since the first of the year, and six months later they still do not have jobs.

My oldest brother wants us to react to this like a family and the three with some money left contribute and bail his ass out. My sister has agreed to a very nominal amount. My brother is will to cough up as long as I put in three times in what my sister has. He will double my contribution making the requested 10 grand.  My brother already owes my oldest brother and wife 5 grand which he never paid back over twenty years ago. This is not a good risk. My brother wants us to just give it to him and forget it.

NO…. this is what I am screaming in my head. NOOOOOOO. We all had the same amount of inheritance. Other than that, my life has been  complete affected by their stupidity and I have been paying for them since I was a baby. This is what is stirred up:  They all had opportunities I did not. They all were sent off to college, and not just any college, good schools: U of R, Syracuse, RIT and Fredonia. When it came to me, the answer was no way.  Only my oldest brother finished. I had to pay my own way and it took me to age 51 when I completed my Masters totally on my own dime. I am the only one with a Masters. I have a good paying job because of that effort. Not my fault they don’t.

The laundry list of infractions is huge and I do not want to open this all up on paper. Believe me, it is all in my gut right now and I am reliving everything. My triggers are firing off all sorts of lovely reactions. No sleep, being cranky, upset stomach and huge flares of pain and immobility. I wish, other than the oldest brother, they would all crawl back into their holes and remain there. Instead, they slither out when they are in trouble and want something.

Negativity bias and forgiveness

rain clouds'

The negativity bias[1] (also known as the negativity effect) refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things.[2][3][4] In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.

When asked to recall a recent emotional event, people tend to report negative events more often than they report positive events,[38] and this is thought to be because these negative memories are more salient than are the positive memories. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias

If you were to ask fifty people in a group that is face to face, “are you happy?” most people will answer quickly that they are. But underneath, you will find that most people are not happy as happiness is one of those elusive feelings. We think we are happy, but if you start to think you are happy, these nasty little negative thoughts worm their way into your frame of reference. Couple that with the fact that most people have experience a disproportional amount of unpleasantness, and for some trauma, by the time they reach early adulthood. We are the walking wounded.

But not everyone is a negative-Nellie. I have been searching for so many answers in the last years. This includes my question of how is that some people just seem naturally happy? Are they oblivious to the world, which by the way is not very nice? My inquiry has led me to conclusion that it is a choice. It takes focus, patience and a lot of fortitude to have a quiet, calm and pleasant demeanor.

It also takes solitude and time to process input because negativity comes at you without your choice. We are flooded with input which is judgmental, sadistic and hateful. Information is disguised as humor is measured in the failure of others and how quick we are to place blame for their mistakes. In actuality, the humor comes from the relief that we are not the victim of the joke.

When I think of someone who is truly happy and content, the only people I think who really reach that state are people who are cloistered. It is easy to be happy and content when you live unaffected and separate yourself from the reality of the world. Peace comes from having all your needs being met in a secluded and secure environment. (This is one reason why recidivism is so high.)

I am striving to change many things in my life for the better. I know I do not have a lot of time to turn around sixty years. I also do not want to be one of those people who are so guru-like that they become annoying. I doubt my demeanor will ever reach that state. I have too much of a sense of humor not to see the idiocies of humans as amusing, including myself. I do not watch TV. I rarely listen or look at the news. I figure I surround myself with enough catastrophe proclaimers that if something really awful was coming they would tell me. Not that there would be much I could do about it, so why worry? I admit that I have isolated myself these past months. I even moved my office to a much more secluded area at work, which has been wonderful. I only see the people who have intent to see me. My other office was like being on display all the time. I stopped seeing anyone connected to “working on myself.” I found that it was like being tethered to my past and that I was never going to get on with it if I kept dragging up issues that I cannot change now. Besides, I am the only one who can really have an impact on my being.

Instead of being stuck in the past, I am trying to improve the future. I have ideas of what I would like to achieve in the future, but I am not putting a goal on them. I do not want to be intimidated by a point of measure. It sort of defeats the purpose. Instead, I think of it as a pathway, a direction to go in.

I am also including a huge amount of forgiveness in my work. I hold on to things. That is the basis for the negativity bias. We all automatically process in the negative domain. It takes time to reprogram our pathways to find alternative reactions. It is hard work.

An example of this is my health and weight issues. I am stuck in a cycle that I may never actually break. It is horrendous. (I know that is a big word) Seems that being fat creates being fat. There is a condition called metabolic syndrome which has many implications, but basically it is the construct that some people are predisposed to being fat. (I hate the word fat and it triggers all sort of things in me, btw) It also seems that there is a hormone called Adiponectin which is secreted in the blood which helps to regulate metabolism. However, the heavier you are, the more body fat you have, the less of this adiponectin you have circulating in your blood. Adiponectin has been postulated to play an important role in the modulation of glucose and lipid metabolism in insulin-sensitive tissues in both humans and animals. Decreased circulating adiponectin levels have been demonstrated in genetic and diet-induced murine models of obesity. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/8/2442.full

It seems that this also is a marker for inflammation. In other words, the less adiponectin flowing, the more inflammation you have. How this pans out is that you can eat the same amount of calories as a skinny person, and the heavy person will gain weight no matter what. Add to the fact that your body is coursing with inflammation, which also adds water weight and will stop anyone from moving and viola….you have the perfect storm.

Here is an example of how negativity bias works: I took a break from writing at this point. I started going down this path of “Gee, people who read this will think I am looking for an excuse…” and down the negative path I skipped. It took a pause to realize, “I don’t care. I am writing this piece in hopes someone else might find something good in it. The facts are I am facing a pretty big mountain (no pun intended) but it is totally my choice how and what I do. I know in my head that I am not going to give up, so it does not matter what people think. They already judge me for being fat so, who cares?”  The last line makes me smile and I move on…….

My point is that we all face hardships in our world. It is being human. How we face them is also our choice. Some call on a Deity for help, others look to science. I am somewhere in between. When I said I was working on forgiveness, it was not in relationship to others. It is totally in relationship to me. If I don’t forgive my own trespasses against myself, I will be permanently mired in the muck of life. Only through this freedom can I really forgive others.

 

 

 

My mother and Weight Watchers

stone goddesses

I began Weight Watchers in January, 2015. I am strongly letting everyone know that it has nothing to do with being accepted or trying to meet anyone else’s expectations. It is about me getting my Psoriatic Arthritis under control, which it is not. I found out that inflammation changes the hormones and body chemistry making it very difficult to lose weight. In fact, most people gain. And I am like most.

In the last two years, I sat back and watched my weight steadily increase, some of it since last May when I had a horrible incident with a kidney stone that was 6mm big. It threw my chemistry completely off and within a month I had put on 8 pounds. I thought it was fluid, but it kept climbing higher, even after I passed the stone.

I did a lot of research, as I often do when I come up against something. I thought about bariatric surgery and discovered it should be called barbaric surgery. I asked around a lot and found from the mouths of people who had the surgery that it worked at first, but then MANY gained back some, if not all. And then on top of that heartbreak, they all had some form of  new issue such as diarrhea, hair loss, pain, mal-nutrition, anemia and the list went on. This to me was not an option for me because of the other complications with my blood clotting. I scratched it right off the list.

Then I looked into serious weight loss plans. Again, major rebound issues coupled with health problems. One program was good for small weight loss like 20 or so pounds, but very impossible for long term. The diet was 500 calories with multiple supplements. Really? How does that change a life for better?

So I turned back to old Faithful Weight Watchers (WW). This was my third go at it. First time I lost about 30 pounds but rebounded. Last time I gained right off the bat. This time…. well…. First my story. This is triggered by a friend’s blog I read tonight.

My weight issues began when I was very, very young. I do not remember ever not having a weight problem. I was pudgy as baby. I had severe food allergies and then that seem to not be a problem. There is one picture of me around three and I am not fat but I am not thin. I was tall though. A picture of me at five is that of a beach ball. It remains that way the rest of my life. But in truth, there is a picture I found of me standing up and I was around 13 or 14. I was fully developed, taller than any woman in my family and thick. Not fat, not thin. Shapely. I think at that time I was a size 14-16. The same size clothes now would be a 10-12. I had fabulous legs because I rode a bike everywhere and for miles. I walked, skated, swam all the time and danced. I had a bit of a gut compare to others, but I also had a shapely figure. But by then, I learned to hide, so to see a full shot of me was startling. I also realized I was not the beast my family had portrayed.

My mother, sister, aunt and both grandmothers were petite women. No one was over 5’1 and no one was over 120 pounds. In 6th grade, I was 5’5” and 117 pounds and in a DD bra. I was considered an aberration and chastised soundly by everyone. I can remember my aunt telling me to wear a girdle when I was 13.

My mother decided right about then she was going to “fix” me. She put me on this diet of green beans and Jello. I like both, but it was all I was allowed. I bought lunch at school and that was when you did not have choices, just one hot lunch for 25 cents. Our house was filled with candy and cookies. My father made his own root beer. We had store-bought bakery goodies and donuts every Sunday. Dinner was a roast or casserole with white bread, whole milk, fresh butter, and some dessert.  Crème sauces were big and on everything like fish, potatoes, veggies and meat. Veggies were lima beans, corn, peas and potatoes. I did not have a tossed salad until I was 16. Fruit was rare and often a “salad” was a canned pear on a leaf of lettuce with a glob of mayo and a maraschino cherry. Very chic! Very 50’s.

So her solution to my EATING problem was making me eat beans and Jello for a while. Now mind you, when I was younger, if you did not eat your dinner, you were severely punished. As children, we did not eat with the adults until we were older. On holidays we were allowed at the dinner table, but no talking and no messing around. Just eat and shut up.  I learned very early to eat everything. I was the kind of child who hated being scolded in any manner. Still don’t like it.

My mother could out eat us all. Her metabolism was not given to me. My siblings could eat and remained thin until much later in life. Not me. I ate what was on my plate. Rewards were foods like a special Dunkin donut covered in frosting. Birthday meals were fried chicken or lasagna. Candy lurked everywhere, dishes and bowls of the stuff. Fortunately for me, I am not a big fan of most hard candy, but in a pinch. My mother and father had buckets of Fanny Farmers’ assorted chocolates. There was always a full cookie jar on the counter in the kitchen.  Cheap soda was in the refrigerator and the famous root beer was shared on special occasions. Even alcohol was allowed early in life and on special occasions. I learned to love Cherry brandy by the time I was eight

The part as an adult that I have had to work on so very hard is to get my mother’s critical voice and disapproving looks out of my head. She would skew her face up and would look at me with such distain sometimes that it would hurt me to the core. Food was the enemy she deemed and would go on rampages to humiliate me or shame me into “doing something about my weight.”

Dinner often turned into a battlefield, especially if they had been drinking, which….. they did every night. Some nights, it was a race to be done eating to get away before something happened. Common tortures were a heavy knife handle to the elbow for having it on the table. We had these ball shaped salt shakers which my father would swipe up and pelt at you for some perceived misdoing. As time went on, and my siblings left to go to college or their own lives, I was the featured target. My father would take his dinner plate and fling it at the back of your head like a Frisbee. If he was really out of it, he would fling whatever he could reach.

But I always ate my dinner with my head down and quiet until I was around 15. Then I began to cook for myself and eat privately when I could. My parents often never got to dinner or it would be ten o’clock or so. They were so smashed it didn’t matter. My father munched on cheese and crackers and Mom smoked. But by this point in my life, my food issues were tightly engrained and my body was never going to be petite. NEVER. I ended up at 5’ 6’ inches with size 8 feet. (Mom’s were a size 5) My hip bones (pelvic area) were a good five inches wider than hers, and at her  4’9 inches, I towered over her.

But her voice never left me. is I will always see her dark hair framing her disapproving looks.

Fast forward to now, the present moment… well we will back up first. When I started working at my job there was this woman who I saw for the first time from the back and my heart skipped a beat. I swore it was my Mom.  Something about the way she held herself.  This woman and I do not get along. She is critical of everything and everyone. She has a frown on her face most of the time. She especially does not like me. I am in the position she held for ten years as head of Education. She is a nurse, I am not. This is my failing and she and a few others let me know at every opportunity they do not approve of me. It was very hard for me to get passed her and ignore her and her cryptic comments and her LOOK.

Now, present moment. What does any of this have to do with Weight Watchers? I was doing WW on line since January. But they offered a deal at work and were going to have meetings there. So I signed up and arrived early to the first meeting last week.  Who do you think walks in to join? Mind you, if she has ten pounds to lose, it is a lot. So there I am and all the old guilt, resentment, and uglies surfaced. I could barely speak in the meeting. We had to share why we were there and I wanted to stand up and scream because my mother was a mean bitch and so are you….(looking at this woman). But in a shaky voice I mumbled about being a big beautiful woman and that I was here to get healthier. I went home so upset I thought I should quit.

But I did not. Instead, I challenged her. She has four other participants and we have our own team from HR/ED. We will win. This week our team all had significant weight loss. I am doing really well, after a couple of stalls. This will happen and then I lose a few more. Right now I have lost 5% of my total body weight from where I started. It’s all numbers. I am still big. I am also still in pain. But I have not had a shot in two months. It will be interesting to see what happens once I get a shot and calm the inflammation. Right now I can barely walk so I am not exercising. But that will become necessary soon.

The team that loses the most total poundage gets a lunch provided by the other team. I will enjoy watching her serve me……hahahah. I keep holding on to that.