A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘sensitivity’

Change is needed

            My Doves

I lived with “gun fanatics” all my life. I found in my father’s archives a Lifetime member certificate for him. The date was my birth day. I started shooting when I was eight. I was good. I married someone who was fanatical about guns.  He wasn’t when I first met him. My father turned him on to guns. Then he started hanging out with other gun fanatics. He became a cop. His career was being the head of the firearms training academy.

Everything we did was centered on guns. Our friends all shot. Some were police, others were sportsmen, and one owned a gun shop.  Every weekend was about shooting. Even some of the women shot. I did not.

They ate, drank and talked incessantly about guns, gun control and how unfair it would be if they had stricter gun control. As time went on, the group became more militant and also more narrow minded, putting it too nicely. They hated everyone who was not white, Christian and straight. Somehow, I ended up in a nightmare. But this is not about that, it is about the mindset.

Yes, they had assault weapons. Why? I could never see the beauty in them like I good well-designed wooden rifle. My father had two collectable rifles which he used for competitive shooting of clay pigeons. He belonged to a gun club where he socialized. The group my husband hung with went to ranges or private locations which had set up assault fields. They were tactical ranges where you had to shoot around things. In all the times I went along, I never saw anyone use a military rifle to practice in competition. It was always hand guns. Why did they have the military guns? Because….. just because.

I am long out of that group and divorced. But I saw what happened and witnessed the hatred and bigotry first hand. I actually was on the receiving end of it often. Sometimes it was like living with a powder keg. The fuse was there. Fortunately, there were few kids. Most of the couples did not have children, including us. But if there had been, I could easily see how their minds would have been melted by the warped narrow thinking that permeated this clan. And they would have access to an arsenal.

I have always said and will say this until I die….there is no reason for guns in civilian hands, especially military grade artillery. (See how well I fit in before?) You want to shoot something, get a paintball gun. I also am not into hunting and see no need for that for most people. If you feed your family off of hunting, then I understand. But the group I was in all had enough money and there were plenty of stores around. Yes I understand the skeet and being a marksman and all. But then we used to throw people to the lions for entertainment. Isn’t there something less harmful you can do? There is no other activity on earth that makes sport of killing. It strips the humanity out of the significance of life.

This blog says it better than I can. https://agingmillennialengineer.wordpress.com/2018/02/15/fuck-you-i-like-guns-2/  This is a man who is an Army Vet. He says it all about why do we have assault weapons for civilian use.

We need to do something about better gun control. There is absolutely no reason for military weapons to be available to anyone other than the military. We need to have stricter control and better training for people who have guns in their homes. I agree with the concept of licensing and recertifying to be able to have guns, whether they are long guns or not.

The government can regulate anything it wants to the ridiculousness in the name of protecting the people. For example, my washing machine was redesigned to protect people from hurting themselves by reaching in the tub when it is running. Really? If you put your hand in a spinning machine, you get what you get. But they will allow a child to buy a gun. Anyone else see the problem with this?


Hatred: a Learned Behavior

Currently I am reading “Shrill”, a book by Lindy West. It is not for the easily offended reader. She is a comedian and is very funny. But she is also FAT. Lindy is a true Fat activist and writes for about the struggles she has. She deals with hate every day. But she wants to change the world and I think she has many valid points. She says, “Being fat is like walking around with a sandwich board that says, “HERE’S WHERE TO HURT ME!” That’s why reclaiming fatness— living visibly, declaring, “I’m fat and I am not ashamed”— is a social tool so revolutionary, so liberating, it saves lives.”

When I was growing up, bullying existed but it was not exonerated. Bullies were known. They were outcasts and shunned, unless you were one. As a child, you learned to fight back or suffer. Parents did not fight your fight for you. You could rat out a bully if you dared and they would be “in trouble,” which meant something in those days.

Today’s culture is very different. I blame the media who created movies like “Mean Girls.” Then we have TV shows like the “Biggest Loser” where they abused Fat people for entertainment. There was nothing real or entertaining about that show. There is one out there now called “My 600 Pound Life” about very large people who are suffering and struggling to just survive. There is nothing entertaining about witnessing suffering. But it creates absolution for the hatred of people of size and fosters bigotry.

Lindy talks about flying and the stigma attached to Fat people when they board an airplane. I have sat in seats that do not fit me. It is humiliating at best as well as painful. And my butt is not as big as a Kardashian. I love Lindy’s retort: “We don’t insist on a solution because it’s still culturally acceptable to be cruel to fat people. When even pointing out the problem— saying, “my body does not fit in these seats that I pay for”— returns nothing but abuse and scorn, how can we ever expect that problem to be addressed? The real issue here isn’t money, it’s bigotry. We don’t care about fat people because it is okay not to care about them, and we don’t take care of them because we think they don’t deserve care…..We don’t insist on a solution because it’s still culturally acceptable to be cruel to fat people.

We are not born hating people different from us. Babies do not see Fat people as a threat. They learn that from their parents. My parents hated Fat people and had no issues making hurtful comments my whole life. Their mothers hated Fat people too and passed that down. They had no reason to hate fat people. They also hated people of different religions and especially hated people of color. They had no tolerance for anyone different from them, actually. They were upper class snobs full of themselves. My siblings to some degree reflect the same thinking. I never did learn the behavior and was an outcast in my own family sphere. But I held true to my principals.

We live in a country where hatred, bigotry, misogynic behaviors are being tolerated and actually glorified by some. But we are starting to have people who are standing up and saying no more. We have to do this. The energy of hatred is toxic. We have to change what we teach our children. I am aghast at the comments I hear from young people that are vile and filled with prejudice of things and people they have no direct experience with. How is that possible? Because hatred is a learned behavior and we have to stop teaching and accepting it.

West, Lindy. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (p. 148). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition.









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.


Hyperarousal and Hyperviligance

I have lived with insomnia for many years. I remember as a young teen sitting in my parent’s living room watching the slow dying glow of a log burning in the fire place. It was the middle of the night. I was told as a very young child that I used to sleep walk and I actually fell down the stairs. I can remember when I was 30 the sleep walking started up again and I also had other sleep issues. The biggest issue I have now is related to PTSD. This is when you wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep for hours. But there is more to this than a bit of anxiety. It is hyperarousal.

Hyperarousal can be defined as the state of being aroused, on guard, being overly alert and perceptive. The person who is suffering from hyperarousal is actually in the middle of the ‘fight-or-flight’ reflex that occurs when the brain sends out signals of impending danger or feels threatened. It puts the body on guard – ready to run away or stand and fight. Either way the heart beats faster, the eyes dilate, breathing is shallower and you become very alert. https://www.sixstepstosleep.com/hyperarousal-insomnia-sleep-anxiety/

I suffer from hyperarousal during the day as well. But in the middle of the night, this beast rears its ugly head and I am struggling for hours. If I do fall back asleep, I usually end up with a nightmare of some sort. All this is chemically regulated in the body. I do not know what exactly the trigger is all the time for me, but it happens when I am in a state of stress. I can perseverate on the smallest detail and by the end of an episode; I will have worried myself into a real frenzy.

Two weeks ago I actually got up and took my blood pressure and the reading was extremely high. But it was high all week from the stress of leaving my job. The physical condition I was in from the pressure of work and the all BS going on played havoc with me. But even with being away from the situation, I am able to find other things to fret about.

Hyperarousal also causes me to erupt. I can over react to the smallest things such as simply dropping something. I get frustrated very easily and have an over the top reaction. For me, it is compounded with the high level of pain I am in from my psoriatic arthritis. Unfortunately, it is a nasty loop. I get mad from being in pain and limited in my mobility and then I get a flare from being upset. They feed each other and around I go.

Compounding the situation is the sister reaction to hyperarousal which is hypervigilance. That is when you are always on alert. This is when you constantly are scanning for threats. When I was first diagnosed with PTSD, the therapist said I was like a trapped animal. I never turned my back to him. I constantly watched every move he made, especially with his hands. I think I am better but when I get threatened or perceive I am being threatened, I go back to being hypervigilant. I realize now that the past couple of years being in the toxic work environment I was in really set me back. A result of being hypervigilant is being exhausted. So I fall asleep very quickly but wake up in the middle of the night. On average, I sleep in two to three hour blocks. A good night is when I can sleep with a four hour block.

I write this not as a venue to complain but to share for someone who is going through similar things. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone. I am planning on talking with my doctor about this if my sleep does not get any better. They recommended last year I seek retirement. It has been a long haul getting away from work and the nasty people I worked with. I have had some things going on in my home which has been concerning so I have not been able to totally calm down. But I am physically more active at home and that helps. I also need to get back to a strong practice of meditation again. That really helps. I already feel better and I know I am healing. But it is a slow path.




Pulling the trigger

I pulled the trigger. I started the timer. I made a difficult decision with no going back. I put in my papers to retire. It still has not hit me that in three weeks, I will not be working. It was not as easy a decision as one would think because it is so final. But it is done!

I have worked my entire adult life. I actually started working as a nanny and babysitter when I was only 11. I worked summers until I was 15 and then went to work in retail. I never stopped working. In 1986, I was downsized and worked on my house for four months. I got up every day and painted, scraped and papered. Again in 2002, I spent three months doing the same thing on this house while I looked for a new job. Looking for a new job is a fulltime job in itself.

But this time, it was on my terms to leave and I am not going to another job, nor am I going to go crazy looking for another job. I am being careful not to say I won’t ever work again, because I am not sure of that. I plan on spending the next few months in an effort to clean out this house and that is going to be a lot of work all in itself. I also will not have to drive in the snow and I can take naps.

The stress of working in healthcare is not for the week of heart. There are so many regulatory changes coming down that it makes it almost impossible for an agency to be successful. The agency I work(ed) for has not prepared for the new requirements that need to be trained and enforced in less than a month. The agency lost over 4.7 million dollars so far this year. They are bragging because it was less than the 5.2 million they lost last year, but they have not done the year end and I am sure it will be just as bad. They fired one executive in an attempt to lower their costs two weeks ago. “She was paid way more than she was worth.”

I oversaw three big divisions of the agency. When I started, I only had two. One was a brand new division. Then I got another one and now, I have to laugh, they are going to divide my work load back amongst three people. That makes me smile. But what is even better is that these three treated me like crap. They are young and on the rise in the agency. Now that they are seeing the workload and responsibilities, they are my best friends and so super sweet. Gack! One of them has a millennial ego and was so cock sure she would be able to do a better job. Now that she is seeing it for what it is, she has set up four training sessions with me to “learn my job.” Ha…. If she thinks she is going to get my years of being in organizational development in a few meetings, she is sorely mistaken.

I am also leaving after 36 years of being an educator. They all think being an educator is just standing up in front of people and delivering lessons. The VP of Clinical thinks that creating courses in the on line training system I implemented is just data input. OH, you have no idea how that statement tweaked me. “Yes, that is why I have a Masters in instruction technology because it is just data entry.” Jerk. I am not teaching anyone how to do that. “Go to school and get in debt like I did to learn that.” I am not teaching any little shit in an afternoon what took me a Masters and eleven years of working in the technology to become proficient.

Do I sound bitter? Yes, in a way I am. The weight and value they put on people, and not just me, is hard to take. The VP also made a bold statement that “the only way to change a culture of an organization is to get rid of anyone with twenty or more years of experience.” I wonder if John Kotter would agree. Systematically all the senior people are leaving or have left. They made it so uncomfortable for several senior nurses they went to the competition. My Clinical Educator left in October after twenty-seven years with the agency. They have fired two executives and three directors in the last two of years. I was the oldest in age director left. They have replaced the positions with people from the Med Center. It is a matter of time before the Med Center replaces all the support departments to save money.

My only regret is for my team who has been divvied up. My Education Coordinator is the one I worry about the most. She is going to the new manager with the ego and no experience. My EC needs a lot of hand holding and this young chicky is not going to be able to deal with her. I worry because she is even older than I am, but enjoys her job and is not ready to retire. I give her six months before she changes her mind and leaves.

My original plan was to wait until I was 65 to go. I am leaving a year earlier. But things financially came into place and so why wait. I am not sure I could have gone through another year of the crap and BS. I know I could not. It was making me very sick. I was not sleeping. I worried constantly. I worked constantly. (Wait until these three replacements see the hours it takes to make things run smoothly… HA!) My health was getting very bad. My doctors recommended me to retire and destress. No amount of mindfulness or meditation could resolve the crap I was facing.

Maybe I am too old!  I just know that I want something I have never had in my life ever.




Positivity Chain on FaceBook

Sometimes everything seems to go along swimmingly. There are people who go through life unscathed and never rattled. I cannot imagine what that type of world would feel like. I was told years ago there are always people worse off and a whole lot of folks better off. Accepting where you are is the best way to survive and live a full life. One of the ways to accept your life is to look gratefully at what you have. ‘Tis the season for giving thanks after all.

Our minds are programmed from our birth to be more receptive to negative input than positive input. Negativity makes a bigger imprint on our brain. This again was part of the reptilian brain that kept our ancient ancestors safe. Not smart to pet a sabre toothed tiger, even if it is a big kitty. It is the reaction that sells newspapers and keeps us watching the news. We love drama and crisis.

There actually is a ratio of amounts of positive and negative information we need to be happy. Seems we need five times the positive input as to the negative. I am not sure many of us are living that ratio. Big positive moments also do not have the lasting effect as much as a series of constant small positive moments. That explains why after a momentous event, like a wedding, there can be such a letdown shortly afterwards.

So where do we get these positive inputs from? We have to make them ourselves. It can be as simple as noticing a pretty sky or flower. I try to look at things around my house and feel how much I love being there. I pay attention to the sense of security and peace I feel so I can draw on it when I am not.

Being nice is a two-fold way to bring positivity into the world. We have a severe lack of being kind. It is as easy as saying to someone that they look wonderful. It triggers happy neurons for the receiver as well as the giver of the compliment. Just like negativity is spread from one to another, so can being nice. But we have lost the practice.

I am going to start a positivity chain on Facebook. Let’s see if challenging each other to send one compliment to friends on Facebook will have a positive reaction that will spread. It would be a nice break from all the slander and mud lately. Post on at least three people’s FB page a compliment and ask them to tag someone else and do the same thing. It worked for the black and white photo challenge that has gone around several times.  Why not positivity?

Remember, compliments have to be sincere, otherwise they are lies and we do not need to spread more of that.

Also make sure you compliment yourself once in a while. The biggest speaker of negativity is that voice in our head. Turn the negative one off and listen to the one who says, “Wow, you are awesome sometimes.” We are all awesome sometimes. Pay attention to that.

It is ok to be different. Embrace your individuality and be grateful that in our country we, especially women, can achieve all that we do. We can dress the way we want, we can look like we want, and we can go after what we want for the most part; at least much more so than other countries. This is coming from a 60 plus year old woman who put pink streaks in her hair. HA! (I have wanted to do this for years, so I have two bright pink steaks in my waist length hair)

I wish everyone a Blessed Thanksgiving filled with warmth and happiness. Don’t forget to try the FB positivity chain. And be the best you that you can be.




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.