Friday, October 29, 2010

Fatties of the World Unite

Have you seen this Article?

Please, go read it. 

And please, be as disgusted and disturbed as I am by it.  By the words, the opinions and the fact that this magazine and the editor allowed it to be published.

And here, here is the letter I wrote to the editor of Marie Claire.  Will it ever get read?  Who knows?  I needed to say it, so I did.

And I will NEVER purchase this magazine again.

Dear Ms. Coles,

I am writing in response to a recent article by Ms. Maura Kelly.  I am quite sure you know which article I am referencing.  I wasn't a regular reader of Marie Claire, I had been in my early 20s but I have since turned to magazines that I find to suit me more.  I will occasionally pick up a copy of your magazine if there is a story on the front cover that catches my eye.  This story did not.  I was emailed this article by a friend and I was immediately outraged.  Not only was I outraged as a former "Fattie" but also as someone who continually struggles with her weight, someone who has worked very hard in the past year to lose close to 40 pounds and as someone who is the mother of a daughter who has to grow up in a world where women like Ms. Kelly and individuals like you and your editors think it's appropriate to refer to people based simply on their size and their struggles.

I work very hard to raise my daughter and my son to understand that people are different and that each day we encounter individuals who may be struggling or bearing some type of pain or hardship in their life.  We also encounter people who have incredible self-confidence and self-respect regardless of their size.  Your article, and subsequently, your magazine are simply feeding into the societal stereotype that says that being fat is bad and wrong and being skinny is right and good.  You tout yourself as a magazine for young women and women who are looking for tips to make their lives better yet you publish horribly offensive articles that clearly state that being obese is something that can easily be changed with a personal trainer or a trip to the YMCA.

Shame on you.

I feel for Ms. Kelly, I really do.  Not only did she feel it was appropriate to write the horrible hate-filled and uneducated words that she did but then she had to step up and apologize for those words.  She had to reveal that her words MAY have come out of a history of eating issues and anorexia.  First of all, I can say with almost 100% certainty her horrible words MUST have come from a history of eating issues and anorexia.  Second of all, if she cannot own the words and opinions that she wrote maybe she should not have written them.  And finally, I feel for her because it must have been hard to come out and admit that she had an eating problem and needed help- much as it is difficult for obese people to come out and admit that they may have a problem and need help.

Ms. Coles, really, I am disappointed in your magazine and your premise as being there for women. You, in this case, are no where near to being there for any of us.  I cannot believe that any editor would allow such a piece of mean-spirited writing to published in a magazine such as yours, or any.  I can also tell you that I will NEVER purchase Marie Claire again and my daughter never will.  I will also make sure that I share this with all of the "fatties" and non-"Fatties" I associate with.

Thank you for your time,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stranger Danger

About two weeks ago there was chatter amongst the parents in my area that a man was going to local Wal-Marts and trying to take children from the Halloween section.  Or that's where the screams came from that thwarted his plans.

Yesterday, I received an email at work about a suspicious white van that was following children and watching after school in the area of the school where I work.

All of this, coupled with common sense, has made it so that I have become hyper-vigilant with my kids when we go out- ESPECIALLY when we're in a store.

It's also made it so that at the forefront of my mind is that fact that I need to make my kids aware that talking to strangers is not a good idea and that if they ever get lost there are specific things they should do to ensure their safety.  But I worry that I'm going to make them afraid.  Afraid of people, afraid of going out, afraid of everything.

I've been able to talk with my 5 year old about this a little.  I've been able to explain to him about strangers and what to do if someone approaches you.  But I don't think he's getting the clear idea and I'm not sure how to get that message across without making him fearful of everyone.

How do you explain to a child that they shouldn't talk to strangers and what is a stranger is but it's ok to talk to their friend's mommy or daddy if they ask you question?

How do you tell a child to go and say hello to someone they have never met when earlier you were telling them that she shouldn't talk to people they don't know?

How do you make them aware of the world around them and the fact that there are bad- and good- people in it without scaring them away from being a part of that world?

There are bad people in this world, we only need to turn on our TV or radio to know that, and we need to protect our children from them but how do we do that correctly?

I want my child to understand the difference between a stranger and someone he really just hasn't met yet but should get to know.  I want him to have a clear understanding of dangerous people and how to stay away from them. 

I don't want my children to be afraid of the world around them and the people in it- I think that's a terrible way to live your life. 

But how do I teach them about stranger danger and how to avoid it and be safe without scaring them?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kindergarten Garbage

My kid loves Kindergarten.  My GOD does he freaking love Kindergarten!??!  And homework.  And library.  And aftercare.  And computer class.  And art class.  And on and on and on!

And thank God for all of that.

But, seriously, is it wrong to ask his Kindergarten teacher to maybe, inadvertently, misplace or (heaven forbid) throw away some of his creations?!  Because at this point, a) my emotional state will not allow me to throw anything away without guilt taking over and b) if I accumulate any more random papers, completed homework assignments, or TIME for Kids magazines, my house is going to look like a recycling plant exploding inside of it!

And if my daughter's pre-school teachers could consider tossing some stuff, too, that'd be awesome!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Sort of Bucket List

A number of months back I posted a list on Facebook that was kind of like my Bucket List but not really because I have no intention of being dead by 35!!  I've decided to cut and paste the exact post/note here and I've made some comments to it. 

I spent the afternoon and evening with my best friend from high school, Kate, and we were talking about turning 30. She mentioned that she and a bunch of her college friends had all gone away to celebrate their 30th birthdays. While they were away they made lists of 30 things they want to achieve by the time they turn 35. Some things were big, others not so much. While our husbands found this idea to be corny, I actually really liked it and I've decided to yoink it from Kate and her friends and make my own!

Thanks for the inspiration, ladies! And here's to a busy 5 years ahead!!

30 Things to do before 35

1. Complete a triathlon- DONE!
2. Complete a triathlon in under 2 hours
3. Get to 165 and maintain within 7 pounds (Want to do this by 31)- Getting There!
4. Sell my house- We're almost on the market!!  WOO HOO!!
5. Finish my Masters and PhD.- This is slightly amended.  I will be finished with my first masters next week!! I've applied for a second Masters program so completing my PhD. by 35 probably won't happen but two masters and on my way to a PhD. is A-OK with me!!
6. Run a half marathon- Looking for an event for the Spring so that I can start training now!
7. Make really good cream puffs (this won't help with #3)
8. Take my kids to Disney World
9. Sing Karaoke in a bar
10. Organize all of my pictures into albums
11. Read a book by Ayn Rand- all the way through!
12. Go to Key West and have my picture taken at the Southern Most Point in the U.S.
13. Plant a vegetable garden that actually produces vegetables
14. Turn in my lesson plans on time every week- This may sound ridiculous to non-teachers or to organized teachers but for me this would be HUGE! Right now, I'm a week behind....not bad for me!
15. Make a piece of clothing for one of my kids to wear- in public.- Really, this is a basic desire to learn to sew!!
16. Jetski
17. Surf- REALLY surf
18. Go to Cooperstown
19. Learn to ballroom dance- not necessarily well
20. Learn how to eat crabs
21. Knit or Crochet a blanket- This may be one of the MOST challenging ones.  My hands DO NOT work the way they are supposed to be able to knit or crochet!!
22. Learn to de-bone a chicken
23. Start my own small business
24. Speak at a conference for educators
25. Either have a 3rd child or make a final decision that we are done having kids
26. Take my kids to Boston and Washington D.C.
27. Become a school administrator
28. Participate in one of the 3-day walks for Breast Cancer

I have two spots left.  I am sure there is more that I would like to do or accomplish but I just can't think of it!  Feel free to suggest away in the comments!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weather Systems

So, when I got married I knew it was going to be hard.  Relationships are hard- regardless of whether or not they are marriages or just friendships.

But no one mentioned how hard it could really get.

I mean like so hard that some days you'd seriously consider prison life because you just can't spend one more minute with this person who, for all intents and purposes, you've promised to spend the rest of your life with.

Yeah, I've been there.

If you want to tell me that you've never been there or at least close to there, that's ok.  That's wonderful for you and your spouse.  I don't necessarily believe you but I think it's great that your marriage is that effortless.

Mine is NOT effortless.  As a matter of fact a few months ago I wasn't sure how much more effort I could put into it.  And I know my husband had similar feelings.

It was just so hard.   SO HARD.  And I really felt like it shouldn't be that hard. 

I was wrong.

There were fights.  There were tears.  There were silent nights and days.  There were long talks.  there was just a lot of everything.  All of those things that come with any type of struggle.

It was hard.  It still is.  There are days- granted very few and very far between- where I'd like to take a permanent trip to a beach somewhere but now it's about implementing the things we learned years ago in pre-cana classes.  It's about the compromise.  It's about the communication.  It's about the trust.  And really, it's about the fact that we do love one another and our life together.

It got hard because we thought it was just so easy.  We let it slip away from us.  We got wrapped up in the life we were trudging through but not really living.  We neglected each other and the individuality we each brought to our relationship.

And is it perfect now?


Not even close!

Is it better?  Is it a work in progress?  Is it back to being healthier?

Yes, a resounding yes. 

I wish that someone had warned me about how truly hard it would get.  How much intensive work and struggle it would take.  I wish I had known it, REALLY known it going in.  I doubt it would have made all that much of a difference but it would have been nice to be able to stop for a moment and say, "Oh yeah, I KNEW this was coming."

But I didn't.  And I don't know how much harder it could get.  But now I see that the storms that we weather alone and the storms that we weather together are no different because it's all part of one big weather system.  And as long as we protect one another in the weather system, the storms will blow by as we battle each one.

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