I Know the Power of the Dark Side

Photo from TeePublic.com

I gotta tell you, after the news of not one, but three shootings in the last 2 months, as well as (and more emotionally jarring for me) the murder of a friend, I understand the power of the Dark Side. I understand the temptation to lean into that power and the strength that comes from my anger. It gives me focus…makes me stronger. (where have I heard that before…)

It’s a righteous response to hearing about a crime that strips innocence and kindness down to a headline in a newspaper. There is power in the feeling, in the emotion.

It’s why the Jedi teach peace over emotion. It’s why they teach serenity over passion.

But today I don’t want peace and I don’t want serenity! I don’t want to seek knowledge. I don’t want harmony. I don’t want to understand or forgive. I want revenge.

I do.

In my heart, in my head, down to my fingertips, in my gut I want swift justice for the men and women mowed down by yet another gunman whose story somehow gets amplified above the stories of his victims. I want swift justice for one of the kindest, most faithful men at my church who was brutally killed. That’s what I want.

The Dark Side calls in moments of high emotion.

The Dark Side seems to have all the answers.

The Dark Side beckons!

But that’s why we (I) have to take extra care to fight for the Light. We (I) have to be vigilant in times of high emotion, in times of pain because these are the times when that Darkness feels comforting. Think of your warm, safe bed. All the lights are off. It’s safe there. It’s comfortable to be wrapped up in that blanket of Darkness and block out all Light.

I’m sure that’s what the congregation of First Baptist of Sutherland Springs wants to do. I’m sure it’s what the citizens of Las Vegas wanted and probably still want to do. And the families of the people mowed down in New York City and on and on and on.

These stories aren’t going away. The world isn’t going to just heal on it’s own. And it is so damn easy to just become numb to it. That’s what the Dark Side will do. It allows numbness to filter in till you can’t feel the pain anymore. And even worse…it tells you that numbness is what you need. It tells you it’s normal.

So, yeah…I know the power of the Dark Side. I feel it, even today, coursing through me. If I could tap into the power of the Force, I’m not sure I’d use my powers for good today. To be honest…it would be a struggle.

But the Emperor hasn’t won yet…the Dark Side has not taken over! The Light is still there and it reminds me of who I am. I use this Star Wars analogy today to add lightness to the pain of these tragedies. But the truth is that these are heavy weights that our country seems to carry more and more of around our collective necks. Salvation rests in believing that we were meant for more and loving beyond our understanding.

The Darkness lets me wish the man who killed my friend would meet with “eye for an eye” justice. But the Light…the Light challenges me to find compassion for the 23 year old who took his own life in a jail cell last Friday after having committed the crime against my friend. One path is much easier…one path is swift and far less complicated. Far less messy. Last week, the Darkness won my thoughts, but today I feel the Light remind me of what is good and pure and beautiful about this world and I think I have it in me to forgive.

One of These is Not Like the Others

Last time I was at Disney World, I walked into the Hall of Presidents at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, this was before it was closed for the big change over, and after the show I walked out with tears in my eyes.

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Photo from Burnsland.com

This majestic and interesting tribute to Liberty’s Leaders is currently being polluted by the addition of a farce of a man. A sheep in wolves’ clothing. It makes me sick to think of his animatronic visage standing in that hallowed hall of ultimately flawed, human leaders. Leaders who were by no means perfect. But leaders who led. Who saw the cracks and did their best to fill them with the education, perspective and backgrounds that each man brought the table.

They did what they could with the time they were given and are remembered with the pomp and circumstance deserving of someone holding the highest office in the land. No President gets it all right. None are loved by all, except maybe George Washington…he seems to do well with everyone (especially the Christopher Jackson version!)

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Photo from bigfloridacountry.com

People argue that our newest President should be given the self same chance to lead that Obama was given… Kennedy was given… Eisenhower was given… Both Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were given… Lincoln was given… and George Washington was given. The very man who, seeing the dangers a longer presidency or a monarchy posed to our young nation, stepped down and joined the history books.

It saddens me to think Trump will be represented among our nation’s public servants. He lied and divided and conned his way into office.

You are entitled to your opinion about it…this is mine.

He does not deserve to stand there. His Presidency is a dangerous one, an incendiary one and ultimately a harmful one to a nation that seems more fragile each day that passes.

My fellow Americans, we are being tested. How will our generation be portrayed in the history books?

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Photo by Melville House Books

Look, I hope Donald J. Trump takes a turn and starts to governs, actually becomes a public servant, actually humbles himself in order to serve in the highest office, actually stops campaigning long enough to start being the leader of the free world. But I have my doubts.

I don’t think we are seeing our finest hour. I think we are witnessing the worst of what we have to offer. Division over unity. Fear over basic liberties. Anger and vitriol over kindness. “Law and order” over basic human decency.

Yep, I stepped out of the hall and had to wipe tears from my eyes. And these words rang in my mind: “The woods are lovely dark and deep… But we have miles to go before we sleep. Miles to go before we sleep, America!

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Land of the Free

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It’s Election Day! I hope you get out there and exercise your right to vote for who you want to be Senator, Congressman, Comptroller…President. You are free to do that.

I’m reading a book called “The Girl with Seven Names” by Hyeonseo Lee. Hyeonseo escaped from North Korea and a brutal life under a dictatorship. She didn’t even know the extent of her own bondage until years later. She lived in fear of things like the mandatory home portraits of Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il getting dust on them and the almost assured punishment that would follow such a disrespectful crime. She lived in a dark world where information was restricted, lest the people of North Korea form free thoughts and opinions. Hyeonseo was not free.51dOIBoNRrL.jpg

My fellow Americans, do not be deceived, we are free. Your life may not be perfect. There’s still work to be done in this country, I’m not saying it’s a perfect world. Your life may not be what you want it to be, but you are free to change it. You are free to speak against our President, against our government, against our very Constitution without fear of punishment or retribution. Hyeonseo was not. She wasn’t even free when she finally escaped to China, constantly under the watchful eyes of the Bowibu looking to bring back escaped North Koreans. Hyeonseo had to watch her back, had to hide in plain sight, had to change her name seven times in the course of her life just to stay alive.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity in this election cycle. A lot of talk about how scary our country has become and how much people are wishing for the “good old days.” I hope you think about what the “good old days” looked like for so many people in this country. For minorities, women, immigrants…they were not good days.

Freedom comes at a price. The price is moving forward. The price is allowance and tolerance and understanding. That is a price that North Korea refuses to pay. And a price that America paid a long time ago. Think before you talk about this great nation. We don’t need to be made great, we already are. And those who are still fighting for rights deserve the chance for the same freedoms that I (a privileged, white, American, female) take for granted.

Reading Hyeonseo’s story has me thanking God for my own, flaws and all. And doubly has me thanking God for my country. This is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Don’t let anyone tell you different. If you spent a day in Hyeonseo’s shoes, you might think differently about this great nation!

Vote well. Vote wise. But most of all VOTE!!

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“O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!”      –‘Let America Be America Again’ by Langston Hughes

Heartbeats

Stop what you’re doing. Just for a  moment…stop. Reach out your hand, doesn’t matter which one. Take the opposite hand and press two fingers to your wrist. Press hard till you can feel your pulse…your heartbeat. That gentle tick tock tick tock. If you can’t find it there, reach up to where your chin meets your neck and press in. Count the beats. Were you just waking from sleep? Did you go for a morning run? Is it slow, is it fast? How fast does your heart beat this morning?

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Now let go. And think about the 2 men who’s hearts no longer beat today. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Think about the 5 cops in Dallas who lost their lives mere hours ago. They had heartbeats too.

Think of the victims who died in Baghdad days ago and in an Istanbul airport days before that and the victims of the Pulse shooting before that. Reach back into our too near past and count the heartbeats that have stopped. Ferguson, Paris, Sandy Hook, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine, 9/11 and on and on and on.

What do these events have in common? There are different evils at work in each case, but there is a common thread. Heartbeats. Hundreds of thousands of heartbeats. The light and healthy heartbeats of children and teenagers. The heavier heartbeats of young, middle-aged and older adults.

It’s true…we have a race problem.

We have a terrorism problem.

We have a gun problem and a bomb problem and a hate problem.

None of which will ever be fixed if we don’t stop and think that the people standing next to us have one thing in common with us….a heartbeat.

I have one…you have one. Alton does not. Philando does not. Stanley and Amanda and Oscar and Aracena and Rodolfo and Antonio and Darryl and Angel and Juan and Luis and Cory and Simon and Leroy and Mercedes and Peter and Juan and Paul and Frank and Miguel and Javier and Jason and Eddie and Anthony and Christopher and Alejandro and Brenda and Gilberto and Kimberly and Akyra and Luis and Geraldo and Eric and Joel and Jean and Enrique and Jean and Xavier and Christopher and Yilmary and Edward and Shane and Martin and Jonathan and Juan and Luis and Franky and Luis and Jerald do not. The cops in Dallas, who’s names haven’t been release yet because their deaths are that fresh, do not.

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Photo courtesy of CityofOrlando.net

Don’t become immune to this violence that is plaguing our country…our world. It would be easy to do. Terrible events like these are becoming more common and our news sources are flooding us with images and video footage and statistics and outrage. This is their job. And I think it’s all they know to do right now. They have heartbeats too remember!

As I’ve said before, I don’t know what to do to fix it. But I know I was given a voice. We all have that in common too. See how alike we are.

I didn’t forget that we’re different. I didn’t forget that you live there and I live here. That maybe you’re a Republican and I’m a Democrat. That maybe you’re an Atheist and I’m a Christian. That maybe you’re gay and I’m straight. That maybe you’re black and I’m white. I didn’t forget.

I just don’t care about what makes us different. I care about what makes us the same. I’m asking you to care about that too.

It’s not enough. Change must happen, we must demand it. That is important. This is the time. But right now, reach your hand back and feel your heartbeat and thank God or whatever you believe in that you still have one today. Cause not everyone does this morning.

It’s sad and it hurts and it’s wrong. I hope you feel all those emotions that remind us we are alive. But more than that, I hope it makes you mad. I hope you get so mad that the demons know you’re coming for them.

And in the aftermath of death and death and death I hope we start preserving and protecting heartbeats. All heartbeats. Mine and yours and his and hers and theirs. They’re all the same.

Hey, we HAVE to start somewhere. Start now.

I Don’t Know About You…

Pray for Orlando

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I don’t know about you, but whenever a horrific tragedy, like what took place this weekend in Orlando…my city, takes place it’s hard for me to collect my thoughts. If my thoughts could be seen they’d look like this…

ANGER

SADNESS

PRAYER

WHY GOD

back to ANGER

a little more SADNESS

And when I sit down to speak about it or write about it, I feel fractured between wanting to find assurance that the world is a way more beautiful place than it feels and not really believing that it is. Fractured between wanting to cry and wanting to scream. Fractured between thanking God for my life and asking Him why things like this happen at all. Fractured between knowing that my everyday life is waiting and wanting to become some sort of vigilante assassin the likes of Elektra or Black Widow.

Lord knows I’m not alone. Take a look at social media right now and see that people are fractured. Spirits are torn apart. And yes, it’s beautiful to see my city come together and rally around the victims and their families. It’s amazing to see the blood banks so full of donors that they had to turn people away. That is an encouraging sight that we cannot forget!! But we also cannot ignore the bigger community of humans that continues to be divided when horrible things happen. Half the country says “get rid of guns,” the other half clings tightly to their weapons. And who is right?

Can we all agree that humans aren’t the only common element in these tragedies. Can we start to talk about other countries that don’t have the staggering statistics of gun violence that plague the whole of America? Can we start holding the human(s) responsible…responsible, not the community that human is a part of, not the religion that human is a part of, not the sexual preference that human identifies with?

I am not the white, American that killed Christina Grimmie on Friday.

And neither are you the statistic that groups you to a killer. If you take up semi-automatic weapons or any other kind of weapon and shoot up a bar of happy people celebrating life…then you are that KILLER. It’s that simple. It should be.

But it isn’t. Why the hell isn’t it!!!??

There’s the bigger issue at work here. The issue of people vs people. Forget the fact that an Islamic extremist shot up an LGBT club. Forget the fact that a white man with 2 guns killed a singer the very night before. Forget the fact that a South Korean shot up a college campus or that a privileged, white, Stanford student raped a girl and is getting off with light sentencing. Forget all that for a moment. Only for a moment because we have a human problem.

Until humans value the lives of other humans above their race, religion, sexual preference, gender orientation, occupation or anything else that divides us as simple human beings, then the blood shed will not stop. 

I read someone who was arguing that if we make gun laws stricter, then we have to take away people’s cars because car accidents cause more deaths than shootings. I think they’ve missed the point. It’s easy to miss the point if you’re looking for reasons to miss the point! The operative word here is accident. Car accidents are horrible and tragic and sad and i wish they never happened to anyone, ever. The difference is that shootings like what happened at Pulse on Saturday night are no accident. No one “accidentally” purchases an AR-15 and then “accidentally” calls the police to “accidentally” align themselves with a terrorist organization and then “accidentally” shoots 50 people dead and wounds 50+ more. Nope…not an accident!

The people who are spreading hatred towards Muslims for being killers and towards the LGBT community for deserving death for “sinful lifestyles” and towards white men for being rapists and black men for being thugs are hardly better than the killers themselves. The lack of respect for human life doesn’t begin when a gun is purchased. It doesn’t begin when the trigger is pulled. The lack of respect for human life begins long before that. It’s in the words we say to one other. It’s in the way we handle conflict. It’s in the way we choose to believe the best instead of assuming the worst. And it’s in the way we respond in the aftermath.

How will you respond?

I implore you…do more. Even if it’s as simple as trying to change your own damn mind about something. Even if it’s simply seeing another person’s point of view, stepping in their shoes, trying to understand instead of sticking your feet in the mud and holding your ground come hell or high water.

“The time is always right to do what is right!” You know who said that? Martin Luther King, Jr. You know how he died? From a gun shot. Do you think that would have changed the message of his life of non-violence? Would he have bought a gun if he knew he’d die from one?

I would never suggest you lose your right to bear arms. It is Constitutional. I’m simply saying there’s something missing in the Constitution. The right to live. Is that not more important? Is that not something we can agree upon? I’m scared that the answer is no. And that is not encouraging at all.

I don’t want to end on a note of sadness. I like to keep it upbeat. But I don’t think I have it in me to turn this one around. So I’ll simply end by saying that I love you.

What color are you? I DON’T CARE.

What do you believe? I DON’T CARE!

Where do you come from? I DON’T CARE!!

Who do you love? I DON’T CARE!!!

I believe in you. I think your life is worth living. I just love you!

Farewell Downton

Downton Abbey finale PBS blog post

Last night we said goodbye to Downton Abbey after 6 seasons of shocks and awww’s. It has been a wild ride. And I can’t help feeling that we (the fans of Downton) will be hard pressed to find a replacement for this show! There is really nothing else like it out there. And while PBS promises new and exciting programming in our future, unless it’s a Downton Abbey spinoff, I just have my doubts since the bar has been set so high.

Downton Abbey finale PBS blog post
Photo from PBS.org

With that being said, I have some ideas for Downton Abbey spinoff concepts that I think PBS should really be considering. Here they are…

Finale spoilers ahead… 

Charlie and Elsie

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Photo from PBS.org

The madcap story of Carson and Mrs. Hughes after life at Downton Abbey. I’m thinking they finally open that bed and breakfast they were talking about and adventure ensues. Think of all the wayward stragglers that Carson would have to contend with. It has Emmy written all over it!

Lady Rose Takes America

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Photo from RadioTimes.com

Lily James is primed to take over the world right now after the successes of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So why not throw her a spinoff? She and Atticus go back to America where they are raising their daughter, Victoria Rachel Cora Aldridge. Rose being Rose, she would absolutely be in the thick of it over there, probably in New York City. And while there she would obviously hook up with Shirley Maclaine’s Martha Levison. Sure, they aren’t actually related by blood or even marriage, but everyone is family when it comes to Downton Abbey and I’d love to see the sparks fly when Rose and Martha interact.

Isobel and Violet

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Photo from LivingAnalog.com

No one deserves a spinoff more than Lady Grantham and her (begrudging at first) bestie, Violet Crawley. Sure, Isobel is primed to marry Lord Merton, but this duo would undoubtedly remain close. They have been through so much together and have come so far in this hilarious and tumultuous friendship. They deserve second life! Perhaps they start solving murders in England. Not sure what they would be doing, but I know that they should be doing it together and that it would be amazing!

The Manny

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The finale of Downton Abbey finally saw a happy Thomas Barrow…FINALLY!! Sure, he’s taken over as head butler for Carson, but I think he’s better suited as Master George’s manny. Imagine the absolute adorbs that would come from that pairing! Outings in the park, visits to the city and hopefully one day, Thomas would find romance with someone special pushing the limits of the time period.

Talbot and Branson

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Photo from thecultureconcept.com

Branson has long been my favorite character on Downton Abbey. And while Henry Talbot is no Matthew Crawley, I have come to like him and appreciate his friendship with Tom. The fact that they are now in business together makes this concept the easiest of all to accomplish. Mary would obviously make an occasional appearance to check on her husband and her, I’d venture to say, best friend. The automobile industry in the late 1920’s going into the 30’s would make for incredibly interesting story lines.

Downton Ghost Stories

Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley Downton Abbey finale PBS blog post
Photo from stereogum.com

Of course there’s the guilty pleasure spinoff that sees the return of the favored dead. Matthew Crawley and Lady Sybil return to haunt the halls of Downton Abbey. It would have to be funny because anything else would just be wrong. Sure, it’s the least plausible of the spinoff concepts, but you can’t fault me for trying!

What did you think of the Downton Abbey finale?

Fear and Hatred in America

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I am baffled. I am disillusioned. I’m super confused. And there’s one word that can sum up all my feelings…TRUMP.

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Photo from BusinessInsider.com

Someone please explain to me what the actual hell is happening in our country right now? How can anyone get behind the hate-mongering that Donald Trump has been spreading since the beginning of his campaign. Are we so desperate for something different that we’ll just accept the first racist, bigot that comes along and shouts…”Make America Great Again.” Sounds a lot like “Make America White Again” to me.

It’s true. America is a great nation. A nation of freedom and opportunity, where a person with a dream can come here and have a chance at seeing it realized. What will happen when we start erecting walls and kicking people out? What kind of dreams can we expect from a nation that is ruled by fear and hatred instead of dreams and aspirations.

I don’t like to get overly political in my blog posts. This is a happy place where I like to gush about Star Wars and Disney and Marvel and Jane Austen. A place where happy thoughts live. It’s hard to think happy thoughts when the prospect of a Trump presidency is even remotely possible.

The scene at his victory rally in South Carolina can be described as nothing short of scary. Trump shouts, “Mexico is killing us — absolutely. We’ll do the wall. Don’t worry. We’re going to do the wall. We’re going to do the wall and by the way, who’s going to pay for the wall?”

And the crowd shouts, “MEXICO!” 

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Photo from Humanismandculture.com

This scene conjures up the image of a young charismatic Adolph Hitler screaming about how the Jews were killing the Germans. That they needed to be eradicated. People adored Hitler and believed Hitler and were devoted to Hitler. The way people adore and believe and are devoted to Trump. They take his words as truth. And no matter what he says, they give him passes. They let the bar drop a little more every day. And no, I don’t think the comparison is undeserved or harsh. I think it’s spot on.

If you believe that Donald J. Trump is a follower of Christ, then I call into question your definition of a Christian. Christ spoke of peace. He spread words of love. He talked about loving God above all else and loving our neighbors second of all.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12: 30-31

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Photo from Slideshare.net

No commandment greater than these. Guess who our neighbors are…

The thing about harkening back to the golden age when America was “great” and ISIS didn’t exist…America was not without troubles in the “golden age.” Women didn’t have rights, African American’s didn’t have rights. Anyone other than white males didn’t have rights. There was a Civil War. There was slavery. There were 2 World Wars. There were concentration camps on American soil for the Japanese. There were assassinations and an arms race with Russia. There was a war in Vietnam and a war in Korea. Let us not forget the struggles that America has gone through to get to where we are today. America will never be without troubles.

See, we live in a sinful world. Plain and simple. And as long as we are humans, that sin will remain. The best we can hope to do is confront that sin with understanding and love. Not anger and suspicion and hatred. That’s not the kind of country I want to be a part of. That’s not the country I love. When America becomes something unrecognizable, what will we do to change the tide? What will be required of it’s citizens to uphold the freedoms that all men and women deserve?

America was never without greatness…what America are you living in, Mr. Trump?

Girls Do THIS, not THAT

Lately, H (9 year old girl twin) has been struggling with what it means to be a girl. Traditional gender roles don’t appeal to her. She doesn’t like pink. She rarely wears dresses. She loves to skateboard and she has the trendiest short hair cut that’s ever graced a 9 year old’s head. She could easily be a Jolie-Pitt.

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Her short hair causes people (mainly elementary and middle school boys) to mistake her for a boy sometimes.

I asked her if it bothered her when they called her a boy. She said, “not really, it just makes me uncomfortable. Cause I really am a girl, Lizzie.” My heart almost broke. This precious girl is starting to find out what it means to be pressured by the world. And that it’s a tough hill to climb. How dare the world start in so early. She’s only 9 years old, for Pete’s sake!!

I told her that these kinds of things happen to everyone. Even me. I told her that plenty of people think girls don’t like Star Wars and superheroes and ninja turtles. I told her some people think that I should be married with kids by now. That maybe I should have a “steady” job and a 401K. But I walk to my own beat and so does H.

I don’t know if that helped her at all. I sort of hope she comes into her own in the not-giving-a-damn-about-what-people-think department. It’s so much better than way!

The other day when we were skateboarding home from school, she took a tumble and as she got back on her skateboard she looked up at me and said, “I fell off cause girls aren’t as good at skateboarding.” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me? Girls aren’t what now??” She laughed and said, “I take it back! I take it back!!”

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She knew it wasn’t true, but it was still her first instinct. To write it off. Classic “girls can’t” syndrome. I thought this wouldn’t come till much later, but I guess the self doubt is starting earlier and earlier in kids these days. (Kids these days? I’m officially 500 years old!!)

I don’t want this for her and she’s not even my own child. I want whatever she does to be what it means to be a girl. I want the same for boys. I want her to be able to have the freedom that America offers. Doesn’t that extend to our youth?

Who made these archaic rules anyways? Who decided that long, Disney-channel length hair and a love for all things pink made you a girl? I thought all you needed to be a girl was the mechanics. Time to change it up, America…WORLD! I think we’re on our way, but we still have quite a ways to go.

Tell me again what girls “can’t”do??!!

Healthy is the New Sexy!

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

We have a big weight problem in this country. And it’s two fold. Obesity is an epidemic that continually plagues us. Big Mac, Extra Large, Super Sized. In America, our mantra is usually “Bigger is better.” This is not reflected in the media. As our movie stars get skinnier and skinnier, the rest of America embraces extra helpings, because, “Hell, we’ll never look like that anyways. So why not!”

But even someone as gorgeous as Cindy Crawford is the first to admit that she doesn’t even look like “Cindy Crawford” in the privacy of her own home. It’s a myth. An illusion. (Read her article from Redbook Magazine 2009: Click here)

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Photo Credit: Vogue Magazine 1988

And to be honest with you, I bought into it early on and have continued to struggle with it ever since.  6 years ago when I was working at a certain famous New York bridal salon, it was worse than it ever had been or would be.

The fashion industry is brutal for a chubby, Southern girl with a deep love of apple pie and Coke slurpees. The pressure can get the best of you and definitely got the best of me. Now, it could have been a whole lot worse, but it was bad enough to require an intervention from my friends at the salon.

The truth is, I felt fat. All the time. There was a constant stream of food always available to us. And “bad” food like chocolate cake, cheesy fries, and an endless supply of gummy bears. When you’re going as fast as we went, you’ll eat whatever is in front of you.

My weight hit an all time high at 198 pounds. So I decided to try an “herbal” remedy I’d seen a commercial for. It was called Hoodia. It’s an African cactus and it promises to “trick your brain into thinking you’re full.”

Yes. It curbed my hunger, but it also had me going about 100 miles an minute and my heart constantly felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. But it was working. I lost weight. And inevitably, everyone around me kept telling me how great I looked. So I chalked it up a success!

At one point I think I was taking 6 or 7 pills a day. If that wasn’t enough, I also did that lemon, cayenne pepper, maple syrup cleanse for a full 10 days. And I lost another 15 pounds. Triumph!

For all I could tell I was doing something that was working and was garnering the desired effect. People noticed the difference and were pleased with the skinnier, unhealthier, “sexier” me. I couldn’t see that I had developed an eating disorder!

Thank God for great friends, who saw what was happening and told me it had to stop. I got off it, promptly gained all the weight back and then went about trying to lose it the healthy way. With exercise and eating better. (What a revelation!)

The sad fact is that every time I get the flu or food poisoning or something, I’m secretly grateful for the little extra weight loss. The feeling of my hip bones sticking out a little more than usual. It’s a battle I fight constantly and probably always will. But now it’s one I feel like I’m winning. And the majority of the time when I look in the mirror I see someone who looks healthy. Not fat or skinny! I have strong legs that carry me all over this beautiful city. I have a body proportionate to the size of my head (I looked like a bobble head when I lost all that weight.) And I am proud of my body and what I can do with it! Finally.

And I’m happy to say that my goals reflect a much more balanced viewpoint.

Photo Credit: Tacfit
Photo Credit: Tacfit

Stay tuned for more from this Avenger in Training!

And share your thoughts below. I’m not the only one who deals with this. Don’t struggle in silence.