Tough Love Truth About Obesity

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I remember how refreshing it was when “political correctness” became the buzz word and I no longer had to tolerate subjugating conversations with local perverts & bigots at work.

Then somewhere along the line political correctness became more than just about offensive sex/race talk at work. Suddenly just being honest became a crime, and telling anyone anywhere what they didn’t want to hear became impolite. Denial & enabling became the polite thing to do.

Obesity is the perfect example of this:

I started off hot to trot. Then I took a sedentary job with high metabolism 20 somethings that ate gluttonously and I joined in. We had pancakes almost every morning, and fries with gravy every lunch. I quickly gained 20lbs & some well-meaning men I worked with commented on both my unhealthy eating & sudden weight gain. I was “insulted” because it was “none of their business” and it was “rude that they talk about my weight.” I felt smugly justified in asserting my right to gluttony, free from verbal harassment.

My getting fatter was enabled with “love your curves” media campaigns that set to not just normalize, but celebrate North American obesity trends. Everyone else was getting fat with me, so I wasn’t alarmed at my weight gain.

Then I suffered an injury that left me housebound for a year. The only part of my body that wasn’t betraying me was my appetite, and I consoled myself with McCaine’s Deep & Delicious. I gained 100lbs….in one year. I wasn’t concerned about it at all. If anything I was fascinated at what my body could morph into.

When I returned to work I thought it would melt off but it didn’t. I work long hours, rarely eat at home, and therefore almost never cook. Our dinner diet is a rotation of Swiss Chalet, and every other thing you can have delivered. Lots of highly processed ‘snack foods’ as well.

Three years later and I am as fat as I was when I first got out of bed after my year of convalescence. I am feeling the effects too- joints are crushing, knee/hip pain, out of shape breathlessness, eternal exhaustion etc. Thankfully I don’t get my self-esteem validated by my looks, or I’d really be in trouble, because I look like shit.

When I say this out loud, not as self abuse, but as an absolute fact, women get offended. How dare I call myself fat?!! I must not love myself!

Let me clarify: Its not admitting that I am obese that is self abuse, its continuing to eat like a glutton despite my obesity that is self abuse. People politely telling me ‘you’re not fat, don’t disparage yourself’ are enabling my self abuse. You don’t look at a heroine addict and say, “don’t call yourself a junkie, its just a little poke” Somehow public discourse has this issue confused in many ‘in denial’ women when it comes to obesity.

As a writer for some professional websites, I learned that obesity was causing an economic crisis in an industry you would think was totally unrelated. This industry is a huge economic energizer & the stats I found out were staggering. As a fat person, I felt completely responsible for my part in this travesty. I was completely unaware of how my self indulgent lifestyle was impacting the economy locally & the availability of a needed commodity in developing nations. It made me totally re-think my relationship & sense of entitlement about food. Then at dinner I ate too much & had awful indigestion- mentally I could not let it go. I thought it would be prudent to educate the public on one surprising example of how North american obesity is negatively impacting the population here & abroad. If it affected & inspired me this deeply, maybe it would enlighten others who maybe are just as oblivious as I was, an hour ago.

I submitted the article & it was rejected immediately. I was told it was “insulting to larger people who we know represent a significant portion of the population.” From a business perspective I agreed with their choice to pull the piece, as it could have caused a shitstorm, and that would have been counter-productive to that particular publication. Fair enough, wise PR choice. I get it-totally.

What struck me though, is that suddenly, even mathematical facts are considered inappropriate and insulting. Society would rather decimate an industry that provides employment than have to admit it eats too much crap. WTF?

Maybe its time we wake up and realize a few things:

Its not OK that we are eating ourselves to death. If I was drinking, drugging, or cutting myself to the point of being unhealthy and affecting the economy, there would be an uproar about “my disease,” and rightfully so. North America has gotten so serious about mental health issues, they often go to the point of stupidly criminalizing it. Yet food abuse is looked at differently. Its culturally celebrated in North America.

I believe gluttony is a mental health issue. I believe people who overeat are filling a physiological void, just like someone who can’t just have a drink, but has to get drunk is.
We have no problem discussing the abuse & severity of alcoholism, smoking cigarettes or doing drugs. Yet when it comes to food, suddenly its hush-hush.

1 in 10 Canadians is food insecure & more than 40% of Americans are in severe poverty, yet as a continent, we are still getting fat. This tells me there must be shit in our food that is doing this. Italians & Portuguese LOVE to eat, yet you don’t see obesity rates like ours over there. As a culture, europeans oppose GMO’s & eat mostly from their own or family garden. I eat mostly at drive-thru’s…I’m fat.

The fact that I cannot share honest industry statistics because they would be insulting tells me that North Americans are the grandest sheeple on the planet. Canadians just can’t stand hearing that they are doing something wrong.
There is something wrong that I can get 1000 calories in 10 minutes in this country, while across the world people are starving in refugee camps. Something is fucking wrong with this global picture. It is WRONG.

I have learned over the years that anytime someone has said something that I felt was “insulting” often had a grain of truth to it. Whenever I have been accused of something I truly am innocent of, I might get pissed off, but the word “insulted” isn’t what comes up. Whenever I find myself feeling insulted, I check my ego at the door and try to see the accusation from the perspective of my accuser. I really want to minimize my douchebaggery, and the only way to do that is to look at myself honestly, and accept criticism when its due.

Is it embarrassing to admit I wronged myself or others? Yes. Does it sting to look at my imperfections? Yes. It sucks actually. There is no worse feeling in the world than looking at your faults with blinders off. Good news is that you only have to do it once. Look at yourself once, admit you fucked up, and then you are no longer doomed to repeat the same painful pattern, no longer have to embarrass yourself by being a douche.

Some people are obese due to medical, hormonal, medication issues. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about people like me, who just eat too much crap. I should be making my local farmer rich, not Monsanto.

Dear Canadians: We are fat. We eat too much crap. People on the other side of the world are starving on gruel while we gorge on bacon flavoured cheesecake. Its not fair, its wrong. Our gluttony is causing us medical issues, affecting our health care system & decimating entire unrelated industries. Worst part is, industry experts can’t even tell you about it, because all you do is get “insulted.” God forbid somebody point out a failing about you. We are not perfect. Globally we are a problem.

Its time we own our shit, and for the world’s sake, put the fucking fork down Canada!

I’m Not A Fan Of Chris Brown Either But…

I’m not a Chris Brown fan either but this just has to be said:

I have been in enough ‘publicist’ meetings to know a bit about the game.

I don’t watch the grammy’s, I just don’t care. When there was the hooplah about Chris Brown performing, I empathized with the public’s backlash. To be honest, I only know of him for the wife-beating incident, I doubt I have ever heard any of his music & I find her ‘orally exhausted’ nasal voice as annoying as f*ck.  None of it meant anything to me.

But when the next day , I was bludgeoned with Grammy shit everywhere I looked, I saw pictures of Rihanna looking very “Tina Turner-ish” & I read articles that described her performance as having a Tina Turner style etc….how clever.  So you are meant to be clubbed in the head with the Tina Turner archetype: abused singer getting free & rising to super stardom. Rihanna, you & your umbrella are no where near the class and resonance of Ms Tina Turner.

Juxtaposed with these carefully crafted media blitz programming, was the opposite extreme-a backlash vilifying the allegedly wife beating Chris Brown. He might be a douchebag, sure looks like one. But no matter how big an asshole, every time I read an article that sanctifies her &/or vilifies him, this image comes to mind:

just sayin...

That image looks nothing like Tina Turner.

I have been in abusive relationships, and I know way too many women that were tragic victims of horrible abuse by nasty men-and it sucks. But in fairness, I have also known some very abusive women. Spousal abuse goes both ways & its unfair that male victims are not taken more seriously.

I once knew a woman, about 5 foot 2. Her husband was 6 foot 2. She used to start by talking shit about him & his family. Below-the-belt shit. Then the arguments would start, then ludicrous ultimatums, things would escalate & SHE would start throwing things at him, kicking him in the shins HARD, trying to kick him between the legs, pulling his hair, scratching & pinching him.

She was small, but she was a crazy bitch & she could literally go blow for blow with this man. He would try to deescalate the situation, try to push her off & walk away, but she was like a rabid spider monkey. It was amazing to watch.

Eventually, he would ‘snap’ & finally just have to overpower & restrain her or slap her good to snap her out of it & it would finally stop. She then would say “How could you hit me? I’m a woman!  I’m a victim of spousal abuse.”

No honey, you are both f*cked up & need some serious help.

I wish we could stop micro-niching victim populations.  Violence is shitty-period. The demographic of who is at the receiving end of that abuse is irrelevant. I love that the public abhores violence against women, but isn’t it time we open up our commitment to the wole of humanity, to all living things? Isn’t it time we banish all those in the public eye that represent everything that’s wrong with the world?  The violent, male or female, shouldn’t be the musicians your children sing along to.  If you want to banish Chris Brown from the Grammy’s for being violent towards another, then Rhianna clearly shouldn’t be there either.

I think its time we begin to exalt musicians that happen to exemplify the best humanity has to offer. Let your kids sing the songs written by people that uplift & inspire in positive ways. Let their consciousness be shaped by high resonating artists & musicians instead of media machine inventions created to keep you happy in the ghetto & help you be proud to be an asshole. The media machine helps you glorify the worst parts of your existence so that you fall in love with your shit, so you don’t want to or don’t even think about transcending it. It makes your shit seem OK-normal.

Don’t fall for it, any of it. People are people no matter how shiny their outfits. These archetypes the public worships-its all a lie.

There are some real tragic victims of abuse everywhere-in both genders, ages & species. ALL abuse & abusers should be taken seriously-period.

Back to Chris Brown: Here’s an interesting interview where Whitney Houston discusses being a media target. I believe it applies to Chris Brown.  I don’t believe Rhianna is a better person than Chris Brown, I just think she has better publicists.

I Love Comfort Zone-That’s Right, I Said It!

photo by Maria Gagliardi-rehearsal for my first live art theatre production. All my art/shows/life revolve around music.

Music is the heart beat of my life. Always has been. Its my most loyal companion & inspiration. DUENDE travels through music to the artist. As someone who paints energy, I paint music-I’m only as good as the music I listen to. To me, ‘DUENDE’ music puts you almost in a trance-it takes you over & you are the only thing in existence-just you & the song. The rest of the world disappears–that’s my kind of music.

The Toronto dance scene (for the average person) is heterosexual meat market night clubs where everyone runs around scoffing at each other. I hate that shit. I find that the music in your regular dance club gets muted by this symphonic energy of desperation in the air. Getting is laid is no guarantee for the average hetero, so the bars are full of this “one track” energy that is rather….pathetic actually. People aren’t really dancing. Its this “look at my ass boogie” -it has an ulterior motive-a desperate one. Also, a girl can’t get into a dance zone without some horny asshole trying to rub up against you.

Me & hubby might be funky artist-musicians, but we look like hippies and we’re in our later-thirties. We don’t fit into the 20 something hair gel Axe spray, shiny handkerchief-dress kind of crowd. We also can’t stand hanging around drunks. The women are insecure bitches & the men agro pissing contest jerks. Not our style.

A few years ago life got a bit dull & I was feeling stifled.  I missed dancing. I hate the Toronto club scene, and even if I didn’t, my work schedule just doesn’t allow it.  One day I complained to a friend that I wish there was a rockin nightbclub at noon.  He said, there is!  He said there were these dance clubs that opened after the bars close Saturday nights/sunday morning. People who want to keep going, go there to dance it off-the party continues all day.

Sundays I’m done work at noon. We went straight there & the street was empty, no one was around the entrance. We thought it might be closed.  As soon as we opened the door you could feel the base permeate our bodies. Once we got inside it was like a twighlight Zone. Everything was black with glow-in -the-dark stuff everywhere. I instantly felt I’d be safe. Its only drunks that are dangerous, and these kids were definitely not drunks-this place doesn’t even sell alcohol.  http://comfortzonetoronto.com/

We stuck out like sore thumbs but the music took me over & I ran to the dance floor & danced & danced & danced and everyone treated each other like they knew each other their whole life. I only saw happy friendly people that loved to dance.

My husband says it is so refreshing to meet stranger men that aren’t “sizing each other up” -there is no alpha male in this crowd.

Before going, I heard that this place had a bit of a ‘reputation’ but honestly, I saw nothing that seemed shady to me. Just a bunch of dance fiends. If there was an underbelly scene there, it wasn’t apparent to us. If you aren’t looking for it, its not looking for you.  When people see you just want to dance, there, they let you dance in peace. You are always guaranteed to meet an interesting & wonderful new friend.

My husband felt so comfortable, he actually joined me on the dance floor-something he doesn’t do.  I spent the afternoon dancing & hugging all these wonderful boys and he smiled and laughed at me endearingly the whole time. He “got it” and is the only man in my life that has, or that I could ever do this with.

For some reason we never went back, and then was my injury. For a while I thought I may never dance again.

Lately we have been under a lot of stress & its been getting to me. This morning he said that I have been miserable & he wished there was something he could do to lift my spirits. He said life has been too serious for too long, he thought I needed to have some fun.

“Wanna go dancing honey?”

“When the fuck am I supposed to go dancing?”

“Tomorrow after work. Remember that comfort zone place you loved? How about I take you there right after work tomorrow? Its been a long time since you’ve had some fun. You need this. Please let me take you. ”

I had forgotten about that place!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I started dancing on the spot to no music. lol I’m already in a better mood just knowing I’ll be dancing all afternoon, even with a wrenched knee from my fall the other night. I’m going to dance all the stress off…gone tomorrow! Dancing is an awesome exorcism & remedy. Best part, its in the safety of daylight &  i’ll even be home for dinner! Can’t wait!!

UPDATE: Today was the day. We were there by 12:30pm and I danced & danced & danced. I met some really friendly people that saw I was dancing alone & came right over to dance with me & make sure I had a great time. Unlike the snobby Toronto clubbers, these people didn’t care that I was fat, wearing my wharehouse work clothes & steel toe shoes, that I walk funny from my disability. All they cared about was that I loved to dance!! One of my new friends told the DJ it was my first time dancing since my injury & he lit it up for me!!!!

I had so much fun. SO MUCH fun!!! the staff was friendly, the patrons were friendly. I got to dance when my energy level is at its peak noon-2:30pm (being disabled leaves me so little “vibrant” time.  I can’t stay up late like I used to.)  Today I worked my shift, went to CZ & danced till I thought I’d pass out & was home by 3pm. Where else on the planet can you do that????

The Comfort Zone is truly that for me-a comfort zone. People can make whatever asshole generalizations they want about the place and the people in it.  I LOVE it!! LOVE it!!  Anyone I have ever encountered there was friendly and wonderful.  Its THE ONLY place in Toronto where I feel SAFE & welcome to dance in as a disabled person who doesn’t like an agro alcohol crowd.