I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little Gaystory about Proposition 8 (It's not HIS story, but everybody's story!)

The justices uphold the same-sex marriage ban but also rule that the 18,000 gay couples who wed before the November vote will stay married. The decision is sure to spark another ballot box fight.

By Maura Dolan
10:08 AM PDT, May 26, 2009

Reporting from San Francisco -- The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law.

The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights activists say they may ask voters to repeal the marriage ban as early as next year, and opponents have pledged to fight any such effort. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote.

Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the state high court ruled today that the November initiative was not an illegal constitutional revision, as gay rights lawyers contended, nor unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right, as Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown argued.

Only Justice Carlos R. Moreno, the court's sole Democrat, wanted Proposition 8 struck down as an illegal constitutional revision.

Justice Joyce L. Kennard, who voted with the majority last year to give gays marriage rights, joined George and the court's four other justices in voting to uphold Proposition 8.

The case for overturning the initiative was widely viewed as a long shot. Gay rights lawyers had no solid legal precedent on their side, and some of the court's earlier holdings on constitutional revisions mildly undercut their arguments.

But gay marriage advocates captured a wide array of support in the case, with civil rights groups, legal scholars and even some churches urging the court to overturn the measure. Supporters of the measure included many churches and religious organizations.

The legal fight over same-sex marriage in California began in San Francisco in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom spurned state law, and the city began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Long lines of couples showed up to marry and celebrated within view of the court with rice and champagne.

Those marriages sparked a national debate about gay rights and made the marriage question a political issue in an election year. Dozens of states later adopted constitutional amendments to bar same-sex marriage.

Those gay couples who wed in San Francisco later had their marriages rescinded by the California Supreme Court, which ruled that a city could not single-handedly flout state law. But the court said supporters of marriage rights could challenge the ban in the lower courts.

The legal fight moved to San Francisco Superior Court, where a judge struck down the marriage ban as unconstitutional. A Court of Appeal in San Francisco later overturned that decision on a 2-1 vote. The state high court eventually took up the case, which culminated in a May 15 ruling last year declaring gays could marry each other.

Before last fall, California was one of only two states -- the other was Massachusetts -- to permit same-sex marriage.

Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine have since legalized it, and lawmakers in New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire are considering bills of their own.

California's historic 2008 ruling, written by George, repeatedly invoked the words "respect and dignity" and framed the marriage question as one that deeply affected not just couples but also their children. California has more than 100,000 households headed by gay couples, about a quarter with children, according to 2000 census data.

As soon as the ruling was final, thousands of gay couples showed up at city halls around the state to marry, and many flew in from elsewhere for California weddings. While the wedding business was brisk, opponents mounted a heated campaign with the help of churches and conservatives to overturn the court's action.

Even with the court upholding Proposition 8, a key portion of the court's May 15, 2008, decision remains intact. Sexual orientation will continue to receive the strongest constitutional protection possible when California courts consider cases of alleged discrimination. The California Supreme Court is the only state high court in the nation to have elevated sexual orientation to the status of race and gender in weighing discrimination claims.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Repeat after me: "I will have peace and rest..." - Psalm 4

I am feeling a bit discouraged tonight and it is late, so I will go to bed soon-hopefully, I will feel refreshed in the morning. If I had a bit more energy, I would try to read and meditate on the psalms, which are calling to me right now.

Why am I feeling a bit downtrodden? Because California's supreme court upheld Proposition 8 today and I was stuck at my thankless job, instead of being able to protest at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. I feel like my spiritual talents are wasting away, while I try not to be rude to customers while selling appliances that I frankly do not care about at all. (IS it possibe to care about selling refrigerators? I suppose, but I do not...) I am stuck in the retail rut and I feel like a rat in a maze searching for my little bit of cheese...

Here is my adaptation of the fourth psalm - I hope you will also find it comforting:

I can be bold with you, Godde;
Listen to me!
Mercy was once mine-
Let it be mine again!
Hear my prayer-
Act on my behalf!

How long, O you unfaithful,
Will you mock my righteousness?
How long will you seek lies instead
Of loving the truly valuable?

O you faithful, listen to me!
Godde does not appreciate lies and mockery-
You cannot be close to the Almighty that way.

(I, myself, am very close-
Godde, listen to me!)

Be angry, and yet stay righteous!
Focus on your heart.
Be still.

Doubters say, "Who will show us goodness?"
But I say, "Godde, lift up your veil! Let your face shine!"

When my storehouse is full of grain
And I am drunk on wine,
My heart is still not as glad as I am today.

I will have peace and rest,
For You are my stronghold.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If Only I Owned My Own Mexican Restaurant..

I don't tend to like going to Mexican restaurants, which is a shame since they are everywhere in the South. In fact, for years I would refuse to go and it was a very big deal the first time I went to a Mexican restaurant just a few years ago. Now I go fairly often, but unfortunately, I may have to be more careful about going to Mexican restaurants once again, because the heaviness and richness of Mexican food seems to just really upset my entirely too delicate stomach. Which is why.....

I should open my own Mexican restaurant!!!

Okay, not really, but I did make a pretty fabulous burrito the other day with ingredients that did not cause me severe stomach pain! Whoo-hoo! The burrito consists of refried beans mixed with corn, cheese, and mango salsa. The corn gave the beans a great crunchy texture and the mango salsa made the dish pleasantly sweet. It was no trouble to make either, as I am not ashamed to admit that I do not have the patience to make every part of a recipe from scratch and so the refried beans are from a can, as was the Paul Newman brand salsa. (He may have been a great actor, but his salsas and sauces are even better, I promise!)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Images" - A Book Review

A very important aspect of recovery is learning about your disorder, but I have found most material about eating disorders to be 1) extremely triggering, as they describe in detail the self-loathing thoughts and behavior practiced, and 2) written for someone else, i.e. family, friends, caregivers, therapists, the next door neighbor's dog... which does, at least, explain all the heavy descriptions. But I, as a person in recovery from an eating disorder, want a book that is written to be read by me. I want material that is empowering, that addresses the deeper issues, and that does not remind me of the all the harmful behaviors that I already know I can do myself. Fortunately, I found a fabulous book that is not triggering at my favorite bookstore, Charis Books & More, in Atlanta called, "Body Outlaws: Rewriting the Rules of Beauty and Body Image," edited by Ophira Edut.
The book is a collection of short essays by different women and a few men about their relationship with their own body. I could not put the book down! While each person chose to center their essay around a different body part or feature that they felt uncomfortable or awkward about, what the book ultimately reenforces is that everybody in this society has body issues and that the biggest thing that we can do as a society, and as feminists, to break the insanity is for us as individuals to start loving and accepting our own body. A radical notion, I know, but oh, so worth it!
Another thing I love about this book is that the writers are a diverse group, from every race, ethnicity, region, religion, and sexual orientation in the United States. This how the book describes the writers, "The writers assembled here celebrate the body in all its splendored shapes, sizes, colors and textures. In doing so, they expand the national dialogue on body image to include race, ethnicity, sexuality and power-issues that, while often overlooked, are intimately linked to how women feel about their bodies. Body Outlaws offers stories by those who have chosen to ignore, subvert or redefine the dominant beauty standard in order to feel at home in their bodies."
I am also glad that one of the writers is Diana Courvant, who is also a transwoman. Her story, "Strip!" is for me, one of the most powerful. In it, she strips in front of a large group of people, while giving a talk about being trans, in order to show that having a body in transition is not "freakish," which sadly, are using her therapists' own words. Trans people are not freaks and neither are those with disabilities, or who are queer, or who are abormally short, tall, have a large nose, or an enormous butt! We are who we are and that is all we should ever have to be, for that is hard enough.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Psalm 3

Godde, now mine enemies increase their torment!
Many fight me,
Many degrade me.
They announce,
"God will not come to your aid!"

But You, O Godde, are my shield.
You fill me with glory's energy.
You are the one who lifts up my head.
My own voice cries out to You
And You heard me, even while being far away in Zion.

In misery I slept;
I awoke refreshed for
You gave me the miracle that is Your Love.
I will not be afraid of any nation
Who has tried to break me.

Arise, O Godde,
Save me, O my Strength!
For You have made the un-cowered, cower.
You have set the ignorant to silence.

Salvation is in my Godde-
Her blessing is upon me
And upon all her children.
What do you guys think of my rendition of the third psalm? Comments? Questions? Suggestions? If you want to compare my version with the original, you can find the original here: http://ebible.org/bible/Psalms.htm

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! (And to Trying New Foods...)

May 9th was my 28th birthday, though my family did not celebrate it until a few days later when I had the day off from work. (Yes, that's right, I worked nine hours on my birthday! Ugh!) We went to a Mexican restaurant in Decatur called Coyote's Mexican Grill, that while it may not look like anything special, has amazing food. I got a steak burrito covered in a cheese sauce with avocado salad. Yum! Then we went to Charis, Atlanta's independent feminist bookstore in Little Five Points, so I could buy a book that just came out with my birthday money.

It's titled, "Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body" by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. I am very excited about reading this book, as I am a follower of Harding's blog, Shapely Prose. Her blog, with its sharp wit, fierce wisdom, and clever references to literature - I was an English major, after all! - has influenced my whole outlook on life in a positive way. Even more exciting than the prospect of reading this book is that I found out that Kate Harding is going to come to Charis sometime this summer for a book signing! I am SO there!

Unfortunately, due to the weakness of my stomach, the richness of the food, and the fact that I started my period in the middle of the celebratory meal, so that we had to search for a gas station before going to the bookstore, I had horrible stomach pain and we had to leave the store early. Boo! I felt like a party-pooper, but I took a long nap when we got home...

And then it was time for CAKE!!!
My Dad and I had made it together that morning and it was my own idea: white cake mix combined with 3/4's can of apple pie filling. It came out very moist and yummy! I baked it in the oven about twenty minutes and then I put the rest of the pie filling on top. Back it went into the oven for approximately five minutes and when I took it out, my dad sprinkled it with cinnamon. So, all in all, a good and very yummy birthday. There's always next year for something spectacular... :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Second Psalm - Please Critique

Working ten hour days for five or more days in a row is really getting old and is preventing me from writing much that is thought provoking, but I did promise to post one of my new, feminist psalms a week, and that I do have time for!

Why do the nations rage against each other,
And why do their people follow?
Rulers say, "We are separate,"
But their hate binds them together.
Their hate tries to untie the line of love
That stretches from Godde to Her children.

Listen! What is that sound?
It is Godde laughing!
Her mirthful tears tear at the ground,
Absorbing hate's hotness-
Letting Love grow.

I will declare the good news-
I MUST declare Godde's good news!
"LOVE is here!"

I have heard the Holy One's laughter,
So let us laugh together at the rulers
Who cannot tear apart Love's ligaments.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bowling for Recovery - A Gutter Ball Girl No More!

Several weeks ago, a bunch of people from my work got together for a bowling/team building party and to my surprise, I had a really good time! And to my even bigger surprise, I didn't absolutely suck at bowling!

I have never been good at bowling, so I was not really looking forward to the event. I am not good at any sport and I have a lot of trouble remembering the different rules for each activity,so I prefer activities without such specifics, like playing music or writing poetry (free verse). When bowling, I usually get so tired of throwing gutter balls that I completely give up trying at all. I was nervous, because as the newest member of the team, I did not want to be known as "The Gutter-Ball Girl" for the rest of my work days. I had not bowled since high school-my last score of a whooping zero had effectively squelched any desire to try it again!

But I convinced myself to attend the last hour of the get together, but this time, without even knowing it, I had a secret weapon that got me out of the gutter - confidence! I was the only person there still in their work clothes and I did not care. I was the last to attend and I did not care. I barely knew the people and even so, I truly did not care! It was wonderful! Fantastic! I joked, laughed, had a few glasses of beer, and made a few gutter balls...but my score was not zero, but a 58!!! Okay, so it's not great, but it is certainly much better than zero!!!

What struck me the most was that I finally realized that the major reason why I had done so horribly at at least bowling was because I had been so preoccupied with how other people were viewing me that I had no room left in my brain to think about the game. People did not care that I was wearing my boring, all-black work attire and I did not worry that they were staring at my butt. We were, however, watching one of our associate's butt! Whenever Brian would get ready to bowl, he would do this little hopping move, wiggle his butt, and then, voila: score! We all laughed, but we were not making fun-we were just having a good time and I finally realized just how foolish my teenage years had been and I was suddenly so proud of where I am now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Super Salads, Healthy Art

"Laugh, Lettuce, Laugh...In My BELLY!!!"

I used to eat salads all the time, but they weren't anything special. In eighth grade, I would have a bowl of lettuce with a tomato slice or two if they looked ripe enough in the school cafeteria for lunch. It was not incredibly appetizing and never was fully eaten. When eating out, I always ordered salads with everything on the side. Can we say boring?! Besides having vitamin deficiencies, I think anorexics may also suffer from lack of excitement. Knowing this, I think it is completely understandable that I sometimes think of salads with trepidation. As in, not that again!

Well, no more! There are an infinite number of ways to create an incredibly yummy, soul-satisfying salad, as I hope my pictures will prove...

"Very Vegan"

I made this salad for a church Sabbath meal, so that my Vegan friend would be able to enjoy it. It's very simple-just combine a chopped up onion, green bell pepper, a can of peas, a can of sweet corn, a can of french style green beans, sugar, olive oil, and vinegar! (Once I relocate the recipe, I'll give the exact amounts of the last three ingredients...)

"Leftover Lusciousness"

My own recipe! Leftover noodles, 1 can of chicken, cranberries, steamed asparagus, a hefty amount of Zesty Italian dressing, and parmesean cheese. I must say, I was very impressed with myself!

"Happy Lettuce!"

This one was a bit of a cheat... I added mandarin oranges, edamame, and chicken to an already prepared "Asian" salad from the store, which already featured wontons, snap peas, and an orange ginger dressing.

*The top picture is spinach with bleu cheese, bacon, walnuts, cranberries, Zesty Italian dressing, and tropical fruit. My parents loved it, but the bacon and bleu cheese made my weak stomach feel a little ill... Oh, well, - at least the salad's smiling! And I am too, when looking at these pictures and wondering about the next meal that I can share with you...and my very willing stomach, of course!