Not bad for a fat girl


Daily Prompt: I Pledge Allegiance

DSC00061 2Today’s daily prompt asked, “Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?” My gut reaction is to answer, “Of course I am.” To me, patriotism is an admirable trait.  It is the commitment to one’s nation and the belief that one lives in a country that may not be perfect, but is still a good place to live. I am proud to be an American, and each school day I recite the Pledge of Allegiance with my hand over my heart right along with my students. Well, most of my students. I have students who do not recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Their parents have instructed them not to, as they feel that it conflicts with their religious beliefs. One of these students is from a military family. I don’t doubt their patriotism.

What patriotism is not, at least in my eyes, is a cloak under which people can claim superiority over others. Yes, I’m glad I live in a country that has a fee market economy and a democratic government. I’m grateful for due process and the right to a fair trial. I’m thankful that as a woman I have more or less equal rights as men, and I’m delighted that our citizenry has access to free public education.  I don’t regret paying taxes because I know that these things have a price, and given the choice of paying taxes or living in a nation where I cannot have a voice, cannot practice my religion, and cannot work at my chosen profession, I will happily pay my taxes.

What worries me about the term patriotism, however, is its misuse. Vigilante style “justice” in the name of patriotism is lawlessness, and to me the antithesis of patriotism. I don’t wish to be a “patriot” of the type that seeks to oppress others. Similarly, I don’t wish to be the type of “patriot” that is unable to comprehend that most of the world’s population is not American, and does not do things the way that we do. Patriotism does not equal elitism. Our way is not the only way, and people the world over are proud of their own nations. One need only watch the Olympic opening ceremonies to understand that being a patriot does not require a person to be an American.

So yes, I am a patriot. I am proud of my nation and seek to represent it well, both at home and abroad. But please, don’t ask me to sign your hateful petition in the name of patriotism. You may have the right under the law, but you just don’t understand the spirit of it.


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Oh Those Jeans

Today I wore jeans to work. It’s Friday, and it’s ok to wear them where I work, in fact many of my colleagues wear jeans regularly. For me, it’s more of a special occasion kind of thing.

I was actually excited to wear them, since a few months back I had surgery that totally shifted my bulk around. After my surgery, even my biggest pants were a no go. I could only fit into elastic waists, which, like any fat girl, I already owned. I was less than thrilled with this prospect, but until the end of June I just accepted it. After all, the surgery was early in March, and it took a while to recover. In fact it took a long while. Longer than I expected.

jeans-clean-airDuring that recovery period I started to feel really discouraged. Sure, the surgery fixed the original problem, but now I had a gaping surgical wound (ew, I know), a new weird body shape (to replace the old, weird body shape), and limited ability to do even simple tasks.  I was fortunate though; I was surrounded by people who genuinely cared about me. A dear friend (who happens to be a  nurse) was actually excited about assisting me with my wound care, and my other friends at work insisted on aiding me with all sorts of tasks. They barely let me lift a finger. The children I taught were sweet and cooperative too, making my job as easy as possible.

Eventually, I healed, but it was  June before I finally got fed up. I was physically able to move more, and I had the time to devote to finally repairing more than just a belly scar. This blog was born, and I shouted to the world that it was time for me to move forward.

At the start of this process I could hardly button my biggest jeans. They are in the banner picture. Yes, that is really me. Well, today I wore those jeans to work. And it was awful.

You see, those jeans just don’t fit me. They have become too large. They sag and droop and all day long I felt like they were in danger of plummeting to my ankles. I was adjusting them and hiking them up all day long. Down they would droop again, hems dragging across the floor. They had turned into a great big annoyance. I couldn’t wait to get home and take them off. They dropped right to the floor, to be quickly and happily replaced by their next size smaller counterpart. Ok, maybe they squeeze a little more at the waist than I would like, but they don’t sag, droop, or fall down. I think next Friday they may make their work debut.


Bribing Myself

dog treatIf you’ve ever trained a dog, you know that rewards go a long way. The look of anticipation, the concentration, and the willingness to do something that goes against their impulse is astounding. Given the right treat, my dog would do almost anything I ask of her (except coexist with cats, but that’s a whole different post).

705Treats work great with children too. I’ve seen kids do remarkable things for the chance at a jolly rancher candy. This, of course, was back in the day before the state decided that our children were too obese to have an occasional piece of candy at school.  I know of teachers who have gotten good results with pretzels, animal crackers, goldfish, and m & m’s.  I may have even used some of those myself. The thing is, you can get desired behavior fairly consistently when there is a prized reward available.

img-thingUnderstanding this concept, I decided to apply it to myself. I’ve decided to reward myself at each ten pound milestone. I’ve already lost over ten pounds from my start date, but I’ll call it ten and count from this point forward.  I’ve decided to make my reward something meaningful and beautiful and lasting. What I’ve come up with are beads for my bracelet. I have a Pandora bracelet that is pretty much full, but I also have one that is completely empty. I polished it up and put it on. This weekend I hope to get my first ten pound bead. From this point forward, I hope to commemorate each increment of ten with a new bead. I expect that seeing that bracelet fill in will be extremely motivating. I will have those beads with me, reminding me of where I’ve come from, and how difficult it has been. These beads aren’t cheap, but my health and well being are worth it.  I’m looking forward to bribing myself and building my bracelet.