Super Bowl Sunday

I’m not one for watching the Super Bowl.  Not even when I was living in the Chicago area and the Bears made (and won!) the Super Bowl.  Football (and well, any sport really) just isn’t my thing for watching.

But one thing I love is seeing all the yummy snacks people come up with for Super Bowl Sunday.

If I were watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, I’d want to make this, because it looks so yummy.  And because I love the Pioneer Woman and how she writes. 

These also look good, but I think I’d be the only one to eat them.  The husband isn’t very much into spicy foods which shouldn’t be spicy, and MiL is not able to eat spicy foods at all anymore.

And while this isn’t something I’d serve at a Super Bowl party, it looks like something that was a traditional Christmas breakfast when I was living with the parents.   I really want to make it.  Since I’m not watching the Super Bowl, Sunday might be the time to try this out and see if it’s close to the same recipe, or what I remember of the taste.  Of course, the last time I had that pie was almost 30 years ago, so how will I know if it tastes the same or not?

Are you watching the Super Bowl?  If so, what snackages do you have planned for the day?  Anything special?

Techniques for Building Self Esteem

A while ago, Starfish asked for techniques for evicting negative voices when they showed up.    So, here goes my ideas!

Please remember that I am not a trained anything (counselor, psychiatrist, etc) and so these suggestions I make are only that, suggestions.  They are what has helped me in the past, and still help me today.  These suggestions are helping me now, as I rebuild my self-esteem.  I hope they will help others as well.

The first step really is to recognize what the voices are saying is a lie.  Yes, I know I covered this before, but it’s really the basis of evicting those voices.   Do research on the things ‘everybody knows’ (such as being fat causes any number of fatal diseases).  Find out the truth.   It is critical that you find out what the truth is.  Go to the CDC and find out that deaths from the so-called fat related illnesses dropped in the past year, while the reported instances of obesity increased.  Look up when the BMI was changed (1997) arbitrarily to make more people “overweight” and “obese” who hadn’t been previously.  Find out who funded the studies that ‘show’ that the “fatz r ZOMG going to kill us all!”  Take the 45 minutes it takes to find out who the ‘experts’ are on the ‘study’ that shows that fat people cause global warming and all the ills of the world.  Knowledge IS power.

Then use the truth every single time the negative voices come up.   Use the research you’ve done to shut down the voices.  It is a concious effort to recognize the voice and to counter it, especially at first.   Once you realize that you are going into the same thought patterns, use the research you’ve found, the truth, to break the hold the lie has on you.  Example:  You think about how you are going to die if you don’t lose weight due to high blood pressure/chance of stroke or heart attack.  You counter with the research that shows being overweight can increase the chances of surviving a heart attack or stroke. 

If your voices have to do more with the subjective side (ie, you are ugly, nobody would want to be around you, you are stupid because you are fat, etc), it’s a bit tougher.   Because everybody has different opinions of what is beautiful or pretty.   And no matter what the standardized IQ is, people are usually pretty subjective about what equals stupid and what doesn’t.  But there’s still way to shut down the negative voices.

If you are in a healthy relationship, you can use that to help.  If your significant other doesn’t have an issue with your looks, then you are not ‘ugly’.  Yes, I know, this is still using other people’s opinions to form your own, but it’s baby steps.  I found it impossible to suddenly believe I was not ugly on my own.  I had to first realize that my husband really DID see me as being beautiful. 

The thing that caused me to finally realize he saw me as beautiful was a conversation we had one day.  We were both dressing up for something (going out to dinner or whatever) and he told me how beautiful I looked.  I discounted his view and told him that he needed to get new glasses, as he obviously couldn’t see out of that prescription.  He became really quiet, and after a minute, he told me that every time I discounted his opinion of my beauty, I hurt him.  He asked me why strangers’ words had more sway with me than he did.  He demanded to know if I thought he was lying, and if so, what I thought he’d get out of lying.  After all, we were already married.  It wasn’t like he was trying to flatter me so we’d have sex.  I saw the hurt, and the anger.  And I realized he was right.  I apologized that night, and promised I would try never to do that again.

It was a tiny, baby step, but after that, every time he told me I was beautiful, I didn’t deny it.  I even said thank you (because that really is what one is supposed to say to a compliment, who knew), and let the thank you stand alone.  Yes, in my head, I was still denying it.  I was still thinking things like “if he thinks I’m beautiful now, what would he think if I lost 100 pounds”.  But I never said it anymore.

That leads me to another thing, I don’t know how other people’s brains work, but mine seems to give credence to things that are spoken.  So, if I hear “You are beautiful”, my brain ‘says’:  It’s been said, that must mean it’s valid.   It doesn’t matter who is saying it.  It could be my husband, a child, my grandmother, friends, or myself.  On the other hand, if I hear “You are ugly” my brain will believe that too.  And the way my brain works, if I say something negative about myself, my brain believes it even more because I said it.

By not saying it, I stopped verbally reinforcing the negative thoughts.

And the most important thing for me, is to always go back to the very first step:  I am okay just were I am.  Repeat that to yourself over and over until you understand it emotionally.  Because that really is the first building block to healthy self-esteem.

Also, this is something that may take time.  After all, believing the lies didn’t happen overnight.  Neither will believing the truth.  Just keep repeating “I am okay just the way I am.”  Because you are. 

And so am I.

It must be a slow news day

You’d think with all the changes President Obama is making, they’d not rehash old news.

Apparently, the Today Show is reporting on the adenovirus that may increase people’s chances of “catching teh fatz!”

For once in my life, I actually wrote on something BEFORE it became the newest thing!   Fat Virus?  At the time I wrote on this, the beggining of December, I was four months behind the times.  So that makes this now about 6 months behind the times. 

You’d think the staff on the Today Show would be more up to date than this.  You’d think the staff on the Today Show would do more research… oh, what am I saying.  It’s the Today Show, after all.  They aren’t exactly known for leading edge journalism.  Unfortunately, now that it’s been on the Today Show, there’s probably going to be a lot more “omg! u r so fat!  stay away!  I don’t want to catch it!”

Like we didn’t have enough of that already.

Miss America, 2009

After a long day Saturday (up at 6:15am, finally to bed at midnight or so), I had planned to sleep in on Sunday.  I managed to do just that, until the power went off.  I use a CPAP to sleep at night (altitude induced sleep apnea), and when the CPAP went off with the power, I couldn’t breath.

After finding out that the electric company did indeed know about the problem and were working on it, I sat with my mother-in-law talking about stuff, until the power came back on.  At that point I started reading a book and the MiL started watching TV.  She turned it onto whatever station had run the Miss America contest and was rerunning it this morning.

I have a few things to say about it:

One, for the time I was reading the book and MiLwas watching the rerun, there were no diet commercials.  I was impressed.  She was watching the show for a good 45 minutes before I decided to check email.  That’s pretty good to not see one diet commercial in a contest designed to pick the one person out of 50 that would be held as the epitome of beauty for all women in the country.

I was also impressed by the fact that none of the women I saw (and we came in right before the swimsuit elimination) were so skinny that one could count their ribs.  All the women had curves, some had more than others. 

However, on the subject of the swimsuit elimination, whoever the host was said the swimsuit elimination was about health (and a couple other things).  I’m sorry, with the bikinis the women were wearing and the amount of skin they were showing, that had nothing to do with health.  Not that I’m a prude, I don’t mind if a woman wants to show skin, she has the right to do so.  But to equate “thin and in a bathing suit” with health?  Yeah, made me laugh, and then argue with the TV.  

Because we all know how thin does not necessarily equal healthy, just like fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy.

The final thing I noticed was that most of the women looked the same.  Same facial shape.  Same hair style.  Same body shape.  Same-ish height.  There was very little distinguishing one woman from another.  The one woman who’s face was different (not un-pretty, just different from the rest) was eliminated after the swimsuit competition.  I think that is a sad commentary on our society.  Out of 50 different states, as well as DC, that the ones who made it into the top 12 all looked alike.

I gave up attempting to read my book and halfheartedly watching during the talent competition.  So I still don’t know who won.   And really, if somebody told me her name and the state she came from, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything at all about her.  However, if you described her dress for the evening gown competition, I might remember.  Hey, what can I say, I love to see beautiful clothing, and some of those gowns were exquisite!

Saturday Fluff — Video game review

This is an old video game, it’s been around for years on Neopets.  The game is called Ice Cream Machine.

Now, with a name like that, you would think the story going with the game would be about making ice cream, maybe the ice cream machine goes haywire or something.  But no.

Ice Cream Machine:

Adee the Chia has been eating too much Ice Cream. Ice Cream for breakfast, Ice Cream for lunch and Ice Cream for dinner. In fact, she has eaten so much that she’s starting to get some pretty strange dreams! In her latest one she is trapped within a giant Ice Cream Machine, and must dodge the killer scoops that are trying to hit her… this time the Ice Cream is out for revenge!

 

The character icon used is one of a girl chia who’s short and stocky.  Not necessarily a problem, but because of the description, it leaves me wondering if the chia got that way because all she eats is ice cream.  The game plays like a reverse “Frogger”.  Instead of trying to jump on the logs, the player has to avoid most of the ice cream scoops that are being shot out of nine ice cream cones.  As you advance levels, the ice cream speeds up.
There are a few things you want to get, though.  The pink scoop with the heart is an extra life.  The red scoop with the minus sign (or dash) makes the scoops slow down so you can avoid them better.   The purple scoop with the small chia on it makes Adee 1/2 her size. 

 

Now, the good thing about this scoop is that she doesn’t just get thinner, but she is made smaller by 1/2 all the way around.  Also, as many times as it shows up, you can run over it and become smaller and smaller.  
For the game, that’s sometimes a really good thing.  For the message it may give (to continue growing smaller), not so much. 

 

There’s also a cherry scoop which gives 100 extra points and a fish which gives 250 extra points.  Because, we don’t know what good food is and we have to be given a bunch of extra points for ‘eating healthy’, right?

 

For play, the game is a good game for children, they will get points and not get discouraged too fast, the first three or four rounds being relatively slow.  It does teach good hand-eye coordination.  Adults would like it to, as the further you go in rounds, the more challenging it gets, both in how fast the scoops are released and how many scoops you have to dodge.

 

All in all, it’s a fun game.  I play it every so often, when I’m wasting time, trying to build up neopoints for my two neopets to spend on in world items.  Too bad they had to put that story to it.

 

(Sorry about the weird formatting, WordPress kept trying to collapse my paragraphs after the cut and pasted part unless I hit return twice.)

The Trouble with Falling off the Horse

Is that it’s so hard to get back on.

For me, self-esteem isn’t easy.  I had to fight for every inch of ground I took.  It took many years to get to the point I’m usually at, and I’m usually happy I’ve gotten this far.  The problem is, when I fall off that horse, it’s so hard to get back on.

This holiday season has been harder than most for me and my self esteem.  Some things have happened that caused me to revisit those old tapes, the ones that tell me how terrible I am, how insignificant, how I won’t amount to much, how I’ll never be successful, how I’ll end up in prison for murder.  (Yes, all of those things were said to me as a child, over and over.  Even the last one.)

When troubles hit, the easy thing for me to do is to listen to those “voices”, to give in and believe what they are saying again.  To embrace the fail, so to speak.  And once I’ve embraced the fail, once I’ve given in and let one of the messages take hold again, it opens the floodgates and, as the saying goes, “my mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

I’ve fought hard to identify the lies from the truth.  I’ve fought inch by precious inch to realize that I’m not scum.  It has taken me a very long time to realize that I’m not deserving of scum, and that I don’t have to be grateful for every pitifully small morsel of attention (much less affection) I’m ever shown.  It took a lot of hard work, but I have learned that I don’t need to stand for being abused, called names, or anything else negative.

Yet, it still happens sometimes that the familiar way, the easy way, pulls me back in.   When that happens, it’s harder to pull myself out because I have a new thing to add to the “voices”.  The fact that I even fail at having self-esteem.

Yeah, I know, it’s absurd when typed out, but it’s what happens.  “I’m so much a failure, I can’t even succeed at something as easy as self-esteem.”

Except, the fact that I still struggle so hard with it, shows it’s not easy.   At least, not for me.

As a species, humans seems to need affirmation that they are good, that they are worthwhile.  That their efforts mean something (even if the effort is just sweeping the floor or making lace).  As a species, we seem to be social creatures.  Cut us off from the tribe, and we will usually do whatever we can think of to come back into the tribe.  (Of course, I’m not talking about people who are what used to be called sociopaths.)  In a healthy environment, this need for validation, acceptance, affection is a good thing.  It helps us to fit in better to the norms of society.

Unfortunately, the world isn’t generally a healthy environment.  Dysfunction is all around us.  Unfortunately, trying to fit into a dysfunctional society only makes us dysfunctional.

It’s hard to accept that I’m perfect, just the way I am.  I see so many things I have to fix.  I see so many areas I need to improve.  And yet, I’m okay just where I am.  Even if that means I’m following my own flute (heck, I don’t even follow a drummer).  Even if that means I fail at self-esteem.

And that is where I can get back to rebuilding the self-esteem.  When I get to the point where I can say “Those voices maybe right.  I might be a failure.  I might be scum and not worth anything.  I might even murder somebody and go to prison.  But I can accept that is where I am right now.”  When I can get to this point, I can start to re-travel those steps.

Am I a failure?  Maybe in some peoples eyes.  Am I scum?  I know a few people who look at my body shape and think so.  Am I deluding myself that I’m healthy?  Possibly (just because all my empirical numbers may be fine doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t have a heart attack ).  Will the world take away affection, validation, or acceptance because of my looks or my voice or my lack of profession?  Maybe. 

And yet, even if all that happens, I am still okay where I am.

Right now, I’m walking that horse, but at least I’m on the road, and since I’ve been on this road a couple of times, I know the terrain.  Eventually, I’ll be able to get on the horse again and cover more territory.  But for right now, walking the horse is a good place to be.

Because, even if the “voices” are right, I’m still okay where I am.

Better Dead Than Fat

I like reading the search engine searches that lead people to my blog.  Sometimes, it’s entertaining to figure out how a search engine would use the criteria and point to me, like the one for “carribean fruitcake”.   Then there are the WTF moments, like the one asking for a specific porn. 

But then, there are the ones that cause me to shake my head.

I had one of those the other day.  The search input was “54% of women would rather be hit by a tr” (wordpress only gives so many keystrokes of the search, but I can guess the end of it).  Now, I just googled to see if I could find that statistic, and couldn’t find it.  I’ve found a couple references to that statistic, most prominently a post on Shapely Prose that had a YouTube movie produced by TriDelta.  But the original study or poll finding showing those numbers eludes me. 

It doesn’t matter whether the statistic is right.  What matters is that people actually think it’s better to die than be fat.  Because getting hit by a truck (especially if you aren’t protected by a car) is a sure way to die.

Why do so many people think it’s better to be dead than fat?   

To believe it would be better to be dead than fat negates the health issue argument that most fat people hear from concerned friends, families, strangers on a bus.  You know, where people say that it’s so unhealthy to be fat, that teh fatz will kill, does kill every single day.  Yet, isn’t being dead a lot more unhealthy than being alive but having high blood pressure?  Or bad knees?  Or sinusitis?  (Yeah, that last one comes from an acquaintance of mine who has regular bouts of sinusitis, but has been told by her doctors that she just needs to lose weight and the sinusitis will go away.)  

Now, maybe I’m just crazy (and that’s always possible), but I’d much rather be alive, and living with any disease, than be dead.   High cholesterol can be lowered.  Diabetes can be controlled.  Busted knee joints can be repaired or replaced.  Dead?  That’s permanent.

Please don’t take this as me being callous about truly terrible diseases.  I know about senile dementia and how it changes a person.  My grandfather had senile dementia for a few years before he died, most likely due to cumulative effects of some minor strokes.  My mother-in-law is suffering from that now.  I know about auto-immune diseases that make a person live with severe consequences of the disease.   I’ve known people who had cancer (both who survived, and who didn’t survive).  I know a man who died of an extremely aggressive, extremely rare cancer.  I’m not being callous here.  There are some diseases that are terrible and make a person yearn for death.  And if the phrase had been “I’d rather be dead than have *insert terrible disease here*”, I’d completely understand.  Heck, I told my husband, soon after the day my grandfather didn’t remember me, his eldest granddaughter, the one he raised for 11 years of my childhood, that I’d rather he shoot me than let me ever get to that condition.  So I am not unsympathetic to real suffering and the desire to end it.

Contrary to the above, to say “I’d rather be hit by a truck than fat” actually shows what I’ve been seeing and saying for a little while.  Fat fear, the obesity epipanic, is not at all about health.  If it was about health, they wouldn’t use something that was sure to kill you.  That’s like saying “I’d love to catch cancer so I can lose weight.”  Oh, wait, they do.  Never mind then.

Why is being thin so much more important than being healthy?  That’s really what it comes down to.  And no, if people really wanted to be healthy, they wouldn’t say they would rather be dead than fat.  Because people can be healthy while overweight (contrary to popular propaganda), but nobody can be healthy dead.

Anybody got any answers for me?  I’m drawing a blank here.