|November 30, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
I bought a Christmas tree for the first time! Or maybe a holiday tree. A winter tree? I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, and I have no intention of starting.
I do love celebrating the seasons, and having an evergreen tree in my living room is kind of magical.
I don’t even have any ornaments to put on this thing yet, but I’m busy making a garland. I look forward to decorating it sparsely this year and watching a collection of ornaments grow through the years.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas or other religious holidays, what kind of winter traditions do you have?
|November 17, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
I can’t help it; my mom sent me more great photos she took yesterday!
This one is my favorite because you can see my and Joshua’s upturned faces of wonder reflected in the glass:
The jellies were awesome! They had lots of different kinds and several different displays.
I think Dylan dug the wooden penguins better than the real ones!
The butterfly garden was one area I wished I could spend a lot more time in. There were so many different kinds, swooping around, and hiding out here and there. Maybe sometime when Dylan is older we can take a more leisurely visit, because being so close to butterflies and really getting to watch them is really amazing.
|November 16, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
We are recovering from a long and lovely day at the Tennessee Aquarium.
We got to hang out with one of Dylan’s grandmas, watch Dylan run exuberantly from one exhibit to another, and we finished up by having a blast at a Chuck E Cheese.
Here’s one delightful pic of Dylan enraptured by sharks:
|November 13, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
Today was a big day. Dylan had his first day staying with someone who’s a stranger (it went great), and I had another therapy appointment (it involved lots of crying).
I’m all brained out at the moment, so that’s your whole update for today.
Here, have a selfie:
Did you know you can follow me on Instagram?
|November 8, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
Having friends in high school that you then never see again has always seemed like a normal kind of relating to me. Going to your 20 year high school reunion and gawking at how everyone has changed is a cultural meme.
It seems like Facebook must be changing that now. If you friend your high school friends on Facebook, presumably you don’t unfriend them all when you graduate. People probably don’t unfriend all their coworkers if they move jobs. It seems that there is likely a greater continuity of social threads for people growing up with Facebook.
When I started friending high school friends on Facebook, we hadn’t seen each other in well over a decade, and that was really, really strange. We would exchange a pleasantry or two, and then I’d be hearing about their breakfast with no real relationship foundation to place that knowledge on. Sometimes there weren’t even the pleasantries. There was simply the clicking of the friend button, and then the details of their lives would flood into my information stream.
Eventually, I went ahead and unfriended all these people, limiting my Facebook to people in my current life. I found it too weird to try to reconnect those threads after all these years. And frankly, I didn’t like most of those people then. Why would I want to “connect” with them now?
I never posted this in real time, but here is something I wrote during the time I was stressing out about the role of these long ago friends:
18 years ago you stood next to me on the day I thought I was going to die.
I was scared. You were scared. I don’t know if you were afraid for the same reasons as me. Maybe you were afraid for your life, too. Maybe you were afraid for my life. Maybe you hoped they would take me and leave you alone. Maybe you had no idea that it had anything to do with me, even though I’d seen it coming for days.
Afterwards, after it ended and no one died, I saw you try to hide. I saw huge tears rolling down your sweet, silent face. You saw me see you, and the intimacy of the moment was simply profound. And we were probably better friends for it.
And then that period of our lives ended, and I haven’t seen you for 16 years.
Except that I see your Bejeweled high score every week.
And it breaks my heart. We are very different people now. Or we’re the same people and time changes things anyway. Either way, we have absolutely nothing to talk about. Nothing to connect with. Nothing interesting to say to one another. No connection whatsoever. Except my Facebook updates that mean nothing to you and your Facebook updates that mean nothing to me.
I think Facebook is in the business of raising the dead. Some people I’ve run into here, it turns out they weren’t actually dead – that it really was just an accident of sorts that kept us apart and now we are together and I rejoice.
But some were dead. Locked into a memory that held them well. And what’s replaced that is just a zombie, just a faltering, decaying facsimile of the memory.
You were there on one of the most important days of my life. We stood together in a sea of fear and sorrow and pain and we survived it together.
And now you’re a Bejeweled score.
What the fuck.
|November 2, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
I get a lot of comments on my fat-related posts that I don’t publish. I’ve covered some of the reasons why before.
Sometimes I’m really, really tempted to publish them when I’m in the mood to argue. I don’t want to clutter up the original comment threads with bullshit, though, and I don’t want to expose my regular readers and commenters to unwanted hate.
This post is my solution. If you have something to say on the topic of fat people that I’m probably not going to publish on another post, comment here instead and there’s a chance I’ll publish it and reply.
I’m not obligated to post your comment. It’s all entirely at my whim. Maybe I’ll find your comment amusing enough or thought-provoking enough to post, or on some days maybe I’ll trash it without even reading it.
If you decide to respond to a fat hater in this comment section, remember that they might comment back.
For a good primer on the kinds of things I am normally unlikely to publish, check out 21 Things To Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People.
|May 30, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
By Joshua Bardwell, originally posted in May 2010 at Jack-Booted Liberal.
I recently had a conversation wherein I told a friend that I wasn’t interested in putting solar panels on my house. I think he was surprised, given that we had been having a discussion about ways that I reduce my home power usage. Sure, installing solar cells would further reduce my monthly electricity bill, but that’s not the goal of the game for me. Reducing energy consumption, ultimately, is about extending the period of time on which we depend on non-sustainable energy sources. I’m not particularly interested in that strategy, since it ultimately is destined to fail. Non-sustainable, by definition, means that eventually it runs out.
I don’t mean to suggest that I expect non-sustainable energy to fail within my lifetime, or, really, at any time in particular. It’s a given that it’ll run out, but the people who think they know when, and what will happen between now and then, are just guessing. What this means is that my actions align with my desires for the far-future in a necessarily vague sort of way. My individual actions will probably not significantly affect the course of humanity’s relationship with energy, nor am I likely to be precognitive enough to anticipate how I will relate to energy in the future, so all I can do is imagine how things might go and do what feels good today.
Putting solar panels on my roof doesn’t feel good today. Solar panels and batteries are, undeniably, The Future, and I am skeptical of the premise that the future will be delivered to us on the platter of ever-advancing technology. Derrick Jensen sums up my thoughts on technological “progress” towards the future in his essay High on Progress:
[W]e seem unquestioningly to presume that tomorrow’s progress will bring more good things to life, and will simultaneously solve the problems created by yesterday’s and today’s progress (without then creating yet more problems, as “progress” always seems to do).
Suggesting solar cells and batteries in order to address the problems caused by fossil fuel usage seems like a perfect example of that idea, and resisting that idea on principle seems more important than any good that might be wrought by the use of solar cells.
The problems caused by fossil fuel usage are fundamental to any non-sustainable energy source. Substituting another un-sustainable energy source for fossil fuels is unlikely to do much except postpone the ultimate reversion to sustainable sources. To those who associate “sustainable” with the Toyota Prius, a wind farm off the coast, and cold fusion reactors, “reversion” may seem like a funny word to combine with “sustainable.” They see sustainability in the future. But truly sustainable energy systems are still all around us, and always have been. A pasture is a perfectly sustainable solar cell. It will go on for millennia, growing grass and other plants for animals (perfectly sustainable “batteries”) to eat. Meanwhile, technology keeps “advancing.”
It’s not that I don’t understand technology’s allure. I’m a modern human, just like you are. I like driving a car, mowing my lawn, playing Xbox, and blogging on the Internet. I used to fret a lot about my own hypocrisy until it was pointed out to me that it’s not that I’m failing to live up to my own values, but that I have multiple values in play. I want to live sustainably, yes, but I also want to have a relationship with a community of friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. I don’t want to spend my life in prison, have my home taken by the IRS, or starve myself to malnourishment. These are important priorities too, and the issue of sustainable living doesn’t trump them.
So I have a car, but I’m glad that I work out of the home so I don’t have to drive it very often. I have a mower, but I’m thinking about getting a sheep instead. I shop at the grocery store, but I have a garden that helps remind me where all that food in the grocery store really comes from. I have electricity to my home, but I use fans and careful opening and closing of windows instead of central air to regulate the house’s temperature. The balance of these priorities is less about how much energy I do or don’t use, and more about how dependent I am on external inputs for sustenance. From that perspective, solar cells are just another, extraordinarily technologically complex, external input.
Of course, I haven’t missed that those power lines leading up to my house represent one huge external input. The difference is this: if, one day, those power lines go dead, and the world has changed such that we no longer have electricity, I am ready to pick up my hand tools and go to work without it. That’s not to say that I am 100% ready, because to live that way today would mean giving up some of those other priorities that I also value, but I’m practicing. And from that perspective, putting solar cells on my roof is a waste of resources. I’d be better off buying more hand tools. Or a sheep.
|February 14, 2013||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
That’s right folks. I hope to be busy today making sure things run smoothly at GLORIFY, a new fat acceptance website.
Please drop in, comment on some posts, say hi in the forums.
See you there!
|November 23, 2012||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
I never know what to say about holidays since I don’t really appreciate or celebrate them. Yesterday, Joshua shared this on G+, and I thought it was the sweetest thing and wanted to share it with you:
In the spirit of today, I’d like to tell you that Dylan’s current favorite word is “Thank You.” He says thank you when you give him something. He says thank you when he gives you something. He says thank you when you have something that he wants (pre-emptive thank-you). He even walks around the house muttering to himself and occasionally saying “thank you!”
So, Thanks everybody! And enjoy whatever you may be celebrating today.
|August 13, 2012||Posted by Issa under Uncategorized|
In each interpersonal interaction, every person involved has a meaningful perspective deserving of compassion.
One of the most valuable insights I got from learning about Nonviolent Communication is that all people at all times are doing their best to meet their needs. This doesn’t mean their actions are always graceful or kind. It doesn’t mean that it’s always easy for the outside observer to tell what needs are being met. It doesn’t mean that the person could describe their own actions in those terms. And, most frustratingly for everyone involved, it doesn’t even mean that the actions are effective at meeting the needs in question.
It just means that people are complicated.
We each have our own needs, fears, histories, wishes, passions, skills, and deficiencies that we bring to our interactions. All of those things interact messily with other people’s stuff.
Acknowledging this is what allows us to be compassionate towards other people. This compassion can bring us greater insight, greater peace, and enrich our lives and the lives of the people we interact with.
A few years ago I had an uncomfortable interaction with my mother. As I was bitching to a friend about the situation and about my mother, my friend gave voice to my mother’s perspective. He said something like, “That must have been really painful for her.” This gave me pause, but ultimately I said, “Look, it’s okay with me for YOU to give her sympathy; it’s not that I don’t think she deserves it. It’s just that it’s not going to come from ME. I don’t have it to give.”
Knowing that everyone has their own stories and reasons and believing that they deserve compassion does not mean that everyone has to give everyone compassion at all times. It’s probably impossible to do that. Striving for that may not even be the right thing to do. Sometimes it’s more important to protect yourself than to have compassion for someone else. Sometimes it’s okay to “pick sides” instead of attempting pure compassion for everyone in a given situation.
One place where this makes sense is when you simply need to protect yourself, conserve your energy, or lick your own wounds, like in my situation with my mother. Another place where it makes sense to “choose sides” is when someone is in immediate danger. If person A just punched person B in the face, you probably want to focus on person B’s safety before any lofty exploration of person A’s motives or situation. I want police and courts to take sides in some situations, of course, and friends and family groups might be expected to be more compassionate to their own. Sometimes we might try extra hard to extend understanding into an area where others normally don’t, because we know the other perspectives are well taken care of. Or we might reserve compassion in a particular area that pushes our personal buttons.
It’s okay to choose who and when and where we’re capable of being compassionate. It’s okay to say, “Not me, not now.”
But none of that takes away the fact that everyone has a meaningful perspective and deserves compassion.
Everyone has a perspective. Everyone has needs that they’re trying to meet. Everyone deserves compassion, even if it’s only from their therapist, their priest, or their mother.