Category Archives: Questions

Thoughts on Shaming


Within the last month, some lady thought she’d be funny by posting a video shaming fat people. She opened with some muttered comment about not aiming her video at people with medical conditions. This is just for the people who are willfully fat. She was crass. She was rude. She was “in your face.” And she got fired from a gig for her lack of respect.

While I am pleased with the fact that she was called out for her reprehensible behavior—shaming people never makes them better—the whole thing gave me a moment’s pause. She wasn’t talking to people who have medical conditions that cause weight gain. … Who exactly is that referring to?

I mean, clearly, she’s not talking to the people who take medications that cause weight gain. Or, you know, other stuff…? But what does that mean?

For example, about 10 years ago, I was taking care of my grandfather fulltime, and could not afford healthcare. I started having unusual lady problems that needed medical attention, but all I could afford was Urgent Care. I was told that I probably had PCOS, which can cause weight gain, amongst other symptoms. The Nurse Practitioner gave me a pill to fix the worst of the symptoms, and I went on my way.

I researched what this meant, and it made sense. I had a lot of the symptoms. “That’s it!” I thought. “This is why I can never lose the damn weight. I feel better now.” Because, you see, I had a Medical Condition. It explained so much! Now, when people gave me the eye, I could tell them that I had a Condition, and I could see them backing off.

When I was financially on my feet again and had insurance, I went to a doctor and asked for a diagnosis. We went through all of the tests, some of them quite painful, and I found out that I do NOT, in fact, have PCOS. Which means that I must just be a fat slob after all.

A few years after that, I was laid off, and once again without insurance. (All of this was before Affordable Care, you see.) I couldn’t afford COBRA. HELLO! I just lost my job, and you want me to pay you $500 a month IN CASE I get sick? I still don’t get that. Whatever. I started shopping around for health insurance that I could afford. And I got rejected because I was too fat. When I bemoaned my situation to someone I had considered a friend, he told me point blank that he didn’t think I deserved health insurance, although he didn’t say why. I’m guessing it’s because of my weight, though, because he had no way of knowing that otherwise my health is excellent. Blood pressure, blood sugar, all of my levels are within “healthy” range, except for the weight, which is, you know, visible. So what he essentially said to me was that because I was lazy in his eyes, I didn’t deserve to be healthy. Except that he didn’t have a medical license. For that matter, neither did the guy who rejected me for insurance.

A few years later, I started getting More Symptoms. I researched and ran to the doctor, and the conclusion we came to together is that I should not be eating gluten. Celiac’s Disease, once upon a time, was believed to only cause severe weight loss. If you couldn’t see a person’s bones, if they didn’t have the protruding belly, it wasn’t Celiac’s. But medical science marches on, and now they’re realizing that it can cause unexplained weight gain, as well. In fact, there are over 300 symptoms of the disease, and while there are symptoms that are more common than others, it is actually possible to have the disease for years without any symptoms at all. And because Celiac’s is such a complex disease, it takes an average—an average of 11 years to get diagnosed, which means that this could have been going on for years with me not having a clue. Who knows how long? And during that entire time, whether I was dieting or not, no matter how well I ate, or how much I exercised or didn’t, I was constantly losing nutrition and starving my body.

After diagnosis, I admit that I overate. Part of it was because I had an Excuse. Part of it was because I was desperate to feel normal again, so I devoured everything I could find that felt “normal”. Part of it was the Depression kicking in, from losing a huge part of my identity as a baker. At this point, I’ve pretty much worked through all of that and stopped overeating, but it’s going to be a while before you see any results, because I refuse—let me write that again for you to read: I REFUSE to go on a crash diet just to suit anyone else’s concept of what my body should look like EVER, EVER AGAIN. Instead I eat healthfully for my body and let it come into balance on its own.

So here’s my question to that lady, and to anyone else who feels the need to shame some random person on the street over some issue you know absolutely nothing about: Were you talking to the me that thought I had a medical condition, but actually didn’t, the me that HAD a silent and undiagnosed medical condition, the me that knew I had a problem but had other serious medical issues keeping me from dealing with the first, or the me that is doing the best that I can for myself, as I currently know things to be?

Just wondering.


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I have a dream.

So here it is, a day to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who worked tirelessly toward his dream, a dream that will hopefully come true some day. I do my part, as best I can, but sometimes I wonder if people really heard what his dream was.

When I go through this speech, what I hear is not a dream about passing a law or forcing people to see things a certain way. I hear a dream about people treating each other with dignity and respect– something that is sorely lacking in this country, not only in terms of race, but in terms of gender, age, and class as well.

Dr. King, I have heard your dream, and it is something I, too, work towards every day, not by passing laws or setting policies (because those are not things that I do), but by being the best person I can, and treating everyone else as if they are their best selves, too. It’s what I have at my disposal, and I’ll be honest, my way is quiet and unglamorous, but I have seen tiny miracles sprout from my way. I’m not saying it’s The Only Way. It’s what I do.

My question to you, Dear Reader, is What do you do?
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On Practicing the Mitzvoth

Okay y’all. I’ll be talking a little bit about religion– and it probably won’t be from your perspective. If this offends you, leave now.

Lately I have been having a wonderful discussion with my dear friend, Sunshyne. She is a devout Christian, and a wonderful example of walking the walk. It truly is an honor to have her in my circle, not only because of the integrity with which she carries herself, but also because she is so open with me about topics that people usually get so… defensive about. So over the last two weeks or so, the conversation has drifted to religion.

Tangent: If you know me at all, you know that I was raised Jewish and currently practice Other. I think the name Jewitch– cleverly introduced to me by Arcana– sums it up nicely. In short, Sunshyne and I have fairly different approaches to deity. Continue reading On Practicing the Mitzvoth

Reflections on a Year of Change

I love looking back at last year’s astrology predictions to see how they did. I especially love doing it with Rob Brezsny’s Astrology, because his stuff is evocative and rather open ended. Still, I find his weekly column to have some interesting work in it. This is my bit from my birthday last year.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): We keep million-dollar works of art in well-guarded museums. Paintings created hundreds of years ago are treated with reverence and protected as if they were magical treasures. Meanwhile, beautiful creatures that took nature eons to produce don’t get the same care. At least 5,000 animal and plant species are going extinct every year, in large part due to human activities. Among the recently lost works of art are the Madeiran Large White butterfly, West African black rhinoceros, Formosan clouded leopard, golden toad, and Tecopa pupfish. I’m asking you not to allow a similar discrepancy in your own life, Cancerian. The astrological omens say that now is a perfect moment to intensify your love for the natural world. I urge you to meditate on how crucial it is to nurture your interconnectedness with all of life, not just the civilized part.
– Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter, July 17, 2013

Basic message, connect more with the natural world.

When I was sitting down to write this article, my mind was filled with all the traveling I’ve done, and all of the events that have passed, but then I stumbled across this article, and it put them all into a certain perspective. Did I connect more with the natural world? Continue reading Reflections on a Year of Change