Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trending Thursday, April 29

Tomorrow is the end of National Poetry Month. This is year The Academy of American Poets celebrated with a "put a poem in your pocket month". Write or type out a small poem and give it to someone or leave it somewhere quirky and auspicious. If you can, take a photo of it.

So here is my contribution to April...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 26, 2010:

Frances is trending:

"Lost Pounds Lead to Burst Fantasy" on msnbc. Here's my response:

The C.D.C. and other government institutions have declared a "war on obesity". I would propose an accord with maintaining. It is harder for a formerly obese person to maintain weight loss than it is to lose that weight.

Sadly, once obese, always obese. The deprived fat cells of a formerly obese person never go away; they hang out screaming to be filled up again. As well, I argue, no one becomes obese out of simple laziness or even genetics. Gain = pain. Part of the way many people deal with pain is by eating. A four-year-old doesn't go out and score crack and she probably doesn't think, "I'll go burn this off with a brisk walk around the block." She reaches for what is available -- food. Probably sugar and fat loaded food. That sugar increases both serotonin and the dopamine in the brain in EXACTLY the same way cocaine and morphine do. It makes that tot feel happier and calmer.

If this affect on the brain was grown in Mexico and came in powdered form, it would be illegal.

More significantly, however, is that that kid -- and all the adults battling the bulge -- probably have a deficit of both those brain chemicals that keep them emotionally balanced. Deprived of that, even with the help of anti-depressants, and past the excitement of watching the numbers drop off, when the going gets tough, most formerly obese people are going to eat because it restores that sleepy, satisfied downer that makes real life so much easier to take.

The reason I argue for an official pact with maintenance is that it's not only the last frontier (90% of all dieters will gain back their weight, and something like 95% of the regainers gain more) but it's applicable to everybody.

Maintaining 240 pounds is an incredible feat -- as difficult and praise-worthy as maintaining 130 pounds. It can only be done through old-fashioned methods (which include surgery, the success of which depends on the patient's adherence to a strict food plan) and maybe, for the 240-pound person, that breathing space of "hurrah! I haven't gained weight!" will allow for mental adjustments. From there, a slight tweaking will result in weight loss.

But who can blame the fat person for thinking life will be different? First readers scold the obese for bringing the insurance industry to its knees (which is nonsense) and then readers scorn the disappointments of all those government and media promises not coming true. Shame on you.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You Get to Have Friends...

...until you change the terms.

That, it would seem, is the theme of the week. It hurts, even when I've made the changes out of self-protection or against my better wisdom.

There are all kinds of ways to lose friends, after all.

Actually, I've lost three friends in the last several months and it should have been a warning of what was already too late: being pals with people you employ or work for.

In the case of A, I asked for an accounting of several hundred dollars I was paying out and got anger and vague answers to my questions. Again, the warning was there when I had, months earlier, put a down payment on the work I would be asking for and suggested starting on something already in place only to be met with friendly silence until my freelancer's regular job wasn't producing the rent. I figured we'd get the project done sooner or later but I got angrier over the claim that accounting for time is impossible until I took my freelancer's inventory* and pretty much made it impossible to be met with anything more than fury.

It happened again last week. After factoring in the need for time to write, my still-fragile ankle (I spent some days in Arizona in sandals. I'm really not ready for sandals.), the temperament of the dog, and the fact that my other steady gig will be moving in June, I decided I would have a somewhat better shot at serenity if I didn't walk that dog for a couple of months. It was one of those brain-waves that sometimes hit in an awkward but correct instant. I wish I'd had it a couple of weeks ago but keeping their interim dog-walker on is probably a good thing for the walker and not the embarrassment ("What will I say to X?" the owner dithered about the walker who had been with them pretty much since December 20th, when I left for Christmas) that my decision was portrayed back to me.

I received a terse email this morning saying that they had changed some plans and would not need me to board the dog in a couple of months. I wrote back that it was fine and "are you angry with me?"

So far no answer.

I had -- how to put this? -- laid down some boundaries that protected my wallet, my body, my time and my serenity**. I'm a nervous wreck when I walk that dog, who has bloodied me several times by entering into battle with other dogs, and who has tried to bloody several humans, not all of whom are over four feet tall.

These are all good reasons, objectively speaking. I would have hoped that A didn't want to rip me off, and B would have simply respected my time and health. Nonetheless, I'm two friends down.

& then there's the ol' When Harry Met Sally crisis. I don't really need to tell the story with that introduction, do I??? The gag here is a day of quarrelsome emails that were based on the fact that I have a dumb crush & Harry does not. Harry felt the best way to deal with my crush was to disavow having inspired it.

No problem there, Harry. I fought it like the flu.

But I still had a crush. And that crush makes certain things really painful. Harry couldn't seem to get past his innocence and I fell into a sink-hole of explaining my explanations. I wondered whether, after all this sturm und drang, I should terminate the flawship. I was angry about trying to save his innocence but still get to claim my feelings. That turned into having my inventory taken (do you feel better now, A?).

  1. I was angry as an attempt at dealing with my feelings.
  2. I was threatening Harry as a sorry attempt to make him feel the way I did.
  3. I am constitutionally bitter and rigid.
  4. Miscellaneous stuff I can't recall because I deleted those emails for good.

The first two were patently incorrect. I was angry at the endless exchange and the claim that because Harry had not promoted my crush, my crush was therefore insignificant. I didn't threaten; I wondered out loud.

As for numbers three and four...I don't know. I don't have an outside perspective on myself. I am in ways, and probably not in other ways. I wonder if the split of these adjectives and their opposites are true of everyone?

I felt like a small pile of ugly dust when I finally begged that the exchange stop.

Here's the amazing thing, though, about me and about serendipity. Having cried myself into a sinus headache, I got a Twitter from someone I'd exchanged a few tweets with. How was I, she asked, and then, email me what's going on. Her perspective helped and I made a new cyber friend out of it.

And later I thought about two things that happened the last time I saw Harry. We'd fallen asleep. He woke me up coming out of a bad dream, moaning to talk himself up to consciousness. Later I woke him up -- laughing in my sleep. And I sneezed once and he laughed because my sneeze actually does come out as an achoo. "It's part of my adorability factor," I retorted.

So I'm left pondering, can I be friends with someone I had a crush on (Harry pretty much tortured the active part of it out of me, as though I'm no longer contagious), who couldn't sit still while I worked through feelings I was honest about, and finds me bitter and rigid (a combination I would run from in someone else).

And who wouldn't find laughing in her sleep and achooing charming as hell? I do, at any rate.

So I'm down three friends, up one, and I like two teeny things about myself that I hadn't even known about before. Who's winning? Who's hurting?

* In twelve step parlance, taking someone else's inventory -- i.e., telling that person what is wrong with him or her -- is a crime punishable by righteous indignation.

** As in, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.