I have some very good news, with some very strange feelings.
Just a couple of days ago, I found out that I have been asked to speak at Vida Vegan Con May 2015 on Veganism, Body Image, Self-Esteem, ED Recovery, and how reading blogs & social media can influence all of the above. (registration starts tomorrow and is here). I have applied to many very cool things this year, but this one both takes the cake and shakes shit up inside of me. I want to discuss this, because transparency in blogging is what makes it worthwhile, don’t you think?
When I received my acceptance email, I cried. Not in the “OMG I am so happy I am crying” kind of way, but in the “OMG I wanted this so bad, but it is coming in a different form than I imagined and now I feel fucking terrified” kind of way. You see, a lot of my friends applied to speak at Vida Vegan Con and didn’t get in. Additionally, I had pictured myself giving the workshop with a co-facilitator, and because VVC will be focusing on solo presentations this year, I will not be able to. I felt guilty. Selfishly, I also felt really sad. I wanted the camaraderie and the support and the alternative perspective on that stage, but that wasn’t what was offered. It sucked a little bit to realize that.
What was offered, though, was a different kind of opportunity. I have been asked to stand on a stage and say a little something about a transformation from the hellish sickness that was my eating disorder, and into a place of connected compassion and love for myself and for other people who struggle. I have been offered a moment to lead a group of people in a conversation on what it means to embrace veganism as a tool for wellness, to empower those who still struggle to make the decision to move forward with a commitment to self. Actually, my talk doesn’t have much to do with me. My talk is a good thing to happen in the vegan and blog communities, and it occurred to me that I am simply honored to facilitate it.
Ah. That perspective shift was refreshing.
Speaking of refreshing, let’s talk gazpacho.
The tomatoes in my little plot of land are JUST starting to pop off, and this recipe is the result of that. You can heat it up or leave it raw, depending on your preference (and your climate). It tastes like pure unbridled summer, and would be great with some hummus and rice crackers at a picnic. Get up on it!
|Summertime Gazpacho|| |
- 2 Cups chopped tomatoes (I recommend cherry tomatoes)
- 1 cup cilantro
- ½ small onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Serrano Pepper
- 1 Jalapeno
- ½ Tablespoon salt
- 1 ear corn (optional)
- 1 can black beans (optional)
- ½ avocado (optional)
- Pulse tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, oil, apple cider vinegar, peppers, and salt in a blender. I like my soup relatively chunky, but you can make it as smooth as you like.
- Add in black beans and corn (but do not blend, these taste best whole)
- If you want a hot soup, heat over low heat until just warm enough
- Top with more bell pepper, corn, avocado and extra cilantro
Have a great day!
Last week, a friend came to me in tears. She and I had been discussing health goals a lot lately (because that’s what I do) and she had come to the conclusion that she wanted to lose some weight-
and she thought I’d be mad.
Sometimes it is extremely helpful to be surprised by someone’s perception of you. I love my friend. I love that she wants to work toward greater health. I love that she trusts me enough to talk to me about her goals.
I am not mad that she wants to lose weight.
I do not wish for the world at large to think that I am mad at anyone who wants to lose weight.
I am mad that society has placed an ideal on people that is not sustainable. I am mad that some people feel that they are not valuable because their body does not fit this ideal. I am mad at the fat-phobia, the misogyny and the racism that are intrinsic to modern beauty standards. But I am never mad at individual people.
I am not immune to the desire to lose weight. I love and respect my body. My body has been golden to me when I treated it very poorly. But some days I wake up and wish for it to be different. Those days are FINE.
What is not fine, is wishing for my body to be different so much that I stop wanting to leave the house. It is not fine if I think I will be more lovable, popular, or smart with a different body. It is not fine for me to gain confidence solely from feeling like I fit into the mold.
It is fine to want to fit into my clothes better. It is fine for me to love that my waist is small (which highlights that my ass is BIG). It is fine that I can see that my workouts are making me more toned and that I choose to eat healthfully a lot of the time, partially because I wanna keep that tone.
I have lost some weight this year, not from restricting, counting, measuring food, and weighing myself constantly, but from changing my relationship with food, being patient with how lifting has shifted my body, and loving the ever living shit out of myself on a regular basis. Some people will lose weight using this method, some will gain weight, and some will stay the same. EVERYONE who does these things will feel better.
My self-esteem is not dependent on my weight, and what matters to me is that other people feel the same way. If your self-esteem is not dependent on your weight and you still want to lose some pounds or mass, GREAT. And if your self-esteem IS dependent on your weight, well, I’m still not going to be mad. I’m going to love you. I’m going to ask you why you think your body is the entirety of your worth. And then I am going to help you shift that relationship to your body, in any way that feels good, even if that is just being there to listen.
I read a quote from the amazingly articulate Go Kaleo right around the time of this conversation. It said this:
“Some people want to lose weight. Other people don’t want to.
Both are ok.”
This is an absolutely perfect summation of how I feel.
You know what feels rad? Days off. Today I took most of my day to do a whole lot of nothing and it felt fucking fabulous. In the interest of continuing with my day of revelry, I shall keep this short and sweet.
The Internet is POPPING OFF with things that make me freaking PSYCHED to be alive. There is critical discourse, there are comics, there are lectures, and their are interviews, all written by incredible women and queerfolk, and as much as the internet can annoy the ever-living crap out of me, it can energize and inspire me, too. Here are this week’s examples of inspiration in action:
Corinne Mucha wrote a book called Get Over It! It is about a messy breakup, and I love it. Click on through this link for an even longer excerpt.
There is an extremely asinine article floating around about how Vegans are just so stupid, because -OMG- almond milk doesn’t even contain that many almonds! And we just drink it to be hip! and wow, are we being fooled!
To this I respond: eye roll, facepalm, headshake, possible curse word. Ginny Messina responds much more eloquently. Some day I hope to have the patience and grace that she does!
“Fitspo” makes me feel super weird. All the bodies are shimmery and oiled, they’re often white as hell, able bodied, seriously young, and hella blond (kind of exclusive, don’t ya think?). It glamorizes pain, ignoring physical cues, and pushing your body beyond the limit of healthy. It tries to pretend it isn’t all the same body hating shit we all see all the time in magazines and on billboards, but let’s be real- it’s quite similar. I see fitspo, and I click away from it. It is either not useful or damaging for me, depending on my mood, and let’s be real- it’s also just tacky and cheesey.
Raechel did us all a solid, and gave fitspo a longer (and more critical) look. Did you know that it has become popular for fitspo to co-opt the words of Audre Lorde, Frederick Douglass, and others, stripping them of their context and meaning, without giving any credit? YEAH. That’s happening, and I didn’t even know about it. Thanks for the tip off, Raechel!
Hardcore Honeys: bell hooks Goes on the Down Low with Lil’ Kim by bell hooks Oh, hello. bell hooks (a hero) interviewed Lil’ Kim (another hero) in 1997, and I didn’t see it ’til just now. *MIND BLOWN*. There are no words to give this interview justice, just go read it immediately.
Sometimes you just need a person to offer you a little insight into your thought processes. I appreciated this immensely, and I hope you do too.
Have a wonderful week!