Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Did I Just Figure Myself Out?

Okay, so this diet is kicking my butt. I normally don't like sweets all the time, or salty food, or greasy food for that matter. But there are certain times when I want to eat all the chocolate in the world, and want chips or pretzels. Is there anything wrong with that? Isn't that a balance- to alternate between what bad foods I decide to snack on?

What if I eat all the servings of the healthy food I need and still maybe have a chocolate bar? Does the chocolate negate the 5 servings of fruit that I ate, or the pound of raw veggies? Or the pound of cooked veggies? Will I cease to be healthy if I do allow myself "fun food?"

I've struggled for as long as I can remember with food. I have so much shame and guilt attached with food. But, what would happen if I stopped feeling guilty or ashamed of what food I eat? What if I made my foods choices logical and non-emotional?

I ate extremely healthy yesterday, drank almost all the water I needed, and then was out at dinner time. I ended up eating tacos from a taco truck. One steak and one chorizo, which is a Mexican sausage. Meat wasn't the healthiest choice- but since I ate healthy all day, isn't that a good balance?

I don't plan on eating chorizo tacos all the time, but I think one way for me to be level-headed about this is to do my best to maintain a balance.

Budget Cuts Lead to Unprotected Victims of Domestic Violence

In this article, I explored the topic of bullying. Bullying can look very different, depending on the context. One of the things a bully can be is the aggressor in a household of domestic abuse. The abuser often will intimidate, or manipulate their victims into staying in the situation. Abuse victims always have a choice, but they may not feel that they have one.

Women used to be viewed as property, with no rights. A husband beating his wife or children used to be looked at as managing the family. Over the years, the cruelty that domestic violence is has been exposed more and more. As the cruelty is exposed, societies have begun to have compassion on victims of this type of abuse. Laws and coalitions have been set in place. There is now a voice to the voiceless, and someone to stick up for the underdogs.

In Topeka, KS, however, they are undoing what it took years to accomplish. Because of a 10 percent budget cut for the 2012 year, they are repealing the laws set in place that protect the victims and also prosecute offenders. The district attorney stopped pursuing domestic battery cases in September, allowing abusers to say to their victims, “See, I told you that nobody cares.”

As of Friday, October 8th, 18 people who had previously been arrested and jailed for domestic abuse charges were released, and charges dropped. Since September, the city has had reports of at least 35 accounts of domestic abuse. Those are just the accounts that have been reported. Statistics show that more than 25% of domestic violence issues go unreported

Maybe this all seems foreign to you, because you have never been in an abusive situation, or known someone that is in an abusive situation. The reality is that victims of abuse feel helpless and hopeless. One reason women go back is because they believe that life has no chance of getting better. They are constantly lied to and told that no one will ever love them like their abuser. They are told this often enough that they believe it.

So, what do Topeka residents do now? If they are citing budget cuts as the reason for overturning the domestic violence law, what is there to do? What does an abuse victim do when the people put their to protect them are turning their backs on a crime that affects women and children (and in some cases, men) all over the world?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Forgiveness: Harder and Easier Than it Looks

About a year and a half ago, I was (once again) deeply hurt by my father. His words have always cut me deeply as long as I can remember. This time was different. I stood up to him (I normally didn't) and told him that his anger was displaced and aimed at the wrong person. That only enfuriated him more. He told me to leave, so I did- without looking back. I completely cut him out of my life.

In the past year and a half, God has healed me in a lot of ways. One of the areas is knowing who I am- who God made me to be- rather than who my father says that I am. I am also more aware of the boundaries I need with him in order to be healthy. I knew that the day would come when I would need to talk to my father- I just didn't know when it was going to be.

The day came this past Thursday. It was his birthday, and I decided just to call him and see how is goes. The funny thing is that all the things I thought I would say to him after all this time completely slipped my mind. I couldn't even think of the hurt, the pain, the anger or bitterness. As soon as I heard my father's voice- it was gone.

The reality that my father hurt me is real. That still exists, and I am definitely still working through that. But what I can feel more than that is the amazing grace that God gives us. That grace is not all we need for life- it's just enough for the moment. I can now keep walking towards forgiveness, knowing that God will meet me step for step.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To air out dirty laundry or not to air out dirty laundry…

What does that phrase even mean? Like letting everyone see the stains and flaws that the laundry hasn’t taken care of. Censoring yourself? I think that being careless with your words and being transparent are two different things. So, is airing out your dirty laundry on a blog okay? What if you don’t turn it into this angry tirade? What if you control your words and just report facts and feelings— no judgments against other people, or slander?

I’ve always done my best to be honest on every blog I’ve written on. You can see that if you go back. I’ve talked about my drinking issues, I’ve talked about my insecurities with leadership, I’ve discussed revealed that I am moving. But, a long time ago (and since I’ve made my blog more public), I haven’t really discussed my relationship ins and outs.

Today, I’m kind of venturing into territory that some people won’t. I’m going to reveal a vulnerable part of me that most don’t see. No worries, I’m not going to sling others’ names in the mud, or go into too much detail. Because that really isn’t relevant. What is relevant is what I’m feeling and what I’m going to do with those feelings.

Truth time: After a year-long relationship, I am now single and feeling quite wounded about how it all went down. When people hurt me, I usually get angry and put up a front. Instead of being able to admit that I’ve been hurt (betrayed, deceived, lied to, etc.), I get angry that the person hurt me. It’s a lot easier for me to deal with anger than to deal with the hurt. Anger is an emotion that we can cope with in different ways. We can run from the root of the anger— that we are wounded.

“Anger is the fluid that love bleeds when it gets cut.”
-C.S. Lewis

An old lesson from a Bible study I used to go to was on anger. The leader that was teaching said that when we are feeling angry we need to ask ourselves, “Am I angry because I am being wounded, or because something is morally wrong?” Even when Jesus was being mocked and beaten (morally wronged), He was still actively pursuing restoration. How’s that for a kick in the face?

So, what I need to ask myself is what I’m going to do with my wounds. Am I going to try to hurt the person that hurt me? Am I going to get bitter towards men in general and “swear off dating,” move to a convent (I always swear I will after a break-up), or be a light for Jesus?

Tough decision— especially when a few of those are the easier things to do. I think the best I can do in this season is just to keep my eyes on Jesus. He knows what I need. He knows what’s best. He can show me how to still show love to someone who hurt me.

Monday, October 3, 2011

This is Not Going to Be Easy

Did I think this was going to be easier? I set out on a mission to give up processed food. I lasted four days the first week, then blew it on my trip to Pennsylvania. I picked the easy way out and ate what I wanted, and oh, it tasted so good. All of it. I drank a lot of water, I guess to try to convince myself that I was making it better if I made myself pee more. I just told myself that I would start fresh on Monday.

I was so good for three days. I still was drinking soda, but only one a day, so nothing crazy. Then I ran out of almond milk for my morning green smoothie. So, I made an excuse and said, “I’ll just make today a cheating day.” I rationalized letting myself fail at a commitment that I made to myself. The only person I let down was myself. What I didn’t see is that cheating for breakfast one day led to me not caring about the rest of the day, and then saying that I would just “take the weekend off” of the diet— as if I had been fully committed to it and deserved a break!

After having all the negative things about me pointed out to me growing up, I started to believe that that was all I had to live up to. When you believe that you are a screw up, you don’t really feel the need to rise above screwing up. You believe that is as good as you are able to be. But, those things about me are not true. I am not a screw up. I am a gifted, driven woman with good work ethic. I can do better than this. I can stick to a diet because I can be healthier than this.

I can be healthier than being an emotional eater. I can be healthier than giving up on my diet. I can be healthier than refusing to exercise because I have a little ache and pain. I can be healthier than watching myself gain pound after pound due to having a job where I sit for 10 hours. I can be healthier than just buying new jeans when they don’t fit anymore— instead of trying to take the weight off.

It’s funny that watching an old Grey’s Anatomy episode helped me have this epiphany. Meredith Grey, you changed my life. Well, Shonda Rhimes did, anyways. I am going to make a new goal. Instead of my goal being to lose a certain amount of weight, or to get to a certain size, I will be working towards starting each day new. The day before doesn’t count. So what if I didn’t exercise. Yesterday’s mistakes or victories cannot determine today’s actions.

So, tomorrow, we move forward. We take a step in the right direction and we forget the steps of yesterday.

Amanda Knox

Have you ever been in a foreign country? If so, did you feel safe? Did you feel as though the authorities would protect you, though you were not a citizen? I lived in Bolivia for part of one summer in college to work with an orphanage and translate for a missionary. It was eye-opening. I remember watching the news one night, and a piece came on the news revealing what was going on in the local prisons. It was very corrupt, with the felons (as we would label them) being able to pay a fee to be able to have a weapon in prison. What? Seriously? Yes.

Imagine being in a country like that, and being an American young woman, alone most of the time, and still learning the language. What would you fear? Being harmed? Being robbed? Being kidnapped? What if you lived there long enough to be comfortable and let your guard down a little bit?

Amanda Knox is someone that most people are familiar with— at least they know that she is “the American who killed her roommate in Italy.” Going deeper into the story, you will learn that the authorities in the town of Perugia arrested her based more on their feelings of how she “looked guilty” than any evidence actually pointing towards her. But, still, she and her boyfriend were convicted of murder four years ago.

For the past year, she has been fighting the conviction, with a long appeal process. There has been quite a media frenzy, a Lifetime Movie (mostly painting her as guilty), and a parade of opinions on the social media circuit (#AmandaKnox has approximately 1 tweet per 3 seconds). A large number of citizens worldwide are weighing in their thoughts. “@piersmorgan: Whatever the verdict later, the celebrification of #AmandaKnox is an ongoing distress to #MeridithKercher family.” “@Hoopsdips: ‘@RyAnnCaitlin- What will the verdict be? #amandaknox’. She’s guilty but her appeal will be upheld and she’ll get a way with it.”

“I am not what they say I am. I am not a promiscuous vamp. Violence isn’t in me. I have not killed, I have not raped. I wasn’t there.” These are the words of Amanda Knox as she plead with the jury at her appeal trial earlier today. It was reported that her pleadings moved a few jurors to tears. But, emotion shouldn’t be any part of her release. Emotion was one of the biggest reasons that she was convicted at all. If she is released, it should be because there was never enough evidence to convict her in the first place.

What do you think? Do you think other countries have such a different value system that they convict innocent people? Or, do you think Americans are just trying to protect their own? Weigh in.