Waiting

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When the news comes down and the frenzy starts, all you can do is wait. 

When the world turns upside down to deliver a heavy blow, waiting is the only choice. 

When road flies by and your heart skids to a stop, there is nothing to do but wait. 

Hospitals are where we spend our first day and our last day; sometimes, our best day and often, our worst. 

Today is one of the worst. 

Earlier today, I found out that my grandma, my dad’s mom, was rushed to the hospital. And then we got the call to make the 2 and 1/2 hour trip to see her. 

In the wake of unspeakable tragedy, sometimes laughter is the only way to seal with the devastation, the anger and the overwhelming madness. So on the trip up, we told stories and joked about little things. The stories continued when we arrived and while we waited, filled with dread, to see Grandma. 

This post isn’t really about the hospital horrors though. 

It’s about waiting. 

It’s about the damages that waiting too long can cause. 

It’s about the numbness that a wait can bring about; the heartache as you realize that you may be too late. 

4 years ago, we lost my Grandpa on my mom’s side. It was a devasting blow, unexpected considering his energy only shortly before he passed.

Last week, I called my Grandma to wish her a happy birthday. She turned 77. I was a day late. I let my life get away from me and forgot what things are really important: family, connection, love. 

Life is short. I think we all know that in the grand scheme of things, our lives are shorter than we hope. We never seem to fit everything in that we want or even that we need. Knowing what I know now, I wish I had talked to my grandma for hours, just listened to her tell me everything that has been happening since I last saw her. Would that dull the sting of waiting for the end? Would it make it better somehow? 

We spend so much of our time waiting. Waiting for friends, for family. We wait for birthdays, for holidays, or even for the weekend. We wait anxiously for test results and criticism. We wait for inspiration and creativity. We wait for love. 

It’s not always a bad thing, but on days like today, I wonder why we spend so much of our time waiting. Why don’t we jump at the chance to call a loved one or tell someone we love them? Why do we allow work to feel like a chore we do between weekends? Why do we waste our time waiting for life to pass by? 

Sometimes waiting is a foregone conclusion. You can’t force doctors to provide the results you want. You have to wait and see. You have to cross your fingers and hope for a positive outcome. It doesn’t matter how long you might be there for. You sit it out, knowing that your presence is the only thing you can offer in these troubled times. 

I have a huge family between my parents and the two step parents who have been around since I was a kid. Each member of my family means the world to me. I love them with all of my heart, devotion overflowing past the barriers. I would wait by their sides forever.

Because family, the one I was born with and the one I have chosen, is worth waiting for. 

Until Next Time

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It Started with a Riot

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June is Pride Month and Regina’s Pride week starts today, going until June 18. It seems that the reason for Pride has been lost in the overshadowing of corporate sponsorship and partying it up. So I want to bring it back. I want to delve into the history of Pride and why it is still needed today. This history is important in a world that seems keen to repeat the mistakes of the past. There is a chump in the white house who isn’t even acknowledging that June is Pride Month. There are battles around the world for our freedom and our lives. Educating people is extremely important as we continue to push forward.

 

The Holocaust:

It is probably safe to say that most people know what happened in the Holocaust. However, there is a group that is often forgotten when discussing the atrocious actions of the Nazi government: gay people. Since homosexuality was not readily accepted by any countries at this time, it was easy for them to slip through the cracks.

Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, said: ‘Those who practice homosexuality deprive Germany of the children they owe her.’

It was believed that those who practiced homosexuality were failing their duty to Germany to produce little German babies. While gay men were considered ‘lost for reproduction,’ lesbians were not. They could still bear children and be forced to do so if necessary. Their homosexuality was seen a curable condition, akin to the idea behind ‘corrective rape.’

Like Jews, gay men and lesbians were rounded up. While they may not all have been sent to concentration camps, those who weren’t were sent to prison, where they were still subjected to inhuman treatment. Also like Jews, they were forced to wear a badge. Instead of the yellow Star of David, gay men wore upside down pink triangles. Lesbians and ‘anti-social’ women had upside down black triangles pinned to their clothing.

Unlike the other groups persecuted, the liberation did not free them. If they were in a concentration camp, they were transferred to prison as they were still considered deviants for their sexual orientation. They were branded as sexual offenders or not welcomed back to their homes as they had ‘shamed’ their families.  In the war crime trials that followed the end of WWII, no mention of these crimes against homosexuals were mentioned. They were allowed to be forgotten because no one want to acknowledge their ‘perversion’.

It took 45 years for an actual apology to be issued. In December 2000, the German government apologized for the prosecution of homosexuals in Germany after 1949. It was only then that they agreed to recognize gay people as victims of the Third Reich. 45 years.

And now history is trying to repeat itself. Chechnya has opened concentration camp-style prisons for gay men. These people are being persecuted for loving differently than expected. Yet, the world remains silent. The media deathly quiet in the face of these tragedies beginning again. We cannot afford to be silent. We cannot wait for the re-emergence of the pink triangle to fight back. The time is now.

Stonewall Riots:

The Stonewall Riots were the catalyst for the beginning of Pride. It is because of this invisible piece of history that I decided to write this blog post. These riots are the major reason that we have Pride Marches. So here is the history:

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Before the riots, things were different for those in the Gender and Sexuality Diverse communities in the United States. If you were suspected of being gay, you could be dishonourably discharged from the army, fired from your job as a government employee or teacher with no legal recourse. Your name would end up on a list held by the FBI because you were prone to ‘overt acts of perversion.’ Homosexuality was classified as a sociopath personality disturbance by the American Psychiatric Association and you were considered mentally infirm. You could be arrested for holding hands with your parent in public. Gay bars could be expected to be raided by police at least once a month.

Stonewall Inn was run by a crime family and had none of the standard things you would find in a club now (running water, working toilets). It also was one of the only places that had a light that would turn on when police showed up to let customers know that they should stop dancing and touching.

On June 28, 1969, the police performed a typical raid. But the patrons of Stonewall Inn had had enough. Those inside refused to show their ID or identify their gender. If they weren’t arrested, they headed outside and stuck around as witnesses. The crowd grew until it finally erupted when the police were violent to several people under arrest.

The riot broke out with people throwing items at the police and people flooding into the streets to fight back as well. Word spread around the city and the police and tactical forces were not able to quell the rioting until almost 4AM. By then, the Stonewall Inn was completely trashed.

However, the riots did not simply end. The next night, people poured back into the streets to continue. These demonstrations did not stop for days. On the 1 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades took place in large centers in the US.

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Canada had its own incident happen eleven years later on February 5, 1981. The Toronto Police raided four gay bathhouses in the city. More than 300 men were arrested. This was a turning point as there were mass protests and rallies held to call attention to the incident. This evolved into Toronto’s current Pride Week. Most of the charges connected to this incident were discharged or dropped, but it still left its mark on the community.

Pride Flag:

The last bit of history that I want to touch on is that of the Rainbow Pride Flag. This flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. He was an artist, a designer, a Vietnam War veteran and a drag performer. He was commissioned to create a flag for San Francisco’s annual pride parade by Harvey Milk.

At this time, the symbol commonly associated with the gay rights movement was the pink triangle, the badge forced on gay men by the Nazis. Considering the dark past of the symbol. Baker wanted to move away from that and opted to use the rainbow as inspiration.

Now, it is not just about the rainbow. The different colours within the flag were meant to represent togetherness and it originally contained 8 colours. Each colour had its own meaning associated with it.

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At the parade, participants proudly waved their new symbol in solidarity. A version was eventually sold without hot pink and turquoise (replaced with blue). After Harvey Milk’s assassination on November 27, 1978, the demand for the flag only increased. It has continued to be used as a symbol by the communities, joined by other flags for the various communities that make up Gender and Sexuality Diversity. 

On March 31, 2017, Gilbert Baker passed away. He was 65 years old. His legacy remains in the flag that we continue to wave at our parades. The parades that we are able to walk in because people fought back against police oppression. It is this history and these symbols that recognize the lives, the genders and the love of GSD people around the world. So keep marching. Keep flying those flags proudly. We will continue to fight, pressing for our equal rights in a world that still wants to beat us down. We cannot give up. We are strong. We are proud.

Rainbow Flag

Until Next Time.

Playing Catch Up

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It’s been a while, but I’m back.

And to start off today’s post, I am married to a champion! My wife and her football team beat out their rivals yesterday to cinch the title of Prairie Champions of the WWCFL. It was an action packed game that had me on the edge of my seat. The final score was 34-24. I’m so proud of her and excited to watch her final game this Saturday. We have a trek up to Saskatoon for the kick off at 8:30 PM, but it is going to be awesome. We will be spending the night, rather than driving back around midnight. It is going to be an intense game and I can’t wait to cheer on the team.

Next up, here is the update on my health saga. I have lost almost 30 pounds since January through my food and exercise changes. This is pretty exciting because my weight has been a fluctuation that seems to be higher rather than lower in recent years. However, I’ve been actually making progress this time. I’m still sticking it to sugar. Though I did break that fast to have an ice cream cone, but that is far as it went.

I have also been doing great at my running program, C25K. The other day, I jogged for 20 minutes straight, which may be the longest time I’ve jogged ever. That was unexpected, but it motivated me to keep going. So, I’m working on it, pushing forward to achieve the full 8 week program. I’m in week 6 now, so still a way to go, but I’m not giving up.

Not much else going on in the life of me. Except that I’m excited for Pride next week.

Until Next Time

 

Slaying the Sugar Dragon

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It has been 39 days since I started the Whole30. 39 days without any added sugar. 39 days of healthy choices and delicious food. That also means that I have started to reintroduce some foods. I’ve tried rice and corn so far. I haven’t noticed anything different since bringing those back in. Maybe a bit of bloat, but not much.

This does not include sugar though. I am kicking that habit the best I can. This means complete avoidance. So when my boss brought Twizzlers for the staff, I stood firm and didn’t even look their way. When my mother-in-law and crew came down to watch my wife’s football game, we journeyed to Dairy Queen afterwards. No ice cream for me. Though this is more because of the dairy than the sugar.

Today, there was cake at work because one of my co-workers celebrates 10 years with our company this month. It sat near my workstation all day, but I never even took a second glance. It was a proud moment for me to know that I have been able to resist the urge to partake in sugar for so long.

This has come with energy that I didn’t even realize I had. I’ve been sleeping better and waking up earlier without needing to hit snooze a hundred times. I’ve even started to do the C25K (Couch to 5K) again. There is an app for this for guidance and it is awesome. It tells you when to start running and walking. The first time I tried to do it, I had to do repeats because I wasn’t able to get through all the running sections. However, this time, I flew through week 1 (1 minute run with 90 seconds walking). It was tough, but I did it. And then I moved on to week 2 (90 seconds running with 2 minutes walking). I’ve only done 1 run so far; my next one scheduled for tomorrow morning.

It’s amazing how much my body can take. I’ve even been riding my bike to and from work. The last two days, my sister and I have been going to the gym. Yesterday, we focused on arms and today was legs. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag of workouts, but it has been good getting back.

On a really bright note, I surpassed my first weight goal of down 20 pounds. I decided on that goal in January and with the help of the Whole30 (and the loss of 12.6 lbs), I finally reached goal 1. So I have set a new goal. I want to get down another 20 lbs. I figure I will just go down by 20’s until I reach my final goal. Small goals that are achievable are better than setting my sights on the long term. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

So that’s everything bright and new in my life. Well, that and my wife made starting line for football. I couldn’t be more proud. She played amazingly in her first game of the season and I can’t wait to watch her play again this weekend. She is a force to be reckoned with.

Until next time.

Life of a Football Wife

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So my wife plays football for a women’s team in our city. Before you ask, no, it’s not a lingerie football team (this topic deserves its own post). They wear football equipment and it is full tackle. She wears the number 75 and she is proud to be a part of the team. This isn’t her first year playing. She played back in 2015 too, so I already had a preview of what to expect.

However, this year, they are more serious than I remember. She comes home sore and covered in bruises. And that’s when I see her. This, of course, gives her plenty of opportunities to torture me. The other night, she tried to convince me that she had injured herself so badly that she might not be able to play for the rest of the season. This is something that she likes to do. She always has. She likes to test me to see if I can tell her that she is lying. I should have known that she wasn’t serious because she didn’t seem as upset as I would expect her to be if it were true. But she got me. Good job, babe.

Now, I would like to specify that I am not a football fan. Over the last 9 and a half years, I’ve been convinced to go to my in-laws to watch football on the condition of food. Because what else?

I grew up in a hockey family (ringette too, but mostly hockey), so that is a sport that I understand and like to watch. Personally, I prefer my water in liquid form, rather than ice. I’m a swimmer. I play water polo. But that’s besides the point.

Football is a sport that I don’t understand the rules of. I get the basics: run the ball to the other side of the field to score touchdown while the other team tries to stop you. So I do understand some of what is happening, but watching one on TV, I get bored. It is too slow paced to keep my attention for long. That being said, my wife and I have gone to a Saskatchewan Roughrider game. It was the next game they played against Montreal after they lost the Grey Cup. Double overtime for the win. It was exciting. Mostly because it is impossible to not get excited when you are in the atmosphere of the game with hundreds of other fans. We’ve been to a few other Roughrider games and they were enjoyable live, even if I didn’t understand what was happening.

This week alone, I haven’t seen her until almost 9PM and when she does get home, she is off for a shower before a short wind down period. Then it is bed time. Then on game day, she left at 5:30AM to catch the bus to Brandon. I was up and ready to go for 7:00 AM to catch a ride to the game with my father-in-law (thanks, Trevor). It’s a 3 1/2 hour drive, but you also lose an hour on the way there.

So what’s a girl to do on that long journey? Well, I can tell you what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to work on my novel, on editing out my ‘thought’ verbs like wonder, know, etc. I also had a book to read, but it was just the two of us. So instead, we chatted for the drive. We talked about families and adventures. We shared our memories of the person we both love enough to drive 3 1/2 hours to watch her play football. It was a good drive.

So then we arrived in Brandon and got something to eat (Whole30 approved for me) before heading to the game. Trevor had agreed to teach me some things about football during the game, so that I could maybe start to understand what is happening on the field.

There is a reason that I mentioned before that I don’t enjoy football and it is that: from the moment I saw my wife walk onto the field, I couldn’t tear my eyes away. I wanted to understand the game, so that I could talk about it with her later and actually follow what she says. I had forgotten this feeling since the first time that she played football. I had forgotten how excited I am at the prospect of watching her play.

So I listened to my father-in-law intensely as he explained what certain calls meant and how you can score 2 points on a safety. I learned about procedures and illegal blocks. He explained why a ball was turned over at a certain point rather than another. Obviously I did not learn everything I need to know to understand football, but I made a start. It is more than I understood before the game and I will keep learning as long as she keeps playing.

So I may have gotten a bit sunburnt and wind burnt, but I will still be in the stands rain or shine. I will continue to learn because I love watching my wife play football. I love how excited she is before and after a game. She is revved up and ready to play for days before and I can tell how happy it makes her. I’m proud that she is my wife and that she is out there kicking ass. She is a #beast and I love fierceness about her. So I will be at every game I can. I will cheer her on from the sidelines as loudly as I can. Because I am proud to be a football wife.

Until next time.

So, What Now?

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Well, it is Day 26 of my Whole30 and the second post on my blog in almost a year. In both cases, I have to start wondering what happens next. What do I write about? What will I eat on Day 31? Will I be able to maintain either of these new habits? Can I keep my momentum going? Here’s to a positive outlook going into this.

I seem to have come down with tonsillitis in time for my Whole30 to finish. And of course, there are no cough drops that don’t have sugar. I haven’t been able to make it to a medi-clinic yet due to schedule conflicts, but I did find a pain killer that dulls the pain. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I broke one of the Whole30 rules today and weighed myself. I’m down 9 pounds and am only 4 pounds away from my first goal. I’m not going to reveal the actual number, but that is a pretty significant change for me and I’m very happy to see that my weight is going down. I’ve been eating healthy and walking to and from work every day. It seems to be working.

This actually motivates me to continue to follow the Whole30 once I have passed the initial 30 days. This doesn’t mean that I won’t occasionally have something that is off plan (butter chicken or Vietnamese food, my favourites), but I am going to avoid sugar as much as possible. This means no slurpees or pop. I won’t be buying candy or resorting back to dressings that are filled with sugar.

I do plan to take my wife to the movies. She has been supportive for the last 26 days and avoided the theatres even though there are some movies she really wants to see. So popcorn is in my future, but I will not be getting pop. I hope I can find an alternative. If not, I’ll be enjoying a nice cup of ice.

Some other good news is that I’ve been flying through the rewrite of my first draft of my novel. I’ve been able to make changes that I wanted to, but wasn’t sure how to. I’ve fixed up small and big errors alike. It is interesting to go back and read what I wrote to rewrite it. It is a liberating experience that I would recommend to all writers who want to spend substantial time on a piece of work.

In regards to what I will be writing in these blog posts, I will probably keep it informal. Share the struggles and victories of what is happening on my weight loss journey. As well as my experiences with reworking my first novel. This journey will eventually take me to what will happen in the publishing phase, but that is some time off. Still lots of work to do, but I hope that you will stick around with me.

Until next time.

Bringing the Blog Back

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So it has been a long time since my last post – closing in on a year now. A lot has changed since July 2016. Well not much in the grand scheme of things, but enough. Here’s the fast track: I gained weight, lost some and gained it back. I joined a gym to start to work on it more seriously. I even started another Whole30. The biggest news is that I finished writing the first draft of my novel (HUGE accomplishment if you know me).

Why am I bringing back the blog? I think its time that I start to take it a bit more seriously. This post is going to be a bit of recap to get me started and then I’m going to start posting at least once a week. Stay tuned for more.

 I’m in the midst of a Whole30, currently on Day 17 and feeling the Tiger Blood. Unlike the last 2 times I did this, I didn’t go through as intense of a sugar withdrawal. The first couple of days were rough, but my body seemed to pick up on what I was doing and go with it. My energy levels are unbelievable. On top of that, I’m going to bed early and getting up on time without the grogginess. 

The other part of my clean eating regime is that I am motivated. Not only did I start blogging again today, but I’ve been working on editing my first draft. And by editing, I mean rewriting it word for word. It probably sounds stupid, but I found the technique on Pinterest and I love it. I’m making deep changes that I didn’t even realize I needed from only doing a read through. I recommend it. 

Well that’s all for today. Thanks for sticking around through my silence. Until next time, here are some photos of my more recent cooking creations. 

Bacon breakfast cups and pulled pork with sweet potato wedges

Hamburger with roasted veggies and a salad (this was actually my mom’s Easter supper)

Chicken with roasted potatoes and mushrooms and a side of spinach

Victories on the Scale and Off

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On Sunday, I moved into my second week of Fast-5. After I wrote my post last week, I had a bit of a setback. Monday, I pushed my eating window back to 3:45 successfully,  but then on Tuesday, I was having a lot of hunger pains and I felt sick. I felt like I needed to get food into my body ASAP. So at 2:30, I broke my fast. I was so disappointed in myself for ‘giving in’. I had done so well the day before, but Tuesday, I felt like I blew it. I  couldn’t believe I had destroyed all the progress I had made.

Then I realized that I didn’t. Each day is a new day! The lack of progress one day does not stop further progress the next day. So on Wednesday, I fasted until 5 PM. My first successful 19 hour fast and 5 hour eating period! I was so proud of myself, especially coming off what I felt was a defeat the day before. I even got outside and went for a 35 minute walk to help keep the hunger at bay.

On Thursday, I went for two walks on my breaks. It was wonderful to get out of the office and breath fresh air. It is especially nice because there are some nice paths near my office to walk on. Two walks of 20 minutes each were perfect to work off some energy and get my body moving again. My fast did last longer than normal because my wife had to go look at my dad’s thermostat and I didn’t get a chance to grab a snack on my way out the door. I fasted until 8 PM, so I kept my window open until I went to bed around 11 PM.

On Friday, I fasted until 5 PM again, staying on course. I also got my butt out of my office chair on my morning break, ‘lunch’ break and afternoon break. I walked at least 20 minutes each time and crushed my step goal. When I got home, I had a small snack, but then it was off to the Canadian Brewhouse to celebrate a close friend’s birthday. I had a shrimp dish and a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. They were delicious. My window did stay open a bit later though because by the time we got home, I needed a snack, but it was already 10. So I opened it a bit longer, so I could make sure I got something to eat before the fast began.

Saturday, we went to help my brother and sister-in-law paint some of the rooms in their new house. I was able to fast until 5PM. Saturday morning, I rewarded myself with a haircut. I took off 10 inches and am donating the 9 inches that made it into the ponytail to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Not only did my head feel a bit like it was floating, I felt good to be donating to a good cause. Below are the before and after photos as well as a photo of the hair I’m donating! Look at that length. Yes, that’s Olivia’s curious face checking it out.

Sunday, I only fasted until 4. We did some cleaning of our apartment and by the end, I was famished. So I broke my fast at 4 PM. In order to determine if I was just having a craving or actually hungry, I have been employing a technique that I learned in the Whole30 program: Steamed Fish and Broccoli. For those of you around since the beginning, you may remember this. For those of you not: the Steamed Fish and Broccoli method is simple, but effective. When you think you are hungry, ask yourself if you are hungry enough to eat steamed fish and broccoli. If you answer ‘no’, it is just a craving. Act accordingly. If you answer ‘yes’, then you are hungry and it is time to eat.

Monday was my day off from work and I was left home to my own devices. I don’t do well when I have nothing to do. As it turned out, I was really hungry around 2:30 PM and ended up breaking my fast then. At first I was upset, but then I remembered that tomorrow my day resets. Tomorrow I can try again with a fresh slate. So I closed out my fast at 10 PM as usual. I know that if I break my fast early, I should start my next fast early. However, I really rely on the 5 to 10 during the week at work. Not eating at work and going for walks on my breaks make the day go by.

Today, I found a walking buddy at work during our breaks. She is not on the Fast-5 program, so she eats lunch, but on our morning and afternoon breaks, we went for walks together. It is gorgeous out! The sun is hot, but there is a nice breeze. It was wonderful to get out of the office and into the sun for a nice walk. I did my own walk alone at lunch, so I have almost already met my step goal on Fitbit of 10,000. As of this writing, I have 9,479 steps. So by tonight, I will have crushed that goal.

My non-scale victories (NSV) are that I have started walking a lot. Especially at work on my breaks. I seem to have a lot more energy, which is surprising. I thought it would be the opposite, but I have a lot of energy and I am sleeping better. I am also drinking at least 8 cups of water a day, something I haven’t done since the Whole30. If I can have something sugary, I tend to lean towards that, so I am super glad to be consuming so much water.

On the other hand, my scale victory is that I have lost 4 pounds since I started fasting two weeks ago. It is good to see such a scale victory right out of the gate.

Well that is all for this week. Thank you everyone for your support!

Break-Fast

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Well it is a good thing that I have other things going for me because I am terrible at regularly posting on my blog. I’m going to be trying a few different techniques to remind me that I should blog at least weekly. We will see how that goes.

In other news, I’ve started something new. A couple of things actually since the last time that I posted. I’ve started a new job. It’s definitely an interesting position and I’m learning a lot. But that isn’t the new thing I wanted to write about. Previously, I’ve written about my experience with the Whole30, which I still think is a great program, but I’m trying a new one right now: Fast-5.

Fast-5

The Fast-5 is a program that operates using appetite correction. In simple terms, on this program, you fast for 19 hours of the day. Yup, nineteen hours. The hours are pretty amenable, but the recommended hours are between 10 PM and 5 PM. So every night, I stop eating at 10 PM and am not supposed to start until 5 PM.

Up until I started this program last week (July 5), I was the type of person that ate all day long. I was always hungry and needed snacks throughout the day to hold back my hunger pains. It wasn’t helping me lose any weight. I tried eating breakfast. I tried eating in moderation, which really doesn’t work for me. Even on the Whole 30, I found myself eating a lot to keep hunger at bay, even if I was eating healthier.

My mom has been on this program for a few months now and recommended it to me, so I thought I would give it a shot. I’m still working to get my fasting time up to 19 hours. I started fasting from 10 PM to 1PM and have been dialing it back to 1:30, 1:45, 2:30 and today, I am fasting until 3:30 PM. It is testing my willpower most days because I want to eat. I’m not necessarily hungry, but I want to put food in my mouth because that is what I do. I do it when I’m bored, when I’m sad, when I’m angry. So this is challenging a lot of the belief I have about what I am capable of.

Thus far, I am capable of fasting for 17.5 hours without any significant side effects. I still feel like my stomach is growling at me to eat on a regular basis, but it isn’t unbearable. I drink a lot more water than I used to. Even more than when I was on the Whole30 and it is more consistent.

One of the thing that I love about this plan so far is that I can eat whatever I want during the 5 hour period after I break-fast. I can also eat as much as I want. So I don’t have to count calories or say no to having ice cream if I want it. The general rule of thumb is that you should eat healthy and balanced between your target hours, but it is not a requirement. I was concerned about over eating, but I haven’t seen that I’m doing that as of yet. It may be because I’m working my way back slowly that my body is adjusting, but we will see.

So what do I do instead of eat?

Well this morning on my break, I played a game on my phone and read a bit of The Hobbit. On my ‘lunch’ break, I went for a walk around my work. There is a nice park nearby, so I walked there and hung out on the swings for a bit (picture below). I even walked up the hill there just to get my heart rate going a bit. This afternoon, I sat with a co-worker and chatted until it was time to break-fast. Each of the activities allowed me to get my mind off any hunger pains I felt. Today was a good day and it was a bit easier than the weekend because I had work to distract me from the time. But the break room smells like food, so tomorrow, I will probably go for short walks on most of my breaks to help keep the hunger at bay.

For those of you interested in learning about around the Fast-5 program, you can download the short book about it here: https://shop.bertherring.com/collections/free-digital-downloads

I look forward to writing more soon and keeping you updated on my progress.

J

‘No Homo’-phobia

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Okay, I have officially abandoned the daily blog about me thing. Mostly because I’m bored of talking about myself, probably about as much as you are bored of hearing about me. So, I’m officially starting to write about things that matter to me.

This didn’t make my top 5 pet-peeve list, mostly because I hadn’t heard it in a while, so I didn’t think of it. If I were to put it on my list, it would be at the very top. I hate when straight people say ‘no homo’ or things equivalent to that.

Note: I would like to point out that I’m speaking based on my personal experience or have referenced someone else. I will speak in generalizations sometimes in order to talk about certain things. I understand that everyone has a different experience in life and that everyone have their own opinions. I would be happy to hear any opinions from others based on their experiences.

If you have never heard the phrase ‘no homo’, allow me to educate you on its use in popular culture today. If two men or two women do something together that could make them look a little bit gay, they will say ‘no homo’. Apparently, these words have magical powers.

No Homo

According to Wikipedia (who reference Weiner, Jonah (2009-08-06). “Does This Purple Mink Make Me Look Gay? The rise of no homo and the changing face of hip-hop homophobia”. Slate.), the term ‘no homo’ started as slang in 1990’s in East Harlem. As I stated above, people would use this term to avoid a misinterpretation of something said (or done) that could be seen as a double-entendre. It is normally used to say ‘I AM straight no matter what I just said or am about to say’. For example, “I’m coming; no homo” or two girls just kissed and then say ‘no homo’.

We already assume a lot about the people in our lives, whether we know them well or they are strangers walking on the street. We tend to assume a binary gender, such as male or female, and if given enough cues, we tend to assume sexuality. However, if not enough cues are given, straight is the default. I get it, we like to stick people into the boxes we have already set up. I also understand that we’ve all pretty much been raised to believe that straight is normal, the default factory setting. This is why our society is considered to be hetero-normative.

Now, there are a lot of reasons that I hate the term ‘no homo’ and that various versions of it. Most of it is rooted in that fact that these words, no matter how playfully said or innocently meant, reek of homophobia. If you say something like this, you must on some level believe that there is something wrong with being gay because you need to distance yourself from it. I believe that this is fueled by homophobia.

Here is where I’m going to break it down a bit more. This all started because one of my Facebook friends posted a few pictures of her and her friend. One of the pictures was of them kissing. The post was all about how great of friends they are and then at the bottom, just above the photo collage, it says “and we aren’t lesbos” or something to that effect.I will just specify that I have no problem with women kissing other women (I frequently kiss my wife). My problem has very little to do with the photo.My anger stems from the fact that these two women kissed and then specified that they aren’t gay, like it would be wrong somehow if they were.

If you identify as straight to the world and then do something that is gay, don’t preface that with your protests that you aren’t gay. We know. I’m sure most of the gay community is completely aware of just how straight you are. Besides, you just finished telling everyone how great of friends you are. We were all wondering why on earth you posted a photo that had you kissing if you didn’t want people to think you were gay. It’s a thing that people who are actually gay do.

This is where my anger really stems from. People die because they are gay. Women who identify as lesbian are raped by men who think they can ‘fix’ them with their magical boner. Gay men are put to death by their governments in some countries because they are gay. People have been thrown in jail for being gay. So if you are going to post your photo of you kissing someone of the same sex, think about all those people who died or were violated because they didn’t have the freedom to say ‘oh, but we aren’t gay’. You spit in their memories when you pull out your straight card. You don’t bear any of the anger and you get off scot-free.

But not today.

If you want to kiss people of the same sex and still identify as straight, you go for it. But don’t act like you are somehow better than people who do it because they are actually gay by distancing yourself from it. You kissing someone of the same sex and posting about it is something I would consider gay. Either be proud of your gay kiss or keep it for your private photo collection. The gay people in your life don’t need reminders of how easy it is for you to kiss someone of the same sex and not ever worry about the repercussions that people of the community actually deal with.

And yes, I know I’m completely over-thinking it. You didn’t mean it that way. You just don’t want people to think that you kissing women makes you gay. Well, guess what, I am gay. I kiss women. I am a lesbian and I’m proud. There is nothing shameful about being gay. I know that, but when you kiss your friend and then post it, telling everyone that you aren’t gay, it makes me wonder who you are trying to convince. You don’t live in this community as a straight person. You probably don’t even know who the following people are:

  • Matthew Shepard,
  • Anji Dimitriou and Jane Currie,
  • FannyAnn Eddy
  • Brandon Teena,
  • Sakia Gunn,
  • Lawrence “Larry” King,
  • Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa,
  • Lateisha Green,
  • and more.

So, yeah, I understand why you wouldn’t want to be labelled gay. Just the few names above can tell you had dangerous it is to be gay. The LGBTQA community are still fighting for our rights worldwide, especially the right to live without fear. So how about you spend your energy on that fight, rather than distancing yourself from it by reminding everyone just how straight you are when you post photos of you kissing someone of the same sex? There are people who have and would die to be able to just kiss their partner in public, let alone post photos of it.

I am mad. I’m on fire. I burn every time I think about the people who have died fighting for my rights as a lesbian in 2016. I am outraged that people who identify as straight can be so flippant about something that gay people (or assumed gay people) die for. I have to wonder if you don’t understand that the thing you said ‘no homo’ too could be a death sentence in some places.

These are our lives you are playing with, so I won’t sit down and shut up. What you posted was offensive to me. You don’t have to agree and you probably won’t even read this post, but I hope that you do read it and I hope you realize why what you said was not okay.

No Hetero

Until next time, folks.