Destroying Racism

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor.

The news has been making me feel heavy lately. And what’s sad is that this isn’t even new. The word “news” implies that this is something new happening right now. But yet, this isn’t new at all.

A moment keeps coming back to me as I take in what’s happening (and happened) to our Black brothers and sisters.

I was in my junior year of high school, taking U.S. History. We were in the midst of learning about J.F.K and the Civil Rights movement. At the present, we were on the brink of electing our first Black president.

Our teacher posed a question to our class. She asked something on the lines of, should Kennedy have passed the Civil Rights Act, with his re-election coming soon? She then told us to go to one side of the room if yes, the other side if no.

I remember thinking right away, well heck yeah, of course! Black people have suffered through so much, before and after they were emancipated. Clearly, being freed from slavery wasn’t enough for them to be seen as equal in this country. Nothing was being done to try to help this group of people. And if Kennedy was as progressive as history made him out to be, this was his duty.

So I sat where I was, because the side of the room I was on was the side of yes, Kennedy should have worked on passing the Civil Right Act.

And then I watched my class move around me… to the other side of the room. Every. Single. One of them. I am not kidding.

So naturally, with me the only voice to the side I chose, our teacher asked me why I had chosen yes. And I explained exactly what I said above. Black people have waited long enough, it’s time. And if he’s worried about losing votes from white people, well there’s Black people to vote for him now (in my ideal mind back then).

She then turned to the other side of the room and asked them why they said no.

And the reason, I believe, is why it’s so hard for our country to be progressive. They said that Kennedy had to think about his voters. He already had the majority of the nation on his side, why rock the boat?

Rock the boat for who, exactly??? White people.

Why are any laws that benefit POC or any kind of minority deflected and unsupported. To keep white people happy. To keep them comfortable. To keep them feeling validated.

And after hundreds of years of validating only one side, one race, can you imagine what that can do to the people who have been belittled, dehumanized, deemed less than, for the same amount of time?

Now, I’m not happy that these riots are going on. I’m sad. I’m scared. I don’t think violence is ever an answer.

But as I see it, these riots that are happening is the same thing as when an abused and beaten animal lashes out. It’s enternalized so much violence within itself, it has no other way. Violence is the only way it knows how to protect itself.

And some are saying, “riots are no way to get things done, to make things better, to have other people come to your side and support you”.

People of color have tried every which way throughout history to get their voice heard. To show they are human, to show that they deserve to be treated as a human, with respect.

There have been protests, both violent and peaceful. Nothing.

There have been laws enacted that tells us we need to treat others with respect. Nothing.

There have been those who run for different offices of this country, trying to bring the voice of their people into the very institution that silences them. Nothing.

Like, we’ve had a Black president, a thoughtful, intelligent, patient man, who people still think of as being inhuman.

I’m frustrated.

I’ve been taking in everything that’s been happening and I can feel my body get hot and shaky and my heart beats faster and all these thoughts fly through my brain and it takes all of my energy to find my breath, and focus on that, to stay calm, to not use this energy in my body for negative actions, to write this post with a focus on writing my truth and not with hatred.

For those of you who are feeling how I’m feeling, let’s take this energy and put it towards educating ourselves. Education leads to understanding and understanding leads to love and love is the only thing that can destroy racism.

We live in a world where we have knowledge at our fingertips. Let’s work on thinking critically about what we see and hear. Let’s look inside ourselves and challenge our beliefs. There will be times when we feel uncomfortable, but that’s when we grow. And let’s vote.

I hope with all my heart that our country can find peace and balance. I get that, at this moment, we are overwhelmed with negativity. But peace shows itself here and there, like bright lights in the darkness.

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor.

BLACK LIVES MATTER


If you need a call to action, DONATE!! Anything you can. A lot of us are not doing well during the COVID-19 crisis but if you are, please think about donating to a cause.


You think the only people who are people

Are the people who look and think like you

But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger

You’ll learn things you never knew, you never knew.

– “Colors of the Wind”, Pocahontas

George Floyd and the Dominos of Racial Injustice

P.S. I highly recommend this video of thoughts by Trevor Noah. I like to listen to what he says because he always comes from a place of looking at the big picture and reflection. It challenges me to think like that, to see all points of view.

Finding Food Balance in Quarantine

I’m using my time during quarantine to work on my 2020 goal of being able to run a 10k. I’ve been researching the best way to do it, so that I don’t burn out and to prevent injuries.

But despite my efforts to get to my goal, including strength training and scheduling longer runs, I’ve gained some weight.

I’ve been at this weight before, about 3 years ago. But I had lost about 10 pounds during the course of a year, really doing nothing but eating clean a majority of the time and going on walks and doing yoga.

Since then, over the last year, I’ve slowly started to gain some weight back, but I was ok with it.

Until quarantine, when the pounds started to pack on faster.

Not only can I see it, mostly on my belly, but I can feel it too, in my arms and in my thighs. I have to admit, it does feel a little uncomfortable. My clothes are feeling a little more snug and I don’t want to get to the point where I have to buy new ones. But even though I’ve been at this weight before, it’s never really felt like me.

I think what caused it was my increased snacking while I work. Being at home, it’s harder for me to say no to a fig bar or gold fish crackers, or both. And looking back, that was definitely boredom eating.

But I think I ate for other reasons too. Reasons that I’ve always gone back to when eating.

One day I took some time to write out reasons why I eat, besides for being hungry of course.

I came to realize that a major reason why I over eat is fear of food waste. I would maybe have an extra cookie or more pasta because I don’t want it to be thrown away.

Part of it is because I don’t want to throw away perfectly good food. Another part of it is guilt for having food in the first place, where other people in the world have nothing. And the other part of it is, it’s like wasting money. I paid for this food only for it to be thrown away? No I’m going to eat it, even if I’m enjoying it less.

It was relief to identify this fear so that I could research and find a way to think differently about it. (I found this blog post that was really helpful.)

The purpose of this exercise I made myself do was to help me not think about food so much. I tend to do that, especially when I want to lose weight. There’s something food related always on my mind: If I eat this for breakfast, then what should I eat for lunch, etc. I’m not exactly hungry right now, but I know we have this particular food in the house, maybe I should just eat if before it gets thrown away? If I eat this healthy food now, then I’ll deserve to have something sweet later

It would just go on and on in my head and I realized it was not good for my mental health. I realized my relationship with food had to be tended to in order for me to finally think of food for what it is: fuel for my body and pleasure for my senses.

I also can’t get hard on myself for gaining weight during this time. We’ve all had to change our routines in the wake of this quarantine. There’s also a lot to worry about. It’s natural for your body to change and adapt. But I’m thankful that I’m not losing weight due to being sick.

As for more encouragement, I found some accounts on instagram of people who show that they’ve gained weight once they’ve stopped focusing so much on results and turned to working out for fun and stopped their strict diet. Now they focus on maintaining a balance diet, which includes those foods that may not be deemed healthy.

Quarantine has brought on some weight gain for me, but it also has helped me take time to dive deep into areas of my mental health that had to be taken care of. The goal is to find balance. And I feel like slowly, but surely, I’m finally finding it and accepting it.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is on NETFLIX!!!!

The Netflix gods have finally deemed the US worthy of having access to this piece of amazing culture!!!

I am on my way to binge the show and here’s some of what I’m most excited to relive (not in any particular order):

1. The breaking down of sexism and featuring strong female characters. All the women in The Last Airbender are freaking amazing and no one can tell them otherwise. Just look at how Katara proved that to the Northern Water Tribe bending teacher. She proved that she belonged there, not because she was a girl, but because she was already an excellent water bender and desired to learn more. Toph is, of course, another one of my favorites. She’s stubborn, but just as dynamic. And I have to shout out Azula. She’s scary but she makes a great villain for both Aang and Zuko.

2. I love seeing how The Last Airbender incorporates eastern religions and beliefs. It’s a fun and interesting way of getting exposed to them and learning about how other people across the world tap into their spirituality. One of my favorite episodes is the Chakrah episodes, in which Aang has to learn to align his chakras in order to control how he goes in and out of the Avatar state. I also love seeing how each bending principle is derived from moves of different martial arts. Needless to say, I love when a show does its research.

3. Zuko’s transformation. He easily as the BEST character arc in the show. He went from believing his destiny to be capturing the Avatar so that he can gain back his honor and be welcomed back by his father (and, albeit, a super angsty teenager) to realizing his true destiny involving the Avatar (befriending him and helping him defeat his own father, Fire Lord Ozai).

4. Uncle Iroh, his infinite wisdom and his pursuit in tea and all his leisures! I freaking love Uncle Iroh. He has so much patience with Zuko and truly loves him, even at his angsty-est. Sometimes I wish I could have an Uncle Iroh in my life. Not to mention, he’s another great comic relief character.

5. Watching this show as an adult has me appreciate Aang’s kid perspective. I love how he’s always looking to have fun and doesn’t mind talking back to adults if need be. It’s really refreshing to watch, even though he does have this big task at hand. It’s like a reminder to not take life so seriously all the time and find the fun in life every once in awhile.

If you’re finding yourself bored during this quarantine, I highly recommend this show. Even if it is technically a kid’s show, there’s a lot to learn. The story and the world it takes place in is really well thought out and planned. I guarantee you’ll be satisfied at the end. And for fellow fans who are also rewatching, what parts are you looking forward to?

Have You Seen Your Yoni?

I love a good dating show, even though I tend to judge them a little (a lot) before I inevitably get into them (and love them). Bonus if they make me think… and boy, was I surprised when Too Hot to Handle, Netflix’s latest reality TV dating show, got my brain working.

The premise of Too Hot to Handle is a group of extremely hot and horny 20-somethings all find themselves on a secluded resort just for them and they can’t do any kind of sexual act or even kiss. They must try to use as much self control as they can in order to walk away with the grand prize of $100,000.

The underlying point of the show is to force the contestants to make a connection that goes beyond just looks. They also go through a few self development workshops in order for them to grow as individuals.

It’s easy to sit back and judge these people for only being focused on looks and who they’re going to bed with. Some of them even admit to not being smart and brag about how many people they’ve slept with.

Trust me when I say, I was surprise to find myself going, “Awwwww” towards the end when the contestants made either a personal breakthrough or a genuine connection with someone else.

But I have to admit, I do admire them for owning their sexuality.

That’s something I’ve struggled with even before my first time. It was hard to think of myself as sexy. And as far as I was concerned, anything that went on down there wasn’t my business, it was God’s. (Something I picked up subconsciously from 9 years of Catholic school and eventually shed in my 20s).

On the show, one of the self development workshops the women participated in was called Yoni Puja. They were going to be looking at their own yoni (vagina in Sanskrit) with a mirror in order to develop a connection with it and appreciate it.

As proclaimed sexual women, I was surprised when many of those women said they hadn’t seen their own vagina before. Many of them realized how special their vagina was and would think twice in the future about who they would let “in” to it. They also learned that all vaginas look different and that’s normal.

Now, prior to seeing this show, I’ve taken a mirror to my own yoni a couple times to get to know it and take ownership of it. (Not from a Yoni Puja workshop but directed by Emily Nagoski, author of Come As You Are, which I highly recommend for all women and men.)

My takeaway from that was similar to the women of the show – my vagina is unique and that’s normal. This is my own to explore and find out what feels good. And yes, I am a sexual person and I’m allowed to be one.

It might seem like those women got more of a restricted lesson (don’t have sex with just anybody) and I received a more freeing lesson (you are sex).

But maybe we received the same lesson: women are amazing and we deserve to own who we are and what makes us who we are. Taking stock of our power is a way of self respect and we need that in order us to recognize we deserve respect from others.

So yeah, as you can see, I really liked the show and found myself rooting for the contestants and their growth. And for my fellow ladies out there, maybe try taking a mirror to your own yoni. Maybe it’ll make you feel some type of way, maybe it won’t. But we could all do with a good feeling of empowerment once in awhile.