Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Happy Fat Tuesday!

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Oh, what’s Fat Tuesday, you ask?  It’s traditionally the Tuesday right before the beginning of the Christian Lenten season, Ash Wednesday, built as a last indulgence before the fasting and self-denial of Lent kicks in.  Back in the day, it was a time when you ate lots of food before the last part of the winter fast (likely because food stores were getting low around this time).  It’s Mardi Gras.  It’s Shrove Tuesday.  It’s Paczki Day, if you live around some good Polish stock.  It’s the tops.

I was raised Lutheran, and although I am no longer religious, the traditions I grew up with still stick.  We always started the day with paczki (pączek the singular), which if you’ve never had one…probably go eat one, you’ll understand.  It’s like a delightful, fat, stuffed doughnut, usually filled with fruit fillings, custard, or creams.

This morning I picked up two dozen paczki for my office and classes, and for the first time, didn’t have an urge to eat one, just because they were in the car.

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Can you blame me?!

 

Lots of times, especially on holidays, it’s an expectation to eat or drink specific foods, merely because of the day or because they are part of the celebration (think turkey on Thanksgiving, egg nog at Christmas, green beer on St. Patrick’s Day), whether or not the food is something you enjoy, or feel you want.

Fundamental principles behind Inuitive Eating (my bible, how’s that for blasphemy) are to eat foods that are appealing, mostly eat foods with nutritional value, and to pay attention to internal cues of hunger and satiety.  Basic for those without disordered eating patterns, but like learning to live in an alien world for ED folks working toward recovery.

The greatest thing about intuitive eating, though, is their recognition that it is normal to not always pay attention to these cues.  Our environment, culture, and social world all interact with our patterns of eating, and these cues might differ from what our body’s trying to tell us.  Think about accepting a slice of pumpkin pie after Thanksgiving dinner, even though you’re stuffed, because your mom made it, and it’s expected to eat pie after dinner.

To eat intentionally means being aware of both sets of cues, both internal and external, then making a mindful decision about what you will put in your body.  It means not eating something just because it’s a certain day, but checking in with your body, and with your mind, determining your priorities and what’s important, then making your choice.

I don’t even like paczki very much, but eat one every year, because it’s tradition.  I’m sure you have times in your life when you’re pressured (or even just feel awkward saying no).

Also traditional is to “give up” something for Lent.  In Christian tradition, this mirrors Jesus’s trials in the desert for 40 days, ending on Easter Sunday.  Often, the first thing we think to give up is food we like.  Just like eating for non-mindful reasons, depriving ourselves of food/drink we enjoy can lead to disordered thinking/eating patterns later down the road.*

Simple denial (restriction, in ED terms) can make food loom large in our minds – it’s one of the reasons dieting is notoriously unsuccessful.  When we say we can’t eat something, it can lead to increased desire to eat that food, simply because it is forbidden.  It creates a huge cloud of feelings around it, and even shame if when we eventually do eat it…which, for those astute readers, is basically an eating disorder.  Food does not have moral value, and the food we choose does not reflect on our personhood or our moral value as people.

Enjoy your Fat Tuesday, if you celebrate it.  I hope you choose to enjoy it in mindful ways that honor your personhood and value.  Eat with intention.

And if you want a paczek, eat one intentionally!

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*Please refer to “The Underpants Rule” – you can do anything you want with your own body, including prioritizing weight loss, or health, or not!  This is not a list of what everyone should and should not do, just information and thoughts.

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My sister is amazing.  We’re the only two children in our extended family, and have 8 years between us.  As she gets older and wiser, we’re getting closer and building up our adult relationship.

We are about as different as two siblings can be.  In school, I was an enormous nerd; I wore glasses, had wavy, frizzy hair, was chubby and awkward (not like Zooey Deschanel awkward, like Amy Schumer awkward).

fuck you.

I played in marching band, and was on backstage crew in theater.  NERD.  College gave me punk rock, and I haven’t looked back since.

My sister was nominated for homecoming princess, captain of her soccer team, with naturally straight hair.  She played basketball, volleyball and powderpuff football.  She made t-shirts with her friends and took selfies that looked professional.  She’s also smart as shit and is studying to be an engineer now.

So it took me by surprise when she texted me to let me know she wants to be a punk now.

with this picture. it’s great, isn’t it?

After I recovered from my laughing fit, I started thinking about how one becomes a punk.  If you’re past the age of 15, it becomes more difficult to get into the culture, into the scene.  I still wince thinking about my naiveté calling garbage pop punk and post-hardcore records “punk.”  Oops.

this guy definitely knows how to be cool.

It’s the little things, you know?  Like the time a punker told me I had “all the right bands” on my computer.  I was 18, this was a big deal.  Or the party where my idol put on And Out Come the Wolves and I could sing along with everyone else.  Or a bouncer seeing my Black Flag tattoo and saying something about it.  Poser moments?  Maybe.  But they were a part of my punk evolution.

The best advice I ever got was from a friend of mine who we nicknamed “Scary Eyebrows.”  They were incredible, they stuck straight out like Einstein’s hair.  Anyway, he told me punk was all about doing whatever the fuck you wanted and not caring if anyone liked it.  That’s still the philosophy I try to live by.

So, if you want to be a punk, start with your education.  Read all the books you can about the birth of the musicWatch documentaries.  Talk about them with your friends.  Get comfortable with the politics and divides.

Go to shows.  Like, all the shows you can.  Especially local shows.  Punks support each other and support the local scene.  Try to avoid major label bands if at all possible.  Buy merch and music directly from the bands – that’s how they make their money, not by the cut from iTunes sales.

Listen to punk.  Obvious, but important.  Get familiar with the nuances, the different genres and styles.  Peruse the classics and figure out what you like and don’t like.  Are you a fan of gang vocals and rage?  Maybe hardcore punk is your shit.  Do you enjoy skanking around and bouncing with friends?  Try out some third wave ska.  Are bagpipes and fiddles your cue to party?  Perhaps some Celtic or eastern European  punk bands would tickle your fancy.  Do you hate the establishment?  Start with crust punk and crack rock steady, then work your way into 1990s hardcore.

Keep up on the news.  Read DyingScene.com and Profane Existence.  Skim through Maximum Rockandroll.  Keep informed about your town’s scene.  Read some zines and stuff created by your peers and compatriots.

Do the jobs that fit with your values, that honor DIY ethic, that contribute to the community.  Be nice to people.  Pick people up that fall down.

Drink PBR, or don’t.  Eat hamburgers, or be a vegan.  Dye your hair, or never fuck with showers.  Be yourself.

Most importantly, dress however the fuck you want.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go shopping at Hot Topic.  You can’t buy your way into punk.  Do It Yourself is the guiding principle here.  Tear up your own t-shirts, sew your own patches, stud your own vests, paint your own leathers.

I guess that’s where my advice ends.  Any additional advice is more than welcome in the comments!

Both my local news and CNN were full of Marshawn Lynch for the past couple of days.  Honestly, I’d never heard of the guy; I’m not what you’d call a sports fan and I certainly don’t care what a football player has to say (even when it’s amazing quotes about balls).  Despite my lack of interest, however, the news saturation has forced an opinion out of me.

For Pete’s sake, leave Marshawn Lynch alone!

Apparently the NFL has a policy that players must talk to the press or face serious fines.  Marshawn is not a big fan; the press conference I’ve seen has him saying “thank you” to every question, or answering with “you know why I’m here” and “I’m here so I don’t get fined.”  It’s hilarious.

This morning CNN reported he may get fined for wearing “unapproved hats.”  Seriously?

Leaving aside the utterly ridiculous fact that the NFL is technically a nonprofit, this is absurd.  WHO CARES about his flippin’ hat?

This is the problem with overarching rules, a lot of the time.  They’re probably there for a reason (like to make sure players who behave badly, like [too many to list], have to be accountable at least a little to the press) but the enforcement gets ridiculous.

Lynch hasn’t done anything wrong (at least not publically, since his 2012 DUI).  He’s a great player (watch the following for proof).  He stated he doesn’t like talking to the press because of his upbringing (because winning games is about the team) and being forced into it.

So why do we keep forcing him?  Can’t we just talk to the other dudes on his team, who’d probably love some publicity?

Better yet, why do we talk to these folks at all?  Maybe if we cared a bit less about this baloney we could have actual news on our news stations.  Just a thought.

(however, this run is sick.)

So this morning I heard a song in my trampoline exercise class (which is fabulous, as you can imagine) with a chorus of “Only you can make me feel beautiful.”  Me being me, I started thinking about all the times that people tell others how beautiful they are.

imagine!

First and foremost, one of the hallmarks of individuation is being able to know who you are and what you think about yourself, not being moved from who you are by feedback from others.  Gestalt therapy notes one of the issues leading to neurosis is a lack of clear boundaries between “me” and “not me.”  In our internet articles, magazines, books, and movies, it is emphasized  how “sexy” confidence is and how we have to be our own people.  However, this overt message contrasts with the covert messages in the products of popular culture; in this case, music and movies are the most obvious examples.

A lot of responsibility is placed on our partners for our feelings.  We assure people that we can see beyond the outside and we like what we see.  We place our very survival on another person simply being aroundThe number of these messages is tremendous and transcends genres and generations.

oy vey.

Aside from the obvious neediness and lack of our own lives here, there are a few intersections with mental health theory which may not be so stark.  Firstly, women (and men, to a lesser extent) are stuck waiting for their perfect partner.  I can’t be beautiful unless someone’s telling me I am.  I can’t feel beautiful if my partner doesn’t constantly assure me I am.  I can’t feel beautiful and be single.  I can’t feel beautiful when my partner isn’t making me feel I am.

The other aspect has to do with a defensive reaction, something we’ve talked extensively about and that motivational interviewing therapy ‎ is built to reduce.  When we’re told something, that we should do something or we are a certain way, a lot of us have a knee jerk reaction, a defense, that NO WAY reaction.  Even when it’s a “good” thing or “good” behavior we’re being pushed into.  The problem is the push.

so if i do, it’s your fault!

Does telling someone they’re beautiful defeat the purpose?  I know when someone tells me they’re having a bad hair day, and I tell them it looks fine, most of the time they dig in their heels to convince me I’m wrong and they’re right.  In psychology circles, it’s known as the confirmation bias and surprisingly (or not), it confirms we’d rather be right than happy.  We’d rather confirm I’m right about being ugly than be wrong and be beautiful.

The point isn’t to stop telling our partners they are beautiful or to stop accepting complements, but that we first need to change our self-concept and correct the stories we tell ourselves.  Only when we see ourselves as beautiful can we hear and appreciate others telling us the same.