Dear BioWare, About Mass Effect Andromeda

In which I pen an heartfelt letter to my old flame about rekindling our love affair.

MassEffectAndromedalogo

(Originally posted on HeyPoorPlayer.com)

Hey guys, it’s been awhile. What can I say, the ending was rough. We both said things we didn’t mean, but don’t for a second think that means I ever stopped loving you.

I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about Mass Effect Andromeda and I felt like I needed to let you know that I’m glad you’re moving on. It’s been a bumpy road and we’ve lost some people along the way, but maybe this could be the fresh start we both needed? Here’s the thing though, for this to work there’s a few things I’m gonna need you to keep in mind.

Click here to read the rest

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Mental Health is About the Journey, Not the Destination

With the recent proclamation that May would be Mental Health Awareness Month I was pleased to see my peeps getting some representation. Even if, at the time I wasn’t feeling any particular solidarity with them.

See here’s the thing, I’m crazy. Okay, technically I’m not supposed to say that. The reason escapes me at the moment, but something about stigma? Generalization? Whatever, it gets across the basic idea that on some level my mind is wired wrong.

I have a therapist, and take lots of medicine. It took a long time for me to seek help and even longer before I saw real progress. I have what they call fast-cycling massive depression. For awhile one doctor even thought I might be bi-polar, which was exciting and terrifying. Being bi-polar is like the diabetes of mental health, manageable, but not really curable.

When I switched doctors and realized that I never had anything resembling mania the focus shifted to my anxiety and the depression. Kind of a self-fulfilling circle there. I was anxious about slipping back into depression, which could last weeks, which made me more likely to become depressed because of how worried I was about it.

Really quick, being depressed is not the same as being sad, not even a little. I tried going to a counselor and she suggested a ‘gratitude journal’ so I could reflect on all the great things I have going for me. This was probably the least helpful thing any ‘professional’ has ever suggested to me. I already knew I shouldn’t be depressed, that I have no outside persistent influence that kept me from enjoying life. That’s what makes the depression so hard to deal with. Not only do I feel terrible, I don’t think I deserve to feel bad because I have it so good.

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Image by Mary Lock on Flickr under Creative Commons

If you take nothing else from this blog, take this, depression isn’t the same as being sad. When you feel sad, usually there is a reason and once you deal with that reason you can feel better. Depression offers no relief. It is constant and overwhelming, like drowning while everyone else seems to have no trouble swimming. “Why can’t you just kick your damn legs?” “Do you want to drown?” “You fail at everything anyway so don’t even bother trying to swim.” That’s depression.

Things have changed a lot for me over the past year. I like to think I’ve gotten better. Hell, some days I feel like I’m cured and over it all. So, yeah when I heard it was Mental Health Awareness Month, initially I didn’t feel the need to say anything. Not my place, I wasn’t feeling ‘crazy’ anymore. Until, I was.

This is where it gets hard and murky. Usually I’m fine. I follow my treatment plan, have a super supportive family, and practice cognitive mood techniques, even though I often think they are stupid. Even so, sometimes I feel the depression pulling me back in.

Recognizing it isn’t the same as fighting it. Being able to see when I’m becoming withdrawn and miserable doesn’t always mean I’m able to combat it, because usually by the time I realize I’m depressed again, it’s already too late. It can be set off by anything, or occasionally nothing. One minute I’m me and the next I can barely find the motivation to drag myself to my pillow fort in retreat.

What I’m trying to say is that mental health is hard and for a lot of people it will always be hard. There is no cure, no definitive diagnosis. You can spend years thinking you are chipping away at the problem only to discover that the cause may have been something else entirely. There’s no simple blood test for crazy. No magic pill.

I’m learning to forgive myself for my bad days. Trying to show myself that one bad day doesn’t mean I’ve fallen all the way back to the start. Sometimes it will be a struggle, and sometimes it will feel like too much. That’s okay. I have to tell myself that this is okay.

If you or someone you care about suffers from an invisible mental health issue, let them know that it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to not always feel ‘normal’ or sane. You have to just keep going because, eventually, there will be a good day again.

Need help? United States:
1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

I got what I wanted, now what do I do with it?

writingonbed

I am officially a freelance writer now! Cue parades, confetti, and, oh hell I don’t know, champagne? Look, I’ll work out the grown-up celebratory obligations later, for now, I’m just happy to be here. You might be wondering what ‘here’ looks like, and only three days in, so am I.

I’ve been struggling for years to figure out what I wanted out of life and how to get it. For a while things got pretty dark and scary, mental health is a real issue, don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Eventually, my husband wondered if I wouldn’t be happier making money from writing. My knee-jerk reaction was, well duh, of course I would, but we live in the real world and need things like shoes for the kid, dog food, and electricity. Then we really sat down and started hashing out the details of what exactly it would take for me to be able to work from home. Suddenly there was a glimmer of hope.

I spent the next few weeks looking for places that would be willing to pay me to sling words at them. I had a few close calls where I thought I was onto something, but ultimately I was only able to pull in one steady commitment. I’d like to say there was some sort of divine inspiration that hit at this point, but really I just wanted out of the life I was finding myself trapped in. So I gave my two weeks notice and started looking for more freelance gigs.

Two weeks passed and now I work from home. I get up with the husband and kiddo everyday as usual, but when they leave I retreat to the office and spend the day writing, or reading about writing, or emailing people about maybe paying me to do writing. This new life is everything I wanted, and nothing like I expected, all rolled together.

shufflecards

Lose this hand and I have to pawn the dog.

I’m spending more time with my son again. Can’t afford to send him to daycare if I’m not doing “real” work, so after school he comes right home. Throwing caution to the wind I went ahead and volunteered to help coach his soccer teams (yeah, teams plural). Soccer is kinda my lifeline with the outside world at this point. Don’t want to give in to my hermit tendencies too much.

The hardest part of working from home? Convincing myself that it counts as work. It doesn’t help that I’m just starting out and not really bringing in the big (or even small) bucks as of yet. It’s stressful to feel like the race started without you and now you’re playing catch-up.  These things take time, and speaking of time, learning how to best utilize yours once you have only yourself to answer to is disorienting. Suddenly, I have the option to do everything or nothing, all within the same day. It’s motivating and overwhelming all at once, but honestly, there is a part of me that loves it.

 

For the first time I feel like I’m getting a peek at my most authentic self. The one who is free to be creative and unconventional. I can finally follow a dream and see where it takes me. It’s scary to have so many opportunities open all at once and know that if I fail now I have only myself to blame, but there is freedom in being able to fail. Having the choice to get up in the morning and do something that matters, if only to me, feels amazing.

Maybe a few months from now I’ll be back to trying to find a “regular” job that pays me to do ordinary work, but at least for now, I get to try to really be me, and damn, I’m lucky to even get that chance.

Don’t be flugelhorned! Catering to your niche

2013 Mardi Gras: Krewe of Mid-City Mardi Gras parade

Don’t go quietly into the brass section. Fight!

The husband and I have always enjoyed many varied interests. While gaming seems to get the most attention the truth is that we are both creative types at heart. He loves music, photography, and all manner of woodworking. I like to make characters out of different mediums and dabble in drawing. We keep busy and up until now I’ve never seen a downside to having multiple talents to draw from. Until I learned about flugelhorning.

Context; I was talking to a co-worker the other day. She was a bit distraught that she was being passed from department to department since she was capable of helping in multiple places, while other people who only had one particular skill set got to stay put and focus on their primary job. She told me it reminded her of being in band and volunteering to learn the flugelhorn. She said that she basically got stuck always doing the flugelhorn parts since everyone else had the good sense to just stick to the trumpet.

This story set off flashing lights in my brain, a sure sign that I was about to have an epiphany of sorts (“epiphany” “epilepsy”, you get the idea). See, until now I had always considered my ability to take on multiple tasks to be an asset. In all the jobs I’ve had I’d always though it useful to know, not only my duties, but also how to perform the tasks of others so I could always be counted on to jump in and help out in a pinch.  Now I realized that I had flugelhorned myself.

Now, the linguists in the audience are probably throwing up their hands in frustration by what they incorrectly perceive as me  trying to make unnecessary words a part of the common vernacular. Why not just use “shoehorned”? Doesn’t that mean relatively the same as what I’m trying to say? Not at all, and here’s why;

shoe·horn  (sho̅o̅′hôrn′) – To squeeze into or as if into an insufficient space,to force into a limited or tight space.

When you shoehorn something you force it into someplace where it doesn’t quite fit. In a work place example this would be like taking the company accountant and putting him in charge of counting widgets because he’s good at math. Great, your widget count is going to be spot on for the next inventory, but that guy is going to notice at some point that he could be doing real math elsewhere. Nobody aspires to be a widget counter.

Conversely, flugelhorning someone is just as limiting, but far more deceptive. Let’s take our accountant and put him back in charge of accounts receivable and payable or whatever the hell it is accountants do with their fancy adding machines. Okay, good he’s doing accounting and he’s content. You know what? I bet he’d be good at doing the ordering for the company too, since he’s so good with the numbers and all. Excellent, now if only we had someone who could make sales calls. Hey, why not the accountant, he already knows what supplies we have in stock since he’s doing the ordering. How difficult would it be to have him selling as well? Eventually this poor bastard is doing the work of seven different people.

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Dude, WTF?

 

Perhaps his company isn’t run by total jerks and they give him a little additional monetary incentive to now throw himself off a bridge. They are still saving loads of money on all the employees they don’t have to hire to help out. Meanwhile, our jack of all trades feels like he’s starting to get somewhere in the company since he’s wearing all the hats that have been flung his way. Eventually he works up the nerve to ask for a promotion, only to be told that that isn’t possible at the moment because they’d need to find 2-3 new employees to pick up the slack if he were to move to another position. Here he thought he was making himself more useful only to find out that he had flugelhorned himself into doing everything for relatively the same amount of pay as if he’d just done ‘only’ his job really well from the get-go.

So now that you are aware of the flugelhorning epidemic, how do you make yourself immune? By specializing your talents. Here’s the thing, people who do one very specific thing extremely well are rare and usually well paid. Anybody can have passable photoshop abilities, but someone who is actually talented at the program can charge a premium for their skills. In the same vein, doctors might expect to make some cash, but not as much as specialists in a particular medical field. This is why a neurosurgeon makes more than a general practitioner, specialization.

The more specialized and unique your skill set the more you can charge for it. If you can build scale replicas of famous cities that is awesome, if you can do it using grains of rice and unicorn tears, well guess which one is more valuable? The trick is to figure out what it is that you want to be most excellent at and focus on that like a man possessed. Then find the tiniest subset of that category and cater exclusively to that niche.

To be honest I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to follow my own advice here. I can absolutely get behind the idea that being flugelhorned is a real thing and if anyone would like to go ahead and send word to the Webster’s people about this, it would be most appreciated. Trouble is, the reason I have many hobbies and skills is because I like doing lots of different things. Still, at least insofar as my future career prospects are concerned, it might be time to figure out where my best abilities lie and throw everything I have behind them in the smallest niche possible.

Feline flugelhorning is still a viable option

Feline flugelhorning is still a viable option

 

Dear Internet, let me tell you all the sordid details

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Back when I was a kid there was a TV show called, Doogie Howser M.D. For those of you young enough to have been spared this time in history it’s basically the story of how Barney from, How I Met Your Mother, was a kid doctor. He spent his days learning about life, love, and horrible diseases. At the end of every episode, Doogie would sit down at his trusty computer (with super hot DOS interface) and write up his thoughts about the day. Doogie made keeping a diary cool, even before the advent of the internet.

Seriously, daaaww

Seriously, daaaww

I bring this up only because I’ve come to the realization that this blog has basically become my own little (not at all) private journal. As such occasionally you guys are gonna be on the receiving end of me rambling inanely as I try to make sense of things. Apologies in advance, but if I just sat around talking to myself all day my family would have to have me committed. This is by far the cheaper option.

Currently I’m wrestling with the problem of finding fulfillment. See husband and I have both been feeling a bit unmotivated at our jobs as of late. This happens to everyone, you wake up one day, look around, and shudder in horror at the sheer mundaneness of your life. When we are children we dream of being artists and astronauts, then we grow up and sell office supplies and answer phones. It’s a depressing thing to realize that the life you always dreamed of having somehow got lost along the way to growing up and being able to pay your mortgage. The question I’m battling with now is whether to just come to terms with this or fight back.

There are countless inspirational quotes flooding the world about the importance of never giving up, of finding something that makes you happy and doing it for the rest of your life. These are warm, fuzzy thoughts, but how realistic is it to expect to find happiness while you are bogged down with a life of responsibilities? Husband secretly dreams of making a living with his woodworking. He’s very talented (seriously, check out the blog he just started), but he knows it’s just not feasible for our family for him to just up and quit his job and hope for the best. I wish I could tell him to just go for it, that we’d find a way to make it work, but since he’s the one who keeps up with our finances he knows better than to believe me.

I come here and lament to you guys about how I want to make a living with my writing, possibly doing some awesome nerd crafting on the side (seriously, I make damn cute things), but what are the odds of that ever actually happening for me? Probably far less if I’m so worried about failing that I can never beat back my own self-doubt long enough to try.

The thing is, I want us both to have the chance to do the things we love. We only get one shot at life (unless you’ve got an awesome religion that grants additional shots) so it’s only fair that we go all in and do whatever it takes to make it worthwhile.

We had tried a business once before, back while I was a stay-at-home mom. After two years we called it quits. It wasn’t really a failure, we did learn a lot during that time. I think given the chance we’d be able to skip most of the missteps we made the first time around. Now we’re both dreaming of trying something new and it’s daunting and scary which is the main reason I think we might actually be onto something. Great things don’t just come from accepting the status-quo. Mediocrity and safety don’t yield amazing results.

Sometimes I think I’ve been mislead and my occasional bouts of idealism are entirely unfounded. As children we are all taught that each one of us is a special little snowflake, capable of achieving anything our little hearts set out to do. As we grow up we find out that many doors were never open to us at all and most people don’t give even a token fuck for our happiness.

two roads

This is the crossroads I find myself at now. Looking down the road I’ve been traveling and wondering if I should just keep going to the end because I’ve already gone so far, I’m too old and tired, most importantly I have a pretty good idea of where I’m going. Hell, the other road could be a dead end for all I know. Yet still, I look back over my shoulder at where another road branches off from this one and I can’t help but wonder if I should double back and try again.

 

Sneaking away from my comfort zone

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I’ll be in my pillow fort if you need me.

I don’t take kindly to change. Even positive changes can put me on edge because I’m a firm believer that it’s better to stick with the enemy you know than to go looking for new trouble. This line of thinking is more than a little problematic the older I get because more and more I’m catching myself standing in the way of my own success. There are loads of blogs and scientific articles out there that tout the benefits of stepping out of your personal comfort zone. Basically, there aren’t many downsides as it is seen as the key to achieving greatness. While we all inevitably fall into the low-stress, reduced anxiety lifestyle our comfort zones provide, nobody does amazing things without pushing some boundaries.

The husband and I were talking this morning about how things continue to change throughout your life. There is never a point where you’ve finally got it all sorted out and can just sit back and ride out the rest in peace with no regrets. Or maybe you can, but so far as either of us could tell we’re not the types to give up wondering “what if” about things. It’s not that we aren’t happy with all the great things we do have, it’s just that we still wonder if we could continue to improve our lot in life. Humankind wouldn’t have made many advancements through the years if we’d all just given up and decided to be content with the way things already were.

Lately I’ve been feeling more than a bit stuck with a bad case of complacency. Things aren’t really bad for me, but they aren’t how I’d like them to be and it’s been a good while since I felt like I was making any progress. I’ve found myself trapped in my comfort zone and, like a toppled pillow fort, what was meant to be calming and safe is slowly beginning to suffocate me.  It has taken some pushing and prodding a maybe even a few tears, but I think I’m ready to start testing the waters out there in the big bad world.

Hello, opportunities?

Hello, opportunities?

Some people, braver or more stupid than myself, might launch into this challenge headfirst with huge life altering events. That’s all fine and good, god speed to them. Being the type of person who gets angry and disoriented by surprises I prefer to slowly feel my way into new experiences. I’ve been putting out some feelers lately, just seeing what opportunities might exist for someone like me that weren’t open before. I’m still planning to keep the focus on furthering my writing, but by allowing myself to consider new possibilities I may have found a way to make things easier on myself by eliminating some of the problems inherent with comfort.

It’s not a perfect plan, and there is every chance that it could blow up in my face before things even get off the ground, but at this point that is a risk I’m willing to take. I’ve realized the only thing that scares me more than change is being stuck with no chance of change.

Hold your critique while I get my knife ready

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Would-be writers are told time and time again to develop a thick skin in preparation for the numerous rejections they will have to endure before they achieve any iota of success. For me, this is probably the highest bar to entry that I’ve come across in pursuit of my ambitions. I don’t have many talents of which I’m unflinchingly confidant. Hell, even things I know I do well still require ridiculous amounts of fine tuning before I’m willing to send them off into the world. Being told that writing was not something I had a talent for would be devastating.

I am not a person acclimated to taking criticism well. There could be any number of perfectly reasonable explanations for this, but as the internet isn’t large enough to hold a comprehensive listing of all my various neurosis, let’s just say I have a tendency to take criticism as a personal affront to my competence. Having my notes edited for spelling errors when I was a kid probably didn’t help.

This is not to say that I consider myself above reproach or think that I’m always right, quite the opposite. I live in a constant state of alertness under the belief that people are watching my every move and just waiting to swoop in and point out my shortcomings. In some regards I’ve developed a stream of coping mechanisms to deal with this sort of rejection, but only with bigger overarching issues.

For example, if I spell a word wrong or abuse the oxford comma and someone calls me out on it I have no problem correcting the problem and moving on. These are mistakes I expect to make because typos happen and commas are basically my indentured slaves. I am far less accepting of subjective criticism when it serves no purpose outside of making the person who pointed it out feel proud for having caught me in a perceived mistake.

Certainly it is better to have one person bring my attention to an error than to have that same error go unmentioned until it is publicly displayed for everyone to see. Nobody wants to be wrong, but when people use their opinion on how I should be doing things as a basis for calling me out I tend to get stabby.

job warning

I should probably warn you that if you’re looking for a blog about dealing with criticism and learning from it you may as well look elsewhere. I know that the term ‘constructive criticism’ was coined for a reason, but I don’t expect to discover any short cuts for accepting it with grace and poise by the end of this article. This is a rant, and as such its only purpose is to serve as an outlet for those of us who are tired of the nitpicking nags who would see us held down whenever we try to raise ourselves up.

Now, I understand that criticism is a necessary evil. Nobody is perfect and when you attempt something there is a good chance you’re going to make some mistakes. This is good, you need to make mistakes so you can learn not to make them in the future. If they aren’t mistakes you can find on your own then you need someone else to give you feedback and let you know how to improve. I get all that, I really do, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to immediately roll over and accept that your way is correct. This is doubly true if I don’t agree with your assessment.

Great art comes from knowing when to break the rules and sometimes doing something differently than convention calls for is the best way to get your point across. Often when I solicit feedback on my writing I’m not looking for a rundown of my errors, I’m looking for affirmation that I managed to get my point across. Errors can be easily fixed, but flawed execution or faulty reasoning is a far greater offense in my eyes. Not everyone makes this distinction, probably because writing isn’t always considered an art form.

There are no museums (that I know of) for masterfully executed sentences or well developed characters and plots. It’s not because these things don’t exist, but because those who do not write don’t understand how difficult they are to achieve. I know that at some point I’m going to have to suck it up and send my manuscript out into the cold harsh world of editors and agents. I know that this will be a difficult time and that I will have to learn to adapt to accept criticism of my work. I’m not looking forward to it, but I get why this bar to entry exists.

I just hope that when this time comes I can find a way to remind myself that criticism is intrinsic to having created something. That even though it might be hard to accept the opinions of others in regards to my work, I have already proven myself just by creating that which did not exist before me. The nagging nitpickers can just go ahead and suck on that.

Fat people don’t get to be lazy at the gym

gymrunner1

I’ve got a bit of a confession to make, I really like food. I mean I really enjoy the mass consumption of yummy things. Sadly this has lead to a problem I like to refer to as Flesh Abundance Tumidity, or as it is more commonly known, FAT.

The trouble is that people have quite a few unflattering assumptions about those of us suffering from FAT. Primary among those is that we are lazy and have zero self-control. To be fair these labels can be just as true of  slender people, but at some point in our evolution we just began to equate size with our measure of health. It’s utter bullshit, but that’s where we are at.

At several points throughout my adult life I’ve decided to do something about my ampleness, with mixed results. I’ve come to accept that I’m never gonna be one of the naturally slim or fit people the media tells me are the ideal and I’m fine with that, really stop asking. Recently I broke down and signed up for a gym membership.

For those of you uninitiated, gyms can be a little intimidating for newbies. It’s a bit like being a lone gazelle lost in the Serengeti. You know there is a place for you, but you aren’t sure where it is or how to get there. You kinda just have to wander around and hope you don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation. There are plenty of lions roaming about ready to eat you alive if you break some unwritten rule of gym etiquette, so it’s best to start slow and feel your way around, at least that’s how I’ve approached it.

I started out on the treadmill and slowly made my way to the elliptical. Occasionally, I’d peek around to make sure there were no predators looming about before sneaking over to try out a weight machine or two. Lions tend to frequent the free weights. In the end I always return to the safety of the cardio area.

I’m luckier than some because I am not the only member of the FAT club who attends my particular gym. This keeps me from feeling completely out of place in a land of beautiful athletic people. Often as I’m working away, sweating through my clothes as my legs slowly go numb, I notice another card carrying FAT member venture in and climb on a treadmill.

Free cake when you get a new member to join!

Free cake when you get a new member to join!

‘Oh good,’ I think, ‘someone else is FAT, it’s not just me. We can be FAT together.’

My feeling of solidarity lasts just long enough for her to set down her big gulp and pull out a magazine to read as she leisurely strolls in place on the treadmill. Suddenly any kinship I had felt for this person is dashed upon the rocks as I watch her make seemingly no effort whatsoever to be uncomfortable enough to garner results. I now feel like I have to work twice as hard to make up for this member of my clan who clearly embodies all the negative things people think about our ilk.

There are things we as FAT people tell ourselves and each other to make peace with our place in the world. Things like, “any effort is better than making no effort,” and “don’t push yourself too hard.” Friends I am here to tell you, we are doing ourselves a disservice when we do this. Going to the gym or starting an exercise program is a great first step, but that’s all it is, one step in the long arduous trek towards physical fitness and social acceptance. When you’re FAT you start this trek at a keen disadvantage already since everyone expects you to fail and console yourself with a quart of deep-fried pudding.

Is this fair? Hell no, but since when does fair enter into the equation? People are a judgy lot and when you’re killing yourself to meet a goal it’s comforting to see someone who you are clearly beating in your quest. It doesn’t matter that they probably have very different goals and challenges, you just need to convince yourself that there is a reason you had to turn down the cookies that Betty brought to the office on Tuesday. You have to trade cookies for sweat stinging your eyes because you don’t want to end up like that poor slob who thinks watching Duck Dynasty while he crawls along at a snails pace is fooling anyone. (Watching Duck Dynasty is a universally horrible idea for anyone, just saying.)

As FAT people we owe it to ourselves and our fellow pudgy-inclined brethren to put forth extra effort when we go to the gym. We don’t have the luxury of being lazy, we gave that up when we decided that we did in fact need a second helping. It’s not enough just to show up and go through the motions, you have to make up for all the preconceived notions of the fit and healthy.  I’m not bashing, I reach just as fast for another slice of pizza as the next fat girl, but you can bet I make myself pay for it when I lace up my gym shoes.  I don’t foresee myself giving up the Nuetella anytime soon, so it’s likely that my gym trips will continue to be an uphill battle, but you can be damn sure that when I’m there I’m going to give every appearance of someone who thinks physical fitness is within their grasp.

For those preparing their torches and pitchforks, calm yourselves. I know that everyone’s body is different and that people have different levels of fitness. I’m firmly mixed into that lot, but if you are going to go to the gym and have convinced yourself that you are working to improve your life than it would be nice if you actually, you know, worked.

Hold on, I have to update my status so everyone knows I'm at the gym.

Hold on, I have to update my status so everyone knows I’m at the gym.

I like to imagine that when people see me in there awkwardly panting and staggering through my workout they think, “yeah, she’s big, but at least she’s trying to do something about it.” This puts my mind somewhat at ease with the fact that I haven’t seen any automatic and fantastic results thus far. When I see another chubby person come in and not even  break a sweat while they exercise all I can think is that they have ruined all the progress I’ve made in convincing people that we don’t all fit the stereotype.

I don’t enjoy the fact that my mind is wired to judge people this way. I’d like to be all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to my fellow man, and especially towards the groups which have enough external pressures to conform to societal norms. Wouldn’t that be a better place to be? Sure, but I’d be there alone so I’ve pretty much scrapped that idea. New idea, if you’re not willing to make your particular marginalized group look better at least do the rest of us a favor and don’t make us look worse.