photo via x-ray delta oneBy Crabby McSlacker
So as promised, even though I'm in full-on blogslacking mode, I'm going to try to slap together at least one blog post a month. Mainly so I can jump down into the comment section and catch up with all my favorite Cranketeers!
But I guess first I gotta actually write about something.
Hmm, let's see. Something about celebrations? We've got the fourth coming up, plus I have to confess I've been in a pretty celebratory mood. Because it's probably no surprise to anyone familiar with this blog that I was pretty psyched about a recent United States Supreme Court decision.
Pretty cool what they said about the unconstitutionality of the residual clause in the Armed Career Criminal Act, right??!!
OK, maybe not that decision. Being an Armed Career Criminal sounds like it would require a lot of entrepreneurial spirit, and guns scare the crap out of me, so I didn't have a huge stake in that one. No, I'm talking about a different Supreme Court decision.
Need a hint?
Oh wait, it doesn't?
I thought from all the screeching coming from certain quarters about how oppressive the decision was to people's religious freedom, that it must have had some actual impact on the religious freedom of the people doing the screeching. You mean straight people who don't approve of gay marriage don't have to relinquish their opposite-sex marriage rights? They just have to choose to feel or not feel the discomfort of their own self-righteous disapproval?
I can live with that.
But Wait, Isn't This a Health Blog?
At this point you may be wondering: "WTF Crabby? How does the growing acceptance of gay marriage have anything to do with health and fitness? Or setting and achieving goals? Or partaking of processed deli meats while watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, which the picture up top would lead us to believe is relevant?"
Well, watch in fascination as as I rationalize some sort of connection of all these things out of thin air, step by laborious step...
1. Exclusion Sucks and is Demoralizing
Patriotism has always been something of a struggle for me. Being finally treated equally under the law has helped me feel more like it's MY country too! No one likes to feel dissed and rejected.
And it's not just laws, it's culture. Disapproval in the form of violence, hostility, shaming, avoidance, laughter, rolled eyes, or any other of the bazillion ways we humans have of communicating "we think you suck" are all pretty hard on the ol' self-esteem.
Media portrayals (or invisibility) can be hurtful too. We may know intellectually that media is not necessarily "real life," but the way our brains work, it feels real to many people. If you are represented as comical, evil, deranged, or ridiculous, or if you are written out of existence, it is hard not to feel either angry or creeped out or, most perniciously, "less-than" as a person.
2. However, The Acceptance and Warmth and Advocacy of Kind Allies is Tremendously Important!
Our friends and coworkers and family members have been incredibly supportive of my wife and I for years and years.
And Cranky Fitness readers have never been anything but amazing in their open-mindedness and acceptance, from the very beginning. Are there many openly gay health and fitness bloggers out there among the thousands and thousands of blogs? Probably there are, but I've only personally run into a few of them, so it's not like it was some "normal" thing. Yet you guys were all way ahead of the rest of the country in acceptance and I've never felt the need to hide who I am or how important my awesome wife is to me.
3. Exclusion in the Health and Fitness World Sucks Too
So there may not be a sign at your gym that officially says:"No Fat People Allowed" or "Old People Stay Home" or "Women, Stay The F--ck Out of the Free Weight Area" or "No Men Allowed in Pilates Class Unless They Have Been Castrated"... but is it too much of a stretch to think that at some establishments, these are unwritten rules?
And don't get me started on all those Evil Women's "Health" Magazines, with their cheerful, not-so-subliminal messages: "You should spend all your waking hours thinking about how you look! And btw, it better be young and skinny and fashionable!" (God I hate the Rodale empire and its clones. Tip: go subscribe to Experience Life instead).
The fact that this video is being celebrated all over the internet for actually including a few real-life looking women only goes to point out the contrast with the rest of the media world.
We could pretend that being told "You Don't Belong Here" has no effect on us, but I think we're fooling ourselves. Being unwelcome hurts. Judgment and ridicule, however subtly expressed, keep many people from participating in the activities where their bodies or abilities will be exposed and potentially judged.
As a life and health coach, I'm well aware that feeling self-conscious is a big barrier for a lot of larger women in trying to get active. There is an added layer of dread about participating in fitness classes, or going to gyms, or joining teams, or putting on a swimsuit for some laps at the public pool because instead of feeling welcomed, they feel judged. How f--cked up is that?
4. The Importance of Showing Up Anyway Even if You're Not Welcome.
So the gay marriage decision is a big deal not just because 5 justices read the constitution in a different way than 4 other judges and "we won." It easily could have gone the other way.
What is amazing is that the court, while ahead of various state legislatures, is not actually ahead of popular public opinion anymore. So there's little likelihood of a constitutional amendment turning back the clock. Most people, and especially young people, just don't give a crap whether they have to share their rights with people in same-sex relationships.
How incredible is that? Even a few years ago it seemed impossible.
But it didn't just happen over a couple years. It was cumulative, and it was a result of a lot of people speaking out and showing up, even when they weren't welcome.
It took gay people coming out, sometimes at the cost of their jobs or custody of their children. It took straight people who refused to go along when their friends laughed or expressed hostility. It took Hollywood writers and Madison Avenue executives and editorial boards of local papers and congregations and neighbors and school boards and a whole lot of other people. But people eventually got used to gay people showing up and participating wherever they were, and they didn't seem totally nonhuman, it didn't seem so weird and freaky anymore to think about treating them like everyone else.
5. But Big Goals (whether we're talking civil rights or health and fitness) Can Take a Long Time, and Getting There Ain't Always Easy or Comfortable.
Notice how I'm running out of steam here? Bet you are too. Bottom line: be patient and hang in there; change can happen slowly but happy endings abound.
Oh and one more thing...
6. Celebrate Who You Are and How Far You've Come. And Don't Let Any Judgmental Idiots Out There Keep You From Showing Up!
via James Vaughan
Now on to the monthly check in thingy.
What am I up to these days?
So I'm taking this blog-break time to spend more time futzing with my novel. Sometimes it flows easily and I think it's awesome! Other times I realize the awesome-flow has just yielded a vast puddle of crappy writing and I pull the plug and drain out most of the dreck and start over. So, truthfully it's up and down. But I ain't giving up!
I'm also ramping up the weights and cardio again, nothing too intense, but I'm feeling motivated. I had tried to ease off in recent months due to a back injury that I've had forever, but taking it easier didn't help. So screw that! I'm going to gradually resume doing more and more of what I was doing before and, like an idiot, hope for the best.
I'm also hanging in there with the meditation thing, reading more books and experimenting with different methods and inventing my own strange approaches. I still do more in motion than while sitting, which is not really recommended, but I like to multi-task, so again, the hell with it, I'm going to do what I feel like doing. Hmm, sensing a theme here?
I don't have specific numerical goals for any of this, it's more of a "do your best and hang in there" approach, but so far I'm doing just that, so yay.
How about you guys? Thoughts on exclusion or showing up or armed career criminals? Or what are into these days and what's on the agenda for July?