One thing I've learned from a Year of Working Out

As you can tell by my Instagram widget, I work out. A lot. I wouldn’t classify myself as a fitness junkie – but others might. I’m also Type 1 diabetic.

So why did I start working out? The usual, I wanted to loose the jiggly part of my midsection and the pounds that it signified. Very specific, very weight centric. Very common way of thinking but not the best goal for me. In case it helps you understand me, I’m a Capricorn (sun and moon sign) so I’m astrologically goal oriented. Add managing diabetes with my personality and you get a person who likes to plan, likes their plans to happen as planned, and gets a fantastic sense of accomplishment when plans come to fruition in achieving those goals. Weight by number is not a good goal.

Okay so maintaining a healthy weight is important, don’t get me wrong, but its not a good standard to mark my progress with. I spent months on months on months telling myself (and not really buying it) that muscle weighs more than fat. Which is true.

It wasn’t until I ran across a pin that side by side compared fat and muscle. It showed (and captioned that) 5 pounds of fat takes up about the same space as 3 grapefruits, while 5 pounds of muscle takes up about the same space as 3 tangerines. Read that again, grapefruits versus tangerines.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have that number in my head that would be nice to see pop up on the scale. But I’m learning that when the guru’s and coaches and people who have been doing fitness for decades say “pay more attention to how your clothes fit and how you feel than to the number on the scale” – they may know what they’re talking about.

I still have goals. That whole “strong is the new sexy” movement? I dig that, I’m just not willing to discipline my plate that much yet. And I’m okay with that. I’m still trimming, building, sculpting, and jiggling less overall. I’m eating better (like much much much better) than I was. And my A1c is better, especially if I stick to actually counting my intake to accurately dose, which in turn helps me choose better nutrition. But that’s 2 totally different posts and the title of this is “…1 thing…”

I’m going to try to give you other things in future posts. There’s a lot of options. I’m thinking a post on consistency. Perhaps one on the types of exercise that are available. Maybe even some on living with diabetes. For now, trust the method that relies more on the fit of your clothes rather than number on the scale – it really is more accurate!

Drawbacks to the job I love

So I work as an editorial assistant. Which means I grade papers, kinda, and only for format and to make sure the text matches what is currently in existence. It’s a very particular process which means that I’ve trained myself to catch irregularities in text.

This bites me in the peach when I read a lot of things on the internet. Mainly because I turn into a spelling and grammar taskmaster and can’t do anything about it. I totally get that more than occasionally a finger misses a key. But, proofreading, and having a proofreading buddy, is vital to good writing.

I implore writers to let the creativity flow. Don’t be constrained by “proper” writing if the story calls for something else! However, unless it’s to be written colloquially, please let the piece set for at least a day before revising. And find a fellow blogger or kindred spirit to glance over your work before you hit that beloved Publish button. If they’re slacking on keeping up with your pace, find a second person who can help. Unless you’re a poet – then the rules just don’t apply. Do what you do!

I know I don’t have any room to lecture; I make more than my fair share of errors. But please, plan ahead and write accordingly. It’s well worth the time in the end.

Learning

I’ve obviously been out of the blogging game for a few years. So when it comes to getting back to blogging I have to learn what feels like a whole new platform. I can do it, it just takes more effort than hopping back on that bike and riding, so to speak. Further, I find I am way lazier than I used to be. That I blame on the structure of tradition learning. Someone want to create an outline for me and I’ll blog like a good student? That’s a rhetorical question… mostly.

As for the platform, it is more intuitive and does seem to make the process run more smoothly. Like switching to a ten-speed. It definitely makes the editing process easier.

Perhaps it’s the change of the new platform that had me complaining about learning something new. I generally enjoy learning. Change takes time, energy, and effort. Which is a big part of why I stopped blogging years ago. I had a lot of changes happening and 5 years later I feel like my life is settling down. Here’s hoping that means my blogging persona is back! And that whoever is reading this, is forgiving.

Coming out of the broom closet…still.

So, I posted the following in an Ancient and Medieval Civilizations history college class. This is really my first time throwing wide the broom door in an open environment. It is incredibly short for the subject matter. The discussion direction is first, in orange then my response is in purple and black. 

One of the more fascinating aspects of medieval history is the concept of witchcraft.  While romanticized in books, movies, and tv shows, being accused of a witch was one of the most intimidating and dreaded events of medieval life. Witch hunts raged on and off throughout Europe and the New World on a irregular basis for over 300 years.  Overwhelming the majority of those accused, tried, tortured, and executed for witchcraft were women.  Why?  What about women made them targets for these accusations?  Was it a means of control of women who acted outside traditional gender roles?  If you look at some of the women who were “uppity” were often accused of witchcraft.  Joan of Arc who led France to victory over the English–burned at the stake.  Anne Boleyn–King Henry VIII’s second wife was accused of “bewtiching” the King before she lost her head.  Anne Hutchinson who dared to speak out in colonial America–denounced as a witch.  Did witches really roam loose brewing up good and evil or was it a scare tactic to keep women in their place?  Was the devil really at work in the form of a woman?  Or was this an extension of original sin and the inherent weakness of women?

 Before I address this discussion, I am not Christian. I believe everyone has the right to believe what is right for them and I hope each individual follows their beliefs in thought, word and deed. Because of my personal beliefs I have not climbed on my soapbox and preached for respect and acceptance, instead I have tried to answer the questions tactfully and respectfully. I am not against any religion but do not wish to be converted nor do I wish to change anybody else’s faith, however I do like to discuss beliefs and so I apologize for the length of this post.

Real or scare tactic? Is witchcraft real, what about the Devil or original sin?

I feel the answer to all three of those questions is both yes and no. How can it be both? I do not believe that a person can speak some angry words and the target person will receive something negative but I do believe that the person who prays or casts a spell or charm to protect or heal can influence another. This has more to do with willpower than the supernatural and, to me, is kind of like a placebo effect. These questions have to do with an individual’s belief and faith plays a large part in the formation of those beliefs. Religion is not the only aspect to play into beliefs. Traditions, fairy tales, superstitions, entertainment and literature all impact a persons view. As we approach Halloween there are many who will be unknowingly quoting Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Even the t.v. series Doctor Who paid homage to “Double, double toil and trouble.”

Are women inherently weaker than men? Original sin/Women’s weakness?

In the patriarchal society, which was reinforced by many of the teachings of the Christian Church during the Middle Ages, women were believed to be weaker because, as the stories go, Eve caused the downfall of humanity. Having the witch-hunts focused on women allowed male control to be reinforced by women caught up in the mass hysteria. The hunts also allowed grudges to be acted upon and inexplicable events (plagues, natural disasters and the like) to be blamed on someone/thing. The reasoning went that if the cause could be found and purified (fire had been traditionally purifying in many pagan societies) then the ‘trouble’ would stop.

The Witch-Hunts Targets

Women were specifically targeted and some relate this to the relative success of the witch-hunt hysteria. The Gendercide Watch site does a fantastic job of lining this point out. This site was really interesting to me because it relates the hysteria to both women and timing of other rapid transformations happening. It makes a great point later on about the countries which were strongly Catholic had fewer burnings (“4 in Ireland vs 26,000 in Germany) than those in transition and turmoil with the Reformation. Women were not the only target but were undoubtedly the main focus. This may have something to do with holding onto traditions or superstitions surrounding fertility practices. The Catholic church had declared, or was working on declaring, some pretty specific beliefs/principles regarding fertility and the place of women.

Did/do personalities play any role in the label of witch? Control: gender roles?

As is the case with Joan of Arc, Anne Boleyn and Anne Hutchinson many of the first targets were strong willed women who did not stay in their prescribed roles. Personality often times led to the naming of certain women as witches, now that label has changed a letter but the idea behind it still applies. The movie (based on the book) Practical Magic nods at this thought through the school children’s chant “Witch, witch, you’re a ***ch.” The carryover of this chant generationally also speaks to how prejudices, as well as traditions, are passed on and how change can take so long.

Was geographic location a factor?

Absolutely. If you study Africa and South America many magical practitioners are called Witch Doctors or Shamans and are male. However, in North America men or women could be Shamans, depending on the tribe. In Europe women were traditionally the healers, those with the ‘evil-eye’ and is why I think it was so easy for this mass hysteria be focused on women. We as a global society have not left these practices or prejudices behind. There was a witch doctor that cursed a soccer star at the 2014 World Cup! Not to mention the millions of women dead or maimed across India specifically, but Asia and Africa as well, by being accused of witchcraft. Even now, many who consider themselves pagan in America hide their beliefs for a long time, it is called ‘coming out of the broom closet.’ Assumptions are rarely accurate and can be very hurtful depending on the society.

I leave you with the quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Cauldron boiling. Thunder. Enter the three witches.

1 WITCH.  Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d.

2 WITCH.  Thrice and once, the hedge-pig whin’d.

3 WITCH.  Harpier cries:—’tis time! ’tis time!

1 WITCH.  Round about the cauldron go;

In the poison’d entrails throw.—

Toad, that under cold stone,

Days and nights has thirty-one;

Swelter’d venom sleeping got,

Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!

ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Seeing as it in now October, the timing was right. I have struggled recently in responding to a conversion effort. There is a traveling walk through theater called the 99. It is host by Christian churches and focuses on their belief in response to drugs, suicide, gang violence and the consequences as they see them. It is a good experience but at the end there is a opportunity to commit/rededicate oneself to Jesus. When talking with the lady I evaded her questions of “Are you saved, when were you saved” and so on. I could have taken the opportunity to speak to her about not being Christian and why I don’t believe I will go to Hell because of it. But I didn’t. Instead I kept silent. 3 days later I had the following discussion assignment in class. In response to my actions at the 99 I feel I was more open in my class. Long story short: it isn’t easy being open. 

Flowers

As I have mentioned before I am an avid watcher of the T.V. show Bones, in this latest episode a form of communication through flowers was highlighted.  At least it was to me. It has been included in the show, briefly, before and sparked a little interest in me. I know from previous research that in the Victorian era tons of information could be gleaned from the flower a gentleman presented a lady with. It’s been longer than awhile and I don’t remember the specifics anymore.  This information is all over the place on the web so check it out if you are so inclined.

Every list varies and there are modern as well as ‘original’ meanings.  To complicate this language of flowers even more, the color of the individual flower can change the meaning as well. For instance: a red rose can mean sincere Love, Respect, Courage & Passion while a yellow rose can mean joy, gladness, friendship and “I Care.” A redtipped yellow rose can mean friendship, falling in Love; according to http://www.shabbir.com/romance/rosemean.html.