Friday, September 12, 2014

Losing Sleep

Twice this week I have laid in bed unable to sleep, tossing and turning.  Drafting arguments in my head, mustering moral outrage and banging my head against my pillow in frustration over some peoples views about raising the minimum wage.

My personal belief is that anyone who works full time should not be forced to live in poverty.  They should not be forced to rely on social safety nets (aka welfare) to provide for themselves or their families. They should not be forced to choose between food/medicine/housing/clothing in order to survive.  That is my belief as a humanist and  human being who cares deeply for others and believes strongly that we should do our part to help others so that they can help themselves.

Lately, I have seen deeply troubling propaganda stating "burger flippers" deserve to live in poverty.  Specifically, the memes/rants that compare "burger flippers" salary to that of a soldier.  First, let me state, soldiers are also underpaid individuals, I am not arguing that.  What I am arguing is that a soldiers salary is incomparable to a person making minimum wage.  A person making minimum wage will pay for their healthcare, if it is even offered.  A person making minimum wage does not receive a housing voucher.  A person making minimum wage is taxed on their income. 

Those arguments aside, this is a smoke screen tactic, Classic Propaganda.

Either corporations can pay their employees a livable wage OR the taxpayers can subsidize their income via the use of social safety nets (aka welfare programs).  Of course, corporations LOVE and highly encourage the use of these social programs because it helps their bottom line.  Not only are they enjoying corporate tax breaks, their employees are subsidized by taxpayers.  Sounds like a win/win for corporations and a loss for all taxpayers, especially their employees (who also pay taxes). 

McDonalds even has a help line for their employees to call for help. On this line,  they are advised to use food stamps and other welfare programs to make ends meet.  They literally PAY an employee to direct other employees on how to utilize social programs rather than pay their employees a livable wage! 

McDonalds also put out a "budget" to assist employees in their personal lives.  Suggesting such things as not using a gardener, taking two vacations a year and living without heat.  Stephen Colbert gave a scathing review of McDonald's "budget" in this clip.  Clearly, McDonalds is out of touch with their workers and the reality of living on a minimum wage salary. 

McDonalds is not the only corporation taking advantage of its workers and the taxpayers.  All you have to do is watch the news to see this goes on everyday in corporate America. 

Again, American workers who work full time should not be forced to live in poverty.  At $8.00 an hour, in the Twin Cities area, just to pay rent in a one bedroom apartment, a person would need to work 100 hours, after taxes.  That leaves very little left over for food, transportation to work, clothing, heat, electricity etc. 

I imagine when unions were just starting to form in this country it looked like this struggle.  Factory workers were forced to work for a pittance, worked long hours, children were forced into factories and sweatshops.  Thankfully, the labor unions were formed and turned the tides to assist the American worker.  Today is just the same.  You may not value the work a minimum wage worker does and view it as "unskilled" but, many years ago, factory workers/steel workers, etc. were also considered "unskilled labor".  Today, they are the backbone of our country.  We need to recognize the value of these workers and demand they be paid a livable wage.  "Low Pay Is Not Ok"

Click the link for more information on Low Pay Is Not Ok.

As I laid in bed crafting this blog in my head, I was reminded of the quote:

"If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."  Author Unknown. 

Well, I am paying attention and I hope you will as well.  Be vocal, call out propaganda when you see it, find your own way to help with this important issue.

Outraged and Definitely Paying Attention,

Gabbi

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sacred Space

This weekend, I spent quality time cleaning my bedroom.  Turning it from a cluttered, catch all for everything, into a place for me to enjoy, luxuriate and indulge myself.

It was a two day process devoted solely to my own comfort and happiness.  Hanging up clothes, getting rid of ones I don't wear, don't fit or were just plain old worn out.  Looking at my books, organizing them, being surprised all over again by the lovely book collection I own and remembering the books I always meant to read.  Handling knick knacks and gifts given, pictures and treasures found and putting them on display to delight myself all over again. 

Wiping down my nightstand tables, placing the necessary flotsam and jetsam in a distressed white wooden basket, handy and accessible for my nighttime rituals.  The collection of hairpins and ponytail holders corralled and centrally located.  Lip gloss and nail clippers expectantly waiting their turn to be used.  A lovely book left on the night stand, turned just so. 

Candles placed and lit, there will be no waiting to use the things I love.  A special place for my incense, the wafting smoke creating interesting shapes, whirling and wafting their lovely scents. 

Pictures straightened, wood floors swept, bed made enticingly, fluffy and my Grandpa Blankey ready to comfort me while I slumber.

I am finding new ways to show self-love.  Making special places just for pleasures sake.  Comforting myself with my own lovely things.

All for my own pleasure,

Gabbi



Monday, July 21, 2014

Swirly Thoughts

The other day I posted on twitter..oops, tweeted,

"I wonder if thin women think about being thin as much as I think about being fat?"

Pretty much every hour of every day I have thoughts about my body, size, what I am eating, what I weigh and how I look.

Is this a preoccupation that other women have? Since I am only in my own brain, I have no idea what is "normal" and what is not. 

Lately, I have taken to wondering, if these thoughts were removed or even cut in half, what else would my mind have the time and space to ruminate on?

What amazing thoughts could I have?  What mysteries of life could I contemplate?  Which tangles would unknot themselves and release just with the power my brain uses thinking about being fat?

Then I saw this:



What struck me was being "strung out on perfectionism and  people-pleasing". 

I am strung out on being fat and thoughts of my body/food/makeup/clothes/shoes.

Strung out. 

How do you stop the swirling thoughts and obsessive thinking?

No idea. 

But instead of being discouraged and trying to shut my brain off (which in my experience just ramps up the out of control thoughts), I have decided to change the tone of my thoughts.  For the most part, here is what it sounds like in my brain:

Hmm, I love her outfit, but I bet my belly would hang down in it, I bet the cellulite in my inner thighs would show through the material.  I have a super cute necklace to wear with that.  I should have put on some mascara.  Where could I wear that? What would people think if I wore that? You know, being fat and wearing a dress in public with make up and cute hair with a flower in it is really a radical act as a fat woman.  Radical in that, calling attention to your beauty, as a fat woman, opens you up for commentary from any person on the street.  I want to be radical...hey, I kind of am radical. Scared, but radical.

That is the commentary in my brain.  All day long.

Then I saw this:

IDGAF post from Jezebel.  The premise: I don't give a fuck what you think about ANYTHING I do.

My heart sang out when I read that.  My life motto is "I Do Exactly As I Please." So this article: Hallelujah!

If the thoughts won't stop, I can absolutely change the quality and tone of those thoughts. 

Then I saw this:

The Militant Baker's Body Positive Book Club for One

And don't you know, I went onto my libraries website and ordered EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ONE THEY HAD.

Yep.  I am planning a day or two of just reading, immersing myself in some seriously Body Positive shit.  Making some signs to put up in my house to aid in keeping my thoughts RADICAL and BAD ASS and LOVING THE HECK OUT OF MYSELF! 

A few weeks ago I had a cranio-sacral appointment and I was told that my mantra is "I love and accept myself exactly as I am, I am deserving of all things good that this world has to offer."  And then my practitioner told me to say it out loud...

I felt my throat close. I felt the sides of my esophagus puff and swell and trap the words just below my neck.   It actually hurt, physically, my throat was clamped tight, determined to not let those words out.

I was furious.  I teach a fucking class on loving your body and my own throat betrays me by refusing to open up so the words can come out.  I could not say them. I was a mute laying on the table. 

I felt horrible.  I felt like a trickster, a charlatan, a snake oil salesman hocking my wares of self love and acceptance.  Here I was, unable to say the words out loud when it was completely about me.  I knew I needed to write about it and work it through. And I realized, that right there, RIGHT THERE is the struggle. 

To acknowledge that there are times when my brain swirls, that I am pre-occupied with being fat, that there are times I cannot even bring myself to say that I am deserving of all good things, that I love myself just as I am, that sometimes I look in the mirror or at pictures and I HATE what I see.  That there are times I consider not doing something because of my size.

Those things/thoughts/feelings happen.  And THAT IS OK.  For real, it's ok.  Have those thoughts, see them, acknowledge them and let them go.  Or in other words...FUCK THAT SHIT. 

It happens, move on, be bad ass, do that shit anyways and know you are struggling and still ok through the struggle.  That, in struggle, is where the real work is done.

I tell my son on a regular basis "I know you are scared, but if you were never scared, you would never get to be brave."

The take away for me is this:  dive in to body positive material, find a few new mantras, give your brain some really delicious thoughts to ruminate on that lift me up and allow me to love myself just as I am, and then spread that shit around. 

Who is joining me?

Libraries ROCK,

Gabbi

 

 






Friday, May 16, 2014

I Think I am Doing Alright

A few Sundays ago, we had a "Cleaning Party" at my house.  For those of you who don't know, a "Cleaning Party" is not actually a party.  It is three part suck-ish chores, stalling kids and a bitchy Mama. 

No fun at all.

The only resemblance it has to an actual party is  that there is music, people yelling and more recently, costume wearing.

So, Sunday morning at Chore Divide Up time, I assign my 15 year old double bathroom duty, to which she grumbles, but agrees and heads upstairs to do bathroom No. 1. 

My 7 year old gets pantry duty and laundry room duty.  He also grumbles, and then excitedly says "WAIT!  I have an idea!"  He proceeds to run upstairs to his room and about 5 minutes later comes down the stairs wearing his full Spiderman costume from Halloween.  Fake bulgy muscles, face mask and all.

He announces "I AM SPIDERMAN!  And I am here to help an old lady with her work."  He heads right to the laundry room, I stop him midway and say "Hey Spidey, here is a bag for garbage."  He looks at me, well I couldn't actually see his eyes, but his head turned in my direction and he replies "Thank you, ma'am." and continues on his mission to help the elderly woman, who I am assuming is me and I am TOTALLY OK with this, as long as the chores get done. 

Spiderman needed a couple of reminders to keep on task and a little help with the broom and dust pan, but all in all, he did a great job. 

After the chores were done, I had to run to the local Ptacek's IGA to purchase lunch stuff for the week.  Spidey wanted to tag along.  When we pulled in the parking lot, Sam suddenly got shy and nervous about going into the store as Spiderman.  He curled up on the floor in the backseat, pulled his mask off with a worried look  "What if people laugh at me?" 

I said "Sweetie, I am going to tell you something important.  Most people, when they see someone doing something that makes them happy, they feel happy too.  But, it is up to you whether or not you want to come in."

Sam opted to stay in the car. 

I went into the store and while reviewing the pasta selection in aisle two, Spiderman came up to me from behind.  I felt so proud of him for being brave enough to be himself, well, his spidey self. 

As we went through the store, there was a family with 3 young kids, I would venture a guess of their ages to be 5, 4 and 3.  As soon as they came around the corner, the oldest one audibly gasped, grabbed his younger sister and yelled "IT'S SPIDERMAN!!"

Spiderman turned around to face them, and shyly waved.  As the younger sister saw Spiderman, she squealed with delight and then the smallest one also started to squeal happily. 

Spiderman began to walk/crawl down the aisle further delighting the children. 

In every new aisle, small faces would peek around the corner, squeal all over again and yell "SPIDERMAN!" 

Spiderman did not disappoint, ducking and dodging danger in every aisle.  He shot webs and rolled over hot lava in the aisle.  When the teenage cashier saw him and burst out laughing with pure joy to see Spiderman in full character, Spiderman jauntily waved to her. 

In the parking lot, Spiderman pulled off his mask.

Sam said "Mom, I think I made their day."  I said "Sweetie, I think you did, too."    He continued "You know, that one girl laughed at me, but, at least I brought her to laughter."  I said "Yes you did!"

Sam stopped short and waving his arms says "I KNOW!  I am going to write a poem about that...it will go something like this: 

Even though you laughed at me
at least I brought you to laughter."

I fucking love that kid.

Pretty Alright Mama,

Gabbi

P.S. I may start wearing a Wonder Woman costume while I do chores as well.  Who knows, maybe it will make it more fun.

P.P.S. The 15 year old made the shower SPARKLE.  She's pretty alright as well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What's Up Buttercup? Gabbi's Guide to All Things Fun

I have had several requests to put together a post of fun/free/inexpensive things to do in our area (Western Wisconsin/Twin Cities). Because I am the bad ass of fun!

I have a feeling this might take me awhile to put together because lets face it: I do a lot of fun shit.

Coming Soon:

Flint Hills Childrens Festival May 31-June 1st Rice Park Downtown St. Paul

This festival is SUPER FUN! Rice Park is transformed into a Kidderific Wonderland.  The park is full of booths set up with different kid activities and crafts.  The booths are all well staffed and the volunteers are always super friendly. Free balloon animals free face painting, free crafts and activities.  Totally worth it!  The Band shell in the park has free music ongoing through the whole weekend.  Food trucks abound on the side of the park. The Ordway also has performances going on all day for a more than fair price, especially if you are concerned about making the investment only to have your child be a demon and have to leave......oh that must only happen to me.

Ok, so go and do that...more fun stuff to follow!

Funnest person ever,

Gabbi



Monday, April 28, 2014

Randoms

I wish I had known when I was younger that life gets better and better.

As I get older, I feel younger.

Beef sticks in the morning are awesome.

I love the game bananagrams.

When I was in high school, I never wore a coat.  Now, I love dressing appropriately for the weather. Being a comfortable temperature is wonderful.

Painted toenails make me happy.

I am still trying to figure out twitter.  My hashtags are never very good, but I am working on it.

My dog is a great cuddler.

I got a couple of new bras, and I LOVE them.

My kids are pretty fun.

I am working on giving my undivided attention to people.  It is tougher than it seems.

When I am feeling really good, I visualize a whole bunch of good feelings collecting in my chest and then I shoot them out into the world.  I always have lots for myself and everyone else.

I am planning a couple of gardens in my yard this year.  I have never been a gardener, but I am going to do it this year.

If I really like my outfit, there are times that I don't even look in the mirror to check it because I worry that I will judge myself and change clothes. 

I want to make everyone happy.  Not in a co-dependent way but in a lets check out how awesome this world is together.

I want a tattoo that says "I do exactly as I please."  in a super swirly font on my left bicep.

I think I named my kids really well.

I love to learn new things.

Bookstores are so dang awesome and overwhelming because there is so much knowledge in there and there is no way I could absorb it all.

Coffee is great.

Random Girl,

Gabbi



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Did you know...

It takes HELLA NERVE on my part to post in a public forum that I LOVE any part of my body.

The fear that grips me right before I hit post, publish or tweet is intense.

Know what?

I do that shit anyways.  You should too.

I love my body!

Bad Ass Body Lover,

Gabbi