The Mourning After

They say grief has several stages: shock/disbelief, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance/hope. I stood in shock for most of the day on Wednesday, 11/09/2016.  Found myself in mourning- mourning the loss of the America I hoped for, in the face of the America that is. I still find it hard to believe the next President of the allegedly United States is a xenophobic, fear-mongering, dog-whistling, erratic, divisive, reality TV star. This is who will have access to top-secret information and undercover operations? How did this happen? Who pulled the trigger against our progress? Who, what, when, where, why, and how? The rationale is beyond reason.

Reality is, roughly 46.6% of eligible registered voters didn’t vote in this election. Reality is, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with more than 2,500,000* votes over Trump. Reality is, despite mainstream media, hate speeches, zero experience, and mass un-appeal, Donald Trump won the electorate. Reality is, our faux democracy and single-issue hypocrisy got us where we are today. And that’s disheartening.

So I wasn’t just shocked that Clinton lost. I was shocked she was trumped by The Donald. Mr. Grab ‘Em By the P@&&¥.  Mr. Flip Flop on the Issues. The man without a plan. Don’t even get me started on his bigoted, racist rhetoric. And nearly half of Tuesdays voters pressed the green button for him? Seventy percent of white voters elected him?  It’s angering and eye-opening at the same time. The fact that over 60 million adults voted for this highly unqualified, unpresidential, uncouth, cyber bully… seriously? And President Barak Obama has to pass the baton to him??? Lord have mercy.

Needless to say, I know I’m not alone in this election distress. America has been deplorably divided and racially charged these past few days. And it’s out of control. It’s like we’ve been walking in the valley of the shadow of death, fearing the evil of the impending Trump administration. But I am reminded not to be afraid of the shadow. Not to be distracted by hypotheticals and worst-case scenarios. God is with us in the valley and He alone will escort us to a higher place.

I am shocked but not surprised.
Disappointed but not disenfranchised.

I still have power because I still have God. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever more. America may appear to be in a dark place right now, but God is shining His Light on her deficiencies so we can see His strength.  Let’s turn to Him to be made whole. Yes, the mourning is real. And yes, the struggle is real. But God is no less real in our grief than He is in our gladness. Let’s not lose the perspective of His position just because things didn’t go as planned.

Yes, Trump was elected President. But that position has an expiration date. Let’s work while we wait and practice while we pray.  Let’s not stop living, loving, moving and shaking. Let’s hold our elected officials accountable and let go of our own electoral laziness. Let’s build upon foundations of faith and break down the temptation to treat others with the very hate we despise. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds; it’s what we do with it that makes a difference. Let’s all do better. Let’s turn our sorrow into good grief.

 *Updated 12/03/16 to reflect current election results.

 

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The Skinny on Skinny

I am fully aware that I run the risk of ridicule (and possible hostility) for typing this post.

Whatever.

So, here’s my public service announcement for the day: calling someone skinny is not a complement (unless of course you are on a weight loss program… at which point you might consider “skinny” a term of endearment). Being skinny means you’re unattractively thin. Gaunt. Emaciated. Scrawny. Think about it: would you ever walk up to someone and say, “Ooh, girl… you are wearing that dress! Lookin’ good, with your scrawny lil self!” Doesn’t sound too endearing, does it?

I have been called skinny most of my life. From being called a No. 2 pencil throughout my school days, to the Target cashier exclaiming, “Oh, you skinny b*!#%” while ringing me up (I’ll address that in another post), to the neighbor who had the nerve to jokingly ask if I had HIV… I’ve heard it all. Not to mention the number of folks who casually hint that I must be anorexic. Give me a break, people! I know we live in a country where nearly 70% of adults 20 and over are either overweight or obese, but come on! Just because I don’t look like most of America doesn’t mean I’m sick. And for the record, just because someone is their ideal weight doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Shoot, you can be obese and highly malnourished!

While it’s obvious that I’m thin, I have never considered myself to be an unattractively thin woman. I may be slim (slender, lean), but I am not skinny. My bones are not protruding. I am not underweight. I am naturally thin. That’s all. Like most women who are naturally thin, I am not anorexic. I don’t skip meals in an attempt to lose weight. I eat cake and ice cream just like everyone else. I even have cellulite and jiggly parts- probably from the gluttonous amounts of cake, ice cream, and other fatty foods I’ve consumed during most of my pre-health-conscious life (I haven’t “arrived” yet but I’m definitely making progress in this area!). When I work out, it’s to tighten, tone, and build muscle- not burn fat and look skinny. If I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, it’s not because I’m obsessed with being thin- it’s because I’m determined to be flexible, strong, and fit. I’m trying to take better care of my body, that’s all. Losing weight is never my goal or desire.

And while I’m ranting, let me also say this: Being slim doesn’t mean I was born to model or that I’m “better” than you or that I think I’m better than you. It doesn’t mean I have perfectly sculpted abs, or that I don’t have to watch what I eat… we must all watch what we eat in order to be healthy- not thin- healthy. Being slim doesn’t mean I’m weak (physically, mentally, or emotionally)… I can probably handle more weight than most assume. I do not possess- nor am I in pursuit- of the thigh gap. And just because I’m not voluptuous doesn’t mean I’m not a “real” woman. Oh, and I don’t need to come over so you can feed me and fatten me up. I have plenty of my own fat. No need to be greedy for more!

Although I would love to be about 7 pounds heavier (to regain the weight I lost earlier this year from race training), I am not ashamed of my size like I used to be. In middle school, I would wear several layers of clothes just to appear a little more “normal.” I’m so over that now. I’m slim. Slender. Gracefully thin. And I’m cool with that. I’m a 5’7″ size 0 and I’m building my way back up to size 2. That’s my normal. If me being comfortable with my size makes you uncomfortable, that’s not my problem. There’s nothing wrong with being larger, but I want to be what’s right for me. Being healthy is what matters. That applies to weight as well as self-esteem. And at the end of the day it’s not about the size of your dress, but how fabulously you dress your size. 😀

I’m sure some will view this as pure semantics and that’s understandable. But skinny is not a complement (in case you missed the whole point of this post). It’s really an insult. I’m just giving you the skinny on what annoys us naturally thin women. Slim and thin? Cool. Skinny? Not so much.

So, to all the culprits of this contempt, the next time you fix your lips to call someone a skinny anything, ask yourself this: would you be OK with them calling you a ____________ somebody (fill in the blank with your favorite insult)? I rest my case. 😉