Friday, August 2, 2013

Fat Talk

I have read several articles recently (highlighted in red) that confirm what I've been trying to say for years: "fat talk" never helps anybody.  I see fat talk as two separate ideas: one is an individual saying negative things about his or her own body, and the other is negative talk about another person, aka "fat shaming."

(Most of the things I'm talking about here are specifically for women, but can apply to men too.)

You know when you go to a store with a friend to try and find some cute clothes that make you look good? How many times in the past year have you ended the trip saying something like "I look terrible" or "My hips are huge" or something similar? And you know that every time one person in a group says something negative about their body, everyone else has to speak up and share their own flaws and perceived imperfections. Have you ever noticed that if you say something enough times, you'll start to believe it? It's true. The more negative things you say about your own body, the more you will believe it. It also creates a culture within a friend group that feels like a competition. It's a fight to see who is the "fattest" or "ugliest," but the winner of this contest doesn't feel like a winner by the end.

I'm as guilty of "fat talk" as anyone is, just ask my husband. However, as important as it is to be a healthy size (a journey I am on right now), it is also important not to insult yourself every way you turn. The article says of fat talk, "It’s a bonding ritual they describe as “contagious,” aggravating poor body image and even setting the stage for eating disorders." I would also draw a parallel for people who happen to be "too skinny" because they get a lot of grief for that, too. Besides the fact that it is not good for your own self-worth, talking about weight and size with friends will ALWAYS lead to someone feeling like they are not good enough. Take it from experience. I have plenty of friends and family who are beautiful and much smaller than I am (as well as those who are beautiful AND the same size or larger). How do you think it feels for me when someone who is half my size talks about how much they need to lose weight? Well, I'll tell you: not very good. Duh! Obviously, if this adorable tiny person thinks that she looks bad, how much worse must I look? (Answer: I look just fine, and so do they.)

Fat Shaming is a huge issue right now, too, as you probably already know. Have you ever been looked down upon or outright insulted for your size? Does that ever feel good for anyone?
No. And not only does it feel bad, it actually hurts your chances of making a lasting change. Fat shaming is a trend that should be stopped immediately. If you are guilty of telling someone that they look fat or saying any similar negative statements to someone, please read that article and know that you are hurting, not helping, them.

Hopefully by now you get the point, it's not good to insult your weight or that of others, but I know that you want your friends to be healthy and for your own body to be working at full speed. So what kind of talk should we replace the bad stuff with?
My friends and I in the past have had a rule for spending time together, especially when one friend is going through a particularly low self-esteem time. The rule is For every negative thing you say about yourself, you must say three positive things. This is unbelievably hard for some people. I have had to make a friend sit still for thirty minutes until she could think of something good to say about herself. If they refuse, it might be fun to have everyone in the group say something nice about the person. Hopefully that will give the person a little self-esteem boost.
I also like the solution they give at the end of the NY Times article for when you're out shopping. Instead of saying your hips are too big for these jeans, say "These jeans don't get me." That acknowledges that the clothing is not the right fit for your body as opposed to blaming yourself.

The last article I'm going to link to could be a HUGE eye-opener, but it probably shouldn't be. It's called How Not to be a (Jerk) to Your Fat Friends. I substituted 'jerk' for a more vulgar word, so if you're offended by vulgar language, maybe don't read it. But maybe do read it and just get over the language. It's that good. You will learn a lot about what it feels like to be the recipient of fat shaming, if you don't already know, and how you can be a better friend. And after all, doesn't everyone want to be a better friend, to yourself as well as others?


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Which I Out Myself, Politically Speaking

I was hanging out on Facebook tonight, as I do a lot these days, when I saw a Facebook post from my next door neighbor. She told a story about her daughter asking a political question on the difference between Democrats and Republicans. I appreciated her answer; even though she identifies with one party in particular, she tried very hard to be objective in her explanation. She compared Democrats to Robin Hood and Republicans to Willy Wonka. Although obviously she had to simplify the finer points of politics for her young daughter, I thought it was an interesting analogy, especially considering how much I love both literary characters. Then there was a comment from one of my neighbor's Facebook friends, whom I have never met:
The problem with the analogy is that Robin Hood thought he was helping the poor. Democrats know their policies keep people poor and dependent on government.
I taught my five year old that Democrats are Communists that are trying to steal our house, and they want to destroy America. More simply, I said Democrats are bad guys and Republicans are good guys.
 I choked. As I said before, this man does not know me. Yet here he is, painting me and every person who disagrees with him politically in a negative light to his young daughter. Yes, that's right. I vote Democrat, pretty much every time. For some reason, during the time that I worked in a church setting I was afraid to talk about politics, afraid that someone was going to argue with me or stop liking me. It was juvenile, but obviously it's a valid concern, judging by the above comment.

Let's assume that this man is a Christian. I think it's a pretty good assumption considering that he is a Republican in Alabama. If that man's little girl ever happens to come to a church where I am teaching Sunday School, or takes a mission trip to some organization that I will hopefully be working for some day, she will probably like me. I like to laugh and have fun, I am encouraging, and I care about people. I also love Jesus with my whole heart. Say we start talking. I mention something like the fact that I visited Washington DC for President Obama's inauguration and had an amazing time, or that my husband is a minister. She will probably start to feel uncomfortable and confused. After all, hasn't her daddy always told her that Democrats are bad guys? Does this lady who cares so much about the mission of Jesus Christ really want to steal her house from her? Hopefully, she will have enough common sense and compassion to realize that I do not want to destroy America, I just want to help Americans in any way that I can. If that means voting Democrat, well then, I'll just do that.

I really wanted to post a scathing response to this man's comment. Something about punching his face. But when the red haze in my eyes subsided, I decided to do something else.
I prayed for him.
I prayed that someone he meets will show him that not all Democrats are bad and out to destroy America.
I prayed that he would have a better day than he apparently had today.
I prayed blessings on his family.

I may post this as a response on Facebook, or I may not. Whatever I do, I hope that anyone who reads this thinks about the effect their words have, and about how to build respect and community in our lives instead of tearing it down.

Now I'm off to cheer for President Obama. May God bless you today and always.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fun Vacay Pics!

Here is a photo book from our vacation in North Carolina. We had a great time, and there was a VERY HUGE surprise at the end!

Click here to view this photo book larger
Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Beautiful boy face

via Instagram

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Eleven of 2011!

My friends and I are sitting in our apartment watching the AU-VA Chick-fil-A bowl, and we decided to make a "Top 11 for 2011" list to commemorate our year. Despite my difficulties remembering what happened this year, and even what year it is, I managed to think of 11+ events that made 2011 one of the best years ever. I don't think I've had such an eventful year since... probably 2008. Here's my list, complete with honorable mentions.

11. Auburn wins National Championship in the middle of a snowstorm in Alabama.

10. Meeting new friends when I started leading the College and Career (CClife) group at Aldersgate.

9. Preached my first sermons at Hartselle FUMC and Aldersgate

8. Washington, DC trip with Bridget, which is a symbol for an entire several-month period at the beginning of the year in which I applied for, was accepted to, and decided not to attend several seminaries. I have yet to regret that choice.

7. Summer job at Trinity UMC's Intersect Huntsville program. I discovered a love of local missions.

6. I got a new car! I have had so many good times with my old Mitsubishi, Mitzi. I've had her since 2004, but she was getting old. In the last week of this year I bought a 2008 Nissan Versa, named Vera. She is my first major purchase as an adult, and I'm proud of her!

5. My wonderful friends threw me a surprise party for my 26th birthday! We wore togas and said "opa!"

4. A whole Summer of Adventures that I'll never forget!

3. Moved to a new apartment, Vintage 310, with two of my best friends, Bridget and Katelyn. We have lots of fun, including baking, parties, and pillow fights.

2. My career has taken a turn for the awesome. I am finally in full-time ministry, and I got to participate in the start of a new outreach ministry, Aldersgate on the Parkway. It takes up tons of my time, but the opportunity to have a new adventure for God is so exciting!

1. Joshua David Allison convinced me that we are perfect for each other. I will alway be grateful for his persistence.

Honorable Mentions:
My little brother Daniel graduated from Auburn! I'm so proud.
I went red with my hair, and I love it!
Nail polish became an obsession
Pinterest took over my free time
Game Nights with great friends
Beach Trips with friends and family
Meeting the Allison family and falling in love with every one of them
Riding in a hot air balloon!
Civil War reenactment, State fair, Mooresville, historic Huntsville, all in one day
New Year and Auburn celebrations with great friends
Watching the state of Alabama band together for tornado relief
Seeing Gungor twice!
Loving HIMYM and TBBT
Cooking at our apartment
Living with my good friends the Sneads
Getting a Macbook for work. I will never be the same.
Spending lots of time at Bridge Street with various awesome friends
Trips to Sumatanga to see Chrysalis and camp friends
Spending Spring Break serving at Urban Ministry
WC Handy fest in Florence
Iron Bowl 2011 with Joshua and Paul
Homecoming in Auburn
Visiting family, especially the little ones!
Being liturgist at the Christmas Eve service at Hartselle
Losing my best friend for a summer as she served Jesus at an orphanage in Romania. But I got her back.
Spending time with Jesus in new ways

Here's to an even more awesome 2012! Happy New Year!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Borrowed Bibles

I don't always understand people, even (especially) Christians. My collar is not as hot as it was earlier tonight, but the questions persist. Sometimes I want to borrow other people's Bibles, just to see if they're reading the same book as I am.

I mean, I know that we all get stuck in our ways but-
How can I hear Jesus say "go and make disciples of all the nations," but then I hear some people say "We don't need any more people in this church?"

I know that there are different ways to interpret scripture, but-
How do I read "love your neighbor as yourself" and some people read "let's make it impossible for an entire group of people to succeed so they'll go back to where they came from?"

I know that there is a separation between church and state, but-
How do I read Matthew 5, the part where Jesus tears down the "eye for an eye" rule in favor of peace, forgiveness and generosity, and some people read "how about we let our government kill people as punishment?"

I know that there's more to life than money, but-
How do I quote "whatever you do to the least of these, you do to Me," and others quote "God helps those who help themselves" (which is not even in the Bible, btw)?

I know that the mob mentality is a powerful force, but- 
How do I read about God perfectly forming each of us in the womb, and some people hate anyone who is different from their perception of what is right, accepted, and normal?

Usually empathy is one of my strengths, and I can at least get a glimpse of another point of view. Tonight I'm just not feeling it. Come talk to me tomorrow, and we'll take a look at that wonderful book together.

scripture references: Matthew 28:16-20, Matthew 22:36-40, Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 25:31-46, Psalm 139:13-17. Can you tell I love Matthew's gospel?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WOW, What a Summer!

I don't know if this is really going to work, but it's worth a shot.