Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Protein World Cosigns with Fat Shaming Barbie

The human body is subject to change. Throughout time and throughout lifetimes that has always been the case. Therefore it is not within the realm of consciousness to perpetuate a culture of shame towards the human body. I am motivated to write this post because I believe that it is never acceptable to belittle anyone for any reason. When people are taught to hate their bodies they inadvertently end up hating the self not just the body. The body is a vessel for the self to actualize dreams and achieve purpose. Never the other way around. 

Here's a brief history about my relationship with my body and how I have gained perspective and learned to accept the changes as they happen and act in accordance to how I feel, the resources I possess and the advice of a medical professional. I employ facts, common sense, and the sheer force of my convictions to make all decisions that involve changes to and within my body. My ultimate goal is to achieve optimum health and mind-body consciousness.   

Over the past six years I've gained about twenty-five pounds most of which was necessary as I came into my body as a woman. Growing up I had an interesting relationship with food. I wasn't a fan of most foods. I ate like a bird, little nibbles here and there. I wasn't the type of child that could be persuaded into clearing my plate. Food somehow didn't seem necessary to me. I didn't quite understand the body's relationship with the nutrients in the food I ate everyday. I was more concerned with its texture, color, and basically my overall preference. 

I was blessed to always have food to eat but I had an aversion to most foods and lacked a normal appetite. After puberty I began to put on a small amount of weight every year and I developed a serious uncontrollable appetite but there wasn't ever any significant weight gain to call home about. When I turned twenty, after a few years at college my body began changing. It was more than just the curving of my hips and arching of my back. I began retaining weight in my belly, thighs and butt. And a few years into my twenties I began retaining weight in my face. My diet had changed but not drastically enough to warrant the sudden weight gain or the speed with which I was putting on the weight. After seeing my doctor who ran a series of test, one in particular to check my hormone levels I found out the cause of the weight gain and I was also made aware of the difficulty of not only losing any weight but maintaining a healthy weight for my physical proportions. I'm five feet and four inches tall and my normal healthy weight for my body type is between 130-135lbs. I fluctuate between 138lbs and 148lbs and although losing a few pounds can sometimes feels effortless gaining those same few pounds back is just as effortless. 

Over the past year I've researched supplemental protein products to aid in my weight loss and building lean muscle. In my search I came across a brand called Protein World that claimed to be made from healthy organic ingredients, I initially loved the packaging, the colors, the way they send a personalized hand written card with every package. I thought, wow! There goes a company that understands their consumer and understands the value of the extra personal touch especially when it comes to the challenging nature of weight loss. I was sold! I felt like I had a new friend cheering me on in the bleachers. I did further research, looked at reviews and came  to the conclusion that when I had the opportunity I would purchase the Protein World Slender Blend System. It's not cheap so I waited some time and prioritized before I could even really afford it. I even followed Protein World on Twitter to see how they interacted with consumers on a daily basis. The dialogue has been respectful and encouraging until today when Twitter erupted in discussions over this Protein World ad. 

I personally have no issues whatsoever with the ad. Switch the seemingly fit blond on the ad for a yellow beach ball and most people wouldn't even look twice either. My issue is with how Protein World responded to the women who were offended by the ad. At least from a business standpoint, I don't know how smart it is to consign with fat shaming Barbie here on calling your potential consumer base fat!? 

The Protein World social media management retweeted and responded in agreement with an individual who made an unfavorable comment about "fat people". I am deeply disturbed that a company that benefits off of the societal pressures being forced down women's throats isn't even going to pretend, if only for the sake of branding, not to alienate their potential consumer base. I was stunned and also relieved that I saw this epic social media failure before I wasted my money on yet another soulless company who would dare consign that "fat" is an acceptable term to use in reference to human beings. Human beings who are already conned every single day into hating themselves. Because yeah... someone's body fat index is more important than their humanity. And yours too apparently. 

Society already shows favor toward this fabled perfect unicorn woman, who in all actuality does not even exist. Women are preyed on using our own unfounded insecurities as fuel. Being made to feel that our self worth is tied to everything that is other. Society sets these goals that generalize all women, with expectations that are impossible to achieve and have no verifiable fact to stand on. We are all different, conscious beings who are being stripped of our power daily simply by engaging the world whether through lense of technology or the media. What's disturbing is that although we live in a patriarchal society it's often women who will happily cut a check to debase other women and often times themselves. Woman are entitled to whatever they are willing to work for but two things should never be negotiable are your integrity and the force of your convictions. Kindness to ourselves and other women no matter how different we may be is also non negotiable. And let's be real here...If there's a woman out there that shits flower petals I haven't met her. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

There are No Standards for Beauty

I was on Twitter recently and I came across this viral trend with the hashtag #loveyourlines Apparently it's a movement by women who decide to post pictures of their stretch marks on the internet to prove that... Actually I don't really know what they're trying to prove. Maybe it's to show solidarity with other women. I don't know. 

What I will say is...

The "beauty" industry is a money making machine. The respective brands have mastered basic supply and demand. Publications pander to your insecurities which are somehow sown into your consciousness almost as if by osmosis. It happens so seamlessly, it's as if one day you wake up and realize you hate parts of yourself. 

Imagine a world where you weren't being bombarded with what ideal size you should be. Where your options aren't reduced to algebraic terms. Plus or minus. Where you don't feel discriminated against while shopping for clothing. Where you could actually walk out of the dressing room without having to find the square root of your ass. Imagine walking to a makeup counter already feeling beautiful and leaving feeling just as bright and glowing without the armor. Not wishing you were one shade lighter so the foundation could blend or one shade darker to cover the blemishes. It's almost impossible to imagine such a world because we have been so thoroughly immersed in this reversed beauty culture for what seems like eons. It's always love yourself, BUT... We're taught to believe that something is always missing, something just isn't quite right, that's not normal. Wax this, pluck that, bleach what? And it's not going away anytime soon. There is money in taking power away from individuals and replacing that powerlessness with disorder, false hope and the promise of perfection. 

There are many women out there who have always understood this unfounded, fairytale, abusive standardized testing of  human biology, genetics and nature in the attempt at conceptualizing beauty to market for mass consumption. Fact is women have stretch marks. Women have periods. And there are hairy women and hairless women. There are biological women and trans women. Standards of beauty have no place in the lives of humans. We just are and it just is. 

When a person does not have a strong sense of self it is easy to succumb to someone else's belief of how imperfect they are. There are no standards for beauty. I repeat. THERE ARE NO STANDARDS FOR BEAUTY. Like none. Zero. 

Know yourself and love yourself on a intimate level. Develop your self awareness and make sure your choices are your own and not a result of outside influence and manipulation. Respect the skin you're in and always as in everything else in life be kind to yourself. If you are kind to yourself you won't allow anyone to be less than kind to you. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou: Lessons on Ascension

Life always opens doors, windows, portals etc to make a way for progress, either by breaking us to be remodeled into our true selves or by simply being uncharacteristically kind in our times of darkness, sadness, wallowing and self pity, to show us the rare but beautiful and powerful force that is empathy, kindness, love; our own personal outlet for passion and for salvation. 

                   Image credit: Rivka Kawano

For me the collective poems of Maya Angelou was that door and that window and those countless portals into myself, my passion, my essence. During my adolescences my life situations and experiences were far too dark, desperate, marred by pain, and emotional agony. Although I could hide in plain sight, smile for the cameras, escape to the safety of my mind, I knew that the emotional turmoil that I was experiencing at the time needed to escape, to be released from my spirit, so that I could one day be free from my circumstance and find peace from the source, the core of my being. 

Poetry saved my life. Phenomenal Woman was one of the first poems that I ever read and something in me just clicked and without effort and with an unexpected level of skill I became a poet. My own words poured out from my soul and for a moment my life had meaning and purpose. I was giving a quiet place, a solitude within myself that I continue to cultivate today. A sacred that place that I can be both connected and disconnected from the world, a place that I know is pure, whole and safe from cruelty and punishment. Although the pain has come and gone in waves it has no since then been able to hold me hostage to my mind, my thoughts or my emotions. The fear is now fleeting and just like the pain it has taught me to be brave to come from a place of love and to learn to be courageous in my moments of doubt, fear and uncertainty. 

Her soul was present in my life and for that I will be eternally grateful. The poems of Maya Angelou introduced me to a form of expression that saved my life. Phenomenal Woman indeed. Yet another soul who touched this earth and rose above life's many trials, tears, roadblocks and fears to realize her purpose on this earth. My connectedness to her life has reinforced my belief that we all share an unbreakable bond with and to the universe. We are bonded by love, by passion and by truth. We are all responsible for the education (the ascension, evolution) of our brothers and sisters. Thank you to a kind soul who exemplified the power that can only ever be harnessed from the spirit within. I have a warrior spirit just as she did and I owe her a debt of gratitude because her words set a course in my life and caused a shift of consciousness that has equipped me with a sense if responsibility to my fellow man to live out my own extraordinary purpose, believing at every step of the way that what is written cannot be unwritten. I truly hope that her soul is reborn for my daughters and sons and all of our daughters and sons. 

The power to change a life is my purpose in this world. I've started with my own life. Learning what being courageous means in my life and for my life, loving myself; warts, callouses, scars and all. Accepting that there are no mistakes in this life. Every wart, every callous and every scar, those seen and unseen have been earned and I wear them all proudly. And from another of my absolute favorite poets whose words also resonated with me in my youth Robert Frost;  "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that had made all the difference.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Who Owns You?

Today's mood: Inspired and content
Forecast: Greatness

In the wake of the Zimmerman not guilty verdict there has been a lot of talk on race. Personally I endeavor to take the intellectual route on the subject (although I don't always succeed). I will not discuss the case but I want to delve into some of the complexities behind existing and successfully thriving in America today. What options do we have moving forward. We're aware of the problems, now let's throw in some solutions.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Torrid Love Affair. . . It's truly not as salacious as it seems

Today's Mood: Bitch try me. . .
Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of bitch slap. I kid...maybe.

My love affair with poetry. . .

Poetry used to be a huge part of my life back in the not so good old days. The first time I fell in love it was with poetry. I wrote things down to escape my past and present misery at the time and it never really occurred to me that it was any good. Until some time in high school I had the immense pleasure of meeting a man by the name of John Bennett (I hope I'm spelling his last name right). He saw something in me that I didn't know I possessed, at the time. There was a pain  that took up residence behind my eyes that he somehow grasped on to. I put on a brave face so no one knew but that pain was suffocating me. I channeled that aggression and some of the misguided abhorrence into poetry and as it turns out although my experiences were mostly shrouded in darkness and despair, I somehow always found it in my heart and soul to personify love. Thus a true love affair with poetry began. I wonder what John is up to these days. I hope he's found love and has a little girl named Soliloquy to prove it.

So today on a whim, I picked up my purple pen and yellow paper (random tidbit: those are my two favorite colors and no that does not a Lakers fan make ;-p) I wrote a paragraph long affirmation for reasons I will not get into. Maybe I'll save that for another day. Basically today July eleventh has some significance to me and I wanted to get it in writing that I acknowledge chance and change coming into my life and I accept it and welcome it with both arms open. One thing led to another and I had one of those stream of consciousness moments and I began to describe the way that I love as it pertains to who I am. And a poem was born.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The reality of the situation is. . .

Today's mood: Centered

I'm in the process of researching and writing up a prospectus for a potential business venture. I say potential because the ideas are there, the planning has begun, the concept can be translated from theory to reality but the energy behind the idea is not yet kinetic. I'm stressing and freaking out because at this point in my life failure is not an option.

In intimate conversations with friends and family, I always say that one should not plan life according to age but rather the stage that we're at in our lives. Right now I feel like I'm at the stage in my life where I must get my ducks in a row, so to speak. In this season of my life is a profound, relentless devotion to God, dedication and honesty to self and to my valued and trusted relationships, and to strengthening a foundation in order to accomplish future goals.

I must admit that I have certain reasonable concerns, like; am I making the right decision, is this the business route for me, can I succeed in this industry, do I have what it takes, do I have the perseverance and fortitude to weather the ups and downs that inevitably come with being a small business owner in my twenties. All are reasonable fears. I will immerse myself in my spirituality and in prayer in order to overcome these fears one at a time. Within the relationship I have with myself, God is at the center of it and I want to go on faith and believe that I can do anything because my spiritual strength goes beyond any human emotion. There is no room for doubts in my spiritual wheelhouse. That is what I hold on to as I take the necessary steps to secure my future.

So the journey begins. It's exciting to take the road less traveled, to set a goal that defies anyone's expectations of you and for you, to defy common logic, to do what is considered a great risk which may or may not reap the expected reward. I've been given a line to walk through this life and I only ever intend to walk it by faith.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sound the Alarm: Are your neighbors having loud obnoxious sex?

Mine are. . .

I feel like there should be some etiquette where extremely loud sex is concerned. It can go from super hot to borderline obnoxious in a hot minute. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. I think people should employ a certain level of courtesy. For instance the house should not physically shake. It's frightening! My first instinct is to call the fire department. Lol! I cannot deal with my neighbors. What's worst is living in a detached home and still being able to hear my neighbors in the next house. Ha! I mean LOUD! Pillows are a multipurpose item people.

Okay bye. That was my rant!