An Open Letter to Jeff Atwood

Dear Mr. Atwood,

I am a regular reader of your blog and have been for a long time now.  I think carefully about what you say, even when I disagree with you and it is because of you and your ability to make me stop in my tracks and think, that I have stopped using the words “retarded” and “fucktard” even though, quite honestly, I adore the word “fucktard.”  I don’t adore it enough to hurt other people by my casual use of it and so I’ve worked to erase it from my vocabulary.

I am speaking to you tonight in that same spirit, hoping that you will consider my words, even if you disagree with me, as carefully as I’ve considered yours.  Your post this evening, your memo to the Woodland Middle School teachers, stopped me in my tracks:

It’s OK. You can say the “C” word.. We all know what you mean when you say “Winter Break” anyway.  We live in Tennessee. We still celebrate Christmas.

You don’t have to do a rundown on the Luke 2 story when you say the “C” word, just use it as a demarcation of time in the school year. Know that you have a lot on your plate what with your spending time with my kids and a zillion other jacked up junior highers, just wanted you know that no worries over the “C” word here.

Yes, we all know what “Winter Break” means, but no we don’t all still celebrate Christmas just because we live in Tennessee.  Is it really so important to you to score points for Jesus that you would exclude non-Christians in your definition of who gets to be Tennesseans?

I recall Jesus spending a great deal of time reaching out to people who believed differently than him, showing them compassion and extending friendship to them.  But perhaps I’ve skipped some chapters where Jesus encouraged his followers to set up little exclusionary in-groups where they could make sanctimonious cracks at non-Christians in order to remind them repeatedly that they aren’t “real” Tennesseans the way the Christian Tennesseans are.  And I’ve perhaps forgotten the verses where Jesus encouraged his followers to do what they can to make the children of non-believers feel like outsiders and like they aren’t ever going to really fit in because they aren’t a part of the state religion.

But perhaps you can bring those to our attention.

If not, I’d ask you to remember that the separation of church and state is for the well-being of both the church and the state and that the man you profess to follow has a soft spot for children and maybe act towards those teachers with the compassion and understanding that comes from remembering those two things.

I’ll see you around the blogosphere.

Aunt B.

All Endocrine All the Time

My dear friend Mark, who I’ve known since I was born, has a wife, Candy, who is just awesome.  And when she had her first kid, Mark’s parents were right there in the delivery room filming it.  I always thought “Hmm, that might be just a little more family togetherness than I would care for” which is why I did all I could to keep my mom out of the room when my oldest nephew was being born.

And yet, here I am at 34, with my cooter and its disfunctions being the topic of conversation all around my family.  It is, in a way, more family togetherness than I would care for, but what the hell?

Apparently my cousin A.–not the younger one who I talk about regularly, but the older one who acquired a divorce after hearing stories from her four year old about Daddy’s girlfriend*–also has PCOS, as I’ve learned it’s referred to by medical folks.  And I emailed my younger cousin, A., just in case she might want to have her doctor check her for it.

I’ve been kind of dwelling on it all evening and most of all, I just feel really relieved.  On the one hand, I have no problem with being fat and hairy, and so if that changes or it doesn’t, fine.  I have mixed emotions about my weight as it is–I love the shape of me.  I know people say that and other people think “Oh, she’s just saying that because she’s fat and what else are fat people supposed to say?” but I really do.  I love having great big boobs and chubby fingers and cute fat toes and I like being soft and ample.  It makes me feel substantial in ways that are hard to explain.  I know it’s not for everyone.  Neither are tattoos.  And yet tattoos can be really beautiful.

But I hate that it’s always an issue.  That my family makes it into an issue of whether I’ll ever find a man who’s willing to put up with it, that it renders me practically unlovable**.  That doctors assume all my health problems are caused by fat.  That even this gynecologist, who I really like, assumes that, of course, I’ll want to lose the weight if I can.  The assumption that being fat must be something that I hate, rather than something that just is a part of me.

Being fat has always been looked at as the cause of all my problems, current and future, and something that I must bring under control, for that reason.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down with nonfat people and listed for them how much I eat and how much I exercise because… I guess because I just assume that, if they know that I’m trying to lose weight, even if I’m failing, at least I’m trying as opposed to not.  As if I should run around justifying the way I look to anyone.  As if I have to get their approval.

But when you give that up–the urge to justify–that’s considered weird, too, like you’re some kind of militant lunatic committing slow suicide in front of everyone.

And fuck people for thinking that, that I just don’t care about myself the same way “good” “normal” people do.

I just don’t ask my body to do something I’ve never had any luck making it do–lose weight.  But I do want my body to do the things I know it can do–like sleep through the night and not cause me pain–and so that’s brought me back into the realm of medical science.

And here we are.

I have a disorder in which my body, along with producing too many hormones, doesn’t process insulin correctly.  Being fat is not the cause of it, but a symptom of it.

All my life, other people have told me that being fat meant there was something wrong with me.

And it turns out, they were right, kind of.  Except that it didn’t mean that I lacked willpower or value as a person or dignity or self-respect.  It meant that I had a medical condition that went untreated for… well, if I started menstruating in my early teens, about two decades.

I still don’t think there’s anything wrong with being fat.  But I feel… I don’t know… something that’s like if anger, regret, and resignation had a baby… about the fact that my whole life my being fat has been seen as and taught to me as a sign of personal failing and not seen as a potential symptom of a problem that should be dealt with.

I don’t know.  I’m going to have to think on that some.


*And gentlemen, may I just say, if you’re going to cheat on your wife, perhaps you should find a sitter for the children, because they will blab, especially if you take them to do something novel like visit your girlfriend.

**Being too bossy is just the icing on the unlovable cake.

Come into My Ovaries, Where All the Excitement Is

So, I went back to the gynecologist and got the results of all the crap she took out of me and tested and it turns out that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome, which used to be a disease, but now has been downgraded.  She gave me a bunch of stuff to read and a bunch of prescriptions–iron to counteract my anemia, the Pill to bring my hormones back into whack, and something, the name of which I forget, to fix my insulin issues.

I read everything the doctor gave me, but I’m hoping Rachel will enlighten me some, too.

So, that’s that.

She asked me if I had any questions and the only one I could think of is if I’m secretly chromosomally male, and she laughed and said I was the first person to ever ask her that, but no, I wouldn’t get out of my problems that easily.

Blogger, Heal Thyself

Tim Chavez is picking sides in the Obama/Clinton fight (a fight concocted mostly by the media):

The political spin started with four women being proclaimed masters of the convention proceedings. The underlying message to supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton is that Sen. Barack Obama and the party leadership want to show you that women still have it real good — even if they’ve been denied one of their own as a potential president of the United States of America.

Would African-Americans have been satisfied with something like that if a candidate who looked like them had been denied the nomination? Of course not. So why are women considered stupid enough to accept these shenanigans?

And I’m sorry to have to ask this of Tim, but what the fuck?

I can only assume that Tim is unaware that there are women who are black and that, therefore, Obama does look like them.  How else could he have posited this idea that Obama looks like black people and Clinton looks like women and never the twain shall meet?

On Michelle

I just have two things to say.

1.  I just like the Obamas.  I find him a little hokey, but in a way that is endearing, and I think she is amazing.  But, basically, for me what it comes down to is that I just like them and when I vote, I will be voting for him not because I think he’ll be the best president ever or even a great president, but because at this point, I’m like “Well, I like him and I’m curious to see what he’ll do.”  I teared up repeatedly throughout her speech.

2.  I watched the speech this morning.  On Youtube.  The whole thing.  I was just thinking about what a monumental change that’s going to be/already is: that you can watch the whole thing for yourself whenever you want to and make up your own mind, instead of having to rely on the news to play soundclips and analyze it to death.