Things I’m not willing to do

Occasionally, this seems to require clarification.

“Smile more.”

My facial expressions are not yours to control.

I was not put on this earth to look pleasant, inviting, pretty, or whatever else you think I should look like.

And, in general, if you want someone to smile…say or do something to make them smile.  Demanding it typically doesn’t work.

Change something about myself or my habits to be more compatible with someone else.

Sorry you don’t like my signature, but that’s how I sign my name.

No, I’m not going to start watching the tv show you like, or read the books you like, nor do I care if you think I’m being snobby or judgmental for refusing.

No, I’m probably not ever going to stop being an assertive person at work.  I will always step up when I need to, and I will always voice my opinions.  I’m not the type to just placidly agree with whatever someone else says and always follow the crowd.

Talk about something I don’t want to talk about because someone else wants me to.

I don’t do sexy chat, I don’t sext, I don’t send nude pics, and I don’t need you to send me nude pics.   I’ll talk about sex the same way I talk about books or music – what I like, and why I like it.  I’m happy to talk to you about what you like and why, as long as you don’t try to turn it into some sort of steamy erotic sex chat.

No, I don’t want to talk to you about how Jesus has empowered you as a feminist.  I’m glad you feel that religion has had a positive impact on you, but nothing you say is going to change the fact that I don’t believe in god.

And no, I’m not going to rationalize or defend my beliefs about or my positions on…well, anything. Explain, yes.  Rationalize and defend, no.  If you try to lecture me or pick a fight, I will walk away.

Change my appearance because someone else thinks I should.

I don’t care if you think my posture makes me look less attractive.  You don’t live in my body, and I don’t particularly care to hear your opinions about how it looks.

Tell me I’d look younger/less tired if I wore make up.  I have no problem not looking like a teenager, nor do I feel ashamed about looking tired.  Especially if I am tired.

Oh, you don’t approve of tattoos?  You can fuck right the hell off, because I don’t care.  They’re for me, not for you.

No, I’m no longer willing to removing my nose ring.  If you think I’m going to offend customers, then don’t hire me.

And yes, I know I have a rather serious looking resting face.  It doesn’t bother me, and I’m not inclined to change it.

Negotiate after I’ve said no.

When I say no, that means no.  It doesn’t mean bargain with me.  It doesn’t mean try to persuade me.  It doesn’t mean tell me why I’m wrong.  It means no.

Be a pushover.

My preference for positivity and politeness doesn’t mean I’m afraid of being negative or impolite.  It just means I will attempt the former before resorting to the latter.

Me being nice to you doesn’t mean that I’m going to do whatever you want.

Me liking you doesn’t mean that I’m going to do whatever you want.

Me loving you doesn’t mean that I’m going to do whatever you want.

I will not back down if I feel very strongly that I shouldn’t.

I’m not easily persuaded if I think I’m right, or if something feels wrong.  I’d rather risk offending you than do something that feels wrong.

I’m also not required to compromise with you.  Compromise is an option, not a requirement.

Get involved with anyone who has problems with women.

If you have problems with an entire group of people based on stereotypes, and/or very conservative/religious world views on proper gender roles, we’re not going to get along.

If you have had a few bad relationships and have decided that women are horrible creatures, I don’t want to be your savior.

Get involved with anyone who has problems with fat people, non-Caucasian people, gay people, queer people, trans people, old people…you get the point.

This should be self-explanatory.  I’m just not into hatred and intolerance.

So no, I don’t want to talk about why you don’t trust family-owned Mexican restaurants because “those people” don’t have high standards of hygiene.  That’s ridiculous and offensive and disgusting, and I have no problem informing you of that fact.

 

Paying people for weight loss is not a good solution

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Apparently the UK has come up with a brilliant plan to pay people for weight loss.  The quote study done by that Mayo Clinic that shows that incentivized subjects lost more weight than subjects who did not get an incentive.  Conclusion:  Companies should start offering financial and other rewards to employees who lose weight.

Here’s why this solution is completely misguided:

1. People may succeed in hitting a goal when offered a reward, but what about long-term maintenance?  Studies also show that long-term weight loss is very difficult to maintain.  Mayo Clinic may be a leading research and medical institution, but quoting one study from a reliable source does not a solid argument make.

2.  Will the incentives continue long term?  If someone is only doing something for the sake of a reward, will they continue engaging in that behavior once their goal has been met and the external incentive is gone?  I’m dubious about that.

3.  Bribing people to do something is not a good way to change behavior.  That desire to change has to come from within, or it makes long-term sustainability even more challenging.

4. Having tax payers potentially fund part of this could cause resentment toward fat people (much like many people already resent those who are dependent on aid programs), thus increasing weight stigma.

5.  The article admits that this is being done due to increasing costs of supporting increasing waistlines…thus adding to the problem of weight stigma.  Studies show that stigma damages health as well – not to mention that stigma does not make people lose weight.  In fact, it tends do to the opposite.

6.  The article admits that low income families are particularly affected.  Okay, so do those people work for companies who will offer those incentives?  Will those employees get raises, so that they can buy better quality food and take the time for self-care?  The real issue for low income groups is that they’re often in survival mode – trying to make enough just to pay for the necessities in life doesn’t leave a lot of time or money for eating healthy, cooking healthy meals, exercising, etc.  The cheapest foods available (particularly in the U.S.) are often the least healthy.

7.  What about people who are out of work, or can’t work?

8.  Failure to lose weight when offered an incentive can further the stereotype that fat people are lazy and have no willpower, thus increasing stigma.

9.  This incentive is a superficial, band-aid response to larger cultural and socioeconomic issue, and while it may have a short-term impact, my prediction is that long-term, it will not be successful or viable.

The fact is, healthy living and self-care are luxuries, yet we view them as requirements and obligations, and fault people when they can’t or choose not to indulge in those luxuries.  We have a lot of really big socioeconomic factors to fix, yet we just keep pointing to fat people and blaming them for the mess we’ve all contributed to.  Let’s fix social stigma.  Let’s fix income inequality.  Let’s fix food regulation in the U.S.  Those are the real issues.

We’ve Created Drug-Resistant Bacteria By Using Antibiotics On Livestock

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Our food is keeping us sick.

A number of media outlets have picked up on the fact that science and medicine are now realizing that drug-resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other drug-resistant infections are linked to antibiotic use in livestock.  Thus is it quite literally our food that’s making us sick.

To be fair, it’s not only antibiotic use in food animals that’s driving drug-resistance.  For a while, antibiotics were being over-prescribed by doctors – and that has changed in recent years.  The medical community is more aware of how to properly use antibiotics, and prescribing practices have evolved as knowledge about drug-resistance has evolved.  The medical community is making an effort to do what is in the best interest of the public, based on what is now known about infection control and antibiotic usage.

The food industry has not evolved.  At least, not for the betterment of society.

Antibiotics are typically prescribed to livestock for two reasons: To prevent infections, and for growth.  They are often given constant doses of antibiotics with their feed.  Most of the antibiotics used are tetracyclines, which the medical community has become more sparing about prescribing to human patients due to drug resistance issues.

Agricultural use of antibiotics is not regulated, and data regarding its usage is hard to gather because it is self-reported, and often regarded as a private business practice.

Antibiotics are purchased by livestock handlers over the counter, and often administered without assistance from a veterinarian.  The FDA does not regulate this practice, nor have then been particularly successful in even gathering reliable data about it.

Livestock in the U.S. receive about 80% of the produced antibiotics.  The majority of antibiotics we produce are given to livestock – and not sick livestock – they’re given simply to stave off illness, and encourage growth (which maximizes profits.)

Here’s the thing: Not giving livestock a constant dose of unregulated antibiotics will not result in a loss of productivity.  We know that, because the Netherlands recently ended the practice of giving antibiotics to livestock, and collected a lot of data in the process of the transition.  The data showed that not giving them the antibiotics did not negatively impact their health, or the productivity and finances of the agricultural industry.  (Read about Denmark’s similar efforts here.)

The EU has not followed suit as quickly, and the U.S. has done pretty much nothing, except for some statements from the FDA about working to gather more data.  But as one of the articles I linked to above states, we can’t just wait and see what happens, or wait to gather data.  We know that antibiotic use in food animals is an issue.  We know, from looking at the Netherlands and Denmark, that reversing and regulating this practice will not negatively impact the one thing that Big Ag/Big Food cares about – profits.  And it will have a positive impact on the ability to fight life-threatening infections.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this issue in the U.S., check out a campaign called Keep Antibiotics Working.  They have a links to a lot of research, articles, popular press stories, and other resources.

When ‘plus-size’ hinders more than helps

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A friend of mine pointed me to this MSN article from a few weeks back, ostensibly about plus-size models who are helping to change how the world sees beauty.  Except my friend noticed one very important problem:  The biggest of these models appears to be maybe a 14/16.  Maybe.  Most seem to be a size 10 – 14.  I was actually astounded that a few of them are even considered plus-size models.

Yes, I’m happy we’re celebrating models who wear larger sizes.  But I can’t help but point out that we’re leaving out a large portion of the population: Women who wear sizes 16 and up.

These women exist, they deserve to be acknowledged, treated with respect, and provided with the same fashion options as any other woman.

But we don’t acknowledge their existence, and when we do, the way we describe them problematic.  Think about the phrase ‘plus-size’ for a moment.  To quote another blogger (and I’m forgetting which one because I read so many, please forgive my memory lapse) – “Plus what?”  Which is an excellent point.  Plus what?  What is the magic number above which anything else is a ‘plus’?

Taking a bunch of women who wear sizes 10-14, calling them ‘plus-size,’ and giving the industry kudos for their existence is actually making the problem worse for all women. It’s condescending.  You’re not actually celebrating body diversity – you’re  narrowing it.

You’re saying that anything up to a size 8 is okay.  A 10-14 with the right body shape is still okay, and we’ll even shove a bunch of pseudo-empowering ‘yay curvy girls’ rhetoric at you to make you feel like we care, although what we’re really doing is implying that if you’re in that 10-14 range, we consider you to be outside of what is acceptable.  Your body is just a little too big, but we’ll grudgingly give you some space and pretend that we care and pat ourselves on the back for being so damn progressive and inclusive.

Anything over a 16?  Well, those women don’t exist.  We don’t care about them.  We don’t know what to do with them.  Their bodies don’t fit a particular mold, therefore we don’t want to accommodate them.

Thus I’m of two minds about ‘plus-size’ models.  One one hand, I’m glad that women who wear sizes over a 4/6 are becoming more prevalent in the modeling/fashion industry.

On the other hand, I find it extremely problematic that the modeling industry, and those that support it, are celebrating it for having models that wear normal clothing sizes.  Because in the real world, there are a LOT of women in that 10-14 range who may not think of themselves as ‘plus-size.’  I didn’t think of myself that way when I was in that range.  Typically I see a lot of clothing in sizes 10 and 12 in the not plus-size sections of most stores I shop in.  Sometimes I even see 14 in the same sections I shop in.  So that makes an already problematic label confusing, and sends the message that really, you need to be an 8 or smaller to be acceptable.  We’ll tolerate you up to a size 14, but don’t ask for more than that.

Until I see a woman who wears a size 26 and has a completely different body shape than what is currently considered acceptable on a runway in a major fashion show, I’m not really going to be convinced that the modeling industry supports size diversity.  If you want to truly represent all women, then represent all women – not just a slightly larger version of the already accepted norm.

Let’s talk about Contrave, the new weight loss drug (and weight loss in general)

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Recently, the FDA approved a new prescription drug called Contrave, for people who are not yet obese but merely overweight with “risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.” (WebMD)

It’s not something entirely new; it’s actually a mixture of two drugs already on the market:  Wellbutrin, which is used as an anti-depressant, and naltrexone, which is used as an anti-addiction drug.  Theoretically it’s supposed to reduce hunger and food cravings.

There’s been some speculation about why weight loss drugs are hard to sell to Americans.  This article sites reasons such as not being covered by insurance, and the memory of health scares caused by diet pills no longer on the market.

I think it also might be that people realize that if you do want a smaller body, there is no quick and easy way to go about getting one.  The only tried and true method of losing and keeping weight off is a lot of work and a lot of time.  It’s a long-term commitment, one that doesn’t always end up being sustainable, and one that can actually lead to other peripheral issues.

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Alternatives to gluten free bread & gluten free pasta

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Because I have more than one digestive issue, I don’t just have to watch gluten, I also have to watch my carb and grain intake in general.  My diet is supposed to be mostly plant matter with some fruit and some meat.

Thing is, I like sandwiches and pasta, partially because they’re easy to make.  So I’ve scoured the internet for different ideas on how to replace those things – here’s what I’ve got to share:

1. Use lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches.  I nice big  head of iceberg or whole romaine can hold other ingredients pretty nicely.

2.  Cut an eggplant, squash, large pepper, large tomato, or cucumber length-wise; fry, bake, or saute if desired; use as a bread alternative for sandwiches.

3. Use portobello mushroom caps as a bread alternative.  This is good for a burger or a chicken breast sandwich.

4.  Use baked potatoes instead of bread.  I got this one years ago from my travels in the UK.  Over there, they call them “jackets” and they put in potatoes anything that we here in the US put on bread – tuna salad, chicken salad, curried chicken, ham and cheese…be creative.  This clearly takes longer to prepare, but it’s a nice hearty winter meal.

5.  Use nori sheets instead of bread.  I’ve never tried this, but I’ve seen it on multiple websites.  It’s that seaweed stuff that they use to make sushi.

6.  Turn your sandwich into a salad.  Anything you can put on bread or a lettuce wrap can also be put over shredded lettuce or leafy greens.

7.  For great past alternatives, GET A VEGGETTI!  I found mine at Walgreens  and I love this damn thing.  I use squash, zucchini and occasionally carrots to make pasta alternatives.

8.  For lasagna alternatives, use eggplant instead.  I think squash or zucchini would also work nicely.

9.  Use coleslaw or broccoli slaw to make a pasta salad recipe with.

10.  Use legumes instead of pasta – toss beans with pesto or some other sort of dressing, with other favorite ingredients.

And do what I do – scour google, bookmark food blogs, etc.  I’ll even look up regular recipes, and figure out how to swap out the stuff I can’t have with the stuff I can.  (I.e., Can’t have alfredo sauce?  Make it using cauliflower puree instead.)

I get sick of eating the same stuff over and over, so for anyone out there with dietary restrictions, the key word is going to be creativity.

This week in “Why We Need Feminism”

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A wonderful account from xoJane about what it’s like to disentangle yourself from a domestic abuse situation.

This is a story out of Detroit that I’ve seen floating around about a woman who was killed for refusing a man’s advances.

This may or may not be a hoax, but here’s an article discussing an anonymous letter posted on craigslist discussing why women should make themselves more available to men in public spaces. Hoax or not doesn’t matter – the content of this craigslist posting reflects all too well the attitude of a lot of men that women should make themselves available not only sexually, but for conversation, compliments, eye contact, or should at the very least attempt to look inviting.  We need to keep having these conversations, over and over and over, to reinforce the idea that women are allowed to exist – in public and in private spaces – without being pestered or harassed.

In news that should surprise no one, women working in restaurant jobs tend to experience high levels of sexual harassment.  And it’s not just the customers who do it – it’s an industry-wide issue.

Jennifer Lawrence rightly bands the distribution of private photos assault, and I applaud her for refusing to apologize for having nude picture. (I do not, however, applaud the fact that she thinks the gluten free diet is the “cool new eating disorder” – let’s all keep in mind that some of us actually get sick when we eat gluten; it’s not an eating disorder in the classic sense of the phrase.  For many people, it’s an actual medical issue.)

How to support Size Diversity at any size

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I was reading one of my favorite blogs this morning, Dances With Fat, and there was a post up talking about how Ragen Chastain, the blogger, won’t blog about products for money.

Within that entry was this paragraph:

For those of you size diversity activists who wear smaller sizes, one option for activism is to buy your clothes at places that also sell clothes for people who wear plus sizes (or, as I like to call them, sizes.) That way, we reward companies that are inclusive and when companies choose to ignore fat people it’s not just our money that they miss out on.  Of course, what activism you engage in is always up to you.

And I’m glad she brought that up.  I’m a size 2 now, but I wasn’t always, so I understand the frustration with not being able to find clothes you like in your size.  Unfortunately, I haven’t always been cognizant of whether a brand offers larger sizes – not for lack of support, but simply because I have tunnel vision when it comes to shopping.  I look for things in my size and price range, and don’t really take the time to pay attention to anything that’s not in my size or price range.

That’s changing today.  From reading lots and lots of wonderful bloggers, I have a pretty good idea of what brands offer a wider range of sizes, and which don’t.  I’m pledging to be more aware of size ranges of clothing brands and stores that I shop at, and I’m going to make a concerted effort to give my money to brands and stores that offer brands in a range of sizes that are inclusive to women of all sizes, not just a few.

I echo the sentiment that what activism you engage in is up to you – but I’m definitely on board with supporting companies that actively support size diversity.  I’m hoping that, even if others choose not to outright boycott brands that don’t have larger sizes, that they’ll at least be more aware of what size ranges are available when they shop.

A few facts about Celiac Disease

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This is a great post from the New York Times Celiac Disease.  But for the TL;DR crowd, here are some highlights…

- Celiac is more common in Caucasians.

- Celiac is on the rise, and not because diagnostics are better, but likely because of excessive cleanliness (lookin’ at you, germaphobes!), infant formulas, and – the one I personally think is the most problematic – a difference in the way grains are bred now.

- Celiac/gluten intolerance presents itself in a variety of different ways; just because you don’t have the traditional GI symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have Celiac.

- Celiac is often misdiagnosed as IBS or other issues.

- You can have Celiac but test negative for it for a variety of reasons, including if samples aren’t taken from the right places, and if you’ve already gone gluten-free prior to testing.

Regarding two of the points above, my worst symptom was early satiety, and by the time I was severely ill, I was consuming less than 800 calories a day and losing 2-5 lbs a week.  I wasn’t having diarrhea or bloating or any of the traditional lower GI symptoms.  For me, eating gluten makes me feel like I’ve swallowed a brick, and if I eat or drink anything on top of that brick-in-my-stomach feeling, it’s painful.

Yet biopsies and an upper GI scope found nothing wrong.

Toward the end, I pretty much went off solid foods, because liquids didn’t make me feel as full as long, and I intentionally avoided foods that fill you up quickly, like rice or breads.  Thus, I had barely been eating, and was mostly consuming liquids and semi-solids like pudding, before my Celiac test.  Some of the semi-solids may have had some gluten, but between the scant amount I was consuming and the fact that I wasn’t consuming a lot of grains at that point means my test could have been a false negative.

If I wasn’t eating a lot of gluten, why was I still so sick?  Easy – because going off gluten doesn’t make you feel better overnight, particularly if you’ve been reacting to it for a long time – and by that point, I have been pretty sick for 6 months.  I may have started to feel better on a liquid diet eventually, but as soon as I ate any gluten, I would have had another flare up without knowing why.  All I knew, at that point, was that eating solid foods was bad.

I honestly don’t know if I officially have Celiac or not, and the only way to find out is to consume gluten daily for a long enough period of time to cause an autoimmune reaction.  In other words, I’d have to make myself sick and miserable – possibly to the point of debilitation – to find out.  My current doctor recommended against retesting for Celiac for that very reason, and so my official diagnosis is Leaky Gut with gluten, lactose, and soy intolerance.  I was also previously diagnosed with SIBO from a previous physician, which my current doc thinks may have been caused by the Leaky Gut issues.

Personally, I urge anyone who has any sort of ongoing issues to go off gluten, even if you’ve tested negative to Celiac.  Cutting out gluten for a while is the only way to know for sure.  Ideally you should go cold turkey for at least 2-3 weeks, but I’d say try it for 2-3 months to really clear out your system and give your body time to heal.  Worst case, nothing changes and you can officially rule it out as a possibility.

I also urge anyone who is skeptical about gluten intolerance to STFU.  Just because someone has tested negatively doesn’t meant that something isn’t happening.  A lack of a measurable reactions in the intestines doesn’t mean that someone’s body can process gluten well.  Not to mention the simple fact that you don’t have a say in what others do or do not consume.  :-)

We’ve finally figured out that fat shaming doesn’t help

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Finally, the studies proving that fat shaming doesn’t work, and in fact only encourages further weight gain, is finally filtering more heavily into mainstream media.  Here are a just a few links to different pieces discussing this issue.

“Fat-shaming is wrong and if you do it or allow someone to do it in your presence, it says a lot more about you than the person you are judging.” – HuffPo

“Suggesting that there is a uniformity in how prejudice is experienced only serves to silence those who find it hard to be heard. It also obscures the institutional power that enables such prejudice.” – On why comparing fat shaming to racism and sexism is misguided, from The Guardian

And because I’ve often wondered this myself, here’s a recent review of the movie Shallow Hal, which sunk its good intentions under a lot of really insensitive fat jokes.

 

Colorado school system wants to rewrite history

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While I was off in Europe, something really disturbing was happening here in my own backyard.  Special thanks to my friend Kelly for writing about this and thus bringing it to my attention – it’s really important that this be discussed.

Jefferson County schools in Colorado – a school system that serves parts of the metro Denver area- has a board member who is proposing that the school censure and carefully frame how history is presented to students.

The proposal states:

Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.

So let’s break this down.  How I read this, and how I think it’s meant, is that we need to reframe our history in a positive light, and leave out any of the more negative aspects.

Particularly any sort of civil rights movements – this proposal seems to be to be proposing to completely erase whole racial groups and their struggles.  From the Trail of Tears to the horrors of slavery to the Civil Rights movement of the 60s to the first and second waves of feminism to the current fight for LGBT rights and the continued efforts toward women’s rights – all of these things should be either ignored, or whitewashed (literally!) beyond recognition, all for the sake of ignoring the more problematic parts of our history.

She’s backtracking a bit now, even at one point admitting that she’s not particularly familiar with the curriculum, which is even more frightening.  But even her “let’s not encourage children to disobey the law” rationalization is total bunk – because people should absolutely disobey the laws, if the laws are wrong, harmful, discriminatory, or misguided.  People should stand up and protest – as peacefully as possible – when a proposal is being made the sounds like it is not in the best interest of the people it is meant to serve.

JeffCo students staged peaceful walk-outs several days in a row.  I’m proud of these students.  Incredibly, heart-swellingly proud.  Not just because they’re standing up for themselves and calling out the school board proposal for exactly what it is, but because they’re demonstrating something very important, something that they likely learned from our recent history – that these kinds of protests are necessary to bring about change, and to make sure the voice of the underrepresented are clearly heard.

I’m not a big fan of obeying authority for authority’s sake, nor am I a big fan of reframing our country’s history to be positive and celebratory.  There are things about this country that I love, but it has had some really dark, shameful moments, and it’s important to talk about these things.  And it has had moments of social strife that have inevitably resulted in positive change, and it’s important to talk about these things.  And it is still far from perfect – racism, sexism, and classism are still alive and well, and although certain aspects of these things are technically illegal, they continue to operate within our culture in very big ways.

We need to talk about all of it, the good and the bad, the celebratory and the shameful.  Because if there’s one thing I do believe, it’s that adage that people who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

The only rewriting of U.S. history that I personally condone is rewriting it to account for the voices of minorities and women whose voices and experiences are often subsumed or glossed over.  And while we’re at it, let’s do the same in American Lit – get those minority and female writers in there.  We have plenty, and we need to weave them into the curriculum like they are – gasp! – a part of our country’s literary and historical heritage.

Raising money for a good cause!

Greetings from London!  I’m having a great time here, but I’d like to take a moment to talk about something that’s on my mind back in the states.

My good friend Tricia is the mother of fourteen year old twin girls, and her friends are trying to help her raise money for them to be able to be on the varsity cheerleading team.  They did a lot of work to get ready for try outs, and both girls made it!

Here’s the problem, though – for both girls, fees and uniforms will cost $840, or else they can’t cheer with the team.  Tricia is a single mother who is receiving only sporadic support from the girls’ father.  She wants desperately to be able to make this happen for her daughters, but she can’t do it alone.

Tricia is an amazing person – someone I truly admire for her positive attitude despite whatever negative situation she’s facing, her self-sacrificing nature, and her seemingly uncrushable sense of humor, which allows her to laugh at situations that would make most people cry. Everything she does, she does with her twins in mind.  She’s an extremely devoted and engaged mother who will do anything she has to do to make sure her kids have a better chance than she did.

And I have to commend her for all her hard work, because it’s definitely paid off – her girls are hardworking, considerate, intelligent, love school, have ambitions, love their mother, and are generally just enthusiastic and engaged kids.

Not just that – but these girls are also self-sacrificing.  In the six years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her girls pout, cry, get angry, or throw a fit when Tricia has to tell them know.  Instead, they tend to be the ones reassuring her that they understand that she sometimes can’t afford things, and that it’s okay.

I think that these two amazing kids and their mother deserve a bit of good karma.  I can’t think of anyone I know who deserves a break more than this family.

If you can spare even just a few dollars, please consider donating to the twins’ uniform fund. 

Cheerleading is a rigorous sport that requires a lot of physical stamina and focus, as well as a huge time commitment, while still maintaining good grades.  I honestly believe these girls can do both and excel at each, and I honestly believe it will enhance and benefit their lives in many ways.

Please, internets, help my friend out.  Even $10 would help.  Anything you can spare (provided you’ve met your own needs first.)

If you’ve read this far, thank you over and over.  If you can’t spare any money, perhaps you’ll be willing to send some good vibes their way…CM.

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