#Rebuild2017

I don’t think I’ll change too drastically over the next twelve months, and from what I can tell, I am still thinking along the same lines as ever. But, I do have goals that I’m still working towards – some changes, but overall, still the same me

  • Complete all university assignments prior to due date
  • Raise CGPA to 3.5 or higher
  • IF; 16 hour fasting state, 8 hour nom window.
  • 24 hour Fast Jan 31
  • Complete a Whole30 challenge Feb 1st- Mar 4th.
  • Recommit to the lifting/cardio work out plan @ Planet Fitness beginning NLT Jan 17
  • Utilize Piyo as a back-up
  • Yoga to my heart’s content
  • Continue to learn Russian (duolingo/lingtwins)
  • Revitalize Spanish fluency

 

See… same old Tess, even if it is a new year.

I’d been on the fence about how to approach my health this year. I’ve come to accept that 2016 was a year of transition, of challenges, and I realize that because I was distressed the majority of the year, the way I handled food was more reactionary. I used food, the wrong foods, as a stress reliever instead of yoga, which I’d used previously. I’d considered forgoing healthy habits and fitness because “I have so much on my plate right now.” I have the same amount of stuff I’ve always had. I’ve always had work, school, children, and friendships – so that excuse is bullshit. I’d considered embracing my new body, and giving up the fight for health because of “body positivity.” BoPo is a GREAT movement. I encourage and applaud everyone involved and all who are cheered on by what proponents do – however, body positivity encourages a healthy relationship with food, movement, and yourself and those involved typically love and embrace their bodies. They are happy with their bodies and find ways to encourage inclusion in the mainstream. Even at my lightest, I may still be considered just left of the mainstream – but I digress. I am not positive about my body right now. I am positive about my body when I nourish it, when I move it, when I don’t fill it with garbage. I know what makes me happy, and how to treat myself when I’m happiest – whole foods, yoga, dance, and a normal exercise regiment. I gotta stop kidding myself.

And maybe, possibly, part of my habits and mindsets are part of an underlying mental wound that has never and will never fully heal. It’s not pleasant, but being a victim, whining about it, and doing nothing changes nothing. It’s up to me to take care of myself, to heal myself. I’m rebuilding in 2017. Greater than ever.

It’s up to you to do the same. Save yourself, from whatever ails you – be it food, drug, alcohol,  or unhealthy, unloving thought patterns, behaviors, and relationships. Another day spent spinning your wheels isn’t worth the pain, frustration, and despair. You don’t have to be perfect, the situation doesn’t have to be the best, and you don’t have to have all the information right this second – learn as you go, change as you go. But don’t wait. You have now. Make the most of it.

 

Lighter Notes

I’m pretty psyched that the end of 2016 is quickly approaching. This year was a lot; a lot of change, of uncertainty, of everything being up in the air. It challenged me to learn, to be my best self, to figure out what I really wanted. With all the bullshit, I still managed to meet the most amazing, loving, supportive, present man and fall crazily in love with him – and he with me. The months with him have passed so quickly. Seeing how he interacts with my children, how he guides them, advises them, and befriends them blows me away. There is a knowing, a safety, and a comfort being with him. He’s my present and my future. I’m set.

Work is coming together. I’m enjoying what I do, I’ve reclaimed my passion for my industry. I’m no longer seeking a way out, but a way to make myself more useful in my profession. This is a blessing. I have found my calling and at 30, I have a blossoming career.

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of a good group of women and to develop friendships with some of them. I am easing into these relationships, as I am cautious and reminded of the some traumatic events from years passed. I want to allow people to become close to me, but not for their amusement or malicious benefit. I will wait, patiently observing behaviors to determine the safety of the situation. Extreme? Maybe.

 

My next three major goals:

  • Reclaim my physical health by maintaining a weekly workout regime and healthful eating habits
  • Raise my GPA to a 3.0 by graduation
  • Eliminate credit card debt, a car payment, and begin to build a savings nest.

 

What I will not do is allow my children or my romantic relationship to suffer. After everything that has happened this year, my priority will always be to protect my children and ensure that my guy feels loved and appreciated. Without him, I may have given up here and returned to a life I hated, but was comfortable in. He saved me more than he knows or is willing to admit. I am a feminist, do not be mistaken, and he is a man who is strong enough to support me in that and kept pointing me in the right direction, even without directly telling me what to do. He saved me by being there, physically and emotionally, by having my back and being my safe place when I felt like everything was crumbling around me.

This is everything I’ve been asking for. I am grateful, humbled, and amazed by my good fortune.

The Divided States of America

How far left is too far?

Is it safer in the middle, were we might all find some common ground, some middling area where our beliefs can mingle, even if they never come together?

When does passion become hatred? When does heartbreak become anger? When does passionate feminism become misandry? When does speaking out against systemic racism transform itself into anti-white sentiments? Do we know if we’ve crossed the line if we are caught in the vortex of our emotions? The line is fine.

How can we express our anger, our pain, our heartbreak, our anguish without letting it consume us? How can we come together in the middle, where maybe we can mingle, even if we never come together? What is it going to take for us to be able to look at each other and say, “I see you for who you are, whatever color you are, whatever gender you are, and you’re human, like me. You are me. I am you.”

The line between passionate feminism and misandry is so fine, it’s almost invisible. Feminism is never about hating men- it’s supposed to be about changing the system which keeps women subservient and incapable of surviving without men.

Intersectional feminism is essential – as a white woman, I will never know the pain of a black woman, a Hispanic woman, an Asian woman. I never disavowed my heritage – I am a well-disguised Asian woman, but I have to claim it or you’d never know. And how quick are you to tell me that my quarter Filipino blood doesn’t count because I don’t look Asian? I don’t need to prove my Asianess to you; I don’t need to prove to you that I grew up multicultural, I don’t need to speak Spanish to you with a perfect accent for you to see that where I come from, we love everyone regardless of their heritage. I can walk these streets as a white woman; I can hide in the masses and you would never know. But I don’t want to hide and I don’t want to claim it to make me different. I claim it because it’s the truth. Because it’s who I am and how I’ve lived and where I’m from. My half-black nephew, my Mexican stepfather, my half-Filipino father, my Filipina grandmother. I claim them all, regardless of how I can cloak myself in the light. I am them, they are me.

I don’t want to be angry, I don’t want to be frustrated but there is so much to do. There are so many walls and ceilings that still need to be broken down. Maybe not for me, a white woman in America, but for anyone who isn’t a white man. Don’t misconstrue my anger or my passion as hatred. I hate no one. I am simply so frustrated and I’ve just awoken to this misery. I can’t imagine the depths of the anger of the black woman who has had to deal with generations of oppression.

Tomi Lahren can say it’s perceived oppression; that it’s not a real thing; that it can’t be because there is so much equal opportunity now. Tomi, dear, really? There is so much equal opportunity? The Equal Rights Amendment still hasn’t passed; we’re still debating whether a woman deserves the right to decide if she’s ready to be a mother (but hey, the guy? the guy can totally bail and oh, what? He possibly gets jail time for not paying child support over an extended period of time – doesn’t really benefit the mother, either). The picture perfect family structure that Great White Right wants to proliferate isn’t a THING because our education system sucks, we don’t promote people based on merit, and we as a people, as a collective, have all of these biases and judgments and stereotypes that rattle through our minds and we are simply not AWAKE enough to realize the pain we’re inflicting on ourselves. Reality is perception, perception is reality, Tomi. The fact of the matter is that you were ablaze in all your white privilege. You are privileged. How wonderful it is to be you. And while you have every right to criticize the Black Lives Matter movement, Colin Kaepernick, and anyone else you damn well please, for the love of all that is holy and just, bring with you a solution. Don’t say you don’t protest because you’re not a victim. You don’t protest because the system benefits you. Why would you bite the hand that feeds you?

These things are real. The pain is real. Just because it doesn’t directly impact you doesn’t mean that it ceases to exist. It simply means that you don’t care. And how can we ever coexist if you never acknowledge someone else’s pain?

 

What the fuck, America

The preliminary election results are in; Trump leads Clinton, 288-215.

You only need 270 to win.

What the fuck. 

Now, get this. I hate how underhandedly the DNC orchestrated her into being the Democratic nominee. I hate that Bernie was recognized by my generation as being the one guy with an ounce of integrity, the one fit to represent the Democrats in a bid for the White House. I hate that after he was cheated out of his chance, my next best hope, Gary Johnson, didn’t know what Aleppo was, let alone where, let alone the crisis that has been happening over the past few years.

I hate that Trump is the best we thought we could do tonight. I hate that as the rest of the free world moves toward gender and racial equality, my country just decided to take 15 steps back and remind me, yet again, that I am second class citizen and my body is not my own.

I hate that we, as a nation, failed to draw the parallels between a narcissistic demagogue and a fascist leader who promulgated the same fucking rhetoric in the 1930s.

I hate that I have to go in tomorrow and face down the living embodiments of all the ideals which have held me down and told me I wasn’t good enough or reminded me how my gender made me soft, emotional, incapable of doing the work I do. I hate that if I ask for space or respect or just to be left the fuck alone, they will either fault my generation or my sex; nevermind that this election was intensely personal to me.

Nevermind that I am a woman; how about my grandparents who were immigrants?

Or both of my grandfathers, who served in the Army and the Air Force? Or me, who still serves?

How about the man that raised me, who is Mexican?

How about my nephew, who is half-black?

Or that I’m a quarter filipino?

Or that I have two daughters, one of whom is already being ogled by disgusting old men? SHE’S FUCKING EIGHT.

Why? How could you do this, America? How could you elect a misogynist, a racist, an ignorant, classless, philandering, lying, failure of a man as our Commander-in-Chief? Even with the mirror to your nose you don’t see how ugly you are.

Maybe he is you. But he isn’t me. He will never represent me.

 

She returns

About 15 years ago, when I was a spunky teenager, I would often find myself embroiled in political and religious discussions with anyone who felt like they could go toe-to-toe with me. To say that I lack social graces is an understatement. Even now I find little wrong with asking someone who they’re voting for or why they hold particular religious or political ideas.

During my time living in Tennessee, I was often quieted. I didn’t speak my mind about issues because I would often feel as if I, personally, was under attack. It never quite felt like information-sharing between two opposing ideologies; almost always the other party was set to dismantle or discredit my person, rather than my argument. This is still true.

I’ve returned to Nashville briefly, only to find myself facing the same sets of people – but I am slightly better armed this time.  But that fact is moot, it really doesn’t matter. I am a woman, a feminist, and a bit left of center – so people may think that it’s easy to take me on. It’s easy for a white, middle-aged, middle-class man to assume that I am angry when I contend that Trump is misogynistic, racist, foul-mouthed hypocrite – when really, all I am is impassioned.

I am passionate about embracing feminism and womanhood; I am passionate about encouraging individual growth and breaking glass ceilings; I am passionate about equality across the board; I am passionate about compassion, about ensuring that we all are given the same opportunity to reach our potential; and I’m passionate about ensuring the world my children grow up in is a fairer, more tolerant one.

I’m not trying to change people set in their ways; I’m only trying to be heard, so that if anything someone, anyone can understand that there is more than one perspective out there and that whoever is chosen to lead our country embraces all of our different paths of life. It’s important for all peoples to be represented in government; I, for the life of me, cannot see how Trump is that person.

every little bit…

I still question if I am living my most authentic life. There are elements of my life that feel exhilarating; that feel fulfilling; that feel like I am doing the thing that I always knew I would be doing.

But there are moments when I wonder if I’m playing out of someone else’s playbook. I wonder if I could commit myself wholly to yoga, to selflessness, to ecology, to compassion in all areas of my life.

I think it’s time to stop second-guessing myself. One thing that has always remained about me is my inability to perform in ways that is inauthentic to who I am and what I feel. I have always been stubbornly honest and wholly real – thus authentic.

Authentic, yes. But also wanting to belong. Before I awoke, before I understood how to think about things, how to question them, I accepted many things, many ideas, many behaviors that I understand now as unacceptable. I still wish I were different, further along, but I am on my way and for that, I should feel some comfort…

Self-acceptance is harder than it looks. But I’m working on it. As difficult as the journey is, it still feels wonderful to be alive, to question what to do with my time, to wonder if I’m living my best life. I look forward to answering my own questions.

Why Feminism…

….because as idealistic and naive as I used to be, I see the world as it really is – and it breaks my heart.

….because now I worry that my daughters will face obscene abuses that have been shushed and quieted for too long.

…because I have had to deal with systemic sexism for my whole life.

…because I was raised by a woman who doesn’t understand feminism, who pushed finding a boyfriend over finding myself.

…because I don’t want my son repeating that he is so glad he isn’t a girl, because girls have babies.

…because I genuinely believe that all three of my children are capable of achieving their wildest dreams – but I know my son will have less to prove and easier time accomplishing his goals.

…because I love people and I want us to love each other.

“It’s always a hate crime – unless it’s against a white male.”

 

Good morning, Patriarchy! I didn’t expect to get slapped in the face with you today – but here you are, you ugly bastard.

 

I am aware enough to realize that my coworkers might be egging me on because I am a woman, I am a feminist, I am a Bernie supporter, and it’s pretty easy to engage me in contentious topics – just for the sake of debate.

I spend my days working with a mostly white male demographic. In my office, I am one of three women who are here on a daily basis; if I included part-time employees, I am one of four. Within the entire organization, I believe there are less than twenty women total and most of the men are white (I’d say around 95% of the men). There are a little more than 200 employees in the organization.

I don’t begrudge these fellows their perspective. It would be hypocritical to say that their experience as a white male living in a tide of change wasn’t valid. But their platitudes scream of lacking empathy and understanding for every other type of person on the planet. I’m not saying white men should publicly self-flagellate and bemoan their unfortunate roll of the die, but I am saying – recognize your privilege.

A conversation between a soft-spoken, intelligent friend of a friend and me recently presented a new perspective of the structure of the world as it is and how it came to be. I wish I could relegate the idea elegantly without sounding like a complete lunatic – but I am not savvy in that way.

I have had some inkling of the predominant notion before our exchange, but it didn’t occur me to that the collection of ideas I held were connected. For some, it’s old news. For me, it was more like a halogen light being turned on in dark basement – illuminating all the cracks and crevices I might have been subliminally aware of, but not paying attention to. It’s gross down here; it reeks of mold and death.

I admit that I tried to participate in that game, in the small, feeble way that I understood it, and I choked on the fraudulency of my behavior. I gagged on the bit. I wanted things to be easier, I wanted a smoother path for my children, and perhaps even an elevated social status (in my own eyes). I didn’t want to be what I thought I was (what I thought I was has nothing to do with what I am).  But the cost was too high – my integrity is worth more than comfort.

And while this conversation between my new friend and me helps me understand why patriarchy is, it hasn’t yet shed light on how to circumvent the age-old traditions. It doesn’t help make things better for my progeny or theirs. It only helps to know that long ago, some distant family member chose not to participate in a game to screw the entirety of the human race.

I’m thankful, ecstatic even, that my life hasn’t been easy, that it has presented enough challenges to keep me engaged and growing. I’ve been able to meet some angels along the way, converted strangers to friends to family, and I know that my spirit is growing. If Jung was correct about the collective unconscious, then perhaps my experiences will make it all the better. If not, well, at least I lived my one life doing what I thought was right.

I Wasn’t a Feminist

My mother is a stubborn woman; a free-spirited, fiery, foul-mouthed broad who still doesn’t know when to back down. When my sister and I were young, not yet precocious pre-teens, she would tell us how the Bible demeaned women. She would tell us how, in the eyes of Christian men, a wife was the property of her husband and women were portrayed as mindless devils out to deceive the men of the world. It was impressed upon us how awful it was to be born female – the agony of periods and childbirth, the ways in which the world worked against us, how we would always be underestimated because of our gender. As a chubby kid who often wished I was thin and blonde like my sister, I also alternatively wished I would have been born a boy.

Continue reading

Whole Truths, Half Truths, and Bald-faced Lies

Yesterday I wrote about the trinity of my family – honesty, vulnerability, and kindness – and like most other people, after I finished the entry the theme stayed with me. I thought about some of the ways that I hadn’t been honest, vulnerable, or kind. I also reflected on many of the ways that I had observed my actions and made a conscionable effort to live more in line with my values. It’s easy, so easy, to get caught up in all the wrong we do, in all the ways we don’t walk our talk – at least it is for me. Life is our greatest teacher, but what good are the lessons if you forget them afterwards?

Until very recently, one could say that I was not living honestly. Continue reading