Sunday, February 26, 2012

Immigration "reform"

Listening to Republicans discuss immigration reform makes my brain hurt. Mexicans bring drugs, prostitution, and torture by coming across the border?! REALLY?! People DO NOT flee their countries through dangerous, possibly deadly conditions just to pop across the border for vacation. They go because they would rather RISK DEATH than continue to live under the conditions they are in. I think it's important for people to remember that unless you are 100% Native American, *our* ancestors all came to the United States by - wait for it - leaving some sort of oppressive conditions in their country of birth! Whether it was unjust taxation, unemployment, or ravages of war....we ALL came from immigrants! We are a nation FOUNDED by immigrants.

So the real question is: what type of people get on the boat (so to speak) then pull up the remaining entryways, shove off shore, & wave back saying "too bad for you - suckers!" Certainly not the type of people I want to associate with.

I'm 3rd/4th generation American depending on which family member you look at. My ancestors left Hungary & Germany to make a better life for their children because the conditions they were living in were unfavourable. Their journey was not much different than immigrants of was separated & people were left behind, & those who came here struggled to build a new life. I'm proud of my heritage & don't forget for a *second* that if the types of immigration "reform" being discussed today was on the table last century, I would probably be a peasant farmer instead of a social worker.

We live in a country with more abundance than virtually ALL of the rest of the countries in the world yet we are instituting some of the most penalizing policies for citizens & non citizens alike. We, as a nation, supposedly fight against global tyranny & yet we are perpetrators ourselves. Take a look back through *your* heritage & think about where you would be if *your* ancestor didn't emigrate here. And shame on anyone who would deny that right to others.
Immigrants are not a danger to "our way of life". In the United States, immigration IS the way of life! The danger comes in locking down borders & refusing to give aide to those who need it. Do you know what other countries did that? Let's see....North Korea, communist Russia,  & myriad other oppressive regimes. That's the road we're headed on as we slowly & systematically strip away the rights of citizens (women's rights infringements anyone? punitive social welfare policies?) & lock down our borders. 
We may be on the verge of the first generation where people LEAVE the United States to find a better life.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Life is so mysterious at times...

There are moments in life when we think the world is going to end. We all have them. We can all pinpoint an event that makes us think that life as we know it is over for sure. Most of mine revolve around my marriage, or ending thereof. See I got married first in secret so that I could be added to our health insurance plan so my baby could have adequate medical care. I hated that date. I never recognized it because it felt like a was a lie! Then I got married 2 months later in a "real" ceremony so our friends & family could attend. But it was still a lie, since we were already married. I felt like I cheated my family, I let them down, I robbed myself, and nothing was right. But I was married and committed & I was going to honour that. Then two years & one more child later he left. And on the day that I recognized as our anniversary, I mourned. I mourned all the things that could have been, that should have been, & that would never be. Things *should* have been very very different from the start, there's no doubt about that, they *could* have been very different if we had both made different choices, and who knows what *would* have been. Regardless, I mourned. 

Until today. 

Today I got an email reminder about my acceptance to grad school. Now, grad school is exciting in itself but it's important to note that I would never have gone back to school for my Bachelors if it wasn't for my divorce. I went back to school to ensure a solid future for my children. It was either school, or a life of waiting tables. I chose school. And it's been hard. The last two years have been exhausting and there have been days that I've thought I couldn't push through anymore. Thank goodness I have a select few amazing friends who keep me going! Grad school wasn't exactly my end goal, but here I am about to embark on yet another year to earn a higher degree. Exciting! 

So what was the big news about this email? 

Well, for one it was a reminder to accept the invitation - which clearly I didn't know I needed to do. Oops. But for two, it was an invitation to attend orientation before summer classes start. When is that orientation you ask? Oh my, well, it's the date that would be my 7th wedding anniversary this year. And I was so excited to click "accept" on that form. 

You see, every ending is the start of a new beginning. I don't regret my marriage. I wish things were different, sure, many many things, but I don't regret it. It made me who I am today. It put me on the path that I'm on now, which I have no doubt is where I'm supposed to be. Sure there are days where I wish I had someone to come home to & I wish my children knew what it was like to have two parents in one house... but that's not my path. My path involves being an advocate for others, and the fact that my orientation to complete my education is on a day that once held so much sorrow but now holds so much excitement is just a testament to the fact this THIS IS RIGHT. 

May 21st will forever be an anniversary...but now it will be an anniversary of the day I started down the road to becoming who I'm meant to be. Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can come together.

And I will always celebrate it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Glamour response - that was fast!

Just got an email with a response from Glamour. I wonder if anything will come of it?  - 

Thank you for writing to Glamour to share your thoughts on "Inside the Night of 1,000 Dos & Don'ts" story in our March issue. We value your feedback, and I have passed your e-mail along to the top editors, including Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive.

I look forward to hearing your comments on future issues of Glamour.

Many thanks,
Michelle Meyers
Reader Services

Monday, February 20, 2012

open letter to Glamour magazine

Dear Glamour,

I just read your article by Mindy Kaling. I dislike her character on The Office, but having no other reference for her aside from that show, I figured I'd read it to see what she has to say. I was truly disappointed.

I grew up as a competitive ice skater. Having always been the fat girl in the ice skating world, I'm a bit weight sensitive. Now - as both a mother and a social worker - I try to suppress those self-hating tendencies even though I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been at a size 10, which I admittedly often fail at. But at least I know better and try to model better attitudes. I'm also very aware of the inundation of media messages telling girls to be thin, and aware of the damage it causes.

Anyway, I read this article where she repeatedly calls herself "the chubby Indian kid" and says how much criticism hurts her, so I mistakenly expected her to have some sort of agenda to promote body acceptance or rail against the ways Hollywood makes her feel inadequate. Silly social worker, not everyone in the world has a do-gooder outlook.

 With tidbits such as:
"I spent the next 3 weeks running intervals on the treadmill eating lean proteins and vegetables with a handful of berries as a "treat". It was a pathetic and unhappy time during which I was endlessly grouchy. I recommend it to no one.  But it was worth it for the gown"
"my body looks slammin and I'm smiling and that's all that matters"
I was literally horrified at what I read. Actually, I was subconsciously adding up how many calories I could burn if I ate nothing but berries for 3 weeks to see if that would really make a difference in my jean size while simultaneously chastising myself for not working out like I used to and being the size of a small hippopotamus.

 *Then* the educated part of my brain took over, and I got angry. I expect this type of written trickery from the stick thin waif-like models. Of course they can survive on celery and chai tea, their metabolism stopped working years ago! But from the alive-looking women I expect more of a Kate Winslet attitude. You know - "screw you Hollywood, don't Photoshop me!" But here, this woman is talking about wanting to be as fashionable as the Kardashians and her best outift coming from a custom cinched waist. And my inner 10yo girl who would cry when nobody was looking because I was curvier already than the other girls and who knew every calorie count to every piece of food known to man instantly woke up and whispered "you'll never be good enough."

The thing is....if something as ridiculous as a fashion magazine article can do that to me, who (at least I would like to think) has a slightly more sophisticated world view with a broader range of acceptance and a great deal of knowledge about women's issues and the ways society contributes to their negative self image - if I can revert to that angsty pre-teen in a matter of minutes, then what does it do to the actual angsty teenagers who are reading this too?

It's not right. I've spent years working on my body issues that were in part given to me by the world I grew up in. It's hard to be an ice skater with a figure. The criticisms and comments still resonate years later, and it's not the kind of thing that ever leaves your head. But when you know better, you do better - for the next generation. I don't want my daughter growing up with the kinds of thoughts that are in my head that say that my worth is inversely proportionate to my pant size. I don't want this generation of girls to grow up thinking that endless amounts of running on the treadmill and a diet of celery, lettuce, and lemon juice will bring them any sort of sustainable happiness. I want to be part of what teaches them that their worth lies in their actions, their friendships, their honesty, their dreams.

I’m sure Mindy Kaling thinks she’s being cute or humourous to preemptively laugh off any potential criticism, but she’s not. Like it or not, she’s in a position of influence being a woman in Hollywood. As such, she should be ashamed of herself for promoting extreme dieting and exercise to attain such superficial beauty. Glamour magazine is read by thousands of young girls and women each month – when will your articles start to encourage them to love who they are instead of adding to the disillusioned standards that society already holds us to?

Looks like I've started a blog

I have a confession to make. I know nothing about technology. It usually takes a handful of friends dragging me kicking and screaming into the current decade before I even consider using a new type of technology. I'll never forget the first time I got a cell phone - after years of trying to convince me I "needed" one, a friend send me $200 in an envelope with a cutout newspaper picture of a cell phone. That was about 12 years ago, & I haven't changed much since then. Suffice it to say, people have been telling me to start a blog for at least 2 years. The only problem is, I don't really understand blogs. I have no idea if anyone would want to read one of mine or what I would really talk about. But here I am starting one, finally. (And I have to admit it took me about 3 hours just to figure out *how* to set this thing up)

Apparently, some people enjoy reading what I have to say. I'm a little hesitant to post my thoughts out there for everyone to see - I like the perceived privacy of my Facebook notes. I guess I'll start by posting a few of those over the next few days that were good discussion starters, & maybe over time I'll be my usual outspoken, unreserved self. 

At 12:30am as I venture out into a new branch of social media, let's just say I'm feeling mildly trepidatious about this whole idea. 

Here goes....something!

I should probably include some sort of warning in this first post: in order for me to actually take time out of my day to sit & write about something, I have to feel pretty passionately about the topic at hand. Sometimes people disagree with me & that's just fine. More often than not, people say I make them stop to think about the world a little differently, which is quite a compliment if you ask me. I'm well-educated, well-traveled, & I become easily upset at the myriad injustices in the world today. Most of my posts will probably be related to some aspect of society or the world at large that I wish to change. If you think that type of thing might interest you....then follow along :)