it’s not about offense, it’s about your words

I love My Fitness Pal. It makes me smile.

Members can share snippets of their weight loss, or gain, journey using the blog feature.  I haven’t done that because, well, 3 WordPress blogs are enough.  Today, a member shared this:

Title: Ghetto Rack

Post:It’s crude, rough, ghetto, cheap, lazy, not-even-sanded, and the least expensive piece of workout gear I’ve gotten so far..  but it’ll get the job done for a little longer till I have to either get a gym membership or buy some equipment…

but I made it myself, in a mini-skirt… LOL!

(in my defense, I really DO know how to use power tools, squares and the like, but seriously, who the hell cares what it looks like when it’s in my basement?)  (not pictured but it has a cross bar for support across the bottom now.)

I didn’t like what she wrote. I didn’t like the words she used.  The whole thing made me uncomfortable. So, I sent her a message.  Honestly, I didn’t know why I didn’t like it. I just didn’t this is what I said:

Subject: I thought about not sending this

Message:

Hi Becky,

A friend of mine commented on your post, “Ghetto Rack” and so it showed up in my news feed. I clicked on your blog and read your post. For some reason, one that I can’t articulate very well right now, it doesn’t sit well with me. While describing your “ghetto” rack you said, ” It’s crude, rough, ghetto, cheap, lazy, not-even-sanded….”

When I, and many others, think ghetto, we think people and place. I think of two places and types of people in particular – How German’s imprisoned and classified Jews and how the United States houses and often describes Black Americans.

This may be my issue, and I’ll completely own that, but I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on your post.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck on your journey,

Whit

Her response:

Sorry to offend, not intentional. To each his or her own I suppose.

I’m glad I didn’t spend much time thinking about what I sent her because she didn’t spend much time thinking about her response.  Granted, my email could’ve been better. I own that.  But, I spend all day maneuvering this and similar topics and just didn’t feel like being more detailed.  I also didn’t want to scold her.  I just wanted to share with her my initial thoughts upon reading her words.  It wasn’t about offense.  I truly believe a HUGE chunk of racism still exists because we’re afraid of offending one another.  That fear prevents dialogue.  Instead of embracing dialogue we cling to the similar paradigm-ed and offer up apologies after offenses.  I’m not offended. At least I don’t feel offended.  I wanted her to think about her words and the racist system they may or may promote. I sent that email hoping for dialogue.  That didn’t happen. I’m not going to respond.  I just don’t care enough about this situation to dedicate any more words or effort.

If you have any more thoughts on this matter. I’d TOTALLY be open to dialogue with you.  =]

knock-kneed mary

According to the internet I’m obese.

I remember being in my 10th grade biology class and discussing knock knees, bow legs, and “normal” legs.  For some dumb reason I said, “I want knock knees!”

I’m an idiot.

I GOT them and I HATE them.  In fact, I’m working on getting rid of them.  I’ve done some research on the internet and discovered that you can fix them.  Some people go through surgery to break and realign bones. That’s way too serious for me so I’m going to do it by strengthening muscles in my legs.

I took some preliminary pictures so I can document my progress.  It fits into my desire to lose weight and get more fit, too!

This is how my legs should align when I stoop down

If you look, my knock-knee-ness is not that bad, but when I walk it gets worse.  I’m a thick woman and so my legs are thicker than average.  They rub together when I walk and it’s annoying.  I’m aware that no matter how much (healthy) weight I lose my thighs will probably always touch.  If I strengthen my adductor muscles it will probably help my situation.

I went to roller derby last week and they noticed how knock-kneed I am and mentioned how it might impact my roller skating.

As I bend my knees you can see the natural tendency “knock” against one another. This is my current “normal” bend.

So, I’m doing certain exercises, and tweaking my running form to improve my body’s alignment and overall performance.  Roller derby is something I’ve only done once, but I’m in love.  The thought that I could get good enough to be drafted onto a team excites me.  It’s not my goal, but it’s exciting.

I’ll keep everyone posted.

Remembering Roswell Friend

I stumbled across a story of a young man’s suicide this morning.  He went for a run and never came back. This happened less than a year ago. I have no connection to this young man, well, not really.  I’ve never been diagnosed by a professional, but I struggle with depression as well.  I’ve always chalked it up to “being an artist,” but I receive simplicity way too strongly for my own good.  My memory has hold of too many nights spent weeping for no reason.  It also holds hands with many evenings crying over hurts whose wounds should no longer be open, but are and seep painfully.

Reading Roswell Friend’s story was hard.  I grieve for his family and applaud their strength.  Losing someone is consistently difficult.  If that person took their life on purpose the pain is from a different blade.  They chose to leave.

What Roswell did, was selfish, but I can absolutely understand what brought him to that place.

 

Related Posts:

Eight “I’s” and one “When”

It’s officially depression sans the emotional kickback

Things that make me sad

So this is what depression feels like

 

Marry me misogynistic pastor Jesse Lee Peterson, please?

There is intimacy that comes with dating and marriage.  I’d like the opportunity to get to know this man and what caused him to choose this current version of himself.  He hates all things that are good. I want to see what this man is like behind closed doors because I NEED to feel empathetic for him.  Because right now, I think he’s a damn fool.

 

Jesse Lee Peterson is tomato sauce to my acid reflux.  My heart is literally aching.  This man hates women, people of color, and himself.  It’s hard for me not to be a little hurt by this.  He is certainly not the only person with this mentality.  That doesn’t make it any easier to digest.  He gives up on “America” [sic] while I hurt for Her.

Aside: I’m offended that he’s referred to as “conservative.” Maniacs like him have kidnapped the word and belief system and turned it into an insane asylum.

Celebrity is stealing faces

I recently attended a lecture (the things we do when we’re all grown up) to celebrate my birthday. During the post lecture reception I wanted to take a picture with her — I don’t know why, I just wanted to.  It’s strange, I’m usually not that girl. She had taken quite a few pictures, reluctantly and explained to me why she didn’t want to take another. I wasn’t hurt by her decision. I have, however, been thinking about it for awhile though. “Why?”

I’ve come to this conclusion, “Taking pictures of “celebrities” is stealing their face.” At times, they may give it willingly, but for the times they don’t it’s not okay to just take it. I grew up in Pennsylvania near an area with a huge Amish population. The Amish, like many cultures, don’t want their pictures taken. They believe it steals their souls.

As I get older I tend to shy away from pictures with others. I don’t want my face in the places people put them these days. For those with celebrity it’s like they don’t have a choice. They don’t get to edit pictures for their cuteness. They must oblige the fan in the restaurant with desires to document their interaction unless they want to be coined, “mean,” or “rude.” Which by the way is only documented so people can later comment on how good they did or did not look at the time. Once you reach a certain level of fame your entire personality can be judged on your reluctance or desire to take a picture with someone you don’t even know.

the danger of a single story

There is something caught in me. Caught like a kernel in the throat of a stranger only smoother.  Less prevalent.  I don’t think I’m supposed to know it’s there and it’s trying to hide.

Today is my 29th birthday.  “I am 29.”  My conversations from now on will contain just that, perhaps more than anything else. “I am 29.” To many I am still a baby.  To others I am too old. To myself, I am stuck in the middle of something I can’t figure out.

Last night, as a gift to myself, I bought a ticket to see Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speak at Benaroya Hall because a few months ago friend forwarded me her a link to her TED Talk:

Her speech/presentation/talk was interesting.  It left me feeling, plain.  She was normal. In another world we could be friends. Conversations about shopping and men, society would cram themselves into our skulls wanting to be shared. We could be girlfriends sharing our darkest depths without shame or filter. I was surprised at just how good of girlfriends we could be.

During the question and answer session they asked questions from the audience. I submitted this one, “Do you have any advice for an American young woman of color writer who is afraid her story has already been told?”  Her response was simple, ” Every story has already been told.  There are what, probably 5 stories? I would ask her to please, please, please write her story.”

I wonder if it’s my story lodged in my throat hiding from the air.