Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why I'm Not Here for Spinach & Egg Whites with No Salt...Pt. 1

Hi, my name is Mirakol.

I have a confession to make...

I LOVE food.

Okay, that probably wasn't the biggest of secrets. However, the fact remains. I absolutely LOVE food. I love cooking and baking it, smelling and tasting it, providing it for people and watching the joy on their face and hearing their kind words regarding something I put love and care in to nourish them. For me, food is a way to cope and heal--be it by cooking/baking it or eating it. I put great effort into the things I make. I even cried over a cake that didn't turn out of the pan once and a batch of biscuits that I put too much baking soda in. For me, food isn't just something to fill my stomach, it helps to clear the mind and fill the soul and heart. Now, one would assume that my love for food may be a guise for my dependence on food. That I bake, cook and subsequently eat my feelings. That I stifle my thoughts with deliciousness. This is only partially true. Food can quickly become an enemy of mine. It begins as something beautiful and can morph into ravenous force inside of me that wants nothing more for me to sabotage myself. For me to hate and detest my being--how I look, how I think others see me, what I eat and how much of it...

These are the two forces at war here:

The love and the loathing

These two matters play great roles in, not simply why I'm overweight, but why I can't seem to be successful in my weight loss endeavors. I've struggled with my weight and how I look since I was about 6 years old. I was constantly bullied in school and even came home to damaging words. From grade school through high school and even my first couple years of college, I was teased or mocked. My freshman and sophomore year of undergrad, I began changing how I understood food and how I ate. I started with the little knowledge I had. Eat brown food--whole wheat bread in place of white, brown rice in place of white rice--sweet potatoes instead of russets, turkey instead of pork, low-fat or soy milk instead of whole milk, baked instead of fried, etc. I was able to maintain my high school senior weight (257) save for a few pounds. I prided myself on maintenance, but my heart's desire was to see true change. I tried a couple "cleanses," workout videos and yoga DVDs, help from friends who seem to have it together, I even considered starving myself, non-spiritual water fasting, living off beans and rice (that one was more out of me being a broke college student). But none sounded as appealing as old-fashioned exercise and good food. By the time my junior year came, I worked out a bit more and ate a bit better, but I remained unhappy in my skin. My resolve was that I would always be fat and there was no changing it. 

That thought right there...I will always be fat...is what has followed me for SO long.

Every time I would try a new exercise routine or regimented eating, I would feel it futile. I saw no change, I felt inadequate, tired, out of oxygen (dying!) and useless. I would wonder to myself if people ever questioned what this fat girl was doing in the gym. I avoided the gym mirrors for fear of seeing how stupid I looked trying to work out. I quit (again) and continued to eat relatively healthy, but with no real intentions of losing weight.

I graduated college and found myself about 3 months into my post-undergrad, sedentary desk job at my heaviest weight of 276 pounds.

It scared the crap out of me. How could I have let myself get so heavy?! Granted, it's not much more than my high school weight, but it definitely served as a wakeup call. I called myself buying books and workout programs on DVD, considered juice cleansing and diet pills. None of which provided lasting results or change in my mind and heart. 

Around November of last year, I began getting more serious as time progressed at my new job. I, along with my roommate, started going to the gym and being more serious about healthy eating. I managed to lose 10 pounds in about 2 months. 10 POUNDS, Y'ALL! I saw that this was possible. That I can change my body--that I can completely recreate this body that I used to hate but grew to be 'okay' with, this body I've learned to groom, clean, care for, look at in the mirror and not cry about (every time)...this body I've known for so long. A dream I'd always had scared me more than getting to my heaviest weight did. 

This sounds bizarre, right?! I mean, anyone else would be thrilled to see weight come off in such a way and elated to see more change.

Well, it scared me because that would mean that I have to get to know a whole new body. Will it treat as well as my old body? Will it comfort me like my old body did? What it mean for me mentally, emotionally, sexually? Will it provide the same security and hiding my old body did? 

It was too much. So, I quit.

I stopped going to the gym regularly and I ate--not the good, nourishing food that quieted my mind and steadied my heart. The food that wreaked havoc on my body and mind. The energy, the restful sleep, the peace I felt in treating my body with grace and discipline waned quickly--and I didn't care. Part of me felt like I deserved it. Like I was supposed to be fat and unhealthy. Like death was more appealing than the painstaking healing process of my mind, heart and body. Lies. All lies. And I knew it. But believing these fallacies seemed easier than walking in the freedom I know God has and wants for me...the freedom He's commissioned me to receive.

Now, I've been tired before. But I'm realizing each time I go through these motions, my discipline, growth, healing, success is not about me so much as it is about all the lives God wants to touch through mine. On Friday, October 17, 2014, I got tired (TIIIIEEEEDDD!). Tired of being fat, tired of being a failure, tired of willfully letting the Enemy of my soul take my joy, and tired of pushing away the Lover of my soul through my disobedience to Him and holding on to shattered pieces He's already promised to discard or mend completely. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm gonna say my piece on the Ray Rice controversy, then I'm gonna sit down.

You don't have to agree with me; that's not why I'm saying this. As a young girl who witnessed the repetitive abuse of my own mother at the hands of a man--her husband--who claimed to love her, I will always say that domestic violence is NEVER okay. Whether the aggressor be male or female. Yes, female aggressors. By and large, domestic violence cases in which females are the aggressors go unreported. It is quite a shame. And because domestic violence cases that are reported (if reported at all) are largely male against female, there lies a double standard in our society. I completely agree there.

However, what I do find fault in is victim-blaming and victim-shaming. Janay Rice was a victim. I don't care what she did. He could have shaken the hell out of her, but laying her out like he's Mayweather or something is inexplicable. Nothing a woman can do to a man, outside of anything shy of threatening his life with a weapon, should garner such a response considering his stature and strength. I'm not a proponent of hitting men, because it's just not right...it's disrespectful and emasculating. What is also disrespectful and humiliating for a woman is to be knocked out cold and dragged (per the videos & reports). The truth of the matter is, the male is ultimately the stronger specimen. To physically react to a woman as though she maintains such strengths as his would be fool of a man.

Such generalizations that reinforce the notion "hit and be hit," specifically on the topic of domestic violence, support the perpetuation and damaging cycle of domestic violence. The whole "she started/deserved it" or "she provoked him" mentality is at best a futile argument considering the damage we see all too oft in the aftermath.

I think we, as a society, often take these domestic violence matters and prepare for aim and fire with our arguments about domestic violence in general. People's true colors come out, as well as ignorances, misunderstandings and other issues. The fact of the matter is, dude knocked her out cold then commenced to dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator. What happened before then, we don't know fully. The fact that he WALKED away (and she didn't) shows me her aggression did not comparably prove vicious. I will say, there are women who get smack happy with their male counterparts--something I think is not wise. But dumping the experiences of some couples or singular people in the laps of a victim (read: victim-shaming) does no one justice. Call a spade a spade. Dude was dead wrong.

Much of the commentary on this issue is a question of who is "wronger." This is subjective. Many arguments for one over the other insinuates that male and female clairvoyance are the same or similar and such a maintenance could not be further from the truth. But, that's for another blog post.

I keep hearing/reading many commentators and self-proclaimed lobbyists make the argument that "errbody need to keep they hands to theyself [sic]" but are not considering that the altercation does not appear out of the ordinary for the couple. Let's consider the Ray and Janay Rice situation outside of this incident alone. Perhaps this isn't the first time. Perhaps, many a time he's gone completely off while physically (or otherwise) unprovoked. Consider that this incident happened when they were engaged, and they are now married and she is defending and protecting him. That this very well may NOT be an isolated incident for them. That this happens more times than Mrs. Rice would like to count. Maybe she did provoke him in that elevator. Maybe it was a case of battered woman defense. These are all significances that point to battered person syndrome. Maybe their relationship encompasses much more than we're willing to recognize and/or acknowledge.

My prayer is that, since they are still together (as far as we know), while working out their marriage and family matters, that they are seeking counseling. Aggression like that doesn't just disappear in a few months.

till next time,


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Good Ground

There are times when I feel I'm brittle, dry, barren.

I wonder if the life I know was predestined will spring up from me.

Am I beyond reparation?

This soil of mine…cracked, thirsting for more…

Will it ever reveal new life?

It becomes a bit cumbersome for a bud with little hope

To wonder if it'll ever come into full bloom.

Seeds have been sown.

Weeds are being pulled.

Thorns are gradually being snipped away.

Intermittent sunshine and rain.

Just when there seemed to be no hope in this arid land

God breaks open the heavens, and pours out His blessings.

He is not withholding his greatness from His people.

Somebody prayed.

And I am reminded of a word whispered to me before one Sunday service…

"You are good ground."

While damp, muddy, and a bit messy…good ground, indeed.

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave,and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer offered in this place. For I have chosen and sanctified (set apart for holy use) this house, that My Name may be here forever, and My eyes and My heart will be here perpetually.
2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (AMP)

But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for Mystrength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
2 Corinthians 12:9