Weight

I’m the fattest I have ever been.  Or, more precisely, I am four pounds lighter than the fattest I have ever been because I started dieting nine days ago.

There is something about dieting that makes me feel hyper-sensitive about the way I look.  It’s as though, through the act of dieting, I am constantly acknowledging that I am unhappy with my body and current appearance.  It’s something that I am constantly fighting.

My weight has fluctuated my entire life.  I was a chubby kid in middle school, skinny in high school, and then chubby again in college.  I weighed 185 pounds when I was 25 years old and then lost 60 pounds to weigh 125 by my 26th birthday.  I gained most of that back, then lost it again, then gained it back again, this time with several extra pounds.

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I am generally a very happy person and my current body mass isn’t something that depresses me. I have friends who love me. I feel fairly healthy and strong. I have a very happy and healthy relationship with my partner. I enjoy outdoor activities and like to go hiking. But right now I feel really uncomfortable in my body.  I enjoyed running when it was something that didn’t hurt my knees.  I miss being able to wear skirts and dresses without my thighs rubbing uncomfortably together.

I’ve learned to be happy at the weight I’m at.  It has taken a lot of practice but I’ve decided to love the body I live in because it is the only one I have. And because, when I look back on all the times I was unhappy with my weight or appearance, I find that now, when I look at pictures or think about it, I was completely beautiful.

If I could go back and tell my past-self one thing it would be to feel happy in my body—no matter what size.  Because even at my fittest and strongest, I was still miserable and critical.  I never felt beautiful in high school, even though I was.  I never felt pretty in my 20s, even though I was quite stunning.

Most women are incredibly critical of themselves. We receive messages almost from birth.  We are always too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too pale, too dark, or too something. When I was in high school and weighed 115 pounds I used to think I was “fat”.  Even when I was running 7 miles each day to train to climb Mt. Whitney, I never thought my body was good enough.

This is the first time that I have started a diet at a time when I actually think my body is beautiful.  It has taken constant vigilance on my part to not fall into the trap of hating myself because I am “over-weight” or not at a standard of beauty that society expects from me.  I have to constantly remind myself that I am dieting for myself and not to conform to something.

I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. And I want to love myself on the journey.

Dear Bernie and Hillary Supporters

I love you.  I love your fucking conviction.  I love your gumption.  I love your incredible badass, unapologetic approach to the 2016 election.  I love everything you stand for.  All of you.  (I’m having a hard time with your Facebook posts though.  Just sayin.)

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The Democratic Party has TWO incredible candidates this election season. TWO. Two trend-setting, status-quo-breaking, qualified, smart, incredible candidates. Two! The Democratic Party has two fucking unbelievable human beings who actually have the qualifications, the record, and the vision to help the middle and lower classes in this country to lessen the wage gap, create jobs, manage health care, and go forward with a living wage as a standard.  The Democratic Party is committed to reforming policies to help students, to reduce student loan debt, and to make college affordable.  Both Hillary and Bernie want to ensure benefits for people on Social Security now and into the future. Both Bernie and Hillary are working to foster relationships with others to set America and its allies on course for productive international relations.  Both Hillary and Bernie have a record of success and integrity.

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The Democratic Party is fucking KILLING IT RIGHT NOW.  Hillary Clinton could be the first woman president and has a list of qualifications that make both FDR and Dwight Eisenhower look like amateurs.  That is fucking amazing.  Bernie Sanders has a democratic socialist agenda.  His policies are cutting-edge and completely legit.  That is fucking amazing too.

Neither Hillary nor Bernie have tweeted things like:

Or:

I’m voting based on record and I am voting based on policy.  I have thought long and hard about it.  I have researched the candidates and I am absolutely solid.  I cannot wait to cast my ballot. (Spoiler alert: I’m voting for either Hillary or Bernie!! I just fucking love those two!)

I don’t know about the rest of you but I am so FUCKING EXCITED TO VOTE!!!!!!  I cannot wait to go to the polls and mark my ballot for my chosen candidate.

AND COME NOVEMBER, IF I HAVE TO VOTE FOR THE OTHER CANDIDATE, THAT IS FUCKING AWESOME TOO!!!!!!!  WOOT!!!!!!!!!

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The Art Hotel

Sacramento has changed a lot in five years.  One of my favorite old art galleries is now a coworking space.  Some of the older buildings are either boarded up or in the process of being torn down.  There are new trendy cafes and restaurants.  Some of the restaurants have moved or have gone out of business.  There aren’t as many cats sitting on porches as there used to be.

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I stopped by an art installation today at the random suggestion of an old friend on Facebook.  Her post said, “Pictures don’t do the experience justice. Just go. Before 2/13 when it will all be torn down.”  The pictures didn’t do it justice.  But the location was on the way to The Crocker Art Museum which is where I was headed anyway.

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The installation is called The Art Hotel and it takes place inside an historic building known as The Marshall Hotel.  The Marshall Hotel has been a point of contention for Sacramento residents for years. It was known as a slum but for many Sacramento residents who suffered through the worst of the housing crisis, the Marshall Hotel was something of a beacon of hope and refuge.  It contained small, affordable, studio apartments and housed some of Sacramento’s long-time residents.  The residents of the building were evicted last year and the building is set for demolition later this month so it can be replaced by an upscale Hyatt Hotel adjacent to the new arena.

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Sacramento, like a lot of Northern California cities, is suffering from an identity crisis created by gentrification in the name of economic growth. It is sacrificing the cool for the trendy, the affordability for the temporary, the stable for the possibilities, the people for the corporations, and the art for the new.  I just hope it doesn’t lose all of what makes it awesome.  After visiting The Art Hotel, I still have hope for Sacramento and for what’s to come.

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The Art Hotel, located until February 13th at 7th Street between K and L in Sacramento is a temporary art installation and possibly one of the most important art pieces of our lifetime and particularly the most important art installation that has ever graced Sacramento’s stage.  (I’m not an art critic and this is merely conjecture.)  Sacramento needs The Art Hotel and all of Sacramento should wait as long as they have to in order to see it.

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What is taking place at The Art Hotel in Sacramento speaks volumes to an overall trend in economics in cities and communities all across America.  I came to the installation blindly.  I learned later that there had been a kickstarter campaign and a handful of art-loving donors who had helped to make the art happen.  From my outsider perspective, a group of artists converted what had once been the homes of many, many low-income people, into a statement about what happens when we evict the artists, the elderly, the down-trodden, the poor, the mentally ill, the disabled , the addicted, and the general diversity of a community in need.  Maybe the artists weren’t trying to be that involved in a message.  Maybe it’s just art for art’s sake.  Either way it’s really good.  Quite simply, it’s revolutionary.

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I started my morning in the car driving down from the foothills listening to a report about the all-time high rates for renters in America and the lack of affordable housing both in cities and in rural areas across the United States.  I moved to midtown Sacramento in 2002 because it was affordable at the time.  I bought my first house in east Sacramento and lost it in the 2008 housing crisis.  I moved back to midtown after less than three years as a home-owner and back into affordable apartment living.  My last apartment in midtown was a studio for $700/month.  It was little but it was cute and I was happy living there.  The same place would now cost me $1,300/month, according to a recent Craig’s list ad.

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As we continue to let the divide between the rich and the poor deepen, we continue to allow the gap between the valuable and necessary widen.

The Art Hotel is temporary.  The art there has a time limit.  It exists in a building slated to be demolished and there is no chance of saving it. In a year the The Art Hotel will be forgotten and the space will be filled with cell-phone talking executives waiting to go to a sporting event. That’s a part of why The Art Hotel is so important. It speaks volumes to how we go forward with art.  It speaks volumes to how we treat our cities and how we develop our communities. There is no saving the art in The Art Hotel.  The people who lived there are already gone.  There is only going forward.

Hotels are valuable.  Art is necessary.

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