Monday, October 21, 2013

My Big Fat Freakin' Personality

I'll comment on this later. It's 4:14 in the morning. But I am gonna put this here and look into it further later.


ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.
Take Free Jung Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com


Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||| 40%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||| 50%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||||||||||| 53%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||||||| 60%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||| 66%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||| 40%
Your main type is 3
Your variant is sexual
Take Free Enneagram Word Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

I took the advanced 131 question Enneagram test and got these results:


Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||| 24%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||| 40%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||||| 78%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||||||| 72%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||| 30%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||||| 50%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||| 36%
Your main type is 3
Your variant is sexual
Take Free Advanced Enneagram Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

I just retook the Advanced test and got the below. I wanted to see how much difference a day made. And apparently it made a difference.


Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||| 32%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||| 38%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 4 Individualism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Type 5 Intellectualism |||||||||| 38%
Type 6 Security Focus |||||||||||| 46%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 62%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||| 42%
Your main type is 8
Your variant is sexual
Take Free Advanced Enneagram Personality Test
Personality Test by SimilarMinds.com

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Epiphany, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love My Body


"Write hard and clear about what hurts." - Ernest Hemingway

I saw those words the other day on Pinterest and I stopped and stared at them.

Because these words were on Pinterest, they were written in a super cool font and superimposed over an image of an Instagram-filtered beach or something. I sat there and stared at them and thought, "I don't do that enough."

Then I pinned it and forgot about it.

Two days later an epiphany changed my life. It is still happening now. You are witnessing it.

What happened was this: a photo of a woman with a smokin'-hot body named Maria Kang posing with her three young children and the words "What's Your Excuse?" went viral on the Internet, and not all the response was positive. Incredibly bad-ass blogger Matt Walsh wrote a less-than-bad-ass post about this, calling out all the "haters" and "trolls" who responded negatively to the photo.

My friend Destiny won blogging when she wrote an open letter to Matt Walsh that described her own struggle with negative body image. When I read Destiny's post - much of which I could have written about myself, verbatim - I thought about the Hemingway quote. I realized God was doing that thing where he points me in a direction. But I resisted.

I was not ready to write this yet.

That night, I decided to look up some yoga moves, since I've been wanting to try it again. I was searching Pinterest for some good beginner yoga sites, and I kept seeing all these very bendy, skinny women. So I searched "fat yoga," just for the hell of it. And I started seeing results from all these boards with names like "Body Positivity, "Body Love," and "Fat Acceptance."

I spent the next three hours browsing. I saw photos of fat women in body-conscious clothing looking like they really enjoyed wearing body-conscious clothing. I saw photos of fat women in beautiful dresses with gorgeous tattoos and incredible makeup and exquisite hair. Most of the women were bigger than me - much bigger. They did not seem to give much of a crap.

I saw articles written by physicians about why being fat does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy and might die any minute, and that skinny people are just as likely to be unhealthy as fat people.

I was introduced to the radical idea that maybe I should just eat well and exercise to be healthy now. That maybe - just maybe - becoming thin should not be the ultimate goal of my existence, as it has been for almost as long as I can remember.

Like I said, I am smack-dab in the middle of having a life-changing epiphany, and since I am a writer, I am going to write about it. I am going to follow Papa Hemingway's advice and "write hard and clear about what hurts." It does hurt. But I'm going to say it anyway.

Here goes:

1. I take off my glasses before I walk down the hallway so I don't accidentally see myself in the bathroom mirror. I also take off my glasses before I go into the bathroom and undress to take a shower. I do not want to see myself naked.

2. The first time I remember thinking I was fat, I was eight years old. I was not fat, but I weighed more than the other girls. I've always been thick and muscular and, yes, bigger-boned than many females. ("Big-boned" is a classic punch-line cop-out, but guess what? It's also an actual thing.) My head is big. My feet and hands are big. My face is huge. It's just how I'm made.


3. When I was nine, I had a swimsuit with the belly cut out. They were all the rage in the 80s. One day, while wearing my swimsuit, I said to my mom, "I'm fat." I wanted her to say, "You absolutely are not." (I wasn't.) Instead she glanced at me and said, "You could stand to lose a few pounds." I remember it like it was yesterday. It is one of my clearest childhood memories.

4. Blaming my mother would be blaming the victim. She was tiny all her life until her third pregnancy with my twin brothers. She thinks maybe it's the tubal ligation that changed her hormones forever, but whatever it was, she never got her pre-twins body back. I was eight when they were born and my mother's negative body image began. It persists to this day. I remember her drinking Slim Fast every morning. (I would try the Slim Fast diet, too, at age twelve.)

To this day, my mother talks about how fat and gross she is all the time. Everyone else - including me - thinks she is beautiful.

5. I was going to write about how my mom, all my life, is always dieting, and has only ever seemed vibrant and happy during the brief periods when she has starved and striven herself down to a lower weight. It never lasts, and it probably never will, because dieting statistically does not work over the long term. But as I was writing that I realized I could say exactly the same thing about myself.

6. I was a very active person well into high school. I did dance and drill team. As a kid I swam a lot, rode my bike, and played softball. I was never thin. I was always bigger than the other girls. I didn't eat anything my skinny brothers didn't eat. I was just built differently, or less tolerant of carbohydrates, or something. I didn't know that then. I was mystified by my "fatness." I thought I was doing everything right.

7. I remember being twelve years old and wondering why boys didn't like me. I thought maybe it was because I was huge and gross. When I look back at photos of me in middle school, I realize they were more likely terrified of me than disgusted. I looked seventeen. I was a size 8 or so, wearing a C-cup bra, with dance-sculpted legs, and thick brown hair to my middle back. I had no idea I was beautiful, but I was. I really was.


8. When I was fifteen, I was a little slice of hell. Unhappy and rebellious, I asked to go stay with my dad in Austin for the summer. When I was eight, my dad had disappeared without a trace, returning out of the blue when I was thirteen. Did this have an effect on my self-esteem? You best believe. But I was determined to have a relationship with him, and I was mad at my mom because, well, she was my mom, so off to Austin I went.

Even though I was still bigger than the av-er-idge bear, I was figuring out my own personal style as far as hair, clothes, and makeup went, and it helped me feel a little better about myself. Then one day my stepmother and I were talking about my plans for returning home and starting school and whatnot, and she asked me, out of the blue, "What about your weight?"



I didn't know what to say. It was such a vague question. I remember saying, "What about it?" I don't recall the rest of the conversation, but I do recall being devastated. Once again, someone who should have been telling me I was beautiful had decided to do exactly the opposite. Probably because someone - or everyone - had done it to her.

9. By the time I was about twenty I had been on at least twenty diets. Again, I look at pictures of me then and think, "Wow. I was beautiful." Did I know it then? Apparently not. I went to the library at my college and did research on weight loss. (This was before the Internet existed as we know it today.) Somehow I stumbled across information about the fat-burning effects of cocaine. So I decided to try it.

I remember going out with friends one night, coked up, and ordering a salad which I could not bring myself to eat. I felt victorious, looking at my food and not wanting it. But soon I found I also couldn't sit still, or think, or relax. I had to leave my friends inside, go outside and pace up and down the sidewalk. Luckily for me, I found the effects of cocaine unpleasant and I didn't do it for long.

10 I have so many stories like this. So many diets, some unhealthy, some less so. I can tell you about the yoga videos, the Legs of Steel videos, walking the four-mile hiking trail in the 100-degree heat of summer. I can tell you about Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Metabolife, Herbalife, ephedra, the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, veganism, raw veganism, low-carb and zero-carb. I can tell you about "inspiration boards:" poster boards covered in pictures of thin women I cut out of magazines. I can tell you about my "diet journals," and the countless time I sat and did math for hours, figuring out how much I needed to eat and work out to be this many pounds by this particular date.

For the record: veganism made me fatter. Also: PETA sucks ass.

I can tell you about how when my husband calls me beautiful, I feel embarrassed. I can tell you that I am guilty of talking shit about people who are fatter than me, for the reprehensible and shameful and awful reason that it makes me feel better about myself, in a small and mean and horrible way.

But I think you get the idea. Since I was a young teenager, I have thought about how fat I am literally almost constantly.

That is not an exaggeration: literally almost constantly.

11. I have health anxiety. It's basically extreme hypochondria. And it has occurred to me just now, during this epiphany, in a "Eureka!" sort of way, that maybe one of the reasons I am afraid I'm going to die all the time is that TV and magazines and Pinterest and everything else are constantly telling me that since I'm fat, I could drop dead any minute.

Is that true? Actually, no. But it sure does sell shit. It sells shit, and it has ruined my brain.

I didn't know I was unhealthy until the people who sell shit convinced me I was.

12. You know what? I'm done. Maria Kang, good for you. But I'm done. What's my excuse? My excuse is I have tried all my life to look like you, and apparently it's not going to happen. Maybe it's because I'm not good enough, or I haven't tried hard enough or suffered enough.

Or maybe it's because everybody is different. There's a crazy thought! Could it be that not every human woman is supposed to look like Maria Kang?

13. Maybe I should eat well and exercise because it's healthy, not because I hate myself. In fact: maybe I can be healthy and even beautiful even if I never lose a single, solitary pound.

15. I have let my self-loathing stop me from doing so many things I wanted to do. I let it end my acting and comedy career before it began, because I didn't want to be "the fat girl." I was facing an industry in which women like Melissa McCarthy are seen as brave just for daring to be in a movie, because they are fat. In Hollywood, it is literally a coup for Melissa even to exist. I was too ashamed to face that.

But seriously: how cute and funny is she?

I am one-half of a sketch comedy duo, and the other half, my hetero lifemate, is thin and gorgeous. Again, I let shame stop me from pursuing that wholeheartedly. I decided I would rather be no one than be "the fat one."

Well, not anymore.

I am claiming, owning, and celebrating who I am and what I look like, right now, in this very moment. I am pledging to love myself exactly as I am.

16. I don't have a daughter, but I hope to one day. And I pledge, right now, to not do to her what my mother - out of her own pain and ignorance - did to me. She didn't mean to. I know that. And it wasn't just her. It was being abandoned by one of my parents. And it was the entire world. It was almost every commercial, almost every page in a magazine, or image on the TV screen. Even the well-meaning barrage of diet and exercise propaganda that is hurled at our faces every hour of every day by every branch of the media and every other pin on Pinterest - it all sends the same message:

You are not good enough. You look the way you do because you are lazy and gluttonous. You haven't tried hard enough yet. You will not be fulfilled and your life will not be happy until you look like this.

I may not be able to keep my future daughter from all of these messages, but I can sure as hell counter with the one I am now pledging to impart to myself, every day:

You are beautiful exactly as you are. You are good enough exactly as you are. You can be healthy exactly as you are. You can be happy exactly as you are.




I am more than a "before" photo, I am more than a "success story waiting to happen," and there is not a "thin person inside me trying to get out." There is just me. Take it or leave it.

I have decided to stop talking down to myself, stop hating on myself, and stop obsessing over every bite of food I take. I have spent at least 3/4 of my waking life thinking bad thoughts about my body, and friends, I. am. done.

I deserve better, and so do you. So join me in saying "enough" to a world that says we aren't.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm Calling Bullshit On Your Clown Phobia


It is my personal opinion that about 9 out of 10 people who claim to be afraid of clowns are totally full of shit.

This is just my opinion. Don't quote me your psychology textbook. There's some stuff the shrinks haven't gotten to yet. But one day my theory that 90% of clown phobics are not really phobic will be proven true, along with my theory that owning more than three cats is a sign of mental illness.

I'm sure some people have legitimate coulraphobia. (That's what it's called. Science.) But 9/10ths of you are saying you're afraid of clowns because you want attention for your adorable, quirky phobia.

"I'm afraid of clowns! Isn't that just kind of weird and cool? That I'm afraid of clowns?"

No. No, it's not.

Look, masks are inherently scary. I get it. In fact, "reputable" online knowledge source Wikipedia tells us:
According to a psychology professor at California State University, Northridge, young children are "very reactive to a familiar body type with an unfamiliar face".


Hell, yes, they are. But grown-up people know a clown is a person with makeup on. There is no reason to be afraid of that, and most people aren't. They just like saying they are.

Like I said, masks are creepy. Masks - and I'm counting heavy makeup as a mask - hide something. That's suspicious. But adults are capable of knowing a clown is a clown. You may find them vaguely off-putting, but you are not afraid of them. Stop saying you are.

John Wayne Gacy, I blame you for a lot of this.

Aw, I can't stay mad at you.
John Wayne Gacy is not scary because of his shitty clown makeup. He's scary because he murdered people and hid them in a crawl space.

A lot of people are fake coulraphobics because of the Gacy Effect. They point to extremely - often intentionally - evil-looking clowns (like the photos above, and of course, Pennywise from Stephen King's IT) as reasons to be afraid of clowns. Of course an evil clown is scary. It's scary because clowns are inherently innocent. They're there to fall on their butts and drop shit to make you laugh. When you give them bloody fangs and weird, smeary eyes and a hatchet, of course that's creepy.

Don't point to intentionally creepy clown makeup and say that's why clowns are scary. That's scary because it's meant to be scary, not because it's a clown.

My hetero lifemate, Melodee Lenz, was a clown for Ringling Brothers Circus. This is what she looked like in costume.


How adorable is that shit? Kids loved her. Now she works as a "clown doctor" in a children's hospital. She makes kids with serious and terminal illnesses happy. Virtually all of the children love their clown doctors, but of course some of the nurses and parents like to make comments about how they're "creeped out" by clowns, because that's quirky and adorable.

Whoever you are, you know deep down whether you are honestly afraid of clowns or making it up to seem interesting. Guess what? It's not interesting. It's tired. If you're truly afraid of clowns, you might even keep that a secret. Because it's a dumb thing to be afraid of. Flying? Okay. Planes go really high in the sky and occasionally crash to earth with the fire and the screaming. Snakes? Sure. They have big-ass fangs and sometimes they bite you and poison you and you die.

But clowns are people with makeup on. You're afraid of makeup. That's dumb. Try to get that shit fixed.

And if you're just pretending to be afraid of clowns, stop doing that. It's fucking stupid.

Chicken Soup For The Lazy, Good-Fer-Nuthin' Soul

 This is an actual recipe for chicken soup. Sort of. So if you're here looking for wisdom, you'll be disappointed. Probably.

Before you start, you should maybe get yourself into the state I am usually in: extreme physical boredom combined with mental exhaustion. It might help to look for a job for about a year and not find one. Feel really poor and worthless for several months. Have some not-that-serious-but-still-horrifying health issues during that time. It will help if you have a semi-crippling untreated anxiety disorder.



Start to wonder if your life will ever amount to anything. Become lazier than you've ever been in your life. Sort of hate yourself for it, but feel so much apathy and ennui that you can't bring yourself to do anything about it.

Done?

Great! Now you can begin!

Step 1: Go to Wal-Mart with your husband. Have the idea to make chicken soup as he's parking the truck, because it's easy and cheap. Ask him what goes in chicken soup, and put that shit in the cart. Also get a chicken. That part is important.

It may improve the quality and flavor of your chicken soup if you buy one of those fancy, cage-free, unvaccinated chickens that did Pilates every day and got weekly massages and learned philosophy from a Cambodian monk. Those chickens are about $1.50 more, so put it in the cart when your husband isn't looking because who wants to have that argument again.


This is a Google image search result for "philosophical chicken."

Step 2: Go home and watch "The Walking Dead" while eating leftover pork chops. (You may be one of those people who can't eat while watching zombies get their gelatinous heads stomped on. That would make you a big pussy.)

After the show's over, write an article and apply for some jobs. Then realize at about midnight that you should probably find a chicken soup recipe. Hit up Pinterest, and three minutes later decide you've found the winning recipe because it is quite possibly the easiest one you have ever seen.

Only slightly less easy than my husband's favorite recipe, "Place donuts on plate."

Step 3: Take your chicken out of the fridge. It will probably be wrapped in a little plastic chicken suit, unless you killed your own chicken out in the yard, in which case you go, girl. But you probably have a grocery store chicken, so take something sharp and pierce the plastic and make a grossed-out face as the grody chicken water pours out into the sink.

Someone thoughtfully placed the chicken's internal organs in a plastic bag and shoved them up its ass. Throw that shit away. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels inside and out for some reason, and put some sea salt and black pepper on that bitch.

I wasn't calling you a bitch, Pepper, calm down.

Step 4: Put the chicken in a slow cooker turned on low and cover it most of the way with water. Now take two cloves of garlic, pierce them with your sharp-ass fingernails so the garlic juice can get out, and throw them ho'z in there. Also same bay leaves, and maybe a spoonful of Better Than Broth, even though it's beef flavor, because meat is meat.

Step 5: Stay up until 5:00 in the morning. Not because you want to, but because you don't get enough exercise and your brain never calms down. Do some Internet and writing. Become convinced Satan himself invented Candy Crush Saga. Semi-watch two episodes of "30 Rock" and three episodes of "Frasier" while trying to reorganize the scenes in your novel, but give up because your right bottom eyelid is twitching from allergies or a brain tumor and every time it twitches your vision moves just the tiniest bit and you're about ready to poke your own eyeball out.

Go to bed at 4:52 a.m., and accidentally wake your husband up somehow, even though he's usually a deep sleeper, and listen to him make annoyed noises and get up to pee while you drift off to sleep.

Step 6: Wake up at 11:18 a.m. with dry eyes and mouth from the Zyrtec you took last night. Drink two glasses of water. Take your medicine. Now it's noon, and you're ready to do more shit with your soup.

So get a big-ass spoon and take the lid off your crock pot. The top of your chicken will probably still be above the water, and you'll think, "This doesn't look like chicken soup." Have faith, my child. Stir the chicken. It will fall completely to pieces, and you will now have a bubbling, delicious-smelling cauldron of shredded chickeny goodness.

This is a Google image search result for "chickeny goodness."

Step 7: Obtain a knife and chop your vegetables. Use the kind of vegetables you like. I don't know your life. I used three carrots, six celeries, one potato and half a big yellow onion. I chopped them into big pieces, because I am lazy, but I'm just going to call the soup Rustic, so it's fine.

If you wanna carb it up and make it a little thicker and heartier, add 1/2 cup of rice to that bad boy.

Now put in some spices. A word on spices: on my 24th birthday, a drunk chef was hitting on me at a bar, and he told me a little secret. The secret was: when you cook, just put all the spices in there. Just throw 'em all in. I didn't know if Drunk Horny Chef was joking or not, but I tried it, and I got excellent results.

My over-analytical mind won't let me throw all the spices in there, but I do throw a lot of spices in there. And it always works. Oh, and I also put in some grated fresh ginger. Because ginger is fuckin' delicious, y'all. And curry powder! It's the best.

I also added another spoonful of Better Than Broth. Because I go hard.

Step 8: Let your soup cook for another 6 to 8 hours. Then use some tongs or a spoon - or your hand, if you're Wolverine - to scoop out the bones. They'll be easy to find because everything else in the cooker is soft.

Now add some more sea salt to taste. It always needs more salt.

Then put it in a bowl and eat it. It will be thick and ricey, almost like a stew, and also chickeny and salty and hearty and hot and delicious. And while it took 18 to 20 hours to cook, almost all of that 18 to 20 hours was spent sleeping and watching TV. So it's the perfect soup for the lazy.

It's also cheap as hell. And makes a LOT of food so you won't have to cook again for a couple days.

You can go to the Nourished Kitchen website if you want and read the recipe that inspired my recipe, or you can just read mine below if, like me, the word "nourish" makes you want to punch yourself in the face.


UPDATE: After eating two giant bowls of this stuff, here are some things I should mention.

1. It is not really soup. It's more like... stuff. My husband and I can't figure out what to call it. Ghoulash? Stew? I put 3/4 cup of rice in mine, so if you want a more soupy soup, skip or cut back on the rice and corn starch. If you like your soup more like stuff than soup - which is to say, thick and hearty - stick to the recipe.

2. There are tiny bones all throughout this shit. It's kind of annoying, but worth it because it's so good. I wouldn't feed this to small children. But this is chicken soup for lazy people, so of course it has bones in it. If you want to be less lazy, debone the chicken first (sucker) or spend lots of money on boneless chicken (bigger sucker). You get the benefits of bone broth when you eat this, which is super good for you.

3. This is great for people with no teeth. It's soft and mushy.

Rustic Chicken Soup Stuff

Ingredients:

(Pretty much all the ingredients are optional, besides the chicken.)

1 whole chicken, philosophical or regular
1/2 c. rice
1 potato
6 ribs celery
3 carrots
1/2 yellow onion
1 tumor-size knob ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 spoonfuls Better Than Broth
1/2 tsp. corn starch
Salt, pepper, sage, curry powder, and other spices to taste

Directions:

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
Put the chicken, enough water to mostly cover the chicken, 1 spoonful of the broth, the bay leaves and garlic in your slow cooker.
Cook on low for 12 hours.
Stir and add remaining ingredients.
Cook on low 6-8 more hours.
Scoop out the bones.
Season to taste.
Eat.