Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm So Hungry!

As you know, C and I are both making an effort to lose weight and get into better shape. I don’t know if I mentioned that we’re doing the P90X workout. I’m a little squeamish to admit it because now it’s so closely associated with the ultra-repulsive Paul Ryan, but whatever, it works. So far. We’ve done 3 weeks out of 3 months and I’m much stronger, though my legs are very tired all the time.

And we’re dieting, which just means eating much less and not eating a lot of stuff that I love to eat (cheese, dessert, pasta, bread, lunch). Not that we were such terrible eaters before; in fact, we ate very healthy meals, which is why it pisses me off that we have to so radically alter our diet just to lose a few pounds. In fact, this last week I had to cut our intake in half again to practically nothing because we both sort of plateaued after losing steadily the first 2 weeks. Seriously, we’re exercising hard for an hour every day, eating next to nothing, and it’s still difficult just to get back to feeling comfortable in my 34 pants?

I’ve been wondering (of course) since we started doing this, how it ends up. I know I’m not willing to keep up this austerity plan the rest of my life. The workout is 3 months long, after which I don’t suppose we’ll just stop exercising, but I know we won’t do anything as intense as we’re doing now. My parents are in their 70s and they ride their bikes and walk a lot. They inspire me. And we live in New York where we walk a lot by necessity. But, one, I won’t give up food I love for long (I’m a firm believer in the health benefits of pleasure), and, two, walking a few miles a day isn’t enough to keep my weight down. As soon as I go back to eating a normal amount of food (not excessive, just normal) and not doing a crazy workout every day, my weight will creep back up. It just will.

Is there a point at which is doesn’t matter to me that I’m big around the waist? It doesn’t seem to matter to C, and to be honest, his extra few pounds don’t matter to me, but somehow we worry about our own bodies.

Is it like when I grew my hair long after Jay and I separated. I had worn it long in high school and then again in the 80s, but I wore it short the whole time we were doing Y’all. I felt like I wanted to have it long once more before I died, once more while I could still pull it off, and then I’d be happy with it short. So I grew it practically down to my waist for a few years but then cut it off when I moved to Texas because it was just too damn hot for long hair.

So I'm wondering if maybe I just want to be thin once more in my life and then I’ll be okay getting old and fat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Don't Jump.

Either my alarm did not go off this morning or it went off but didn’t wake me up because I had earplugs in because C was snoring or it went off and woke me up and I turned it off and went back to sleep and don’t remember doing that. Regardless, I woke up at 5:48. Even when I get up at 5, those 2 morning hours (I have to be in the shower by 7 or I won’t get out the door in time, about 7:40, to catch the train that will get me to work a few minutes before 9) feel way too short to get any serious writing done because it takes me about an hour to clear the fog enough to see what’s in my brain and try to get it onto the page in front of me.

So instead of writing I’m blogging, which is writing, yes, but it’s not writing.

Years ago, a friend was studying to become a life coach and needed guinea pigs to practice on so I volunteered. This was during the year that I lived in Jersey City after Jay and I separated and I began editing Life in a Box. One piece of advice she gave me – because I’ve always had such a hard time integrating all the exigencies of life (making a living, mostly, but also things like being a good friend and partner) was to read biographies of successful artists I admire to see how they did it.

It was good advice and I’ve learned lots of things that have helped me manage the dilemma, but, maybe because I have a tendency to dwell on the negative, off the top of my head I can’t think of any. What occurs to me recently is that the danger with this advice is that so many of these stories don’t end well. The first two I read were Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote.

This is on my mind because I just finished reading The Broken Tower, a biography of Hart Crane. I barely knew who he was before I read it, but I was interested in gay life in the early 20th century. Crane struggled for years to make a living and make work and then at 32 -- even after being widely recognized as one of the greatest living poets -- broke and practically homeless, he jumped off a ship into the ocean and drowned.

And yesterday I started reading Spaulding Gray’s journals. One book was not connected to the other. I was interested in Crane’s life because of the milieu and Gray’s life because the piece I’m working on is similar in style of presentation to his work. I just have a stack of books here because I buy them faster than I can read them, and these two happened to be next to each other in the stack. 

I knew this but had forgotten: Spaulding Gray also jumped off a boat after undeniable artistic success and recognition. Great. (The other strange parallel is that both Crane’s and Gray’s mothers were Christian Scientists.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

California Ban on "Conversion Therapy" Is Not About Consumer Protection.

Why is it every time a minority makes some small progress toward getting the rest of everybody to get off their fucking backs and let them live their lives, some straight person or white person or male person jumps up and says, "What about me?" I get bullied too! Everybody gets bullied, and what about reverse discrimination, and what about my religious liberties? Why do you get special treatment?!

This guy thinks "conversion therapy" is being unfairly singled out by California's new ban. I guess it's not a new idea that the most interesting characteristic of privilege is that it works whether or not you recognize that you have it:

"Whether government banning of such procedures is the most appropriate response is worth debating, however. There are a number of therapies out there which have been empirically demonstrated to range from useless to outright harmful."

Um, it's not banned because it's useless or even just because it's harmful, it's banned because it is by design used to harm a group of people for who they are. You can't compare it to "rebirthing" therapy, etc., except to say that both are based on quack science. But we're not talking about consumer protection here. We're talking about protecting kids. The author barely mentions the fact that the California ban only applies to people under 18. It is not meant to protect us from quacks; it's meant to keep kids safe from their Christian fundamentalist parents. Rebirthing therapy is a wrong (ineffective, harmful, fake) solution to what could be a real problem. Conversion therapy is also ineffective, harmful, and fake, but the patient doesn't have the problem - the parents, the families, the church people, the culture has the problem.

Not that I don't feel for adults whose experience of their sexuality is so twisted by shame that they would enroll in one of these programs, but it's kids who are most vulnerable to the abuses of religious fundamentalism. The law protects minors from parents who have such deep contempt for their children that they would imprison and shame them in an effort to transform them into something they deem lovable.

Of course it doesn't work - you can't make gay people not gay. The most you can hope for is to fuck them up emotionally and psychologically for the rest of their lives.

Just because banning conversion therapy might "drive it underground" isn't an excuse to tolerate it. Should we legalize wife-beating because making it illegal forces people to do it at home and not talk about it? Obviously, people are compelled to treat each other in all sorts of horrific ways, and they'll continue regardless of whether it's legal or not, but that doesn't mean a society should just throw up its hands.

Cross-posted at