A Conversation About White Privilege and Why it Exists

The title may be misleading because I’m neither an anthropologist nor a sociologist, so I actually have no real scientific or societal basis as to why White privilege began and why it’s still in existence. I have some pretty good ideas, but not founded enough to write an entire blog post about them — this is about how it DOES exist despite what some people may say.

First off, being a minority in America is a weird thing, especially belonging to the “elite” minority group, the one white people don’t really mind all that much except when it comes to penny pinching and a lack of understanding at nail salons. Have major strides been made since the beginning of American time? Absolutely. But why is it that not that long ago (less than a century, even) that it was illegal for me to marry a white man, to own land or a home, to even vote? Why were fellow Asians (the Japanese to be specific just in case you’ve been living under a rock and literally know nothing) forced into internment camps a mere 70 some years ago? Babies born in internment camps are still very much alive, which means it wasn’t long ago enough (of course it shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but it did, and nothing I can do or say will change that).

And to add to the confusion (for me and probably everyone else), I’m an international adoptee, which has garnered such comments as, “Well, you’re not a real Asian” or “So you’re basically White.” Have I said these things about myself? Totally. But there’s a difference between what a person can say about themselves and what other people can say, sorry if it bothers you and feels unjust. And I’m working on curbing comments like that anyhow so as to not add to the unfortunate race problem we have here in the old US of A. (And just as an aside, I recognize there are some major race issues in other countries, but I don’t live in those countries, probably you don’t either, and that doesn’t really affect how America acts. If it does, it most certainly shouldn’t — “Well, as long as there’s a group of people more racist, then we’re fine.”) But back to the issue at hand — I am most certainly a real Asian (my facial features prove that quite readily), and I’m not basically White since I am, last time I checked, full Asian. Also I’m not basic at all *snaps*. It would appropriate to say, under these circumstances, “Well, you’re ethnically Asian but culturally American, which is a predominately White culture even though White people can’t seem to get enough of Taco Tuesdays.”

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If you’re a White person reading this, fuming and foaming at the mouth that I am declaring that White privilege exists, well … sorry, but I don’t make the rules. Does it appear that White people in America have some unearned social advantages because of the color of their skin? Absolutely. Does it mean I expect all White people to sit around feeling bad about themselves because of the color of their skin? No. That would be racist. (And just to clear things up, we all say or do racist things from time to time, and those instances do not make us Racists. They make us humans who say and do dumb crap. When a minority says to you (should you be White), “That’s kind of racist,” don’t get all up in arms about it. Accept the feedback and reevaluate what you’ve done and then probably stop that particular behavior. Recently I got into a rather heated argument with someone over Facebook (which I most certainly did NOT want, by the way — I hate Facebook arguments quite thoroughly and don’t ever go to other peoples’ pages to disagree with them, even if I feel confident I can be diplomatic about it) in regards to whether “South Pacific” is racist. First of all, it totally 100% is, and I don’t give a hoot about in what decade it was written or what the original intent was. People are unintentionally racist all the time, and that doesn’t make it any less offensive. It just makes it steeped in ignorance. Plus, things age out. Let’s all agree to retire “South Pacific” because it’s 2016 and no one should be producing it anyhow. And rather unfortunately, the White person with whom I was trying to discuss the matter did NOT take my feedback well and then downgraded my distaste for racism to mere offense. I wish a more productive conversation could have ensued from the whole thing and that the other person could have begun to understand that when two Asian people are saying, “This thing is racist against Asians,” it very well may be. For a much better explanation of the ultimately too negative connotations to the words racist and racism, plus several good ways White people can overcome their White fragility (y’all are SUPER fragile) and occasionally swallow that uncomfortable pill of being wrong, check out this post here.)

“But what about reverse discrimination? White men can’t get anything these days because of all the benefits the minorities are getting.” HAHAHAHAHAHA shut up and go away, first off. No one wants to hear about how hard it is to be a White man in America. But that does bring me to my next point about The Problem with Affirmative Action, and Why it Needs to Go Away. It’s been proven time and time again that the government probably needs to stop making sweeping generalizations about groups of people and offering handouts to those they consider less fortunate — there’s actually very little that bothers me more than White altruism (I’m looking straight at you, Brangelina).

Story time. When I was in college, one of the organizations held Affirmative Action Day in the student union, where they sold food at different costs depending upon the buyer’s ethnicity. Spoiler alert: that didn’t go over well and no one thought it was a good idea. I mean, I guess it was cool that for just some pocket change I could buy a burger (or was it candy? Too old, can’t remember), and I think at the time I took part in it just because it was so cheap (cheaper for Black students, cheapest for Native Americans, which … the offensiveness runs deep with that one, kids.) Here’s my beef with Affirmative Action: it was created by White people, for starters, and appears to be a handout to POC (people of color) because apparently we can’t achieve anything without the assistance of our White superiors. Is it reverse discrimination, however? Absolutely not. It is, unfortunately, hiring employees or accepting college students for all the wrong reasons. Accept Black students into your student body because of their GPA, their motivation, their drive, their extracurriculars — not because you have a percentage you need to fulfill to appear diverse. They’re out there, they exist, and they don’t need your help. We don’t need your help. But ultimately till that goes away, when someone says, “I want you because of the color of your skin,” that is not in any way similar to, “I do not want you because you are White.”

I don’t think the answer is abolishing the notion that race exists at all. I’ve heard that argument, and it just ultimately sounds like something a White person would say. I’m proud to be Asian, to be a little different from other people, to have unique traits that no one else can have. I think there are dozens and dozens of cultures that shouldn’t be downgraded in the name of fighting racism under the guise of “But we’re all humans.” I DO think we need to open up the conversation about White privilege, what White people can do about it, how they can take responsibility for it, how they can learn valuable lessons from POC. And I think POC need to recognize that the majority of White people are inherently good, that they have good intentions, and that there’s a lot they (and we) don’t know. When someone says something racist, don’t be rude about it. Let it be a learning experience, and if they react negatively to that feedback, don’t engage in argument. You’ve offered up knowledge, and what they do with it is up to them. I’ve been told almost my entire marriage that the key to success is good communication, and that translates VERY well to all interpersonal relationships. When you take the time to listen and understand, that’s when growth occurs. That’s how we get rid of the race problem in America.

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A Bit of Turbulence

I know what you’re thinking — based off my latest posts and Instagram “Mary Talks,” this is probably going to be all about overcoming the hurdles of my many mental illnesses, about therapy and big pharma and ENDURING TO THE END.

But it’s not. It’s about the time I was on a plane and had to pee the worst I’ve ever had to pee (that’s probably an exaggeration).

Husband and I recently took a little jaunt to Boston for a vocal competition (which I was promptly cut from in round two, so we spent the remainder of our time as tourists, which was WAY better). Because we brilliantly decided to take a red-eye the morning of my competition (and no, I don’t attribute that to why I was cut), that meant I’d need to be as hydrated as possible all night long, that morning, and till the actual competition. There would be no shriveled up skin or vocal chords that day.

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Photo found here

The problem with drinking an entire large water bottle while waiting to board your plane is that you aren’t really given the opportunity to sweat it out, so you’re left with a bladder that magically re-fills itself almost immediately after bathroom usage. And despite using the restroom RIGHT BEFORE stepping onto the plane, I had to go upon being seated.

To avoid using public restrooms as much as possible, I have a tendency to tell myself to hold it.

So we waited while the remaining passengers boarded the plane (which was everyone, btw), whereupon everyone slapped on the eye masks the airline handed out and promptly fell asleep, including (but not limited to) my husband (center seat) and The Woman (aisle seat). Of course I took the window seat because the window seat is the best, most desirable. This is not actually the case when you suddenly have a pregnant woman’s bladder.

I was then left with a dilemma. Do I attempt to hold it for the next six hours or do I climb over husband and The Woman, waking them up, and step into what I can only imagine is one of the most under-cleaned bathrooms ever? Initially, holding it felt like the best option.

But then we hit turbulence. And it wasn’t the sort of turbulence that felt a wee bit bumpy. It was the sort of turbulence that shook the plane, made you think you were actually on a terrible amusement park ride that was going to result in dozens of bloody deaths, and actually forced your bladder to do flip flops in your body. I thought, “I’ll be fine. Deep breaths, and this too shall pass.” But then it didn’t pass. It continued FOR LIKE AN ENTIRE HOUR.

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Photo found here

Of course, during this time, the flight crew kept reminding us the seatbelt light was on and we weren’t supposed to get out of our seats for our safety blah blah blah, and not even the flight attendants were responding to calls unless they were dire emergency, which to be honest, I considered mine to be, but probably no one else would have agreed. So I was stuck, for an hour, in the window seat, with a bladder that was filling up by the second (I hit a point where I felt like I had water sitting in my esophagus that couldn’t go anywhere).

It was too much. I waited for the turbulence to downgrade itself to the Dumbo ride at Disneyland and stood up, climbed over husband, and then … deep breath … climbed ever so gently over the Woman who had somehow slept through everything that had just happened. I envisioned her suddenly waking up, my derriere in her face as I was straddling her to get into the aisle. Lawsuits. Court appearances. I was wondering why I thought I should go to Boston in the first place.

The flight attendant was quick to remind me that the seatbelt sign was still on and that we had been asked by the flight crew to not leave our seats, but I hastily announced that I had to pee REAL BAD and used words like EMERGENCY and jumped into the lavatory.

You know that scene in “A League of Their Own” in which Tom Hanks pees for what feels like an abnormally long period of time? That was me, you guys. I kind of hoped I’d open the door and one of the flight attendants or another passenger would say to me, impressed, “Good peein'”, but it didn’t happen. No one was impressed, no one said anything, and I had to climb back over The Woman and husband to my empty window seat with nary a compliment.

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Photo found here

Incidentally, I became remarkably dehydrated on our second day, to the point that I felt as though I might pass out or die, with a headache that somehow went down my back and throbbed with each heartbeat because I cannot win.

To the LGBT Community: I’m Sorry My Friends are Bigots

When I was a little girl and a volunteer at my mom’s library (I mean, she didn’t own it, but she worked there), I wasn’t allowed to use the public restrooms. It wasn’t even an unspoken thing — kid volunteers were supposed to use the staff restrooms (which required a key code) because, and I wish I were kidding about this, they had an issue with heterosexual male predators who liked to hide in the women’s restroom to watch women use the toilet.

It took me years, honestly, to feel comfortable using a public restroom because of this.

Those are the only individuals who cause me major concern when it comes to the usage of public restrooms. First of all, they’re not even there to pee — they’re there to peep — and despite there not being an actual set of rules of what you can and can’t do inside a restroom (middle school and high school aged girls will prove this because it’s rare they ever actually go instead of take selfies), that’s totally and completely wrong. I think this is something that everyone, Peeping Toms aside, can agree upon. Bathrooms aren’t meant for snooping.

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I have absolutely no concern over individuals who are using the restroom to empty their bladders. I’m a woman. In every restroom I enter that houses more than one toilet, there are stalls, which are as close to privacy as we’re going to get except for those extremely uncomfortable moments when we accidentally make eye contact and one of us sacrifices our own lives by flushing herself down the toilet because it’s just too mortifying. So to be perfectly honest, if a well-meaning man were to enter the restroom to pee while I peed because for some reason the men’s restroom were simply unavailable to him, I wouldn’t mind. If he tried to peek over the top, then we’d have a real problem. But then we get back to the whole issue of him being there for all the wrong reasons.

And sorry to get all anatomical on you, but if a trans male enters the men’s restroom (which is the way it should be), then either he has the plumbing and will use a urinal LIKE EVERY OTHER MALE or he doesn’t and will use a stall CREATING A CERTAIN DEGREE OF FALSE PRIVACY. So I see no problems there either. I’m not a man, but seriously it shouldn’t be a big deal.

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So let’s not talk about my sanctity or safety any longer. Frankly, I don’t need or want you to because I am definitely able to deal with life on my own. This “sanctity” is just a fancy, religious way to cover up what’s really going on — a high level of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, sexism, and transphobia that shouldn’t exist, especially in 2016, especially when we should all agree that human rights apply to everyone who’s a human.

And for the record, since it’s not resonating with so many of my acquaintances when an LGBT person says it, perhaps it will because I am a straight, religious woman: homosexual people, queer people, those who are gender binary, and the transgender are not somehow more apt to commit heinous sexual crimes than heterosexuals. In fact, statistically speaking, they commit significantly less. When a man says, “I believe I should be a woman” and then goes through all the emotional and physical pain of transitioning, far be it from me to then tell her she can’t use my restroom because I don’t understand how that feels. And it is INCREDIBLY unspeakable that I (or anyone else on this planet, especially other Christians) should ever imply that she is a criminal when really she is just about as incontinent as the rest of us.

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Photo found here

You’ve already shared the restroom with a trans person and lived to tell the tale (I’ve shared the women’s restroom with PLENTY of boys who were there with their mothers, who crawled around under the stalls and decided to hang out in mine, which was far more alarming than the possibility of a transitioning/transitioned woman being next to me, washing her hands). We closed the door on segregated bathrooms already in American history, and I don’t think we need to open it ever again.

On Having Depression

If you’re interested in reading all about OCD, check out this post here. I was going to follow it up with Things You Don’t Know About Depression, but I’ve come to realize that there are still things I’m learning about it, so probably I shouldn’t be writing some blog post like I’m the boss of the depressed. And if you suffer from Post-Partum Depression (for which I am very sorry, and please know that there are a lot of people in your corner, even though right now it may not feel like it), check out this awesome post by my good friend, Julie.

In looking back over the annals of my life, there are specific events that catapulted me into the throes of depression, but we didn’t really know that’s what it was at the time. My best friend moving when we were five. Middle school. Watching one of our cats die because we knew it was coming and Mom and Dad had to go to work. Most of the time, it was reasonable to feel sad because what I was experiencing were sad things, but I realize now that what I was actually feeling was clinical depression, one of my many mental illnesses that started taking root and growing every time I felt blue.

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The reason I’m less knowledgeable about depression is chiefly because when you suffer from OCD, you don’t get much time to focus on anything else. My morning routine (aka compulsions) takes about an hour before I get out of bed (my anxiety piquing in such a way I never knew was possible because the entire time I’ve got to pee, but peeing isn’t in the equation. I’m working on including it to lower my anxiety, but we’re not really there yet). And with OCD comes additional anxiety (I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a panic disorder, but both are difficult to navigate because of, you know, the OCD). The depression became quickly and easily backburnered because I’m just so anxious all. of. the. time.

It’s all getting better. It is. I’ve worked out for a solid 30 days now (I don’t work out on Sundays and I missed two days, one due to a back injury and one due to a medical procedure that knocked me out for an entire day), and aside from the anxiety that accompanies OCD, I haven’t felt like scratching all my skin off because I can’t handle life (that’s not really a thing with me. I don’t actually feel like scratching all my skin off, but that’s the best description I can give for general anxiety that goes with you everywhere), and my depression has left the building. For now at least. My mother and I were discussing this today after lunch (at Chuck-a-Rama), and we both agreed that even if I were to never lose any weight or inches or fit into my “skinny clothes” ever again, all this exercise would still be entirely worth it because of my mental well-being. I eat, exercise, study, work, and socialize all for my mental well-being these days, and it’s been pretty great.

But having mental illness means I can’t just be cured of it — that one day I’ll wake up and that will be the end of all the anxiety and depression. It means that, despite all my best efforts, one day, sooner or later, brought on by something or entirely out of left field, I will wake up and be physically unable to get out of bed. Prior to my regular exercise (and prescription meds and therapist and Vitamin D supplements), my depression would attack me at least once a week and would last anywhere from several hours to a couple of months (depending upon any chemical imbalances, the weather, how much my job was killing my will to live, etc.). Mental illness attacks your mind, your soul, and even your body (depression, I have found, is incredibly painful, so oftentimes I stay in bed because it hurts to get up and work around my home).

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When you say, “I have anxiety,” a lot of people respond with, “I feel you.” And perhaps they do because they also suffer from anxiety, or perhaps they’re exacerbating their actual life experiences and know what it’s like to be temporarily stressed out, but either way, you receive a lot more empathy than you do when you say, “I have depression.” I’m not quite sure why that is — perhaps it’s because depression feels more vulnerable than anxiety or maybe it’s because anxiety is far more common — but I think that’s what inherently makes depression even more difficult to withstand. You don’t just feel like no one gets you — in fact, no one gets you, and what is already an isolated medical problem becomes even more isolated.

I get it. Not wanting to exist isn’t a feeling many people have experienced to the degree of the depressed, and it’s not the same thing as being suicidal, so it’s just confusing and weird. It looks like laziness, it sounds like an excuse. And while I am on occasion quite lazy and have a bag full of excuses, ready to utilize at any given moment I don’t want to do something, depression doesn’t fall into either category, and it’s offensive to imply that it does.

Why am I writing about this now? Because I’m genuinely scared that tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that, I’ll wake up from this blissful depression-free life and hurt from the inside of my brain to the soles of my feet. And when that day comes, I’m going to need some understanding because I fear it’s going to be even harder than it was the last time.

Let’s Talk About Female Empowerment (just for a second)

I want to make something really clear. Just because you say you’ve done something liberating, empowering, feminist, strong, etc. et cetera doesn’t actually mean it’s true. I could spend every waking minute telling people I’m actually Caucasian with very delicate Asian-like features, but that still won’t stop the fact that I am, at my very core, Asian. I could persecute someone in the name of religion — NAY, IN THE NAME OF GOD — and it still wouldn’t be what God wanted. (And I shouldn’t have to put this here, but I will absolutely never persecute anyone ever for any reason.)

I’m not going to get on this whole tirade about modesty — I’m LDS, which means I practice modesty in my appearance, but I also recognize very fully that modest is most certainly NOT hottest. And not everyone subscribes to the same belief system I do, nor do they agree with my personal views on modesty and why one practices it, so I’m not going to try and change any minds here in this blog post.

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But let me be really clear — I feel quite empowered about my body in what I consider a healthy way, and I don’t feel any sort of need to flaunt it (and this isn’t a self-consciousness thing, although I’m softer in certain areas than I’d personally like to be). It’s probably 25% modesty and 75% understanding what empowerment actually means. [By definition, empower is to “make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.”] So what exactly is it that I need to do to feel empowered?

  • Well, first off, I don’t use the word lightly. It’s taken us decades, centuries, heck even millennia to get the power we have (and we still have a long long way to go). Not everything I do in my everyday life is a move in the name of empowerment. Sometimes I just, like, enjoy binge-watching Netflix or whatever. And I certainly do it because I can, but … let’s not quantify things that don’t actually deserve quantification.
  • I have a very clear idea of the sort of woman I’d like to be. I am not particularly close to being her (and I daresay it will take me the rest of my life to get closer), but I know who I’d like to become as the years go by. Understanding that gets easier the older you get.
  • I feel very confident with the body that I have, and I don’t give it too much power. I realize that I’ve been bestowed with certain parts that make me more feminine than a man, and that for whatever reason those parts can be quite powerful to them (fat sacks, guys. They’re fat sacks, and they come and go and spend the majority of our lives being saggy, so get over them already.), so I’m not going to take that for granted. But I also have hair where I don’t want it like everyone else, skin covering my entirety like everyone else except for Harvey Dent, facial features like 99% of everyone else, and fingernails that grow at an alarmingly fast rate like some other people who may read this and think oh my gosh she GETS it. What I’m trying to say is that it’s just a body. I was born with it like everyone else, and we really shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about oversexualizing it because that leads to all sorts of issues in the long run.
  • I vote, and I make sure to never vote against myself or my basic human rights. This should be pretty self-explanatory.
  • I give very little thought about other women’s bodies — someone else’s appearance should ultimately not matter to any of us at all ever. We all make certain decisions in the morning that we think make us beautiful, and who’s to say we’re wrong? (And I know, I know, there are all those Buzzfeed articles about the worst makeup in the world, and that truly stumps me because it’s pretty awful. But also that’s an aberration and most women don’t look like that on a regular basis.)
  • I don’t spend my time concerned with looking like anyone famous. Do you even know what it takes to look like a famous person? Nutritionists, dietitians, personal chefs, personal trainers, photographers, makeup artists, hair stylists, lighting … coordinators (I don’t even know what to call them), lavish homes styled by interior decorators, wardrobes upon wardrobes upon wardrobes. Unless I somehow stumble into a life that is identical to that (Dear God, it is my humble prayer that I never stumble into a life that is identical to that. Amen.), I might as well stop trying now. I’m not caving, I’m being realistic. Also, I don’t want anyone telling me how to eat. I will eat however I want thankyouverymuch.
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Photo found here 

Sometimes we need to call certain things as they are. Posing topless in front of a mirror with your bestie (who may not even be your bestie in the real life), giving the world the finger (which is actually so apropos when you think about it) isn’t actually empowerment. It could be labeled a lot of things, but empowering or feminist or liberating aren’t it.

The Epiphany

I’ve spent a lot of time on Instagram sharing my personal thoughts on mental illness, eating disorders, and happiness but haven’t ventured much to my blog. I assume people would rather read a long-ish photo caption than an entire blog, and most of what I want to say fits within Instagram’s constraints (though I’ve had many posts in which I had to edit stuff out because I extrapolated too long).

If you’re new to this blog, welcome — I don’t write in it too often, but because of that my posts hold more meaning than they used to. I am an LDS Korean-American adoptee, married (with three furbabies), with OCD, depression, anxiety, and binge eating disorder.

I’m a real riot.

After a very difficult 2015 (mentally speaking — a lot of great stuff happened, so I can’t say the entire year was a bust because it wasn’t) and start to 2016, I decided one day I needed to make some life changes. I was already seeing a psychologist, I was on new medication, and I was working on mindful eating (which is much harder than it sounds and thusly very difficult to maintain), but the lows I experienced were still so low. I forgot to take my Vitamin D (I still do — I’m going to put the bottle in the bathroom with my other medications right now. Give me a second.), I’d wake up with extreme anxiety and difficulty breathing, my irritability could go from 0 to 60 in a second. And although I found some answers in a rather fascinating article/study on the correlation between mental illness and high altitude living, I wasn’t willing to throw in the towel and say, “Well, this is just how it’s going to be while I reside in Utah.” I couldn’t possibly.

I’m going to touch on a few things as quickly as I can to avoid turning this post into a tirade. I know that some people will read this and understand or support my thoughts and others will read it and become defensive because ultimately they’re reading about their own lives and they don’t want to admit it. And, as I’ve experienced as an educated, certified professional makeup artist — life experience, education, knowledge simply don’t matter to some people. The information you have to share does not apply to them, it can’t possibly be correct, they want it to be wrong. But I’m going to say this: as an adult woman who’s suffered from an eating disorder for at least 14 years, I have just come to KNOW certain truths. Feeling guilty when you eat is one of the most mentally damaging things you can do to yourself. Recently, it was Easter, which meant candy and large meals for a lot of people, which then meant concern over how much we all ate. And not to sound callous, but I legitimately do not care how many Cadbury mini eggs you’ve consumed since they hit stores. Eat them, love them, enjoy the fact that they’re here because they’re going to disappear for another 10 months, and then don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t EVER guilt yourself post-eating, no matter what you’ve eaten, how much of it, etc. Mindful eating means you’re listening to your body and its cues — “How full am I now? Do I feel satisfied?” — and it leaves out the self-deprecating hatred of, “I’ve failed. I messed up. My diet is over. I can’t ever succeed. Might as well give up now.” You eat for health, both physical and mental, which means if you want a cookie, you should eat the cookie. Mentally, you’ll feel better, and by allowing yourself to enjoy it, you won’t binge later. And trust me, I know all about bingeing. Being more mindful often leads to making better choices in the long run, so be mindful rather than guilt-ridden. (I just ate an entire box of Annie’s organic mac & cheese singlehandedly. No regrets.)

So one Friday a couple weeks back, I got home from the chiropractor and told my husband we were going to the gym to exercise. It was the one big factor missing from my life because no one likes working out, it’s germy, it makes you sweat, it requires you to interact with other sweaty, germy people. (And I know I could technically work out at home, but that’s like taking an online course. It’s going to be sorely neglected.) We hated every second of it, and then we did it the next day. And then we did it that Monday, and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and finally Saturday. And then we woke up the following Monday (aka yesterday) and did it again.

Sometime late last week, I started to notice that my workouts were growing in their intensity, without my even really thinking about it or meaning to. It made me feel better, mentally and physically, and I wanted to experience more of that natural high. And then Monday, aka yesterday, I hit my epiphany: I wanted to go back, despite already working out in the morning. (I didn’t because it genuinely was not reasonable to spend much of my time in the gym rather than home with my family, and I’m not training for anything. I didn’t feel guilt not going back because that’s not the point.) I finally realized and understood how much exercise is for your mental health as much as physical.

Well, this was huge for me. I’d spent so much of my life working out begrudgingly because I was doing all the things I THOUGHT I should at the gym that I forgot to make it enjoyable. This time is different: I almost never run (and if I do, it’s for very brief spurts at a time), I take breaks during the classes and don’t care if other people see it because sometimes I genuinely can’t do what the teacher is asking and injury isn’t on the menu, and I spend a lot more time in the weight room actually knowing what I’m doing and why because my husband has educated me on it. This doesn’t meant that some mornings I don’t wake up and think, “But bed is so much better” or “I don’t really have time for this,” because I absolutely do, but I do it anyhow. I’ve yet to regret the decision.

So. I sleep better (sort of — insomnia can only be cured by so many things, but an effective workout does make me pretty tired), I eat better (this is two part — I don’t rationalize that I can eat everything in sight because I’m working out, but I also eat ice cream and candy and don’t feel bad about it, partially because I know that gymming it up every day counteracts much of it), I feel better.

I guess what it boils down to is that I’m not exercising to lose weight. I’m exercising to have a healthier mind. And that’s a lot more motivating than anything else.

Viral Things Become Obsolete

A friend recently reposted that old video of Beyonce dancing to The Chicken Dance Song — an incredible mashup that works well on so many levels, I could probably expound upon that for the remainder of this blog post. That video, once viral (viewed over 1 million times on YouTube alone, which doesn’t include all the clicks generated from Facebook or other social media (it’s probably been viewed a billion times on Instagram if for no other reason than videos automatically load as you’re scrolling, and then of course you have to watch that video six times in a row).

[As a completely unrelated side note: I’m watching a movie that just used the phrase “jot and tittle,” and I think we all need to use that more frequently in our everyday conversations.]

Anyhow, I got to thinking about this funny Beyonce Chicken Dance video and how I only think about it when I’ve recently viewed it or discussed it (which is usually only prompted by my viewing it). How this once very viral video became — sort of — obsolete. In fact, this could be said about nearly every viral video that’s hit social media in the last few years; I’m sure we’re not thinking about them particularly often, although our memories are jogged when they’re reposted and we’re reminded of their existence.

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Image from YouTube.com

And that got me thinking about He Who Shall Not Be Named (no, not the actual one — the other one who’s running for president, whose name will never be uttered on my blog because I do not want to give him the satisfaction that I’ve assisted in his notoriety). In the past several months, I’ve seen nothing but bad press about him, and nearly every single one of my Facebook friends has uttered his name in the same breath as “is terrible” “is racist/sexist/too conservative/evil” “shouldn’t be president”, etc. And his name becomes more and more viral by the second — every single time someone mentions his name, even in passing, his notoriety soars. He’s the virus we didn’t see coming.

I’m going to go ahead and say it right now: if he does, in fact, become president, (which I do not believe is statistically possible because the assumption is that literally every voter who does not vote for, say, Rubio or Cruz will vote for him and that literally every voter who does not vote for, I’m going to say Clinton because Sanders doesn’t stand a chance after the Primaries, will vote for him as well. Because of write-ins and the Independent party, I don’t see that happening. I mean, maybe it might, but it seems highly improbable.)  well, I BLAME YOU ALL. At this point, the people who vehemently spew forth his name with the same vitriol as they do towards Hitler or other evil dictators will be entirely to blame for his rise to success. I suppose I associate myself with only others with the same level of intellect as myself (or similar), but these large factions of supporters do not exist in my world, and I imagine Super Tuesday’s wins were primarily due to his name trending so much. I mean, there’s entirely the possibility that people voted for him because they just wanted to troll us.

We’re treating this presidential election like a reality TV show. We’re watching it, with bated breath, waiting to phone in or for someone to get their rose, and we’ve forgotten the chief purpose of a presidential election is to actually elect an electable official and place him/her in a rather important office. He’s bigger than the Kardashians (which I am certain irritates Kris Jenner to no end because no one should be bigger than them). (And again, might I remind all of you who despise the Kardashians’ rise to incredible fame, that is also your fault because you were talking about them more than, say, Jersey Shore or Lindsay Lohan, just enough to help them become a household name so even our grandparents somehow know who these people are, despite their not actually doing anything significant for society.)

We love to complain. It’s a lot more fun than talking about stuff we love (for a lot of people. Certainly not my mother.) because we get to whine and say awful things and know that our friends all agree with us entirely, and it’s great because we all hate it. Being more vulnerable and having real talk moments make us uncomfortable, so we head right back into the world of E! and TMZ because it’s safe. The problem with enough people complaining about the same thing is that it almost always does NOT lead to the end result of said thing disappearing. Because, you know, we’re talking about it. It can’t disappear if it’s still relevant.

And I think we also find immense fear in negative press — heaven forbid other people say they don’t like us for whatever reason (and seriously, it’s ok if other people don’t like you — admit it, you don’t like everyone with whom you’ve come in contact either). That’s the worst thing that could ever happen, right?

Wrong.

The worst thing that could happen is that we leave no legacy. That at the end of the day, no one actually cares about us at all. I don’t need a lot of friends — less than 10 suits me fine — but if I hit a point in my life when no one cared for me (that would take both of my parents and my husband being dead, but let’s pretend for the time being that it wouldn’t because of course that would be awful in its own right), I’d be steeped in some pretty intense depression. We want to be loved and valued, of course, but mostly we want to be heard. We need a witness.

Of course, I could say this over and over again till my face turned blue, and it wouldn’t stop anyone from assisting in his continuous rise to becoming the most powerful man on earth (and I don’t just mean that in a presidential way — seriously, he’s consumed our lives, so he honestly IS the most powerful human I can think of right now. I can’t think of anyone else because my brain is simply filled with his name and stupid face.). I wish it would. I wish we could declare tomorrow an indefinite holiday to never speak of him again, and I assure you it wouldn’t take very long before he got cataloged away with “BEST REACTION EVER!”, “Cat Gets Caught Stealing!”, and “Johanna Channeling Arethra Franklin!” Did you know there are kids these days who have no clue who N Sync is? Didn’t even know it ever existed, that Justin Timberlake’s origins are more embarrassing than they could ever know? Imagine a world where those same kids also didn’t know about … well, you know. That guy.

I’ve posted about him twice on Facebook, both times fraught with embarrassment and shame and in one, attempting to avoid name usage so he wouldn’t know I was one of the millions who talk about him more than Jesus. It was two times too many, but in my defense, the second was about this whole issue right here.

We have, as a collective worldwide group of individuals, all of the power to make someone or something disappear. We just do (sorry, Andrew Keegan). So why aren’t we using that power yet?