Shaming the Fat Kid


I have always thought of myself as a fat kid. Always.

As an athlete, I was never the fast girl whose job it is to get on base and run. My job was to hit the ball really far so that that fast girls who were on base in front of me could score. I wasn’t super-fat. I know that, but I was definitely aware of the fact that I was not an outfielder or a short stop. I could play those positions competently, without making errors, but I didn’t have the range to play them if there were other tiny girls on the team. When I’m honest about it, I really just think of myself as on the edge of fat. I always out-ran the skinny girls over distances greater than or equal to a quarter of a mile, which meant something, but I still wanted to be agile and quick.

I went to the doctor a few months ago, which is actually a big deal. I hate going to the doctor. I hadn’t been in something like 7 years, because they seem to always shame me about something. Last time, the shaming had to do with my unwillingness to submit to invasive exams and tests aimed at identifying problems I almost certainly (like less than 1% chance) didn’t have. This time, the shaming was about my weight.

During the visit, my NP told me I was morbidly obese. Then she reached over and grabbed the extra flab on my tummy. Then she told me I was probably infertile and that she wanted to run a bunch of tests on my hormones along with doing normal lab work. She also wanted me to lose 60 lbs. by logging all of my calories and eating almost no carbohydrates, aka Atkins.

I went home and did some BMI research, and, realistically, I was something like 75 lbs short of morbidly obese. To put this into perspective, an adult male Golden Retriever might weigh 75 lbs. That’s the upper range of their weight. So now, picture Katie, running a marathon (which I did about 6 months prior to my doctor’s appointment) with a large, male Golden Retriever strapped to her stomach. That’s how absurd this whole thing was.

I decided to do an assessment of my weight for myself. If we start with a mild respect for the BMI, which I really don’t have, I was about 10lbs into the obese range. I’ll admit that I’m overweight. That’s what I mean when I say that I’m on the edge of fat kid… I have both a figurative and literal soft spot for caramel lattes, microwaved cheese crisps made with aged, sharp, and expensive cheddar, and good gelato. I know that. I also know that I can hold plank pose longer than even makes sense and I can run for more than an hour without too much trouble. Regardless, BMI said I was obese, so I decided I should probably lose weight – not 60 lbs, but maybe 20.

Then there was the hormone thing to deal with. NP felt pretty confident that I had a serious hormonal imbalance and needed to be put on the pill. When the labs came back, they showed that I’m really pretty healthy. I had a Vitamin D deficit and low HDL (the low HDL is very likely a genetic thing passed on by my father). Most of my other numbers were on the healthier side of normal. I had two hormones that were slightly out-of-whack, but those two are highly dependent upon what time of the month it is, so we’d need to test them a few more times to know what’s actually going on with them, and I really felt like the amount of out-of-whack they were exhibiting was negligible.

Basically, my Nurse Practitioner made it seem like I was on death’s doorstep when I’m really very healthy. She scared the hell out of me and completely shamed me… needlessly. She didn’t listen to anything I told her. I told her that I’m a really active individual. I’m a runner and a yogini (yogi?). I’d recently become a Vegetarian. I didn’t feel any aches or pains. I felt I’d had too much wine in 2015, so I hadn’t had any for several months. I didn’t have any noticeable symptoms of anything. What she heard was, “I’m in denial and I’m ashamed of my actual behaviors so I’m minimizing them to you.” I told her there was no way in hell I was going to download an app to count calories because I hate technology and would rather jump out of a moving vehicle than count all of my calories. She heard, “I’m lazy and intend to gain 5 lbs a year until I become completely bed-bound at the age of 55, needing a hoyer lift to transfer my morbidly obese body from bed to recliner.”

And the horrible thing about all of this is that I’m probably not going back to the doctor for another 7 years. I may try to talk myself into seeing someone else. Or I may just continue what I’m doing and harbor hatred and disrespect for PCPs, even though I know they don’t all suck.

________________________________________________________

Sidenote: the result of my own research is that I decided to lose 20 lbs. I’ve currently lost 13 (in about 11 weeks). If I gain back 3 of those lbs, I will again be obese, but, for now, I’m simply overweight.

How did I lose 13 lbs, you ask? I did not log any of my calories anywhere. I did not limit my carbohydrates to Atkins level of intake. I did continue drinking a caramel latte every morning. I did completely give up gelato, substitute cauliflower for rice, stop eating snacks, stop eating at 7:00 pm most nights, and add about an hour (maybe an hour-and-a-half) of workouts to my week. I did watch every documentary that exists about food and diet. I did limit myself to eating two meals a week that were prepared or cooked by someone other than me – this includes Chipotle and the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. I did spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food and what I was going to cook. I did read a ton of cook books and check out every Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, and Billy Blanks workout DVD the library has.

That’s what works for me, because in he 31 years I’ve known myself, I’ve figured out that I am not okay with giving up my morning caramel latte. I’d rather spend the entire day fasting from all solid foods than give up my latte. I am okay with working out all the time. I’m also okay with cooking all of my meals myself. I am not okay with phone apps.

I just wish healthcare professionals brought a sense of creative problem solving and diversified care to the table. It’s almost as if they believe I am the same as every other person who has a high BMI. It’s as if they don’t understand how much I feel like life is not worth living without a good latte… as if they don’t understand that there is an uncountable number of variables that impact a person’s body weight… as if they believe there is only one way to skin a cat.

 

 

 

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The Death of a Child, and My City


I met up with the two advocates I was going to be shadowing and the three of us made up Crisis Unit Adam 1. There was also a second group of three who made up Crisis Unit Adam 2, and the six of us went to a restaurant to await calls… or not.

I was a little afraid that we wouldn’t get a call, but then I felt guilty, as if I wanted someone to be a victim. Of course I didn’t want that; I just wanted an opportunity to see what I’d signed up to do. The other advocates assuaged my guilt by saying that there are always victims, whether the Victim Services teams are called or not, so wanting a call isn’t about wanting someone to be victimized; it’s about wanting victims to have support.

About five minutes into dinner, the call came. We were to relieve Baker unit on a DOA call (Deceased on Arrival) with a child victim.

There was a weight that came with going to a child’s death that was palpable, but mingled with a sense of, “This is what we do.”

We ate quickly, and the other advocates tried to prepare me. They let me know that I should feel free to step out if it was too difficult. They said that my well-being was a priority… and we hit the road.

When we arrived, we talked to the Baker Unit, who gave us the background on how the child passed away and some of the family dynamics, of which there were a ton – divorce and estrangement, medical issues, grandparents on both sides, and previous recent family deaths. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to share, so I’m going to keep the details to myself, but I will tell you that, although the child’s death was unexpected, the cause did not seem to be homicide. Law enforcement procedurally treats all children’s deaths like homicides, but this particular death was most probably due to illness.

So… we couldn’t talk to the child’s dad, who was being interviewed by law enforcement. We couldn’t talk to mom, because of some crazy, crazy circumstances. We couldn’t talk to mom’s parents, because they left about the same time we arrived. Therefore, we went in and talked with the extended family on dad’s side.

There were probably 15-20 people there who said they were cousins. We introduced ourselves: “Hi. My name is Betsey. This is Claire and Katie. We’re with Victim Services, and we’re here to be of help to you. Our entire purpose in being here is to help you with whatever you need.”

Crickets.

You would think there would be tears. You would think the room would be filled with pandemonium. A child died. I had never met the child, and I felt pretty stirred up.

The family, however, was almost completely unemotional. It was odd. In discussing the call after-the-fact, one of the advocates pointed out that she thought the family probably distrusts law enforcement and also distrusted us. Although we aren’t with law enforcement, we look pretty official. I was just wearing normal clothes, but the other two had polos with badges sewn into them. They had ID card things, plus law enforcement took us into the room with the family and helped with the introduction, so it makes a lot of sense that people who don’t trust cops would want nothing to do with us. They politely, but coldly told us that they didn’t need anything, so we said we’d step into another room and just be there if they needed us.

And we waited.

And waited and waited.

Standing in a tiny, stuffy room for something like two hours. We interacted a bit with a hospital social worker whose primary task was to get hand prints of the child to later present to the family. I saw the person from the medical examiner’s office, who was there with a camera and stood around the corner from us, just outside the room with the body in it. There were two police officers sitting guard over the body. One of the family members came out and asked us if the family would be able to see the body one last time, but we didn’t know the answer. Evidently, the medical examiner can and sometimes does refused to let families see a body.

And that was the extent of what we did for two (maybe even three) hours.

Then, the detectives let us know they were done interviewing dad, and we could talk to him. We went out and talked to him, and he was also utterly unemotional. He was worried about his cell phone, because the detectives had kept it. Another family member stepped in and politely asked us if we could just give them our card and go, which we did.

It wasn’t what I expected. I’m not sure what I expected, and I can empathize with the unemotive response. It’s a lot to process, but the lack of chaos and (for lack of a better word) drama was something the other advocates kept coming back to. They thought it was pretty unusual.

And all I can really think about is how much I want to go on more calls. I don’t think we made much of any difference to this particular family, but I can definitely see how it might make a difference to someone else.

All night, we listened to the police radio. There were people doing crazy things… a lady who was hysterical because she couldn’t remember where she’d parked her car, a guy with a machete, a drug deal going down at the Redbox, another DOA that Crisis 2 attended, and a major incident with a guy with a gun at an apartment complex. I think all of those things stuck with me more than the call in which I participated, because that’s what my city is like. When I’m not receiving training in Victimology and Victim Services, those things are all going on, unbeknownst to me. They are occurring at locations I frequent. They are always occurring.

Right at the moment, I feel like I’m doing the right thing with my life. I feel like this could be my niche. Who knows how long it will last, or if I’ll even make it through training, but for now, I feel like I’ve found my element.

 

Hocking a Loogie from a Moving Vehicle


This is one of those stories that can only be told on a blog, because it’s a little weird and embarrassing.

When I was a kid, I thought it was pretty cool that my dad could be driving, cough up a loogie, roll down the window (pre-automatic windows), and hock his loogie out of the car. It isn’t something I meditated on or anything. I just thought it was impressive.

So… when I turned 16, I thought I should give it a try. As a teenager, new to driving (I was probably 17 in actuality, because I didn’t really want to drive), I decided to try to follow in my father’s footsteps. I was getting over a cold, so my loogies had some impressive body to them. I coughed it up, rolled down the window, and hocked the thing… and the wind caught ahold of its impressive mass and blew the thing right back into the car. Sorry, Mom – I was driving the Saturn VUE at the time, which wasn’t mine. I promise I cleaned it up as best as possible. Yes, I’m disgusting, and I apologize.

You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson, but every now and then, I’ll cough up a loogie that I’d really like not to swallow, because that’s so gross, and I’ll think, I’m all growed-up now, I’m sure I can do this.

Without fail, I’ve hocked every loogie into the wind, which has blown it back into the car… except for a week ago…

It was possibly the greatest triumph of my life when I saw that thing fly out the window and disappear from my life. I can mark that one off the bucket list! 🙂

The Day My Dreams Came True


There I was, standing opposite an enormous, roided-out teenage boy, who was trying to hit me with a ball…

*Disclaimer: I don’t actually know whether the kid takes steroids; all I know is that he is a big dude.

So, basically, I’ve always wanted to put together a teacher dodge ball team to participate in the tournament at the high school where I teach. It’s a grand affair, and the students take it far too seriously. They always put together some sort of team uniform/costume – usually with little regard for the school dress code. Some of the teams practice. All of them move insanely fast, as if dodging bullets instead of balls… Matrix-style, of course.

Teachers, sadly, are not the most athletic of people, and, despite the numerous humiliations they suffer daily on their jobs, none are too enthusiastic about putting themselves into a situation where lots of people would see them get hit with balls. However, with them knowing that this is my last year at IRHS, I was able to put a team together.

The team consisted of me, the tall, young, athletic History teacher who coaches soccer and runs in his free time, the doesn’t-know-how-old-he-is trash-talking Calc. teacher, the super-hero-obsessed and admittedly-unathletic Bio. teacher who played as a favor to me in spite of getting the flu just days before the tournament, the youth leader and thin, but uncoordinated English teacher who had no business being out there (I wouldn’t have asked had I known how embarrassing her throw really is), and the 4-ft tall Spanish teacher who didn’t even show up.

So… our first match was against a team called Swoll (or possibly Swole – it means uber buff) Team 6. They were all football players with arms the size of my thighs. In between matches, they did push-ups because they promised their coach they wouldn’t let the tournament put them behind in training… even though football doesn’t start again until like August or September. They played in red, white, blue, and various military-style gear, such as ammo vests, boots, etc…

And they wrecked us in the first game. However, the matches went to the best of two out of three, so we had another shot.

It went down to me and the History teacher against two teenagers pretty quick. I managed to get one of the enormous teens out with a well-timed throw, but the History teacher went down at exactly the same time, so…

there I was, standing opposite an enormous, roided-out teenage boy, who was trying to hit me with a ball…

After all of the balls ended up on my side of the court, I gathered them together, got one in each hand, and went for it. I honestly didn’t even get close to him with three consecutive throws. I back-pedaled, thinking I was ready for anything, and he launched one at me that I did not dodge Matrix-style… I stood there, bewildered, as it hit me directly in the chest without me even making one movement.

And yet, that tournament made my dreams come true.

After running a marathon in a few weeks, I intend to get a team together for the Tucson Dodge Ball League. Who’s with me?!

Ragnar 2015 and How I Tore My Pants :-)


Okay, so I’ve been slacking on my blogging duties of late. I promise I have several good excuses, though.

First and foremost, I’ve not had a weekend to myself for a bit, and I don’t have the interwebs at home. This is the first solid chunk of time I’ve had to myself since Valentine’s Day. I totally don’t say it like that to make you sad for me. I honestly don’t even remember what I did on Valentine’s Day, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.

So… since the V-Day, I ran Ragnar 2015, which is my new favorite Ragnar I’ve ever run. Mostly, I enjoyed running a respectable distance without suffering very much.

Also, I ate it pretty hard, which hasn’t happened to me in at least a decade.

Basically, I was on my second run of the race. It was nighttime, maybe like 8 or 9 p.m. and I had 7.8 miles to run. I started off pretty slow, and several jackasses blew past me. I knew I’d eventually run a few of them down, because they were mostly dudes, and their egos frequently get them into trouble on a race like Ragnar.

There was one dude in particular who blew by me, and slowed way down about a half-mile ahead of me.

So I did what you do in Ragnar. I hunted him. Slowly.

It took me something like three miles to catch him. He looked relatively fit, which always makes the triumph all the greater. The problem was that right around the time I intended to leave him behind for good, we starting hitting the stop lights. So I’d leave him behind, and then he’d catch me at the light. Then, he’d blow across the intersection like a bat out of hell, because men who aren’t runners, but who run are like that. In about 5 minutes, I’d pass him again, and then I’d run into the next red light.

We continued on in that annoying pattern for something like 3 more miles.

And I was pissed.

When we finally hit a spot where there were no lights in sight, I took off. I even passed another dude soon after that because I was so highly motivated. In Ragnar, you call it a kill when you pass anyone, so I was feeling pretty good about my 2 kills. I could hear the sounds of the exchange in the distance. I was enjoying the run, feeling like a barbarian in the night…

and I don’t even know what happened, but I ate it. Hard.

I hit my right knee first, then both hands, then my left knee.

Then my left calf cramped up like nobody’s business, so I shot both of my legs into the air and went into happy baby pose, trying to get my calf to calm the hell down.

That’s when my second kill came up to me.

“You alright?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah. I’m good,” I told him, still lying on my back with my feet in the air. He looked at me with severe pity.

“You sure?”

“Yeah. I’m just going to sit here for a minute.”

He left, and I struggled with my calf some more.

Then, I saw him. The jackass I’d hunted for a solid 6 miles… that’s an hour of the race. He was at least a quarter-mile back, but there was no way I was letting him have the victory.

I jumped up off my ass, and starting sprinting as fast as I could. My left calf wasn’t protesting as much as I’d anticipated, the right knee of my pants was def. ripped, and there was some blood, but my left knee didn’t start to bruise for at least an hour after the fall. Also, kill #2 was up ahead and I had every intention of deleting his zombie kill on me from my record, by returning the favor.

“Sorry, man. That was embarrassing,” I said as I passed him once again.

He just shook his head as I ran past.

I sprinted across the final intersection and into the exchange, where I slapped our bracelet onto Shirley’s wrist, but I was dumbfounded when she didn’t move.

“I can’t go,” she said.

“What? Why?”

“There’s an accident up ahead. They aren’t letting any runners out.”

So as my two kills caught us yet again, I tried to keep my broken heart to myself. They trotted into the exchange, and their teammates got to leave at the same time mine did, in spite of my ridiculous efforts to improve us from 9,083 rd place in the race to 9,081 st (I made up those numbers).

Regardless, I got to feel like quite the badass, and I’m looking forward to my next race.

The Shit’s About to Hit the Fan, Madame Secretary


So, this weird thing has been happening at work: people are watching me, and it’s weird.

For seven years, I’ve worked at the same place and managed to be as universally liked, but unknown as it’s possible to be. I’ve been the pleasant one, who doesn’t complain, and never says anything of consequence. Parents don’t complain about me. Students don’t really complain about me. In effect, I’ve been a silent and reliable cog in the machine.

For the past year, however, I’ve been a little pissed off. I’ve been attending PTO meetings, board meetings, association meetings… I honestly say nothing at any of those events, but have been more like on a mission of information-gathering. Then, I decided that I’d run for our local association’s secretary position. Basically, the association VP and I are friends, and I asked him one day what my first step should be if I want to start changing this situation in which I work and try to change the world. He told me to run. So I did.

Honestly, I kept expecting someone to come out of the framework and beat me… but, evidently, no one wants the task of attending meetings, taking notes, and communicating to members via social networking. So there was no election. I ran completely unopposed even though I’d really only attended a handful of association events, only said anything at one of them, and managed to piss off the association president with that one thing I said.

And the news that I’d won started slowly trickling out. People congratulated me… but then it started to be different and weird.

At our school’s most recent training, I noticed that administrators and one or two of the AP teachers in other departments had their eyes on me. Usually, I’m that person who the admin team might email and be like, “We didn’t see you at _________ mandatory thing. Where were you.” And I have the embarrassing task of telling them I that I actually sat next to them in that thing. Now, however, they were watching me that way you watch a crazy person who might just take off their clothes and run around shouting nonsense words. It was that silly, I’m-not-looking-at-you thing, except they totally were looking out of the corners of their eyes.

Now, let’s be honest, I don’t have any clue what I’m doing.

I know that I want to change the way we educate kids. I believe we’re killing humanity with data, measurements, testing, etc… and that we’re trying to make kids into automatons. I want to change that, but I also know this system is enormous. The levels of change that would have to occur to get me what I want range from the way individual teachers relate to students, past site administrators, district administrators, state boards of education, and finally, to the U.S. Department of Ed. and the President’s beliefs about what’s right for kids.

I don’t actually think I’m going to change anything. I think I’m going to try for a few years, and, then I’m going to move to the boonies of Asia or South America. I think the system is going to destroy my spirit, and I’m going to give up so as to retain and rebuild my heart.

Still, it’s highly entertaining right now to know that I’m a wild card. No one can tell what I’m doing, but they’ve begun to think of me as a player. Let’s just hope they don’t see me as too much of a threat and make preemptive strikes against me, just in case I am a crazy streaker. 🙂

Being a Girl in the D & D World


Generally speaking, being a female gamer, comic book reader, convention attender, geek, etc… is really fun, because there aren’t that many of us. Whenever I go into certain comic book shops, the dudes who work there often flock around me, trying to be the first to help me out. And they are so encouraging and kind.

However, there are occasions when being a lady geek has it’s disadvantages. At Gamestop, the workers nearly always assume I don’t actually know what I’m talking about, and am really only there to purchase something for my boyfriend.

D & D, oddly enough, has brought to light a new weirdness of being a lady geek.

You see, I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to make myself a bit more ladylike. I’ve got a whole category on this blog dedicated to “nurturing the delicate flower”… but the delicate flower came out uncontrollably at the D & D table last time we played.

My character is named Jakita.

I honestly built her with Jakita Wagner in mind – she’s a badass superhero in an obscure comic book.

Sad thing: everyone keeps making banana jokes.

Basically, I wanted Jakita to be tragically pissed because of something that happened in her past. She is a half-elf, born to a noble father. The thing is… her mother was not so noble. In fact, Jakita’s father and mother met because noble families often hire elves to teach magic and/or swordsmanship to their children. Turned out that Jakita’s father couldn’t help but fall in love with his instructor. Together, they birthed a bastard child, left her with the nobles, and ran off together, never to be seen again.

So… Jakita is the only (though obviously illegitimate) heir to her family’s large and prestigious keep.

Her human grandparents work to ensure that she’s given every opportunity to grow up the way she would have had she been something other than a bastard child. However, after losing their son, they are fairly controlling and protective of the only thing they have left of him. They spend significant effort to secure an appropriate marriage for Jakita, so that when she starts to fancy a young store-owner in the keep, her grandparents arrange for an “accident” to put an end to such nonsense.

As she’s cradling her lover’s head in her hands, Jakita spontaneously takes an oath of vengeance, her broken heart finding solace in the prospect of destroying evil like that perpetuated by her grandparents. Thus, after burying the only man she will ever love, Jakita sets off on foot to make her way in the world without the aid of her noble (well, sort of) birth.

I tell you all of this, because I envisioned Jakita as kind of a bitch. Understandably and sympathetically so, but a bitch nonetheless.

In the first few gaming sessions, I didn’t really play Jakita that way – mostly because I didn’t have any clue what the hell I was doing. I still don’t. I can’t figure out what the damn player’s handbook is talking about because it’s this whole language – to attack a creature, you have to roll 1d20 to see if you hit. You add your DEX modifier, plus your proficiency bonus to the roll and if the total exceeds the creature’s AC, you hit. However, you can also roll something called a natural 20, but let’s pretend you don’t, because I don’t understand that one at all still. Then, once you hit, you roll 1d8 and add just your DEX modifier the total… unless you wanna expend a spell slot to use Divine Smite, in which case, you deal additional radiant damage equal to 2d8 plus 1d8 for every additional Paladin spell level for the slot you’re using (which, is obviously different from your Paladin level, by the way).

It’s the most complex nonsense in the history of the world.

So I was way too busy figuring out how to hit monsters to really play Jakita as she ought to be played.

Well, I decided that would change.

Jakita was going to be pissy.

So I made her pissy.

I considered this manifesting itself in her racism, because she is racist… in particular against humans, but, really, against everyone except for Elves. Because her human grandparents screwed her so royally (haha), she has decided to try to become fully elf.

Well, there are no humans in our group, so I needed another reason to be pissy, and, from what I could tell, there were two options: I could make Jakita pissy at Matt’s character for his lack of moral convictions and his pirate background, or I could make her pissy at David’s character, who is literally devil-spawn. David had missed the previous time we’d played, and I don’t know him that well, so I didn’t want to act like a bitch to him. So I was left with Matt.

And I think a dude would be fine with it, but I honestly felt like a bitch when I made my character act like a bitch. Now, granted, Matt’s character totally deserves it, because he does messed-up stuff like smacks store-owners because he can get away with it… and yet, I had the terrible feeling that I was actually in conflict with Matt. I felt the need to tell him I wasn’t mad at him in real life. To which, he responded that he also wasn’t mad in real life. But I don’t know if I can do it. Because it’s a terrible feeling to be all, “Jakita ignores Grim completely. In fact, she gets up and walks away when he sits down next to her.”

See how the delicate flower is screwing me?

I know – it’s kind of adorable that I even care, but I honestly started thinking, “Dude, if Jakita dies, I can build an easy-going character who avoids conflict.”

🙂