Saturday, February 27, 2016

Let's talk about Trump

Jeremy Nix wrote an open letter to his friends that support Trump and it was posted on the Huffington Post. I think in this letter, Jeremy articulates things many of us are feeling. You can go read his letter, but I am going to summarize some things that I believe are the best reasons not to vote for The Donald, and of course, add my own rant.

Donald Trump, if you really listen to him, this is what you'll hear...

Photo © Michael Vadon edited by Megan Bostic
He wants all the Muslims kept out of America because, terrorism. The pilgrims first came here for religious freedom (though it actually took awhile for them to get it). Everyone who lives here is not a Christian. There are Atheists, Agnostics, Wiccans, and yes, Muslims. Islam is really not that different than Christianity. They believe in one god, angels, prophets, prayer, faith, giving...Yes, there are a few Muslims that do terrible things in the name of Allah. But there are bad people in every bunch. Americans are shooting other Americans because of religion, color, culture, and for no reason at all, but let's block an entire religion from entering our country because they're probably terrorists. WTF?!? And the ones who are already here? Registration.

If Trump gets his way, every non Christian will have to bear some kind of mark so people know that they share a different belief system. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Trump is a modern day Hitler.

Trump is also a misogynist. He insults, belittles and marginalizes us. He calls women fat and ugly. He appreciates beautiful women, but not in a healthy way. He treats them like possessions. For instance, in his book Trump 101: The Way to Success, he lumps our beauty and elegance in the same category as buildings and works of art. We are nothing more than objects for him to admire, but not if we're fat and ugly.

As far as sexual assault goes, he's within the "boys will be boys" ideology. He tweeted the following about sexual assaults in the military:

"What did they expect would happen when they put men and women together?" 

Um, maybe that rape is vile and illegal and should not be an option? 

He think women need to rely on sexual appeal in business, that female journalists need to be hot, that we're tricksters and gold diggers... I could go on and on about what a giant douchebag misogynist Trump is, but I fear it would take an entire blog.

I don't know how any woman can consider voting for Trump. He will strip our rights away. He would reverse Roe v Wade, shut down Planned Parenthood, and forget about equality in the workplace, insurance covered birth control, paid maternity leave and anything else that would empower us. Anyone sporting a vagina is not on his list of priorities, and truly, seems to not even be human to The Donald.

He wants to build the Great Wall of 'Merica. He wants to keep Mexicans out. This country was built on the backs of immigrants. None of us are native to this land aside from those who were here before the white man came. Those from Mexico do the jobs no one wants to do and they're damn good at them. They're hard workers. Many of them pay taxes. He thinks all immigrants are thieves, rapists and thugs. Can you say, stereotyping? Profiling? Racism? I knew that you could.

He believes we don't have a gun problem, we have a mental health problem. I say we have a problem with both. Our country has too many guns. But Trump believes guns save lives and we should have no limits. He believes gun ownership makes our country safer. Tell that to all the victims of mass shootings. He believes gun violence is inevitable, so regulating them would be futile. Are you fucking kidding me? The statistics and facts are out there. Less guns, less gun death. Period.

And the newest Trumpism, he wants to get rid of the First Amendment. WTF? He wants to take away our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion,  the freedom of press and peaceable assembly. He wants to punish people for speaking or writing opinions or truths. He wants to take away the rights of our faiths, beliefs, and the way we worship. He is a true Nazi.

How can his followers not see how dangerous he is for our country? He is a hate monger. If he's elected we will be at war in the blink of an eye. He's like a child that can't wait to blow some shit up. I honestly would not be surprised if we ended up in a civil war during a Trump presidency. 

He wants make America great again. Which time period was that exactly? Before gay people had the right to marry? The years we sent our troops overseas to die for needless wars? Before women could decide what they could do with their own bodies?  When Japanese Americans were thrown into prison camps and Italians had curfews? When women belonged in the home, having babies, making sure dinner was on the table and a martini was waiting for hubby when he came home from a long day at work? Before women and blacks had the right to vote? When we still owned slaves? Are these the great times of which Trump speaks?

This country has had moments of greatness. The Separation of Church and State, as that's really when religious freedom really began. The signing of the Declaration of Independence. The Ratification of the Constitution. The Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves. Immigration at the turn of the century when we became a melting pot. Women's Suffrage. The Civil Right Act of 1964. When Armstrong walked on the moon. Desegregation. Affirmative Action. Americans with Disabilities Act. Electing the first black president. These are the moments that has made our country the greatest - When we come together to work for a better America.

What Trump is already doing and will continue to do is tear us apart. He is a loud bully, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic racist. He will be cancerous to society as we know it. A Trump presidency will destroy us and it may take a long time for America to recover, if ever.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

More of the battle

I was going to write about the joke of a presidential election happening, or the idiocy of blocking a nomination of a supreme court justice, the building of a methanol plant here in my city, or maybe even the new emoticon buttons on our facebook posts, but I've had some people tell me they have enjoyed being educated about CFS and I should continue to write about it. So here I go...

The view from my back door today.
Today would have been a beautiful day to walk to work, but basically, CFS and insomnia (could be CFS related insomnia, but who knows) has kicked my ass this week. I pushed really hard last week and now I'm paying the price. Last night I tried a little "herbal" help for my sleep. Yes, I mean weed. Not just any weed, but weed designed specifically to help you sleep. Don't judge, it's legal here. It made me tired. I fell asleep. Then I woke at 2 am and stayed awake until almost 6 am. When I woke up again at 9ish, I feel like I got hit in the head with a baseball bat, I have enormous bags under my eyes and they sting, and my entire body aches, especially my back and elbow (the joint pain is excruciatingly painful).

A friend told me that retail weed is weak and that I should try medical weed before the government ruins it for everyone (they've closed a bunch of MM stores, I assume they will continue to do so or start regulating their weed). So, anyway, the sleepy time weed didn't work.

Many people on my Facebook page gave me ideas for how to sleep better. I appreciate the support, I do, but none of it is anything I haven't tried before, with the exception of meditation and Zzzzzquil. A friend invited me to her meditation/yoga class next week, and I'm considering going though I hate yoga. And I think I'll go to the drug store for some good old fashioned Zquil. May try xanax as well since I have some.

Having CFS comes with a lot of other crap. Insomnia is one of them. Restless leg syndrome is another, which also is cause for a lack of sleep. Pain of course. And for some reason, I get itchy, especially my back and feet. No idea why. I've switched body wash, laundry detergent and fabric softeners to dye and fragrance free, but it doesn't seem to alleviate the problem.

I need to address some issues with doctors, unfortunately, I have to switch some doctors around because of my health insurance. I also have been doing research and finding what may help those who suffer from CFS with insomnia.

These sleepless bouts have been going on for about 3 years. I'll go sleepless for a few months, then have one day that my body revolts and I can't get out of bed all day, then it starts over again. Hopefully that "bed in" day will be on a day I don't have to work, but with my luck, I probably can't count on it.

So tonight, I follow some of the guidelines I've found and maybe take some Zquil. Hopefully I can get more than the 2 hours and 54 minutes I got last night (according to my Fitbit).

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Insomnia and other pesky ailments

I know you're probably tired of me talking about CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), but like I said in a previous blog, people don't get it. They don't understand it. They don't know how debilitating it can be. It causes things like insomnia. I have suffered insomnia for about three years now. Something I didn't know was connected with CFS. According to my FitBit, I never get more than four hours of restful sleep a night. Last night, I woke at 1:30 am and was up until 6 am. I did finally go back to sleep, but have no idea how this giant break in my sleep will affect my day.

Also, a follow up from last weeks blogs in which I walked to work...I've been paying for it. My entire body aches, I'm so exhausted, I've been having dizzy spells...I didn't walk to work yesterday, because I had some things I needed to bring there that would have been too burdensome to carry. This morning I needed to sleep as long as possible, so I won't be walking today either. I hope to get back to it tomorrow. I'm serious about fighting back. It may have put me out for a few days, but I'm going to get right back to it when I feel my body can handle it.

Luckily I have a job that is fun and doesn't take much physical effort. I can only handle  5 to 6 hours a day, especially when using my brain a lot. When I was trying to find a job, I was worried I wouldn't be able to find one that fit my needs. I was afraid I'd have to go on disability, which felt wrong because I'm perfectly capable of working, I just can't work a full time job. I even had to fight to get unemployment because I was only looking for part time jobs. I had to get a letter from  my doctor and have a hearing with a judge. Thankfully she understood. I'm glad to have a job in which I only work 6 hours a day,

I worry though, because come April, I'll have to work 5 days a week. I know that sounds lazy, but the struggle is real. However, I did work 5 days a week before for 5 hours a day and I did okay. I usually had to take a nap as soon as I went home. This job is different because my hours are noon to 6. There is no nap time. If I had my choice, I'd get up early and get things done, then go to work. But the reality is, working those hours, I need to sleep as late as possible to help me make it through the day.

I know it probably sounds pathetic to a normal person, but I can't reiterate how real it is. I used to be a person always on the go, always getting things done. I had endless energy and could write, clean, cook, exercise, take care of the kids, do the grocery shopping, help with I'm lucky to get one of those things in during the day. So believe me, it's frustrating. I wanted a curable diagnosis so I could get back to being my normal self. But what my doctor said is this,

"You have to come to the realization that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You need to learn how to live with it. You need to learn how to love yourself with it."

I'm still learning.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

To Kill A Mockingbird and our never ending battle with racism

As probably every teenager on the face of the planet, I was forced to read books for English class that I didn't enjoy. However, when I read To Kill a Mockingbird, it immediately became my favorite book and remains in that top spot to this day.

I think perhaps it was the first time I really thought about social injustice. I know racism and all kinds of bigotry were present, but I mean, I was still a kid. I didn't notice things like that really. It would be nice to stay blissfully ignorant, but the fact is, we can't. As far as we've come since Harper Lee wrote about good and evil, injustice and social profiling before it had a label, we still have a long way to go.

The unfairness that befell people like Tom Robinson, though maybe not as overtly (or maybe so, depending on who you ask), still exists today. People are judged by the color of their skin, the god they choose to worship, who they choose to love. While all those may not be mockingbirds, complete innocents, they are still enduring great injustice through intolerance and prejudice.

Let's talk about black history month for example. Many people ask, why do we need it? And, why is there no white history month.I will quote my own self from my Facebook profile to explain the whys.

Today Black History Month begins. I know some people question its importance, including some African Americans. I may not be able to express why with the right words, but I'm going to try to explain its importance and significance.

For centuries schools have taught history. However, many of the achievements and contributions made by African Americans have been omitted, so really, our history lessons were whitewashed (also the reason, no, we don't need a White History Month). Just like whites, African Americans have contributed greatly to art, science, politics and sports, among numerous other components of American culture. We should know about these contributions. We should learn about them. We should care about them.

Blacks have, and continue to, endure hardships we can't even fathom. They have overcome many obstacles and injustices and have triumphed. There are works of art, events, inventions, and progress that would never have been possible if it wasn't for the contributions of African Americans.

I think it's our responsibility as Americans to learn more about our prolific history, not the whitewashed one we were taught in school, but the one in which a diverse people made and continue to make notable and innovative achievements and contributions, allowing us to become the strongest nation in the world.

So, that's why.

Photo by Gage Skidmore 
And let's talk about the 2016 Oscars. It's really not just about black, but about diversity. Every actor and actress nominee is pretty much the whitest people you could choose. I'm not saying they don't deserve their nods. To be honest, I've not seen many movies this year (okay, I've seen one and it wasn't Oscar worthy) but many of them have actors of color that have been overlooked when others related to the movie have received nominations. Such as:

Creed: Sylvester Stallone is nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but no Best Actor nom for the talented Michael B. Jordan?

Straight Outta Compton:  White people nominated for writing, but no nod to actor Jason Mitchell, whose performance was critically acclaimed.

The Hateful Eight: Jennifer Jason Leigh is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. No nomination for Samuel Jackson.

A couple others passed over...Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation and Will Smith for Concussion. And that's just the actors. Director of Creed, Ryan Coogler and director of Straight Outta Compton,  F. Gary Gray were also overlooked for Oscar nominations.

It's really a sad statement that 56 years after To Kill a Mockingbird, racial inequality and discrimination still exists. It's too bad, that just as Scout and Jem had to witness  the injustices in a dominantly white society, we still have to endure the ugly face of prejudice. And that this mindset, though it may be diluted from generation to generation, is still passed on. Racism is not innate, it's learned behavior. What I wouldn't give to live in a world that sees each other through the eyes of children. They don't notice color, at least not when they're very young. They see beyond the color of skin into the heart of a person.

And as I said, it's not just about color. It's about religion, sex, sexual orientation, social class...we should view each other as Mockingbirds, worthy of respect and admiration. We should embrace our differences, not judge them. Instead of knocking each other down, we should be lifting each other up.

I know society has come a long way since the era to TKAM, but it's still not good enough. We need more Finches in the world. Those who lend a voice to those who can't speak for themselves. Those who understand that people shouldn't be judged because they are different in some ways. Inside we are all flesh, blood, muscle...the things that make us all human. The things about us that are the same. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Another Day in Paradise

9:34 am
Skeptical Megan is skeptical. My body is feeling the affects of my last two days of pushing hard. I
woke in the middle of the night and stayed awake for a couple of hours. It was hard to get out of bed this morning. My back, both my knees and my elbow hurt. It's a beautiful day, and I'd really like to walk to work today, but I'm afraid if I do, I woke be able to function properly the next few days. It's another long workday with my shift then a two hour event following.

I have an hour to make up my mind...more later.

12:57 pm
I opted for walking. the day was too beautiful to waste. If I'm going to skip the walk, I'd rather do it on a gray, rainy day. Plus, I get to admire the view. There's a walking/biking path on part of the route to the wine shop. It's shorter that walking the busy commercial street.

I lightened my load today by leaving my computer at home. I put the files I might need at the shop on my external hard drive and packed that instead. Also, I opted for tennis shoes instead of Uggs. I love my Uggs and they're comfortable, but not for walking 2 miles. I packed a pair of Mary Janes to change into. Once again also packed hair product, makeup and deodorant.

At just under a mile in, again, my middle aged hips screamed. I ignored them, knowing they would be numb after a little more walking. Everything else felt pretty good, especially my feet.

People gave me funny looks as I trudged my way to work. I supposed maybe I looked a little funny, flowy pink and white blouse, black skirt and tights, cross trainers on my feet, backpack slung over my shoulders, elbow brace in place. My hair (which all of a sudden seems very long) flew out behind me in the light PNW breeze. I forgot to bring a hair band for my walk to keep it out of my face and to keep my neck from sweating too much.

I actually got a honk and a kissy sound from a passing driver. People actually still do stuff like that? Cat call and such? It was flattering, even if I totally ignored him.

My mail carrier friend, Jason drove by and waved. Nice to see a friendly face on my journey.

I know I'm close to the shop when the sidewalk flattens out. I'm glad I decided to walk. In the shop I stood in front of the fan for a few moments, patted my face with a paper towel, grabbed a glass of ice water and changed my shoes. Close to 6,000 steps before work again.

It's kind of gross, walking to work and getting kind of sweaty and stuff. But I think my pack would be too heavy were I to bring a complete change of clothes with me. For now, I'll just opt for the paper towel pat down.

I'm a bit fearful about how I'll feel tomorrow. The good thing is it's Sunday, and I don't have to do anything if I don't want to.

Living with CFS is difficult sometimes, as I've mentioned before. Every day is different. I think the hardest part is the lack of understanding by others. I've had people ask me if I want to do this or that, and I'm like, "I can't because of my medical condition." Usually I get laughed at. I don't look sick. But I never feel fully rested. My body urges me to slow down, or stop even. I'm lucky, because I am able to work, while many who suffer are wheelchair bound or bedridden all the time. Don't get me wrong, I've had days when I couldn't get out of bed, but mine happen mostly when I overexert myself mentally or physically, or I'm dealing with a large amount of stress.

Right now my elbow hurts and I'm a little tired, but I will continue to fight this. I want to work in my yard again, plant flowers, mow my own lawn, keep my house clean, cook. All things that are hard for me to do because of CFS. And I want to get to a place where I feel whole and happy again.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. Hey! If you ever see me on my route to work, honk or wave. It will inspire me to keep going.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fighting Back

So, yesterday, if you read my blog, you know I walked to work. I did pretty good. Took me 40 minutes to get there. Worked 6 hours. Then I hosted an event at the wine shop for 2 hours. After that, I went to my older daughter's double header indoor soccer game. As the second game was starting, the exhaustion kicked in. That is probably the longest day I've had since the CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) kicked in more than three years ago now.

I do not want to let CFS define who I am. I haven't fought it much, because it's just too hard and tiring, but I want my body, mind and soul back. I'm ready to be fit again and lose this weight I've gained as a result of fatigue. My body has undergone many horrible symptoms caused by CFS -  it's not just about fatigue. It affects my sleep, which I've not got a decent night of in years. Causes joint pain, which I have in one knee and one elbow. Also, dizziness, allergies, and a plethora (one of my favorite words) of other fun physical problems.

Truly, I'd like to get my mind back as well. CFS is not just a physical illness, but a mental one too. I suffer from serious brain fog. At first I didn't realize that was a symptom of CFS. I thought (and maybe still do) that I had adult ADD because I couldn't focus. My writing has suffered. Probably why I've not completed another novel. Often when I'm speaking to someone, I can't pull up the easiest of words. Words anyone, even a child could remember and come up with. When I'm working on freelance writing, the thesaurus is my bible. My memory has suffered too. I also suffer from CRS (can't remember shit) which I worry annoys people I talk to often.

Now let's talk about my soul. I've been very open about suffering from depression and anxiety. Now, this I've suffered even before CFS, but having it doesn't help one bit. When, like me, you used to be active and witty, smart and productive, then suddenly you're more like a sloth, affects your self esteem and confidence.

So today I stepped up my workout. Instead of walking for a length of time, I chose to walk a distance. Then I walked 10 minutes more because I had to finish watching House Hunter. I mean, they were choosing a home in Hawaii! I had already invested 20 minutes.  Then I did some strength training. I mostly work on my arms, because, really, my legs ain't so bad. I want to get rid of what I like to call "Back Boobs."

I have to be careful though. If I overdo it, it could set me back a few days. I remember when I first started working out again, I went to this yoga class, which was more like yoga on steroids, and it took me out for a week.

So why am I sharing all this with you? For a couple reasons I guess. To make myself accountable. If I'm telling the world, I would feel a fool were I do give up before reaching my goals. Also, to raise some awareness for CFS. Those who don't suffer or know someone who suffer don't understand. I remember when I first started feeling tired I was getting the, "it's just the weather" explanation, of course, I'd been fatigued for over a year, so that couldn't be it. I was told, "you just need to exercise more" and at the time, I was kickboxing and walking regularly. Then I get people who say, "Oh yeah, I have to nap too," to which I ask, "for 3 hours? And do you have to set an alarm to be able to wake up for dinner or kickboxing class or etc etc etc."

It's really very frustrating. I mean, seriously, when I was diagnosed I was like, "that's a cop out diagnosis." But I know too well that it's real.

Thanks for once again reading my rant. I'll get there. I'm determined. I don't know how long it will take, but one of these days, I will find the balance I need to be a healthy, focused and productive once again.

Read more about CFS at the Mayo Clinic and the Washington Post. There's tons of info, just google.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A change for heart

When Chronic Fatigue Syndrome kicked in 3 years ago, it was debilitating. I had to take long naps in the middle of the afternoon, I was forced to quit kickboxing, and exercise I loved, because it became too hard on my tired body. I didn't have the energy to do any normal activities after work like clean, cook, work in the yard...Some days I could barely get out of bed. It also made my weight steadily climb.

As of late, I have been truly disgusted with myself. Though I have started working out and I eat fairly well, I cannot lose this weight I've put on the last few years. I worry about my health because people I went to school are started to die. I long to be fit and healthy again and live a long full life.

I bought myself a Fitbit. My work is very sedentary. I work at a computer pretty much all day doing research, writing, marketing...Even when I go to the gym after work and walk on the treadmill and lift weights, I still can't seem to get my 10,000 steps in.

Today I got a wild hair up my butt and decided I needed to start walking to work. There is nothing else I could think of that would help me get those steps I needed. I figured between that, cutting out most carbs, some dairy, cheese, and drinking one glass of red wine a night for health, maybe I could drop some of my excess weight.

I looked it up on Google maps. It said it would take me 40 minutes to get there. I looked out my sliding glass door. It was windy, but not rainy. The sky was peeking through gray clouds. So I went for it. I emptied all the unnecessary things out of my backpack, added my computer and accessories, hair product, makeup and deodorant and off I went.

 I regretted my decision almost a mile in when I felt the first rain drop. Then another. Then another. I put the hood up on my sweatshirt and kept going. I thought, if it got too bad, I could call my daughter. Lucky, the rain abated as quickly as it had began.

I looked at my Fitbit about a mile in and had only achieved about 1300 steps. How could that be possible? Was walking to work even worth it? I got hot and took my sweatshirt off.

There aren't really any steep hills, but there are a few steady inclines, which I think are almost worse.
At just over a mile, my 40+ year old hips screamed at me to turn around. I ignored them. I was already half way there. I was cold again, and put my sweatshirt back on.

Someone in a truck honked. Was it you? Let me know. I really couldn't tell who it was.

When I could finally see the shop, I was home free.

When I walked through the door, I checked my Fitbit. I was just a few steps away from 5,000 half a day's goal. Got a glass of water, turned on the fan, and here I am.

My bad elbow hurts a little. Hopefully the 5+ pounds I carried on my back won't affect me too much if at all (I'm old you know). My hair didn't frizz out too much, my makeup didn't melt. It was a good experience.

I'm determined to fight my CFS. I'm tired of it keeping me from getting things done. My goal is to get my mind, body and spirit back in alignment (if it really ever were). I think walking to work will be a good start if I can make it a habit. It's a little hard right now, because the weather is still pretty crappy here. Come summer, though, I'll be good to go.

Thanks for reading my crap. 40 pounds to go, mind starting to unfog, happiness on the horizon.

My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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