The Time for Hope is Now

I have recently become acquainted with the Hope for Recovery Center located in downtown Franklin NH. Though they have been there for quite some time now, I had never had reason to walk through their doors until a friend of mine decided to use her birthday to help raise funds for them. When I walked in, I was greeted warmly, and thanked for coming. There was food, of course, and cake, but more importantly, there were testimonies given by people who are members of this center; members of my community. Many of whom I didn’t know. One story, in particular, broke my heart three or four times before the young lady was finished speaking. It was a story that she admitted she didn’t quite feel ready to tell, and by the end of it, I knew I wanted to volunteer if I could.

I have never been an addict, so I am not in recovery. This does not mean that I have nothing to learn from these wonderful people. The night after my first experience at the center, they had a family friendly sober dance. I brought my daughters. As we walked through the door, a group of teenagers ran up and grabbed Krishna, and took off with her. Arienette spotted some toys, and off she ran as well. As I sat and watched, (as I am wont to do when surrounded by unfamiliar people) I noticed something; there was no judgment here. These people saw no age, no disability, no class. All were equal here. They formed a circle as an elder woman jumped to the center and danced her heart out, and they all cheered for her as she resumed her place in the ring. Another, younger person took their turn, then another. Nobody asked me who I was, what I was doing there, or anything. I was just there, and they accepted me as one of them. There were many children from infants to teenagers, to people in their elder years. People brought their dates as well. There were raffles and food, and everyone had a wonderful time. These dances have been happening every month.

Hope has been planning a theater group to help young people stay away from substance abuse. The theory here being that young people choose substances to fill a hole in their lives, and that we should give them something positive to fill that hole with instead. Give them theater! Give them someone to be! Help them become stronger individuals by teaching them strength of character and character development.

There is a spaghetti dinner planned for March 10th, and originally, the proceeds were to go to the wedding of Hope’s DJ, though he has graciously offered to donate them to help Hope stay alive. The dinner will include karaoke and probably some other things as well. The people of Hope know how to throw a party.

Yesterday morning, the director found out that the center, and three of the four other branches are set to close due to lack of funding. Yesterday afternoon, the Hope community said “No.” Last night, WMUR was on site to interview and broadcast some of the members who were able to make it out to stand and protest the closing of their center.

Franklin needs Hope. We talk so often, and so much about the drug crisis in New Hampshire, but when it comes down to it, what are we willing to do to help? I know that Hope helps. I have heard the testimonies from the people who have been helped by this center. Hundreds of people walk through those doors every month looking for help. Without Hope, many of these people would still be in the throes of their addictions. They would be without jobs, living on the streets. The truth is, if we want to help stop this drug crisis, we need to put our money where the help is. I know that I, for one, would by far prefer to see addicts find help in recovery than to see them on the streets.

We stand for Hope, help us find a way to keep it alive.

YouCaring page for fundraising

Petition

 

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Dirty Pretty

Warning: The following may (read: will almost definitely) be a bit rambly.

 

You don’t know how hard it is, being a woman. How will I ever live up to your expectations of pretty?

I have been devouring In This Moment lately. Particularly the Black Widow album. It is gold. Everything I need right at this moment in my life, and that is essential. It is important to have the proper soundtrack for your life… or… for where you want your life to be.

I also have noticed, over my 32 years on earth, that when men (or anyone really) want to get a point across to a woman, they tend to go for their pretty.

I promise these points are related.


You’re so pretty, we should hang out sometime

I didn’t want to date you anyway, you fat, ugly slob!

You should feel lucky that someone like me would pay attention to an ugly bitch like you

You’d be pretty if you lost weight

you’re pretty, I bet he’ll give you that promotion

she only got that promotion because she’s hot

He’s with her now?? She’s so much uglier than you!


Why is it that the first line of attack is always against our “pretty”? Not pretty enough, thin enough, thick enough, tall enough, short enough, tan enough, pale enough… no matter who we are or what we look like, any time we, as women, do something that creates even the smallest wave, we can be sure the first words to be said will be about our appearance. Followed directly by how slutty we are (even if we are celibate).

Why is this the go to?

Are we, as women, so vain that this is really the hardest hitting weaponry that (mostly) men have in their arsenal? Do they attack our pretty because that is the surest way to destroy us?

Or could it be that they are so intent on making us that vain? That they want us ladies to be so insipid that we are torn down so easily by a simple comment on our looks?

They decry our vanity by making jokes about how long we take to get ready and how much makeup we use, while at the same time trying to butter us up by lavishing us with compliments on our pretty – but only as long as we do as they want, or they will turn around and tear down those very looks they were just a moment ago writing sonnets to.

We do it to each other as much as men do it to us, calling each other pretty to their faces, and tearing them apart behind their backs, or even tearing each other down face to face as if it is survival of the prettiest? Pettiest?

As for me, I’d be far more hurt by someone attacking my character… or, you know, something I consider legitimately important.

*I won’t close my eyes, like you want me to
I am wild and free, I am untamable…
I’m more than you’ll ever see
More than just your dirty pretty*

 

On Charlotesville

It has been several days, and as such, I am behind the outpouring of words that customarily follow such an event. Words of sadness, confusion, love, help, good intent… mostly words of good intent, but also words of anger, hate, vitriol, and even people who deny that this was what even the perpetrators of the incident say it was. In this case, an act of white supremacists, making sure the rest of us know that they are still very much alive, and willing to fight for what they think they deserve.

“Jews will not replace us”

Jewish people have neither the intention, nor desire to replace anyone. There is no “gay agenda”, African Americans are not trying to undermine white people in any way. They are simply standing here saying “Please, can you make some room for us, too?” And when you stand, and shout back at them that you want them to die, or that you won’t let them “replace you” or “win”, maybe you are the problem here.

“Blood and soil

Using an old Nazi chant drives in only one point. That the people shouting it are Nazis. Unless, of course, they happen to be shouting it on soil that they stole from people, while covering it with the blood of those native peoples. Then, a second point is made. The people shouting are either extraordinarily forgetful, or just really stupid. This soil does not belong to us. If it belongs to anyone, it is the Native Americans who were cheated out of their land, pushed into corners and largely forgotten about… and then… replaced. In fact, throughout history, it is the white man who has done most of the replacing.

White people will never be replaced, and they know that. Everyone with any semblance of a brain knows that. That isn’t really what they fear. These people fear having to share, and being made to share equally. They fear having to treat everyone as though they are equal. Being forced to acknowledge that they are superior to nobody.

The fact is, if Charlottesville had been Native Americans or African Americans protesting, even if it were a peaceful protest, they would not have made it out safely. They would have been arrested. Bombarded with teargas and rubber bullets. America is not, and will not be free and equal until this is no longer the case. Until white protesters are given the same treatment as protesters of any other color, creed, religion, etc, we have no equality.

Until we have someone in the White House who can see why Charlottesville was, indeed, an incitement of terror from white supremacists, and not simply “bad on both sides”, we can not come together, and if Pence wants to stand with Trump on his statements on the issue, then let him fall with Trump as well.

We, as a country, need to move forward. We need to move into equality for all. Nothing less can be acceptable.

Dear Clothing Companies

Most of the time, if I am shopping for clothes, it is for my daughters. Arienette is the easiest, she is five. I go to the boys’ section if she needs sweat pants, because they are thicker than the ones the girls have, (yes, really) then, I just raid the girls’ section for whatever else she needs. She loves clothes, so, as long as it’s cute, she doesn’t care what I get her.

Krishna, at 16, is a little more picky. Luckily, we generally have the same taste in clothing,(though sometimes I still find myself thinking WTF??) so, anything I think is cute will generally make her happy, plus anything that has super heroes (or villains), or The Doctor on it will make her squeal with delight. Basically, at her age, as long as she is covered, I am happy.

The problem arises if ever I should deign to attempt to find clothing for myself. Regardless of what store I am shopping at, I walk in already knowing that I am unlikely to find anything I like that is also in my size, and, bu the time I walk out, 98% of the time, I have bought no clothing.

You see, I am a fat girl. (GASP!) For some reason, clothing companies see this, and assume that it means that I do not wish to be seen, so they throw shapeless tops in dark colors and floral patterns with barely any neckline and no flare or imagination at all at me thinking, somehow, that I will be thrilled at the options, when really, they are not giving me options.

This upsets me more than I can tell you. Follow me around the clothing section in any store, and you will invariably hear me muttering obscenities along with things like “do they think that they can just make fat girls disappear by hiding us under circus tents?”, or “Of course, I’m a fat girl, why on earth would I possibly want to look cute?” The thing is, I do want to look cute. I love the clothing I see in other sections. I really wish that someone would make those clothes in my size.

I prefer to wear form fitting clothing. It is more comfortable to me, and frankly, I may be a bigger girl, but I have some kick ass curves, and you can’t see them if I am swimming in one of the shapeless t shirt things that dominates my size range at any given store. I like my clothing to reflect my personality, to show off my goofy, nerdy side, or maybe that day I want to just look pretty. When my choices do not have personality, this is made even more difficult. I just don’t understand why manufacturers don’t see the market for cute, plus size clothing.

I went shopping the other day, and I bought four pieces of clothing. Four. Three tops and a skirt. One of the tops may get returned, because I am iffy about the pattern. I consider this to be a good shopping day. My best, actually, in over a year. I had to look through all of the clothes in the entire women’s’ section twice before I found anything. i had to dig through the racks to see if they had anything that would fit me that wasn’t boring or hideous. This should not be the case.

I am going to end this by saying one simple thing that I think everyone can understand: unless you want a bunch of fat girls running around naked, you need to clothe us. Most of us prefer to look cute. It makes us happier. You don’t want a bunch of pissed off, naked fat girls looking for you, do you? Or, maybe that’s your thing, I won’t judge.

“Spacetacular” No More.

In the late 90’s, when Space Center first opened its doors in Hooksett NH, the commercials were like a Siren song. The colors, the sounds, the images on the screen… it all depicted everything that a middle school girl could ever hope for. When we finally went, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a dream come true. The games were fun, putting tokens into slots only to get back piles of paper tickets, jumping on rides, and getting prizes better than the ones at FunSpot. The only downside was when we left… I actually remember getting a big, blue, floppy, fuzzy hat, and a teddy bear. A week later, I gave the bear to an assistant teacher who was moving away. I was in 6th grade, so this must have been 1996 or 97, depending on which part of the school year it was. I even remember the jingle for the old commercial, lauding it for being “Spacetacular”, and it certainly was. Unfortunately, as children, we never went back.

Fast forward 20 years, The girls and I went with a group of friends to Space Center for laser tag. I was fairly excited to go, running on the nostalgia of what I remembered as a wonderful time as a kid. As we walked through the doors, however, I realized things were going to be different this time. No longer do they use tokens, instead, plastic credit card type things are used, which, apparently, if you do not re swipe after playing a game, might not credit your points to you. Most of their games are gone, replaced by so much seating that went unused. Almost half of the building was seating. The games that remain were fine, I suppose, however, there was nothing at all for Arienette to do, her sister even had to be with her in order for her to ride the bumper cars, and even though the ski ball game was half the size of the one at Fun Spot, she still couldn’t do that. There wasn’t a single slot machine in the building. What they DID have were bumper cars, a mini roller coaster, a rotating rock wall, and of course, laser tag. Oh, and the furniture and carpets that they had in the 90’s. There were some claw machines, and a “Buck Hunter” game, and a few others. The prizes were about what you would see at Fun Spot, and every time I saw an employee, they looked like they were bored out of their mind.

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was sad. To see something that was once such a wonderful memory for me tarnished like that was painful. In the end, the kids did what they were there to do, so they had a good time, Ari ran around and danced in the ample space provided by the couches in the TV area, and I got her some prizes with the points I got while trying to find a game she could play. She had a good time too.I will not be returning to Space Center. I don’t see the point, when Fun Spot is just SO much better.

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President Drumpf.

Many emotions are running through my head this morning. Hurt and humiliation chief among them. This is a hard pill to swallow, and it is far too easy to rage and scream, or as is my wont, cry. I won’t get into the myriad of reasons that Drumpf is a horrible candidate. That horse has been beaten to death, burned, drowned and beaten again. It is now a mash on the floor that even the insects will not touch, and still we as a country elected to sit him in the White House. A decision we will come to regret, I fear, far more than many of us already do.

That being said, I am choosing HOPE. I choose hope because I don’t want to believe that it is going to be as bad as my heart says it will. I choose hope because I need something to cling to. Apparently America needs to learn this lesson. I hope we come through on the other side in one piece.

“The Donald” has SEVENTY FIVE ongoing legal battles currently, and people are already talking about impeaching him, but Pence may be even worse in the event that does happen. Pence actually knows what he is doing, whereas Drumpf is very probably making it all up as he goes along. Only time will tell us where we are going from here, but it’s not over. No, it’s far from over.

I don’t know where we are going, but I have hope… and hope has feathers.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

– Emily Dickinson

“I Would Like You If…”

I recently read this article, and have been thinking a lot on the subject since. Here are my thoughts.

Do you know what the absolute worst part of being told (or even just knowing) that they would like you if you weren’t fat is? The fact that you know that, no matter how much weight you lost, you would never really be what they are looking for. It is feeling like, no matter what you do, you could never be good enough for the person who, despite everything, is more than good enough in your eyes. There are no words that can adequately describe how much that hurts, and all the versions of “fuck them”, or “if they can’t see your beauty”, or “you deserve better” could never make you forget that pain.

I have a wide-set body. I have hips, and wide shoulders. Even at my smallest, I was a size 8. I could never be a size 2. It just physically could never happen because of my frame. Whenever I like someone, I think about their ex… I compare. I don’t necessarily mean to, it just happens. When I know that she is so much smaller than me – in every possible way – it hurts. She is tiny. her frame, her height, even her voice is tiny. By comparison, I may as well be the Good Year blimp. This automatically registers in my mind as oh, he could never like you… you could never measure up to her… she would be disgusted… The veracity of any of those statements notwithstanding, I feel them as if they are being screamed at me by a choir of Devils wielding torches and pitchforks any time I even think that maybe there is the tiniest possibility that perhaps he could like me a little bit.


The man in the above referenced article is clearly an asshole. I’m not here to get into that. However, that is not always the case. Men (and women) have preferences. Some people are simply not attracted to bigger women, or smaller women, people of color or freckles, or blonde hair, or blue eyes, or green eyes, or tall people or short people or any myriad of other physical qualities. We are entitled to our preferences, certainly… but it doesn’t make it hurt less when the object of your affection tells you that they aren’t interested in you because of something you cannot change.

Is there a proper way to break the news to someone you know has those feelings for you? I can’t say for sure; everyone is different, and, as such, everyone is going to react differently. I can’t even say for certain what would be the best way to approach me with the information… other than that I value transparency, and being face to face… not being strung along, etc. Any way you slice it, the pain is going to be there, so I suppose the best way to start is to imagine yourself in their situation, because, realistically, someday, you might be.