Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Wore Red

I'm not terribly political. I believe what I believe and I vote how I vote and I don't make much of a secret of it, but I don't make much of an issue of it, either.

This week the Supreme Court, in case you've been living under a rock and missed it, has been hearing arguments on Prop. 8 and DOMA. I hope your Facebook wall is as full of red and pink profile pictures as mine is. It warms my heart to see all of the support this issue is getting. I changed my profile picture.

And on Tuesday, I wore red.

Now I'm a reasonably intelligent woman.

I know that me donning a pair of red Chucks is not going to result in equal rights any more than me buying a pink Mixmaster is going to result in a cure for breast cancer. Changing my profile picture will not result in legal marriages for everyone who wants to be married any more than -- well -- changing my profile picture will help to prevent child abuse.

But still, I wore red.

I wore it not because I thought it would actually change anything -- it won't -- but because I wanted to make an outward show of my support. I wore it for the same reason I wear the colors of my favorite team to a football game -- or even just to watch the game in my own home. Go team. This is a lot more important than a football game, though. This isn't about numbers on a scoreboard, this is about the rights of my sister, my daughter and so many of my friends to enjoy the same legal privileges that I have just by virtue of the fact that I am hetero. It wasn't a choice. I was born that way. 

So I wore red.

I wore red because I am madly in love with a man who can, by virtue of our marriage license, cover me with his insurance and visit me in the hospital should I need to utilize said coverage and make decisions regarding my medical care should I be rendered unable to do so. The thought that that same right -- that same protection -- is not extended to everyone who is equally madly in love is repellant to me.

I wore red.

It didn't change anything.

But it reminded a lot of people who I love that I'm on their side. And also some people I like. And also some people I don't even know. And also some people I don't like very much at all. I'm not passionate about this issue because it has an effect on people I love. (It does.) I'm passionate about this issue because it is right and it is fair. 

Peace. Love. Equality.

Monday, March 4, 2013


When I was teaching, I got into a heated and passionate exchange with a student when we talked about the potential of the mind. Every person is born with a wide range of potential -- they can choose to achieve at the lower end of that potential, the upper end, or anywhere in between. My student felt that everyone has unlimited potential -- that if they put their mind to it, anyone can achieve anything. It's a nice thought, but it's not so. While that range is vast and most of us do not ever reach that higher limit, that limit is indeed there. 

Go back to school with me for a moment. I'd be willing to bet a hard-earned dollar that there was someone in your class who earned straight A's with little or no effort. I'd be equally willing to bet that there was someone in your class who worked their ass off for C's. I guess I was pretty lucky in the school arena. I could pretty consistently pull B's with no effort at all and could bring it up to an A with a little bit of work.

My parents were fond of telling me that I did not live up to my potential.

God, just typing that made me roll my eyes.

I believe it's like that with our bodies, too.

Some people have nice bodies, according to the grading system known as society, and maintain them with little or no effort. Some will catch themselves losing a little bit of tone and put a little effort in and be right back where they want to be with just a little bit of effort. Some work consistently, every day, to maintain their above average physiques. Some work their asses off just to be average. That last one is me. And, in almost a year, I haven't QUITE achieved average. I guess I'd be a solid D student, if we were extending the analogy. I get tutoring. I study hard every day. I'm hoping to one day bring my D up to a C. 

A C would be a huge win.

For some people -- for a LOT of people -- a C is as good as a fail. But not for the people who work really hard for that C. A hard-earned C beats an easy A any old day in this former teacher/mother's book.

I have to work really hard to achieve the physical goals that most people meet just by waking up and breathing.

Just like the student who busts their ass for a C, and is judged poorly next to the person who just rolled out of bed and pulled a B without even cracking the book.

I've already confessed that -- in the student analogy -- I was one of the lucky ones. Not one of the luckiEST ones, but pretty darn lucky. But I've worked with those students who wanted it BADLY and had to really really work for it. The day that D student pulls a C+? Well, that's a happy day. That is an honest, hard-earned grade that he/she deserves to be ridiculously proud of.

And so it is with my feeble progress in the fitness arena. I am not good at any of the things I do. I grunt and posture and pose like I am sometimes -- and people indulge me, the way one would indulge a child who felt the need to announce how great they are at everything. But the truth is -- even though my achievements might not look like much on paper -- I have worked hard for them. 

And I have to keep working -- keep working hard -- just to maintain the progress I've made.

If that student we've been talking about missed a class or two, he/she would have to work like crazy to catch up. It wouldn't be a matter of just reading a couple chapters -- like it might be for someone with a different range of potential.

It's like that for me, too.

If I let things slide -- even for a couple days -- I get so far behind that it's hard to see how I'll ever get back.

I want to reach the top of my potential. 

That point, I've come to realize. will not be an A on life's report card. But if I could just pull that C...