Trading Old Habits for New.


It should be painfully obvious that I have some pretty self-destructive coping skills. If something comes along to set me off, I generally react in a specific way. This generally equates to: I feel discomfort, I eat to feel good again.

And of course I eat a ton of carbs because they raise the seratonin in the brain and work very much like a drug to me. I can numb myself from every unpleasant feeling under a load of sugar or starches and presto-bingo… I feel better again.

At least physically.

Until the effects of the extra weight start to affect my health.

Then I feel bad.

So I eat again.

Vicious, vicious cycle.

The last couple of days I’ve had some run-ins with people, strangers really, from the Internet. The first one was someone on Facebook who wanted to know when Obama would just admit he was in over his head. Her Fox News watching followers all chimed in to say that without Fox News, no media outlet would “tell the truth”, and she demanded to know just one thing he had promised to do that he had done.

I considered not answering the question, given I kinda already knew from past history that these types of discussions rarely go well. If she’s that far gone into her own biases not to see facts as they exist, my contribution wouldn’t help much. Especially since she had already bit the head off of another contributor – it was evident she was spoiling for a fight.

But… I decided to throw a link up there anyway – which she immediately challenged in a verbose, long-winded diatribe that made even ME tired to read it. I told her it was a ridiculous argument to suggest just because he hadn’t done some of the things he promised he hadn’t done ANYTHING he promised and the “yeah, but” argument just meant she’d never be happy with anything he did do.

I did conclude with a snarky comment that because I don’t listen to Fox News I guess I was a “stupid liberal who didn’t know anything.” The comment was not directed toward her, it was more the general assessment of people who think Fox News spouts the gospel and everyone else is flat out lying mentality that was already prevalent in the thread from her other contributors.

I threw another link up there to give her some more stuff our lazy good for nothing president hasn’t been doing since he got into office and she immediately challenged the source – or rather, put me down while she challenged the source. (“Who owns Politifact? Do you even know?”) Then she chewed my ass up for being so “presumptuous” and how dare I challenge her about Fox News being her only source when I didn’t know anything about her. Whereupon she proceeded to tell me I probably was happy with the president because I had job security, one of the lucky few who still had a home and just liked to sit back and ignore everything that was going on in the world to make myself feel better.

Faithful readers of this blog can all now enjoy a chuckle.

(Her comments in essence proved my snarky assessment true, even though it pissed her off that I would “presume” such a thing about her in the first place, because apparently she was above such things.)

Rather than defend myself against her I just pointed out how interesting it was she claimed a point could be made without an attack, then attacking me gleefully when I didn’t agree with her. I promptly then unfriended her and got out of the conversation.

For those who know me, you know that this is a HUGE change in my MO. I don’t unfriend people… people unfriend me. And I’m always really hurt when they do.

This time… not so much.

I realize that trying to build my brand as a writer I, in a lot of ways, will have fans I must cultivate relationships with through respect and tolerance that every now and then I’m going to let them down because I won’t do or say or write something that they will like or agree with.

And I knew I was behind the eight ball when I jumped into the discussion.

BUT…

I’m not going to muzzle myself or change my natural instincts for confrontation when I know I’m in the right. I believe everything unchallenged stands as fact, and if I can interject a little sanity and truth, or just a different point of view, into the matter I’m going to do so.

If people then want to treat me like a dog because I did so, then they don’t deserve my friendship – OR my attention.

That’s not going to change just because I want to sell a few books. In fact, anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time already knows I’ve built my own personal brand around NOT sitting back and shutting up when I felt my own personal beliefs had been challenged.

Now I just get to pick and choose which I’m going to allow to stick around after they show their true colors.

Not one for letting my new conviction stand unchallenged, God threw another stone in my path yesterday on Twitter. Someone spouted something disrespectful about Jesus, which is another hot button with me. Have your problems with religion, that’s fine. I have plenty of my own too. But the minute you start mocking a god-head, you’re going to hurt the feelings of people who have personalized a relationship with him (or her) and it’s just tacky and classless.

To be blunt, it’s just a cheap shot that has no real purpose other than to be mean.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with my beliefs, and generally I keep them to myself and just let them guide me as a person to bring me joy and comfort and peace. I don’t have to answer to anyone for my beliefs, although for a while now I have definitely been challenged for having them, even within my own family.

BUT… I do expect people to treat my having that belief with respect. I don’t go around to other religions trying to tell them they’re wrong, nor go try to convert non-believers into believers. I think that everyone should be allowed to come to these decisions on their own and – if they’re not using these beliefs to harm or control anyone – should be left alone.

(Religion has been an excuse to incite a lot of violence, yes… but it’s been used to do a lot of good too. If we assume all Christianity is bad based on the Crusades, then we’re no different than those who want to blame 9/11 on Islam.)

I knew before I addressed it that it would end badly, much like the conversation before. And I thought momentarily about not answering the tweet that was posed to say, “If Jesus did exist and he knew what would happen in his name, he’d pick up his hammer and STFU.”

This essentially boiled down to, “If you knew that someone would twist your words for their own gain, you should shut up and never try to do anything of any importance.”

I found this offensive on two levels. The Jesus part for one, of course, but the second as a writer. I do use my books to explore these themes that will hopefully crack a dent in some outdated ideas. I want to make people think and challenge them to see things from another point of view. That’s how we create change for the better – by allowing people to walk in the shoes of another.

I use books to do that.

Jesus used parables.

So I took a deep breath and I said, “If you knew something you’d say for the good would get changed to bad by a select few, would you not say it?”

And she said in this particular context, yes. (Which means, No, but I’m still trying to prove my point.)

This went around and around for a while and I even challenged that by a certain point she was just arguing to argue. My entire point was just because the message gets perverted it doesn’t mean the message is bad, nor should one stop trying to influence for the good. Any message/influence can be used to manipulate others.

But she was dogged in trying to whip me into submission I guess and wouldn’t let go of the fight. I, however, stepped out of the fray the minute she tried to point out how stupid Jesus was for not knowing how to craft his message.

It was just nastiness for the sake of nastiness. Add that to a closed mind and I was really quite done. I stopped following her halfway through the argument, but that little comment got her blocked.

Mocking Jesus to someone who is openly Christian – not cool. That goes beyond disbelief in a “sky fairy” to disrespect of the person whom you’re addressing. People pounce on that little button like it’s a freaking trampoline in Hal’s chat room, there was NO WAY I was going to tolerate it on my own Twitter feed.

These are not people I want to be friends with. It’s not because they’re not Democrats or Christian, it’s because they have such a nasty attitude. If you can’t hold your debate respectfully with me, then we are not going to debate.

A. There’s just no point. B. Mean people suck.

I was so fed up by this point that I decided to take Winston and go for a walk at the park. I had toyed with the idea of not going at all yesterday because of my back and all the grief it’s given me these last few days I’ve tried to get active. But I just wanted to do something pro-active that made me feel better… and my first instinct was NOT to go grab food.

This is HUGER than HUGE.

Instead of swallowing disrespectful treatment (and a ton of food to make it go down), I was able to stand up for myself, my beliefs and actually felt bolder having done so. If I, the Queen of People Pleasing, could put my foot down on how OTHER people treat me, I could certain demand better treatment from myself.

There are new rules of engagement, and I’m finally feeling confident enough to enforce them.

1. Treat with me with respect.
2. Treat my beliefs with respect, even if we disagree.

My books are just going to have to speak for themselves. I’m not going to conform to everyone else just to sell a few copies. I’ve been doing that with my own self esteem for years and look where it got me.

There’s a new sheriff in town.

And she says enough is enough.

My food journal, courtesy of Sparkpeople.

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