Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weight on the Mind

This past week I went to my doctor for my annual check up and get my medical forms for running for the next year filled out. Interesting fact, when you're sponsored by companies in sports oftentimes you're required to have your doctor fill out a medical waiver for you, just like when you were in school. This year started like all the other years, I was measured, weighed, but then when the nurse entered my information into their computer system a large screen popped up and declared in large red letters that I'm obese.

 Venus Of Urbino by Titian 1538


Now this is not news to me. The only time I have been in the weight range for my height (5'1", 114-130 lbs) I was barely eating, riding my bike for an hour to and from school, had PE, dance, and sword fighting 3 times a week, each for 1.5 hours (so roughly 13.5 hours a week). During the summer I'd be down to about 7 hours of exercise a week with sword fighting and bike riding, and I'd always go back up to 150. That was my body's comfy place as a teenager, and even then my doctor was always lecturing me about my weight. 

I've been hearing the weight loss lecture for 22 years now, and I'm sick of it. I was 5 years old when my mother was lectured about my weight (she just went through weight loss surgery to help with her diabetes), in high school I took cooking into my own hands as soon as I got a job and went vegetarian, but I have always been at least 20 lbs over weight unless I'm starving myself. I'm used to always getting The Lecture when I visit the doctor.

Venus with Organist and Cupid by Titian 1555


This time my doctor gave my papers a look over and then skeptically asked me how do I think I can run a half marathon at my weight. She then was a bit surprised, but receptive, when I pointed out earlier this month I ran a half marathon, and I'm already back to working on my feet and riding my bike everywhere. She and I discussed my low blood pressure (too low is an issue, just like too high), my weight, my diet, my knees, my anemia, and she smiled as she signed my papers and told me to keep up the good work. Though not eating crap and exercising I've avoided common family issues like diabetes, poor circulation, high cholesterol, and fertility issues, as well as kept my anemia in check. I'm not on medications, I might need to be in 10 years to raise my blood pressure, but at this time it just increases my risk for a heart attack. Sometimes the cure is honestly worse then the disease.

Yes, I'm over weight, but still my doctor smiled and said I'm perfectly healthy. Even with the recent movement to accept people that aren't perfectly thin I find it surprising to find such a nice and open minded doctor. The positive attitude I received from her really does make a difference in my day and my running. Instead of feeling guilty I was reminded that I'm doing well and to not stop just because of people's opinions. Sure judge me for eating bread, and the jiggle in my arms, but I can still lift a 50 lbs bag of flour into my cart with one hand, am currently sore from weighted squats and push ups, and can put my male friends into headlocks. I'm strong, and still described as one of the most feminine looking women many of my friends know (big boobs do help). While you worry about every calorie, I'm sitting over here thinking of switching from butter to duck fat in my French Onion soup.

Being thin is not my goal. Being healthy is, and it seems I'm there.


Great message, annoying song and video

Monday, August 25, 2014

Conservation as a Lifestyle - Part 2: Letting go and focus on what matters

I lead a Conservation Lifestyle. My life is not about having the newest clothes, being popular, keeping up with the celebrities or going out and partying. What I care most about is my friends and family, my cat, my boyfriend, and being a productive person. The things that will matter to me when I die.

If you focus on one thing long enough you'll most likely eventually achieve it. I have an attention span that is worse then my kitten's (she spends most of her time sleeping or focused on it), and I therefore have focused my life in general by trying to improve it in all aspects of need, and being a good person in general. Clothing, transportation, food , shelter, and water.

Before I jump into the needs I need to say one of the things about trying to be a better person is that there will always be room for improvement. I do not claim to be a good person, but let others decide that for themselves (and then promptly don't care what they think). I try to always buy local from small businesses, then from stores in my area, and if that fails I turn towards online. I know my neighbors and drop off baked goods for them since one full batch of anything is too much for me while my boyfriend is deployed, and they help me when I need something like wood cut for a trellis. I support our troops and have worked and volunteered at VFW Posts since I was a preteen, I support our police and loved working with them in the past and hope to do more with them in the future, I run half marathons for charity (I have to raise so much to be allowed to run), and I am always here for my friends (be it help moving or a smack upside the head when they need reminding to not be stupid). I am however prone to bitchy to the stupid, the egotistical, and the douches. Yes there are times that I laugh and smile after pissing someone off that I feel had it coming to them. I'm not a saint, but I believe in Karma and hope to keep things in balance.

First need I'll started with is clothes. A few years ago a friend of mine cleaned out her closet because the fashions have changed, and she gave them to me. I donated what was a bit too trendy for my and kept that which could easily be paired with jeans or a t-shirt and let the rest go. Easy place to start, but then over the last year I've taken it further. With the growing problem of finding clothes that fit me properly I have turned to making my own. I buy American designer patterns, printed here in the states, buy the majority of my fabric for my clothes from American mills and printers, and get it mostly all right here in the Bay Area. I have to put time and effort into it, but the clothes I wear around my house and to work are the same 5-10 items every day, till the wear out. My work clothes consist of a pair of slacks, black shoes, and a white shirt that I wear only at work. They come off as soon as I'm home and this preserves them amazingly well. The dresses, skirts, and shirts I make are only worn on special days when I'm running errands or going out. My single pair of jeans and my favorite flats with a t-shirt are what I wear to class. I only buy things when I need them. My closet is not bursting, sure it feels like I can always use more socks, but unless something is on sale or clearance I'll pass. I'll have forgotten about some amazing full price item in 2 weeks usually, and if I haven't I'll wait another 2 to go get it. Sometimes it is now out of stock, sometimes it is suddenly on sale, but it keeps me from buying things on a whim.

Second is transportation. I live in a small town, but even when I lived in a city most of my grocery shopping was done with a roommate, or I walked to get what I needed. When I moved to Sacramento I spent 3 months saving $600 worth of overtime to get my bike so I could cut down my gas consumption. Using gas is pricey, wasteful, and lazy. Through hard work over the last 6 months I've cut my gas consumption by 75%. I go through only a tank a month in my little Honda Civic that gets 320 miles per tank, and that is mainly spent on going to see friends in other cities. I bike to the bank, my grocery store, fabric store, work, school, and the post office. I have a detachable basket that limits the amount of stuff I can buy while at the grocery store causes me to really think about what I need (head of cabbage or 6 pack of beer was an issue once). This simple task of biking helps my health and has allowed me to explore the trails, parks, and neighborhoods. There is really no downside to this unless it rains, but rain is never a downside.

Third is food. This is a huge one for be because I really do love to eat and I have cats who need to eat healthy food as much as I do. For them I know I will spend about $60 on food per month between their Taste of the Wild food (canned and dry), Lycine supplements and treats. For myself the fact that I work at a restaurant helps my grocery bill hugely. I get one meal free at work if I work for over 6 hours, which I do 3 days a week. On those days I might only have a Don Lee vegan patty for breakfast, and skip dinner altogether as my work has huge servings. On my days off I usually gave a vegan patty or toast for breakfast, a BLT or soup for lunch, and dinner might be homemade pizza or pasta, depending on how well I've planned. Planning is such a large part of how I cook. I have to prep pizza dough the day before so it can slowly rise in the fridge, I make my own pasta and have to have enough on hand. But mainly I need to have the basics around my house to create the meals. I'll go into more detail later, but a well stocked kitchen can be your best friend.

Fourth is shelter. My home means a lot to me. I make most of my own decorations and am lucky to have artistic friends. I only buy household items on sale and in bulk, I ask for the nicer things I lust after but don't need for the holidays (my high tea set was one), and I keep it clean. The fact that I live alone means I know all the messes in the house are mine, and when I had roommates I knew that a mess was the the #1 thing that could annoy someone faster then loud music. I've almost always rented from friends and family, and in exchange for lower rent I take on extra chores, fixing the house up, or spend months house sitting. The most I have ever paid in rent was $750 for a tiny studio in downtown Capitola, but I've had places for as little as $200 a month if I didn't mind having to drive someone around one day a week, or that I had a dog to look after.

Lastly is water. With the drought this is one that is very important to me. I have let the yard go brown, I cut 8.5" off my hair, and now only shower every other day for 5-7 mins. When I step into the shower I have a timer set to go off at 5 min and by that time I'm either ready to get out or just need to finish rinsing. On the days I don't shower I have a facial cleaning brush that I use to keep my face clear. For the garden I only water while I'm back there in the early morning or evening. I pull weeds, harvest plants, and turn soil while moving the sprinkler around so that it waters a few plants at a time. When I planted my fall crops I planted some squashes in the front yard and slowly some of the grass is coming back, but mainly I rejoice in the fact that I don't have to cram them into the backyard with the other plants.

Conservation is a lifestyle. We have limited resources on this planet and without proper care we'll be making worse problems for our grandchildren then we made for ourselves.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Conservation as a Life Style - Part 1: How it started and led us here.

This is not news, but California is in a bad drought. Bad enough that people will be seeing the affects in years to come as our food prices rise and our landscape is altered. This is one of the many signs that is telling us we need to review our lifestyles, make changes, and strive for something better.

Water is the blood of life and we humans are 55-60% water. The fact that California, the maker of most of our country's produce, is in this crisis is something that affects our entire country and everyone needs to take stock of their own lifestyle. 

We Americans are living a lifestyle that was started by the fact that we won World War 2. Now I'm not saying that it winning it was a bad thing, the problem stems from our attitude after we won the war. We suddenly became the world's super hero, we were untouchable, we are #1, we deserve the American Dream for saving everyone and we'll show the world what that dream is!

Deserve. Now that is an interesting attitude. When the boys came home from the war they went back to work, but suddenly the government took the stance that we were the new world police and our people deserved the American Dream. They encouraged people to buy homes, cars, and to go to school. Still nothing wrong, except that people starting feeling that they needed to keep up with the Jones. Suddenly you were uncool if you were middle class and without a TV, car, owned your home, and could support a housewife and 2 kids. With this American Dream that we were fed, people overnight became inadequate (hello huge rise in depression). In the 60's Americans continued to play world police in Vietnam, and trying to lead the world on what the best life style was with outlandish seasonal clothing, food, newer faster cars, and suddenly with the color TV we all needed to start upgrading our gadgets as well. In the 70's we had Nixon Shock which caused inflation to triple. For those of you that have not taken an economics class I'll explain. We all know Newton's Third Law of Physics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, well this can be used in economics as well. When inflation suddenly rises or falls it will eventually correct itself, but it is slow to do so. The recession that was from the 70's and lasted to the early 80's was the reaction of the inflation, and it was not helped by a generation of people that had been told from the crib that they deserved the American Dream that their parents bought. We kept buying, upgrading, borrowing, funding wars, and promising the people of the examples of the lifestyles they should strive for. By this time we have our parents generation growing up, and now students loans became normal. They were told that they needed the education to get the American Dream, but the price tag was beginning to get disproportionate every year. 

Now we're here with my generation which has crippling debt, no idea of how to do things themselves, and this idea that we deserve the newest items. We have not been taught to conserve, fix things, or take care of ourselves. We have teens and people in their 20's that still believe that the government will fix it, that we can hire someone to fix things, that we'll always be able to throw money at it till we run out of money or it gets to be a crisis at which point the government will come bail our asses out. But the government is more concerned about staying the world's police, about not offending anyone's religion, and is struggling to keep up the best lifestyle. 

We need to let go of being the best and having the best. We need to start looking around ourselves and stop watching things online. One of the reasons I think reality TV and the Sims is so popular is because we feel that their lives are better and more interesting then our own. We long for those clothes, phones, hair styles, make up, and lifestyles. The drama is more exciting and gets our blood pumping easier and faster then say, fixing the garbage disposal. I mean if the stars can have someone come in and just replace something why can't I? We're both Americans and deserve the same things. But what we forgot along the way was that we do not deserve anything, and our needs is all that we should ask help for after we have truly tried and failed to provide them ourselves. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Education and Women in America: A Study of Our Current Feminist Movement

When did it become acceptable in America to use the lack of opportunity as an excuse for stupidity and being lazy?

Recently I had a 30 something year old woman in the restaurant that had to do basic addition on her fingers to figure out a total with tip. It was $18.53 and she was leaving a $5 tip. She got it wrong the first time, I corrected her, she tried twice more and just wrote down the total I told her. I posted this on my Facebook and the comments I received were women excusing her ignorance mainly with the excuse that not all people have the same opportunities in life, and I need to be more understanding.

Let us examine a few things here.

First, basic addition is something you will be put into special education if you cannot do by the end of the 1st grade. How do I know? I was in special education for reading and saw others in there for math. I was pulled out of my normal class for 3 hours in the first grade. After the 1st grade I was only pulled out for 2 hours, having overcome my stammer and slurring of words, to continue reading, meaning I missed more of the regular curriculum that most students received. Try to keep up as I do some math. I started school at 8:30am and left at 2:30pm, had a half hour lunch and two 15 minute recesses, and on Fridays I got out at 12:30pm had only one 15 minute break. I spent 3 hours per day Monday-Thursday in special education for reading and speech therapy in the 1st grade, and 2 hours in grades 2-4. If this was school a teacher might ask "how many hours was the child in school for and what percentage did she miss of the regular curriculum due to being in special education?"

Answers: I was in school for 24.75 hours per week, I missed 60% of my 1st grade year by being in special education and catching up on my alphabet and learning how to speak. From grades 2-4 I missed 40% of the normal curriculum by being in special classes for reading.

Just to figure out the percentages I missed I had to use addition, subtraction, decimals, and division. A 3rd grader should be able to figure out that word problem.

I can honestly tell you when I realized how screwed I was in regards to falling behind and that I needed to work on my studies. I was in the 1st grade and we were being given our words for a spelling test. I figured I'd copy them onto my little milk box pencil holder, that all of us had, so that I would see it every day. Only after writing the word Rose did I realize this wouldn't help me, because I couldn't read what I had just written. I was in a low income area, I had a single mother who I only saw on weekends, I never had homework help growing up, but somehow by the end of the 4th grade I had caught up on reading, was ahead in math an science, and my speech had improved to the point that people could understand me.

I'm still weak in grammar, my spelling is poor, and my handwriting is acceptable. These things would have been a lot worse however if I did not work on them in my adult life. I paid for weekend courses in business grammar just so that I could get better jobs, and write emails to clients without my bosses being mortified. I also bought calligraphy books and these last 2 years have worked on my handwriting in my spare time daily. I don't have much spare time either. I practice grammar, spelling, and handwriting by writing letters to friends and family. I write in a very strict style of cursive to ensure it can be read, practice daily by writing everything from my grocery list to my sales logs by hand, and I make sure I write Daniel once a week while he is deployed. By writing things out my grammar and spelling is continuing to improve. I have never been required to do these things in my adult life. If I wanted to be lazy I could have taken the extra college courses for grammar, but I spent 2 days freshening up on my grammar before taking the placement tests so that I'd only have to take 1 English class that everyone is required to take.


Second issues we're going to examine. Why is it only women that commented and believe that it is perfectly okay for her to not know basic addition? Do I mainly have female friends? Is it mainly girls that answer Facebook statuses? I went and did a little searching. Out of my 376 Facebook friends I have 214 male friends and 162 female friends, which means I have about 14% more male then female friends. However, though I talk via private message with most of my male friends, mainly females reply to my statuses.

I have a theory that women jumped to her defense, because our current feminist movement these days feel that women are, as a whole, still being prosecuted and abused, that they are unwilling to accept any criticism, and are more willing to excuse poor behavior, stupidity, or character flaws in women, but still judge men harshly.

I'm a feminist, but not one that thinks that we should cut women slack because men treated them harshly. If I did cut women slack due to being treated harshly I would be allowing women to take advantage of being the victim, and this is something I will never do.

The goal of feminists is for us to be of equal status in all things with men. We cannot reach this if we believe we should be given special allowances or privileges for past offences. In this I mean that while allowing special grants to women to ensure we have equal amounts of males and females in colleges is okay, it is not okay for a professors to lessen the workload or lower the grading standards for women just so that they get the same grades as the male students. Giving women the same opportunities as their male counterparts is very important, but once we give then the opportunity it is up to them to make the most of it.

Since women these days are lowering the bar for each other, to make each feel better and important, I feel that we are weakening society as a whole. We're setting an example for the next generation that girls should be placed on a pedestal and it is acceptable for them to not take personal responsibility for their actions and education. I have 90 year old ladies come in that still have their hair an makeup all done up, and only ask for help with the check because they cannot read it, but once I tell them the total they can do the math in their heads, write it down on the correct lines, and then sign without help.

When I was 17 and living with my great grandmother she would see me struggling with my conceptual physics homework and rather then say "Toughen up buttercup" it would straight up be "Toughen up!" There was no softening of calling me some cute name. It was toughen up or fail. What a concept! I could either work at it till I got better, or I could lay down and just fail  the class. It was up to no one but me. I have a personal responsibility to my own success in things and if I don't try till I succeed then I'm only screwing myself over.

Women need to stop lowering the bar for each other. We need to remember to toughen up!

I hope that woman's husband is rich since she's giving out 27% tips, and he helps their little girl with her math homework,  because that woman is setting a poor example for daughter.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dolor comunicato è subito scemato

I recieved the greatest gift in the mail yesterday. The pasta maker Kitchenaid attachments!

These are a surprise from Daniel since I have been looking at getting a pasta maker for months and he knew I couldn't afford a fancy one, so he ordered me the ones I'd been dreaming about. Honestly though I'm not sure if he's being super sweet or if he doesn't want to keep eating the 1/8" pasta I make with just my rolling pin. 

I've been noticing a pattern lately in my life and that is I'm surrounded my military and Italians. The military thing is a given since Daniel is in the USAF, but the Italian part is new.

I'm a proud Norwegian American and was brought up by my mother's very Scandinavian family and there is no Italian in our family. I'm pretty sure the last time anyone in our family visited Italy was with Björn Ironside when he sacked Luna, (and we all know how well that turned out). This has created a bit of a culture shock between Daniel and I, but we're dealing. At least we each have some German blood to bond over. 

I'm kind of a Francophile, can make awesome bruchetta, and watched all of the Sopranos, but when I started learning that his father would not be please that I'm not Italian, I started learning how to cook Italian food. First I started with the famous tortellini's made with 1/8" pasta I made from scratch, and then moved on to bolognese sauce. I also pulled out my Frances Mays collection of signed books hoping she could give some in site on being an American in an Italian world.



It's interesting because my family isn't please that he is Italian (a few women in my family had their 1st husbands be Italian), and so Daniel and I have taken to making bad jokes about our ancestry. Like about how his Italian temper is no match for my German wrath. Or that my Norwegian calm is completely perplexed by his Italian passion. The entire thing is topped off with us sending each other bad jokes we find on the internet, like this SATW Comic (no I don't have a mustache but I will hurt you if you grab me).

So get ready for me to be making pasta while watching Sophia Loren movies.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

To Grow

Every year, no matter where I live, I try and grow a garden. This year with the attack my garden plans were thrown off course, but it may have been all for the better.

Originally I had built a few planters and started seeds at my place and right before Daniel deployed he gave me an area at the house to be mine to plant what I couldn't at my place. This is what it looked like after the fence fell down the week after he left:


What you're seeing is the fence that the neighbor neatly stacked to the side, thistles, rocks, landscape paper, and a gas line to what use to be a built in hot tub.


Above is what it looks like now. The last of the fallen fence is piled to the side, the planters from my house has come over, the peas are climbing the chicken wire, my tomatoes are happy with the wine bottle watering system, and the rocks are gone.

Since the attack Daniel and I decided that my moving out of Sacramento was a good idea, and he wanted me to move into his house. I agreed that I would if we can find me a job in his area first. Well since then the company I work for got sold. I have been looking for a new job from Napa to Davis and hopefully by Monday I will know if I have a new job just 5 miles from his house. My current job is secure, but they're merging the dispatch centers and all the old dispatchers here will be demoted to camera watchers (I'm a dispatcher, not a guard, Jim!). The universe just seems to be telling me Sacramento is not the place for me and I've accepted it.

Through these hard times I've been blessed with some awesome neighbors at Daniel's house. Paul is retired Navy, a guard at San Quintin, has 2 wonderful German Shepards, and 2 grandsons that are often around the house. So far he has removed the old gas line, stacked, cut, sorted, and disposed of the fallen fence (saving my mom some of the wood for her projects), had his older grandson and his brother dispose of the rocks, regularly puts the can on the curb for me, and had the laborers that were filling in his pool clear the area between the houses of weeds, rocks and general debris. All the time he has been commenting on the garden and after I promised him some tomatoes he sent over his brother and grandson to help me with the rocks.

Between Paul and my Amtgard brothers help I have been able to start getting the house in order and more of the garden planted and transferred then I thought would be possible. Squashes will be in the front yard to cover the area Daniel tore up when he had the tractor to take out the hot tub, and eventually I'll start trimming the roses, but for now I feel that the vegetables take precedence over the flowers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pardon My Rant

I'm going to set all my usual calm aside today and discuss a hot topic today. Assault and Rape.

I am currently living in Sacramento, CA. It is our state capitol and through working at dispatch and looking around me I have learned that there is a very high rate of poverty, crime, and unemployment. It highlights some of the worst things in our society and after last night I have had enough with this city and outlaying areas.

Before I begin the rant you'll need some back story so please read this news article. The report is a few months old but this guy has not been caught. If you want to just read the rant you'll see where it begins in bold typeface.

Last night while biking west bound down Auburn, 1 mile from Watt (2 miles from my house), a black male adult in a black sedan tried to attack me. For about a mile he tried to drive me off the road, knock me off my bike, block my way even after I tried changing sides of the road, hit my back tire with his front bumper (it was dead center with his bumper), and he only drove off when I was on the line with 911. He knows the frontage roads to 80 very well (enough so that he knew where to turn around, where the few areas to pull over where, and where there was an alley to try and block me into).

I have made a report with the Sac Sheriff's office and they believe that the person that tried to attack me was the guy in the article. They, and dispatch, were also amazing. 911 on my cell rerouted me to Sac PD while the guy was behind me, who in turn rerouted me to Sac Sheriff after the guy had sped up, but the dispatcher stayed on the line with me as I caught my breath. She asked where I could meet the Sheriffs and got all the details I could remember about the car quickly. I knew when we arranged my meeting spot with the Sheriffs they were not going to be able to get him tonight as it was taking too long and she used the word statement. After hanging up with her I had to walk about 1/10th of a mile to the nearest open gas station (I wasn't trusting my legs or my bike), and within a few of the longest minutes of my life 4 sheriff cars had descended upon the gas station. Once they had a description of the vehicle 2 units took off in his direction. It took about an hour but the deputy I was talking to managed to get every single detail of the incident from me while I tried to remember every detail. Honestly I don't know how they catch anyone with witnesses like me.

I felt frustration because I was so distracted by the car I didn't get a good look at the man other then his face looking at me through the open window. I remember feeling fear as he tried to open his door into my pathway. I remember being ready to strike out when he pulled onto the sidewalk to block my path and I went right by his door while he opened it.  I remember having to get my cell phone out of my bag in my basket while trying to pedal as hard and fast as I can, as well as watch the road ahead and know he was right behind me. I yelled several times at him to leave me alone, to fuck off, and finally I was calling the cops. 

I do not bike at an extraordinary speed. My 9.5 bike route to and from work takes me about an hour, so I can guess I was going maybe 12 mph when he was behind me and think about that. In a parking lot it is hard to keep to the 10 mph speed limit just out of reflex, this guy was managing to stay behind me, or keep up with me for almost a mile. If he had wanted to just cause me injury he could have easily used his car and speed to run over me. His goal was obviously to get me off my bike. At first he tried talking to me by keeping up with me and yelling "yo girl" through his open passenger side window (which I don't respond to at the best of times, let alone at 0030 while riding my bike home and happily listening to HP). After that didn't work, and some cars coming up the road, he sped up to one of the few places to pull over onto the side of the road and began to get of his car and blocking the bike path with his door. He kept becoming more and more aggressive till it ended with me calling the police while he hit my back tire with his car. Now he could have stopped because I was on my phone, or because we had reached the end of the park area.

Begin Rant
Now that you have the back story I will begin my rant. I'm angry that this kind of behavior is in our society. I'm angry that my brand new bike has to go into the shop to either have the wheel replaced or straightened out when I spent 2 months saving up my over time to buy it and have had it for less then a month. I'm angry that I no longer feel safe riding my bike to and from work. I'm angry that this man has raped 3 women and is still out there. I'm angry at myself for not remembering the entire license plate. 

But mostly I'm angry that we live in a society that teaches women and girls how to defend against attackers, yet I have never heard during the years I was in public school that boys should not rape or attack women as clearly as we girls are told to run from our attackers. I remember in middle school Mr. Larson teaching all of us girls self defence while the boys just goofed off. We girls were given strong lectures about how we shouldn't walk outside late at night, we shouldn't wear certain clothes because men cannot help themselves, how not to ever drink too much around men, how to run when we're attacked, and how we should always stay in well lit areas with lots of people around when going out at night. You guys want to fucking know why women travel to the bathroom in packs? It is because we are taught from a young age that we are not safe alone, not even in public. 

These teaching practices instill fear and distrust of men into young girls and women. I have 2 great fears. First is haunted insane asylums (to this day I have only missed 1 episode of Supernatural and it is because of this fear). The second is male predators. The reasons for this are due to a few poor choices my mother made in partners, and the second because girls are taught not to trust unknown men. To this day unless I meet someone who is friends of a male I already know well, I'm uneasy around them. I will seek the company of my guy friends when I'm uncomfortable around someone and they will automatically know who is bothering me. Normally this will end with the guy taking a hint, but sometimes being in the Larping community has its drawbacks because we have socially awkward people. In the instances a guy does not get a hint I'm happy to say that I have enough of a backbone to tell them politely to back off, to publicly tell them if they continue their attentions, but then when it becomes apparent that they do not respect the word "No" from a woman, I feed them to my male friends who go have a chat with the thick headed asshole. 

Does my system work, yes, do I like it, no. I dislike the system because I'm very independent and having to rely on anyone is something I hate, but when I have rely on someone while facing a fear that has been hammered into me for as long as I can remember, I get very angry. We girls are taught to run from our attackers. The moves I was taught in Mr. Larson's class were all about breaking grips, and then running (and let me tell you I couldn't run 30 ft then due to my asthma). There was nothing about striking back. I'll be damned if a guy grabs me and I do not hit him as hard as I can. I was lucky in high school to have Amtgard and have it teach me all the soft places to hit someone. It also taught me to stand up for myself and how to stand and fight when you can't run. One of the best things that it taught me was how to calculate my risks when having to make split second decisions when I had to decide where to run, to fight, and to stand my ground. 

Last night while on my bike I had to make the choice to ride and keep riding. Nothing short of that car hitting me with enough power to throw me several feet and break bones was going to get me off of it. I never once took my feet off those pedals because I knew I had to maintain some control of the situation. I knew if he got in front of me and I didn't maneuver fast enough or tight enough I was fucked because my bike can only easily go forward. I knew if I gave up my control I would lose this fight and that man last night wanted control of the situation and I could tell he was getting angrier every moment when I wouldn't give it up. When I called 911 I did it because I was out of time and road. I knew about 1/4 mile into this battle that I was going to have to call them, but I couldn't get to my phone comfortably while trying to dodge his car, the trees on the side of the road, and other cars. When he came up behind me I grabbed for my phone that was in my front basket in my drawstring bag under the bungee cords. I was able to pull it out and dial 911 before he hit my tire. At this point we'd reached the museum and 911 was trying to figure out my location. I'll never know if he sped off because we were nearing an area that I knew Sheriffs were all over usually, we were coming to a well lit busy intersection, we were past the park, or if he saw the light of the cell in my hand. I wish I knew because I feel that knowing would give the Sheriffs a more clear idea of his hunting ground.

I didn't learn the skills of how to stand my ground and fight or maintain that type of control in any classroom. I learned it playing a game that many shun and believe I'm weird or a freak for playing. Sure doing martial arts reinforced those things when I began them in my early 20's but none of the girls I knew back in high school were into martial arts and that is shameful. We teach boys to take charge of situations and call girls bossy and stubborn when they say no or try to take the lead. We need to encourage both genders to grow that backbone and rather then hate each other when they each try to show their strength in something, to respect one another abilities.

I have always hated that we live in a society where boys are taught to take the lead while I was scolded or teased when I tried. Even when dealing with group projects I saw more boys placed at the heads of the projects then girls. This leads many men to believe they are superior to women when they grow up because it has been reinforced so often. Sure I'll put up with it sometimes from my male friends in a joking manner, and more so if I truly like the individual, but the ones who truly believe they are superior end up being the biggest of assholes in my eyes.

I don't assume the worst of men. Actually I usually give them the benefit of the doubt unless they truly do something stupid the first time we meet. I believe that all men have it in them to respect women, to treat them like human beings, and that they can control themselves. What I have an issue with is society telling girls to fear men, that we need them to do the fighting, that we should blindly run when dealing with a poor situation, and I dislike that we teach boys that they are superior to girls, that they need to take the lead, and yet we fail to teach them that assualt and rape are not okay. 

Mostly I hate that I can no longer do something I enjoy. That a man has made me fear riding my bike home after work, and that common sense tells me that it is not a good idea to do it again, even if I'm armed. I hate that it'll be a few days before I'm comfortable being alone in my own home and that I wish I had at least gotten a dog before Daniel deployed. I could ask a friend to come and stay with me till the fear goes away but I do not like using crutches, and doing this would be one. I hate the man from last night and all the things he reminded me that I'm angry about. I don't wish him death, I wish for 10 mins alone with him while I have a bat in my hands so that I can make him feel all the fear he made me and all the women he has attacked feel. Then I'd like to go Stephen King on his car with a sledge hammer.