Plan A and Plan B

It’s the end of August and I have not finished my series on 31 Days of Paganism. To be fair, I had some technical difficulties with my account and my phone so I ask for forgiveness and patience. I’m totally going to complete the challenge, even if it’s a bit late. But I wanted everyone to know!

Also, just an update on my wls journey– I got a call from the Kaiser bariatric program in Richmond. I’ve officially received a welcome to the program and my orientation is on the 10th. It’s  a four hour appointment, so I’m taking the entire day off from work just to be on the safe side. After the orientation I’ll schedule a consultation with a surgeon, and they will determine if I’m a good candidate for surgery. Then another appointment with the nutritionist, and a psych evaluation. After that, probably a bunch of other stuff. I don’t yet know the details, but I’m sure they’ll go over it all at the orientation.

When I got the call, I couldn’t believe it! I was so shocked that I actually got accepted to the program, maybe because in the back of my head I was still thinking all those things that society says I am– just too lazy, not working hard enough, doomed to be fat forever. Why would they allow me to even dream of this surgery? And then I thought, wow. I must be really fucked up if they actually think I need it. Because I’m supposed to be ashamed, right? Because this is the easy way out, right? But then I was like, NO! I can’t think that way anymore. This surgery, it can change my life for the better. It can be an amazing tool for my health. I’m scared, but I also still really want to go for it. I end up missing a lot of things because I’m too scared to do them. But do I want this for the right reasons? Sometimes I don’t know. For instance, I often think about my “goal weight” for after surgery. Sometimes I think that I would just like to lose 100 lbs. I would still be overweight, but 100 lbs off my body would mean I would be able to be so much more mobile! I keep thinking of all the things I could do, pain free. Without getting totally winded 10 minutes in. Without feeling completely defeated. I know it sounds like a lot, but 100 lbs really isn’t (I think it’s actually pretty realistic for weight loss surgery results– and I wouldn’t be skinny, but I would be healthier).

But sometimes I get wrapped up in the thought of weight loss, and I start to fantasize, and I take it too far. There is still a part of me that wants to be as thin as possible, even if it’s not healthy (and also probably impossible). Now, there are people out there who weighed as much as I do or more who are now like 130, 140, 150 lbs. And that’s amazing, but those results aren’t typical, and might not even be healthy weights for me– and yet I still think about what it would be like to be that small. And then I think, if I can get to 130 surely I could get to 120, maybe even 115. That is the eating disordered mind at it’s worst, because first of all there is no way I could get down to that weight at all, let alone in a healthy way, without restricting/fasting and totally fucking up my metabolism. And second of all, I know that even if I did reach that weight I would be unhappy because I would be so focused on weight and food and I would be completely lost in the eating disorder.  I don’t want that. In fact, I want to get as far away from it as I can. I want this surgery because I think that it’s the tool I need to be healthier, and if I follow the program like I’m supposed to, no only will I gain health, I will gain confidence. That’s what I really fantasize about the most– being a confident woman who loves her body at any size.

So I have to be really careful and intentional about this whole thing. I am still in recovery for my eating disorder– that is my burden pretty much for the rest of my life. I’m not letting that get in the way of my happiness or my health.

Blog Post Delays

So I’m a little behind on my blog posts for 31 days of Paganism. It’s not that I don’t want to write. I actually like writing these posts because I really want to share my thoughts with others it actually helps me solidify my practice.

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Google Authenticator app.

Right now my wordpress account has a two step authentication process when I log in. This is for the security of my account, and it’s connected to my personal phone. You use an app to generate a random number, which you enter into the log in when prompted, and then gives you the option to have it remember the device and code you’re using for 30 days. That’s what I’ve done with my work computer and my personal phone. Which is fine, except last month my phone was stolen. I had to erase all my data on that phone so no one would gain access to my passwords, credit cards, etc. When I got my new phone, I realized that I couldn’t use the authenticator app because it had erased my data, and I needed a backup code to log back in.

Easy enough, except I couldn’t find the damn code list! So I was basically only able to access my account on my work computer. Which is fine, except I barely have time to post when I’m at work, because I’m…. working. Long story short, I’m behind on my posts. I promise I WILL get caught up, and I’ve finally figured out out to get new codes and disable the two-step authentication (for now) so I can get into my account again. I’m hoping to get caught up this week.

Weight Loss Journey Update

I went to the wls seminar hoping that it would help me make a decision on whether or not I want to get the surgery. However, I left feeling just as conflicted as when I arrived. I think the issue for me was that I was waiting for someone to tell me point blank that getting the surgery was either the worst idea in the world (too risky or unsafe), OR tell me that it was my best choice and that everything would turn out okay (perfectly safe). I’m not afraid of being in pain, I’m not afraid of putting in the work. I’m afraid of dying either during or immediately after surgery. That’s my biggest hang-up. I was waiting for someone to tell me I wouldn’t die. Because the whole point of me getting this surgery is to use it as a tool for health, so I can live longer than I would if I stay on this current path I’m on. What if I get the surgery and a week, or month, or year later my pouch leaks or ruptures or something and I DIE? After all that work to get into the surgery program, to lose the weight and change my relationship with food, and my body kills me anyway? That’s terrifying to me.

Later I talked to my grandmother and she made me feel better. I know that there are people out there who get the surgery and regret it. But I’m hoping I’m not one of those people. I decided to call my doctor and ask her for a referral to the bariatric surgery program. She sent it in, and I have to get some tests done (including a pap smear, WHY), and if they think I’m a good candidate I’ll begin to take their pre-op classes on nutrition and meal planning and preparing for a post-op lifestyle. We’ll see how the classes go, and if by the end I’m not 100% sure then I won’t get the surgery. I don’t know when I will find out if they have accepted my referral, but as soon as I get the news I’ll be sure to post it here.

Duhe Family Reunion 2015

This past weekend we spent a lot of time and money dealing with the little creatures that decided to hitch with us from Nola– meaning we had to basically bomb our apartment with chemicals to get rid of the beg bugs. It was the worst! And it definitely put a damper on an otherwise amazing family trip. I’m hoping we got all the little bastards, but we’ll be doing another treatment in a couple of weeks just to be doubly sure.

I know that there are many pagans out there who are all about not killing bugs, but I’m not one of those people. Not for bed bugs. Those suckers are truly awful, and excuse me, they are taking MY blood, which I need thank you very much.

Gaston and Brigette

The Duhe Family

Anyway, I promised I would share some of the pics from our super fun, amazing family reunion in New Orleans, and I aim to please. So! Two weeks ago Kourtney and I, along with my mother and grandmother and cousin, flew to New Orleans for our Duhé family reunion. I don’t carry the Duhé name, but I do carry their blood in my veins, from my mother’s side of the family. We trace the Duhé line back to two brothers who moved from France to Acadia (French Canada) before making their way down to Louisiana. They mixed with slaves (awkward) and then, down the line, Gaston Duhé married Brigette Leche, and they had six children. Continue reading

When the World is Not Made for You

There has been some silence on this blog recently, and that is because I’ve been super busy with work (because I finally have regular, full time job!) and because I went to Louisiana for a week (and did absolutely nothing witchy)– both of which I will talk about in a later post. What has been occupying much of my brain time in the last week is the shooting in Charleston.

Honestly, I don’t want to talk about it. Why? Because I’m exhausted. And when I say that, I mean that I’m so tired of my people being murdered, I’m sick of having to hear racist people on TV talk about these murders as if they were accidents, or “mistakes”, made by “unstable people” when we all know that the beliefs of these people are not anomalies but are in fact integral to the system of which we are all part. I am tired of being angry and hurt and scared. I’m tired of my white friends’ silence. I’m tired of white people not caring about the lives of black people. I’m tired and frustrated because I can’t trust my own country to keep me safe. I can’t trust the people in power to give my people justice. I’m tired of having to argue with people who DEFEND VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE EVERYDAY.

I’m so so tired of this bullshit.

And I’m not saying that black people are the only ones in this country who are oppressed, or that they’re the only ones who deserve justice. I am just being shone time and time again that this world is not made for me– that the systems in place do not allow for my peaceful existence or the peaceful existence of people who look like me, who share my history. It is so painful to know that you live in a world that was not made for you. To live in a country, that you love, that  you were born and raised in, that doesn’t love you back. That shows you time and time again that you’re not wanted. And I mean you as in the collective you, the black community.

And yes, there are white people out there who are allies, who care deeply about not just their own rights but the rights of others, especially the rights of communities of color. But when I see white people on facebook and cnn and fox news and on the bus and at the bank and in the newspaper defending police brutality, excusing terrorism against black bodies, excusing MURDER– it really gets you down. It makes me think, “Do white people even care? Do they give a flying fuck about anyone other than themselves?” Why do I not see more outrage? I do I not see more white people protesting the murder of innocent people? And not just the collective white community, I’m talking about people I consider to be friends, people who are my family. Why do they remain silent? Why are they not fighting with me?

Do you see why I’m frustrated? Do you see why I am so angry?

Let this be a warning to anyone reading this blog: if you are interested in sustaining white supremacy in this country, don’t bother staying. If you are white and you remain silent on the issue of violence against minorities, you are complicit in that violence and you need to go to. I’m not going to argue about it anymore. If you are not in the business of ending racism and inequality, this is not the place for you and I don’t want you here.

Impromptu Prayer for a Rainy Day

So the last week has been pretty hot here in my neck of the woods– and when I mean hot, I mean almost 80 degrees. What can I say, I live in the bay area, that’s hot here! And I’m so used to 65-70 degree weather that when it pushes 80 I’m sweating. This has made sleeping difficult because our bedroom is so stuffy, even with the window open, and we have no air conditioning in our home (and no fan, currently).

This has made me pretty grumpy for the past week.

I was anticipating the weather to continue this way for the foreseeable future. It’s the beginning of summer, we’re in the middle of a pretty intense drought here in California, so I thought this is it. This is my life now.

And then it rained.

I heard it through the night as I moved in and out of sleep, kicking covers off and then piling them on again as a shield against dangerous nighttime creatures (my dreaming self is a scaredy-cat). I heard it still as I got dressed this morning and packed up my work things. And when I opened my front door I saw puddles on the ground and the raindrops falling and thought yeeeeeeessssssss. Finally. I didn’t even bother with an umbrella– bad news for anything made of paper in my backpack– I walked down the street to the bus stop with nothing but a jacket to protect my skin, hood down, letting the drops fall on my hair and face. It felt so good. I had forgotten how much I appreciated the rain. And I thought about how badly our state needs it. I know that the amount of rain we get today won’t make a dent in our water deficiencies. It’s pretty inconsequential considering how much water we need to get back to normal. But it felt like hope. It felt like the rain was washing away some of the bad.

I made my way to the Bart station and up the escalators I went, onto the platform to wait for the train. I couldn’t help myself, I pulled my hands out from my pockets and felt the rain on my skin. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feeling, the coolness of each drop and I began to pray.

Thank you goddess for this rain

Thank you for the sky above

Thank you for the ground below

Thank you for your nourishment

Thank you for this day

For a moment it felt like no one else was there. It was just me and the rain.

Colorado Adventure Time

It’s been a week since I last posted anything here, and that post was a doozy. It’s not everyday that I share that part of my life because it’s a pretty sensitive subject. But it’s not the reason why I haven’t posted. I’m proud of myself for being open and honest, and if others don’t like that then it’s not my problem but theirs! And I’m okay with that. In fact, I will be talking more about my mental health on this blog as I see fit. After all, it does influence my spiritual life and has made me who I am today.

Anyway, I was not ignoring the blog because of that post. I was actually on vacation. In Colorado!

Colorado Goodbyes

Flying over…. Probably Colorado, on the way home back to California!

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3 Things To Boost Your Spiritual Practice

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who sometimes has trouble walking the walk when it comes to spirituality/religion. Perhaps you’re new to a path and are struggling to move beyond the memorization of ritual to fulfilling connection to the Divine. Maybe you’re a longtime practitioner who’s become stuck on autopilot. Whatever the reason, it’s important to check in with how you’re doing, and if you need to, add a little something to revitalize your practice and live your faith. Here are some simple things you can do that can really boost your connection to Spirit even if you only have a few minutes to spare.

Animals pray, too!

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7 Facts About Me

Since this is a new blog, and some of my new readers don’t really know who I am, I thought I’d do a fun facts post. Here are 7 facts about me!

  • I graduated from a women’s college.

Yes, they still exist! I graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California in 2013. Going to Mills was and amazing experience, and it’s the reason for the next two facts about me. Continue reading