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Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have struggled with food my whole life.

When I was little, I didn't want to have anything to do with it. It was more of a nuisance that interrupted the time I would rather spend playing.

As a pre-teen I abused it and found comfort in it, mistakenly thinking I could fill the empty places in my heart with another bite.

My junior year in High School, I walked away from it and found power in turning my back on the calories and embraced the solace in running.

But I often didn't know what I was running from.

Or to.

In college, I mistakenly followed what I jokingly called the "Sorority Girl Diet," eliminating fat but eating my fill of jelly beans and bagels and ensuring that beer was part of the regimen (at least from Thursday - Saturday nights).

I would like to say I found my way in my 20's.

But as I sit here in my 30's, with two impressionable children who I have the power to influence, I realize I am just as messed up today in how I view food as I was in my teens. Not much has changed.

I can't remember a day when I thought I was "thin enough." Even as I look back at pictures of myself when I was my fittest, I try to remember what was going through my head at the time the pictures were snapped.

Not good enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.

My husband asks me to acknowledge this strange relationship I have with food. Perhaps he didn't want me to write it on this blog, but oh what the heck. It's hard to admit to crazy, but I can truly say that when it comes to food, I have always been a nutjob. Completely.


I sometimes feel shame that as someone who has seen poverty first hand, in such extreme circumstances in the villages of India, that I would reject or abuse what so many people don't have access to and are literally starving for.

I bought a magazine at the store the other day. Like a junkie being pulled in by a vial of coke, I found myself adding it to my cart.

"Starving to Be Sexy" the cover said, showing images of celebrities who have fought their battles against any body fat and appear to be successful, flaunting clavicles, pelvic bones and ribcages that defy any unwanted calorie to even try to slip by.

"Isn't this crazy?" I showed the magazine to my niece when she came to visit me.

"Yeah, but it's what people expect. Of course they feel the need to be thin."

As I found myself being drawn back to the magazine, I realized that it's not so much that I think those celebrities are crazy. The rational part of me does, of course.

But there is also this part of me that relates to them. And where I have never been able to get "thin enough," these celebrities have.

And it made me jealous.

How does this happen? I ask.

I think of myself as intelligent (reasonably). Not vapid (most of the times). Rational (cyclically).

The irony of one of the images actually made me laugh. One of the celebrities on the "Starving to Be Sexy Cover," is reality show actress, Audrina Patridge. Wearing the same bikini that she recently wore on this month's cover of Shape Magazine, a fitness magazine. One of the other celebrities touted as "too skinny," Leann Rimes, just appeared on the cover of Shape Magazine, perhaps five or six months ago.

So let me get this straight. On the one hand, we look at these images and are being told that these women have gone to an unhealthy extreme. At the same time, we will see these same women highlighted on covers of purported "health" magazines.

It's confusing, right?

I realize that the things I say glibly around the house are making an impression on my daughter. And that I need to ensure she doesn't have this same messed up relationship with food that I feel like I have had.

So I try not to say things. I try not to show her just how preoccupied I am with food labels or show her any of my insecurities I feel when I look in the mirror.

And I hope she never goes through these mindless cycles that I have gone through.

Self-loathing when I "cheat."
Hunger when I punish myself for not being strong enough.
Judgement when the scale taunts me with a number I want to deduct another 10 pounds from.
Or maybe even 15.

I am writing this post to say that I am one of many women who is too hard on herself. Too quick to judge myself. Too quick to punish myself. Insecure enough to buy in to the images that are telling me what society values in women.

But one thing I am NOT is a woman who plans to keep her subscription to Shape Magazine.

After years of trying to embrace healthy, I think that it's time to acknowledge what "healthy" really means. And its not about the photoshopped celebrity on the cover.

It's about acceptance.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I'm the person at parties telling jokes. I make people laugh. I find comfort in being self-deprecating and if I cannot make people snort their beer out of their left nostril at some point, even if it comes down to mocking myself and own faults, I feel useless.

Because you see. That's my job.

I bring the funny.

Sometimes, but not lately. And Masala Chica, my alter ego, has just been a hot mess. If you haven't seen that, make yourself a drink and have a little think about that.

Obviously, lately I have not been funny. Probably a bit sad, a bit depressing. After all - who really wants to talk about cancer? Much less baby cancer.

Yes, baby cancer.


I said it.

Not funny, right?

Pediatric cancer is cancer that affects babies, whether they are one day old, one month old, 5 years old or entering their teens. Do you have any kids that age or who fall in between? Gosh, do you have any kids on your street that age or in your family?

God, it's just asinine, right? Why the hell should we talk about this when we can talk about the really, REALLY important stuff? Like what sunscreen we should be using (ironically to later prevent cancer, right?) or how to buy the best organic meat? Let's talk about how great Jennifer Aniston looks past forty or if she is on again with that guy whose name I can't ever freaking remember.

(All important, thank you very much).

A week ago, I did something I usually don't do. I humbly opened myself up and sent a letter to some bloggers that I consider to be friendly with. Some are real life friends, some are friends who I have gotten to know online.

I say "humbly" because I hate to ask for help. Seriously. Like if I have ten bags in one hand, my screaming son in the other, my four year old daughter kicking me with her tap shoes and my phone ringing in my purse, if someone tries to hold the door for me, I will feel guilty taking up their time.

I don't know why and I don't know how, but I feel unworthy oftentimes about asking for anything.

So last week, I sent out an email asking for support for the Vivint Gives Back Project, where I have been very personally and actively trying to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. The cause is to potentially raise a quarter of a million dollars for Journey4aCure.

If you haven't heard of them, please look them up.

Of course, I did not expect everyone to respond. Nor did I expect all the bloggers to post the banner for Journey4aCure on their site. If they did, I was ecstatic and said thank you once they responded that they had. I was not planning on going to look on anyones' site afterwards to see if they did, it was just a very simple "ask."

And I get it.

I understand that people might be concerned about linking their readers up to an organization that they don't know that much about.

Totally understand.

I also understand that people's blogs can be "sacred." I learned this from my mother, who now has a blog. And her next door neighbor's dog, who also has one. Oh yeah, and the ant that resides up that dog's ass who also has a blog.

Everybody's got a blog these days.

They are kind of like assholes except they are generally not as exciting.

I also understand that people might be concerned about how their information can be used. Maybe you don't know this about me, but I spent the past 6 years of my life working in the web analytics industry helping Fortune 100 companies figure out how to use customer channel (web, demographic, multi-channel, campaign) data to better market to their customers.

For good, not evil, of course.

Some people might even say I am one of the more experienced people in the web analytics field.

Anyway - for the past few days, a blogger who has been a personal friend for quite some time has been vacillating about putting the banner up on her blog. Several questions had been asked and there was some back and forth. I found myself just wanting to say - it's ok - you don't HAVE to do this. I almost was sorry I asked and wanted to retract my request for help.

It was a big leap for me to have requested it in the first place.

Today, I was officially sorry that I asked.

After being sent a very detailed message about why she and her blogging partner did not support Vivint (which I honestly will tell you - I don't know much about. I can tell you that they do security. And they are giving away 1.25 million freaking dollars to charity. Journey4aCure is not that far away from winning $250K if we can mobilize quickly enough), I just told her I was disappointed.

Not because I think her blog would "make" or "break" this competition. Not because I don't get that she is "branding" herself in a particular way.

But because if she had never ever said anything, I would have never even cared.

The reality is I didn't need an itemized list of why she felt her brand could or would not put up a banner for something that I HAVE become so personally affected by.

Do it. Or don't.

To ask me if it is worth "damaging our friendship for a few f'in clicks" tells me that she really doesn't know me at all, even after many years of "knowing" me.

And you know what? That sentence (you know, about the f'in clicks), was preceded by several others which reduced me to wanting to retract a whole lot more. They made me cringe that I had ever asked for help for something that was beyond me, that meant something so grave, that is more than just a quarter of a million dollars for pediatric cancer research.

This contest has never been about clicks.

It's also never been about whether people will like my blog more or not. At this stage in my life, I could give a rat's ass if you like my blog or not. If you do - I appreciate it. if you don't, I also understand.

You know what it's about for me?

Last year, this boy who I loved DIED.

His parents are two of my best friends.

They live with their grief every day.

I can't do enough.

Not hardly enough.

These words don't matter. At the end of the day, my blog is just a blog.

And so is yours.

My kids are healthy. I pray they always will be.

Perhaps I have channeled more into this "contest" than most people think is normal. Perhaps some of you think I have gone off the deep end.

It's never been about "f'in clicks."

Thank you so much to those who have helped. I really appreciate it. I know what it means - surprisingly (given that I probably have like 3 readers) - I get emails every day from people who think I am much more influential than I am - asking to review a product, support a new service or post a video for marketing purposes. And I can't always say yes or even respond.

So, thank you. It makes me realize that even if its hard, its worth it to ask for help.

And for that, I AM humbled.

I know its not easy to say "no." Granted, I also don't ask these organizations for a detailed business justification and go back and forth six times. I usually just say, "No" or don't respond, especially if its a mass marketing thing.

And to anyone who thought that anything I have written about in these past few posts has been about a few "f'in clicks," I am glad we got that out in the open.

Life is too short.

Sometimes, breathtakingly, heartbreakingly so.

This year has taught me that much, if nothing else.

Humbly yours (with a bit of an attitude tonight)
(And perhaps with a few less Facebook friends than before.)


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