The Impossible Position of Our Schools

Our district just laid out a draft for the upcoming school year. I feel bad because no one is going to be happy. The fact of life is that they can’t please everyone. They will get slammed with insults. How dare they make our kids wear masks?! Good luck. Maybe I’m unique in making my kids practice wearing masks in anticipation of this requirement, even if we’re at home. Why? Because the masks aren’t going away anytime soon and neither is this pandemic. It’s common sense.

The smart play would be to take this process in phases, much like the reopening of the state. Start off by doing the remote-only option for students who don’t need any special attention at the schools. This allows the students who actually need to be in school, whether they receive OT or other services, to go there in the safest way possible. Then, as the situation starts to get better, slowly transition into their hybrid model. Then finally, when they get to the threshold of under 5% positive cases, they can safely return to full-time. It should be a slow, phased-in process. If it’s good enough for reopening the states, it’s good enough for the schools. If things start to get bad again, roll back to the previous phase.

Granted, I’m not an expert on the educational system. This is all opinion as an outside observer. I think a rational approach, not a political one, is the approach we should take. This isn’t the teachers being too lazy to teach; it’s them not getting paid enough to risk their lives (or the lives of their loved ones). They didn’t sign up to be babysitters, people who take bullets for our kids. But that’s often the realities of their job. The perception of their job. It’s not their fault a pandemic has taken over the country and there’s no leadership stepping in to stop it. They definitely didn’t sign up to potentially die of a virus in a slow and excruciating manner because parents need the kids to back to school.

As a parent, I’m concerned about sending my kids to school. I’m concerned about them bringing something home that could kill someone with my craptastic immune system. I’m concerned about them bringing something to school that could potentially kill someone else. I’m concerned that my kid won’t keep his distance from others or keep his mask on all day. I’m concerned that my oldest will take an overly crowded bus to school, then swap around to 7 different classes and god knows where he got whatever he brought home. It’s a mess. This whole thing is impossible for our underfunded school systems to deal with. And they aren’t the ones responsible for this mess.

So let’s not get mad at the schools for trying to keep our kids and themselves safe from becoming another statistic of this virus. Let’s work together and start supporting our schools for everything that they do for our children. Ask what they need. My school district gives out lunches during the week, even though it’s summer, to ensure the kids are eating well. My school district seems intent on wanting the safest approach while still educating my children. I appreciate them for trying their best and working with what they have. They deserve our appreciation, not our scorn.

Boston Uprising and the Countdown Cup Qualifiers

At this point, I think most Boston Uprising fans are at a loss. During the casting, the UberX duo got it 100% right. They weren’t bashing the Uprising; they were pointing out the obvious flaws that they had and the coaches should have known better. But apparently they didn’t. Whoever was making those calls, like holding onto 6 ults for over 2 minutes when they could have just ended it with a lot of time on their clock, was making major mistakes. Let’s take a closer look at the match.

The first map was Oasis, and the Uprising and the Titans went back and forth. It looked solid, until going into the last round in Map 1. The Uprising didn’t even bother trying to fight for high ground. They just sat down on the point and got slaughtered repeatedly. It wasn’t even close. It wasn’t even fun to watch. How could they look so solid the round before, then end up just falling apart? It seemed insane. As my husband and I screamed at the television, “Why not the high ground?”, we heard the casters wonder the same thing. Vancouver won Map 1.

Boston then ended up picking King’s Row for their next map. Maybe, I hoped, there was a different strategy. Maybe we’d see Colourhex on Junkrat on defense with Jerry on Widow. Maybe we’d see a Rein/Zarya comp, which is common for King’s Row. Except, they went with the same meta comp. Things did go well for them on their first attack. Then the Titan’s had a better attack. Then, the Uprising took way too slow to cap it in the next round which led them into the eternal overtime that would stop the minute people left the point. Or got slaughtered off of the point, right at the archway, ending the round. Their 2nd defense went much better and it looked like they were going to do it, especially after Jerry put in some hard work. Then Fusions died. And slowly our team died and then the point was capped, making their walk back so far away that they likely weren’t going to make it in time. But don’t worry, we have Bob right? Except Bob didn’t feel like cooperating and ran past the point. The team on the point died and the rest of the team just didn’t make it back in time. Boston is down 0-2. 1 map to keep them in the game.

Boston picked Hanamura, a map that they had done pretty decently on in the past. They ended up quickly capping the first point and had over 5 minutes to cap the second. They had a massive ult advantage that they could have used to waltz into the point. But they didn’t. Ok. Maybe they wanted to bait out the Titan’s ults first. But then…. they still didn’t go for the point. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes that they went in with their ults and eventually capped and they had no time on the clock. The only way that the Uprising could stay alive is if they managed a full hold to force a draw and get another map pick. They crumbled, and the Titans took the match 3-0 and knocked the Uprising out of the Countdown Cup qualifiers.

So what happened? The usual happened. We get excited and we start thinking “yeah, we can do this”, but then we get our hopes squashed right in front of us. A big problem is that we keep forcing Colourhex and Fusions to play the meta rather than to play to their strengths. If we wanted to play the meta, we should have picked up a DPS with a Genji and a tank with a more flexible hero pool. Not force a player that can be pretty great when he’s in a groove, but not so stellar otherwise. But I don’t blame the players for this. I blame the shot callers. I blame the people who said “Maybe we don’t need to go high ground here”, then get rolled for the rest of the round. The guy who was like “Hey we have all of these ults, let’s snowball it and cap this point with 4 minutes on the clock. Or… we just hold them for 2 minutes and do absolutely nothing with them, then barely cap the point and end up having no time to go again.” I blame the person who doesn’t hire extra players to sub in for specific roles so that we can get these wins. That’s the person(s) to blame for the loss.

At this point, the organization should just hire the fans to know what to do because they seem to better understand the game than the coaching staff and management does. Can we improve during this short break before the next round of matches? I hope so. It’s too late to fire and hire a new coaching staff, for logistical and morale reasons. But this time, they need to clean house and not of the players this time.

Misinformation and You: How You’re Helping the Problem Get Worse

I browse my social media feeds, and it’s shocking how many people take memes seriously. As if memes are a way to get valid information. I hate to be that guy, but they’re not. Memes are funny and catchy. Generally, if you read information on a meme, it’s probably not true. The way people stand up for Dr. Stella Emmanuel for her brave stance on the “COVID-19” hoax is what is wrong with America today. This is why we have anti-vaxxers and a resurgence of diseases that really should be a non-issue anymore. Why are the same people against anti-vaxxers now supporting the claim of someone who talks about demon sperm? Because they see that their political party supports her, so she must be reliable.

If Dr. Fauci had said anything about conditions being caused by demon sperm, as someone who suffers from gynecological disorders, I’d say dude is crazy and maybe we shouldn’t follow what he says. I don’t care about political parties; I care about science. The problem is that science can be skewed and people eat that stuff up and believe it. Why? Because their political party fan pages tell them so.

So what’s the common denominator here? People who blindly follow and don’t really care about facts. They just eat up whatever people want them to think and just trust it or don’t really care to do their own research. And the people in charge are okay with that because if you can think for yourself, you’d call them out on their crap. Me? My allegiance will always follow the facts. I do my own research because, we have the internet and you can always do all the research you want on your own. However, the minute that you just follow a specific biased site or non-reputable biased sites that flat out lie, then you aren’t really doing your own research. You need to read around different sites and determine what’s real and what isn’t. It takes time and patience, but damned if you come out more logical on the side.

Maybe I’m just unique in the fact that I don’t side with any political party because I mistrust them. I can maybe think of 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 politicians that I would really stand up for, and that’s a very small number. And spoiler: they aren’t from the same party. I respect politicians who state facts, not skewed opinions offered as facts. I respect politicians who stand by their principles, even if it makes people hate them. That’s what I respect. That’s why I don’t trust Pelosi or Schumer or Trump or McConnell. They want us to be divided because it gives them more power over us. It pits us against each other so they can retain the power that none of them really deserve.

I feel like I keep reiterating the point here, but people need to start waking up. People are dying from a virus because it was made into an “Us. vs. Them” political statement. It isn’t. It’s a “the damn virus is going to kill us all if we don’t stop being jackasses who only care about what political party someone is” problem. I saw a Facebook thing, and it said “How many of your friends are Biden followers and how many are Trump followers?” My answer: who cares? I don’t determine someone’s worth by their political beliefs and if you do, that’s your problem. Strike that, that means you are the problem. You are why America is going downhill. We’re Americans, dammit. We are built on the principle of free speech and following our own beliefs. We didn’t become free because people sat around and listened to what people in charge told us to believe; we became free because we fought against that.

Can I Send Them Back Yet?

Like most parents during this coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming school year has given me a lot of anxiety. This anxiety could be eased if I had some sort of expectation of what will be happening in the upcoming school year. With about 6 weeks to go until school starts, I’ve already started getting my youngest in the routine of going to bed/getting up early so he’d be awake for school. But aside from that, my normal preparations of buying school supplies and clothing that I’d normally start planning early based on sales isn’t going to happen for me yet. Why? Why should I buy $200 of school supplies per kid if they don’t end up back in the classroom? Why spend double that on clothes if they are just going to be in their pajamas behind a computer?

I understand why there is so much uncertainty. People were hoping this would be gone by August/September and the kids could go to school as usual and things would be great. But people are dumb (yes, I said it. Dumb people who don’t take precautions are why this is still a problem.), so things can’t go back to normal yet. But where does this leave us? They say we will have some idea of what’s going on by Friday of this week… or of next week. They did release something to give us an expectation of what to expect, plan-wise, but there are too many unknowns.

Based on the information as I interpreted it, there would be a hybrid option and a remote learning option. Every kid is different, and this is exactly the situation in my household. My oldest, who will be a senior this upcoming school year (yikes!), takes an overly crowded bus to school. My youngest walks to school and has a 504 plan in place. Both of these scenarios requires a different approach and I’m a firm believer in individualism.

If given the option, I would let my oldest take remote learning. He’s a bright kid who can work well attending classes online and would keep up with his work because he has goals of going to college and going into forensics, something that he takes very seriously. Plus, I would argue he is at a higher risk of infection because of him being on an overcrowded bus and just because he has a mask on, doesn’t mean the 3 people he’d be sharing the row of seats with would. There’s also the fact that high schoolers switch classes throughout the day, meaning there is an even higher risk of contact. Common sense would tell me if there was a kid that was going to be likely to bring it home with them, it would be the high schooler. He’s likely going to at least miss out on swimming anyways with everything going on, so there won’t be a risk of him not being able to participate because of remote learning.

Then there is my youngest. If given the option, I will be sending him for hybrid learning. First of all, he has a 504 plan with occupational therapy and I’ve tried unsuccessfully to perform those services for him. There’s also the social aspect of it. While my oldest spends all day texting or talking to his friends on Discord or playing games with them, my youngest still needs to develop those important social skills. How to behave in the classroom, how to interact with other kids. Those are things that can really only be learned in the classroom. Having time in the classroom if it’s safe enough, meaning that they can follow the safety guidelines, is beneficial to my youngest during this crucial time in his development. Would I be mad if I didn’t have this option? No, because safety is more important than anything and I’d rather do remote learning with my kids than put my family or other people at risk of getting sick. Honestly, parents already send their kids to school sick half the time because they can’t take the day off of work or they don’t want to deal with it. That’s just not acceptable under these circumstances, so who knows what kids are going to be going to school with. I hope it’s safe and while regulations are great, they puts a lot of assumption that people care enough to follow them. They don’t seem to do that already.

I don’t put any blame on our school district for not having more answers. Should they have been planning something since this all happened, just in case? I would hope that they already had some sort of idea of what the next school year could look like, even if they only recently received the state guidelines for reopening. I’m trusting in the teachers of this district to be the voices of our students, like I’ve trusted the teachers in this district since my own experiences growing up in these schools. My trust in the school council is far less certain, but I’m hoping for the best. This is something new that we’ve never experienced before. This is a new way of life that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, as cases are starting to spike in some areas.

Getting Close to the End of the Overwatch League Season 3

While the season has overcome the pandemic, bringing remote games to fans, there have been so many struggles for many teams. This includes, as usual, the Boston Uprising. The team had 2 matches this weekend, that unfortunately went exactly how everyone thought they would go. For the most part. Here’s a brief look at what happened this weekend.

While the Uprising didn’t get completely rolled (but kinda did, more on that later), it was still an upsetting weekend for Uprising fans. Their first match against Atlanta was going to be hard, but I was hopeful for a little bit. My guess was that if the Uprising could take a map against Atlanta, they would get so tilted that we would end up winning the series. Like magic, looking like a cohesive team with solid skills, the Uprising shockingly took the first map (which they never win a first map it seems), I was actually really excited. They looked alive. They looked like a team that could actually win the game.

Then the second map of Numbani, they looked solid still. Until things started to fall apart and questionable ults happened, as if they were so desperate to win. After what started to look like a solid hold against Atlanta’s attempt to take the first point, everything fell apart due to a Genji ult as usual and Atlanta easily rolled over them for the rest of the map and successfully completed it, putting the match at 1-1. Things continued to stay this way on Anubis, where the Uprising couldn’t quite take that map, putting them in the potentially series ending Havana. Where the Uprising couldn’t quite get to the second point, where they just tossed ults in, hoping for the best.

With the Patriots motto in mind, I went into “Onto Dallas” mode, a team that unlike the Atlanta, I would be okay with losing because I’m still a major fan of former Uprising players NotE and Gamsu. On the first map, Nepal, we didn’t look like an actual team. We looked like standout performers trying to carry, but not in a naturally seamless way. This was a team that was mentally boomed, trying to desperately get a win. The second map was Numbani, where we didn’t do much better. The Uprising couldn’t seem to adjust to Gamsu rolling out on Hammond and Hammond easily rolled us. (har har). The magic happened on the 3rd map, Anubis. This is where we started to look like things were coming together and we ended up winning the map after some clutch Jerry pop-offs.

After looking so capable of winning, I was going into Havana with high hopes. After a slow start of being spawn camped by the aggressive approach by Dallas, they managed to finally cap the first point. They were smart about their ult usage and made it through the second point. They even completed the map and they looked pretty decent doing so. Dallas also made it through the 3rd point, but with more time on the clock. In what started to look like a solid 2nd attempt by the Uprising, things again fell apart because… they didn’t know how to handle Gamsu’s Hammond. Then, they crumbled and were unable to touch the point and Dallas easily just kind of walked in there.

There was some hope that these matches were winnable. If any part of this last half’s schedule was winnable, it was these 2 matches. But they couldn’t do it and I don’t even really necessarily blame the players at this point. They do have talent. You see some glimmers of that talent at various points. But then desperation of not being the laughing stock of the league kick in and they crumble. It’s awful to watch as a fan and as a person. At this point, the coaches need to go. The upper management needs to go. They need to learn that a team full of talent means nothing if they don’t synergize together. Just because they’re talented individuals, that doesn’t mean that they are talented together. That’s the problem.

How does this get fixed? Well, first of all having the same team of players for a while helps. The fact that we always dump the entire roster and start from scratch every year means that we’re not getting a team that works well together. Look at the other teams, who have most of the same roster together for a season or two. They build up this solid friendship and can work together more seamlessly. If we are going to just dump this entire roster and start from scratch again, they need to get stuff done right away so that they can start working together right away. They can bootcamp over break before the next season starts. They can bring in coaches that actually know how to develop their talents further, who know how to create flexible strategies and have plans when things aren’t working to adjust rather than let them bang their head against the wall.

Should we dump this entire roster? I’m not sure about that. I definitely like Punk and Myunb0ng. Jerry is streaky, but if he can learn to stay cool and be more consistent he can be a solid member of the team. Colourhex should stay on, but to play those roles he’s more comfortable in. Maybe try being like other teams that have players and switch them in based on maps and metas for those maps rather than just forcing DPS players to play whatever is meta, whether they are good at that character or not. I would keep Axxiom if he’s healthy enough to play next season because I think he’s a more flexible and consistent tank than Fusions. But, I’m thinking Axxiom is going to be gone next year and that makes me sad because I was pro-Axxiom from the beginning of last season.

There’s always next year. I will still watch for the rest of this year, hoping maybe they’ll do something in the next tournament. We’ll see. Boston teams have done some miraculous things in their time.

In Careful Consideration: A Political Post

I try to avoid things that are too political. Why? Because in the polarizing world that we live in today, you get disgusted comments about how you’re a lib-tard snowflake or a Trumper without anyone taking what you are saying with any consideration at all. People don’t want you to disagree with them or have thoughts that are independent of a political party. That’s insane, right? Not being bound to a specific political party, rather just having your own, independent thought that doesn’t have a party? Crazy.

I have opted against that. I’m sure in my passing comments you can gather that I’m not a fan of the president. He was voted in and I respect the office, but it’s way too hard to respect the man in the office. I didn’t necessarily like President Obama, he had his moments that I applauded him for and things that left me go “Huh, how about no?” And that’s OK. Because your beliefs don’t have to be bound to a political party. That’s what America’s all about. You can be different. You can speak your mind. You can say that you don’t agree with the president without it being more than just “I don’t agree with him”.

It does scare me in writing this. If a president can just send a militarized police force wherever he wants in the name of “Law and Order”, what’s to stop him from secretly going after anyone who speaks out against him? It’s apparent that no one cares to stop him from doing anything shady. I don’t see him deploying secret military to quiet down KKK rallies. What if President Obama did that? Would that still be perfectly fine? The answer is probably not and there would be riots over this blatant disregard of the constitution, as there should be. If people are protesting responsibly, respectfully, and there’s no violence, then anyone has the right to protest whether you agree with them or not.

I keep thinking about things that are going on right now and all I can think of is “What if President Obama did that?” President Trump blames President Obama for stuff all the time, but I distinctly remember watching Fox News segments where they would go off on President Obama because he blamed President Bush for things. “Well, you’re president now and the buck stops with you, right?” President Trump blames President Obama, and all they do is defend it saying “Well, he’s right to blame him because look at the mess he left for President Trump to clean up.” You can’t have it both ways. You absolutely can’t have it both ways. And, no, I don’t think it has to do with Fox News being racist; it has to do with the fact they are pandering to the Republican base as CNN and MSNBC pander to the Democrats. It isn’t about fair reporting; it’s about money, power, and ratings.

It is with careful consideration that I make such controversial statements as I just did, that you can criticize a president no matter what party is in power. You can criticize politicians that are paid with your tax payer dollars to represent you. That’s what America is all about. Unfortunately, it’s been a long time since people would consider other points of view and be open-minded to the fact that they’re wrong about something. Maybe things would start getting better if people were more loyal to silly things like facts than a political party that only wants power and money that comes from their positions.

Getting Close to the End: Overwatch League Road to the Playoffs

In a year that was supposed to be all about homestands and bringing Overwatch League to the fans, this was impacted just as everyone’s lives were by the pandemic. Fortunately, unlike traditional sports, the Overwatch League was still able to go on with online play. I’m happy that the league went on, and even more happy that I didn’t have to argue with myself about whether or not I wanted to sit through a homestand knowing that we were going to be embarrassed and the joke of the league. It’s easier to suck that up if the tickets weren’t that expensive. Sorry, the tickets themselves weren’t too bad, but you’d end up paying double with Ticketmaster fees, making those $40 seats $80 a piece, and taking an entire family? Eek. Back to the point.

As an Uprising fan, I didn’t go into the weekend very optimistic. Not just because we apparently can’t beat a Genji and Genji was still very meta this week. But because we were going against the reigning Grand Finals champions the San Francisco Shock and the often very difficult LA Valiant. It was going to be a rough weekend. I was hoping we’d put up a fight. Maybe even take a least a round. Or even a map. No such luck.

I don’t think we were being meme’d on by the Shock with putting Super on Genji, despite that being the talk of the day. I would assumed skilled players can play whatever role they want and still do well. But that didn’t matter. We were still a joke after the Shock destroyed us. I felt bad for the players, who honestly are just kids getting razzed on by the masses. The Shock is the reigning champions and arguably the best team in the league still and there’s a reason for that. They have great coaching, a support staff that actually supports the team, and extremely talented players that they put up a lot of money for. As the joke says, Miller’s wallet is what gets them all those wins.

I had more hope of us winning against the Valiant, but considering how extremely talented they are (and probably how angry they were that they lost on Saturday), it wasn’t going to be easy. And it wasn’t. They walked all over the Boston Uprising. There was some hope on Hanamura, when we practically full held the Valiant and only gave up 2 ticks on the first point. But then, they did full hold us. We had a win condition. We could have had the win. But didn’t. They panicked. They were boomed. They wanted that point so badly that it looked like a mystery heroes attempt at a point when you’re about to lose.

I joked with my husband. At least when the Patriots were bad, we went into the game without any hope. We knew how things were going to go. But the Uprising gives us hope sometimes, and then we feel disappointed. I can’t help but to feel really bad for those players because if we feel this disappointed as fans, they probably feel even more disappointed. Some of these players are the same age as my oldest son. Disappointment can be crushing for kids that age. No one likes to lose. People like to lose less as every time they lose they become some type of joke on Twitter and Reddit.

But why does this keep happening? First, I’m going to blame the coaching. They have a pretty talented group of individuals. But the problem is, they still look like individuals. They don’t look like a team with synergy; they look like a solo Q of talented players on Competitive Play. They seem to get along, so it doesn’t seem to be any hatred towards each other. That means there’s something else. Something isn’t clicking. That seems like a coaching issue. Another issue is that maybe stop trying to force the meta, and figure out a way around it. After all this time, we still can’t seem to win against a Genji? Colourhex is a decent enough Genji, but maybe don’t force him to play it? These players are slowly descending into madness it seems, hitting their head against too many losing battles and it doesn’t seem like the coaches are doing anything to help them.

It doesn’t matter anyways, I guess. HuK will completely gut the team at the end of the season anyways so we won’t have the same players. Which is probably one of the biggest problems. Teams like the Shock have essentially played together since the beginning, with a core set of players that have been consistent with the team. That’s 3 years to build up chemistry. Our team guts practically their entire roster and coaches every year, so we don’t get that benefit of extremely good synergy. There’s a reason why we don’t buy jerseys with players names on it; it’s spending $200 only to have them gone the next year. That’s probably the biggest problem of all.

Eventually, the team will stop making money. Why? First of all, people won’t buy the expensive merch, like named jerseys. Why bother spending that kind of money on a player that won’t even be there next year? It’s like when I splurged for an official Wilfork jersey, only to have him in Houston the next year. Fortunately, Wilfork is a lifer that will always be a Patriot, so it didn’t matter as much. Then, fans may decide to not bother going to the homestands. Why? Because we’re supporting a team of players we don’t know. We’ve spent a lot of time getting to know the roster every year, especially with the produced videos that the team does. Why should we pay money to support a new group of players every year? I live in a place where I could go to essentially farm teams for the NHL and MLB and tickets are pretty cheap. You can’t charge full pro team price if you’re just a farm team.

As much as I complain, Boston Uprising is my team and I’ll support them all the way to the bottom. But it’s really hard to want to watch them right now because it’s heartbreaking to see their faces (or when they shut the facecams off in titled fashion) as they repeatedly fail. It sucks to watch them put so much into the league matches and just keep hitting walls because their coaches and management aren’t setting them up for success.

The Break From Reality

For a while, I’ve been at a point where I’ve been too in awe (in the worst way possible) about the things going on around me. It’s been a painful realization that it has been a while since people cared about silly little things like facts, reason, and common sense. It’s all been taken over by a brainwashed lemming mentality from people of any party that doesn’t care about anything other than what their party leaders want them to believe. Take this whole cluster of a coronavirus situation as a perfect example of this.

The far right think there’s nothing. It’s just a flu. Who needs to wear a mask? The flu kills more people, this is just a scare tactic to control the masses. Fake news. The democrats made up the coronavirus pandemic to hurt the president’s chances of re-election. Masks cause more harm than good. They don’t protect you and you can get lung issues from breathing in the CO2. Masks interfere with my civil liberties.

The left has made it their sole job to make the right look bad. Which, in all honesty, they have been doing pretty great job of doing that themselves without the left helping. However, demonizing people from the right for standing up and going with their country over their party (as they should be doing) just because “it’s too little too late”. Just because they are Republican, it doesn’t make them bad. Being a lemming Republican that follows an inept president without even questioning any shady thing that he does is enough for me. I applaud the ones who are willing to speak their conscious. I’m happy that there are Romneys that exist that march for civil rights when the matter should’ve been resolved already or talks about how commuting a sentence of someone who didn’t rat the president out is actually pretty corrupt and shady as hell or how he actually believes the coronavirus is a big deal. Instead of demonizing people just because they don’t believe as you, maybe focus on being the bigger person.

I could go on from all of this, but it hurts my head to think people are so blind to actual facts that it doesn’t matter to them what reality is. They just want to fit in. They don’t want to question their leaders, who they have put on this pedestal and worship because they believe these people are their saviors. I don’t worship any politician. They are flawed, selfish, and cowardly. I don’t worship journalists, because they care more about ratings and money than facts. I do worship facts. Facts like maybe at first Trump gets a pass because it was a novel coronavirus so at the beginning, people didn’t really know much. But as the situation progressed, the country needed a leader, not a petulant child that cares more about ratings than Americans dying. That blames a president that wasn’t even in charge when the virus took hold of America. That blames the press for blowing it out of proportion or the medical experts because he doesn’t like the truth. Because facts are fake news to him.

Instead of leading, he caused further division. By never wearing a mask, he made it a political message, just as the Democrats flaunting their’s did. I don’t wear a mask on the rare occasion that I go out because I’m associated with a political party; I do it because honestly I’m not an idiot. When a medical professional tells me, “Wear the mask and avoid crowds”, I’m going to trust that medical professional that I trust for my medical care over what the internet or social media tells me. Do I mean to say that by not wearing a mask you’re an idiot? That I judge you for not wearing one when out in public? Honestly, I wear it because I like to be informed and safe and the same reason I vaccinate my kids even though the likelihood of them coming into contact with the measles is rare. If you don’t care about whether or not you get sick because it’s just a flu or because you’re going to develop asthma from wearing it, it’s not my problem. It’s not my concern or place to judge people. You obviously have a strong enough immune system to fight anything that comes your way. I don’t have that luxury.

Taking Advantage of the “Free” Time

It wasn’t too long ago that I was at the healthy weight I wanted to be at, keeping in shape for a while. Then specialists appointments and evaluations and youth sports and changes of medication all hit at a time that ended up snowballing into weight gain. Combined with the fact that once you pop over that 30s milestone, your metabolism is nowhere near what it used to be. I didn’t prioritize myself, which is a common factor among most women who are struggling to breathe most days let alone worry about whether or not they got their workout in.

Right before the pandemic hit, I had been switched to a new medication and was able to start losing weight. Then that weight loss vanished and went to a significant gain while I had to manage my workload, remote learning responsibilities, trying to be an occupational therapist with no training, and managing reminding my oldest about his AP exams. Then there was the also trying to keep everyone behaved upstairs and on task while keeping the youngest away from Daddy, who was working in a makeshift office in the basement.

One of the problems that happened with my first round of weight loss was that I stuck to a severely strict diet, which really wasn’t going to be maintainable after the fact. I didn’t care, I just wanted to lose the weight fast. I enjoy working out, it’s just finding the time. I enjoy salads, fruits, and veggies. It’s just when you add in other things, such as convenience meals and eating on the go, that becomes a problem.

I had to take a look at what my problem was. It wasn’t that I over-indulged when eating. Even at my heaviest, I couldn’t eat a lot in a single sitting. My problem was the snacking. The mindless eating at my computer as I worked or when I stress ate snacks without paying attention to how much of it I was eating throughout the day. Those are the things that added up. Those were the real lifestyle changes I needed to make.

After doing some research, I did find myself interested in intermittent fasting. What this would do is take an entire piece out of this equation: the mindless eating as I worked. By timing my daily “fasting” with my work schedule, I would eat a light lunch of a sandwich or salad at around 1 or 2, eat supper at 5:30-6:30, and maybe have a light snack if I felt like it at the end of the day. I would eat in the kitchen, standing at the counter after I made my lunch. If I wasn’t done with work, I would go back to it after I ate and was careful to only bring a glass of water back with me. I would not eat anything past 8 or 9, and do the routine again the next morning.

I didn’t work out the couple weeks of the fasting. I wanted to see it work on its own and I manage to lose about 5-10lbs by sticking to that. I focused on portion sizes without giving up something I enjoyed. For instance, I would only have a single slice of pizza and eat a leafy green salad. The important thing was to I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any negative side effects, like dizziness or other issues that would impact working out. Plus, losing a little weight before getting back into it would probably make working out more effective, or at least help me have the stamina to do a workout.

Here we are today. I started probably back in the latter part of May and I’ve successfully hit a major milestone and am back to my pre-quarantine weight, if not less. But it’s not about the weight. It’s about staying sane in a time when things are on fire in the world around me. I do yoga every morning, followed by a workout or two (dance workouts, usually). On days when I feel overwhelmed, I do another workout (usually something like an MMA-style workout) instead of grabbing a snack. I feel better afterwards, and I’m getting healthier and stronger every day.

This isn’t about looking cute in clothing or trying to make my husband happy by getting into shape (because he honestly doesn’t care about that). My priority is getting healthy because I want to be healthier. Before, it was about getting into my pre-baby clothes or that astonishingly skinny level I was at when I was a teenager/early twenties. That was another change in mindframe from the last time I lost weight. I wanted to not look horrible in photos or out in public. This change of focus has really been a key factor in my success.

The takeaway here: my approach changed and my weight loss has been significantly more successful. I didn’t lose much during my dreaded female time, because I can barely function like an actual adult, but I still lost something. I acknowledged the realities of why I gained weight/maintained higher weight, and adjusted it to my lifestyle. It’s not about looking good; it’s about feeling good. It’s not about following a bunch of rules or giving up the things you enjoy; it’s about learning how to enjoy them in a different way. These are the things that helped me. Intermittent fasting isn’t an ideal choice for everyone, for health reasons. But this was the best way to resolve an issue I had with my eating habits.

I look forward to what the future will bring in this new journey to a healthier me. Because this is something sustainable. And I look forward to not feeling too terrible to run so I can get back to that. If you want to get healthier, the point is to find the best approach for you because we’re all different. You need to find something that you can stick to. And you need to be sure that you do it for you.

Growing Up Girl

I saw a post on social media that inspired me. And it was the things that women are taught as girls growing up. I remember those lessons. They are as ingrained in my brain as when my parents taught me to cook or my dad taught me about the various tools and how to fix/assemble things as he would with his sons.

I remember them all. The importance of walking with a tall, confident posture because it makes you a less easy target. Holding your keys in your hand so that you can use it to defend yourself. The importance of a buddy system whenever you go out, especially at least another girl to go to the bathroom with you. While boys are not being taught to not rape, girls are forced to learn how to avoid it. Or at least try to. Sometimes, all the preparation in the world doesn’t protect you.

I remember being taught self-defense by my older brother when I was a teenager, my early teens. I remember he told me that this was one of the most important things I would need to learn in life. Mechanically speaking, I could probably severely injure someone if necessary thanks to those lessons. But we’re always taught to be afraid, aren’t we?

It’s always about being on high alert, that anything can happen at any second. We’re taught to be afraid because the unfortunate reality is that people aren’t safe in the world. The world is a terrible place. I have something I can use as a weapon in every room in the house. Why? Because I was taught that I should be afraid of the world.

This isn’t a bad thing, unless you let this fear control your life. These things that we learn are meant to empower us to be strong in the face of this fear. We’re supposed to take the threat of trauma, or our actual trauma, and take away some lesson from it that doesn’t involve blame. We have to take precautions, but knowing that every precaution in the world won’t necessarily protect you is important to not blaming yourself if it does.

The question isn’t about the lessons that girls learn, but what should boys learn? They need to learn about consent. They need to learn acceptable behaviors and how to properly interact with people. When my oldest became old enough to date, we gave him a talk that is almost as important as “The Talk”; one about how not to be a horrible person. We talked to him about how it’s not just “No Means No” but that it means “No” whether you haven’t even started or in the middle of it. How if you don’t get any actual consent of “Yes, this is okay”, then don’t. Someone who is drunk or under the influence can’t consent even if they did. Maybe we should focus less on teaching girls to be afraid and more about teaching our boys to be more respectful. Maybe that’s what our real problem is.