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And Now for Something Completely Different

April 22, 2013

Mourning Monday

Peace is in our Hands

Peace is in our Hands

I had plans to blog about something completely different for this post. But then Boston happened.

I had plans to explain how even though repetitive patterns and thoughts related to our body image may SEEM cyclical/redundant (leaving many of us feeling in a cul-de-sac of body dissatisfaction), this repetition affords us opportunities to predict our behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, thereby giving us openings for change. But then Boston happened.

I had plans to write about why I made the difficult decision to take a blog sabbatical until the Fall so I can finish my book and to thank all of you for being such supportive readers over the past two years that I have been blogging for FFF but then…

Boston happened.

Shit happens. Plans get disrupted. New priorities emerge. Chaos replaces some certainties and paradoxically, in some areas, a new clarity replaces ambiguity and confusion.

When I heard about Boston, I was on the phone with my dear friend Nancy who lives in Worcester, Massachusetts. I had just returned from a weekend away with family and, basking in the afterglow of a delightful time, I decided to give Nancy a call. She asked me if I had heard about what had happened in Boston a few hours earlier and when I said no, she proceeded to fill me in. As I turned on my TV and watched the reports on the local Bay Area news station, my brain immediately re-calibrated from its content, peacefully happy place, to rage, disbelief, despair, and impotence. This was evil. This was the act of an evil person or persons. There is no cause worthy enough to justify this senseless slaughter of innocent people.

I spend a great deal of time writing about ways to battle negativity and fight against oppression. I have been on the receiving end many times of people equating fat with atrocities against society and accuse fat people of being dispensable, useless members of society. I have counseled countless clients over the years who are waging a constant war with their bodies because they are committing the ultimate crime against nature: being fat, that scourge on society, the eyesore of health scoffers.

It always seems bizarre and cognitively dissonant to me that such hatred can be directed at a group of people based on the sole factor of their appearance. Any love and respect for the miracles of being alive and being human are flushed away by the one important criteria for societal inclusion and acceptance: being thin enough.

Then Boston happened. And more than ever the craziness of this kind of bigotry gets unmasked. The need for people to come together and stand up against the real evils of our society appear indisputable to me. It should supersede any other perceived “isms” that segregate the members of our society who just want a safe and peaceful planet for our children.

The victims of this attack are many and the scars of those wounded will be deep. In particular I am concerned about any of the runners who were physically injured and may have to learn to adapt to living without a limb. They will need to relearn how to embrace their body’s ability and not focus on its newly-acquired disability. They will have to learn how to feel that they fit into a world that overemphasizes physical conformity. They will have to find ways to identify themselves other than being marathon runners and find new ways to appreciate their bodies or accept the adaptations they will need to make if they choose to keep running. As some of the initial trauma and shock begin to dissipate, many may require a great deal of support to deflect the body hate that may begin to seep into their self-esteem, take root and pollute their positive sense of self with thoughts that they are no longer an equal citizen in our society.

It is perhaps too soon to find an optimistic viewpoint on this kind of tragedy… if there is one to be found at all. There will be the usual, “It could have been worse” or “at least it didn’t happen when even more folks were crossing the finish line,” but the profound grief that this kind of event elicits is immeasurable. I will say, however, that if even a slight, enduring increase in societal cohesion results from what happened in Boston on April 15, 2013, then perhaps we as a collective community have thwarted at least one of the objectives of the perpetrators who orchestrated this despicable act.

Til next time, be safe and be kind to yourself and others.

Warmly, Dr. Deah

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2013 9:15 am

    We both agree that food is good, so I pose the following food for thought. Looking below the surface event, the tragedy of Boston that may have instilled a new fear in many a distance runner, might there be some connection between the War on Terror and the War on Obesity?

  2. Dizzyd permalink
    April 28, 2013 7:14 pm

    “This was evil. This was an act of an evil person or persons. There is no cause worthy enough to justify this senseless slaughter of innocent people.” That can be said honestly about every attempt by society, inc. the diet and medical industries, to foist yet another vicious campaign against us in the “war” on obesity, inc. all the deadly yet ineffective “cures” that wind up hurting (or worse!) wonderful fat people whose only “crime” is not fitting society’s ideas of “beautiful and healthy”.

    • April 29, 2013 11:42 am

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this jere and Dizzy, we all have to keep the conversation alive through words, actions, teaching, and not accepting that bigotry of ANY kind is normal and “just the way things are.”

  3. Elizabeth permalink
    May 1, 2013 1:56 pm

    dr deah, I really enjoy your posts, but found this disturbing. Did you know the Tsarnaevs were part of a small Jewish community in Dagestan? Using the word evil to describe human beings is problematic for me. Acts can be evil, but how do we define an evil human? Is ordering drones to drop bombs on children evil? Is invading another country evil? Is killing 500,000 Iraqi children by bombing water-treatment plants evil? Is allowing a company to destroy a small town in Texas evil? Is destroying our beautiful planet evil? How about saying that anyone who opposed the approval of the drug Redux should be shot? Is that evil? (Judith Stern, University of California/Davis)

    • Deah Schwartz permalink
      May 1, 2013 3:06 pm

      I agree with you and have no respect for what our government is doing as aggressors in the world. I do believe that choices other than bombs are more reasonable and there are less evil ways to get ones political beliefs heard. Killing and maiming are just not ok in my world. Too many innocent people are impacted. Thanks for sharing your points of view with me though I am always receptive to hearing how I can improve my ways of communicating!

      Sent from my iPhone Warmly, Dr. Deah

      • Elizabeth permalink
        May 2, 2013 2:53 pm

        I, of course, totally agree with you about less evil ways to express one’s point of view. But every day our government seems determined to create more and more people who just want Americans to experience a tiny degree of the violence we visit upon other people. I’m actually surprised that more and worse things don’t happen constantly, and I am very aware that the media have given endless space to “terrorists” (people who relish the publicity) and ignored West, Texas, which was far more devastated than Boston (corporate malefactor happy to receive little publicity). I’m actually ashamed to live on the East Coast, which seems to believe it is the center of the universe.

        • May 11, 2013 8:17 am

          No argument from me about the total eclipse of the Texas tragedy! Awful.

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