Years ago I swore off making one single day the starting line for when to begin a new habit, or drop an old one.
I figure any day is fine. But as the new year approaches I can’t help thinking about what I want to do differently. How I want to evolve my mind, body and spirit.
For me, it’s an endless battle to be more patient.
With infuriating customer service, with my husband whose Maryland conversational cadence is slower than my New York vocal marathon.
I also need to interrupt less. This always enraged my father, and my husband isn’t a fan. He tells me to stop interrupting, I tell him to talk faster. This goes nowhere.
I also need to pare down (a little) of my wine-love. But I’m a hedonist, they’ll be no Dryuary (dry January) in this house.
Another of my goals is to drop two dress sizes.
This means at 57 the simple non-magical formula of eating fewer carbs, less sugar, lots of protein and minimal nighttime snacking. I already work out six days a week but as my daughter reminds me, “abs are made in the kitchen.” I bust my ass at the gym but my waistline doesn’t seem to notice.
I don’t weigh myself. Haven’t for decades. Women’s weight goes up and down with water gain and added muscle (men too). So the scale is an annoying stab in the back. It demotivates me and makes me want to kick the thing across the room.
Basically if I have to suck in my stomach to squeeze into my jeans, it’s time to lose weight.
For 2023 let me offer a suggestion.
Don’t make your resolutions big. Go for inches. Small strides. Work out one day a week, then two, then five. Cut out a little sugar, add more veggies and protein. Read more. Don’t make your goals feel impossible by day three.
Three things to add to 2023: Breast health, immune support, healthy boundaries
I’ve been studying what it takes to fix my mind and body for more than 20 years.
After I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, had severe postpartum depression, anxiety and adrenal insufficiency, I took my health into my own hands. As of a Greece trip in 2019, I now have microscopic colitis. I’m working like a dog to get rid of it despite being told it’s autoimmune (Never goes away. Not on my watch. I’m getting rid of it).
My doctor is a holistic MD who preaches prevention and cure rather than just treating symptoms. We’re a team. She listens. She reminds that the body knows how to heal itself with the right help.
- I suggest women add breast thermography to their annual breast health plan. Inexpensive, painless, life saving.
- I also suggest everyone add Argentyn 23 to help their immune system. It’s a powerful safe antiviral and antibacterial small particle silver. My husband, daughter and I took it constantly during COVID (none of us got COVID). There’s peer-reviewed science behind small particle silver. I can’t sing it’s praises enough.
- Set personal boundaries and extricate yourself from toxic people. Mean, shitty people who don’t make you feel good about yourself, or people you don’t trust, don’t deserve your company.
How do you know who’s toxic and who you need to gently leave behind?
Ask yourself how you feel every time you’re around this person. Are they at least trying to get better? Are they self-aware? There’s your answer.
To a joyful, healthy happy 2023.
How even the most hateful views can shift. Former Westboro Baptist member converts to love.
By Laura G Owens
On February 20, 2023
In Relationships, Social Commentary, Social Issues
Last Sunday my Unitarian Universalist Reverend spoke about a former Westboro Baptist member, Megan Phelps-Roper.
“At 5, She Protested Homosexuality, Now She Protests The Church That Made Her Do It.”
Westboro Baptist if you aren’t aware, protest at LGBTQ funerals. Members wave signs at grieving loved one that slur LGBTQ people and support divine killings:
God Hates the USA/Thank God for 9/11,” “America is Doomed,” “Don’t Pray for the USA,” “Thank God for IEDs,” “Fag Troops,” “Semper Fi Fags,” “God Hates Fags,” “Maryland Taliban,” “Fags Doom Nations,” “Not Blessed Just Cursed,” “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “Pope in Hell,” “Priests Rape Boys,” “You’re Going to Hell,” and “God Hates You.””God hates faggots” “Fags doom nations” “Thank God for 9/11”
Members protest at travelers disembarking from LGTBQ cruises. This includes parents with kids in tow unprepared for the verbal onslaught. Westboro, also with kids in tow, proudly pass on their hate-disease by enlisting little ones to hold “God Hates Faggots” signs as their kid’s faces shine with confused giddiness.
These poor children have no idea why they’re so excited to scream vile phrases at innocent families, except that mom and dad told them that hating “those people” is God’s will. And so, it must be.
What I feel about Westboro Baptist can’t be printed. Although I blogged about them for the Huffington Post after the Pulse tragedy in my hometown, “To Westboro Baptist, We Win.”
It’s no surprise that when people challenge our deeply embedded worldview we double down on our argument. It’s the boomerang effect. Calling someone a “fascist pig, libtard, baby killer or evil disgusting homophobe” feels good in the moment but does nothing to change minds.
We try to convince people that we’re obviously right and that they’re obviously wrong with their stupid thinking. Even if we don’t call them stupid, we imply it.
This never works. You and I know that.
Nonetheless, I continue with my rage-du-jour on Facebook. I’m heavy into social activism and ranting is intensely cathartic. It releases my psychic outrage which seems to be growing exponentially as a Florida Democrat (in the news lately, DeSantis’s dystopian book banning).
I never call names (in person or online, I save that for the privacy of my home when I can let loose). Online I present rational arguments with great – passion, and plenty of snark towards select politicians (thus igniting the tribalism at the root of “us vs them” thinking).
On Sunday my reverend presented five suggestions for how to disagree better, more convincingly.
1) Assume good or neutral intentions
I admit that I don’t assume good intentions for Neo Nazis, Westboro Baptist or people in favor of forcing a rape victim to carry her pregnancy.
Now, if I went way down deep into a Christ-like place I might find a morsel of “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” But I won’t, not for the real damage they’re doing.
2) Ask questions
I learned that our question shouldn’t be “Why do you think this (stupid) way?” rather, “May I ask where you learned your beliefs?” Then listen. Meet people where they ARE. We don’t know why they feel the way they do. Upbringing. Brain-washing. A bad experience. A need to belong.
3) Stay calm
If nothing else, do this. I stay relatively calm in my posts except when referring to laws that take women’s rights away, ban books, marginalize the LGBTQ community, and the like.
Since 2016 I don’t engage in face-to-face opposing politics. It’s relationship dynamite and puts me in a bad mood.
The last Trump fan I spoke to about Trump was about 5 years ago. This woman insisted nothing was wrong with his character, and as for the Me Too movement?
She said women “overreact” at work when men make lewd comments. She said she was smarter than most people in business because she knew how to use her looks to get what she wanted. For example, she agreed to get a boob job suggested and paid for by her boss to “boost her sales numbers with men.” Sad sack, yes. But do I have the will or energy to bring her to reason? No.
4) Make the argument
I do, with facts, mainly with centrist media sources like the Associated Press, Pew Research etc. Look for reporting that doesn’t lean left or right. Check media sites with mediabiasfactcheck.com.
5) Speak with love and grace
I’m pretty damn gracious if I do say so, but do I speak with love? Sort of.
Love is a big word, wildly overused and diluted. I can be compassionate-ish and open to why someone is the way they are. God knows I have my issues that shaped my least best traits.
I can be compassionate until someone uses words and actions that harm (“God hates faggots”). What do you think that does to a teenager struggling with his or her sexuality?
Or the 15-week ban on abortion in Florida with no exception for rape and incest. A girl is raped by her father but has to bear the burden of that horror for 40s weeks? There’s not enough crisis counseling in the world to counter that sort of psychic torture.
People much more patient than I am, people willing to open the door with Westboro Baptist, engaged graciously with Megan Phelps-Roper on Twitter. Enough people who vehemently hated her views remained calm, open, asked good questions and listened.
And over time it worked. Megan did a 360 and is now helping change people’s hearts.
It would take Jesus himself to tell me, Come on Laura, do better and graciously engage with people who spew hateful venom. And even then, I’d need to be heavily medicated.
But we can all do better to close the gap between our divisive worldviews. Stay calm. Don’t insult, walk away, be gracious.
I noticed over the years that a few Trump friends unfriended me. They did it quietly. I just looked them up and they were gone. I completely understand. If I loved Trump, I’d hate my posts too.
And honestly it’s for the best that my QAnon friends went away. I don’t see much hope for us coming together when their views include the conspiracy theory that Hillary runs a secret chain of pizza restaurants as a cover for child sex trafficking.
Sometimes there’s zero wiggle room to disagree lovingly. So just quietly unfriend, walk away, don’t discuss. You won’t change their mind, but you won’t make your relationship worse.
Former Westboro Baptist member Ted talk