Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some overlooked bits...

Well, I suppose when I said, "HEY! I'M BACK! LOOK AT HOW BACK I AM! SEE HOW I'M ALL BACK AND READY TO RIOT AND SUCH?!" I should've expected to be called upon to Riot about every subject under the sun, but I thought...hey...nobody really missed me. I was wrong. Since I've resumed the Riot, you all have kept me inundated with all the backlog of subjects I suppose you were holding on to, just waiting for me to get all in a tiff for you. What I have to say about that particular subject is in 2 parts:


  1. Thank you for keeping me abreast of stuff that's going on. Also, abreast is a funny word. It always will be. 
  2. If you're passionate about a subject, don't wait for me to say/do something about it. I may join your cause and hoot and holler, or I may just sit on the sidelines and be your cheerleader. Either way, you're a Rioter. You know the drill. So...you do it. 
Now that that's out of the way... There be some topics I feel merit a quick note. I'm not going to go into a whole bunch of research or overload you with hyperlinks to other articles. I think we all know what's been going on in the pagan blogosphere as of late. To paraphrase Edain McCoy, we've gotten extra divided in the last month or so. 

Hey, at least I can finally, without question, say that I had nothing to do with it. I was gone. :-) But, let's get to it.

Veiling

Quite a bit of discussion has come about recently regarding the act of veiling, which is when women (and sometimes men to a lesser degree) cover their heads with fabric, typically for a religious purpose. Without pulling any punches, I'd just like to say that if you think a woman who chooses to veil herself in any way automatically makes her a person to be feared or reviled, then you're a fucking moron and I hope I never meet you in person. Yes, in some parts of the world, there are women who possibly would rather not veil themselves. The majority of women, in whatever culture or religion they find themselves, that do veil tend to choose it. They do not feel oppressed or suppressed by men, as it's more about their relationship and respect for divinity than it is about keeping your pretty pretty hair from attracting all the menfolk. 

Or, to put it simply, why don't you stop worrying about what another woman wears on her head and worry more about the sweatpants you're wearing that say JUICY in big sparkly letters all the way across your booty. 

I've read stories of pagan women getting spat at for veiling in a manner typically used by Muslim women. To clear this up, a woman who chooses to wear a veil in the style of a member of the religion of Islam DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY BECOME A MEMBER OF A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION YOU SANCTIMONIOUS IMBECILE. Also, as we've discussed before, Islam is a pretty cool religion. You should study it one day instead of fearing it like a four year old fears asparagus because it's...you know...green.

From Jews to Christians, Pagans to Muslims, most religions have, at some time or another, adopted veiling as a sign of respect. Perhaps, in turn, you could respect their choice. 

For more on the recent controversy and to learn about the upcoming International Covered In Light Day, please click the link. I have full and complete respect for this organization, and if you would like to participate I encourage you to do so. If you do participate, feel free to send me pics of you in your head covering (male or female), and I'll post them on the blog.

The Weight Issue

I avoided the one topic I really wanted to discuss when I mentioned the passing of David Grega, mainly because when I've mentioned anything regarding weight or health in the past, I've been called rather awful names. Oh. Well. Now, however, since other pagans on other blogs have finally said it, I think I can express my views without seeming as though it's just me thinking it.

We're fat. We're really, really fat. As Pagans and as Americans. In less than 20 years, the latest estimates state that almost half - 42% - of Americans will be obese. Not just overweight. Obese. Never in the history of the world have we been so fat. But, think about it, we don't have to go hunt or farm anymore. We have to go to the grocery store. Hell, we don't even have to do that anymore if we don't want to with online grocery stores, online drug stores, and all the other online retail establishments. We don't have to leave the house if we don't want to. With the internet, we can work from home, earn money that gets directly deposited into our accounts - no leaving to pick up a paycheck - and then order our food, clothing, and entertainment online and have it shipped to our door. 

But, let's not even look at projections. Let's look at now. 34% of Americans are currently obese. Not just overweight. Obese. 2/3 of Americans are currently overweight. TWO-THIRDS! 

David was 27 years old [thank you Star for the correct info!]. Less than two years older than I am now. Now, I'm not his doctor, and I fully respect that there may have been other issues I'm not aware of, but on the whole a 27-year-old should not be of such poor health that they die of heart complications. But...heart disease tops the chart as far as causes that claim lives each year. *

*Post Edit 7-20-12*

I have since been informed that David's heart attack was not brought on by cardiovascular issues related to weight, but rather by his long-time battle with cancer. As there has been quite a bit of information regarding weight and heart issues surrounding his death, I suppose I made an incorrect assumption. I do hope you'll forgive the error, but I hope my greater point about us as a community and as a nation getting healthy still stands. Sorry, and I'll try to do more thorough research next time.

If you're an adult, and you live in America, statistics show you're probably fat. It's just the way it is. 2/3 of the population being overweight is astounding. 1/3 of the population being obese...sickening. It makes me sad. There are too many news reports spotlighting too many obese 5 year olds. There are too many reports spotlighting families who say they want to lose weight and get healthy, if only KFC didn't taste so good. 

It's not a good excuse anymore. It's just not. I truly hope that we can use this as a wake up call for our community. We revere nature, right? The natural order of things. We honor the earth as sacred. We go out of our way to make sure that animals and plants and forests and oceans and river beds and all manner of wildlife are kept healthy....when is it our turn? When are we going to point that effort back home, back to our own community?

Honor the divinity within you by getting healthy. Give your inner god/goddess a clean and healthy shrine in which to reside. That doesn't mean going to the gym twice a day, 6 days a week and developing some 'roided up 12-pack. But, it does mean getting out of the house, staying active, and choosing healthy alternatives for dinner. See your doctor. Get help if you need it. But, please, do not be another statistic. Do not be someone else's warning sign. I love you all, and I do not want to lose another one of you to a preventable disease. 

Personally Social

One minor thing. I took a month off from being Fire Lyte, because I needed to get my personal life in order. I was personally overrun with being Fire Lyte. I've found a good balance at this point, a way to compartmentalize different aspects of my life. That being said, it's pretty easy to find my real name, and then to take that real name and find me on Facebook or other places around the web. However, please don't. I'm asking you, not out of anger or a desire to not be 'friends' with you, but that's a line that I'd really like to not cross. I'm asking that you respect the ways I've compartmentalized my life so that I can continue being Fire Lyte free of some of the stresses it used to bring me. And, when I'm done being Fire Lyte, I need a safe space to go back to in order to recharge. If you all keep trying to be my friend on Facebook or, gods forbid, attempt to find me in real life without my permission, you're just taking away my safe personal space. 

So...please...I'm glad you like Fire Lyte. I like you too! But, keep the social networking to the approved Riot social networks on Facebook and Twitter. 

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Estimated the age from his birth year. Hadn't seen his exact birth date. Sorry. Also, I was under the impression he'd died of a heart attack. There's just been so much written about him, I thought getting my info from some of the Patheos blogs was the best idea. I suppose I should've done more research.

      Either way, my point still stands.

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    2. Cancer and cancer treatment puts your body under stress. My grandmother died from a heart attack brought on by her chemo treatment.

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    3. Thank you for your thoughts and insight. I've since corrected the above article to reflect the correct facts regarding David's death. I do hope, however, that the greater point of getting healthy on the whole can still stand.

      FL

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  2. I get it, on so many levels I get it. I know I'm overweight, I know I'm obese. I go to the gym and do cardio 3-4 times a week. I teach dance classes and I perform with a troupe. I rarely eat meat and I don't eat fast food. However, and I know people hate the 'excuses,' I am still obese. Some of that is related to the medications that I'm on. Some of it is genetic. My doctors tell me time and again, after the quarterly lab work required for my meds, that I'm incredibly healthy for a healthy person (not a fat person), I just need to lose weight. And if it was simple, I'd do it.

    I used to be a ballet dancer. I was a dance major in college and I was so thin I looked gross. Somewhere in there my health declined and yeah, things happen. I gained a lot of weight

    What I can't stand is when people, pagans and not, assume that because I'm obese I don't take care of myself. That couldn't be the further from the truth. I eat the right things in small portions. I don't drink soda and I do everything everyone says is the right thing to do.

    Now, while I know that is my case, it's not the same for everyone. I actually think that, to an extent, the 'every body is beautiful' thought process in paganism is detrimental. We are taught and preached at that no matter your shape, you are as the god/goddess/spirit made you and that is just fine. Which is fine, I guess, at it's root but I don't see many pagans exercising healthy lifestyles. I see it especially at festivals. It's ridiculous to watch obviously overweight people complain about their weight while mowing down a bacon burger with extra bacon and mayonnaise on it, and in the next breath saying it's ok because that's the way the goddess made them. Or whatever.

    Wow. Ok, I soapboxed for a second there. Sorry.

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    Replies
    1. I know what it's like to have medications mess with your weight. Being healthy is key, and good on you for already knowing it! I have some friends who are heavy, but extremely healthy and very active! They have thyroid issues that cause them to be overweight, and that just can't be helped (they are already on medications for it). I've had pain meds make me balloon up after working hard to lose weight I gained from over-eating before I was disabled. Losing that was much harder the second time around. It's hard when people see "big" and they instantly think "unhealthy". That's not always the case. Judgmental people make life much harder, but unfortunately they will never go away.

      I agree with you that while acceptance is a wonderful thing, it's become detrimental to paganism. I don't know if it's because I'm in California, but I do see plenty of pagans who do take care of themselves, but there are also just as many who don't. Heh, I guess this was just a long post saying I sympathize and agree. ^_^

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  3. "Or, to put it simply, why don't you stop worrying about what another woman wears on her head and worry more about the sweatpants you're wearing that say JUICY in big sparkly letters all the way across your booty" LOL
    Whenever I see people wearing those pants I can't help but think "if you are so good looking, it would be obvious and not need to be spelled out across you bottom which, by the way, looks horrible with those visible panty lines".

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  4. There are people with issues such as medications and even hormonal imbalances but for the most part and most people - we eat too much. Period. And we do not move enough, if at all. Energy input ( in the form of calories - OMG that Dirty Word that the trend says doesn't matter) and output (the moving no one wants to do) are ALL that matter for MOST people. It really is that simple. And before anyone opens their mouth - NO I have not always been thin and NO if you look at my bloodline i am NOT genetically inclined toward it.

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  5. There are people with issues such as medications and even hormonal imbalances but for the most part and most people - we eat too much. Period. And we do not move enough, if at all. Energy input ( in the form of calories - OMG that Dirty Word that the trend says doesn't matter) and output (the moving no one wants to do) are ALL that matter for MOST people. It really is that simple. And before anyone opens their mouth - NO I have not always been thin and NO if you look at my bloodline i am NOT genetically inclined toward it.

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  6. My thoughts on the veil (though I would argue it's just as much about hiding your pretty hair from the men folk as it is about connection with the divine!) are a little more nuanced - I admire the women who chose to wear it as it is as a symbol of their devotion to their religion (and their husbands for that matter). The fact is though that there are a lot of women who don't chose it, and have very little choice at all in any aspect of their lives, and the lack of female empowerment is a huge problem in many cultures. As far as how people treat these women though, my thoughts on that aren't nuanced at all - people who treat these women badly, or any Muslim, are hateful and ignorant.

    I could go on for days about weight - I think we as Americans don't know how to eat and aren't teaching our children either. I know there are people with health issues that contribute to their weight, but that's not the case for the majority. How adults live their lives are up to them and I will never judge or treat them any differently (I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination). You can chose as an adult whether to eat well and be active or eat crap in front of the TV, but it upsets me when people don't make an effort to feed their children well - the people that don't have a choice (or can't make the right one on their own)!

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  7. I'm trying really hard to maintain civility on the weight = healthy issue, because A: I don't want to be the person who starts troll behavior, and B: it makes me too emotional to do so. Instead, I'm going to refer you to someone who can articulate things more aptly than myself. I highly encourage you to read her postings, and hear out another view for a better debate.

    http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/

    I will say this: judging a person's health by their appearance is just as despicable as judging someone's sexuality by their fashion choices or their character by skin color. If our barometer for healthiness was based on what a person can DO as opposed to how they look (like every other part of civilized society) things would run a lot more constructively.

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    Replies
    1. Don't think I agree 100% - I mean, judging someone's character by their skin color I agree, but you can absolutely judge sexuality by someone's fashion choices, fashion is a form of expression! And I don't mean to attach "good" or "bad" to that, I just mean you can tell things about people by what they wear. You can't control your skin color, but you can control what you wear, and you can control - to an extent - the shape of your body through proper nutrition and exercise.

      As for judging someone's health by their outward appearance - you may not be correct all the time, but you have a clue. And not just with weight, but sallow skin, under eye circles, etc. Our inward health has a way of manifesting on the outside. As for weight, there's a difference in being "overweight" - but physically active, energetic and healthy, so that's not really "overweight" at all is it? - and "overweight" but inactive, overfed/undernourished and tired. I'm not a doctor, but I would imagine the later would absolutely have health problems either causing or caused by their weight.

      Absolutely agree that there are better ways to measure people, and ability should be one of the first.

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    2. Actually, the fashion choices and sexuality was one of my stronger points. People assume that guys who dress in flannel shirts and old jeans must be straight, and well-manicured men in 3-piece suits are gay, or that sporty girls are lesbians and "girly-girl's" wearing 4-inch heels are straight (or worse, slutty). But one can't take any of these assumptions at face value. Nor should we.

      Likewise, one cannot make assumptions about internal health based on outward appearance. Skinny doesn't perfect health any more than overweight equals dropping dead any day. in fact, the things people do to stay skinny can be far more damaging: bulimia/anorexia, smoking, naso-gastric diets (didn't FL rant about that one too?), dangerous surgeries, etc.

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    3. I'm not saying you can make perfect conclusions, nor should you, from any of these things, but it would be wrong to say they don't mean anything at all.

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