Searching for the right combination

There was a time, not so long ago, that I wasn’t taking any prescription drugs. It was fantastic. But then 2018 came crashing onto the scene and now I am picking up one refill or another at the pharmacy just about every week. I’ve been on five different medications at one point or another since January and I’m still searching for the right one(s). In my post about my health last week I mentioned that I’ve been taking 1 mg of Requip, a Parkinson’s and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) treatment, to calm my legs at night so that I can fall asleep. While I believe that it has been somewhat effective, meaning I can go to sleep without leg spasms now, I am still not feeling 100% like myself again. Not only do I still have twitchy legs sometimes during the day, but I’m so tired all the time. And some days I just can’t get out of bed at all. I can sleep all day, and it doesn’t feel like a choice I’m making. I just wake up in the afternoon/evening and feel depressed that I’ve lost yet another day to my poor health. And the kicker is that I never feel rested no matter how much I sleep. For example, the other day I opened my eyes and the clock on my nightstand said 5:30 PM! I managed to drag myself out of bed, get dressed and go to my boot camp class at 8 PM, and then went back to sleep at 11:30 PM. I was only awake for 6 hours that day and I was still tired when I got up to go to work the next morning! It’s beyond ridiculous. I can’t afford for this to continue, both monetarily (I need to work to support myself!) and mentally (I am at the end of my rope!). Fortunately I had my long-awaited appointment with the neurologist yesterday afternoon. I explained all of my symptoms to him, showed him copies of my blood work from December and my sleep study in May, and told him what pharmaceuticals I have tried so far. After laying it all out on the table the doctor was a bit baffled by the whole picture. It was frustrating, but understandable. All of the other medical professionals I have seen so far have been baffled too. My symptoms don’t all fit into one nice, easy, predefined diagnosis. Of course it isn’t that simple! Some things point to RLS, but others suggest Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), while a few could be signs of a more serious affliction. So while I don’t have any definitive answers, the neurologist did write me a prescription for another drug to try in combination with the Requip. So I will be adding Gabapentin to my nightly pill dosage to see if it makes a difference. On top of that, I have instructions to double the dose in one week if the initial amount doesn’t seem to be working at all. I also have another appointment in September to report back on the results, and perhaps conduct some further tests. (The doctor seemed concerned that I could visually see my muscles contract during the leg spasms, so he might order some electrical stimulation tests to see what’s going on in there.) I’m still encouraged by this progress, even if it is small. Finding the right combination of medications is the key to relief and the neurologist told me that it might take a while. After two and a half years of dealing with this issue I will try to be patient as we zero in on a solution!

The unexpected benefits of online friendships

“Doree and Kate,
After hearing [on your podcast] that you two met on Tumblr I wanted to reiterate that online friendships can be very powerful! Thirteen years ago when I got engaged I started posting in a Craigslist forum about weddings. The group of brides there were all planning their weddings in the same time frame as I was. It didn’t take long for me to bond with all of them over our shared experiences. Fast forward to today and about 100 of us maintain a Facebook group and I consider them some of my closest friends. In fact, I met my BFF through the group and her daughter is now my beloved goddaughter. Fortunately we both live in the LA area so we can see each other regularly. So even if online friendships seem very modern and possibly impersonal, I have experienced the exact opposite. I love all of these women, I will do anything for them, and knowing them has changed my life for the better.”
-5/28/18 email

I wrote this email to the hosts of the Forever35 podcast a while back because I’ll take advantage of any opportunity to extol the virtues of online friendships. In this day and age as we are questioning the effects of extended virtual interactions on our mental health it’s easy to forget that beneficial things can come out of internet relationships as well. I often find myself thinking I should limit my exposure to social media in order to maintain my sanity, especially since I’ve had so many difficulties this year, but I keep finding myself back on Facebook in order to communicate with my wonderful online friends. They lift me up when I feel down, they give me advice when I feel lost, and they remind me that the world isn’t as bad a place as it seems. It is an invaluable connection. We’ve gone through so much together. Love and heartbreak, celebration and devastation, joys and sorrows. We even lost one of our members to cancer last year. Yes, we sometimes argue (politics is so polarizing!), and we disagree on occasion, but we always know that we will stand together no matter what.

Luckily for me these relationships haven’t been exclusively virtual. Most recently, on Saturday I had a girl’s night with two of my online friends who live in LA. We don’t get together nearly often enough so it was a significant achievement that all three of us were able to follow through on the plans we made a few weeks earlier. We ate dinner together (I had my weekly cheat meal that included a mountain of delicious sweet potato fries), they supported me as I tried on dresses at Ann Taylor and Loft (I am still two dress sizes larger than I want to be, which makes me sad), and we acted like crazy teenagers while walking around the clothes section of Target. We even put green bras with a weird combination of lace and netting on over our clothes and took pictures (which I will not be sharing in any public forum!). It was an amazing time. I have often thought that every woman needs a group of steadfastly supportive friends like the one I stumbled upon thirteen years ago on Craigslist, and outings like this one reaffirm my belief. I can’t always share all of the details of everything I’m going through with other people in my life, but these ladies have heard it all. I’ve ranted about my marriage, my divorce, my dating debacles, my work issues, my body insecurities, my illnesses (both mental and physical), and everything in between. And I’ve listened when they need to vent about what their circumstances too. I am extremely fortunate to have the trust of these lovely women and I don’t take that privilege lightly. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them.

Better living through pharmaceuticals

“I’m so thankful that my doctor has taken these symptoms seriously, unlike some other medical professionals I’ve seen, and is helping me map out a path forward. As a next step, she wrote me a prescription for Requip, a drug that’s used to treat not only restless legs, but Parkinson’s Disease as well. We’re not messing around with my crazy legs!
6/8/18 webpage post

It’s been nearly two months since I last saw my doctor and I am now taking 1 mg of Requip every night, an hour or two before I go to bed. It doesn’t make me feel great – there is some nausea and risk of vomiting, especially if I take it on an empty stomach – but it does seem to calm my Periodic Leg Movement Disorder (PLMD). Hallelujah! However, I’m not sure it is helping me get the quality sleep that I desperately need. I still have days where I’m completely exhausted and can sleep way more hours than any normal person should. Waking up in the late afternoon is not a good feeling when you had a long list of things you needed to accomplish during the day. Fortunately I have a neurologist appointment on Thursday to hopefully make more progress on a treatment plan. I definitely have some non-negligible, although mostly minor, side effects from the Requip so I’m not sure if it is going to end up being the best option for me. My quality of life has most definitely improved since starting this medication, though. I can fall asleep at night without worrying about infuriating and insomia-inducing leg spasms for the first time in over two years, which is a miracle. Thank goodness for modern medicine and ever-evolving pharmaceuticals to assist everyone in living life to the fullest. You almost never find the right combination of drugs the first time, and I’ve tried a few that certainly didn’t work for me, but my Lexapro and Requip are working wonders at the moment. I’m concerned about the possibility that the Requip will become less effective over time or make my symptoms worse, as many RLS and Parkinson’s medications have a tendency to do, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I know that in the grand scheme of things my medical problems are not nearly as devastating as other have to deal with, and for that I am grateful. That doesn’t mean I’m not worried about the future, though. What if this is a symptom of a more serious affliction? This is another bridge to cross later, if needed. For now I’m trying to make up for some serious sleep deprivation!

Debt and higher education (part 2)

“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”
-Brigham Young

Yesterday I wrote a post about the financial aspects of my undergraduate and graduate school education. I was attempting to refute claims from my least favorite blogger that men find women less desirable as potential wives if they have debt incurred from higher education. To take it even further, this woman doesn’t approve of college at all for those of us of the female persuasion. To use her own words, “There’s nothing biblical about young women going away to college.” It’s easy to unravel this argument, though. First of all, college as we know it today did not exist millennia ago when the Bible was written. Of course there were institutes of higher learning, especially in the more wealthy and powerful nations, but I don’t think even those are addressed in the Bible. (Please correct me if I’m wrong!) Second, women had almost no rights or autonomy at that time so I’m sure they received little to no education. They had so few options in their lives simply because of their gender and the male-dominated society they were born into. (This is slightly off topic, but as always, I am unbelievably grateful to all of the women who came before me and made the world a more equitable place for future generations.) Later in her post this blogger continues her rant:

“They [women] will be taught to be strong apart from the Lord and independent of Him and in no need of a man. In fact, they will be taught that there are no differences between men and women and be encouraged to be a man and take on his role. They will be taught about birth control, overpopulation, and the inconvenience of having children. They will be taught to pursue careers so they can make a name for themselves and have money of their own. They will be taught nothing about God’s ordained role for them but instead, spend a lot of money for their college education and gain a mountain of debt.”

To start with, what individual could possibly have the right to determine what God’s ordained role for any person other than themselves? That’s arrogance of the highest order. There are a number of reasons that women want to further their education, but most want to prepare for a career. I was in a sorority at UF and a majority of my sisters had lofty professional dreams that they were pursing, similar to my own. In this day and age a college degree is almost a requirement for any line of work. Of course, I understand that this isn’t universally true, and that college isn’t right for everyone. And that’s perfectly OK! I don’t judge folks for their educational choices, unlike some “Christian” bloggers I know. (I read another article by a different author recently that got me all fired up on this subject, but I’ll have to address that at a later time.) On the other hand, most of my sorority sisters were also eager to fall in love, get married, and start having children. So even though they had ambitions outside the home, they still wanted the traditional house with a white picket fence and a loving family to go with it. We are lucky that thanks to women’s rights advocates and feminists that there’s no reason we can’t have both! For example, where would we be without female-dominated professions like nursing, teaching, and social work? Let me use another quote straight from my least favorite blogger herself. In a recent Instagram post she asked, “Many women believe they are being ‘called’ to their careers but are they really?” For myself the answer is a resounding YES! And I’m sure most of the working women that I know, many with husbands and children too, would have a similar response.

The last point I want to address is single women such as myself. How would I be able to support myself if I didn’t have a good job thanks to my college education? Granted, my situation is unique since I made the choice to be single rather than having singleness thrust upon me. I divorced my ex-husband because he was abusive and cheated on me, but not all women have that luxury. What about women who are widowed or whose husbands leave them? Also, what about married women whose husbands become disabled or unable to work? How do they feed their children, keep a roof over their head, and satisfy their most basic needs? As I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to get a good job without a college degree now. This is the reason I believe that all women who are inclined to go to college should do so, even if they plan to be a stay-at home wife and mother, just in case they are required to be their family’s breadwinner for one reason or another. It seems prudent to plan for whatever the future could bring rather than relying on a man to fulfill the provider role for the rest of your life. Of course this is just my opinion and I would encourage all women, couples, and families to figure out what works best for them. God gave us free will for a reason and he wanted all of his children to be happy, including members of the fairer sex!

P.S. In case you were wondering, one of the reasons I continue reading posts from this particular blogger is because they inspire me to think critically about the subject at hand and write these responses/rebuttals. Blogging has always been good for my soul. So even if I get angry reading her posts about how ladies these days are apparently loud, improper, and far too independent, I won’t let it affect how I feel about myself as a woman. I will simply use my visceral reaction as an opportunity to explain how not everyone fits into the same rigid box. Use your God-given gifts and live your life in whatever way you wish, ladies!

Debt and higher education (part 1)

“Imagine being born and finding out that because of your gender you’re expected to do one thing. Boys can be anything, but you, you’re only expected to stay home and cook and clean and make babies. I refuse to believe that that is my only purpose in life and my reason for existing.”
-7/3/18 Facebook comment

I was fairly young when I decided that I wanted to be an engineer. Math and science were always my favorite subjects and my parents, as well as all of my teachers, encouraged me to pursue my dreams. For me, college was a given. I never had any doubt that I would head straight to a university after graduating high school. However, I knew that my family wasn’t rich so my higher education options weren’t unlimited. I think I only applied to two schools, and one of them (Georgia Tech) fell off the list quickly because I didn’t get any substantial financial aid. Fortunately I grew up in Florida and our state has an amazing scholarship program called Bright Futures. When I finished high school over twenty years ago all you had to do to get money for college from the state was graduate from a Florida public high school, earn above a certain grade point average, and receive over a certain score on the SAT or ACT. So I had 100% of my tuition covered, plus a stipend for books every semester. (Granted, it was never enough to cover all of the insanely expensive textbooks I had to buy, but it certainly helped.) This means that I went to the University of Florida basically for free. Since I wasn’t living at home (Gainesville is about two hours away from Tallahassee) I did have room and board expenses, but I was extremely fortunate to have a college fund that my grandparents had sent up for me when I was young. They provided invaluable help to all four of their grandchildren in this manner. I got my Bachelor of Science degree with minimal cost to my parents, and without incurring any debt whatsoever. For this reason I know I am one of the lucky ones.

My least favorite blogger insists that men prefer debt-free virgins without tattoos. I already addressed the purity aspect in my 7/27 post, and now I’m going to tackle the debt portion of this hypothesis. After college I had no debt, but then I headed to graduate school at UCLA for two reasons. 1) I always planned to earn a Master’s Degree, and 2) the job market wasn’t great in 2002. I already had my foot in the door at Boeing due to my three internships, but the managers I knew there weren’t hiring when I graduated. So in the fall of 2002 I started my out-of-state, meaning not cheap, graduate school experience. Fortunately I was offered a position as a research assistant, and sometimes teaching assistant, which covered my tuition (four times more expensive than at UF) and earned me a paycheck every month. The drawback is that it was a very meager salary that didn’t cover the rent on my studio apartment close to campus. I lived for two years on the money I earned working at Boeing in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Usually an internship is an unpaid position, but Boeing is extremely generous to their temporary employees. I had saved a significant amount before starting graduate school, but I still needed additional financial aid to afford my continued education. So for the first time I got student loans. I still count myself as one of the lucky ones because in two years I only racked up about $17k worth of debt. In contrast, my ex-husband had attended MIT for undergrad and his student loans were much more substantial than mine. However, since our education had assisted both of us in finding fulfilling and lucrative jobs, neither of us considered the other’s student loan debt to be a point of contention when thinking about our future. Not that you’ll ever get rich as an engineer, but it comfortably pays the bills. I’ll reiterate the neither of us was religious so we weren’t viewing each other through the lens of Biblical suitability for marriage.

I have a lot more to say on this subject, but this post is already pretty long. Come back later this week so I can use my personal life experiences to refute some of the claims made by this “Christian” blogger about women and college. Educated women need to push back on the antiquated, male-dominated conventions that would prefer to limit our options. To be continued!

Dieting ups and downs

Week 3 of this 6-week fat loss program has been rough. Due to work stress and crazy hormones I’ve been fighting a multitude of cravings, and losing those battles more often than I’d like to admit. This past week I’ve somehow justified impulsively purchasing a lot of unhealthy snack foods and then chowing down on them until the guilt finally sets in. It’s vicious cycle of self-indulgence and self-hate that I have to break or else I’ll be right back where I started a few weeks ago. (Not that it would be the worst thing to happen, but I’d rather not backslide if I can avoid it.) You’d think feeling crappy about myself would be motivation enough to stay away from junk food, but I guess not. Last Sunday I unwisely got on the scale (because my weight should not be my primary indication of success), but I surprisingly discovered that I had lost seven pounds! That was extremely encouraging, but it didn’t keep me from making poor choices. I’m pretty upset with myself, but I know there’s nothing I can do to change the past. All I can do right now is remember how good progress feels and focus on all of my short-term and long-term goals.

My first goal when I started this program was to be able to wear an older dress for a big meeting at work. For the first six months of 2018 I’ve mostly been wearing a single dress when I have to give presentations and people are probably starting to wonder whether it’s the only one I own. My professional wardrobe needs more variety, even if that only means I can wear some of my old dresses rather than buying a bunch of new ones. I only had 16 days to slim down enough to squeeze into a dress that was way too tight beforehand so I had no idea if it was even possible. I usually wear some high-waisted Spanx under my work dresses to help even everything out, but they are horribly binding and have a tendency to roll down throughout the day. I’m always pulling on them to keep them in place and that’s not something you want to be doing in front of your co-workers. So the week before the meeting I went to Target to look for alternatives. I settled on a waist cincher with plastic boning that will circumvent the pesky rolling down while smoothing out the lumps and bumps around my waist. I was skeptical that it was going to be the right solution, but I actually loved it! Unfortunately the dress I was hoping to wear for my presentation last Tuesday ended up still being slightly too small, but I was able to comfortably wear another old dress so I was still pleased. I had made enough progress in 16 days to fit into an old dress and I had found a foundation garment that made it look fantastic on my body in its current state. The waist cincher has its downsides, namely the boning sometimes poking me when I sit down, but overall I’m optimistic about its prospects for future work meetings where I need to dress up.

My next big goal is to wear something fabulous to a wedding reception in Portland, OR in less than four weeks. The reception is for a couple of friends who got married last year in a small ceremony, but are now throwing a big party for all of their family and friends. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never been to Oregon before and going to this reception in Portland is a wonderful reason to visit for the first time. Also, I’m going to see a lot of my online friends (I wrote about them for the first time back in 2015) who are scattered all over the country. We love any excuse to be able to get together! We’ll see what dresses I can fit into before I head to Portland for the celebration.

A woman’s worth

“There is a reason women were created, and it’s not just because Adam didn’t know how to do the dishes.”
-Blog comment that made me laugh

For some reason I can’t seem to stay away from my least favorite blogger’s page. (I’ve written about her twice before, on 6/30 and 7/7, but I refuse to name her or her webpage here because, in my opinion, she doesn’t need any more exposure!) I visit the blog on a regular basis even though her every post make me ill. Most mornings I find myself checking in to see what fresh monstrosity she has put out into with the world. Recently she wrote a post that “went viral” (as she will remind you at every opportunity) so her particularly narrow-minded “Christian” views got a lot more attention that usual. (Note: By putting the word Christian in quotations I mean no disrespect towards the religion in general, but I also don’t want to imply that this woman’s beliefs apply to all followers.) The post in question was regarding what essential traits a woman should have to make her marriage material. I’m sure everyone could come up with a reasonable list of characteristics, like kindness, maturity, loyalty, responsibility, etc. However, this blog post called out three particular qualities that “men prefer” in their potential spouse – namely her virginity, no accumulated debt, and a lack of tattoos. Pretty specific, huh? Taking this list at face value I don’t think any of these things are exactly groundbreaking concepts, especially since every man (and woman, for that matter) has their individual preferences when looking for a partner. But the way the post was written implied that women who had any past at all (like independence or ex-boyfriends) were damaged goods not worthy of a quality husband. What nonsense!

This may be way more personal that I should share here, but I was a virgin when I met my husband at age 22. I’m what most people would call a late bloomer in that regard. That label doesn’t bother me, but I know that most women in my peer group had sex for the first time much younger than I did. However, when my ex and I got married (on the 6th anniversary of our first date) I was no longer a virgin. Not surprising considering we had been dating for such a long time. We also lived together for a year and a half before the wedding in the house we bought a few weeks after getting engaged. Still, he was the only person I had ever been with. But rather than lauding my virginity at the beginning of our relationship, he was actually annoyed by it. Virgins have no idea what they’re doing in the bedroom and he didn’t want another inept lover. (He was my first but I was not his, which I was OK with.) And now that I’m older and have more life experience I don’t blame him! So while I understand that most religions value a woman’s purity when she weds, clearly not all men are exclusively looking for virgins to marry. (For the record, my ex-husband wasn’t any more religious than I am, but he was still interested in my morals, goals, and our mutual compatibility before choosing me as his wife.) So now that I am a divorced woman pushing 40, and obviously no longer a virgin, am I less worthy of a man who loves and respects me in my current state? Am I damaged goods because I am single after saving myself from an abusive marriage? No! Maybe no Prince Charming will ever make his way into my life, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to settle for less than what I deserve just so that I can have a man in my life. I’m doing just fine on my own!

Regarding the other two noted qualities of a marriageable female according to this “Christian” blogger – no debt and a lack of tattoos – I’ll have to tackle those in another post. It’s getting late and I have to get up and run the Cypress 5K in the morning. Just one of the things this single woman can do with her abundant freedom and independence!

The journey continues

That first week of the 6-week fat loss challenge I was 100% faithful to my plan and didn’t give in to even a single craving. (Except for my one allotted cheat meal, a turkey sub from Jersey Mike’s that I ate on Friday night as fuel for my Saturday morning 8-mile run.) I had almost no sugar at all, except for whatever amount that’s in my favorite salad dressing from the Greek restaurant that’s two blocks from my house. Their gyro salad is divine. This was undeniably a honeymoon period because the second week on the program I started to lose my resolve. I had some slip-ups in moments of weakness. My very first cheat was a pistachio-flavored Oreo Thin at work. Honestly, it wasn’t worth it. It was so overwhelmingly sweet that I didn’t enjoy it at all. It tasted like a mouthful of sugar and nothing else. At least I wasn’t tempted to have another one! The next day my diet transgression was a bit bigger. I was working late for a big event and we had dinner catered from Boudin Bakery. I had brought in food from home so I wasn’t tempted by the sandwiches, the tomato soup, or the underwhelming salad. However, when I made the mistake of glancing at the dessert tray I saw an iced shortbread cookie that was calling my name. It only took a split second for me to decide that I was absolutely going to eat it. And it was so perfect and delicious that I regret nothing. So by the time the end of the work week rolled around I had only had those two minor deviations, but then the weekend arrived and it didn’t go quite as smoothly.

Comfort eating is a hard habit to curb when it’s been such a regular coping mechanism for so long. I was feeling hormonal over the weekend and not in the right frame of mind to make good choices. I decided to have my weekly cheat meal on Saturday night so I drove a half hour to Firehouse Subs and got my favorite sandwich. It’s always worth the extra time on the freeway. I enjoyed every bite of that Hook & Ladder sub (turkey and ham), but it wasn’t quite enough to curb my irrational cravings for junk food. On Friday afternoon at work someone left a bag of caramel M&M’s out and I foolishly tried a couple of them. Unfortunately they were delicious. I should have known better and avoided them altogether, but I just wasn’t thinking straight. So Saturday night, when I was slightly delirious and willing to do anything to get some sugar, I bought caramel M&M’s at Target. As it usually goes, I felt so happy and satisfied while eating the M&M’s, but I regretted my actions as soon as I was finished. I didn’t even make it through the whole bag before the guilt set in. I was mad at myself for being weak, especially since I felt like I’d been making progress already on this diet program. I vowed to do better on Sunday, but it ended up being another day of poor choices too. At the end of the weekend I was feeling pretty terrible, but I had to remind myself that a few slip-ups are not enough to undo two weeks of hard work. I have to remember to stop chastising myself because I’m an imperfect human with ups and downs just like everybody else. In the long-term these healthy changes I’ve been making will pay off!

Starting again

“I’m calling it a clean-ish diet because I’m eating a wider variety of foods than Whole30 allows (like cheese and beans), while still keeping my focus on meat, fruit, and vegetables. And after two weeks I’m starting to see some real results. I wish I’d made this change sooner!”
4/15/18 webpage post

Remember in April when I said I had established a clean-ish eating routine? Well, I’m sorry to say that it only stuck for about three weeks. I was anticipating seeing the number on the scale drop dramatically while I was not only eating appropriately, but also exercising regularly. However, when I got on the scale after three weeks I had actually gained weight. It was infuriating. Shortly after that I went to Las Vegas with my running buddies for the Mt. Charleston Half Marathon and ate all sorts of unhealthy things while I was away from home. I had lost all motivation to continue my clean-ish eating and I went right back to my old ways, including fast food, sugary soda, and sweets. Comfort eating at its finest. Shockingly, this didn’t make me feel any better about myself. In hindsight it’s easy to see that only short-term satisfaction can be gained from comfort eating, being rational is not my strong suit when I have cravings. After falling off the wagon I wallowed for a couple of months, but then my workout buddy and I came up with a new plan of action. We decided to sign up for a 6-week fat loss challenge at our gym because both of us needed some structure to help us succeed. We had been working out very consistently since February, but the eating portion of our weight loss journey was much harder to figure out. We definitely needed both sides of the coin to make progress.

So I’ll be you’re wondering how it’s going so far, right? Well, the 6-week program started on July 9th. Today is July 22nd. That means I’ve been dieting for 14 days. Just 14 measly days, but it seems like much, much longer. This has already been a journey and a half and we’re only one third of the way through the program! I’ll write more about that later this week, but for now I’ll leave you with a few key points. On the plus side, I have significantly increased my protein and vegetable consumption which I know is good for my body. Also, I have ingested minimal sugar in the last two weeks and I feel pretty great about that. Unfortunately, my resolve fades a little with each passing day. Every evening I crave a dessert of some kind or another, and Larabars (my “healthy” sweet snack of choice) just aren’t cutting it on that front. Hopefully once I start seeing noticeable results of all this deprivation I will be more inclined to faithfully follow the rules. Until then I’ll continue doing my best (with a few stumbles here and there) and hope for the best!

Braided hair, oh my!

Remember that Christian woman I mentioned a couple of posts ago who banned me from her Instagram? Well, here’s the story of how I was blocked from commenting on her Facebook page. On June 19th her blog post included an image of an excerpt from the 1st book of Timothy. Here it is in its entirety:

“8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; 9 likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works. 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
1 Timothy 2:8-12

The only portion that wasn’t highlighted in the blog post was the part about women not braiding their hair, or wearing gold and pearls or costly attire. This woman claims to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Bible, and scolds her readers when she thinks they are picking and choosing which verses to honor. So when she used this passage from 1st Timothy I commented on her associated Facebook post asking how she feels about braided hair, gold, and pearls in this day and age. I tried to ask the question as respectfully as possible because I wanted to get a sincere response without starting an argument. How do you think this situation played out? Not only did I not get a response, but my comment was very quickly deleted and I was banned from posting anything further. Why bother trying to answer simple queries when you can just avoid them altogether?

Now, I’d like to make it clear that I am not religious so I am not as familiar with the Bible as many others are. My general belief is that the Bible is an ancient book written exclusively by men back in the time when women were little more than property. While it undeniably contains a great deal of wisdom, not all of it is applicable to modern Christian life. Some of it even seems downright crazy. Simply considering this example from 1st Timothy, I most certainly disagree that women can’t teach men. Gender equality was not even a remote consideration thousands of years ago, but now women are employed in almost as many jobs as men. When numerous churches have female pastors and other leaders without feeling like they are going against the will of God, how can we possibly take the Bible as a whole in its strictest interpretation? All of this is just my opinion, of course. I don’t have a problem with anyone’s religious beliefs unless they advocate oppression, hate, or violence. As long as you don’t try to force me to conform to your moral code, or tell me I’m a horrible person because of how I live my life (more on that in another post), we’ll get along just fine.