Curse of the Saintly Censors

Posted in Deep Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by cheri

I have recently become aware of a social phenomenon that has been seen in literature, on-screen, and in my life–the walking, talking conscience. I am referring to the person who always sees the need to act as others consciences and oftentimes squeal if they feel some ‘rule’ has been broken.

I first became aware of this irksome creature while watching House. He is usually surrounded by people feeling the need to act as his moral compass–usually, they are female. About the same time, I was reading Anne Rice’s fourth book in her Vampire Chronicles. Lestat is begging Lewis to make him a vampire once again and Lewis refuses to do so on the basis of some moral obligation to himself. I started trying to pick out the other do-gooders of literature and screen: Hermione of Harry Potter, Rosalie of Twilight, Mary Bennett of Pride and Prejudice, and Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio. These are usually not characters we love a great deal of the time. Oftentimes, they can be downright irritating. Remember when Hermione kept nagging Harry about the textbook of the Half Blood Prince? It doesn’t matter that she was right, she was standing in the way of a sweet situation…morality has a tendency to do that.

I realized this inner voice of decency was ubiquitous in literal realms and no doubt necessary to create the conflict any good plot thrives on. Then I woke up today and found someone had taken issue with something I had posted on Facebook the day before. I had linked to something that said the kids from Jersey Shore are harsh reminders as to why contraception should be legal. Near as I can tell, anybody with an intellect above that of a turnip agrees that Jersey Shore is what’s wrong with the world right now. I got a response about how they’re people too and deserve to live as much as anyone. What?! This is a middle-aged woman who has likely never seen the show. She has no idea how bad it is. Why do I? Because I watch Beavis and Butthead who are always poking fun at these obnoxiously vapid, plastic-people. (My husband wrote an interesting article for Yahoo! on this subject).

This is not the first time she has vomited her morality all over me and my wall. I noticed somebody had ‘Liked’ her comment and it was the other person who is always over-moralizing. I realized, then and there, that it is not just literature and screen who have saintly censors, but life does too. Growing up a Christian, I always marveled at the people who would run to the spiritual leaders for every slight offense performed by another. I always thought it was a need these people had to make themselves look more pious. But now I realize there are actually people out there who are profoundly affected by perceived injustices or unfair criticisms. I have seen these people get positively irate when others don’t take the same offense as they. It seems such a life would be exhausting and I wonder at their mental health.

My first thought was to block the ethical offenders so I didn’t have to put up with their constant moralizing. Then I wondered if my life didn’t need the occasional shot of virtue to remind me when I am overstepping the line. I named this blog Forsaking Restraint because I was trying to step into a place of freedom, peppered with a tad of vice. I’ve come a long way baby, and now I might just need to be reminded why civilization exists.

“Free At Last”

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Poems with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2012 by cheri

I have been thrust from obscurity into the glaring light of public censorship. Maybe this is a good time to point out that I wasn’t being as obscure as I hoped I was. I have a tendency to think most people don’t pay attention, or care, and this has proven to be grossly negligent on my part. This blog was originated as a means to express my frustration at having my father live with me, provide me  a platform for my unethical opinions, and get practice writing. As I experienced religious revolution I found more and more of my posts centered on the overall stupidity in Christianity. As many friends from my recent faith were aware of this blog I decided to open up a new blog all about faith. I wrote it under a pseudonym and tried to keep it from the prying eyes of those who knew me. Here is the address of that blog:

A couple of months ago, I was talking to an old friend who still subscribes to the tenets of my old belief. She asked if it was true that I was calling myself an apostate and Wiccan. She said everyone was asking her and rumors were rampant. This proved my earlier point–I had underestimated how many people actually were paying attention. So I admitted it to her. Last week I received a visit from an elder–only one–asking me if it is true I was posting things on Facebook regarding Wicca. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that I thought I had insured my privacy settings were set too high for any probing eyes. Once again, I was wrong. So I decided to come out of the proverbial broom closet and admit my witchy-ways. He begged me not to be so reckless and warned me of ruining my relationship with Jehovah. This surprised me. It seemed common sense that if I was becoming a witch it should be obvious that the opinion of Jehovah, or any other Christian god for that matter, doesn’t matter to me. So he asked if a couple more elders could come for a visit and share some scriptures with me. I have read the bible so many times I know it inside and out–I told him I didn’t think there was anything he could tell me that I didn’t already know and hadn’t already discounted.

Then he saw the pentacle around my neck and almost gave himself a hernia trying to get out my front door, which has a tendency to stick in winter weather. I actually laughed at him. Once he was safely on the outside of my house where no goulies or demons could get him, he turned and asked if I was in fact denying any assistance from the congregation. I said I was. Then he asked if I was determined to continue my wayward course. I said I was.

For those of you who don’t know, this means I am disfellowshipped. A public announcement is made at the next meeting and all obedient Jehovah’s Witnesses will not only stop associating with me, they will pretend I don’t exist. It’s like what happened to Ayla in Clan of the Cave  Bear when she was banished from the clan. In their minds, I am as good as dead. Initially, I was upset because I had committed the unforgivable sin. Everyone I had ever known and cared about would be grieved by my rebellious choice. By the next day, I felt incredible gratitude! I would not have taken this step on my own and it needed to be taken. I was limiting myself far too much out of fear of this exact thing. Now I have nothing to fear and I can choose to do what I want. I feel the same basic fear as I did in El Salvador when I had everything stolen from me and had nothing left to lose.

A year ago, when I left the JW’s, I felt like the world lay before me and my options were unlimited. In recent months, I have experienced a feeling of floating. I’m not sure what the next step is and it is frustrating. The day after the elder came for a visit, a door opened and now I know where my path lies. I have used the word ‘gratitude’ more in the last 10 days than I have in my entire life, and it was brought on by the very thing I was taught to fear above all else–alienation from Jehovah and his earthly organization. I had hoped the elders would call to tell me when the announcement was going to occur just so I could thank them for setting me free, but that hasn’t happened. I guess it’s possible it could happen this week, but I kind of think it was made last week.

I think my greatest regret in all this is that none of the people who I used to care for will understand why I did it. They won’t know how miserable and neurotic I was under the tyranny of the Watchtower Society. They won’t understand my study of Wicca is to regain my power as a woman after a lifetime of humiliation by men in leadership positions. They will be unaware of just how happy and empowered I feel and how they could experience the same thing if they just chose to.

I wrote a poem in recognition of this. It’s a Shakespearean sonnet and it isn’t great but it expresses my feelings:

Free At Last—a sonnet

Praying for apocalypse day and night

Calling the birds to feast upon the slain

This world and its character gone from sight

“The meek shall inherit the earth,” is their refrain.

These do not grasp the darkness of their dream

“We are God’s happy people,” they insist.

Tired, tortured eyes betray souls that scream

Rot and ruin corrupt their very midst.

“Do not question, do not doubt. Believe all!

Hide who you are out of fear of God’s wrath.”

God is not the judge—they heed their own call

Knocking all sinners who stray from the path.

Their threats are empty, their vengeance is scant

Away bondage! “Free at last,” I incant.

HCG–End of Third Week

Posted in Weight loss with tags , , , , , , on December 16, 2011 by cheri

I made it through the three weeks! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I didn’t reach the 20 lb weight loss. I topped out at 18 lb which is still respectable. I also didn’t stick to the 500 calorie diet all the time. My calories usually came in around 600. It got easier as time went by and I found the whole process painless. I have had a few people comment on how different I look and my clothes are fitting more comfortably. I even feel like I look different in the mirror. I didn’t do the measurements at the beginning of the diet and I kind of wish I had because I can tell my stomach has flattened out.

I am going to start the slow rebuilding today–one new item a day–and I am hoping the last two pounds will drop off on their own. I will be starting the diet over again after the first of the year, but will get on the scale every day to make sure I am not regaining. I would recommend this diet to anyone who likes fast results. One thing I did have to keep aware of was salt intake. My obsession with banana peppers kept the weight from coming off on a couple of occasions. Once I avoided eating them, though, the pounds started coming off again. Happy Holidays everyone!!

How to Diagnose and Treat Male-Menopause

Posted in Everything Else with tags , , , , , on December 15, 2011 by cheri

As I approach forty I am becoming aware of an unforeseen phenomenon–male menopause. I never knew such a thing existed but more and more of my forty-something gal-pals are complaining of husbands who have no interest in sex. I was deluded by the media into believing men always want sex and women turn into icebergs after marriage. But I know of at least one marriage that ended due to male frigidity and I have no less than three close friends who are so sexually frustrated they can’t stand it. They have tried talking to their husbands to no avail.

I am a medical massage therapist and I was working on a general practitioner today. She told me that male menopause is extremely widespread and is due to a drop in testosterone. She said normal testosterone levels should be around 600. If a blood test shows a man’s testosterone levels around 400 or less he should be taking supplements.

I was skeptical, because my husband’s testosterone had tested around 225 a couple of years ago. His doctor had given us a prescription for injectable testosterone. The needle is huge and my husband would feel it for days afterward. We did the injections for a month with no change. So we stopped doing it-it was kind of expensive too.

My client insisted, however, that a man needs to take the supplemental testosterone for 3-6 months before any noticeable change occurs. There are also handy-dandy creams out there so your behind doesn’t need to feel like a pin-cushion. She said she has treated numerous men for this condition and in every case it has been life changing. Knowing the effects testosterone can have I can see how it would be. My husband has put on weight, feels depressed, hopeless, and completely lacking in motivation–not to mention sex-drive. A lack in testosterone could be responsible for all those things.

As for the expense, even if it costs $100 a month I think it is worth it if it brings happiness to him and our marriage. After all, how much would a marriage counselor cost?

Vacation: Down the Barrel of a Gun

Posted in Everything Else with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by cheri

Recently my husband discovered a contributor network on Yahoo! in which aspiring writers can contribute articles and get them published through the Yahoo! network. There’s even a potential for making money. The more you publish, the more you make–providing they like your work. He has already gotten his first two sports articles published and is very excited to be the first paid writer in the house. He even changed his employment status on Facebook to reflect his new “writer” status. He has made a nickel so far. When someone is an aspiring writer, publishing credits are important. Being part of the Yahoo! network can be educational in that it teaches a writer what the general public is interested in. It also forces aspiring writers to practice their skill–and for a writer there’s nothing better than practice.

So why am I telling you this, dear reader? Because I thought, “If he can do it, I can do it.” So I went through their list of preferred themes and picked one–and got rejected. The theme was, “Traveling for the first time in a foreign country.” The title I used was the one you see above this article. I am pasting the article in here so you can give me some helpful advice as to why I may have been rejected. I think it has something to do with the overall negativity of the experience. Yahoo! might be looking for happy stories. They set a limit of 500 words so I really had to be succinct. Maybe I was too succinct to tell the story as it should be told. What do you think?

Vacation: Down the Barrel of a Gun

I wish I believed in omens. If I did then I would have fled the airport after our plane was grounded. We were buckled into our seats and about to leave Portland International when the plane rocked sideways. The captain came on to inform us someone had just run into the side of our plane and poked a hole in it. We unbuckled our seat-belts, got our belongings out of the overhead compartment, and returned to the airport.

Nine hours later we were finally en-route to Houston, with El Salvador as our final destination. We would be flying through hurricane Mitch which caused so much devastation in Latin America in 1998. After some bouncing around, though, the plane landed safely in San Salvador.

I was traveling with native Salvadorians and we were bearing gifts from our church—money orders and boxes of clothes and Bibles. As we passed through customs our bags were searched. I neglected to notice that no one else’s bags were searched.

We stepped out of the airport into a climate that was so humid moisture could be wrung from midair. My friend’s family picked us up in a pickup. We loaded the luggage into the bed and the guys climbed in back while the four of us women got into the cramped cab. As we drove from the airport to our first destination I marveled at the plethora of signs and billboards. I was just learning Spanish so I tried to interpret the messages that whizzed by.

After we had traveled about thirty miles another pickup cut in front of us and started to slow, forcing us to slow. I noticed the passenger door of the blue pickup open and a man leaned out and pointed a gun at me. I had never stared into the barrel of a gun, but I didn’t doubt for a minute he would pull the trigger.  Next thing I knew we were stopped and the men in the other truck were leaping out of their vehicle and demanding we exit ours. One of them fired his gun in the air as cars continued to whizz by on the freeway. We piled out of the car and gathered near the back of the truck with our hands over our heads. The men with guns jumped into the vehicle we had just vacated and drove off with it–our luggage, our passports, our plane tickets were all gone.

We flagged down a passing motorist who took us to a police station. The police piled into a truck and roared away after the carjackers. We never regained our stuff. It took us three weeks to get replacement passports and free instagram followers plane tickets. I finally demanded a passport from U.S. customs by convincing them that a six-foot redhead could not possibly be a native Salvadorian. The day I set foot in the Houston airport I nearly kissed the ground. I’ve never been so grateful to be a U.S. citizen!

HCG Diet–Day Eight

Posted in Weight loss with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2011 by cheri

I’m still here everybody! Still on the diet. I thought daily updates would begin to get old so I decided to only do occasional updates on the diet. I am down 10 lbs as of today–242 lbs. I’m very happy with that number and hope the progress continues.

One of the gals from the spa who lost 35 lbs on this diet gave me a yummy idea today: slice up an apple and sprinkle with a little water and cinnamon. Place in microwave for 2 minutes and, voila!–a mock apple pie. It’s a perfect idea for me since I seem to be going through some sort of cinnamon craze lately. I have always considered cinnamon overrated and would usually use cardamom in place of it. But recently I can’t get enough of it. I am hoping this is due to its spiritual aspects rather than the diabetic benefits. The last time  I went to the doctor I was borderline diabetic and she wanted me to come back for another test but I couldn’t afford the lab cost. I’m hoping my body isn’t craving something it needs because I have become full-on diabetic. Hopefully this diet will help.

So I am now one week down with two to go. The hunger pangs are almost non-existent. I talked to a doctor yesterday who comes to me for massage and she said a lot of her patients have tried HCG with success. She didn’t have anything negative to say about it–except that she couldn’t possibly eat only 500 calories a day. She did say the HCG hormone is typically excreted in the first trimester of pregnancy and its appetite suppressing ability was to prevent pregnant women from eating anything harmful to the developing fetus. Since it is a pregnancy hormone, it would explain why I am not starting my period. The instructions on the box said women should start the drops on the day after their period stops. I didn’t do that because I wasn’t really aware it was a pregnancy hormone. For now, I am enjoying a much-needed break from my monthly curse:)

More updates will be forthcoming as progress continues.

HCG–Day Five

Posted in Weight loss with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2011 by cheri

Today I awoke early because I needed to go to the bathroom. I was anxious to see if I had lost anything so I got on the scale. I had actually gained 4/10 of a pound. I decided not to get upset and instead crawled back in bed. When I got up again in a couple of hours I was down from 245 the previous day to 244.6.  That means I lost 8/10 of a pound in two hours of sleep. Interesting…

I was trading massages today with a gal I have known for almost 15 years. I was telling her about the HCG diet and she knew it well. She had attempted it a few months ago and had to quit. She has low blood sugar and low blood pressure and for some reason the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) drops have no effect on her fat stores. So instead of the synthesized fat feeding her body she was just starving herself. She said after she had passed out three times her doctor told her that 1 in 10 people cannot do that diet–and she is one of them. She said she was very disappointed because many people she knows have had amazing results. I don’t think she really needs to lose very much weight as she looks perfectly proportioned to me. However, I found those statistics interesting. So if you have a tendency toward low blood pressure or hypoglycemia, check with your doctor before you try this diet.

As the fifth day for this diet draws to a close I find I have adjusted to the reduced calories. I finish the day at just over 500 calories which is my lowest day yet (“Day aint over yet…”). I’m hoping for a bigger drop on the scale tomorrow, but I am also aware that the pounds may start to come off slower. My husband asked if I am sure the HCG is dropping the weight and not just the extremely low calories. I have wondered that myself. It’s like those Corn Flake commercials that say people can lose weight by eating corn flakes and exercising and eating a balanced diet–Duh! Everybody can lose weight by exercise and a balanced diet. I told Roy I’m not sure, but if I do drop 20 lbs or more in the first three weeks then I will be convinced. Typically I lose the first 10 lbs, on any diet, fairly quickly–then the weight loss always plateaus. If I lose 20 lbs in 3 weeks I will assume the HCG helped.

I am crossing my fingers that another whole pound (or two) will come off the scale tomorrow! Until then…


HCG-Day Four

Posted in Weight loss with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by cheri

I have reached the end of day four. When I weighed myself this morning I was down to 245. That is a 7 lb weight loss in three days. I am having a hard time keeping the calories around 500 because I don’t want to feel like I am starving. I finish today at a little less than 700 calories because I took a bite of the mac and cheese I made for the family and couldn’t resist a handful of dry, unsalted, popcorn. You would be amazed how good things taste after days of cold turkey and veggies. Life is looking up, though–I bought a half-gallon of banana peppers at Wal-Mart today!

I was watching I Love You Philip Morris on Netflix and got a sudden urge to do more for my weight loss goal. So I did 50 squats and 50 crunches. If I do that every day while watching TV it should have some benefit, right? I want my world-class bubble-butt back when I am done with this diet and that means squats and lunges, two things I hate–but then I hate being fat more.

HCG-Day three

Posted in Weight loss with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2011 by cheri

It’s day three on the new diet and I am feeling houston carpet cleaning pretty good. The unseasonably warm weather (62 degrees!) might have something carpet cleaning dallas to do with it, but I think it’s the 5 lbs I have lost so far. That’s right. I got on the scale this morning and found I was down to 246.6–I started this diet two days ago at 252. Yesterday I making money on ebay ate roughly 700  calories and only felt slightly hungry. When I did have hunger pains I ate a little leftover turkey or some raw green beans.

Right now I am drinking a concoction my husband calls disgusting–juiced kale, carrots, cucumber, lemon, celery, and strawberries with a dash of cayenne. It’s actually not that bad. I discovered something new and tasty last night–banana peppers with turkey. They are very low in calorie and make everything taste better–with the possible exception of ice cream. So far I am happy with the diet, but with every diet I find the first 10 lbs come off pretty quick. HCG will prove its worth if I can just coast right through that road-block.

HCG–Day Two

Posted in Uncategorized on November 26, 2011 by cheri

Day two of the diet. I ate only 600 calories yesterday and took the drops in the morning and evening. I woke up this morning to a 2lb weight loss. That’s about what I figured as the first few days will probably be largely composed of water weight. I didn’t feel too much hunger yesterday–though the smell of my husbands red wine last night almost did me in. I ate half a grapefruit and a single slice of thin nine grain toast (dry) for breakfast with coffee. I drank veggie juice throughout the day as we did our Black Friday shopping, then snacked on a little leftover turkey and some raw green beans. It was easier than I thought it would be, but I anticipate it will get harder.


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