Monday, January 17, 2011

Carnivore to the Heart

Have you ever tried going without meat, soda, and those oh so yummy treats.  Trust me it is harder than you think it is.  I am a true carnivore at heart, and most beans, peas and other not cute vegetables I don't eat.  I rarely indulge in anything green unless its a salad, so please take my word when I say that giving up meat for a 21 days was in itself a challenge.  But the rewards were so great.

Initially I had all the symptoms of withdrawl.  I was cranky as all hell.  However, my crankiness may have also been associated with the fact that I have been ready to depart Afghanistan for about 60 days now.  Anyway, I had the foul breath, and the oh so not fun headaches that go along with giving up my beloved meat.  I also dealt with tiredness from shocking my body with the absence of the diet it was once use too.  But once those four days passed, I was able to run the best 6, 7, and 8 miles of my life.  I have had more energy than I ever did with meat in my diet.  I can stay up and talk to my boo in Korea instead of the all to familiar nap time at lunch.  I actually sleep soundly at night.  Which is weird, because I haven't been able to sleep in like years.  Now, don't get me wrong, I still love meat, but not as much.  Everytime I walk into the DFAC and smell chicken, my mouth starts watering.  But I quickly bypass the chicken for salad with tuna.  Did I mention seafood stirfry is the best.  I still do eat a lot of starches, like potatoes and macaroni and cheese, but I eat more salads than any other normal person.  When there is some type of gravy ladened beef, I quickly sidestep that for a green salad.  No I don't eat peas, and my egg allergies won't allow me to even attempt eating an omlette or quiche, but there are definitely health food benefits to a no meat, veggie and seafood diet.  Plus, you get to experiment with different things.  The food is free here in Afghanistan so of course experimentation is not frowned upon like if I was actually buying it.  But I love broccoli and asparagus.  I KNOW!!!!  When Mongolian Night comes around, I have no problem filling my plate with cabbage, onions, carrots, bell peppers and crab.  It is so yummy, especially with crushed red paper. 

I can't wait until I get to go home.  I am so ready to go.  I miss all you folks in America.  Afghanistan is not the same.  Especially since I have spent the majority of this deployment in solitude.

Love ya...DEUCES!!!! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


What does 93 minutes of running on a treamill in Afghanistan get you?  It gives you a sense of pride to have been able to find that amount of time let alone actually run.  93 minutes and I was able to watch one whole Biggest Loser Episode, develop a blister on the bottom of my right foot and rack up a total of 8 miles.  8 miles.  I know there are millions of people who can atest to actually completing this feat.  However, I am only able to say, I have actually run 8 miles twice, and today was the second day.  Now, my boo, says look, I don't know why anyone would want to even try to run eight miles, but hey do you.  I am officially five miles away from being able to run 13.1 miles.  I am so excited and in the same thought so exhausted. 

But what is the whole point of all of this.  Welps I wanted to talk about our culture and how everything centers around food.  Dates, family gathers, girlfriend get togethers, always center around the good ol food.  And not the healthy food.  Nope the non healthy taste so good food.   You know what I am talking about, the hot wings, those oh so yummy chicken crossaint things SFC Phillips use to make, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, mimosa, bellini, and all the other stuff that is currently make your mouth water.  What the issue?  All this makes you, me, and our friends FAT!!!  Trust me, I know, I was being fed bacon when I was a baby, and though I have never been obese, I have been fat.  Not fun.

Let's explore the reasons why we are fat.  There are of course the cultural implications.  I can only speak for myself, but my family loves food.  We love our pie, grandma's turkey and dressing, Uncle Kenneth's BBQ Ribs, Collard Greens and corn bread, macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and the list goes on and on.  There are two major food groups represented at family holidays in the Jackon Family...STARCHES and MEAT!!!  Even the green beans have bacon in them.  Oh how I miss Aunty Pat's Green beans.  But those are the holidays.  What about every other day where we choose to go through the drive thru instead of cooking one of those recipes in that stack on your counter.  What about those days, when we find out that are boyfriend cheated on us for the less pretty but more skinny guy.  Yep, those are the days I am talking about.  The ones where we look towards the Praline's and Cream Full Fat ice cream rather than the skinny cow ice cream sandwich.  What about the day that your momma died and her brother didn't even recognize that you are no longer seven year old Erica, but 22 year old Erica and now I probably won't look the freaking same?  Food is a staple to ward off all the evil spirits and get you through the hard moments. 

Then there is the black woman's anthem, I'm thick.  There is the old saying, black people are meant to be thick, we not meant to be skinny minis.  Yes I know, there are many women out there vying for hips like these.  Apparently Nikki Minaj had work done get widen hers.  Really, because I certainly could have supplied her with some of mine.  But really, I am not saying that all black women or all women need to be skinny.  Because yes, there will be plus size big thick women, and I am one of them, who are healthy.  Even though the lady at Torrid one day mouthed skinny bitch because I obviously was too small for their clothes.  But there is a difference between plus size and thick and plus size and obese.  Plus Size and Obese means your life is at risk.  You will die soon.  Whereas plus size and thick means, I am overweight, and at risk for some health diseases but I am otherwise healthy.  If you like to eat like I do, you need to learn how to enjoy excercise and daily activites.  I have come to realize this.  I can't eat all them starches at family get together and girl friend sob parties to get over men and then come home and rest on this round booty.  I have to go run some of them excess calories off, because lets face it, candied yams are to yummy to pass up, and some type of physical excercise is the only thing that will work all that butter and sugar ladened starch off.  So please, either eat healthy or engage in some type of physical activty or do both.  In the end, it will do a body good, and you won't be looking STUPID on the beach in Miami in the two piece.      

Friday, January 7, 2011

Duality of Self

I will never understand what is the criteria for movies to be considered Oscar worthy.  I saw Precious, and I was thoroughly moved.  I mean I left the theatre thanking God for my momma and her prudeness.  So when I saw Black Swan, and I am still trying to understand all the hype.  I had to read a NY Times review to understand the suspense and horror of it all, because I was scared at all.  I was really wondering when all the crazy stuff was going to happen.  Of course the crazy stuff happened inside her, and at the end, I was just left a little weirded out versus, terrified of going to sleep. 

However, what I did find interesting was the battle of self in the movie.  Every person goes through this battle.  And for the most part, religion keeps people in check.  The threat of hell basically puts a person carnal human nature in check and tell him or her to act good.  The main theme throughout the movie "Black Swan," is the Apollonian vs Dionysus's conflict.  Now in Greek mythology there really is no conflict between the two Greek mythological brothers, they just represent to different people.  Apollonian is a direct reflection of order and Dionysus is a direct reflection of chaos.  Now for the most part, most people, including myself, wish that we could all live in that world of chaos, where we virtually do what we want.  I have even told men, that I am going to do what I want so forget you.  The Dionysus character is a representation of life's every desires, from food, to money, to expensive clothes that you know that you don't need.  The Apollo character is the complete opposite.  Apollo's representation in life is that of a Puritan.  God keeps a person in check, and he does it through the many rules and regulations in the Bible.  Now don't get me wrong, I go back to the Good Book everyday, trying to find meaning out of this life, as well as trying to figure out my next step, do I call him, do I text him, do I quit the Army, do I give up all my friends and family to help poor little babies in third world countries. 

What I am getting at is, every human being has characteristics of both Apollo and Dionysus.  Everybody wants to feed into his or her carnal urges.  These carnal urges are the reason why there are STD's, women breaking windows, obesity, and people disgusting habit of feeding into the fashion's worlds of what is hot and what is not.  Is there anything wrong with indulging and doing what you want. In my opinion...NO!!!  Doing what I want has led me to experience a couple of the seven wonders of the world.  However, doing what I want has also led to a lot of heartbreak, anger, and empty bank accounts. 

So what is the answer, it seems the answer is just simply maintain a healthy balance of both worlds.  Do what you want as long as it doesn't hurt yourself, or others.  Does that mean having sex with whomever or whatever you want.  Technically yes, as long as you don't string people along and don't have any type of STD.  As the military tells you, do what your pockets can afford. 

Love ya

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Too Much Limited Time

I laid on a massage table here in Afghanistan....wondering about many things.  The one thing I focused on was the state of music.  DON'T JUDGE ME!!!  That's why this entry is titled too much limited time.  I got too much time on my hands in my last few days here in Afghanistan.  Anyways, I was told a couple of days that my musical taste is a little different from everyone elses.  I had to think about that.  Are my musical tastes really that much different from the regular black person.  I have come to the conclusion that yep, they probably are.  My musical library includes everyone, from Bon Jovi, to Aerosmith to Jay Z and Luther.  But I have my limits.  If I am going to spend $12.99 on a CD then I am only going to buy music from people that I really want to support.  What does that mean?  There are no CDs in my collection that resemeble the briefly sampled auto tune from artists such as Souljah Boy or T-Pain.  I don't pay money for cds that talk about slanging drugs, women giving blow jobs or all the fancy trappings the lifestyle of a rapper afford talentless human beings.  So what does my musical collection include.  People that sing my story and help me get over the loser from last week, or are basically just soothing music after a long day of work.  Casey and I don't want a party in our house.  We want something that I can cook dinner with and sip a glass of wine too.  For some reason anyone with the stage name Lil or Yung, is not going to accomplish that for me.  Not to say, that I don't give all artists a chance.  I mean, I have listened to Marques Houston's Matress Music...for some reason it is very hard for me to imagine little Immature boy talking about turning me around and slapping and doing whatever else he thinks will please me.  Plus, those artists with cds, i may use some of your track to get me through thouse excruciating runs.  Tight beats...that what the Keri Hilson's of the world are good for.  But Jazmine Sullivan can help me hate that dude who treated me bad, I can proclaim that yes...he gets on my damn nerves and I don't want his ass.  

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Free Spirited

There are places I need to go.  Have you ever seen Cities of the Underworld, on the Discovery Channel?  The Discovery Channel is AWESOME!!!  It has spurned a buttload of google searches about possible travel destinations.  I think the Discovery Channel does that anyway.  But there are things I must do, and places I must see before I leave this world.  My aunts and uncle will say that I got the traveling bug from my mom.  She pretty much has lived all over the world.  From the Philippines, to Thailand to Korea.  She has been there.  I don't know too many black people, or people that just leave their family to live in a foreign country.  But I am willing to do it.  Even though I currently sit here in comfy comfounds of an American Military Base here in Afghanistan, don't you want to explore what the world has to offer.  After googling, Afghanistan, apparently there aren't too many things here in Afghanistan to see.  So below are my top 10 destinations I NEED TO SEE.  They are in no certain order...however, I believe that Israel may be my next stop in MAY!!!  And no, I am not trying to go to any of these places for enlightenment such as in the critically acclaimed move, Eat Pray Love.  However, like the protagonist in the movie, I have always dreamed of traveling to far off countries versus having a house full of children.  The friend in Eat Pray Love was correct, "Having a child is like getting a tattoo on your face, you kind of have to be fully committed.

1. Israel - and all the religious sites inbetween.  Who wouldn't want to see where Jesus walked and taught his most famous teachings
2. Egypt - Pyramids!!!
3. Ethopia - I know it sound weirds, but there are Christian Jews who live here who have carved churches into Mountains...LITERALLY.  And then there is a castle dug into the ground.  Amazing what the human mind can do
4. Africa - I know...Africa is a whole continent.  But I really just want to help poor little babies in this area of the world. 
5. Thailand - Have you seen those beaches...they look amazing.
6. London
7. Scotland
8. Ireland
9. Australia / New Zealand - I have to get back to see my Louise
10. India - I just threw this one in here....but the land of yogis....let's do it

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Same me just some self improvements

1. Run and finish the Disney Half Marathon
Danielle and I have been training for this since probably October 2010.  13.1 miles seems really easy doesn't it.  I mean, a mile really isn't that long, says the person who has never actually had to run a PT test, or actually done an ounce of excercise in their life.  A mile really isn't that short.  1/4 quarter of a mile takes about 2 to three minutes to complete.  A mile, dependent upon your comfor level can take you from 4 minutes, (the elite runners) to 10 minutes (me...the snail).  Now of course I can run a mile in less than ten minutes.  I'm in the Army, and expected to, but there is a high level of anxiety and discomfort when I do it.  Therefore, taking on the daunting task of running 13.1 was not a easily arrived at goal.  However, weekly I have been running in order to accomplish this goal.  I am half way through, and up to about 16 miles per week.  My eating habits have not really changed however.  Why, you may ask?  Because in Afghanistan, I am limited to the food they give me, sometimes that is hot wings and sweet potato pie, other times it is a salad, three days in a row.  I really haven't gotten the nutrition thing down, however, I have dropped some weight, and the running seems easier.  Well, that was before the whole box of sugar babies i ate this afternoon. DAMN Aunt FLO!!!!

2. Maintain at least a 3.0 GPA in Nursing School
As much as I can't contain my excitement, Nursing school is quickly approaching.  What does that mean.  Time to get my nerd on.  Unlike Undergrad, I am completely prepared for what lies ahead and my future.  While in undergrad, I had no clue the impact of GPA on my future.  That's why, I got out of the Academy with a 2.5, and I have struggled to have people accept that though my GPA is low, I am still an intelligent person.  I may lack in the common sense department, but that's because the Army took it out of me.  That's not my fault.  School starts 23 MAY 2011, and I can't wait.  I can't wait to meet my classmates at Villanova nor start my new career.  Starting over, is definitely a scary task.  Everyone makes leaving the military seem like a such horrible thing.  Don't worry, I encountered this while at the Academy as well.  Apparently, without the military I am doomed to fail.  Really, because I know tons of people who are not in the military, who are excelling.  Not to mention, there personal life is not as stifled as mine is right now.  And by stifled I mean, the following things.  You know how normal people go out to happy hour during the week to let off stress and such, well in the Army, the location of bases makes that a little hard, since they are usually located in the arm put of America.  There is also the same clothes I must wear everyday, and the same shoes that hurt my feet.  What I will miss though is the benefits.  Access to free birth control, I don't understand why more military folks don't use it, though sometimes waiting for an appointement feels more like waiting at the free clinic.  The pay, I was guranteed a paycheck twice a month, no matter how much or how little work I did.  I am going from getting paid twice a month, to not at all due to going to school.  Hell no I'm not working during my 14 month vacation at school. 

3. Understand that the things that I want in a man cannot be compromised.  If he does not want a relationship then I need to keep it moving.
This is a HUGE one.  Why.  Because as much as I hate to admit it, as a woman I have fallen for the trap of believing that even though a man says he doesn't want a girlfriend, I feel I can turn him.  2011 is a different year.  Why you say.  Because honestly, I am tired of people using me.  For the past six years I have tolerated the whole, "I don't believe in relationships or labels."  At one point I even believed that bullshit.  Sorry, no dice this year.  No matter what you say, how good you look, or what you got going for you, I am not falling for it.  I don't care.  Sorry boos.  The other thing that goes along with this, dating all eligible people.  I know looks gets a person in the door, but none of the FINE ones make the cut.  The men that a woman always regrets not dating is the quiet nice guy, who takes his time to get to know the girl.  Who treats her like a lady.  Who takes care of her.  And who is cute, but really not your taste.  You know who I am talking about, your buddy ol pal.  We all have them.  I got tons of them.  I have just come to realize that they are more hubby material than the fine guys, who SUCK ASS!!!!  So, yes, I will be doing less thinking, and more dating.  Well, most of my thinking will occur on my runs where I tell me self, yep that cutey over there in the back...he cute but he a heart breaker, date his friend who is a little socially inept but will cut any many that tries to come at you the wrong way.
4. Don't be quick to anger.
I have the worse anger problem ever.  I allow other people's stupidity comments affect me.   It's genetic.  I get it from my momma, and everyone in my family knows.  I been to anger management, it is so bad.  I have come close to throwing chairs into doors.  I have thrown folks on tables out of shear pissed offness.  So what am I trying to do this year.  Not let people's opinions of me control my emotions.  So what if little ball of fire tells me to kick rocks, it's his loss anyway, he is the dumbass who doesn't understand not everyone bends for him, sometimes you gotta bend for your boo.  Another way to be slow to anger, is to surround myself with positive people, as well as remain open, honest and positive to myself.  It's easy for people to lie to themselves.  Hell, a lot of people lie to themselves everyday, saying that they love Jesus, their neighbor and other crap, that doesn't mean its true, it just sounds good.  Especially to the church folks.