Resources

Some of these categories represent areas where I have significant experience; others, where I want to get it.

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Table of Contents:

I.  Getting Functional

II.  Health at Every Size (HAES) and health with every limited set of abilities

III. Trauma, Hoarding, and other Really-Dysfunctional-Family issues  

IV.  Sexuality

V. Secular Paganism

VI.  Animal Rights

VII.  Political Engagement

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I.  Getting Functional

Help that Helps

Meditation and meditation timers

The How of Happiness

I thought it was just me

The Willpower Instinct

II.  Health at Every Size (HAES), and health with every limited set of abilities

Health At Every Size, by Linda Bacon: this book carefully reviews the science about dieting and fat. She comes to the conclusion that it’s best to eat right and exercise without regard for whether one might loose weight, and that the healthy thing is to go about it in a nurturing way rather than as a form of self-flagellation to punish one’s fatness. All this sounds hard, and is even harder. There’a also a Health at Every Size Community site, which I haven’t spent much time with.

The Fat Nutritionist blog: a nutritionist whose work will do much to re-enforce your sanity if you are fat and/or sometimes think you are fat. Special gems include: “if only poor people understood nutrition!” and her takedown of the recent NIH decision to classify obesity as a disease. Dig in to find instructions on things like meal planning, or how to do emotional eating in a healthy way.

Waist High in the World, by Nancy Mairs: a beautiful autobiography about living a rich life with a crippling and degenerative illness, and all the physical, social, and emotional implications that has. This book has helped me to process my own experience with a degenerative musculo-skeletal condition that forced me to give up many things I love.

If you have limited abilities or know someone who does, accommodate. Be creative and persistent; it can be done, and it is worth it. This is true in sports and in life. A world that is good for people with disabilities to live in is a world where we try to help every individual develop to the fullness of their capacities. Doesn’t that sound best for everyone?

The dances with fat blog and the fat can dance tumblr: hard evidence to inspire you, if you feel like your weight is holding you back. If you’re not so sure about this whole fat acceptance thing, check out the FAQ from the shapely prose archive. . . and pass me a baby flavored doughnut.

And: more images of fat people being human. Plus, watch this if you or someone you love has ever had to deal with fat in romance.

For what it’s worth, I’ve also started a food blog from a socially conscious and fat-accepting perspective.

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III.  Trauma, Hoarding, and other Really-Dysfunctional-Family issues

Growing Beyond Survival, by Elizabeth G. Vermilyea: you should know that workbooks like this are out there. They can be a great resource when you’re ready for them, but it is extremely important to make sure you are able to take care of yourself and have adequate support when doing this kind of work.

Sexual Healing Journey, by Wendy Maltz: if you’re trying to have a healthy sexuality after sexual trauma, this book can be extremely helpful. It offers concrete suggestions. I encourage you to read critically, because I think some of the content is quite wrong–it should tell you something about how useful the book is that I recommend it anyway.

Stuff, by Randy O. Frost: if you were raised in a hoarding family, there’s a good chance that reading this book will feel like going down one of those super steep 3-story water slides. It explores historical cases of hoarding, and gives something of a psychological profile–which is to say, hoarders can be smart, competent, etc. This is 290 pages of “you are not imagining things, this is real and it is a problem,” from a perspective both realistic and compassionate.

The Yes Means Yes blog: very helpful in understanding the structure and social enablement of sexual violence. Especially check out their “meet the predators” post/series, which examines what we know about sexual predators in detail, along with how we know it.

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IV.  Sexuality

Asexual, the documentary: A lot of the most interesting and nuanced thought about sexual liberation seems to be happening in asexual communities and kink communities. This documentary, free on hulu, is a family-friendly and thought provoking way to start envisioning what sexual liberation can look like.

Scarleteen: the best online sex education. Includes a huge q&a, searchable for all of your urgent middle-of-the-night sexual health information needs. There are also some really insightful thoughts, like the six-part-venn-diagram-model of sexuality you can see by scrolling halfway down this page.

The Thinking Asexual: smart thoughts on rejecting sexuality in a hypersexual culture, and finding what you want instead.

What You Really Really Want, by Jaclyn Freedman: Highly recommended, a great gift for any young adult. This includes a great series of questions and writing exercises designed to help young women figure out what they want their sexuality to be like, interspersed with explanations on why and how those particular questions might be important.

The promise and perils of hook-up culture, streaming lecture by Lisa Wade: how, and how much, are college students having sex? Not that much, as it turns out–and they’re enjoying it even less. . . but most think that everyone else is doing it, and enjoying it, more. The lecture ends with some fantastic thoughts about building a healthier sexual culture.

Breanne Fahs on her research in women’s sexuality (streaming audio available): if you’re interested in understanding how the current sexual culture is likely influencing your sexuality, this is extremely worthwhile.

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V.  Secular Paganism

No Impact Man documentary (haven’t read the book yet): explores the limits of individual and household action, illustrates the personal benefits, inspires you to figure out what you can do, and do that.

The Chicken Tender blog: this human is such an inspiration and a role model to me.

Farm City, by Novella Carpenter:  This is about choosing something significant to do with yourself, being adaptable to your circumstances, and making a sustainable food system your way of life.

Sex at Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Calcida Jetha: Without accepting all the science offered, this book was really inspiring.  What would it be like to live in an egalitarian nomadic tribe of people you’d known from birth, hunting, gathering, and owning only what you could carry?  Even if it isn’t realistic, in many ways, that sounds like the gold standard.  Also, it’s nice to remember that humans are animals.

My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George:  Reading this book over and over as a kid helped me picture what it might be like to really be in touch with the way the land is responsible for our sustenance.

The best links from my initial look at secular paganism online:

http://humanisticpaganism.com/

http://freethoughtify.com/am-i-a-secular-pagan-2/

There’s also an atheist pagan group on atheist nexus.

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VI.  Animal Rights

Earthlings

Diet for a New America

The Clueless Vegetarian

Veganomicon

Some local food things? Farmer’s market and/or gardening links? Hmn. . .

Essay on issues with animal rights.

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VII.  Political Engagement

I think the most important justice issues, in no particular order, are:

-Education, political community, and political empowerment

-Racism, especially as expressed by the “war on drugs”

-The fact that approximately 400 people own half the wealth of this nation.  I might be ok with that, if it weren’t for the ease with which wealth translates into political sway.

-Relatedly, the fact that there is a huge shortage of paying ethical work, and that the just-world fallacy has convinced us to slash up most of our safety nets

-US imperialism and global military abuse

-Gender equality

-Our failure to create an atmosphere where a great diversity of people can flourish, including genderqueer people, people with disabilities, fat people, etc.

Books that I have read and found helpful in understanding social justice struggles:

Literacy With an Attitude

Nickle and Dimed

A People’s History of the United States

Waist High in the World

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