The daily nexus

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After years of struggling with my weight and wondering why it was that I could not seem to lose the extra pounds, I discovered the root of my problem: I cannot stop eating. Hello, my name is Collin McLeod and I am a semi-recovering foodaholic. There, I said it. Now before any of you skinny granola bitches go off on how I am in control of the garbage I put into my body, listen. I used to be one of you. I lived your tragic reality. For two miserable


years of my life I lived eating “mindfully,” which meant I limited myself to 1500 calories a day, worked off about 600 of them and essentially lived off of lettuce wraps 24/7. Oh, and I avoided bread like it was the goddamn plague. I ignored what the Internet told me mindful eating was and drastically lost about 100 pounds. I looked great but my inner health ended up suffering in the long run. What I assumed mindful eating to be ended up becoming a borderline eating disorder which I am still recovering from.

So how did I get to this point? Let us begin with the year 2001. I was in the first grade minding my own business when two boys approached me and asked me to go to the bathroom with them to lift up my shirt and show them my stuff. Now I know what you are thinking, “damn, he had game back then,” but keep in mind I was six and did not have a huge grasp on my sexuality just yet. Well I did find Lance Bass to be attractive, but that’s beside the point. The moment I lifted my shirt became the moment that I would be branded as “fat ass” through high school, resulting in years of body dysmorphia. But the problem was that I loved to eat. I would cry about the teasing, but continue to stuff my face with high calorie junk. I even got to the point where every Wednesday in high school, I would force my younger brother to walk a mile to the nearest Carl’s Jr., buy me a sinfully decadent, barbeque sauce-slathered Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger with crispy sweet potato fries and a raspberry iced tea to wash it down. As for dessert, I would treat myself to an eight pack of Almond Joy, a box of Reese’s Pieces and a food coma that would guide me through the rest of the evening. Needless to say, I blew up like a balloon.

After years of crying about my weight, I decided it was time for me to pick my ass up and do something about it. Because that is how it works … Right? Well after hours of googling why bread is bad for everyone and how to maximize my workout routine, I figured it would have to do. I started off slow, but about a year into the “journey,” I really thought I was mindfully eating. “Oh I put so much thought into this piece of lettuce!” Standing up from sitting down became a difficult task, I was an asshole to everyone (because hunger) and I even began to eat in my sleep. My own subconscious knew what I was doing was wrong. This story has a happy ending though. Eventually I regained a healthy relationship with food, and I could not be any happier. Sure, I still sleep eat and stress eat and emotionally eat and well … I just really love to eat, okay? But I am happy. Mindful eating does not mean you have to constantly be on top of what you eat, you just need to make sure you are not pigging out every opportunity you get, as fun as that is. So embrace your inner (or outer) chub. You are fabulous the way you are, whether it is with a bowl of kale or a pizza in your hand. The key to mindful eating truly is balance.

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Courtesy of paulsflores. com

It’s unsurprising that 2015 Doris Duke Award recipient Paul S. Flores managed to garner a decent turnout for his evening of spoken word, hosted by the UCSB MultiCultural Center on Friday Nov. 5. The choice of Reds Bin 211 in downtown Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone” for the venue turned out to be an apt one, since it was big enough to hold the crowd but small enough to be intimate, despite some issues with disruptive patrons.

Flores walked on to Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger Than Me” and was bombastic and personable from the start. Throughout the evening he joked with both the DJ and audience members between poems and, even during more serious pieces, his energy never waned. As a San Francisco native, his passion for both his city and his half-Cuban, half-Mexican heritage motivated some of his best performances of the night. Eager to please, he apologised self-consciously for being too political or “a downer” whenever his poetry touched on raw subjects, yet it was in these moments that his performance was most powerful and garnered the biggest response from the audience.

He opened effectively with “Spanglish,” a poem that alternated between rapid-fire Spanish and English to demonstrate the experience of having a transnational identity in what he described as a “multicultural but monolingual” U. S. While the poem was an excellent demonstration of his enduring connection to Chicano culture and his confidence as a spoken word artist, at points during this poem and the evening his delivery felt too studied and close to resembling a generic “Spoken Word voice”. However, these moments were brief and the potency and sincerity of the message behind his poems were more than enough to compensate.

“Spanglish” was followed by two more muted and personal poems. The first concerned Flores’ determination to avoid repeating his father’s mistakes in his relationship with his own son. The poem was a moving depiction both of Flores’ personal vulnerabilities and the toxic effect of hyper-masculinity on male relationships in general and was far superior to the love poem that followed. This second poem, based on an Aztec poetry form, occasionally edged into trite imagery and involved a minor overuse of repetition common to a few of his later poems.

Noting that he loves spoken word because “it gives you the opportunity to say what you need to say,” Flores then changed the tone completely with his angry but humorous poem to Donald Trump. This revenge fantasy of sorts that imagined Trump meeting fugitive Mexican drug lord “El Chapo.” He continued to gain momentum after this point and followed with a poem that celebrated the historical alliance between “black and brown,” which presented historical fact with a passion that was infectious and expressed his disappointment at how this coalition is supressed in the name of financial interest.

Flores saved his best poem, a rant against gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission called “Crowbar Thing,” until almost the end of the evening. Inspired by an incident in which a bar owner beat three Mexican men with a crowbar for hanging around his establishment, the poem moved from the humorous, lampooning the “googlefucks” looking for somewhere ethnic enough to be trendy, to the tragic with ease.

The evening finished more light-heartedly with the recipe poem “Arroz Con Pollo,” a rapturous celebration of Mexican food and how it brings people together, as well as a poem toasting the excellence of San Francisco city, an uplifting counterpart to the bitterness of “Crowbar Thing.” This return to the joyfulness and exuberance of “Spanglish” seemed crucial to his message of the endurance of oppressed peoples through hardship and injustice and also served to end the evening on a more positive note.

Overall, Flores’ performance demonstrated clearly why he deserved to be named San Francisco Weekly’s “Best Politically Active Hip-Hop Performance Artist.” While he is at his most effective as a performer when incensed, he is not content to merely point out social problems and his poetry was always as hopeful as it was angry.

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