"Hunger" by Roxane Gay - Review - Dana Chirps

Hunger Review Dana Chirps.jpg

I heard of "Hunger," by Roxane Gay because I saw someone that I work with post about how great she thought the book was on Instagram. It's not the typical book I would have chosen, but I was looking for materials to assist in the demographic and brand research for one of the companies I do copywriting for, and this fit the bill. So when I was state-side I went to Barnes & Noble, and purchased it. Many of my thoughts about this book cannot be addressed without discussing the plot. It certainly won't ruin the experience of reading it yourself if you know the plot prior, but in case you want to be totally surprised - stop reading this post now! :)

"Hunger" was the kind of book where after you read it, you're like, omgsh, I need to talk to someone. Before I get into the grit of this post, I want to acknowledge how brave I think Roxane Gay was to bare her soul so vulnerably. Truly. It takes tremendous guts to share such personal experiences and address the challenging topics she did so in her book. Equally as impressive was the manner through which she did. She is a brilliant writer.

The plot (again, STOP reading if you want to be totally surprised): Roxane led a fairly normal and happy life until she was 12. One day the boy she had a crush on led her into the woods, where they met up with his friends. They proceeded to gang rape her. She kept this trauma as a secret for a very long time. Her way of coping was eating. She wanted to make herself as undesirable as possible, so that she could feel safe. “I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one I made but barely recognized or understood but of my own making. I was miserable, but I was safe.” She ended up at 6'3 and at her heaviest was 577 pounds. She goes into great detail about her life at such a large size.

There is so much of me that feels so sympathetic towards her. No person should ever be disrespected and violated in that manner, certainly not a child. It was heartbreaking to think a little girl was holding this secret in for years because of the shame and guilt. 

One of the most thought-provoking concepts Gay addresses was being labeled as "victim" versus "survivor." Gay prefers to use "victim," as a way to not lessen the severity of the trauma she experienced. Given how cavalier rape culture has become, I think she's made a strategically bold decision. This ideology had never crossed my mind before reading this book. With my two-time bout with cancer, I always took claim to the "survivor" label, and I do intend to keep it. I simply feel more empowered with that terminology. But I think every individual has the right to choose with term they identify with, and every scenario is unique.

"Hunger" also made me feel like I needed to take pauses and be more compassionate for other people. Generally, I feel as though I do a fairly good job at doing so, but this was a powerful reminder that people may appear one way on the outside, and be suffering on the inside. Gay gave several day-to-day struggles that obese people face. I was particularly bothered by the fact that there are doctors' offices that do not have proper equipment for obese people (for example, scales that don't support an obese person's weight). If there is ONE place that should be set up for all shapes and sizes, it's the doctors' office. 

This book was such a battle between Roxane and her body, and it reinforced the fact that our (American) culture is obsessed with weight, especially females. What we say shows it, what we eat (or not eat) shows it, what we wear shows it, advertisements show it... good grief, I could go on and on with so many more examples. But the discussion around weight is rampant. Although it is completely unrealistic, what if those conversations were all flipped into dialogue discussing happiness, health, and contribution to the world? It would certainly be a different world, and perhaps could even lead to a decreased obesity epidemic.  

Gay's book was a sharp reminder that weight-centric issues that most people have often have nothing to do with weight. Generally, it's a symptom of a bigger battle, a battle that is often internalized and private, that the outward world knows nothing about. If nothing else, I think everyone can afford to exude a bit more compassion, myself included. 

Overall, I'd give this book 4.5/5 stars. 

 

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

All That It Seams - Winter Accessories Review - Dana Chirps

December in South Florida. People flock from their northern abodes to sunny Soflo to escape the winter wrath of Mother Nature. Now that I've lived here for almost 4 years, my body has totally adjusted to the tropical climate. This means I've become one of the people that I used to playfully poke fun at for wearing Uggs and other standard (#basic) winter apparel during those blistering (sarcasm font) 60-something degree days! You can easily tell if someone has been in South Florida for a while based on what they're wearing during the winter months --- shorts, tees, and flops means they must be a snowbird or vacationer, but if you're in scarves, boots, hats, and gloves --- you've lived in South Florida for at least 2 years. 

Now just because I'm a tropical sun goddess, doesn't mean I don't enjoy the winter! I happen to love it as long as I'm dressed for it. Here in Soflo, it's less about the bulky winter coats, and more about those cozy accessories. Recently, through social media I stumbled upon All That It Seams. All That It Seams is run by this kickass girl named Caitlin who handcrafts some seriously cute knit accessories while keeping durability and functionality in mind. But the icing on the cake is that All That It Seams donates 10% of their profits to no-kill animal shelters. UM, TAKE ALL MY MONEY. Anybody who knows me knows that I lovvvve animals, especially dogs. Talk about guilt-free shopping! Caitlin (who is awesome btw) sent me two really cute items to try out and write about. Here's the scoop:

Let’s start with the gloves which are cleverly named “Texters Best Friend.” I hate hate hate hate hate not being able to do simple tasks that regular gloves make it difficult to do - turning a doorknob, posting on Instagram, reapplying makeup, etc. These open-ended gloves keep your hands super warm, but still give you the flexibility of being able to do your day to day things. I also like that the bottom of the gloves have a cuffed look. My favorite way to wear them is layered on top of a long sleeved shirt.

Pro Tip: You can type in these puppies. So if you happen to work in one of those freezing cold corporate offices, consider these gloves your saving grace... not that I've ever done this. ;)

Next up is the knit headband dubbed “The Butterly Wings.” Ladies, if you were blessed with a big brain (this is my way of saying huge head - my fellow Polish friends - I’m looking at you!), this is a GREAT piece. This stretchy knit is a cute way to keep your ears warm. I also have to point out the shade of white that was selected is flattering for all skin tones, and although it might sound cheesy, it just seems to really bring out the sparkle in everyone's eyes. Basically, this is the ultimate accessory for your winter selfies.

Butterfly Wings Headband - Dana Chirps

Ladies, and gents shopping for ladies, here is the link to All That It Seams

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Colleen Nichols - Girl Power - Dana Chirps

One of my favorite enhancements I’ve added to this newly rebranded blog is the “Girl Power” section on the homepage. Here, I’ll periodically highlight a female that I think is doing something inspiring, remarkable, and/or being particularly badass. I believe in women lifting other women up, and this is my small way of trying to do so. 

Without further adieu, here is my first girl power post…

I actually met Colleen through her now husband/baby-daddy, Cory. Cory and I have known each other since the gloriously awkward years of middle school; in fact, he was the one who took me to the Oscars equivalent of Short Pump Middle School, The Eighth Grade Dance. It was romantic in the I-think-we-danced-one-song-together-and-avoided-eye-contact kind of way, but we had a blast. And as a very insecure (keep in mind I had been in treatment all year, and had scars/barely any hair, etc.), I was SO happy and relieved someone even asked me. But Cory has proven to be a life long friend, and all around wonderful human (with an equally as amazing family). 

Now fast forward to college. I saw through Facebook that he had been dating a girl (Colleen), was very active with his fraternity, and just thriving. I was thrilled for him! It just so happened that one of his frat brothers (who was one of my friends) asked me to be his date at a formal, and being at the stage of life where I couldn’t turn down a good (or any) party, I of course said yes. Quickly, I reached out to Colleen and befriended her on Facebook so that I’d have a gal pal to hang out with during the event. Well then my date got back together with his girlfriend (cue eye roll). Annoying for sure, but I totally understood and respected that. But let me just tell you… when Colleen and Cory got wind of it, they were both like “oh hell no, you’re coming!” and quickly set me up with one of Cory’s other fraternity brothers who I ultimately had a fantastic time with. 

But it was at this party, I finally got to meet Colleen in person. She was SO.MUCH.FUN. She's just one of those down to earth people that you can let loose and be yourself around right out the gate. It was a great night, and everyone had a good time. Though, the next morning I vaguely recall being a little rough. ;)

Blurry picture to remember a blurry night.

Blurry picture to remember a blurry night.

Fast forward a few more years. Colleen becomes engaged and then marries Cory, yay! And in the midst of it all she started her blog, The Lunchbox Diaries. Like Dana Chirps, her blog has evolved from where it started. But there were two constants - the honesty conveyed in all of her posts, and her guts to post about the tough stuff... things like mental illness, both the dark and less than glamorous parts of pregnancy (btw, she’s currently pregz with baby number two), the complete and utter bullshit of trying on a bathing suit, etc. Using her her background in psychology and mental health she often provides guidance, or at the very least, support. But make no mistake, she is not a negative person, at all. In fact, she is hil-freaking-larious. 

There is something to be said about a person who continually puts themselves out there in a manner that truly helps other people feel like they are not alone. She doesn't try to convince anyone that things are sunshine and rainbows when in reality they suck. Nowadays, with people projecting only the highlights of their lives on social media, I think it is especially important to acknowledge that sometimes things in life are hard - and that that in and of itself is totally and completely ok and normal. That doesn't mean I'm an advocate of people pissing and moaning about petty stuff on Facebook, but I do think people should know they are never alone in their battles. 

I commend Colleen for fearlessly blogging about the good, bad, ugly, and FUNNY realities of life. She has transformed her blog into a place for people, women especially, to see that it is completely wonderful to be real. 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.