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Self Acceptance and Society/Fat Acceptance

Self acceptance is loving and appreciating yourself even if there are things you'd eventually like to change. Fat acceptance or society acceptance is getting society as a whole to accept that we have the same rights as everyone else and to reduce prejudice within the community.

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Why Remember on Memorial Day?

We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those hundreds of thousands of soldiers lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for their countries. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.

The wars touched the lives of people of all ages, all races, all social classes. Fathers, sons, daughters, sweethearts: they were killed in action, they were wounded, and thousands who returned were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of war. The people who stayed home also served - in factories, in voluntary service organizations, wherever they were needed. These were our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Yet for many of us, war is a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist's account of fighting in distant parts of the world. Our closest physical and emotional experience may be the discovery of wartime memorabilia in a family attic. But even items such as photographs, uniform badges, medals, and diaries can seem vague and unconnected to the life of their owner. For those of us born during peacetime, all wars seem far removed from our daily lives. Mother's Day, among others, was a time for me to revisit the old country by talking with my mother about life in an area that was war-torn, and fraught with danger and horrors that I could not imagine seeing when I was growing up. These stories seemed too gruesome to be true. I was thankful that I lived in a free country and did not have to witness such atrocities first-hand.

We often take for granted our many values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our choice. The soldiers who went off to war in distant lands went in the belief that the values and beliefs enjoyed by everyone were being threatened. They truly believed that "Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom."

By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we recognize the tradition of freedom these men and women fought to preserve. They believed that their actions in the present would make a significant difference for the future, but it is up to us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized. On Memorial Day, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who served their country and acknowledge our responsibility to work for the peace they fought hard to achieve.

During times of war, individual acts of heroism occur frequently; only a few are ever recorded and receive official recognition. By remembering all who have served, we recognize their willingly-endured hardships and fears, taken upon themselves so that we could live in peace.

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:

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Written and submitted by: Maria Albus

Editor's Note: May 26th in the U.S. is Memorial Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. Countries of the British Commonwealth, as well as France and Belgium, honor members of the military who died in war on Remembrance Day, on or around November 11, the date on which World War I came to an end in 1918. Many countries around the world set aside one day each year to honor those who died in battle.

Mothers ... and their role in your quest for self acceptance....

With Motherís Day just around the corner itís probably a good time to talk about the role your mother, and even your grandmother, play in your own quest for self-acceptance. If you read many memoirs, or even non-fiction books on the issue of weight, youíll know that itís quite the done thing to blame your body hatred on your parents, and your mother in particular.

The three that spring to mind most quickly for me are the books Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin, Appetites by Caroline Knapp and the memoir Fat Girl, by Judith Moore. Together these books give a horrifying glimpse into just how things can go wrong between mother and daughter.

I wonít argue with the books. I do think that some of the points these women raise are valid. But in the spirit of Motherís Day I think there comes a point when you need to forgive and move on in your life. Your mother did the best she could do. Repeat this over and over.

Iím sure she didnít deliberately pass on food and body issues to you. She probably struggled to hide her own issues from you, and failed. Weíre all human. I was first enrolled by my mother at 14 in Weight Watchers after being paraded before the school nurse a few years prior. I was offered bribes - $5 per kilo of weight loss. I was dressed in adult clothes far too flowing and far too old for my teenage mind; in an attempt to hide my shame. Then, if I was good I was given $20 to go to the shops to buy my Mum all the chocolate I could so we could binge or celebrate together. Wow. Itís not hard to see where my issues originated.

Now, as an adult trying to accept myself Iíve asked my Mum about these childhood experiences. And it all comes down to her own issues. Her mother, my grandmother, was thin, and made my Mum feel like the incredible hulk. And even with her lack of self-esteem and happiness she was only trying to stop the same thing happening to me. To give me a skinny life. Iíve made the decision to forgive her.

Sit with the females in your family and your photo albums. Donít judge on size but look closely at how your body could represent the female power in your family. Laugh together at the fact you all have huge breasts, or crooked teeth. Look through the photos and realize you may share the same smile, the same manner of standing. Your battle is not your own, and perhaps someone in your family has some wisdom they could share with you. Decide that youíll stop critizing each other, and instead support each other.

Written by: Jody

"Mother - that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries."
~T. DeWitt Talmage

"Who fed me from her gentle breast
And hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother."
~Anne Taylor

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