Engaging my Body.

Hello babes. Up front I want to give y’all a bit of a content warning. I’ll be ruminating on exercise, fatphobia, weightloss and eating disorders. Please care for yourselves and if these are not your jams, please take care. That said, I’m not going to be graphic about things but there’s gonna be some stuff.

First I want to preface this by saying a couple of things. I do not believe with any bit of my being that fat and health are the same thing ever. I don’t believe that thinness or even being a “normal” weight are the end all be all arbiters of health. You cannot tell the state of a persons health in any nuanced way by looking at them. Full stop. I will not argue that ever.

Second, with Adele’s weight loss in the news a lot of folks are in their feelings about it. Listen. A multi grammy award winning artist with an amazing voice losing weight is not the peak of her or anyone elses accomplishments. And if you believe it is, you have work to do. I also want to say that I believe that weight loss done from a place of fatphobia or self hate is not gonna be healthy. Sorry not sorry.

If you’re interested in point number two I encourage you to google around and read some stuff because I don’t really have the spoons to go full Fat 101 here today/

OKAY buckle in.

I have recently been as y’all know engaging with my health and evaluating and changing how I care for my meat sack. I’ve been really focused on getting my nutrition to a better place, I’ve been working hard to feed myself well, and the last bit of this has been me looking for movement I can engage in with joy and not hurt myself.

Being that I have a disordered history with both food and exercise, I’ve had to tread very carefully. One of my huge ED triggers is the allure of control over my body. Results. A huge trigger for me. Unfortunately, I thought I had a better handle on my feelings about it. I do not.

What started as me looking for some things to cobble together for some workouts turned into me planning and plotting ways to control my body. I was able to back off of being so triggered and that masochistic urge to continue enough to observe a few things.

This experience I’m having isn’t unique. I know a lot of people who fall into the same hole. Even super fat accepting, body politic heroes. And what I have come back to is that when we front load weight loss and results and massive fast body changes as the point of fitness, we just get swept up in disordered behaviours and feelings and it is not good for anybody.

This is what happens when we don’t separate ideas about being as health as you can be in the body you have, appearance, weight and what health is or can be. What I mean by that is, if you look at a lot of fitness related content the motivation is often based in creating shame in the consumer and turning it into “motivation”.

The language tends to sway between saying, OH you’re not fixing that flat/fat ass? You’re lazy and not worth X thing etc etc. Then the person seems to be pumping you up, following the shame there is the cheerleading. They look great, they are perky and yelling and telling you, YOU CAN DO IT. A lot of the discourse is framed like so.

If you really loved yourself you’d want the flat stomach/shredded abs/big booty/thigh gap and if you REALLY COMMIT you can have it. And if you don’t get the results, well you did it wrong. You ate too much. You’re too lazy. And frankly it is abusive.

This method of selling/gaining followers is the voice of my ED. I recognized that recently and it set me back a little bit. I realized that regardless of my political leanings, my love of bodies, all bodies, my respect for all bodies, I still have a hard time giving myself the same treatment. I caught myself and have been working through it but fuck y’all.

I think I didn’t see it to begin with because my intentions with my fitness are very specific. I have a lot of chronic pain I’ve had for many years and through many pant sizes. I enjoy moving my body and I’ve been really interested in reconnect to that joy. So I went looking.

It was really hard to even find say back pain relief exercises that weren’t also cuddled up with weight loss as a goal. I don’t want that. I don’t need it and it harms me. It harms a lot of us.

What if we could have something different?

What if I could easily find a workout designed for just loosening up and enjoying my body? What if we could skip the toxic messaging about weight and how we should want our bodies to be?

For me, I really wish more fitness professionals would take a step back to look at how their own language and methods can be harmful.

For me it has been a really difficult few months with this. On one hand I’m wrestling with those ED triggers on multiple levels. One part of me remembers the peak/low of my purging via exercise and the memories of having trouble walking because I’d spent 7-8 hours exercising is fuzzy but remembering the feeling of control and doing something “good” are strong.

I remember tearing an ab muscle and powering through it and the warm congratulations of my instructors.

I don’t want to do that again.

I don’t want to contribute to anyone else doing it on any level.

There will be more of this. I have other stuff to say but for now let’s leave it here.

The health, wellness and fitness industries really rely too heavily on toxic and disordered behaviour and we really need to figure out how to not engage with it.

Shit is hard.

I’m workin on it.

Yo Wellness Web…we got beef.

Hello babes. It is yer problematic fave Auntie and I got beef.

We’re going to be talking about wellness, fatphobia, misleading shit a bunch of people say and how we can do better.

Recently I was doing some research, apparently this whole virus situation has sent me running back to my juices and berries witchy ways. That means I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

Listen wellness people…y’all.

One of the things I’ve been focusing on is stress and anxiety reduction. Those two things are among my highest concerns.

Again, I’m seeing weight loss as the front loaded assumed goal rather than the actual ailments I’m looking to ease. This approach is not only problematic, it is generally misleading and dangerous.

Let’s start with why this is problematic. In the context of researching specific things like herbs and vitamins, especially those that have no connection to weight, you’re screwing up the facts. If you want to know what value adding say a vitamin supplement to your wellness line up could have and what you find is rah rah LOOK lose weight, that isn’t going to give you actual nutritional value.

Also, likely it is going to make you feel like shit. More so if you “should” (we’ll get to that) be doing “something” about your weight but maybe you want energy support or help with your digestion. For instance. I was looking at a multi vitamin and the first half of the list of benefits all had to do with losing weight in a way that was sharply marketed for women.

HEY look it’ll cure your jiggly ass and burn and detox and blablabla. None of those things were true or necessary. It is a multivitamin. Looking through the ingredient list rather than the marketing patter, I could see that it was formulated for women over 40 looking for support in immune health, digestion, fatigue and those wanting to get in more minerals and a higher level of calcium. And interestingly, the dude formula of the same vitamin with a little extra stuff for prostate health, did not mention weight or fat at all.

I’ll drop some resources about why fatphobia is bad below so folks can understand who’ve not learned about the issue.

Now, from my perspective what I don’t need is extra nonsense when it comes to facts about nutrition, herbs etc. There are already so many terrible and untrue things around this doesn’t need to happen. Further, when the marketing for a product with a certain herb or vitamin is focused on frankly untrue weightloss promises, how can we trust the industry to actually have our health and wellbeing in mind?

We know that capitalism ruins everything but in this case, especially in the wellness community it fuels dangerous beliefs and behaviors.

I put a lot of the blame for the rise in the dangers in our community on irresponsible and greedy influencers. If we take to instagram, I would be you my delicious chocolate bar I’m eating, that a lot of those huge influencers so many love to follow, are right now hawking things that are not okay.

Tummy teas are a huge one. Lately I’ve noticed a few companies targeting the Black community promising a flat belly and a big booty. I’ve seen youtuber/instagram influencers use their curated aspirational type of content to sell everything from scientifically questionable diets and supplements to tummy teas so work out programs that are, lets face it not good.

The impact of this can be seen all over. We’re seeing more children with eating disorders, may of us who have an eating disorder history can’t navigate these communities without being triggered and none of this fits into a good view of wellness.

My ideas about wellness include learning to care for ourselves in a holistic and whole way. That also means, putting a critical lens on what we’re being sold, how we’re being sold these things and thinking about ways we can engage with wellness without perpetuating harm. Front loading weight loss, using size or fatness as a morality compass, thoughtless selling of products that can contribute to eating disorders and yoyo dieting need to go.

What do I want? I want to be able to be in the wellness community without the bullshit. I want to be able to engage with wellness in a way that isn’t abusive, greedy or predicated on ONE thing, that thing being my weight.

We’ll talk more about sizeism, fat phobia and body politics later so I’ll leave y’all some links to get started.

Things I’ve written. Items with an * are behind the paywall on Medium but I’m giving you the free to read links. If you are a member of Medium please feel free to share from the page:

On “Inclusive” Sizing, fitness and fatness.*

Post FatAss: Current RageAss*.

Fatness links here in the blog.

Other folks work:

Basic Fat acceptance. 

Ragen Chastain

I See Fat People by Carolyn C. Ross M.D. M.P.H.
Here’s How Fatphobia Is Being Marketed to You – And Why So Many of Us Buy Into It by Kaila Prins.

Fat Acceptance history. 

Great reading list at Wear Your Voice. 

Before I go some extra disclosure. Once upon a time I was a fat blogger. As I’m diving into wellness and new approaches to my own health I’ve decided to dust myself off and get back into talking and writing more about bodies and fatness. I am not currently a fat person. I was now I’m not. I will defer to currently fat people when necessary and if you want to drop any lectures about how terrible fatness is, this is not the blog for you and I won’t approve your comments.

With that. Go forth. Happy reading and I’ll see you later babe.

How Moral Am I?

Hi babes.

Today we’re going to talk a bit about why the idea that health is a morality issue is not good, in fact it is damaging to a lot of us, ableist, classisist and ultimately antithetical to fostering actual wellness.

Let’s start with the personal shall we?

I am not a Healthy person. For our purposes, when I capitalize the H I’m using health in the context of the binarist idea that there are only the states of Healthy and Unhealthy. I include the group of beliefs that surround front loading things like weight and body size as the arbiters of health, of appearance as proof of health etc.

I was not born a Healthy person. I was premature, quite ill. NICU livin, heavily jaundiced preemie who has had a lot of health problems for life. There is nothing I could do save getting a full body transplant that would put me into the category of capital H Health.

Even if I had made “perfect” food, movement etc choices my entire life, I would still fail. If we look at this idea that if we are Healthy we are good, what does it mean for someone like me? In terms of the idea of wellness in the context of doing things to improve how your day to day life goes, if I am unable to attain the Goodness of Health, why would I bother?

There are many factors that impact how a body deals with or doesn’t deal with their health and wellness. Most of these are not moral qualities. I find that when we start adding morality and ethics to how we approach dealing with our bodies in this context, things get gross quick.

Example. If you use social media and have an interest in health or wellness, try this. Look at an influencer and watch how they speak about wellness and what they don’t say. If they are pushing a “tummy tea” or “detox” do they talk about how most of those things are really just laxatives. Do they talk about things like supporting your natural detox capabilities as in, your kidneys and liver? Or do they show you well edited scantily clad photos that highlight their thinness? Do they tell you that they were holding their breath and had lighting etc etc?

We all know operating under capitalism sucks so on one hand, I don’t hate them for hustling. We all got bills to pay. What I do hate is the way the culture of Health is going.

Why am I talking about these things?

I’ve been really wanting to delve deeper into health and wellness, I want to talk more about my own approaches, stuff I’m doing etc but I also need for y’all to know where I am coming from.

All this is to say, if your ideas about Health and Wellness depend on any of the following:

  • Sizeism
  • Racism
  • Classism
  • A cash hustle
  • Shitty information
  • The idea that there is only one state of healthy

You’re gonna have a hard time here. That said, I DO invite you to stick around to maybe learn some shit.

I don’t believe that we should all have the same methods, ways and means of engaging with our health and wellness. If all things were equal and there was no such thing as biodiversity in humans, these ideas of only one true way would work. And yet they don’t.

So welcome new homies. I’ve got some posts saved and we’re going to explore health and wellness. I want to talk about my personal struggles with my own health and talk more about why, how and when I engage with my health isn’t an indicator of morality.

Feel free to go back and read this post, click around for some of my fat posts and stay a while because we’re gonna talk some shit.

FULL DISCLOSURE also. I will use amazon affiliate links because your auntie likes coins. They aren’t much but every little bit helps and bitches gotta eat. I will not make any promises about stuff I link, I won’t shame you if you’re not into it, we not doin that.

Nor will you likely ever see dramatic before and after photos. I won’t tantalize you with images of me in my underwear or anything like that. I’m not that Auntie.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you come back soon.

Your Wellness Sucks.

Hello darling dears. Today Auntie Shannon has on their ranty pants so buckle up babes.

So I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading about health and wellness for both the health and wellness of my little famfam AND in relation to some writing I’ve been doing. Y’all mother fuckers.

The first thing that bothers me is this. A lot of people who are supposed experts in these things, have mistaken good marketing for decent advice. I see a lot of people who have taken a 2 week nutrition course on the internet and call themselves experts. I see a lot of people who thinly veil their fatphobia in how they talk about things like diet and exercise and frankly, I think it sucks.

Let’s talk a bit about why these things bother me so much. The first problem is that when we substitute Capitalism and commerce and profit for advising folks or talking about our own experiences, things get weird. I have had folks market dumb Kardashian diets, they want to sell me ebooks on juicing celery to solve all my problems, they don’t know how basic human biology seems to work but, they are making money so who cares right?

Look. While I am not currently a fat person, I have been a fat person. I don’t need my factual nutritional information tinted with fat hatred. It is unnecessary. From my point of view, not everything needs to be that in order to be useful. I turn it off. It isn’t the information I want not to mention, so many people are completely unwilling to remove the object of weightloss from the pursuit of better health.

WHOA.

Right?

Here’s the thing. After years of being within fat communities, the thing that changes folks lives isn’t the constancy of fat hate. It is the moment when they feel free to pursue the health they feel is in reach. In order to get there, we have to start with the idea that health is not an absolute state. The belief that there is ONLY healthy and not healthy, that healthy is a moral imperative and that health is some arbitrary bar set by whomever is not useful.

We have to understand that this view of Health (capital H) as being a single state or a particular appearance is not only destructive but it ignores the actuality of the biodiversity of human bodies. It is ableist. Health is not either or. What looks like better health for me, might be misery in your body and there is nothing wrong with that. That is how we were made. It is how we live and it is far less damaging to accept and acknowledge that than it is to insist that you and I should and must be healthy in the same way.

Part of my issues have involved being triggered by heavily disordered beliefs about food and eating being touted as health advice. I don’t see enough people acknowledge that their intermittent fasting proselytizing could be a serious eating disorder trigger. I would love to see some more judicious use of content notes and warnings. I’d like to see more folks say, hey if you have a history of disodered eating this could really trigger you. It triggered me and it took me a while of not doing nice things to my body under the guise of trying out this wellness thing to realize, I was in a serious danger zone.

In my view, while it is tempting to sit in the position of superiority and have the good feedback that one is the One True Knower of Wellness, it is ultimately damaging. If we look at wellness culture on social media, there is often backlash. When you build your profits and platform on the One True Way methodology, when things change all hell breaks loose. That is not good for any of us.

So all this said, I’ve been doing a lot of changing my eating and nutrition and whatnot and research into different health related things and I will be blogging about that more often.

The rules.

I will not step into the anti fat rhetoric. My narrative and beliefs here do not come from a place of centering my weight, your weight or weight in general as the marker of health. I don’t believe that is a good methodology for me, my body or my life. Also I won’t pander to it for views. Full stop.

I will in time talk more about it but, I do not believe in a binary healthy or not healthy view point. I believe that each of our bodies does some weird shit and we need to be able to get information that isn’t predicated on us being ashamed of that. This includes how fat my or your ass may or may not be.

I will NEVER take you or your ideas about health or wellness if you use the phrase “glorifying obesity” as some sort of methodology about why fat people should hate themselves into change. Full stop. Nope.

Fuck shame.

SO my darlings. That is where I’m coming from about wellness and why I see so much of it as being so flawed and ultimately damaging not only to the folks consuming it but also to the folks creating it.

So if you want to know where I’m going with it, please come back. I’ve got my shit somewhat together and have some posts planned and scheduled for this.

Thanks for visiting babes!

And if you’re interested in my other writing, come check out and like my brand spankin new writer page on Facebook. 

Too Fat For Life. CN: Eating disorder mentions, weight loss, trauma.

First story time.

Once upon a time yours truly was a (as I thought then) super fat fat fatty teenager who was in fact too fat to live. A large part of why I felt this way included:

  • I was not “thin”
  • I did not have a flat stomach.
  • My thighs touched.
  • The culture of my community, made no bones about fatness.
  • Anxiety fueled food disordered behavior.
  • Budding exercise addiction.

Among other things.

I have a distinct memory of a friend talking about how enormous another girl was. HOw she was just SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH a cow. Y’all know, I remember I must’ve pulled a face because I was absolutely a larger person than the girl in question. I don’t remember precisely but I feel like I probably said something like, so what do you think of me and was reassured of my prettiness.

For reference, I was 5’2 and at that point weight about 140 pounds or so. I’ve always been thickly built. Even when I was in the lowest percentile for height, I’ve always had big muscly thighs, etc. In my mind, I was in fact about to drop dead of fatness. Mind you, this was before the Fat Panic swept the world and every other health article wasn’t screaming OH SHIT WE HAVE NO REAL PROOF BUT U GONNA DIE FATASS!

 

After a period of intense attempts at weightloss, I arrived at fuck it. Not a good kind of fuck it. More the, well I’m fat and ugly anyway so I’m gonna do what I wanna do. I decided that summer to run. I got kitted up and started running. The first time I was running, I was chugging my way up a hill and a carload of grown men, slowed to call me fatass, call me a fat bitch and throw garbage at me.

They went around again because I had nowhere to go, did the same thing and I went home in terrified tears.

Fast forward a few years to my first gym membership, I was about the same weight and my second time going, a few older women in the locker room had a long conversation about how unfortunate my body was. I was something like 20 or so and I felt violated.

Another attempt at being a runner later on, more trash thrown. Yelled at. Told to go home. Called a bitch, told to go die.

Fast forward more and I’m fatter and on the internet.

One of my first outfit photos, I found it was taken and used to build a base to make fun of me from.

And the thing is, I’ve never really been that fat. The fattest I’ve been is relatively small fat. Granted, back in the day the availability of clothing for me was very limited but I made do. When I first dabbled in body politics, I had full awareness that I had it far easier than my death fat friends. I didn’t know the term privilege but I understood and respected the concept.

As we head towards Christmas and the post-Thanksgiving OH SHIT U SUCK season, let’s talk about some things that aren’t true.

There is the theory that if you are fat, seem fat, are fat, are really fucking fat that you should be doing the following:

  • LOSE WEIGHT BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
  • HATE YOURSELF INTO LOSING WEIGHT
  • LISTEN TO EVERY SHITBIRD THEORY ABOUT WHY YOU’RE FAT
  • DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOUSE
  • DON’T EVER HAVE A GOOD TIME
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT EATING
  • DON’T GET CAUGHT ENJOYING ANYTHING

If you are Fat, you must always be miserable, self hating, and not be visible to anyone ever for any reason.

You should also if you are a woman, be as femme as possible at all times. You should “at least” have a socially acceptable hourglass type shape but still hate yourself. You should always say, I’m sexy because obviously any one who is a woman and who is fat should be grateful anyone thinks they are attractive but also, you should still hate yourself. You should hate yourself SO MUCH you don’t buy nice clothes. Sackcloth only. You should hate yourself so much, you continuously talk about hating your body and your fatness while you’re also only nibbling a tic tac in public because OMG.

If you are going to be fat, you have to be a Good Fat. You should always start every conversation with, “I’m fat but” insert next bit here. I exercise, I’m a vegan I’m blablabla NOT A BAD FATTY.

You should believe ever click bait sketchily researched “study” that says, YOU GONNA DIE FATASS. You should buy EVERY MIRACLE FRUIT THAT WILL LITERALLY MELT THE POUNDS OFF.

The thing is, the lies we’re told when we’re fat are legion. At the bottom of them, is this.

If you are fat you should not live in the broadest sense of the word.

If the “fat diesases” don’t kill you right this instant, than well fuck you.

The proof of the base lie is that if you are fat and objectively “doing something” as in you’re exercising, talking about wanting access to size 32 active wear, talking about the cost of said active wear if you can find it, talking about access to good food etc- you are still not allowed to just exist.

That is the lie of the Good Vs Bad Fatty dichotomy.

I was inspired to write this by a news story where another fat model in fitness clothing doing fitness, was shamed. There was another one where a famous fat runner was on the cover of a running magazine, photographed while running, and then trolled mercilessly WHILE SHE WAS RUNNING A FUCKING MARATHON- because she’s fat.

My fat friends.

I’m talking to you. Non fat folks, pay attention but this ain’t about you.

My fat friends.

If you are struggling with your own fatness, it’s okay.

You don’t have to be 100% fat accepting or whatever all the time.

You are allowed to be fat and just exist.

All this other shit, the bullshit trolls say, the bullshit you might hear from family at get togethers, the New Year New Me diet push that’s coming, etc etc is just shit.

It is all lies.

This is also heavily on my mind because as I’ve mentioned in the past few years I lost weight. In the ER in October, I was weighed and it turns out I weigh a lot less than I thought. I felt pride for two seconds until, you know what?

The type of people who back in the day when I was a lot fatter could only call me a fat bitch to argue with me, are the same type of people who reach for it now.

I believe in bodily autonomy and you can do whatever you want with your body.

I also believe that narrowing your life to numbers on a scale, a pants size or the idea that there is a right weight for existence and living life is not good for you.

You can be fat and live.

You can.

And in living, if you wanna take up jogging or belly dancing or wanna sit on the couch and eat nachos, you’re allowed because you are your own person.

I don’t say this lightly.

I don’t believe in hate change.

I’m talking about self-hate, hate from outside all of it. Changing because of hate will back fire. I’ve seen it in my own life, my friends lives. I’ve known people who died because they fueled their eating disorders with hate and there was never time to let themselves live.

I’m not saying you have to be all love and sunshine. Nah that’s unrealistic.

I’m saying, instead of buying into the lies get into what they fuel in you and work out how to not use that hate to punish yourself.

I guess, what I want you to know is that you can live.

LIVE.

Some stuff will be harder for some of us for physical or mental reasons. That’s okay. It doesn’t make any of our experiences less valid just different.

As we head into a new year and there’s going to be so much shaming shitty shit in the world, brace yourselves. Start talking to yourself about this before shit gets dire you know?

There’ll be more.

That’s all right now.

 

Fat Bitch Feelings.

Recently after realizing that most of the clothing for Summer that I’d thrifted last fall (yes that is how I shop) is too big, I had to have a big long talk with myself.

I had to tell myself that it is officially official I am not fat anymore.

I’m not fat anymore.

Fuck.

Let me rewind a little bit.

Fat Acceptance and the community has been a big part of my life in meatspace and on the internet for probably at least a decade. I have been deeply into body politics for at least 20 years. From my earliest forays into reading about/writing about bodily autonomy to early feminist readings on bodies. I am about the body. My body, your body, our bodies.

My most formative political fat activist writing started when I was invited to the original Fatshionista community on Livejournal a very long time ago. When the door of fat joy, fat solidarity, fat politics opened, y’all I ran all up in through that mother fucker.

Fat politics really was the thing that got me into working out how intersectionality factors into my work, my life, how I view things.

So my beliefs about bodies, how I live in my body, how I talk about bodies is rooted deeply in fatness. Fatness as a physical state, as a political marker, as a place of comfort and community for me and now, I’m not fat.

My body, this thing I live in and move around the world in has changed without my consent and has set itself outside of my framework.

I am feeling fucked up about it.

I talked about this a bit before mainly in the context of my body image being fucked up.

This latest thing was broader. While yeah, I’d prefer my body to look differently right now it won’t. I can live with it.

What has been bothering me is the idea that I will lose my place in my community because I literally don’t fit anymore.

Fuck.

After I tried to wear something or other, the fact of the matter really sank in and I can honestly say I’ve been feeling adrift and conflicted.

Aside from mourning being separated (by size) from my community I looked at the blogs I like, the fashion stuff I read etc etc are all fat centric. Not body positive, they aren’t the milquetoast white “curvy” bullshit ass version of body politics we get.

They are fucking fat.

I have been struggling with how to use my new found position of privilege. How do I shift the way I write/talk about bodies to reflect that while my thoughts/opinions remain radically Pro Fat my body has decided nah. The process of working this out for myself has been difficult, especially in light of the fact that I absolutely did not want to lose more weight.

I did not.

I’m resentful of it and struggling mightily to deal with it and not feel like shit. That is a whole other entry.

This is the bottom line for me.

I am not going to even try to fuck with “body politics” because currently, the way these are discussed and represented they are Whiter and more cis woman centric than ever and nah son.

I won’t turn what has been the radical backbone of how I learned to deal with my body into one size fits some pap.

I will still self identify as fat with the caveat that, my ass is currently not fat.

Fatness is not just physical.

Fatness is contextual.

Fatness is political and my politics are really fucking fat.

I won’t try to swim and work in the waters of White heteronormative Insta filter LOVE YOSELFness.

Nah son.

My goals here are less for y’all than they are for myself.

I shall:

  • Carry on reading and loving fatcentric content.
  • Write more about fatness.
  • I’m gonna talk about how discussions of bodies and fatness STILL often leave behind Death Fats.
  • I’m gonna talk about how important it is in my opinion to further divorce body size from binarist moralistic views of health and personhood.
  • I’m gonna love the fuck out of my fat community.

And for y’all, look.

Because I have a degree of thin privilege now and previously was a smaller fatty that does not mean that the cultural stuff I say is wrong because I’m not fatter. It also doesn’t mean that your experiences as a fat person, or a Death Fat person or a not fat person are invalidated.

Our experiences are ALL valid and we will not do Oppression Olympics. You gotta hit the ground rollin here homies.

When I refer to other folks experiences, I will defer to them about shit I have not experienced. Because when you are in the position of privilege, that’s what the fuck you do.

Other stuff to look forward to. Guest posts. I’ve made puppy eyes at some friends and it’s gonna be cool.

I’m ALSO going to start writing more about gender and bodies, gender fashion and bodies.

MORE intersections!

More fat.

So yeah.

I feel like this is important to me and I need to hold on to it.

Later this week a struggle bus naturals post AND I’ll have some new protips for online thrifting.

How to know if your body posi ain’t shit.

Welcome y’all.

I have the urge and this is going to be about as body politics 101 as I get so pull up.

This is your intro in how to know if your body positivity ain’t shit or if it is a lie.

First, let’s talk about Good Fatties who Exercise and why that particularly odious thing is a fuckin lie.

Let me tell y’all a little story about baby Chubby Me in 1994. I was heading into my senior year of high school and wanted to be thinner. So chubby lil me put on my running gear and headed out on a sunny summer afternoon.

I was not really fat. I was fat in the context of my peers, my immediate family and where I lived. Read what I said about fat in context and contextual fatness here (old blog post, there is an adult warning but there’s no boobs or anything) I was going along pretty well and a carload of young men probably a bit older than me slowed and they started mooing and oinking at me. I kept going and they went around again and that time they threw half full sodas and trash at me. I was so humiliated I didn’t exercise outside in my own neighborhood ever again.

Now, if we presume that fat people must be “doing something” about their fatness at all times and that to be a Good Fatty one must be exercising and proclaim a super love of fitness, wouldn’t people be all about seeing fat folks being active? They aren’t.

Read Ragan’s article in Ravishly about the backlash because Nike has released some plus sized active wear. There’s a video of a fat young woman ballet dancing, going around on facebook. We all know FB is a cesspool but, read the comments if it goes by you. People talk about how gross fat people are (while a fat person is doing really lovely pirouettes) talk about how she “can’t help it” etc.

There is no Good Fatty.

One of the other pitfalls of the Good Fatty is when folks who are newer to body posi/fat acceptance circles, is that they base their self-esteem on not being one of those fat people. They build a hierarchy of fatness where they are at the top because (based on things I’ve had said to me/seen in conversations)

  • They don’t need to use mobility devices
  • They eat X diet (vegan what have you)
  • They don’t have X body type (large belly, double belly, they consider themselves “proportional”)
  • They exercise
  • They are “Real Women”

The fact is, none of those things are moral values. And setting oneself apart from other folks based on physical variables is gross. Setting oneself as the superior person because real women have curves is toxic nonsense.

If you by your behavior or how you talk about other people’s bodies are upholding the notions of the evils of fatness, you are not only harming those people you are harming yourself and rolling in a toxic stew of hatefulness.

There is nothing revolutionary, loving or accepting about replicating the hurtful behavior of the larger world in smaller circles. Basing your personal self-esteem off of the idea that you are magically so much better than them, won’t last.

The next thing is that we cannot be played Oppression Olympics. Let me make one thing crystal clear. Different experiences of oppression don’t negate yours. Don’t start trying to on up other people because nothing will come of it. In terms of bodies, let’s put it this way.

Let’s say we have you a person who is thin and super fit and can go literally anywhere and not be bothered because of your weight generally speaking (yes I know some thin folks get harassed, but that is not a global thing), you can pop into a random store and there is a 95% probability you can buy a pair of pants. If you go to the doctor with a say (this actually happened to me) ear infection, you don’t spend the whole visit being lectured on how if you’d just try to do something about your weight you’d feel better. Nevermind that your problem has zero to do with the size of your ass.

Then we have me. Chubby but not that fat. I walk around with the kind of privilege that says I have like a 60% chance of going into most stores to buy pants. Most of the time people don’t hassle me about my weight, except (again based on my life) sometimes people try to sell me diets on the street. My doctors aren’t super keen to look into some of my health issues until I “finish” losing weight.

Now we also have another friend, we’ll call them Bob. Bob is fatter than both of us, say about average. They buy at the low end of the plus size, scale and likely get told by the doctor to do something about their weight before it is too late. They probably get told they are pre-diabetic even if they aren’t. They probably have a hard time getting treatment for things like ankle or foot pain, they get told that any problem with their body, is weight related. Maybe, they don’t go to the doctor unless it is an emergency because they feel traumatized.

Next we have our friend Billie and Billie is death fat. Really fat. Billie can’t go into 90% of stores for pants. Billie, is a headless fatty. Billie experiences harassment for being fat and alive everywhere. Billie will not go to the doctor. Billie has been abused by society and let’s say they are very outspoken about it.

We are all humans right?

Yes, we are.

Now, Billie and Bob will have totally different experiences being human than you and I. It’s important that you and I give Billie and Bob space to talk about their experiences without insisting that we’ve got it just as bad. In terms of our personal lives, our mental health yes a lot of factors could make our experiences subjectively awful but, that doesn’t mean that every conversation has to be about us.

When we engage in the artificial hierarchies of who has it “worse” we waste time squabbling and it does nothing to make sure that NONE of us have to experiences bias because of our bodies.

Whoa right?

If we don’t engage in Oppression Olympics and we remove the ideas about Good Vs Bad Fatties or bodies, we can focus on doing the real work of dealing with sizeism in the world.

NOW.

If you read these things and get defensive, your body politics ain’t shit. Dig out from under and get to work.

This is just like coming to understand that when it comes to matters of race, a lot of the time we need to shut up and listen. Listen to what Billie and Bob have to say.

We’ll stop here for now, but if you are new to body politics or if you’re body politics ain’t shit, sit with this for a while. When you see those supposedly “inspirational” videos go by on facebook, read the comments. Next time, we’re going to talk about how to engage but not take over. And here from 2010, words for non fat folks.  By me.

 

I am not an “after”-About Fatness

Folks who’ve known me for a long time to know my weight has fluctuated over the years. Recently someone had a looksy at some old outfit photos of mine and then emailed me to let me know how “proud” they are of my weight change.

Okay, so first of all, do not do that to people. It doesn’t matter how fat someone is or was, unless they ask you mind your damn business. Losing weight, whether it is, on purpose or not is not always something to be applauded regardless of the before. Also, other folks don’t owe you thanks for noticing the size of their ass at all. They don’t. So don’t.

Next thing. I am not a good or bad former fatty. My change in ass size has not changed my body politics or staunch fat acceptance. Actually, no that’s a lie. It’s a hot fucking lie. My stance on fat acceptance, has gotten stronger. The fact that I now reside in an area of privilege where I’m a little smaller than the average American woman, I’m pissed off. It shouldn’t be a privilege for me to now be able to buy 7$ leggings. Or be pretty ding dang sure if I go to Target, there will be at least a few pairs of pants I like or whole lines of clothes I can buy.

My position of privilege means that some makers, now deem my money worthy and will make me a skirt or dress without charging 50$ extra. It means that if I go buy a dress makers dummy, I won’t have to pad it except maybe the boobs. It means that when I go to the doctor, I’m listened to a little bit more. Oh, you lost weight YAY but you still have these health problems? Maybe it wasn’t your weight after all.

Here is where we get body posi graduate level. Rather than looking back at the place where I didn’t have these privileges and wallowing in my relief not to be the face or ass of the bad fatty, I’m pissed off. I want to smash the privilege I’ve slid into because I can see just how shitty it is.

There is zero reason that my smaller ass should mean that suddenly I’m a better, more moral, more trustworthy person. Being less fat, being closer to thinness and having thin privilege by being close to it, did not change my soul.

Now folks who are not fat, I am talking to you right now. Former fatties, I’m talking to you too.

Listen, when we are in this position of having privilege due to proximity to the “ideal” it’s not the time to disappear into the mealy mouthed body posi that pays zero attention to people whoa re really fat. Let’s talk about using our position of privilege as a fucking weapon.

These days when I inquire about sizes, I don’t limit myself to my own size 12ish ass. I ask why doesn’t this come in a size 26? I tell retailers, hey there is a market of folks who want this thing who are above your (insert largest size here). Because of how privilege operates, the response I’ve gotten to these inquiries has been markedly more friendly than they were when I would say things like, I want to give you my money, why doesn’t this come in my size?

That is how privilege works.

Now, as far as my own weight changes, they kind of are what they are. I still don’t really want it. I still am not really okay with the size of my ass, I felt perfect in my body at a larger size, but it looks like this is how things are gonna be so I am making peace with it.

I am enjoying my 7$ “one size” leggings. I am enjoying that I can usually go to big lots and find the size 6 panties I like for super cheap. Those things are great. When I was fatter and didn’t have access to those things, I wasn’t mad at the folks who did, but at the fact that being able to buy a bushel of discount panties is a privilege.

I am angry at a system that magically turns me into a “better” more trustworthy and generally more “worthy” person because my butt is smaller than some other folks.

I am angrier still because, weight changes aren’t moral victories. People who succeed for however long at purposefully losing weight aren’t heroes. It is not some magical morality bullet that turns them into amazing wonderful people. As I said years ago, if you were a fat asshole you’re probably gonna be a thin asshole too.

I don’t want it.

I don’t want jubilant congratulations on something that was not okay with me in the first goddamn place.

I don’t want to be reminded every time I deal with a medical professional that the health problems I have now, had when I was fat, had when I was super thin and have had for decades at this point are suddenly, magically real because my weight changed.

I am not an after shot. I’m not at the midpoint between before and after.

Yes, I live in a body that is often in flux. Yes, my body has changed. Yes, I’ve got some health stuff going on.

No, it’s not actually any of your business. I am not obligated to share my super ass changing secrets. No, I don’t want your speculations about how I’m a whole brand new me. I’m the same weirdo I was when I was fatter.

Can I share with you what weight loss again has not cured?

  • Any-goddamn-thing.

 

The culture of fat stigma has caused me and a whole lot of other people harm. Irreparable, sometimes fatal harm.

The culture of deifying dieting culture and intentional weight loss has done me and a whole lot of people irreparable and sometimes fatal harm.

The refusal of people who claim “body positivity” to extend that to ALL bodies, yes, ALL bodies regardless of size, ability or gender has done irreparable and sometimes fatal harm.

So you know what?

If you are in my type of position of privilege, step up. Don’t leave fat folks behind because you’re basking in the glow of conditional acceptance. The same stigma that follows fat folks, will come for you too.

That’s all for right now. We’ll talk more about it later.

 

The time Betsy Johnson Broke My Heart

A site I like to window shop at sometimes sent me an email about a bunch of Betsy Johnson stuff on sale.

Y’all don’t know this, but Betsy Johnson was the first designer I loved. When I was a lil post teenage potato, the only designer that I ever thought, holy fuck I want to wear that was Betsy.

Back in the 90s, my style was absolutely done what I gotta do with thrift store and hand me downs. Not because it was fashionable, but I was poor and chubby. And then in some magazine I saw Betsy Johnson clothes. It became my big secret dream to have one. Even more than the pretty formal dresses that never fit me, more than the Goth wear I saw in the Retail Slut catalogs I got.

A dress similar to this one was my dream.

My style icons were Grace Jones, Courtney Love, Stevie Nicks, the goth and punk girls I saw randomly. I wanted to wear pleated school girl skirts and boots, I wanted to wear big chunky ass shoes and slip dresses and y’all get it.

I had this vision of Bad Bitch Femme. Glitter and fucked up nails and whatnot.

However, I was not a thin girl. Even at my lowest weights, I’ve always still been a thick girl. Back then, after having a little money for mall clothes, I remember leaving in tears because I couldn’t find things I liked that fit my body. I remember very vividly being in a dressing room in the Limited maybe and trying not to cry and my Mom being impatient because I wouldn’t come out.

So I made it work sort of. I remember convincing myself that well fuck mall clothes anyway and that I just didn’t have the body to wear things I actually liked. And then I started to fake it.

I remember I had this ridiculous outfit, a pair of poop brown mens 70s slacks that I paired with a cream colored long sleeve thermal, boots and a big old fake high long ponytail. I paired it with a super glossy glittery lip and a big ole stripe of liner and it was one of the first times I was like, I am fine as fuck.

My next foray into dressing just how I wanted to was when I went to my first Pride. I want to say it was maybe 1999? I dunno, I’m an old.

So I had thrifted what was probably part of a dance team outfit. It was a fuschia sequinned a line mini skirt with a little keyhole belly cut out and a black ribbon. I saw it buried in a bin at Value Village and fell in immediate love.

I wore it low on my hips with platform sandals and a strappy vintage camisole that was almost see thru. There was glitter on my face (I used to mix my own glittery face powder back in the day, SHUT UP IT WAS THE SHIT) and I had a pixie haircut and y’all, I went alone and it was when I found my bounce.

I did that thing where when I got to the parade, I invoked my runway hoeness and walked it the fuck out. Booty bouncing, titties out, shoulders back, feelin the FUCK out of myself. There was a drag queen handing out sunglasses and she stopped me, put some glitter cat eyes on my face and made me do my runway walk.

I wound up being friends with her but mostly what i remember is this drag queen and some cute gay boys yelling, “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORK BITCH” and it was the first time in my young adult potato life, I really felt beautiful.

Now around that time I was saving money, all my change, any extra dollars because I wanted to go into the Betsy Johnson store and buy a dress. I got myself gussied up and went in and almost immediately realized that nothing would fit me aside from maybe some earrings or sunglasses or a purse.

I didn’t want a fucking purse.

I remember leaving (AH I was 21 by then) and going to sit in a bar by myself and feel like the grossest human to ever live.

Betsy Johnson just broke my lil heart. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard to save up about 300$ and I even had a plan to take myself out on a fancy date so I could wear whatever I bought.

Now I took that money and wound up in a Hot Topic, ostensibly to buy myself some band shirts or something and I discovered this long black beautiful Gothy dress. It was full length, had a chiffon cape thingy, the big sheer bell sleeves. Sort of this style, but not velvet. The ubiquitous Goth thing.

I found my thing.

I found the thing that opened up fashion to me in a while new way. I realized that my body was not at fault for some stuff not fitting me. That my inability to wear Betsy or shop at 5-7-9 or whatever.

My big point here is this.

Your body is not wrong.

You have to figure out what you’re working with and work with it. Figure it out. The thing is, there’s something like THE big deal thing, you just have to find it.

That said, sometimes you’re still gonna mourn the perfect thing. It’s okay. It happens to all of us.

This post brought to you by this most perfect dress that would in no universe fit my ass.

picture-of-elegance-party-dress_black-multi

Someone please buy that damn dress and then get your photo taken and show me because I think it is so damn beautiful. Betsy, you hurt my feelings again.

 

Where my Style evolved from.

I want to talk some about things that have shaped my style, representation and stuff.

This is fashion, but shit is deep.

From a really early age, my aesthetic love has been the Alt folks. I remember very vividly the first time I saw punks, I was about 6 or so and they were on the sidewalk. My parents sort of laughed and I was in love. I loved their spikey hair and tattered clothes, their somewhat androgynous bodies really appealed to me. That was it.

When I saw Black folks street style in movies in the 80s and later on rappers on MTV I loved their style too. Dookie chains, beautiful Black girls with doorknockers and amazing geometric haircuts.

Those were the seeds of my style.

As I got older, especially in my teens I understood one thing.

I may have loved fashion and beauty, but it was not for me. Fat Black little me.

I couldn’t have put those words on it exactly, but, that’s what it was. When I first got into makeup in middle school, my friends could buy their Covergirl foundation at the drug store and back then there was nothing for me. I figured out how to use CG tan powder lightly on my face and I bought eyeliners but, I saw the lack.

When I saw glammed up Black women, there weren’t references to companies or brands I had access to. I didn’t even know that Black women wore foundation until I was about 17. I thought I was just an ugly Black person so I wanted coverage and concealer and stuff.

Around the same time I was starting to have an interest in Goth specifically. I knew some Goths, I saw Goths in various places and it was equally if not more inaccessible to me. I loved the fancy Goths and the punky goths. I also saw that again, it was probably not for me because I was not pale, not thin etc.

My early Goth experiences were eh. I remember going to the first Hot Topic in the area and the employees didn’t question me being there, but, I was too shy to ask for a dress I wanted in a larger size. I figured that a larger size wasn’t available, because every other bit of art, clothing etc I’d had an interest in, did not come in larger sizes.

I remember getting things like the Retail Slut catalog and a couple of other ones, but if I did save up money for things, I was outside their size range for what I wanted.

Let’s stop there for a second.

Remember, I’m an Old Goth. I didn’t have social media, I had to special order my weirdo magazines. The only images of the things I was into, were thin to super thin White cis people. There was zero representation. When I ventured into spaces with other ALT people, mostly they were decent if sometimes cluelessly racist, but I always had that pressure of being The One.

For me at the time, I felt too seen. Too visible to engage in the weirdo clothes I loved so much. As a young potato I was too shy to enjoy the visibility on a regular basis.

Cut to my early 20s and my first phase of giving zero fucks. I wore vinyl in the daytime. I got into very Fetishy schoolgirl type outfits. I liked adding a rock star item to a drab outfit. I had velvet platform high heeled boots like Stevie Nicks and I wore the fuck out of them. I dyed my hair colors and remember getting disapproval from older Black folks and white folks and everyone.

Looking back, I realize that a lot of my bravado, then was coming from a place of pain. I felt rejected from say Alt modeling (this is when I discovered that the Alt only applied to outer decoration and that underneath it was still thin white and cis) and from clothing lines and everything Alt.

I really wish baby potato me had been able to process enjoying the aesthetics while rejecting the Thin Whiteness of it without so much pain.

I would have told you that what I was doing, feeling etc was empowerment. It wasn’t. It was a fuck you born of terror. I remember buying clothes from like Jeannie Nitro or some of the more available goth labels and I’d rip them up to make them fit. Wear them anyway.

I remember back then Lip Service had bigger sizes that weren’t outside their general milieu and I wore the fuck out of them.

This is stuff I think about. I’m pretty excited about the fact that as I get closer to 40 my ideas about how to express my aesthetics and wearing my feelings and decorating my temple as I see fit has come to be a joyful thing for me rather than a padding from pain.

One of the reasons for this post is because I’m going to do an influences post and while I was collecting photos earlier, I saw just how White and Thin it was and I felt disheartened but I’m not gonna lie. So this is where I’m coming from.

Also later this week I’m going to do a how yours truly would dress if neither money nor size was an issue. I’m probably going to need separate entries for clothes, accessories, shoes and art. Y’all….

I’m also looking for stuff to show y’all that I want to have in order to embody myself when I feel more Butch or Masculine but shit is hard.

AND I’ll likely have the how to buy leggings on the internet post ready soon.