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.

Skin Care tips, tricks and bullshits.

HELLO my loves. I hope you are as safe as you can be and dealing with the bullshits as well as you can. Today let’s talk about some things I wish I’d known when I got into skin care. We’re gonna go over lots of stuff.

First thing, some of this some of y’all are gonna be like BUT OMG AUNTIE IT WORKS FOR ME. Yes it might right now. Some of the things will cause later damage or are things that are highly comedegenic. Also if you don’t know, yes I love natural but natural ain’t always great. Cyanide is natural and you still shouldn’t eat it. That said, everything that exists is chemicals.

Now, when we talk chemicals do keep in mind that a lot of the scare articles don’t tell you the manner or level of ingestion. Too much of anything can cause a problem. You can die from drinking too much water. Don’t get too into that. Do your research but keep in mind, it is likely you won’t be putting a chemical up your own butt every day for 10 years and thus causing yourself a scary illness.

ALL RIGHTY THEN lezgo.

Let’s talk about exfoliation. When it comes to your face, here’s the problem. A lot of us suffer weird textures, etc and it is super satisfying to use a physical scrub. I was a devout physical exfoliator for YEARS y’all. Scrubs, brushes. ALL OF IT. However, once I learned the dangers including:

  • microtears in the skin
  • Said microtears helping bacteria get in and cause acne
  • Compromised acid mantle
  • Long term damage

I gave it up and switched to chemical exfoliants. My skin is still pretty sensitive so it took some product before I found the one. Every now and then I’ll use a very soft physical exfoliant, I have a knock off of the Tatcha Soothing Enzyme Rice Polish*. The long term differences between physically exfoliating and doing it chemically has been night and day.

I started with adding a gentle retinol to my routine and followed with experimenting with BHA’s and AHA’s. Not all at once. Please don’t do that. For me, while The Ordinary Glycolic acid*was like..BOOM POW it was a bit too intense for my face. I wound up only being able to use it a couple of times a week. That said, over time exfoliating chemically has proven to help fade my hyperpigmentation and a lot of it hasn’t returned in the same spots. Spots I’ve had for years that were black/purple have faded. And overall, I feel like my skin is in better health. No microtears and my acid mantle is intact.

I am tempted by physical exfoliation. I used my rice stuff last night because it is high allergy season for me so my face is flaky. It sufficed.

Now if you already have scrubs what do you do with them cause we ain’t wasting shit at aunties house. If OMG PLS DON’T BUY you have one of the St Ives type scrubs, please don’t use that shit on your face. Use it on your feet, use it on your butt, use it if you have bumpy areas on your body. Keep that shit off of your precious face.

If you have sugar scrubs, pro tip using them in tubes (as they usually come for skin) use them on your body. SUPER pro tip. The Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask is AWFUL for your face over time. BUT y’all, it is an amazing body scrub. It is a bit perfumey for me but I really love how silky it leaves my body.  Use it in combo with something like an exfoliating towel on your booty…then moisturize heavily and just rub it. You’ll be happy.

Moisturizing. Listen. Moisturize your damn face. Yes even if your face is oily. I used to have mega oily skin as in, sometimes it looked like I was sweating. However, once I started to focus on hydrating my skin it started to balance out. Look at being super oily as you needing to help your face realize it is moisturized so the excess sebum production slows down. It takes time. Your face will freak out. You might break out but, give it time.

What I settled on was using very rich, thick serious moisturizers at night and using something more gel like for day under my sunscreen. I often see in skin care groups folks being nervous about going to bed shiny. Go to bed lookin like a glazed donut. I mean it. Your pillow will soak up some product and also, matte is not important if you’re asleep. if you’re worried what your partner will think, maybe get them into skincare. Or tell them to fuckin’ deal with it.

I do not believe in rigid skin types. Skin is a living organ and changes. Also regardless of type, you need hydration. Drink water and moisturize.

If you find an oil you like, use that as well. I’ve used lots of them but my faves to use as my last step at night are squalene or rosehip oil. Other oils I like, hemp oil (shelf stable), vitamin e, argan oil, olive oil. Stop putting coconut oil on your face. Coconut oil can be highly comedegenic so use it elsewhere.

ALSO when it comes to products that will be on your face for hours make sure you check your ingredients. Essential oils are great for a lot of things but not on your face. Most of them even in small concentrations can increase skin sensitivity, irritation, etc. It can be hard to avoid so look for fragrant components at the end of the ingredient list.

Use SPF like it is your goddamn job. Especially if you are treating any type of pigmentation issues like melasma or hyperpigmentation. UV exposure will undo your work, put you at risk for skin cancer and overall fuck up your day. YES you too beautiful melanin rich people.

Also look.

Real talk. Three months or ten years of good skin care probably won’t give you influencer skin. Skin changes, hormones, weather, stress life, aging etc. Don’t give up because you’re not perfect after a few uses. What I’ve discovered is that rather than focusing on trying to attain that filter look or flawless glass skin, I concentrate on keeping my skin supple and healthy.

Also if you’re unable to keep up a full routine don’t give up on yourself. If all you can do is use a wipe or miceller water to take off the day, that’s okay. Don’t toss your stuff. Do what you can when you can.

Last pro tip from your fave Auntie. Treat your skin from your scalp to your toes like silk. Treat it good. Feed it well and put up with the bullshit it throws at you. If you can’t do it out of self love, do it because it holds in your organs and you need that.

As always affiliate links have a *. I encourage you to google for good prices. Go forth and glow baby.

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[image description: a photo of your fave auntie. Brown skinned, wearing glasses, a headwrap and a lip ring.]

Recipe Day- Yummy Spiced Mocha Protein Drink

There will be Amazon affiliate links denoted by a *.

HI babes! The weather is warming up and I’ve been experimenting with my morning beverages. Today a new recipe.

You’ll need:

-Shaker bottle. This* is the one I use. It is WELL worth the price to have the hot/cold flexibility. Highly recommended. Alternately use one of those little milk frother things if you don’t have a shaker.

-Protein powder of your choice in chocolate. I use two. For most of the protein I use Amazing Grass Protein Superfood: Organic Vegan Protein Powder*. And for extra veg servings and a little more protein I use the Amazing Grass Green Superfood: Organic Wheat Grass and 7 Super Greens Powder*. If you’re not a fan of a slightly green grassy flavor, the first one will cover that in the second one. Or you can use just one.

-For the spice, I’m using this Tropical Heat Kenyan Tea Masala*. Y’all, I got it on a whim and it is fucking delicious. Like a lot of masalas the spice profile is clovey, gingery but I think the ratios of the spices give it such a nice smooth heat that works in both savory and sweet stuff. I love it.

-Instant coffee. I use a very strong dark one. It is the one my partner likes*. Chocolatey finish. I use it for flavor mostly. If you are caffeine sensitive, PLEASE do not use this one you will see through time and/or poo yourself. You could also use a bit of cold brew, leftover coffee. Or skip it.

-Your milk substance of choice. I’ve made it with almond milk, coconut milk and soy. The best for me texturally is almond milk.

OKAY now.

I also use nutritional extras. I add collagen*, MSM*, a sploot of hemp oil.

Because this is powder heavy you can’t just drump powders and go. Add about half to three quarters of your milk, then add your powders and coffee and masala. Shake it shake it shake it like a polaroid picture. Check it, add the rest of your milk and shakey shakey shakey…if you’re me you might also be shaking your ass while doing this because why not?

And voila. You have a deliciously spiced cold mocha.

A few other pro tips. If you have texture issues with protein powders, try altering how much you’re using. You don’t HAVE to use two full scoops or whatever. For about 18 ounces of liquid I usually do about half to two thirds of a scoop of the protein. If you want more protein but not that texture, add some looser protein like a nut butter. If you need sweetener use something liquid, I don’t use any.

If you aren’t able to physically shake it, blend it. Alternately, you can skip the nutritive powders OR use liquids. If you struggle to get in enough calories or veggies this is a great way to get them in. Also it is delicious.

SO if you make this, tell me your version.

GO enjoy!

On Intuitive Eating And why it kinda sucks.

CW: for a few non explicit mentions of eating disorder history below.

So today we’re gonna talk Intuitive Eating and why as the title suggests it kind of sucks. First if you aren’t familiar here is a quickie overview. From an article this sums it up nicely:

Intuitive eating is a philosophy that encourages us to listen to our bodies for hunger and satisfaction cues — to eat when we’re hungry and to stop when we’re full.

For our purposes we’re not gonna argue any of the following because ain’t nobody got time for that ahem:

  • IF U EAT WAT U WANT UR GONNA NEVER STOP EATING.
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA GET MORE FATASS
  • OMG FATASS UR GONNA DIE….

We not doing that. If you try to comment with that bullshit I will see you out.

For our purposes here, we’re using Intuitive eating as shorthand for doing as the body wants.

OKAY let’s get into it.

I’ve been aware of Intuitive Eating and the associated principles for gosh, 10 years? More? I dunno. Previous to that, I hadn’t heard the term but understood the concept as a part of my life I aspired to make better. At the time, I was just too poor to really get into what I wanted to eat in any substantial way.

Fast forward to now and for the last few years I’ve been looking at how I feel about eating, what I want to eat, how I want to eat. I’m a habitual note taker and journal person, part of how I developed my self-care ideas heavily involved keeping tabs on myself and my body. One of the first things I stopped doing toward this end was I stopped assigning food and food intake moral value.

I have a background of eating disorders and disordered eating. From purging via an exercise addiction to anorexia to some other more murky EDNOS type things. Part of what fueled those EDs was my moral standing and assignments on what and how I ate. Looking back, when I was a vegetarian than vegan, I was deep into what is now called orthorexia.

So in theory, I really love Intuitive Eating. We know that I believe that food is medicine, I believe that food is a beautiful part of culture, of how we interact as a species and frankly I just love food.

My problem is this.

Like most other things related to wellness, there is a depth of privilege you need in order to fully engage. Access to food continues to be a problem in America. Food deserts exist. Beyond that, even when you have access to the food, we also have to look at the cost, how quick things spoil, if we have energy to prep and cook food, food intolerance and allergies, etc.

This is the problem I have with most wellness related things. Folks are so busy being aspirational and trying to secure the bag via being an influencer, we don’t get to have the important discussions about how these things actually function. This is how we get goop and frankly nobody wants it.

In terms of my experience, I have noticed that I tend to crave and want to eat a pretty balanced diet. I love my veggies. I love variety. I love color. I love flavor. I want to eat fish a few times a week and once a week or so red meat. White meat as needed. Where I’m experiencing difficulty is that due to the cost of the REST of my life (rent, staying alive etc) I cannot afford to eat the way I want in a sustainable fashion.

Let’s break it down a little bit also if you’re not really familiar with looking at intersectionality and how it functions in life, this is a great moment to get into it.

We’re gonna go list style.

  1. I deal with a lot of chronic pain and fatigue.
  2. I don’t have the budget weekly or monthly to continuously eat the way I’d like to.
  3. I don’t have the time to shop often due to #1.

Let’s look at #1. The way my body is set up currently, a lot of days I only have energy to get back and forth to work, do a little housework if I’m lucky. I hate it but that is what it is. Emotionally and spiritually I LOVE food prep. I love it. I find meal planning and food prep exciting and calming. However, as it also relates to #s 2 and 3, the combination of these things makes it hard for me to do.

You see that?

That is what we mean by intersectionality, nothing operates in a void and that is missing in wellness culture.

We have to think about how we talk to each other about these things. When people recommend recipes, ways of eating etc to me, especially people who know me personally, I feel terrible when I realize they haven’t or don’t think about what it would take to do. Or put it this way, what happens when you say OH this is the One Twoo way to Health and you don’t think about the person who has a 200$ budget for food for a month.

Or the person who is disabled and can’t stand around cutting up shit for meal prep. Or the person like me who loves intuitive eating, but who cannot engage fully.

Before I go I want to leave y’all with another few thoughts. Think about the ways we talk about things like intuitive eating. If you are all the way the fuck in for it, think about people who can’t be and don’t make moral judgements. Don’t contribute to other folks feeling bad because there are reasons they can’t.

So yeah, while following a very intuitive eating based methodology is my dream, I can’t and it kinda sucks.

Let’s Talk Golden Milk! My recipe and how to.

Hi babes! Today we’re gonna talk about Golden milk lattes and my personal recipe.

If you don’t know golden milk is a traditional auyervedic remedy. Traditionally you heat turmeric, black pepper, some fat and make a paste. Then you use that paste in hot milk of your choice. The reported benefits include things like:

  • Anti Inflammatory
  • Better digestion
  • Antioxidant protection

Etc etc. You can do your own research.

If you’ve been here a while you know I am VERY into food as medicine. I tried a golden milk latte from one of my fave coffee shops, Ladro.  I wasn’t looking for the medicinal properties to begin with, I honestly think it tasted so good. Very warm and comforting for a cold morning.

That said, my bank account is not set up to buy one daily so, I decided to make my own. below find my method.

Amazon affiliate links indicated with a *.

My partner picked up this amazing steel shaker bottle, designed for both hot and cold drinks. If you can’t get one of these, you’ll need something that is heat proof or if you have a mixer or milk frother that’ll work too.

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[image description: photo of a steel tumblr with a keyboard in the background.

This is the Moonice New Shaker Bottle, Stainless Steel*.  I am really impressed with it. The top screws on well and I only experienced leakage due to user error. The sippy part lid is very secure. I’m very comfortable throwing this in my bag in the morning when I leave for work.

Next thing you need is the Golden Milk powder. I use this Golden Milk Powder* by Turmaquik. I had samples of a few other brands and settled on this one. It costs about 16$ on prime and has 90 servings. It also comes with a little scoop on the inside for your serving size. I COULD mix the powder myself but, this works. I like the accessibility of it and ease.

I also use:

A squirt of hemp oil. I use the Zatural* cold pressed plain hemp oil. I have been using hemp oil more or less regularly for about 3 years now. I love using it in my diet. There is some low key pain relief for me, a bit of extra calmness. But my FAVE thing about having it in my diet is, it helps me poop.

You can also use coconut oil, ghee, etc. from my research the fatty oils help absorption of the good shit.

The rest of this is both medicinal and to taste. I use:

  • Prince of Peace Instant Lemon Ginger Honey Crystals*. I have drunk this tea for YEARS y’all. Many many years. I love ginger and I tend to have at least one or two bags on hand at all times. I use one packet for my latte.
  • Ceylon Cinnamon*. I love this stuff. I always buy in bulk and there is always at least a half lb in my house. I use it in coffee, tea, cocoa, on breakfast rice. Love it.
  • Raw honey*. Also stuff I use heavily in my life. Tea, breakfast rice, hair treatments. The linked bottle tastes really nice and is a STEAL at under 10$ for a big ass bottle.
  • Fresh ground Black pepper. We use a lot of spices, this is always on hand.
  • For milk I prefer plain almond milk or the canned coconut milk.

OKAY here’s what you do. I do this while I’m getting ready in the morning. When I am stocked I also add my MSM powder

I put our kettle on and let it go. You want your water to be heavily boiling. Hot as fuck. I use one heaping scoop of the turmeric powder, one sachet of the ginger tea, sprinkle on some cinnamon, add my honey and pepper. When the water hits a rolling boil I add it to my cup. My cup has markings inside, I don’t know the actual ounces but I add water to about 2 inches from the hot.

Secure the lid, shake the shit out of it. Once it is mixed I add in my cold milk and my squirt of oil. Shake the shit out of it some more and voila. Into my bag it goes. I flavor it by smell, when it smells right it is flavored enough. If you want it frothy, use one of those milk frothers before adding your milk.

BOOM.

Delicious. Warming. Nice on the guts. Gets me some morning blood sugar going. Medicinally, I can say that the mix does help me get a nice calmer edge. I will report back about pain after another couple of months.

Some pro tips. If you use some oil the mouthfeel will be weird at first. I personally like that slightly greasy feeling.

If you are like me and tend to be cold, this is amazing at warming you up from the inside. The ginger, pepper and cinnamon will help.

Also it is just frickin delicious.

If you try it out, report back. BE CAREFUL shaking it when you add your water and enjoy. We’ll talk more about the influence of Ayurveda in my life and ways to incorporate cultural wellness into your life when it isn’t your culture and not be an asshole.

 

 

No New Me

Hello babes! Yer fave Auntie is back and we’re gonna dig into the lie that is New Year New Me horse shit.

Up front let’s establish where I am coming from okay?

  • I do not believe that fat is bad.
  • I do not believe that weightloss and dieting is inherently good.
  • I do not believe that there is one size fits all everyone should have a six pack and thigh gap type of health.
  • I believe that it is deeply harmful to conflate health with appearance, weight or influencer status.
  • I believe that everyone has a right to do what is best for their body and not have to frame it in a way that is hateful towards themselves, shameful towards themselves or in any other way that holds to the idea that, you MUST hate your body and always be trying to change it.
  • I believe that we all deserve to engage with or not engage with wellness as we please.

OKAY now we have that out of the way.

Here is the problem with wellness as it is presented especially this time of year. The idea that we should be ashamed of the bodies we live in because they don’t aesthetically appear to be healthy, is abuse. Health is not an insta look. It is not the dehydrated fitness influencer sucking it in on the beach and face tuning their ass.

Change by itself is great. Change that is fueled by culturally approved self harm and self hate is not.

I come at this from the perspective of someone who will never, ever ever be the “healthy” ideal. Even when I have been thinner, I have not been a healthy person in the context of the idea that there is one true way to be healthy. I want y’all to take a second and think about what health is to you.

Does it mean you’re drinkin your water, doing what body movement you love, feeling the fuck out of your feelings and eating stuff that makes you feel nourished? Or is health to you the Get Thin Or Die Tryin mentality?

This time of year, we’re pressured to conform. We’re all supposed to decide to be skinny butterflies and go hard at the gym and restrict what we eat and really abuse ourselves into looking healthy. Is your engagement with these things based on wanting to look like X youtuber or X fitness model on instagram? Is your engagement based on being ashamed that you don’t eat X superfood or you don’t do X diet?

Rather than abusing ourselves with ALL of these often unattainable lifestyles and health goals, what if we do something else?

Rather than going with the, OMG SO FAT MUST LOSE IT ALL and going buck wild with your diet and exercise, what if instead you try this.

Look at your body and say, yo we don’t get along and I kind of hate you but here is some fuckin water. Or WOW I love you thighs, how good does this stretch/run/squat feel? FUCK WE ARE AMAZING LET’S DO MORE OF THAT.

You see what I did there?

None of us have to engage in these extremes of motivation for change. You don’t have to project or enact self-hatred and self-harm in order to look a way that let’s be real, you probably won’t ever. It is okay. All of our bodies are different. We are each our own weird little biological stew of weirdness.

Some of us are disabled. Some of us have chronic illnesses. Some of us don’t want to be doing Iron mans or whatever. That is natural. That is good. That is fine.

Here’s the thing. Self-hatred can only take you so far. I’ve been there. Shame is not a great lifestyle and rather than trying to shame yourself out of having the body you have right now, what if you didn’t?

What if you decided that even if you’re not ready to love your body yet, you still want it to be as okay as it can be. So maybe you drink more water. Do some yoga. Dance. Do crossfit. Whatever. I’m not saying that making fitness goals or nutrition goals are bad in and of themselves, for some of us goals are magic.

What I am saying is that, here in 2020 try a new approach. Try a new thought.

For me I am doing something. I’m looking at the ways my nutrition can help me be in less pain, feel satiated when I eat, help me have good regular poops.

I am worried about my body so I want to try and help my chunky friendo feel better. I don’t hate my big jiggly thighs, and I am not going to hate them into being something else.

I have a challenge for you.

If you are looking at health and fitness stuff, if you’re on Instagram or youtube pining for that body/lifestyle try this exercise while you’re comparing your meat vehicle to another person. Ask yourself:

  • Do I live in that body?
  • Do I have access to the same level of food quality and quantity, trainers, chefs, gyms, equipment, and support in order to DO the things it takes to have that kind of body?
  • Is this an advertisement?
  • Is what this person does sustainable?

If you are a journaling type, I suggest writing them down. Otherwise just, slow it down when you feel that (and no lie I feel it too sometimes) pull and shame that you don’t have that body/do what that person does.

Next exercise try this.

Instead of letting yourself fall down a shame hole because your ass doesn’t look like so and so’s ass, remind yourself that barring full on ass theft, you cannot have their ass. Your ass is your ass. Their ass is their ass. Instead of hating that your ass is not their ass, if you want to change your ass, focus on the things you can achieve.

Maybe instead of changing your habits or diet or how you exercise based off of shame and self-loathing, try celebrating.  I personally am pretty excited that even with my shitty ass back pain, I am a little closer to being able to touch my toes again when I stretch.

TL:DR look.

New Year doesn’t mean you are obligated to publicly flog yourself for not being some whole ass other person. You really don’t.

Love,

Auntie

 

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. 

Revisiting Contextual Fatness.

Oh y’alls.

I’ve seen at least five folks who don’t know each other talking about it, so let’s talk about it.

We’re gonna talk about fatness, gatekeeping of fatness, why fatness is not a single thing or experience and why it is important to learn how to deal with varying fatness because y’all ain’t nobody got time for bullshit.

First let’s define some terms.

Who is fat?

Lots of people are. Some folks are really really fat. As (Lesley?) some folks say, Death Fat. As in, folks will look at them and say things like OMG UR GONNA DIE and supposedly they will/are likely to drop dead that moment because FAAAAAAAAAAAT.

Some folks like me are not really fat except according to the BMI chart which, is horseshit.

Why can I say I am fat AND someone who is Deathfat say fat?

Fatness as a state of physical being isn’t like saying, I breathe oxygen. Fatness isn’t a given nor are the boundaries of fat and not fat fixed.

How does that work?

Fatness is more than just BMI, weight, size etc. Fatness is also cultural. As in, maybe inside the microcosm of one culture, fat might not be the same as it is in another. This doesn’t negate said fatness, it is just a different fatness.

There will always be certain aspects to life as a fat person that can be fairly ubiquitous and various levels of terrible.

  • Health care
  • Unsolicited diet advice
  • Fat shaming

Now. The degree to which these things are damaging or how they impact each of us will vary and that is okay.

Let me tell you a secret.

Experiences of marginalization will never ever be monolithic. Playing who has it worse or saying that because someone is X size they can’t speak on an experience they have is bullshit. Don’t.

Differing experiences in the context of experiences, of day to day life etc are fine. They are natural. Maybe the MOST natural thing to happen AND if my experience as a fat person isn’t yours, that doesn’t diminish either of us.

That said, here is another thing. If you are fatter than another person, you also don’t get to necessarily gatekeep fatness. Your experience especially if you are death fat or super fat is different and that is valid and true. What is not valid and true is the idea that because someone doesn’t experience fatness the way you do means they aren’t really fat.

Let’s not do that.

One of the reasons a lot of people are doing body politics in a shit way is the need to grab at the top fat ass spot. Be the MOST oppressed. Folks mistakenly believe that their personal narrative about living in a fat body, is the narrative. That doesn’t work. We can’t talk about bodies, we can’t talk about what happens when we’re fat and do X thing or need resources etc if we’re wasting time doing this.

So what do we do?

I believe that we don’t have to go through these things and it needs work. One of the things to work on,  is when you feel like someone is stealing or infringing on your experience, take a step back. You regardless of how you feel don’t get to be the One True Fat Ass.

That’s just what it is.

Listen, fatter folks. I know a lot of y’all feel very protective of your activism, your space and your bodies. I was dragged to fuck during the inbetweenie saga of Fatshionista. Spaces for folks who are smaller fats and larger fats are in fact important. BUT not all fat spaces must be only for certain fat folks. Doing things that way sucks and eventually doesn’t help any of us.

 

Your experience, you glorious fat babe is HIGHLY valuable. Your voices are HIGHLY important.

We need you/us. We don’t need you/us to reinforce policing of bodies and the idea that fatness is only one thing.

We would all do well to remember some other stuff about fatness.

Some of us are in fact fatter in real life. Photos don’t tell a whole story. Nor do pant or bra sizes.

When we reinforce the Good/Bad fatty dichotomy, it hurts ALL of us. Why do I say that? Fatness is amoral.As in, it is neither good nor bad it just is. Fatness exists in our bodies, as a cultural experience, as identity and as a unifying thing.

Fatness is very involved and multi faceted. It involves everything from just the size of the ass to how we are treated in the world. If we want to do fat activism, body politics or ANYTHING to do with fatness we must, not get mired in fatty respectability politics and deciding for other folks that if they say they are fat, that we have got to say hey, your fatness is different from my fatness and that’s great.

My different fatness is great.

Your fatness, great.

Sometimes our fatnesses will have stuff in common, sometimes not.

THAT IS ALSO GREAT FRIENDOS.

Let’s embrace fatness and how we live, talk and deal with it as the multi faceted thing it is. That means sometimes we gotta let folks work through their problematic fat stuff. Maybe someone doesn’t seem fat to you. Don’t poopoo them.

Before trying or actually policing other folks fatness and their perceptions of it please think and use some deeper than defensiveness discretion.

If you are a smaller fat person, new to saying fat, new to being fat, if you think you’re fat listen.

I’m talking to you too.

If you believe yourself to be fat I won’t question. However, I will ask that you, like me acknowledge and don’t use your size privilege like a bat. Be aware of and respectful of how your privilege can shield you from a lot of fat experiences.

 

Smaller fat folks, me included-

I know when other fat folks want to exclude us it hurts. Some spaces are going to need to be for them so they can talk safely about the intimacies of being X size. That is fine it is okay. Not all spaces are for all people. That’s okay too.

If you are just getting into fatness, some of this will have hurt your feelings.

 

 

 

 

Struggle Bus Naturals Post- Curl pattern or nah?

Hello my fellow Struggle Bus Naturals.

So hey…..hey boo.

A few weeks ago yours truly had a wee bit of a hair meltdown. We all have them. Whether it is a setback an oops etc. My last one you can read about here, my not about that braid life hella fail. 

Ahem.

SO what had happened was I feel victim to following too many other naturals. I know. Y’all. I know.

So with my hair getting longer and it being healthy as hell and beautiful I’ve been wanting to do some styles between wigs. I’ve looked at braid out, twist out, wash n go tutorials galore and had come to the conclusion that somehow I had damaged my hair and broken my curl pattern.

I have been misunderstanding my curls.

This is what my hair looks like  freshly washed and deep conditioned.

wethair

[image description: brown faced author, with half of their face visible and a look at crinkly black hair]

Okay so that is just what she is. My hair has a mix of just kinky hair and wee tiny coily curls. The ends of my hair will do lil ringlets when clumped but, when left alone this is what happens. Now here is where I shouldn’t have believed my eyes. When my hair was shorter and also virgin, my hair had a bit more round type curls. But only when wet. As my hair has gotten healthier it has gotten thicker and my actual texture is very much a mix of 4c/zish.

A lot of the natural hair folks I was watching, have looser curls. I do follow around a good number of type 4 folks but, I did not parse that most of them are wearing/doing styles with their hair stretched.

DING DING stretched.

Stretched.

Whoa.

So the meltdown was in my air dried hair having no coils or juicy curls. Not manipulated my hair when dry is crinkly and kinky. Beautiful. Full and bouncy. Leonine.

I don’t have a good pic but take my word for it.

Y’all, shit got real. I was moisturizing and shit and was teary. I thought I needed to big chop again and I worked SO HARD to nip away damage from an intense color I had, I spend so much time loving my fro and y’all….

Luckily I learned from the last time I did that shit and I did not. I did my LOC method, braided and did some research.

Turns out, my hair is fine.

I also figured out that my hair is medium porosity.

What I’ve figured out is that my method of just really paying attention to how my hair feels keeps it in the best condition. The one thing I think I’ve been doing not quite right is not detangling well enough. With my medium porosity hair that is slightly protein sensitive, it stays well hydrated if I do the FULL LOC method on wash day then mid week or so I spritz my hair with my Oyin Juices and Berries leave in. If I need to detangle I use a more intense leave in.

I need slip because my kinks like to cuddle and that has led to me having some epic knots and y’all, I had a period of only finger detangling and that is not the business. That was also part of the problem with my fail braids. I hadn’t detangled with tools and it was a mess.

So lately on wash day if I’m doing the full prepoo, shampoo (double cleanse) and deep condition I will start the detaingling while I do my prepoo. That is when I finger detangle. This seems really extra but when you’re already prone to terrible migraines AND you are absurdly tender headed, it works. One problem with being really tender headed is that my scalp starts to get sore and I don’t want to detangle anymore. So I stopped doing it all in one go.

After that, I do a bit more while cleansing. With my fingers. Then after I DC I detangle the most under my shower. Any knots remaining I use a denman and I twist or braid each section, and I use a bit of tension to stretch my roots.

Since I’ve been doing that my shedding is way down. OH also because I’ve been tea rinsing but I’ll talk more about that later.

My breakage is also super down.

SO the lesson here my fellow struggle bus loves is as always, sometimes you cannot take the word of anybody except your own.

Now my loves. Next Struggle Bus post will likely be a lil length check after my next trim and straighten. I’m HYPE to straighten my hair I haven’t done so in like two years.

Until then I love y’all!!