Friday, December 30, 2011

Here's to being a ridiculous human being.

This entry is dedicated to my dear friend Dennis Cooper and all my fellow dl's. Also note readers Dennis' blog is for real not work safe today.

In the comments the other day I mentioned that I am engaging in being a completely ridiculous human being,

First hello internet my name is Shannon and I am a human cartoon character.

I make strange noises, I lose my balance in strange ways yet remain upright. I drool when I laugh really hard, I flap my hands when I'm at all over excited or over tired. I randomly emit squawks and squeaks.

Now in order to support my ridiculousness I am particularly shameless about it.

As y'all have heard me say many times over.

I gives no fucks.

For instance today I am wearing very grown up black slacks, my burgundy knee high doc martens, a velvet hoody.

Then from the neck up I left the house with very shiny slightly glittery lipgloss, purple winged glitter eye liner and two buns on the top of my head.

I got a lot of what is called side eye. Those nasty looks people will shoot you when they do not get what you are doing with yourself.

I meet those eyes. I stare until they look at something else.

Why?

Because, my darlings. I do not give a fuck.

I haven't been sleeping well per usual and have been feeling my usual holiday angst. Glitter liner makes me happy. So today I wore glitter liner.

I will listen to Slayer on my headphones while I crochet a shawl on the bus.

I will read books with beautiful tattooed women on the covers  in public.(Note Ms. Sarah wrote that and is on the cover and she is in fact that beautiful for real)  And when stupid people think that is a cue to hit on me or otherwise engage me when I very clearly am not having it, I will not be nice.

I will wear things that make me happy, I will read things that bring me joy, I will present myself to the world in whatever manner I please.

If I want to I will stop dead in my tracks while walking in the store and do a little dance.

I save all my fucks and all my love for the things that matter to me.

I am not afraid to be ridiculous, love my ridiculousness and fly that flavor of freak flag for the world.

So, Dennis, my fellow dl's, my homies, my haters.

Don't be afraid to get stupid.



Do the Humpty Dance with one hand on your crotch and holding up the middle finger of the other.

Wear a tutu.

I am not talking about the fluffy kind of breezy let go type shit here.

I'm talking about looking at yourself, nodding and saying I do not give a fuck.

I'm not saying you have to go buck wild. I'm not saying you should walk into your corporate day job and start kicking cubicles over.

Sometimes yes, even if we don't give a fuck we still need to blend and get along.

I am talking about owning the actuality of not giving a single fuck.

Let it show in your eyes. Let it show in how you carry yourself.

If that means you are going to walk with your head up and booty out, if you are going to swish, stomp skip whatever.

You'd be amazed how effective simply having the knowledge that you don't give a fuck show up in your eyes can be.

I want everyone to have the experience and carry that little secret thing inside. If you have to work a job you hate, keep how much you don't give a fuck inside.

If you don't have that restriction don't give a fuck as loud and often as you can.

In the last few years, I've found the fucks I don't give have freed me to be more passionate about the things I do give a fuck about. I love harder. I write better. I write more. I have been more successful and yes, fuck it I will say it I am shedding fears like pin feathers.

This is my last entry for the year.

When I come back we are going to talk about separating your ideas and thoughts from what society tells you to think about ugliness, beauty etc.

I am also going to be putting out another small unedited collection of things for you to read.

In case you missed it you can buy a little ebook collection of unedited naked fiction and poetry by me on smashwords. All proceeds will be going most likely towards the petticoat I have been saving up for.

Get it here at smashwords. Four bucks y'all.

If you want to read this blog or my writing blog on kindle find links to get those here and here.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year. Yes even those of you who only come here to get ragey and don't like me. You too.

All my loves and kisses my darlings. See you on the flipside.

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You sho is ugly.

The title is a reference to the Color Purple.

I want to talk more today about ugliness.

Specifically my context for talking about ugliness and my relationship to it.

I do not want to or need to reclaim the word.

What I have done is learn to take it in and accept ideas about being ugly.

I have taken in and accepted that am not, will not ever ever (barring a metric ton of plastic surgery) be beautiful in terms of Western Beauty standards.

As I mentioned in this entry, I just won't.

At one point in my life this broke my heart. I drank the I will never be pretty Koolaid.

Here is the plain fact. 99% of you reading this and 99% of the people you have ever met in your life will be beautiful in terms of Western Beauty ideals. I won't. A lot of you won't.

That is not good, it is not bad, it does not make any of you or me an awful person it is just a fact of actual life.

Not even the so called beautiful people fit those ideals.

Don't believe me?

Have you ever seen the ads or photos of a celebrity then seen a candid picture of them? Especially American actresses. In magazine spreads they are lush and dewy and beautiful. In actual life they are often extremely thin, pale, funny eyebrows splotchy etc just like every one of us.

This is where we need to make a few more things crystal clear.

As we walk around in daily life the concept of beauty is constantly being shoved at us as something to aspire to. We are supposed to want the perfectly flat stomachs, the perfectly even skin, the "It" haircut. We are supposed to look at ourselves and other people and find ourselves sorely lacking.

We are supposed to believe that if we are not "working" on it or outwardly striving to fit this one ideal of beauty we are somehow less than. We are weak, we have no will power, we are slovenly and somehow bad people.

We are supposed to buy into with our money and very souls that we are not "good" if we are not trying to be Thin White and Beautiful.

We watch over the years as beautiful celebrities of color somehow start looking more and more like heavily tanned White celebrities.

We watch over the years as these beautiful people evade age and change.

We are expected to want that.

Note I keep saying expected and supposed to. I say belief and not fact.

That is because what we are not supposed to do is understand that what is beautiful as a concept and as a reality is no one single thing.

That is why I have no need for reclamation when it comes to the idea of ugliness.

In our society we are expected to believe that beauty is not mutable. That there is standard beauty and then "exotic" beauty.

We are taught in America especially that beauty is not just an appearance but that it's everything. We're taught that beautiful people are healthy, wealthy, wise and wonderful.

We are taught that unless we are striving for this Unattainable White Beauty and heterosexual bliss (because if one is beautiful then one must be hterosexual and want to marry and produce beautiful children) we are doing it wrong.

A lot of people knowingly and unknowingly spew this horseshit on the regular.

Our friends and mother's give us friendly "tips" about how we should be trying to look. We can't escape hordes of trolls, facebook pages, and stupid jokes aimed at those of us who are not "hot".

For me when I realized that these things are a.) bullshit and b.) have little to do with how I actually go about my daily life I started the process of freeing myself from the widely proscribed ideals of beauty.

I began to understand that my ugliness, that my face- the face that I have wept over and been ashamed of. The face I thought that had too big of a nose and "too Black" features. The face that is scarred and pitted in places does not make me awful.

The face that I still on occasion have a hard time looking at without seeing the awfulness of it, is not my problem.

My problem is when I start to drink the Koolaid.

When I forget just how retouched every fucking picture of every fucking singer, actress and other beauty icon is.

When I forget that yes the appearance of perfection is interesting for a moment but then what?

Does a pretty picture of any celebrity make me like them more?

No.

Stop drinking the Beauty/Ugly dichotomy Koolaid.

The fact is that while yes being that beautiful must be pretty awesome, it's not required.

You do not have to believe everything you hear.


You do not have to ascribe to the popular ideas about beauty.


You do not have to hate yourself because you are not a supermodel.


Think about it like this.

Let's say you see the most beautiful person ever, I'm talking about walked right out of a perfume ad style perfect and they shit on your foot.

Do you think that person is still awesome?

Or is their beauty just glitter on a turd?

I'm not saying that beautiful people are or aren't assholes. I'm saying that their beauty does not make them awesome or assholes just as anyone else's lack of that kind of beauty makes them an asshole.

You do not have to let the lack of beauty you perceive in yourself be the cause of you being an asshole.


This is an important point.

You can do all the things to make yourself appear to be the beautiful person you think you are supposed to be. Get plastic surgery, get a new nose, lighten your skin do all those things but if you were an asshole or insecure to begin with that won't fix it.

The only way that the Cult of Hotness idea can be put down or gotten over is to think.

What you can do is really take some time to think critically about your own attitudes about beauty and what beauty means. Does beauty imply goodness to you? Is that good for you? What or who do you find beautiful and why do you find them beautiful?

Seriously ask yourself why do you believe all this bullshit?

Do you really honestly, and let me pause here to say that this is fucking hard and you will hurt and cry, believe all the things the magazines and tee vee say?

That is where we start.

So let's do it together okay?

You have homework my darlings.

I want you to think about, process and take in the truth.

This is the truth. Neither you nor I will ever be Western Beauty Ideal beautiful.

Never. Ever.

Think about that and if you can make it, think about the honest truth about what impact that will or won't have on your life or has or hasn't had on your life.

And no, we're not talking woe is me I'm not married/partnered/having sex. We'll get to all that. I'm talking about has not being that kind of beautiful made you poor? Has it shit in your shoes? Etc.

Also, if y'all are into it I will continue these posts. Let me know.

Homo Out.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Montagne Jeunesse beauty review. Bonus talk about self love.

So as I've mentioned before I'm a member at Influenster and this month I got myself a pretty little box with goodies in it.

(Note- I did get the product for free to review by Influenster. This did not color my review at all)

One of those goodies actually made me squeal.

I recieved a little trial size packet of the Passion Peel off face mask.

I haven't tried that one before but I know this brand very very well.

Montagne Jeunesse face masks are among my go to I need to feel pretty but only have 4$ in my pocket products.

Find them at your local drug store and I really recommend stocking up when they are on sale. Doing a one off face mask is a really nice way to give yourself some self love.

Now this mask in particular is one of the ones that looks like gel, you spread it on your clean face then peel it off.

From the website:

Gently peel away dead skin with our amazing Passion Peel Off deep cleansing masque. Our Pomegranate and Passion Flower formula cleans, purifies and protects leaving your skin feeling fresh and radiant.

• Gluten Free
• Nut Derivative Free
• No Added Parabens

This product says it is good for normal and oily skin.

I would not suggest this if you are a fuzzy faced person. Some of us have downy furry faces and peel off masks will hurt if you are fuzzy. If you are fuzzy go for a mud mask.

This mask is soothing and cooling. Peel off masks are a summer favorite for me. It feels really good to put one on then sit near a fan.

This mask left my skin feeling nice and soft. No irritation (we all know I have sensitive cranky skin) and it came off very easily.

It's not my favorite mask though.

My personal all time favorite from this company are self heating. They warm up on your face and feel very luxurious.

I love the Sensuous Spice (despite how much I loathe the word sensuous) mask. It smells edible and that warming sensation is just, UNF it's wonderful.

The Red Hot Earth Sauna mask though is my girlfriend. This mask is just goodness.

Here's the thing.

One of the habits and ways of supporting myself and loving myself I have is caring for my skin. If you've read me for a while you know that when it comes to dings to my self esteem, my skin always does it.

Also self care can be expensive but it doesn't have to be. That is something I've only realized in the last few years.

A lot of the time I can skip something for a few days, collect up a few dollars and go buy something like a packet of a luxe face mask, then I spend quality time with myself. I show myself via my actions that I love myself.

That's really the point here. Like any other relationship your relationship with yourself takes time and effort.

I can't tell you how sometimes when I'm feeling awful and gross and ugly, ten minutes of close loving attention is so refreshing.

I think this is especially important when you're just starting to learn to love yourself or when you're having an especially hard time.

For you busy folks, parents and those of us working (whatever kind of work) I believe that those five or ten minutes whenever you can manage them are so restorative.

Also we all know I like feeling fancy.

Montagne Jeunesse is on my list of things that make me feel fancy.

If you can't find these locally try searching Amazon or via their official website. If you're broke try this.

Talk to 2-3 friends. Tell them you really want some of these masks but can't justify postage for them entirely. Ask them if they want some too. Order 10-15, agree on who gets them and ships them. Voila. Fanciness for everyone.

You don't have to have money to feel fancy. You don't have to have scads of time to feel beautiful or loving towards yourself.

Bottom line is this my darlings.

All you really need to get going is the desire. Next save your change for two weeks. Take that change, go to Bartell's, Walgreens, CVS where ever, grab a mask like this.

Then tuck it away.

One night when you're feeling gross or tired, or just meh. Whip that bad boy out, close the bathroom door and sit with a book or a magazine and let it work.

Wipe off and feel loved and restored for a while.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Now I promised some friends that I would start posting some of my DIY foodstuff and random household recipes for hair and skin.

Would y'all be interested in reading them here?

Did you have a good holiday if you celebrate them?

I felt loved, got a little drunk and GOT A FREAKING SNUGGIE AND IT IS AWESOME.

Now I'm off. I love you my homies and haters.

2012 here we come.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The judged face.

Inspired by this photo on Tumblr I want to talk about how judgement based strictly on appearance and nothing else don't help anyone anywhere and are not cool.

I will further talk about how that type of judging has been an alienating force for me personally.


Let's get started.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the outfit I was really thinking of for this post. This is a good version of the outfit.

So probably a few months ago I wore an outfit very similar to this one to work:

outfit110

Instead of black tights I had on socks and bare legs. A slightly shorter skirt and a shirt that showed a tad more cleavage.

Nothing extreme. My usual all black.

Now picture me wearing said outfit, sitting at a bus stop with a book in my hand.

A woman stopped to talk to me, I thought she might want to know when the bus was coming or something. She commented that she'd seen my partner and I around all the time and then first said that my shirt was "inappropriate" and then followed with stating that I look like I am in a cult and she informed me that there's a church around the corner from the bus stop and that my partner (She said husband) needed to go right away because we're clearly sinful evil people. She also made mention that my boots, socks, bare legs and skirt made me look like a slut.

A total stranger said I was an evil person based on the fact that I typically wear all black.

For the entirety of my life, even before I was Little Miss Black Goth every year people have said things like that to me.

People I've never spoken to have walked up to me demanding to know why I "dress like a White girl", women I've never met with or met their spouses have accused me of being a "man stealing tramp" because I had on (at the time my favorite dress) a full skirted sundress that I had altered to fit me very well.

I have worn high heels (back when that was not a thing done in Seattle with casual clothes) and had people walk up to me and accuse me of being a hooker, telling me how slutty I was for daring to wear a pair of heels and jeans.

When I wore an important to me array of religious symbols (very large Ankh, hand made rune pendants etc) visibly almost every day someone was either trying to convince me that an ankh is a co-opted Christian symbol, that I needed to stop being a "dangerous devil worshiper", Jezebel, evil.

Now honestly in none of these instances have I been all up in anyone's face. I can honestly tell you that is not really my jam.

I walk around, I don't get into random peoples faces. I don't do that.

I will admit that yes, my sense of style can be seen as inappropriate. By nature I am not the most modest girl around.

I accept that not everything things or wants to see my cleavage. That is awesome that is fine.

I accept and encourage everyone in the whole world to not dress like me.

I fully accept the fact that my penchant for wearing all black might freak some people out.

I fully accept that to some people my love of shorter skirts, tank tops and tall boots is weird and makes them uncomfortable.

I fully accept that in some workplaces the way I dress would be grounds for firing.

Some of these things suck.

What I do not accept is that anyone has the right to get into my space and make those kinds of judgement not about my clothes but about the person I am.

I have an issue with that because it indicates that regardless of how I'm dressed if you're saying these things to me off the cuff you have no respect for me as a human being who is not you.

Am I saying in any way that someone is wrong for having this opinion of me? Not really. There is fuck all i can do about what anyone thinks about me.

What is wrong is the presumption and entitlement.

Why should you (the big generic you) be entitled to get in my face like that? More so if you are a complete stranger to me?

Why should you for whatever reasons (religious, moral whatever) get to tell me how I can and can't walk around in the world?

I would never ever walk up to someone, see they have on a cross and demand they remove it because I am not a Christian.

I see people use the well I wouldn't do or wear X thing so it must be wrong and the person wearing it must be awful mentality to justify harassing women in hijabs or other religious modesty wear.

How is that okay?

It's the same attitude but, from the people delivering it my perceived awfulness, sinfulness and whoredom is the bigger evil.

No that's not okay.

I've also gotten this attitude from feminists who wanted to school me in apparently feminist fashion and explain to me how much of a tool of the patriarchy I am with my tall boots and cleavage and tight clothes.

If you are a Feminist Captian Save a Ho have so little respect for me as a fellow woman, who is supposed to be able to make her own decisions and decide how I am to behave and look, if you tell me how to do those things just like any sexist ass dudebro, who in this case is the bigger tool?

Is the bigger sin owning my own body or is it behaving in the exact ways that the patriarchy does?

If your reasons to approach someone like me this way religious, why is it no one who has ever used their faith as their reason for engaging with me this way has ever been able to tell me where in the bible it says it is okay to judge this way? I am not familiar with religions that say HEY go ahead and be hateful to people.

I do say hateful because some of the interactions I've had have been hateful.

Not based on anything I've said to someone. I didn't walk up and say hey fuck you and your beliefs.

Not based on anything I was doing except maybe walking, waiting for a bus or reading a book.

Even worse when that attitude comes from people I do know. People who I know to be decent caring people. Until someone does something that isn't in their frame of reference or sphere of experience or in their belief system.

That is not okay.

In a small sense, on a human to human level it's a cruel and disgusting way to treat someone.

It is damaging and plain old mean.

In a bigger sense, the idea that you personally have the right or responsibility to dictate how anyone dresses or wears their hair or even behaves (to an extent, I am not talking about criminal activities or abuse etc) in a way that is not your way for whatever reason, you are participating in and supporting a lot of the evil isms.

In trying to police other people, fat people, Black people, White people, women, men, men who identify as men who like to wear dresses, women who identify as women who would rather wear boxers than panties etc- you are actively participating in their marginalization.

I am not saying it's not okay to not like something from a manner of dress to a self identification.

I would have no issue with someone saying to me (even though if it's unprovoked and random I will be annoyed) "I hate what you're wearing it's butt fucking ugly".

That's fine.

You don't have to like it. You didn't buy it, you don't live with me, I'm not trying to get with you, you are not my parents etc.

Here's the thing that is at the root of why there's a difference between having an opinion and being a jerk.

Being a jerk, yes even if you say something in a "nice" way is when you are trying to impose your will on another human being.

Whether it's in the form of saying that my skirt makes me look like a slut or telling me that my fat body needs to be corrected the way you think it needs to be.

Being a jerk is when you want to take another persons agency.

That is not okay.

When someone tries to take my agency in whatever way, they are saying I even if it's not what they mean that I am not worth respecting. And that my friends is bullshit.

So yes, hate what someone wears. Don't approve of all the ass n titties you see on a daily basis. Disapprove of any visible lack of faith. Don't wear low cut shirts, short skirts, mens underwear high heels whatever the problem is.

Do you.

But do not think for a second that coming at someone like this indicates caring or even decency on your part. It doesn't.

Homo Out.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

When people are staring.

Hello my darling darlings.

I'm going to first tell you a story, then admit to something and then tell you what the long term lesson about said reaction I will confess.

I know.

So picture yours truly in my early 20's. I want to say I was 23 or so and had gained some weight. It wasn't a ton of weight, it was more weight than I was accustomed to. I had injured myself during one of my ass kicking soul crushing work outs and as my body is wont to do in the time it took me to start healing up I regained weight.

One Saturday night I was dateless, restless and in desperate need of some music, some beer and some bootyshaking I headed out.

I did not dress up. I felt too awful about myself and none of my cute clubbing clothes fit. I did not give a fuck.

Given that all my fucks had flown away I arrived at a club where the dominant sort of girl hanging around was very thin in booty shorts and backless tops. Lots of glitter and tiny tight tiny asses and then there was me.

I waltzed in and did not look at anyone, I felt people looking. You know what I am talking about. I heard some girls snicker. I think we have all had that moment.

I found myself a perch where I could sit and smoke and drink my beer until the music moved me to begin shaking my ass.

Then it happened, there was a DJ spinning something with a grinding bassline and a lot of good breaks and I to steal a phrase got it on the floor.

Now I will tell you I love to dance. I have always loved to dance. I'm a fairly good dancer, actually no scratch that. I am a dirty dancer.

Even as a kid my go to moves are quite similar to those I used while dancing for dollars, the kind that involve a lot of my hips and pelvis doing things, attempts to booty shake and if I'm really feeling it a lot of arms in the air, eyes half closed and with a semi-orgasm look on my face.

I had friends who called me that particular stage of dancing my fuck goddess dance.

You get my point.

That night I got there. I found myself a niche on the dancefloor away from some dudebros and somewhat closeish to the little stage. I was in heaven.

Despite my best attempts I saw myself getting laughed at by some girls nearby. One walked by and yelled "You dance like a fucking slut" in my face.

Another yelled behind me to move my fat ass.

I gave no fucks.

And then, something surprising happened during the djs break.

He walked up to me and asked if I wanted to come dance next to the turntables.

In some clubs it is supposedly super awesome to be a dj groupie. I wasn't interested in being a groupie I just wanted to get my booty shake on. He seemed nice enough and I went ahead and took my spot much to the horror of some of the thinner, prettier type girls.

I did my thing.

One of the rare and wonderful things about dancing in clubs is occasionally you find someone in the club who is on your wavelength. I'm not talking about sexytimes, I'm talking about something in your brains and asses connect and you are moving in sync.

The DJ and I had that moment and it was fucking beautiful.

I felt like I was in face some kind of dancing, hip grinding fuck goddess come to Earth to move asses.

I really did.

After his set he and I talked. Turned out that my lack of fawning and as he put it, "juicy" body got his attention. Also he was gay and I'd figured that so there was no rom-com type weirdness.

He got what my ass was saying.

That night I went home drenched in sweat. Not a bit of my make up survived and I had long prior danced away my buzz and I felt wonderful.

Now I will admit that just after the dj's set while I was getting the stink eye from some of the other girls I did indeed engage in some taunting. I did indeed go in the bathroom and shit talk at the girls giving me the side eyed. I probably called someone a skinny bitch.

I did behave like a snotty asshole for a little while.

Looking back, I have come to understand how much I miss that feeling in my life.

I miss invoking my inner no fucks giving self and putting that energy into my body. I miss connecting with all my jiggling parts that way.

In order to remember how that feels, I'm not talking emotionally remember but remember it in my muscles and jiggling ass I think I need to devote more time to dancing at home.

I have been asking myself for the last few years how to dip back into those physical and emotional states. Not just not giving a fuck because we all know I'm good at that.

There is a certain kind of joy that i'm looking for. A very particular place in my heart that translates into how my ass moves.

I'd like to believe that all is not lost. I'd like to believe that as I dance around my apartment much to the amusement of Uniballer that I'll have that magical moment.

I gotta work on it.

The lesson here my friends is this.

Sometimes people are going to stare at you. Maybe because you're fat. Maybe because you have a funny hair cut. Maybe you have jewelry in your face or other places people can see, maybe your skin is a different color, maybe you have on a gothtastic outfit, maybe you're just minding your own damn business.

It's going to happen and I promise it won't ruin your whole world and it doesn't have to ruin your day or time.

The other lesson is that sometimes it's important for our own sanity and good feelings to remember those special moments and recreate them for ourselves independent of what anyone else says.

So as a gift to yourself if you need one, I highly suggest taking a few minutes to really let your body remember and inhabit feeling good and giving no fucks.

If that means you sit still, or dance like I do, maybe you want to do your favorite yoga pose or stand a certain way. Whatever it is, you do it. You do it and you own it because it's yours.

That's all for now.

Homo Out.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Self promotion-Shannon style.

I haven't kept y'all in the loop but some really amazing and important things have been happening in my writing career.

For those of you who are new readers, I am an author outside of this little blog. This blog is all personal everything else I write is all business.

First some awesome news:

I wrote an essay that appeared in Junk Magazine  (link there) and the editors nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

That is a pretty huge deal.

Huge deal #2. My first piece of non fiction sex writing has been published! My friends at Specter Magazine posted my essay about the first girl who ever made me squirt. Years ago I told the story here I think but I only wrote the actual essay this year. I am super super proud of it. Find it here.

What else?

You can still get my small collected of unedited fiction and poetry. Get that here at Smashwords. The price if 4$. If you can't afford that, you can drop a link to it somewhere or share it with friends which would be awesome.

If you want to read all of my available published writing you can check out my official authors website here.

Other ways you can do awesome things: You can subscribe to my writing related blog via Kindle. Find that here. Or you can even get this here little blog on your kindle. 

And more news.

My essays are coming along. I am in rewrites and have decided that instead of doing them as a single book I'm going to sell them individually also via smashwords. I will release them one at a time and maybe do some kind of deal if you want to buy them all.

It is really important to me that they are financially accessible to those who need or want to read them.

I think that is everything.

I think I will probably be putting out another small fiction collection. I am undecided as of yet.

What else?

Um.....okay I can't think of anything else.

I am not super good at this self promotion thing but I am learning. It's a process.

I think that is all my homies. Do any of y'all have things you'd like to plug? New projects? New blogs? Your regular blogs?

I still haven't found a decent replacement for the link management thing I was using.

I think what I would like to do is gather up my homies links, resource links etc and make a whole new page for them. That is going on my list.

Holy shit being a grown up is fucking hard.

Okay my darlings. I love you. Be nice to you.

Homo Out.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Androgyny: Advice for my Homie.

Today I have some advice for my dear Blue. It has taken a while because I wanted to give you some thoughtful advice.

Here is the original queston:

I've been struggling with this for most of my 20's and I wonder if you'd have any advice.

How do you reconcile body acceptance with an androgynous gender identity?

I'm genetically predisposed to a weight that will make my body look unquestionably female shaped, and though it's been difficult to keep fighting against the weight gain, it's even more difficult to accept living in a body that won't match up with my basic knowledge of who I am.

The way everyone sees you and the social expectations for all your behavior when you look like what people call a "real woman" are not something I feel like I will be able to live with.

Okay first thing I have to tell you where I am coming from.

For me gender and gender presentation are not strictly rooted in my physical body because there is not a lot I can do about my actual physical body without a lot of surgery.

For me a large part of expressing and feeling my own gender feelings is in my brain because it has to be. There is nothing in the world that would ever make me look like a Boy when I want to be a Boy.

One of the things I would ask you is if in your head androgyny only looks like the tall willowy people who are often lauded for their androgynous beauty?

I'm talking about folks like Andrei Pejic:


My darling, yes that is a beautiful human but one does not have to look like that in order to present a more androgynous gender identity.

The first thing I want you to do is figure out if you want to adhere to what other people say is or isn't womanly, or is or isn't androgynous.

What I mean by that is that I would like for you to get to a point in your head where there is your gender identity as you want it and then learn to essentially disregard the rules for it.

The thing about bodies is that we get what we get. At the end of the day the only person you're hurting when you battle what you have is yourself. Perhaps what you need is not a different body but a different way of perceiving your body. Rather than inhabiting the binary idea that your body can only be a womanly body why not look at your body as Blue's Androgynous body. 


I know that you probably have an idealized version of yourself in your head where the body you wish you had is somehow attainable. I'm going to harsh that for a minute- the truth is that idealized androgynous body is probably not attainable without a shitload of surgery or other things that may not be possible, accessible or healthy for you in the long term.

That isn't bad. It isn't something that needs to destroy your whole world it just is. Just as you might be left handed, you might have a crooked middle finger or be slightly cock eyed as I am. It just is.

The just is thing is what I'd like you to let happen in your head. I think in order to deal with your body not conforming to the ideal you have in your head is not to punish yourself for it. I'm not saying you have to all of a sudden hold hands with it and sing kumbaya, just accept it for what it is.

Your body is probably not going to just become what you want it to be. Granted you can make some choices. I have known people who decided that in order to support their gender identity (in this case like you a more androgynous identity) they have had breast reductions, in some cases taken to a series of diets and whatnot.

I won't say they all got happy endings. For most those things were not satisfying because as I said above, not just for you but for all of us those idealized versions of ourselves never manifest.

How do you deal with that? For me what works (and I will not say it's easy, it's not) is that I stopped questioning, I stopped trying to make myself fit the "ideal" and I have learned to respect my body even when I disagree with it.

I also learned that 90% of the people I know have bodies that don't precisely match up with how they feel inside. As I get older I'm starting to believe that it's part of the human condition.

Basically what I'm saying is that ideal in your head will likely never be a reality and for me a big part of learning to accept my own not ideal actual body was letting go of the ideal. You and I are in that together along with I suspect about 90% of the population.

That is step one and it's a huge one. It's really fucking hard to learn to stop that way of thinking. It's hard to stop putting it all into your physical body. In my life when I have punished myself for my body not being what I thought it should be it never turned out good. Everything suffered from my self esteem to my actual health.

I hate using this phrase but in this case it is true: it is what it is.

In learning to accept your body as it is however it is, is letting go of the idea that it must be X way or it's just no good.  This is the body you are going to inhabit for however long you are perambulating around the planet and it's important to not treat it cruelly.

I'm not saying you have to instantly love your body. I'm saying that through looking at your body and saying okay, this is the body I have. This is the body I have and it's okay. By extension I advocate caring for your body in the best way you can. I'm saying eat foods that don't upset your stomach. If exercise makes your body feel good exercise. If you want to lay on the couch lay on the couch. I'm saying to learn not to look at your body as the enemy but as the means you will get around for the next fifty or however years.

Let's take it to a metaphor. If you have a car you probably wouldn't beat on your car with a golf club because it's not a convertible and then expect it to last you forever. Why would you do the same thing to your body and expect to feel good?

Next.

The way everyone sees you.

My sole piece of salient advice is to learn to give no fucks.

Not. One. Fuck my darling.

No one tells us as we're growing up that the truth is what other people think of us is largely none of our business.

I will refer you to this post and tell you in no uncertain terms.

This part is harder than actually forgiving and taking your body for what it is.

This entails unlearning the years of bullshit you have learned.

Blue, baby you do not have to give a fuck what anyone says about "real women" "real men" their social expectations etc. Not. One. Delicious. fuck.

The quick and dirty is this.

99% of the people who will have an opinion about what you should or shouldn't do, or who have some expectation of you based on your appearance have fuck all to do with your actual life.

Think about that.

Does the lady on the sidewalk who gives you the side eye because you're wearing a tie really have any impact on you? Do you know this person? Are they paying your bills? Are you dating them? Do you plan on them seeing you nekkid?

I'm guessing that when it comes to the random ass people, because let's be honest it is always random ass people who have something shitty to say, have fuck all to do with our actual lives.

Dealing with other peoples expectations as we're taught we are supposed is like trying to look at your own butthole from a standing fully clothed position.

Stop on that for a second. Would you ever try to look at your own butthole from a standing fully clothed position? You say no, Shannon what the hell is wrong with you why would I waste my time doing that?

There you go.

"Dealing" with what society expects is at the end of it all a gigantic time waster and to my view a way to help keep the diet/self help/bullshit industries a float.

I do not believe that I need concern myself with what society expects. If I did I would be constantly worried about every Black Woman trope ever. I'm not.

The hard part about this is learning how not to take those messages in. As the world is right now there isn't anything any of us can do about those messages being there, the only thing we have control over is ourselves.

You have to teach yourself to look at one of those moments, or those messages and say fuck it. Or say fuck you. Or say I'm not doing that. Whatever you need to. At the bottom you have to learn to not inhabit those messages, don't give them free rental space in your head.

No one gets to tell you how to feel about your body, how you present yourself etc. No one.

IN case you feel like you need permission this is let.

Drop any guilty or bad feelings about how society sees you like you'd drop a handful of dog shit because that's essentially what it is. A handful of dog shit.

Unfortunately, like shit these expectations are things we all have to live with. What is important is learning to navigate and deal with them in a way that minimizes harm to ourselves.

Personally depending on the situation when someone tells me to act like a lady, my usual reaction is nothing.

My thought process goes something like this.

Let's say person A says something I find stupid: "act like a lady Shannon"

I look at this person and think- Are they paying my bills? Does this person and their opinion bring anything to my personal table? Do I really give a shit what random person has to say or how they feel about me and my Universe?

Almost all of the time my answer is no.

And if those ideas if those supposed edicts about how "real women" are supposed to be, are things I (or you) can look at and call bullshit on, why bother even trying to deal with it?

When people bring that to you, look at them and say (out loud or in your head) no fuck you.

Say it with me blue, "No fuck you."

You don't owe anyone or anything a reason or explanation. The only person you owe anything to is yourself.

So I have homework for you okay?

I want you to sit down and look at your arm. I want you to look at your arm, preferably on your dominant side and understand that is the only arm you are going to get. Think about the nice things you can do for your arm to help it function.

Maybe your forearms get tight and crampy, give them a rub. Think about how nice it is when your crampy forearms are not so crampy. As yourself if it feels better to be angry at your arm for say not being two inches longer, or for being crampy or does it feel better to be nice to your arm?

Seems silly but when it comes to accepting your body as your body is sometimes you have to start small.

Start with one easyish thing. Then start teaching yourself to extend the same thoughts and feelings to the rest of your body. Should I (as in would any of y'all be into) some specific things that y'all can print out and read to yourselves or loved ones?

I fully expect you to report back Blue.

Now I'm going to gather up some fashion resources for you as well.

Do any of y'all my fabulously smart homies have anything to add?

Have I missed any key points?

IN other news darlings I have an idea for a new series about Inhabiting and Accepting your Ugly. I'm working on that.

Tomorrow we're talking about fashion and using it to boost how you present your gender. Also about the challenges of using fashion in this way especially when it comes to fat bodies.

Homo Out.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Identifiers..musings and things.

Okay so I'm still percolating on a special question about androgyny so I didn't forget about you baby I am thinking.

So today I want to talk about femme.

Being femme.

First I'm going to need you to go watch this video with hot darlings Jessica and Majestic (LOOK AT MAJESTIC'S POMPADOUR...hotness).

If you can't watch the video just now someone asked Jessica and Majestic some questions about femme. My favorite of which is what is the difference between femme and feminine.

This is a question I've been asked before and have pondered.

Here is how I feel.

Femme is an identifier for me. It is part of my actual identity as a human being. It is feeling, it is style, it is one of those things that is intrinsically as deeply personal as anything else I say about myself.

Feminine on the other hand to me is a simple descriptor that on many levels in my universe just doesn't work for anything. Aside from use as an adjective which can also be problematic. As far as how I self identify and present myself to the world, the whole binary this is what men do and this is what women do way of thinking just does not work for me.

In my life and existence I don't feel the need or even really the pull to seriously attribute character traits, morals and general how to look/act edicts in the framework of feminine and masculine.

Back to Femme.

I've talked about before that I often identify (with a smile on my face) as a Sparkle Femme.

I say it with my tongue in my cheek and a smile on my face not because I don't take my identity seriously but because there is joy in expressing my personal flavor of being femme.

My joy comes from knowing that regardless of how I am presenting myself to the world, if I am wearing something easily identifiable as butch, if I'm trying for a slightly more dude look etc, the heart of my identity will not change.

Here's the thing.

Femme, Butch whatever other permutation of that one decides to make part of their identity is not for other people.

It is not for society. It's not for the other Queers. It's not for your lovers or friends. It's not for anyone but you.

No matter how you choose to identify and present yourself, it is not for the approval of or even the delectation of the rest of the world.

It's for you.

However you choose to ID, is yours. It only belongs to you up and until you decide that you want to share it with another person.

I also want to say that you don't have to give yourself a fancy identifier.

If you want to be a person who sometimes wears dresses and make up and has whatever kind of junk in your pants, without taking a name that's fine. That belongs to you and you alone as well.

If you want to be the above person and call yourself a Sparkling Butch with Femme Swag.

GO on ahead.

Now none of this is easy. A lot of the time we are confronted by other people because they are uncomfortable with us identifying as (insert X identifier here). THey want to argue with us. They want to tell us that we -can't- be X thing if we wear heels or mascara.

We are told we can't be femme and wear a cock.

We can't ID as whatever because our bodies aren't X thing.

Frankly my darlings that is all pure unfiltered bullshit.

What makes other people uncomfortable often is any show of backbone and fortitude.

Yes, people pay a lot of lip service to bravery and individuality but they tend not to back that up.

What they mean to say is that it's brave to be a little different than me but if it's too different it's awful/stupid/bullshit/etc.

What they mean to say is how dare you do what I don't have the fortitude to do.

For most people, yes even people who seem "radical" or open minded, when people go outside of others comfort zone it's scary.

When we approach identity from either the point where we are trying to figure it out or the point where we are flying our flags high we need to remember how much our own individual identities don't need to inform or conform to the identities of others.

To be more brief about it, you do you I will do me and we'll all be just fine.

Also for those of us who have our identities firmly fixed in our hearts, we need to remember that we too once upon a time probably weren't comfortable. We need to remember it's important to show support and solidarity even with the people who identify in ways that make us uncomfortable.

When we step on how other people identify, we're stepping on our selves and that is no good for anybody.

Now my darlings, I will return soon with many awesome things including the launch of my yarn store, an entry answering one of our homies questions about androgyny AND other fat ass adventures.

Homo Out.
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Ugly Girl redux.

I know I know my darlings.

I'm doing nanowrimo again and it has been thieving my attention.

So after my previous entry I got a what I can only describe as extremely butthurt note about how not ugly I am.

Clearly this person missed the point.

Let me break it down to you.

Let's put fat aside for just a moment.

Western beauty is not inclusive of people who look like me on even a basic level. In the world of Western Beauty often the most I can hope for is "exotic" or my least favorite "interesting".

Now when it comes to base physical features yes I am privileged in that I have features that can be construed as "pretty". I have large eyes, round lips. I have large breasts. Those things not withstanding the rest of me does not support the Western Ideal of pretty.

Now that we've settled that I want to talk about the ways I just don't engage with a single beauty standard.

Up until my mid-20's I fully believed that I had to make myself fit the mold of Western Beauty like the Black women held up as beautiful.

I spent years of my life trying to starve, over exercise, diet and battle my body into a shape that is seen as acceptable in America. I remember being 18 and doing literally thousands of crunches of various kinds because everything in the world told me I -could- achieve a "feminine" flat stomach, because according to every magazine everywhere that is how a woman shit a child needed to be.

I say child because even the tween mags and articles all told me how wrong my body was and just how much boys and others wouldn't ever find me attractive. THere was always that shaming language, the subtle and not so subtle hints that I was just being lazy if I couldn't do it.

Let me tells you internets, I did the Janet Jackson Anytime Anyplace ab workout as I'd seen it in some interview with her. I did it religiously from about when that album dropped and she was doing a lot of publicity and looking sexy until I was about 22 years old and hurt my back.

My abs were strong. But my stomach was not flat.

It didn't matter how I dieted, what I didn't eat, how many meals I skipped nor how much exercise I did my stomach has never ever been flat.

Similarly at my thinnest (about 110 pounds) my thighs touched. I had "love handles", I had the fold of flesh where my natural waist is. My stomach jiggled.

I spent a long time feeling like the biggest failure who ever failed because I just could not do it right. I could not force my body to be good or great or even acceptable.

And then, I started really thinking hard about it.

When it comes to women I have always had a preference for fat girls. Around 19-20 I found some books that questioned this fantasy "ideal" body idea. I found books that questioned the inherent ableism, racism and sizism in this view of beauty.

I started teaching myself to view myself through the same lens I looked at other people.

Even when I have been the most self critical and full of the most self loathing, the things I hated in my own body were always things I loved on other bodies. Jiggly bellies, stretch marks and other things considered "ugly" or unacceptable within the framework of Western Beauty.

I remember looking at myself and starting to understand as I've said before that I did not have to aspire to the Western Beauty Ideal.

I realized that I didn't have to try and contour my nose with make up to make it look less recognizably Black, that I didn't have to try and lighten my skin or that I didn't have to straighten my hair or wear extensions to make my hair more European looking.

Once I really started to understand all of things I did not have to give a fuck about, I started to understand that I could still wear my hair straight or wear make up because I liked it.

When I finally started to disconnect my own self image from Western Beauty ideals, I'm talking I had to pull the plug. Granted I went through a phase where I viewed any beautification of the self as stupid and a betrayal to my blossoming ideals-I got through that clearly-, I really started to learn to love myself.

I learned to love my ugly.

I learned that I am in control of my engagement with ideas about femininity, gender presentation, beauty and the Western Beauty Ideals.

If you take nothing else away from this take this. The way to self love is paved with huge steaming piles of shit, potholes, booby traps and bullshit. There is no yellow brick road. There is no skipping your way to loving yourself.

Sometimes you have to fall into the hole of badness, the self loathing and self recriminations before you can get to the self loving.

Sometimes you have to just get fed up. You have to give up. You have to fight for your own survival and for your own sanity.

Sometimes you just have to look at something and say fuck you, fuck that and fuck everything else.

Sometimes you have to go through days when you hate every fashion magazine with a burning passion.

The road to owning your own ugliness is not easy. It hurts. It will make you cry. It might make you think that no one will ever love you ever (yes, I am speaking from deep experience) and you may want to just give up and say well fuck it I'm ugly.

I don't think you have to do that.

I am giving you permission if you need it. Some folks do need to hear someone tell them hey it's okay.

Don't want to wear make up? That's okay. Don't want to whiten your teeth, shave your legs, aspire to White Lady beauty? That's fine.

Accept that you don't.

In acceptance I have found the freedom to present myself any way I please. I found the courage to wear things that people think I shouldn't. To make myself feel good and pretty and fine when every thing in society tells me that I don't deserve it for one reason or another.

And I'm happier for it.

I'm not saying that I always feel like the finest piece of ass on Earth. Sometimes I feel like the grossest gross person who ever grossed out an entire nation. That happens. It's okay. That's normal.

The key here is learning to ride out the rough times and rock the shit out of the good ones.

Now if y'all will excuse me I have writing to do.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Being the ugly girl.

For a lot of my life I have not experienced being beautiful as beauty is defined in America.

As a Black child I did not experience being beautiful or precious in my community. I was all those things that (especially back then) were not seen as beautiful sweet or innocent.

I was dark. My skin was quite a bit darker as a child. I have clearly Afrocentric looking features. Especially at that age. I had long hair for many years yes but it was black and kinky.

I grew up in a very White community. Outside of the context of my immediate family no one ever told me I was pretty or beautiful or cute (outside of being a very very small child).

As I got older my concept of being beautiful had nothing to do with anything I was shaping up to be.

I was still dark, I was short, I was chubby. I did not have a flat stomach, there was no space between my thighs, I did not have a small cute nose, I had a gap between my front teeth, there was no one who looked even remotely like me who was thought of as beautiful.

Even the Black women (few and far between) on television who were portrayed as being beautiful were everything I still wasn't.

As I got older, high school age my lack of beauty became something that consumed me. I knew I was ugly. I just knew it. My skin was oily, my body was shaped differently than the girls I knew. I was the ugly girl.

I remember reading one of the teen beauty mags and trying out their advice to beautify myself. I did sit ups at home in bed trying for that flat stomach, I spent hours burning the fuck out of my hair trying to get it to be shiny and sleek. I snuck and bought bleaching creams to try and lighten my face up and burned my skin.

At that age I fully believed that beauty was not at all subjective. I believed that the images in the media, that the opinions of my peers were what decided who and what was beautiful and at some point I realized I would never ever fit that.

When I was around 17-18 I said fuck it. I stopped trying to be the pretty girl. I stopped trying to feel pretty. I realized that when I went to the mall with my friend I would be ignored or some dude would at some point walk up to me and start grilling me about her.

I fully accepted that I would be a really good friend to people I was romantically or sexually interested in. I would be tolerated so someone could hang out with my beautiful (white) lady friends. I would sit in a room making awkward small talk while my friend was off making out with the hot guy and I was the weight his wingman was stuck with.

I made the decision, and I remember it very clearly, to embrace the role I perceived myself to have. I talked to the wing men, I held hands with my lady friends when they didn't want boys bothering us, I tagged along, I observed the lusty looks my friends got.

I took charge of being the ugly girl.

When I let go of trying so hard what happened was I started to develop my own aesthetics. I stopped giving a fuck. If I was going to be the fat ugly girl, I was going to work that shit out.

At that age it was just dawning on me that I did not have to be the kind of beautiful I saw everywhere in my life. I started to understand that it's not necessary and no one gets to make the rules as to my feelings about beauty.

Chew on that for a second.

It applies to you too.

I finally understood that I did not -have- to ascribe to the White beauty ideals I had grown up with. I understood that I didn't -have- to do fuck all. I did not have to engage with that.

After that a lot of things stopped bothering me on a superficial level.

Every time I heard that I was pretty for a Black girl, or when someone told me they usually weren't into dark girls or fat girls, I gave myself permission to tell those people to take their bullshit somewhere else.

In the world of Western Beauty standards I am still the ugly girl.

I have fucked up teeth. My skin is discolored in many places and bumpy. My hair is often kind of disheveled. I am fat. I am Black. I don't make an effort to make myself look like what our culture says is beautiful.

A lot of people think I am ugly and weird looking. People in meat space, people on the internet and probably people in other dimensions.

At the end of the day I really give no fucks about that.

Other peoples opinions of my beauty and how I engage with my beauty and my ugliness is none of my concern.

I am ugly.

I am ugly and it's just fine.

Homo Out.
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Thursday, November 03, 2011

But the food science...

Okay to continue from yesterday today I'm going to talk about the trap of relying solely on food science as a supposed basis to form opinions about fat people or any people at all.

So for our purposes today let's agree that yes there is a lot of good food science. Science tells us many many things, yes I am pretty sure a large percentage of us know basic nutrition facts.

That said, food science and especially conversations about food science are not intersectional.

When I have had these conversations it boils down to well food science says eating satyr poop is better for you so why aren't you eating satyr poop and be healthy like I am.

The biggest problem is that the people who harp on food science rarely if ever come from a place that demonstrates the basics of intersectionality, privilege and the bugaboo of of bossy ass people everywhere, personal choice.

The idea that since food science says X it is absolutely positively right and everyone who doesn't follow, doesn't agree, doesn't eat in X way is somehow ignorant and must be educated or condescended to.

These people rarely ever talk about the realities of access to the fancy food that is supposedly so damn good for everyone. They say why would you EVER eat fast food when for the same price you can get all this organic lettuce?

Fuck that.

The fact is that eating lettuce all day will do fuck all for me.

Fuck. All.

My body the way it works and functions in a good way I need some sugar, protein and fats.

I don't give a tin red hot shit what food science says. I know how my body works.

If I need energy and I have two dollars in my pocket I would rather get a little bullshit burger than buy say ONE piece of organic anything.

In the neighborhood I work in if I go to the grocery store before work I often am on the receiving end of shitty comments or serious side eye when I buy basically any food.

For instance a few weeks ago I had a major craving for some shitty safeway fake Chinese food. I got my rice bowl, a fruit cup and a sparkly water. A satisfying amount of food to snack on all day.

Seattle being Seattle instead of speaking directly to me the woman behind me looked at the side of my face and addressed her lady friend extolling the evils of processed foods, the calories, the salt and how some people will just destroy their bodies.

I looked at her and noticed that she wasn't addressing her comments to her thin friend who was holding a soda and a candy bar.

I stared at her until she got uncomfortable and got in another line.

There is the problem with the people who rely on food movements, food science, nutritional science or the evil food of the year to base their judgements of people on.

First of all no it's really none of your goddamn business what I eat when you are not paying for my food, when you are not living in my body or any time whatever.

Secondly, again someone having a visibly different body yes even if they are super super super really fat doesn't tell you everything about what they do or don't eat.

Thirdly, it is not your place to voice your judgements to people.

The thing is you can think whatever you want to. Do you think my fat ass is gross? Great. Hate how my big fat thighs look in skinny jeans? Awesome.

What is neither great nor awesome is the idea that you have the right to take up my time with your opinions about my body.

You don't.

And if you do, don't expect me to break down in tears like we're on Oprah and declare you Captain Save a Fatty and tell you how much your shitty comments designed to make me feel bad have changed my life.

No fuck you.

Don't think my body is attractive? Fine. Do I need to know that from every random person? No I don't.

Our brains don't have loud speakers for a reason. And I'm not talking about being PC, I'm not talking about even being polite I'm saying I don't give a fuck if you think I'm gross or attractive. I give less of a fuck if I don't know you.

Furthermore, when you engage in this kind of behavior with me here's what I immediately think.

You are really insecure and must make sure to voice that via telling me how gross you think I am. You have no sense of autonomy. You have control issues because let's be honest here, if you really believe that you are the one true knower of all things body related deep down you just want to boss people around.

If you spout obesity epidemic talking points at me, I will think that in some things you are easily led and have no understanding of bias. If you come at me with ZOMFG FATASS YOUS GONNA DIE..I may want to remind you that ZOMFG SKINNY ASS YOUS GONNA DIE TOO.

IF you want to lecture me about all of the awful fat things, I may want to lecture you right back about the long term dangers of yo yo dieting, about how for me and my body it is far more damaging to eat in radically restrictive ways. I may want to lecture you that foisting disordered behavior on me even if you know me is not an appropriate thing to do.

If you do actually care about food and the well being of your fellow humans how about you read up on things like accessibility to food?

Read up beyond OH SHIT POOR PEOPLE ARE FAT and investigate the prevalence of the foods you think are evil versus the availability of fresh and foods you deem good in poor and urban areas.

Use your noodle and instead of bitching at random people on the street bitch at the FDA and the mega corporations who put a whole lot of bad shit into our food.

If you think fast food is evil don't eat it.

If you think soda is evil don't drink it.

Don't proselytize your diet (as in what and how you eat not weightloss) to other people. If they ask go at it but offering your "advice" when it's neither asked for nor wanted is fucking rude.

Learn to accept that a.) we're all going to die and b.) there is no one true way to live. Learn to accept that you are not going to find everyone in the world attractive and that is okay. Understand that no one has an obligation moral or otherwise to conform to your personal beliefs about your body, food, health etc.

Learn to accept that some people fat or thin eat food you find disgusting. It is going to keep happening because you are not the boss of every palate and person.

Learn the real ramifications of the American health care system beyond damn you fat asses type rhetoric.

If you look at fat people and start having many feelings that may or may not include disgust deal with that shit. If you are troubled when you see a jiggly ass chances are it's not because you "care" so much, it's probably more deeply rooted in your feelings about your own ass, so handle that shit.

If you can't do any of these things do this.

Don't contribute to making life for fat people suck. Being fat in this world is fucking hard. Whether it's trying to buy a pair of pants, trying to get a health problem dealt with, trying to not lose your shit on people when they say rude things to you all of those things.

If you are so evolved and care so much stop participating in worsening the quality of life for people who's ass isn't exactly like yours or your idea of what an ass should be.

It is really not that hard.

Okay I'm done with this for the day.

Tomorrow (inspired by a convo with someone on tumblr I want to talk about reconciling internets FA with your actual life and how hard it is sometimes.

Homo Out.

PS...
Where are my fatties doing Nanowrimo? How about a post about that next week?
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

You want to what?

Recently I was listening to a podcast that I normally really enjoy.

And then the host dropped one of those statements about fat people that sends me into instant fat rage.

He essentially expressed his discomfort when he sees fat people and followed it up at some point by saying that when he saw "really fat" people eating "bad" food he wants to slap the food out of their hands. Of course he followed it up by claiming that it's only because he cares and it pains him to see people destroy themselves.

I had to turn it off.

I was going to write the host but it turned into an I take that shit personally type rant and I'm not in the mood.

Instead let me say this.

Because I am a Black person who is also fat I have heard this kind of pseudo-caring thing a lot.

Strangers have told me not to eat X thing, not to buy that pack of sliced turkey, not to drink that soda, not to eat those fries or whatever. Of course they know that I am fat and clearly Black and because I may choose to eat some fries or chips, I must be ignorant of food science and nutrition so they must educate me.

Here is the fact.

If you look at me without ever having spoken to me, you are not my parent, you are not a loved one, you are not my doctor and you are not walking around in my skin and you decide that it's suddenly your job to tell me how to live my life in my body, fuck you.

The idea that anyone has the obligation to anyone else to eat a certain way is so rooted in a paternalistic privileged viewpoint it makes me want to spit.

People who talk about wanting to take the Mcdonald's away from the awful ignorant fatties never -ever- talk about taking that same shitty food out of the hands of thin people.

Why?

Because if you see a visibly thin person, it is assumed that person works out regularly eats like an angel and poops unicorns. They are "good" in this persons(this person being the person making this judgement) eyes because they appear to be what the supposed image of health is.

This person does not question the thin persons eating habits. This person does not decide that the thin person is a "bad" person.

this person sees a body that is not like their own nor does it fit their mental image of "health" and suddenly this aberrant person becomes less than. This aberrant person becomes an object to be pitied not out of concern for their well being, nor out of the worry about insurance costs, but out of bias and often at the root of it hate.

This is not okay.

Let's talk about insurance costs for a moment.

The rallying cry of health moralists in the last few years has revolved around "YOU FAT PEOPLE STOP FATTING YOU COST ME MONEY".

Fatness and obesity alone are not responsible for soaring medical costs.

I rarely hear people who trot out this view talk about how the medical industry is just that, an industry. How a perfectly healthy person with no insurance could go to the ER get treated with an aspirin and a compress and the price of insurance is dinged.

IN the long run if you were really ever so concerned about the health of anyone, you would encourage them to get regular medical treatment. What often winds up killing obese people or causing them to become a cost issue is that they are often shamed out of seeking medical attention for anything by medical professionals, news fright stories about all the ways obese people are ever so awful, by family, by friends. By strangers who can't keep their opinions about other peoples bodies to themselves.

Ask yourself this. If you believe that by dint of being obese, I will destroy your personal medical costs why is that? How do you really know if I have any medical problems at all? How do you know that I don't work or pay for insurance too?

Also ask yourself, what happens when someone doesn't go to the doctor for decades? Or gets mistreated by doctors for decades?

What happens when a woman is so shamed by her doctor about her weight she is not given a mammogram? What happens when ten or fifteen years go by and she finds a lump but it's too late because she could not get quality treatment early enough? Does her having waited or not been diagnosed make her a bad person or is a large part of the blame for the cost and situation on the doctors who wouldn't treat her for what she needed or said she was too fat to get a mammogram or made her feel so awful about herself that she couldn't bear going back?

The thing about healthcare is that in America we get distracted by news bits and scare tactics.

We are distracted from the fact that healthcare in America is shameful. We let the message that if you are not "good" you are undeserving of getting quality care. We let the industry tell us forty seven different things and are expected to obey without question.

If I as a fat person am in good health for me (we'll get to the awful binarism of "health" morality in a minute) why should I absolutely have to lose weight?

Because some people don't find it attractive?

Or is it so that I will buy diet pills and get dangerous weight loss surgery?

Or is it so I can fit some arbitrary image of health?

Now health binarism. In America we have the misguided belief that is supported at every turn that either one is absolutely healthy or absolutely not.

We drink the Koolaid that makes us believe and support the idea that there are peaks and paragons of fitness and health that we must all aspire to be like.

What we are not taught to see is that it's an impossibility.

It would only be possible for me to be healthy in the same way someone else is healthy if we were the same person.

Human biology at the very bottom of it is all the same. We all have organs, we all have joints we all have blood.

What gets in the way of the binary view of health is that no two bodies are healthy or ill in the same way.

If you don't believe me tell me how is it possible that two people of the same approximate height weight age and habits, one may be prone to colds or kidney infections and the other isn't?

The thing is if you genuinely care for someone's health you wouldn't focus on the one thing you can see which is their weight. If you genuinely have concern for the health for other people, be concerned about their overall health which includes their mental health. And it is bad for the mental health of people to be the focus of judgement when it's absolutely not warranted or frankly any of your business.

If you want to bemoan your rising insurance costs make sure you talk about the millions of uninsured people who get sick sometimes, the exorbitant cost of ongoing medical care, people who get cancer and lose their insurance, babies born to parents who are under or not insured, the hospitals who will charge you 400$ for a Tyelenol, the people who have chronic illnesses and are uninsured who have to go to the ER for treatment they should be able to get from a regular doctor.

Or keep your blame with your genitals in your pants.

Okay I'll continue this later. Tomorrow or Friday I'm going to talk about the vast problems with reliance on food science for all your opinions about fat people.


Homo Out.
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Monday, October 31, 2011

A skinhead, two beers and hugging it out.

First go read this article about a reformed skinhead getting his tattoos removed.

All back?

Okay it's story day.

Occasionally in my early 20's I went to randomish house parties. You know the kind where someone you know says hey there's this party and you go and blablabla.

So I went to this party where I knew some people, I must have been 22-23 and a friend pointed out a dude who kept staring at me. He was a kind of scruffy punk kid, our age or so. Neither of us could tell if it was OMG YOU'RE HOT staring or OMG BLACK PEOPLE staring.

We ignored him for the most part until we went to leave and he kind of trailed my friends and I. He walked behind us for a while and several of my friends were getting ready to put a beating on this dude for being creepy.

Then it happened.

He caught up and I turned to face him and said hello at which point he promptly burst into tears.

It was an awful moment. None of us really knew what to do so I kind of patted him awkwardly and we all migrated to someone's apartment.

We got him settled down and he asked if he could buy us beers, we said yes and then he asked if he could talk to me. I sat with him on the patio under the watchful eye of some friends.

This kid took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves to show me his badly done Nazi tattoos. Then he launched into a gut wrenching story about how he'd been a skinhead from the ages of about 13 to 20, gone to jail, got out and left the fold. He'd been harassed and threatened and beaten to the point where he came clear across the country to get away.

He said he'd been staring at me because I was the first Black person he'd been in social contact with and he wanted to tell someone of color that he was sorry. He confessed a lot of things to me. He told me he'd beaten guys up, scared girls, done other awful things and that he was working some bullshit part time job and saving up money for cover ups and tattoo removal.

Prior to that point anyone who had ever been racist was dead to me. I did not give a fuck if they had changed or not. Fuck them. Fuck them, fuck their families, fuck their children.

At first I was pissed off and resentful that for some reason he'd elected to see me as the face of all black people everywhere.

And then when I looked at his face and heard him cry. When he took my hand and squeezed it and said he was sorry over and over again, I couldn't in good conscious be mad.

The pain I saw in that young mans face was the same pain I saw in the faces of friends of mine who'd been in gangs in their youth. It wasn't any different. I saw that he held out no hope for his own future because he'd really fucked up as a kid.

I wanted to pay for him to get his tattoos fixed. I wanted to give him a good job and tell him that he wasn't a piece of shit forever.

I couldn't really do that so I did what I could. I hugged him and told him that I forgave him. Not because I was the face of Black folks everywhere but because I could see that he was in serious soul deep pain and that he needed one person to give him a chance.

I gave him a chance and we became friends. Not great friends but friendly enough that we could meet up for a beer or go to a show together. I recommended books about Black history and the truth about the civil rights movement. He explained a lot of what his life was like when he was a Skinhead.

He wasn't the only former racist or criminal that was ever in my life.

Because of him I read more about skinheads and various supremacist factions. At a certain point in my reading I realized that I feel terribly sorry for some of these people. I pity their children and I pity the people who try to get out but can't make it.

So there's your Halloween story.

I'd also like to add that when I'm fabulously rich one thing I must do is pay for cover ups or removal of gang, skinhead etc tattoos for people who want them. I wish I was a tattoo artist so I could do that work at steeply discounted prices.

It's on my bucket list.

Happy Halloween my homies.

And Happy Anniversay to Uniballer and I.

I'm tempted to say something cheesy here but I'll leave it at saying that we're still on the crazy train.

Homo Out.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

A Dear Jane Letter.

Okay so I want to talk about XoJane today.

First off let's get a few things perfectly clear.

This isn't about anyone at XoJane on a personal level. Not at all. This is about how I as an individual in all my intersectedness (yes it's that kind of day y'all I'm making up words) and why regardless of my want to be into it I'm just not.

So I said this on Tumblr last night after I sat down at my desk at home, took a deep breath and decided to give XOJane another shot.

I um

I’m trying with xojane again.

I know.

I just…

Yes I see there’s a staff member of color that’s nice.

Um…

….

Well I am scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling) through the beauty section.

I see a lot of thin pretty white ladies trying a lot of expensive shit and being very clever.

I pretty much feel the same way I did when I gave up Sassy all those years ago.

These are not my people.

So yeah I’m giving up ladymags/websites for good. Save for the occasional fashion mag when I want to look at pretty pictures.

Even after I posted that bit, I spent anther long while scrolling and scrolling and clicking and reading. I read articles from a bunch of their staff, on a variety of subjects.

I have this habit of going for the beauty section of a ladysite* when all else fails.

Once upon a time I was very easily able to overlook the lack of Brown skin in beauty columns.

That is really the thing. I am at the point in my life where I can't continue to ignore my discomfort.

When I talk about Xojane right now I'm not talking about Lesley. Why? Because I already loved her writing and would read it wherever it is.

Bloody hell if y'all could sit here and talk to me about it you'd witness me flapping my hands and making grunty noises.

Okay.

My thoughts aren't the most linear about it and if you've read me for a while you know I can get a little random. Bear with me.

Let's go back to when XoJ launched. I heard rumors that Jane Pratt had a new project and I was pretty excited. Despite my sad break up with Sassy years before they stopped publishing it was very important for me for a long time.

At first blush I was admittedly let down.

I remember reading and feeling, not a whole lot.

When it comes to what magazines/communities I participate in I have learned to take my own comfort into consideration first.

I let go of the idea that I -have- to try because it's a good idea.

Good ideas are great I love them.

Shit I cannot quite put the genesis of my discomfort into any kind of sensible words.

That being what it is let me just say that as it is right now XoJ isn't really a comfortable place for me. Article after article there was just nothing I could grasp for lack of a better word.

Nothing pulled me in. I felt no resonance. There were no moments when I found myself nodding and saying YES..YES THIS.

Not even a glimmer.

Even my last resort failed miserably. I can only take some White lady specific hair advice so much.

Now, last night the managing editor Emily McCombs (Shit I hope I spelled your name right) responded with this tweet.

@Weebeasty We have several writers of color, altho it's true that our beauty editor is white. We are working on it and welcome suggestions.

She doesn't know me at all so I don't expect her to know this but honestly don't tell me you're working on it.

The working on it issue is one that tweaks my nose.

In this day and age, there is no reasonable explanation for any editor to be having problems working on diversity in a publication.

I say this because no matter what the subject is there are bloggers. There are people on social media, there are eleventy million people writing about eleventy million things.

This was my problem with Shapely Prose when the issue of diversity came up there.

There was a lot of we're trying and we're looking and when I stopped reading not a lot of actual things happening.

Perhaps because I am a writer and I'm into the literary short fiction markets any time an editor can't seem to pull in a new voice or add to a diverse line up I don't really believe it.

Check this out.

If I wanted to have an XoJ type thing and I saw that oh damn I have no brown beauty editors. This is what I would do.

Google- enter Black Beauty Blogger- wait for nine gazillion results. Read. Contact X, Y Z bloggers to hook up a guest post to see if there's chemistry.

Is there Chemistry?

Yes- ask this person to write beauty things for folks of color

No- say thank you and move on to blogger Y.

I quite frankly cannot believe that anyone who says they want to include X people can't use the enormous and vast resource that is the internet.

You don't even have to pay someone. Most writers looking for a break, would probably write something for a link.

It trips me up. Especially when it comes from people I think are smart and whatnot.

I can't take any expression of wanting to be inclusive seriously when it takes a really long time or seems, uh foot draggy I guess. I'm not saying that's exactly what's happening, it just feels that way to me.

Perhaps the internet has spoiled me. Or I read more blogs and whatnot than your average bear. I don't know. Part of my side eye over any zine or community "trying" for diversity is that it seriously takes five minutes to find eleven million links on any subject.

I don't feel like it would be super hard to glance at a page worth of google results to see if someone's work says OH HEY ME ME ME ME.

If you've read me for a while you know I have the same attitude with Etsy/indie designers who can't seem to figure out how to find a fat fit model.

If it were fifteen or shit even five years ago I'd cut people way more slack. I would. Not right now.

So there are all these feelings.

What it boils down to is a situation like this.

It feels like walking into a club or party or coffee shop meet up and you're really excited. You really want to love and participate and contribute. After a while you look around and you just don't really feel comfortable. It's not that you feel unwelcome exactly, no one is mean to you or douchy there is just that moment where you feel like, okay maybe these aren't my people.

While yes it's a really sad thing it's not the end of the world. I don't say these things because I think the writers or editorial staff at XoJ are bad. It's not personal, it's not an ethics issue, it's not a social justice issue.

So there you have it.

Likely I will look back at XoJ at some point. It boils down to one of those big truths about life in general. Not everything is for everybody and sometimes that's just fine. In the end there's just not much for me there and I don't tend to read things that I don't particularly enjoy.

*I use terms like ladysite in very general terms as on "women's interest" as it tends to be defined in the publishing world. Not in a personal if you aren't a lady you can't play kind of way.

Homo Out.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty, self care and a bonus review of Derma E cleanser.

First a review.

I wasn't going to do one but I feel the need to tell y'all something.

So I am signed up with this website Influenster which I think I mentioned at some point before. Basically I got a box of all natural goodies to try out for free. It is kind of awesome and I do recommend signing up.

We all know that I am a beauty product lover.

I am also someone with super sensitive super oily skin and I've been forever on the hunt for not just a cleanser but The. Cleanser.

My darlings, I'm in love.

I recieved a full sized bottle of Derma E's Very Clear Problem Skin Cleanser. It was actually the last thing I tried in the box because I was very afraid that my skin would react negatively.

My skin is so picky and sensitive that I'd been using just my babywash on it which while it got my face clean wasn't really working to keep it clear.

Holy crap.

This cleanser. THIS CLEANSER.

First impression was that it smells like awesome. The combo of their major active ingredients as stated on the website:

Key Ingredients:

Tea Tree
Willow Bark
Rosewood
Lavender
Chamomile

This combo works for me. Normally most anti acne or skin clearing products are too harsh and my face will burn, peel or have a massive set of break outs.

As with any new facial product I wait for at least a month before I make my decision about it. I need to make it through my menstrual cycle before I decide because if something is going to irritate my skin the time it is going to happen is during my period.

My skin is doing so well.

My skin feels moist and not stripped. My breakouts, even my PMS oh *CRAP* breakout was minor, my skin is calm. My face isn't itchy. My skin doesn't feel annoyed after I rinse the cleanser off of my face.

The big test is using it twice daily. Once in the morning and once at night. During the day the amount of break through oil I have on my face is fairly minimal.

Other people have noticed that my skin looks better even though I'm using more sheer foundation.

Here is where we need to talk about self care.

This product costs 15$.

That doesn't seem like a lot to lot of people but to me I've been on the fence.

I've talked it over with my partner Uniballer and I will be buying it again.

The thing is that even though we might be kind of broke I do feel like it's worth it to buy this product because it makes my skin feel and look good. My skin looking and feeling good makes me feel good on the inside.

Fact is, of the many things that sometimes screw with my self esteem, my skin is usually the #1 culprit.

This is something I've struggled with and cried over and been devastatingly depressed about off and on for 20 years.

I've spent so much time being self conscious about how oily my skin is, the scars and dark marks on my face, the chicken pox scar on my forehead that tends to catch the light and all the money I've spent on fade creams, anti acne, prescriptions etc none of it ever worked and it always made me sad.

As I head for my official mid-30's I decided that I don't want to feel that way all the time. I don't want to be embarrassed and have my irritated busted up skin be the thing that ruins my day.

So it's worth the 15$. It's worth it to feel an actual difference in my skin. It's worth it to me to not be constantly having painful irritation. To not be peeling and so greasy my face looks wet.

To conclude my homies. If you have skin that is prone to violent freak outs and you like the smell of tea tree oil I highly suggest this cleanser. If you can spend 15$ on it, give it a shot.

The lesson here is that sometimes even a small thing like a new skin cleanser can make all the difference in your day. Yes some people think that's stupid and that's okay. They don't need to get it. The only person who needs to feel good about your self care practices is you.

Do your thing.

Homo Out.

NO WAIT. PS. My homies, tell me what new or usual things you're doing to support yourself and care for yourself. Do we want to talk about self care more?
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