Thursday, May 31, 2012

Oh hey..hi there.

So darling regulars and HELLO and welcome brand new homies.

My regular homies y'all know I was talking about a huge thing that my dear Marianne helped set up?


Thus my welcome of the new homies.

Through Marianne I was hooked up to do my first fat related media thing and I got interviewed at The Root. Seriously don't read the comments. I've been warned. Now you have too.

Now I turn to you visitors from The Root.

I am technically on a vacation right now but I'm taking some time to welcome you.

Welcome to my litterbox. If you want to talk about fat please understand that if you are rude or disrespectful I will not tolerate that. If you have questions about FA or the stuff I talked about in the interview COME ON DOWN.

No seriously. If you want to remain anonymous that's cool. If you are uncomfortable leaving a comment email me here: shannon -at-, you can (AHA I fixed my form) come right here and ask me stuff totally anonymous if you want it to be. If you ask me really nicely I might answer you privately although, I warn you I am the worst correspondent in the world.

You can ask me about fatness, gothness, fashion, queerness, all kinds of stuff. Give it a shot I'm pretty nice for one of those awful fat people.

In the meantime I really encourage you to browse my archives. I talk a lot about health beyond the scope of the interview.

If you want to know a little more about me read some of my most recent posts.

Here's the thing.

I'm not really a hard science/statistics type of blogger.

I am not good at that.

What I am good at is bringing these things to an intersectional personal place. I am good at helping myself and my homies and haters to see through a lot of the bullshit we see on a daily basis.

I'm also pretty silly sometimes.

I do honestly hope some of you visiting will come back. Fat politics are not just for fat people my friends. My flavor of Fat Acceptance is not just for my fat ass but it's for your not fat ass.

It boils down to the following though. Here is the quick and dirty.

  1. Fat Acceptance and body politics are not about who you think is sexy. No one except the people you are trying to get naked with cares.
  2. FA (I'll just use that from now on) is not about "making excuses", "spinning" or otherwise changing the actual facts about fatness.
  3. FA is about the importance of fat people and to a greater extent ALL people deserve to be treated with basic human dignity.
  4. FA is about being people who are fat and not walking buckets of fat disease and being treated as actual human beings.
  5. FA is about learning to undo the decades of self hatred drilled into the Fat Us and the Not Fat us.
  6. FA is about bodily autonomy.
  7. FA is about learning to love ourselves enough to maybe want to take better care of our bodies or at least not abuse them with crash diets, eating disorders and self loathing.
  8. FA is about learning and by extension teaching each other and ourselves that no, fat  is not an indicator of anything except the fact that one is fat.
What I'm saying here folks is that FA is probably not what you think it is or want to believe it is.

I'm saying that it's not unreasonable, or a disservice to the community for me to stand up and say yes I am a fat person. Don't abuse me.

It really is that simple. 

Don't. Abuse. Me.

That is directed at the doctors who refuse because of personal bias or wholesale belief in the Obesity Crisis to give us adequate or even basic health care INCLUDING preventative care which in the long term would make us Healthier.

That is directed at the people who threaten us with death, rape and maiming simply because we exist. Yes, I am absolutely speaking from personal experience there.

That is directed at the people who believe that they are better people simply because they are not fat.

That is directed at the diet industry that sells us pills that could cause heart attack, kidney failure or explosive greasy diarrhea. 

That is directed at the people who bully us into secluding ourselves, suicides, risky surgeries and self loathing that takes years to unlearn and for some of us we never unlearn it.

That is directed to the well meaning advice givers who want to police what we eat and what we wear.

Are these things really so hard to do? Is it really so radical (yes I'm being facetious I KNOW it is absolutely radical) to say no I don't want to do that?

And before anyone starts talking at me about what I may or may not have said, please go back. Read again. 

Also ask yourself a good question.

What is health?

Is it only looking healthy as in being thin?

Is it being able to run a marathon?

Is it being attractive to you personally?

Is your vision of health so narrow that it excludes the many intersecting parts of health? Culture, poverty, access to quality medical care at any point? Access to medication? Safe places for a woman or anyone who presents as female or vulnerable to go for a walk outside?

Is your vision of health one that says do not be fat at all costs including maybe your quality of life? Kidneys? 

Does your vision of health not include empathy or even an ability to look beyond your sexual attraction preferences and see other people as whole human beings not just a picture you say on the news that upset you?

This is where I'm inviting you into the life and thoughts of your resident fat homie.

Let's talk. I am deeply invested in you my homies. I care about your whole selves not just your butts, even though some of you...well I've seen your butts and oh yeah.

So my homies, new homies and haters.

What's good?

Did any of my homies do some homework?

Did you have to get rough with yourself this week?

Did you do something nice for yourself?

Tell me all about it.

Regular posting will resume on Monday I promise.

I love you intertubes.

Homo Out.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

How get through.

One of you intrepid readers (I am not quoting because they want to remain Anonymous) did your homework from this entry and now you need to know how I get through those Bad Times.

Sometimes people get the impression that my Self Love is bulletproof and always awesome. It's not.

There are days my homies, there have been entire years where there is nothing in the world I've loathed more than everything about myself.

For me these things usually manifest in me nitpicking myself. Hair isn't right, skin is fucked, teeth are fucked, everything about me is stupid and I hate it.

It happens. Sometimes a lot.

When I feel like I need to stop the spiral and work on it here's what I do.

I self care like a mother fucker.

I self care hard.

If I am feeling fucked up I tend to spin out. One little bad thing can quickly become ALL the bad things.

What I've learned is that I need to focus. I need to slow down and sometimes even just stop.

I groom my eyebrows, I give myself a facial, I cut my toe nails, I put on a face full of crazy Drag Queen Level make up.

I do that because in the long term those things are good for me. In the short term, they make me focus. I can't be pissed off and ranting about all the awful things about me while I am cutting my toenails I will hurt myself and I hate that.

Sometimes what I'm doing is putting a bandaid on something because I don't always have the time to be crazy or upset or depressed.

Those moments are what I talk about needing that punk rock ass kicking type love.

These are the moments when I need to say I do not give a fuck.

I often need my self love to be a big fucking stick with which I beat the proverbial shit out of everything because I have shit to do.

If I need to paint my face, put on a ridiculous or inappropriate outfit and stomp out of the house full of rage I do it because I know that for me that works.

Sometimes in order to love myself I have to look at the whole rest of the world and say No Fuck You.

I am an angry person. I am sometimes an aggressive person. Sometimes in order for me to survive myself I need to channel and funnel that.

Sometimes I have to just go to that Bad Crazy Love Place and put those pants on and walk around in them because I want to make it.

So there it is y'all. The secret to my survival and ability to keep moving.

It all boils down to me not giving a fuck.

The only fucks I have to give ever are to myself.

The only person I ever have to always make up with is me.

The only love that is real serious grounding life saving love is the kind I can give to myself.

Because I have learned how to love myself, as in my own special flavor of self love, I have learned to love other people.

I believe that it's been so important for me to define these things for myself because in America I have always known that I am not and cannot be the girl those things are written for.

What I mean by that is that I don't have money. I am not a White Lady. In terms of Western Beauty and goodness I am not in the picture.

And that realization all those years ago as much as it hurt saved my life because I understood that the only person who could make those feelings of self love and blossoming and becoming happen was me.

You see what I did there?

This is one of those tender intersectional places. This is the sort of thing that is hard to talk about because well, it really fucking blows.

However, it's so important because so many of us are just not the Saveable White Lady who is the archetype of the woman who is cared for and nurtured in our society.

Now your homework my homies.

I want you to think about this stuff and sit with it.

I want you to tell yourself that you too, yes you are this important. That you can define your own means of Loving Yourself even when Yourself is being kinda jerky.

I love you my homies.

I am off to feed myself like a growed up.

Homo Out.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Body I see it.

There is a lot of talk around the internets of the concepts and problems of the whole Love Your Body thing.

My view isn't really one I see a lot so here we go.

First thing is conceptually the Love Your Body Campaigns tend to be a little vague to me.

Here's the thing. When we love something, not our bodies for the moment but say you love another person.

Do we only love that person if they are perfect or always doing what we want?


Love as a thing as a changing breathing difficult thing is never perfect and smooth and wonderful. Not our relationships with our friends, not with our families, not with anything or anyone not ever.

What I don't understand is how so many people conflate this perfect love scenario when we talk about our bodies. Or that to love this thing, our bodies means that we won't ever have an issue with them.

I think that's fairly absurd and potentially a knee jerk DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO type reaction rather than a thoughtful one.

Now before anyone gets butthurt take a second to think about it.

I see it time and time again and I think that's a bit of a short sighted problem with the idea of Loving Your Body.

With my view of imperfect regular love in the context of loving our bodies it seems to me that a lot of these campaigns are not inclusive and deeply deeply rooted in the opposite of self love.

Much of the time we are presented with the supposedly wonderful idea to Love Ourselves but,  the examples put forth are the air brushed perfected images that uphold the Western Beauty Ideal. This Perfect Love Version of self love and acceptance is deeply hugely problematic because it's presented as a thing only attainable by the White (or White enough looking) able bodied few.

So yes, in that context it's flawed and often ugly.

This is also the view that tells us if we "Love" ourselves enough we will "Love" ourselves into dieting and thinness etc. Also gross and problematic.

Now in my view of a um, let's call it Realistic Love of Our Bodies this doesn't happen.

In my view of encouraging yes everyone to Love Their Bodies I'm not talking about only loving your body when it looks good and functions at an optimal level.

I am for Loving your body enough to understand that sometimes it's going to fail. Sometimes your body is going to be fucked.

Just like in any relationship, you're going to fight. Sometimes it's going to be ugly and really fucking hard. Sometimes, loving your body means accepting that no, you won't walk normally or that no, you won't be thinner or no, your skin won't ever be perfect.

Don't all of us at some point in our lives and loves, don't we need to hang on through the bullshit?

Maybe I'm totally off here but real love, honest love to me means that it's not always sunshine and being able to run marathons.

In my view the most Radical Self Love and Loving Your Body means that well, some days you have to look at yourself and understand that regardless of how mad at your body you are for whatever reason, you are not getting a new one.

Let's sit with that for a second.

No matter what issues you may have, illness, appearance whatever it is. This is the only one you get.

Now when I say love your body, understand that yes it may be flawed I'm not only talking about superficial flaws. I'm also talking about those of us who have various types and degrees of dysphoria. I'm talking about those of us who need to change or alter our genders in body, presentation and how we live.

Yes. You too can love your body. I feel like the key here is to accept and acknowledge that no matter how wrong your body is, it is still your body. In order to get to that place where you feel like your outsides can match your insides or how you were born or how you want the world to see you, you have to keep that body going long enough to get there.

I'm also talking to those of us who have eating disorders, who have the type of dysphoria where we can't see ourselves in mirrors. I'm talking to those of us who may have just found out that they might lose a body part, who are just finding out about an illness that could impact mobility and everything.

Here's the thing.

My Self Love is not fluffy and pretty and full of flowers and candy.

It's ugly. It's a fight. Sometimes I'm fighting the outside influences and sometimes the shit in my own head. It's hard. Some days it's the hardest thing in the world. Sometimes it's dysfunctional and if it was a domestic situation someone would go to jail.

When I tell you to love yourself I'm not telling you to skip through the pumpkin patch I'm saying fight for yourself because you deserve it.

I'm saying that it's okay to have bad days. To have days when you'd rather punch yourself in the mouth than love anything about yourself. It's okay for it to be Tough Love.

It's okay to love yourself when you're not perfect and the love isn't perfect because nothing is ever perfect.

It's okay to look at someone else and say, I kind of hate myself today. It's human to have those moments.

The important thing is that you make it through them. Make it through so you can get to that place that feels right. If that means you make it by faking it for a while that's fine. If you have to say I am going to make it so I can be the Boy/boi/grrl/girl/woman/boygirl/Queen/whatever I dream of being that is okay too.

It's okay not to worship or love your body all the time. It's okay to feel wobbly about loving anything including yourself sometimes.

It's okay.

All these things said, I say Love yourself.

Love yourself in whatever way you can because only you can decide what kind of love it needs to be. Maybe for right now it's an uneasy love. Maybe it's a love born out of realizing you survived a lot of bullshit. Maybe it's a love that looks forward to becoming or growing into who you want to show the world. Maybe it's a love that rides uneasily on your skin. Maybe it's a love that is huge and bright and sunny. Maybe it's a love that you're hanging on to with a fierce outfit and some outlandish lipstick.

My personal Love Myself is gangster. It's punk Rock. Sometimes it means I look at myself and say fuck you get it done. Sometimes it means that I have to have days when I hate everything and keep stepping because it is imperative to me that I make it through the bullshit.

My Self Love is rough. It's mean sometimes and it's how I need it to be.

What's yours?

Are you hanging in there?

Here's your homework. I want you my homies to look at yourself and say (bonus points for outloud) "Okay self, you are really fucked up right now because of (insert thing here) we're going to keep going. Fuck it."

Then report back. If you can't say that and mean it, think about it and report back.

So I love you my homies and haters. I love how fucked up you are, how your bodies may not be doing what you need or want them to do, I love you when you're depressed, I love you when you're happy.

I love you.

And your butts too.

Homo Out.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A break for beauty.

No more seriousness for a hot minute.

How about some beauty talk, pictures and mini reviews.

First of all let's talk about how fabulous my hair is right now. I've mentioned it but I went natural a few years ago and prior to my birthday decided to go red.

This is my hair styled with water and my fingers a couple of weeks ago when Uniballer and I were running errands and whatnot.

This is not quite the red I am going for but close.

My current beauty aesthetic make up wise is a lot of dark dark lips. Purple, burgundies all close to black. Either major cat eye liner with or without a single shadow color.

Like so:

With the weather somewhat warming up I'm wearing more skirts (YAY) cardigans and my mary janes.

Also please note my skin. While I have not achieved crazy perfect skin, my skin is pretty fucking awesome for me right now and I am very excited about it.

Shortly before my birthday I started a new skincare routine because my old one was just not keeping my skin clear or irritation free. SO it's time to share.

Now when I talk about skin care products I'm using/have used I almost always wait for about 2-4 months before reviewing them. The thing is you have go give a product a lot of time to work. For me my main issues were break outs, super oily, and some roughness.

First let's talk my facial cleanser. I started to notice that the DermaE problem skin cleanser I was using lost it's oomph for me. Also I noticed when I switched to a mousse formula foundation it was not really getting my make up off in a satisfactory manner.

So, on the recommendation of a bunch of people I picked up some Black Magic by One Hand Washes the Other. Oh. Em. Gee. This cleanser is what I wanted Lush Coalface to be. For me I think it's the combo of the essential oils and other super fancy ingredients that works with my skin.

Now I also picked up this chunky beauty from Sephora as say training wheels (I really want a Clairsonic) it is the Ultimate Dual Exfoliating Face Brush. The head is nice and sizeable, the handle is chubby with a nice curve so it won't hurt tour hand. The pink side is nubby and nice.

Now the combination of the Black Magic+the face brush did a whole lot to get my skin cleared up. My skin is softer, less broken out.

My skin needs a lot of exfolation, I found that using a scrub helps keep my dark spots to a minimum. I've tried a lot of scrubs but my current favorite is this one from Sally. Beyond Belief ABH Pore Refining Exfoliating Scrub. I use this about two-three times a week. The scrub feels nice on the skin, the base is creamy without being oily or greasy. It has a nice licorice kind of smell and it's really gentle. I know I can get carried away and have caused myself irritation with scrubs but that hasn't happened with this one.

Lastly the most pricy indulgent thing I've been using is the No Zit Sherlock moisturizer. Now here is something I"ve learned over the years dealing with my oily skin. When the skin is super duper oily it throw ALL the anti acne ingredients at it.

This my friends can sometimes be the worst thing ever.

The secret for me is to use one product that is dedicated to anti acne. For me the magic is that No Zit Sherlock moisturizer and it's salicylic acid.

This combo has kept my skin pretty clear for three months now.

My skin is smoother and my pores are indeed less inflamed looking. My oilies are under control and my face is super soft. I still use full coverage foundation but I find it lasts longer and I use less.

Now some other make up super deals!

For lovers of dark dark lips. Seriously check out the Wet N Wild display at your local drug store. They have had some amazing colors and they are so cheap you can play.

Remember to watch for two for one sales, and you know what tell friends that if they have a lip color that doesn't work for them to pass it along.

Beauty and self care does not have to be expensive.

Let's talk about beauty that other people aren't into.

Frankly y'all a lot of Seatown is not into my look.

Days when I'm wearing almost black lips or purple lips I get a lot of side eye. The day I took the above photo a lady told me that my lip color wasn't work appropriate.

I don't give a fuck.

I don't give a fuck if anyone thinks deep purple lips are weird, too Goth or whatever.

This is the look I am into right now.

I gives zero fucks because this is what makes me feel pretty.

I haven't been feeling well lately, insomnia and right now I have a cold. And when I get that long long cat eye liner on and paint my lips and yes give some major bitch face, I feel pretty fucking good.

Self care like a mother fucker.

Now it doesn't have to involve everything I do. I do all these skin things, make up things and whatnot because I do actually find them soothing and they make me feel good.

You do what makes you feel good.

Maybe you keep it as simple as a nice body lotion. Or maybe you get mega fancy and arch your brows until they cry.

Do these things not because everyone wants you to be pretty. Fuck those people.

Do it because it makes you feel good. Do it to remind yourself how valuable and precious you are.

You are so important and so precious that you are worth the two minutes to do something nice for yourself. Or the 45 minute bath. Or the weirdly colored lipstick or the cat eye liner. You are worth the funky colored hair.

You are worth enough that you can do what you want to do to feel good.

Also let's be real.

Self care is part of your overall health. Some days the only thing between us and depression or suicidal feelings or days when the thought of getting out of bed is more than we can bear, is the often taken for granted by others acts of self care.

Taking the time to put on some lip balm if your lips are dry counts. Putting some lotion on your hands counts. Sitting by yourself and putting on a full face of make up counts.

Putting pants on and going outside to get the mail, or milk or whatever counts.

Never underestimate the awesomeness of those small gestures.

Sometimes it's the little things, the seemingly superficial things that get us through and out of the bad times.

That said, my homework for you my homies after all the heavy posts of late is to do something purely for your own amusement and self love.

Paint your nails, trim your nails, put lotion on your feet, wear your favorite lipstick that you never feel "brave" enough to wear outside the house. Do your hair. Wear something fancy even if you can't go outside.

Do something to show yourself how valuable you are. Remind yourself that you are here in the world.

It's important.

I love you my homies and haters. Let us hope I can sleep off this fucking cold.

Homo Out.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Healthy Never?

I want to talk about health as a concept and construct the way it tends to be discussed in America.

If we pay attention to American media, the health industry (please note I purposefully am not using the phrase health care), etc the message is often as follows:

  1. You are healthy or not. 
  2. If you are not trying to fit an idea of ultimate health there's something wrong with you/you are immoral.
  3. Heath is not a choice it is a moral imperative.
  4. If you don't look healthy you aren't.
  5. You must be willing to sacrifice any and everything to get both the appearance of health and actual health.
Let's stop there and talk about  it.

All too often when we hear people talk about health, there is only Health capital H. In our ableist heavy culture, the image of health is for women (as women are seen by media etc) is White, slim hipped, large but not too large perky breasts, long legs, firm round (but not too round) bottom, long hair, very thin.

If we listen to any of the celebrity trainers, tv "fitness" personalities it is an absolute possibility for everyone to have this body if they only work hard enough.

Let's pause here and really think about that. Let's talk about the language that is used.

In any fitness/diet/health industry magazine, commercial or even during a talk with your doctor it always comes down to this person who is in a presumed position of knowledge and power over you, tells you that if you're not getting the six pack abs, or your butt isn't lifting, or if you're not chiseling inches off of your waist then you must not be trying.

You are not motivated enough. You are eating the wrong things. You are a slacker. You are a loser. You are inferior to people who are achieving those results while doing about the same thing you are.

It has been a rare thing in my experience to find a trainer, doctor etc who acknowledges the fact that there are shapes and states of being that are just not going to happen with my body no matter what.

How can it be possible logically speaking for so many of us to be varying heights, have varying sized fingers, toes and necks, to have different types of skin, to have say weak ankles or super strong arms and yet we are all supposed to be able to and of course want to have essentially the same body?

Really, think about the thousands of people you have encountered in your life. How many of them were exactly like you?

Next let's talk about the inherent ableism in the view of health in America.

Our images of health are always able bodied, White and seen running/walking. There is never any discussion of health for people who use wheelchairs, or people who have limited mobility, who have any one of numerous issues that could in fact impact how and to what degree they are able to be "healthy".

That said, what is health really?

We are to believe that health is this single thing. We are supposed to all be able to run marathons, bike ten miles, etc etc etc.

Let's be rational and really think about how accurate that could ever be?

Let's look at it in the context of sports. A lot of people love to play sports. Not everyone is good at sports. Where you might be amazing on the basketball court, I am just not. I never have been.

Where I can shake my ass to the backbeat of some weird song, maybe you can't shake your ass to a solid downbeat.

Does that make either of us morally better than the other?

How can we on one hand acknowledge that not everyone is good at everyone but then expect that everyone can and should aspire to this single image of health?

It makes no sense.

There are so many things that can happen in the human body. There are things that we have no control over and have just happened. I'll use myself as an example.

I was born very premature. I had severe jaundice, I was in an Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the first precious bits of my life.

As a child I did not grow fast. I was in the lowest percentile for growth for a long time. I was often the smallest child in my class. I had a weak immune system. I was very prone to bronchial problems, asthma, I had bad allergies, etc etc etc. I went to the ER a lot. I had ear problems. I was a sickly child.

As I got older, I got a bit stronger. And then I took my first Presidential fitness test.

At that time I was on about 5 medications for allergies and allergy/stress induced asthma. 

While I did very well at push ups, sit ups, pull ups and jumping robe I did terribly at running.

I was not and never was a good runner. As an adult I tried to be a runner during my soul crushing fitness days. I went to a podiatrist and I have a weird gait and other things.

Does that make me awful?

Is it immoral that I am not good at running and never have been? And furthermore I don't enjoy running for any reason?

A lot of people would say of course it doesn't make you a bad person Shannon. But, over the years I have been treated as if my dislike of running automatically makes me the unhealthiest most awful person.

That kind of attitude is where there's a huge disconnect between the reality of being a human being perambulating around the earth and the concept and discussion of health as a monolithic state of being.

My point here is that being that no two human bodies function in the exact same way, we should not expect them to be healthy or be able to get healthy in the exact same ways.

Beyond the basics of nutrition as to what a body needs to survive, we all have different needs.

And you know?

That's okay.

I've talked recently about when I was thinner and my current state of fatness.

One of the things that proves beyond proof how people really feel about health and fitness is this phenomenon.

When I was thin, no one ever questioned why I was out of breath if I was. No one ever made comments about what I was eating even if it was The Ever Evil Fast Food. Not at all.

These days as I've talked about a lot, that does not happen.

If one appears to be healthy (as in is acceptably thin or even vastly underweight) no one says boo about it often aside from the catty skinnyfat bullshit.

For instance recently I was trying to get to work on time and was running/dodging people on the sidewalk. I made my bus and was a little winded but not heaving or coughing. Someone remarks about "big girls" and getting more exercise.

Someone a lot thinner than me runs half the distance I did, gets on the bus coughing and gasping the same people who commented at me, said nothing.

For those who think this is all bullshit do some observation.

Fat or thin, watch some diet/fitness/health industry ads.

Check yourself when you look at someone who is thin vs someone who is fat and be honest about your own biases and how you immediately view them. Think about how many times you've had a disgusted thought when you saw a fat person having a soda or other "bad food" vs how many times you've had that very same level of disgusted thought about a thin person eating the same things.

I really want you to do that.

That's all for today.

We'll get more into this tomorrow.

Homo Out.

For those who don't keep up with my other writing I'm running a coupon on smashwords. You can get my first collection for 3$ by going here and entering this code at checkout. ZM25R


Monday, May 14, 2012

The things being thin didn't fix.

I have a perspective on body size that I think a lot of us have but don't talk about.

I have been more fat than I am now, less fat, "normal" weight, thin and underweight for varying amounts of time in my life.

I have lived in each state for a good amount of time and being that my size has been fairly stable for about four years I have some distance on it.

I can be pretty objective about each state and first I want to talk about being a "normal" (according to the BMI chart for a woman who is 5'3") weight.

For a long time the BMI charts were my bible. When I was actively dieting and trying to maintain a "normal" weight, I used the BMI chart and very detailed charts of my weight to see if I was "healthy" or not.

At the time I was trying really hard to believe what everyone says. I had lost so much weight, people were complimenting me, I bought a lot of clothes very easily. I was good right?

Actually no.

Even though I was quite young, for me to maintain 125-135 pounds (on the "heavy" side of the BMI for my height) I had to live a pretty restricted life.

I ate no more than 1000 calories per day ever, unless I had diarrhea or was on my period.

I exercised 7 days a week regardless of how badly my knees or back hurt etc.

I was really picky about what I ate and anytime I went over 130 pounds I would panic because I was edging back into fat territory.

Also, despite buying all those clothes I honestly had the same fit issues I have no and had when I was quite a bit heavier. Much of the time no matter how much I weigh I'm going to be smack inbetween sizes for everything and it's really frustrating. My boobs didn't get smaller either. Because of the type of workouts I often did, my boobs got bigger.

During that time I was told that my issue (because I would start regaining weight if I went off of my plan) with weight regain was because of my diet and that I was not exercising enough.

I decided to try a vegetarian diet and more exercise.

On paper in many ways I was reaping the benefits of being "healthier". My blood pressure was down, I was thin to almost underweight which curiously was fine with my doctor at the time. For a while I was the "after" picture. I was living all the things that we're supposed to believe about being thinner.

And then shit started going south.

One of the health problems I've had since I was a teenager and has never gotten better with weightloss has been easily injured/strained joints. Specifically my knees, hips and ankles. At the time I fully believed that the only reason my knees would ever hurt was because I was too fat. That's what doctors have told me for years.

Lose weight. Lose weight and that pain and swelling will magically go away.

Understand that the first time I brought it up to a doctor I was 18, at a "high" normal BMI, in good shape. The only part of the Presidential fitness thing I had trouble with was running, I could do the pull ups and full push ups etc. I had been a cheerleader and on a dance team. I had played volleyball and had tried taking up jogging. I was out of high school and concerned that the knee I hadn't previously injured would swell up, it hurt if I walked for long periods of time, sometimes I limped.

I was told to lose 20 pounds.

Even then because I was chubby (not really fat at all, still had a good bit of puppy fat on me) the immediate assumption was that I didn't exercise at all etc.

I did as I was told.

Fast forward to the vegetarianism which I wrote about in detail here, and my health took a sharp downturn.

I was thin, and then at some points really thin as in underweight.

However everything else was going to shit. My already not great immune system did not work worth a damn. I caught every cold, everything. My knees were constantly hurting, constantly swollen. Often after my new and improved twice daily two hour work outs I would have trouble walking to the bus stop.

I was 23 years old and trying to follow the programming that came from everywhere to get and stay thin and be healthy, I could sometimes barely walk.

I worked out to a soul crushing degree. I used Biggest Loser style tactics on myself. I abused myself in the mirror at the gym, I avoided certain foods as if they were poison and told myself if I ate that cookie or had a piece of pie or chicken that I would in fact die because I would get fat and getting fat meant I was a failure.

Sound familiar?

Those workouts were soul crushing.

Even when I started to get sicker, and my other health issues got worse I refused to believe that I was doing the wrong thing.

Think about that.

I was doing everything "right". My diet was fantastic, I was exercising a lot, I was doing all those things we're supposed to do so we don't get or stay fat.

And it was making me sick and causing me injury.

That's not even to speak of my emotional and psychological health.

I have never (even during a really awful time being bullied, I'll talk about that another time) felt so bad about myself than I did at that point.

The weightloss hadn't cured me of my ills. I was a worse insomniac, my knees were worse, I had problems trying to poop regularly, at one point I was put on birth control in order to help straighten up my periods and I had awful side effects.

Nothing was okay.

Even maintaining a "normal" weight for me was disaster.

It quite honestly took me winding up at home, sick with a god awful flu and almost fainting on the treadmill to wake up and realize I had drunk the Koolaid and if I kept it up I felt like I was going to die.

Let's stop here and I want you to really think about that for a minute.

I was doing and eating all the things we're told we're supposed to.

I was being a "good" fatty and hating myself enough to work out to the point of vomiting or fainting.

I was at the point of doing whatever it took to maintain that weightloss.

And it solved nothing.


Not. one. Thing.

Fast forward to me now.

I'm 35 years old and I have the very same health problems I had back then.

I still have awful insomnia that is exacerbated with too much exercise or not enough food. I have shitty joints that if I exercise too much, walk an extra mile or two during the day or if I wear the wrong kind of shoes swell and hurt. If I don't eat enough meat I feel run down and tired. If I am on my period and don't eat enough meat I want to lay down and die.

I still have a battery of allergies. I still get migraines. My menstrual cycle can still be a tricksy thing.

I still every time I bring one of these things to the attention of a doctor, doctors immediately tell me to lose weight.

Regardless of how long I've had these problems. Of what weightloss has done in regards to them in the past. Regardless of what or how much I eat.

This is a huge reason why I cannot buy the magical thinking that if one is obese, the answer is always lose weight.

Because I am a fat person I have to claw and fight to get basic health care. Basic. Nothing special. I'm not asking for miracles just things like a papsmear and maybe an overall check.

According to the doctors who are supposed to care for me, the only thing -wrong- with me is that I am fat.

How is that right?

Now I am no scientist but, the evidence of my actual lived life and health speaks to the fact that fat or not I have some health problems that need addressing.

I don't need the great Thinness Cure.

I need support to be as healthy as I personally can be.

Later this week, I want to talk about health moralism and the binary idea that one can only be healthy or not healthy.

Homo Out.


Monday, May 07, 2012

On being policed.

One of the things that happens to me as a smaller sized fat person is that a large number of the people I run into assume that I am at the mid point of some diet or other.

This time of year seems to be the worst because I'm wearing less layers, I'm not wearing pants and it's easier to get a visual on the actual size of my body.

Either people I see all the time say, Oh my GOOOOOOODNESS you lost weight YAY. Or they say, oh are you getting swimsuit ready?

Both tend to get either a polite no or my you're a moron and I can't speak to you stare over my glasses.

The way I'm built any water weight I lose or gain (in a normal month this is probably about 4-7 pounds up or down) shows in my face right away. Also even when I'm wearing layers how big or small my body looks really depends on a lot of variables.

That being what it is I have watched over the years and extrapolated the following.

Because any weight fluctuations show in my face, added to the fact that I am not necessarily I really fat fatty, means to a lot of people that I am in flux.

I've probably mentioned that according to census data/measurements I'm a tiny bit smaller than the average woman and as busty as I am and given the variances in how I dress-

all this adds up to the idea that I must be dieting. Because of course I'm dieting because I couldn't possibly be fine with the size of my body the way it is.

Over the years and after talking to some of my fatter friends I have a theory that the instant assumption of being between a before and after picture might be one of those smaller fat people experiences. I'm not sure.

When I was a lot fatter (probably 50 pounds or so) I didn't hear the did you lose weight/are you dieting thing nearly as much at all. In fact more often I got a lot of "helpful" tips to get my apparently dire situation under control.

These days I get some OH keep it up.

Someone said that to me earlier today and my reaction was what? Wearing skirts and no tights? Pooping to keep me from being bloated? Not sleeping to keep me looking crazy?

Then I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that because of how exhausted I've been I've been trying to stay super hydrated and thus my face is a tiny bit less round than it usually is.

People often assume I'm on some kind of diet when I stop at the store and buy any kind of food at all. If I purchase something good, for example I bought a green bell pepper to eat a couple of weeks ago (I eat them like apples, don't judge me) a lady in line complimented me on my "healthy good choice".

Not long after that I bought some gummy bears and a sprite because I had an upset tummy.  I got a conspiratorial wink from some lady and she commented that it must be my "treat" day.

This happens to me a shocking amount.

Being that I am not just fat but I am Black and I move around in a hugely overwhelmingly White city, people almost always seem shocked if I am buying or eating "good" or fancy food.

For background I grew up eating a lot of Non standard American food. Not because we had money for restaurants but because I grew up around a lot of poor people from varying places around the world and at that time in my hood if there was an extra kid at the table that kid got a plate.

I will say upfront that the vocalized surprise and yes grown ass people have patted me on the back (literally) and told me that they are "proud of my choices" in public (even in a restaurant once) when I eat something "good" or fancy.

For instance I took myself to a little place and bought a small appetizer portion of kimchi because a.) I fucking love kimchi and b.) a small portion because kimchi does not love me.

Some grown ass Nice White Lady, actually came to my table to congratulate me on my apparent self control. Since I only ordered that.

This is an experience I'm sure most all fatties have.

Some jackhole congratulating you for depriving yourself of something and therefor attaining Good Fatty status in their eyes.

These types of infantilizing comments are among the more infuriating things in life.

I've gotten them grocery shopping, clothes shopping, on seeing people I haven't seen for a while, I got them when I went on a tour of a potential gym and you know what? If you do that fuck you.

Fat people are not dogs. We are not your pets. We are not up for your backhanded compliments or "encouragement" unless we ask for it.

Keep your moral rah rahing to your damn self because your moral issues are not mine and I like a lot of other fat folks I suspect would like you to keep your mouth out of our plates and lives.

The bottom line is that other peoples bodies are none of your business unless they make it your business explicitly.

There is no good reason even if you're selling something, to walk up to a stranger and comment on what they are eating or not eating, how they are exercising or not exercising etc.

Pro tip- you are not being nice or polite. You are being a rude douchebag.

Most people understand from childhood that much of the time when dealing with strangers one should keep ones opinions to themselves. We teach our children not to point at people and a lot of us seem to forget the principle when we grow up and start talking down to other adults because they do not visually conform to our ideas about health.


Get your manners in check.

I'm not saying you can't think these things. Think them all you want to. As they say opinions are like assholes and everybody has one. And like assholes, we don't go around showing them to everyone do we?

That's all for now. I am beyond exhausted and need to do some self care oriented feeding myself and drinking water.

Homo Out.


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