Friday, November 30, 2012

Why I've never become a famous blogger.

I was just reading this piece by Natalie Perkins over at XOJane and it set me to thinking.

I am very firmly aware that one of the reasons I have never become a famous blogger is that I am indeed political, not shy about sharing those politics and I'm terribly honest.

If you've read me for a while you know, if something is shit I will say it is shit.

As you may note if you read me in a browser window I run a couple of ads. One for Detrivore Cosmetics and one for Babeland.

Why?

Outside of the fact that yes, even I like making a few pennies those are both companies I am into.

I sometimes also use affiliate links but I promise only for shit I like.

Now back to Fatshion.

I honestly stopped following a lot of fashion blogs closely.

Here's the thing.

Most Fatshion is not accessible to me. I'm poor. I am in the make it work category of smaller sized fat folks.

When I do fashion blog I try really hard to be more inclusive because I'm here for my fellow broke fat folks regardless of size.

For me, when I talk about make it work fatshion I'm talking about learning how to make it work when you have to at whatever size you are.

Thus, I am not a famous fatshion blogger.

Also sometimes too much fatshion focuses on shit I don't care about. I don't care about trends, I care about my own aesthetic which as I might remind you I am calling Nazgul Realness.

Thus I am not a famous Fatshion Blogger.

Also I'm really not into the idea that fat fashion must always be so aspirational and Fashiony. I am glad that for some folks it does need to be Fashiony and pretty, for me that isn't my jam. I honestly get tired of (like every other corner of FA in general) becoming all about the presentable white fat person who is pretty and nice.

That is not really my jam either.

For me when it comes to Fatshion, it's often a double edged thing. On one hand it does my heart good to see fat folks getting their Fashion on especially if it is a statement type thing.

That is why I joined Fatshionista on LJ years ago to begin with. I wanted to see lots of clothes on fat bodies of varying sorts.

And then Fatshionista just got kind of jerky for some reason. A lot of "critique" which seemed to me to be a thin means of just being assholes.

So I found others to follow.

And honestly if it's all just pretty pretty pretty PRETTY it's not for me.

I need more substance than squee about whatever line of clothing or shop.

So what am I actually saying?

I don't know.

I guess that at this point after all these years of blogging, I am seeing more and more why I am not more famous. When people ask me why I'm not it's a pretty easy answer.

I am not easy.

I am not an easily digestible blogger for lots of reasons. I am not White, I am not heterosexual, I am not all about the pretty, I'm not always nice and most of all I am unwilling to downplay any of those things to make anyone else comfortable.

So I wear my ads with pride.  Both Babeland and Detrivore chose me because they both like my space for different reasons and they are people I would throw all of my money at if I could.

All that said I do have some more fat fashion make it work blogging to do.

I recently purchased new boots and I am going to try to do a tutorial on how to with a friend or partner in crime, lace boots so they fit and show you some of my own tricks for getting lace up boots to fit over my calves.

I also have some notes about how I am navigating my anti pants stance, cold weather, AND oh shit I forgot to tell y'all about my fabulous coat.

I found my perfect full length (almost too long) black, non wool, hooded coat. At Value Village. It's a size 20 which is too big for me but doods, it cost me like 15$. And it still had tags on it.

So the COAT OF AWESOME (it is witchy and wonderful) is helping me wear fewer pants.

AND I also have something kind of really serious I want to share with you guys but I"m nervous about it so I'll be working up to it okay? Bear with me, it's kind of a thing and I'm not entirely sure about how to broach the subject without making myself crazy.

BUT I want to because it's a thing and I'm being cryptic so I'll stop.

Pardon me if this is all over the place. I have had the worst cold this week and am feeling not right.

But remember my homies and haters.

I love you.

ALSO I am working on a follow up to my self care guide. With more right to the point instructional type things. How to get into the habit of doing self care, some self care things you can do with your friends either in meat space OR on the internets.

Okay now I am so full of hot sauce laced pho I can't think.

Homo Out.





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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Things that are unhelpful.

I want to revisit the issue of not fat people thinking they are being helpful when in fact they are being pushy assholes.

Actually I want to broaden this to include people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental illness etc. All of us who are not normal.

Many of us have lots of problems. I'll use myself as an example.

I have been a chronic lifelong insomniac.

When I say chronic and lifelong understand that my sleep problems began in childhood and have been with me since.

Now, in these long (let's be generous) 30 years, when I say that I'm tired a lot of things happen. Perfectly nice people who believe that their own experience of not being able to sleep every now and then is analogous to my experience want to fix me and make me okay or as normal as they are.

One of the things that comes up over and over again is people telling me how much more exercise I need.

At one point I took that advice whole heartedly. I did what we'll call Soul Killing Exercise (which led to a problem I'll discuss another time) and what a lot of people could equate to things like that Insanity work out.

I did it religiously.

At one point as I was trying to unfuck my insomnia I was working out about 4 hours a day.

Add in that when I started I was fat and of course lost some weight people gave me lots of pats on the back. Despite numerous doctor visits and my own concern, no one told me to lay off.

And then shit happened. My insomnia got so bad I was hospitalized at one point. Someone on the street took me to an emergency room because I was wandering around not knowing where I was and hallucinating.

After I got out of the hospital and talked to my regular doctor, she was no help.

What I learned then and am experiencing to a degree now is that exercise after a certain point ramps up my insomnia to ridiculous levels. Beyond the other physical problems that were exacerbated, that was the worst. It got the point I was barely able to function.

When I tell people that, rather than backing off or giving me space to deal with myself they say, well did you try yoga/running/biking/hiking/waking up extra early to exercise etc.

Therein is the problem.

If in your eagerness to fix someone you don't take five seconds to shut your mouth and listen to them, you are being a jerk.

It's the same if someone tells you they are on medication for depression and you tell them to exercise/pray/drink unicorn pee because it totally cured you when you were down in the dumps, you are being a jerk.

Illnesses whether they are chronic, disabilities, mental etc are not the same for everyone. And if you felt shitty for a day, that is not the same as debilitating depression. If your back hurt for a while after you moved a couch, that is not the same as someone who has severe back problems.

Not all things are equal.

Not all bodies experience the same things the same way.

And most importantly, if someone has been dealing with something for a long time such as my insomnia, there is probably nothing you can say that we haven't already heard or tried.

Stop doing that.

Don't do that when it come to weight and health because frankly, like with any other issue with the body you don't know the whole story even if you shared a womb with someone.

This is a problem that cuts across everything.

People who want to believe that they are better equipped to live in my body than I am.

It doesn't matter if I'm talking about fat, racism, my insomnia, my other health problems.

I feel like it again comes around to this.

If after someone declines your advice, says that X thing does nothing for them and you stop what you're doing and listen to them you are on the right track.

If you keep insisting YOU HAVE THE MAGIC SOLUTION, you need to examine your motivations.

What I've found in my life is that deep down at the root of all of these things is a single problem.

If I am too different from you (the big you here, collectively) than it somehow makes your life less or my life less.

If someone can be fat and okay it must be a delusion if you can't be fat and okay.

If someone can't sleep and you can sleep, it must be trickery.

If someone is too depressed to rely on exercise for relief than, they are just weird and abnormal right?

No.

Here's the thing.

Diversity doesn't make your life and experience anything less or more.

You can live in your body and maybe learn that you don't have to ascribe to common ideas like fat is awful. You can live in your body and if you can't sleep do some yoga, drink some tea and be okay. That's okay.

It's okay and perfectly natural that not all of our bodies are well oiled machines that function perfectly with a certain diet or way of living.

Much as it would pain the diet industry and every other money grubbing so called "health" guru, there is no one magic answer to anything.

Especially when it comes to our health there are so many things that factor into it, no two people are ever going experience the same things. Stuff that can intersect with our health:


  1. Race
  2. Gender
  3. Genetics
  4. Economic situation
  5. Culture
  6. Access
  7. Work schedule
  8. Have you had babies out of your body?
  9. Allergies.
  10. Random crazyness that the human body can engage in without rhyme or reason.
  11. Tastes.
  12. Comfort levels
  13. Ideas
  14. Food preferences
  15. Religion 
etc etc etc.

If people are serious about the health of other people, they need to understand that the whole story of another human beings health is not written on their flesh.

Think about all the storied super healthy people who do things like die. They too can get cancer, they too can have health problems run in their families. Some of them will outlive all the rest of us because a lot of them have what many of us don't, money.

Think about the impact of things (and per usual I'm not doing your research for you) like simple basic health care.

I'm not talking about specialties etc. Just basic health care. For those with vaginas and/or breasts things like mammograms and papsmears.

What if, it was more shocking and more news worthy that doctors will refuse certain patients care regardless of what insurance they have, than it is that some people show up in emergency rooms with stage 4 cancer.

Why do we absolve the health care industry of responsibility about that? Why do we put the onus and blame on the person who can't afford or doesn't have access to the kind of care that might catch cancer before it becomes deadly?

Why do so many people just want to rail about all of us evil terrible fat people without thinking about the larger problems in our lives?

Why is it when people "confront" me about my fatness, they never ask me shit about my actual health? As I've pointed out before, no stranger ever walks up to me and asks me if I'm pooping regularly. No one walks up to me and asks if I've had a pap smear lately. No one ever asks me the intimate details about my period and yet they are comfortable telling me U GONNA DIE FATASS.

Why?

How is it that in spite of the numerous times I have asked openly and honestly for someone to explain this to me rationally without using ad hominem attacks or assume I'm about to drop dead of any number of obesity correlated illnesses, no one has EVER in the history of my blog taken me up on it?

If you are among the many who focuses all your "concern" at fat people, why can't you answer these questions rationally?

Here at the end, this is the ass end of the behavior I discussed above. Granted, when people are genuinely expressing care and concern to me it is easier to forgive their clumsy way of doing it.

If you do in fact care, learn to listen. Understand that maybe all the help the person you want to fix needs is some commiseration, a hug, a "shit that sounds awful is there anything I can do to help?"

It's really that easy.

So again I put it to you internet experts.

Tell me again, in rational terms why you don't seem to care about any other aspect of my personal health than my weight? 

Go ahead.

I'll wait.

Homo Out.





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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I don't eat to impress you.

Something that may or may not come as a total shock to some folks, I am a fatty who likes a variety of foods.

I also like to eat (when I can afford it) a lot of vegetables and stuff.

Lately when I have been left to my own devices to shop for lunches I buy stuff to snack on.

Here's the thing public.

I don't buy food to impress you, get brownie points, for pats on the back, for kudos or clucking tongues.

I buy food to eat when I am fucking hungry.

And I like food quite a lot and will buy what I have a taste for.

So when I buy my stand bys of sparkly water, a bell pepper and whatever entree I'm buying that because that is what I like to eat.

I don't know if I can adequately express how angry it is when people talk to me like I'm a toddler who just pooped in the big potty because I'm eating or am presumed to be about to eat a vegetable or other healthy item.

Similarly, don't talk down to me because I went to Wendy's the other day.

I am not five years old.

As a matter of fact let's talk about how I eat.

I have learned to listen to my body more closely. Sometimes I really need to eat way more than I do. I also am not always sure what will satiate me and keep my blood sugar up and how long I should wait between meals.

Shit is fucking complicated enough for me without any extra commentary from random ass people who seem to think that I'm not only Black but fat too and therefor obviously can't read nutritional information for myself.

No one on the planet needs strangers to walk up to them in the store and start yammering about diets, carbs and sugar.

Keep t to yourself unless I ask you.

While we're at it, I really don't appreciate it when I talk about a food, a brand, a store and someone feels the need to swoop in and educate me.

Look.

I don't have the time nor spoons nor resources to research and give provenance to everything I put in my mouth.

Here's the thing about that. I'm not wealthy, I can't always buy the best most awesome most ethical food all the time  because it's expensive. That's just how it is.

And I am not willing to not eat or eat way less than I do for a cause. I'm just not that is a hard limit for me. It bothers me that people want to vomit that type of information all over me and wait for me to make some big proclamation about how changed my life is.

The only time it's okay to do this is if you then provide me with the extra money for the most ethical most natural least offensive or evil foods ever.

When it comes to eating and food, the prescriptive attitude need to stop. You cannot dictate how other peoples bodies run no matter what food science or anything else says.

If your way of eating means that you research and eat as ethically as you can and grow your own food and don't eat anything with a face or whatever that's great. That's awesome and I applaud you.

What I don't applaud is if you decide that everyone must eat that way.

You eat the way that makes you feel the way you want to feel and I will do the same.

That's all for right now I have a bell pepper to eat.

Homo Out.
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Monday, November 05, 2012

Things I would like to exist.

I am not following up on my last post about feminism. I've gotten some private questions/comments/concerns and frankly to the people who sent them, fuck your feelings.

Here's my quick advice to the several of you who are so concerned about how much I was picking on the Nice White Ladies. Go find a woman of color who hasn't had the experiences I have for the last let's be stingy and say 20 years.

Find some naive Black girl like I was so long ago who was delighted to even be seen for a second by her White Peers. Find her.

I am not the fucking droids you are looking for.

Here's the thing I will say again (as I repeat at least monthly) I don't blog about the abstract, about theory or any shit like that. 90% of what I say about yes you Nice White Ladies comes from my direct lived experience. I don't give a shit if you took a diversity class or looked up the meaning of intersectionality. I don't give a tin shit if you think you have a handle on the meaning of word. I have a handle on my actual life which is as I've shown here over the years a continuing exercise in balancing my self preservation with the intersections of my life.

Moving on.

As I'm trying to get myself fixed up clothes wise for winter, I'm left wondering again where are the affordable plus size decent quality clothing?

I don't think they exist.

Also where are the winter appropriate things?

I'm talking about basics here.

Semi warm clothing that does not cost an arm and a leg?

First let's talk about Torrid.

Torrid is expensive, the quality is so iffy garment to garment.

Actually let me give you an example. A few years ago one of you wonderful readers bought me a pair of Dickie's pants from Torrid. When I got them they didn't fit at all, I put them away and now they fit. I don't know what that's about but here's the thing. Aside from the fact that I really like the fit now (the rise could be higher but whatever) they are really flimsy and I want to apologize to that reader who paid money for them.

After being stored, folded up and untouched I wore them once and one of the seams started coming unraveled. I know those pants were at least 50$ goddamn dollars and that is what you get.

Let's take a look at the pants I sort of want to buy. Torrid's Black Skinny jean made by Tripp. Once upon a time I was a huge Tripp lover. They used to make sturdy clothes I had no problem paying full price for. But being that these are the most affordable at the regular price of 48$ let me say this, no.

The other options run up to 100$ and frankly given their track record I would never pay that much for anything from Torrid ever. I have had too many things from cheap not expected to last tank tops to good looking slacks just disintegrate after not a lot of wear.

I won't even talk about their dismal line of thin sweaters that are also overpriced. I realize it doesn't get cold in LA but come on people really?

What are the other options.

Old Navy. Here's the thing with Old Navy and me. Most of their plus size items don't fit me properly. Those are things I need to try on but, of course Old Navy thinks it is just ever so hard to put plus sizes in stores so I can't do that.

Also for my body their straight sizing is also an enormous crapshoot. And their clothes are not warm, not very well made and don't last.

At least they are generally affordable.

Where else?

I don't even want to bother with Target. Frankly I never find plus sizes in my local Target unless they are close outs. There are so many plus size items with no size chart, a fact that I pointed out to them. After my initial email and their first response where they said of course there's size charts for everything (without a link to where I might find that) I said this:

Hello,
In the case where there is no size chart and no reviews how am I supposed to buy something that is unavailable in stores? I searched at least six or seven similar plus size items and there was no size chart to be seen. As a retailer I find it incredible to believe that offering even a generalized easy to find size chart is unreasonable. Due to this I will not be shopping online Target anymore and I will be warning other consumers. 
Here is what I got back:
hello Shannon,
Targe.com have a size chart. You can find the link to it next to the item’s size selection window. Just click on the link and it should help you with your sizing questions. We’re sorry, but not every item has a size chart available. We carry clothes from a number of different brands, and each brand has a unique approach to sizing. If you find a clothing or shoe item without the size chart described above, you can get an idea of how clothes measure up by checking the True to Size rating under What Other People Are Saying. You can also check out product reviews to learn even more.
I haven't bought anything online from them since.

Now of course there is the burgeoning Fat Couture.

Stores such as Domino Dollhouse and JIBRI are both very nice but frankly, there is no universe in which I can spend a third to half of my budget on a single dress or other item.

Poor fatties, we are pretty shit out of luck.

And honestly as much as I love so many Domino Dollhouse designs, I don't drive. I live in a place where it will be wet, rainy and cold until March. I am out in the elements for 4-6 hours daily, yeah that's not gonna work.

What makes the situation yet more painful at least for me is that I have a very particular aesthetic.

For instance I hate wearing blue jeans. I don't care if other people do, I just don't like to myself. BUT because I am just unable to find other sturdy not paper thin pants for decent prices, I am sad to say I'm going to spend a winter in more pants I hate because I just want to be warm.

So here I am.

I could buy one pair of expensive probably not so sturdy pants I marginally like or I could (again) buy a bunch of cheaper crap, layer like hell and pray I stay somewhat warm.

So retailers.

Here is some free advice.

I'm recalling the glory days of the late 90's/early 2K when I could take 50 or even 100$ and be able to buy sturdy things like pants and winter appropriate sweaters that would last more than one wear.

I am betting that the store who figures this out will win the love of the fatties who are poor. I'm talking about well made basics. Sturdy twill bootcut pants ( HI DICKIE'S I AM LOOKING AT YOU BASTARDS), how about some things that aren't all bedazzled on the ass and otherwise tricked out all to hell (to raise the price I guess) that those of us who don't want sparkly dazzly sequins on our asses can buy?

Also let me say again to indie people who print tshirts and whatnot.

Do not tell me that a mens xxl is just as good as the babydoll cut I ask about. I'd like to support your cause/art/band/whatever BUT if I say I do not want to wear a mens shirt, don't tell me to spend 35$ on your shit only to have to cut it up.

I turn it over to you readers.

My homies tell me what you're wishing for?

I'm going to sit here cold and wearing too many clothes for comfort.

Homo Out.



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