Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Can we just not?

So much is going on right now.

I want to talk about something Virgie Tovar said.

You know I’m always talking about  minority stress (and I’m going to talk about it ah-gain). It is a well-established body of theory in social psychology that convincingly posits that the daily stress of interpersonal discrimination – things like stares, micro-aggressions, as well as the perception or anticipation of these experiences – can lead to cardiovascular problems and shorter lives. If we know that stigma erodes at health and life, and that presumably more stigma causes greater harm, then one must call into question the AMA’s validity and reasoning in this matter.   
When I first heard about the AMA's decision this is what I was thinking about immediately.

One of the things I've seen some folks who believe that Obesity must be a disease in order for us to solve the supposed crisis saying, that if we fat people are immediately put into the diseased category we will get treated and therefore not be fat anymore.

I find this exhausting.

In America we have the most awful health care industry.

American health care is not the sort of thing that is at all egalitarian. It is ineffective and frankly deadly for a lot of the population.

In a world where American Health care was let's be super generous and say 10% more effective for everybody regardless of class, race, body size etc. The strategy of calling fatness itself (not the correlating disorders etc) without regard for metabolic health a bonafide disease one can be treated for, things might be okay. In that perfect world, you could go to the doctor as a fat person and say, doctor I'm fat and i just gained/lost weight rather suddenly and I am concerned.

In that beautiful perfect world the doctor would then follow the appropriate steps to make sure that you are okay.

Unfortunately that just doesn't happen for most fat people at all.

Beyond the problem that if one does not have good insurance nor money, medical care even for basics such as cancer screenings, pap smears, colonoscopies etc are just out of reach. We have the problems of medical professionals themselves.

Per usual I won't do your research for you but it takes only a short reading and casual search to find hundreds of people who are brave enough to talk about bad things that happen to them routinely at the hands of medical professionals.

Everything from decades of misdiagnosis because they are fat, people being so abused and harassed by doctors they are afraid to go and endure more abuse. Those people often are the ones we hear about who die of perfectly treatable conditions, they are the people we know who might have a slight limp that then turns into lifelong reduced mobility. These things happen at an astonishing rate.

Now right now I'm not talking about the letter or intent of the decision. I would like to believe (though I am skeptical) the AMA thinks they are doing the right thing.

But again the wrong thing is being focused on.

America has bought into the War on Obesity so whole heartedly, no one likes to talk about fat people. People. Not walking buckets of fatty diseases.

America has bought into it so hard that instead of us getting information like if you are fat or thin and sedentary, you are at risk of developing certain diseases.

America has bought into it so hard, many of our children are more afraid to be fat than they are of getting cancer, dying or losing their parents.

America has bought into it so hard that, no one questions the behavior of people when it comes to fat people. Fat people just existing, regardless of what they are doing (walking, wearing clothes, not wearing clothes, learning, etc etc) is basis for death threats, bullying, rape threats and more.

This decision by the AMA is not tackling these problems.

We all know that among the number 1 killers of humans is stress.

Why do none of the warriors against Obesity ever think that maybe the bullying, social stigma, inability to access decent medical care EVEN IF one has insurance/money, the constant barrage of negative messages, etc etc are a large part of why Obesity is even a "problem"?

Why are we not hearing about how many animals across the universe of Earth, can get fatter between generations without large changes in diet or exercise?

Why aren't the people who are so strident about fixing all the fat people, pointing those same angry fingers at the FDA? Or at the surgeons who perform hugely flawed weight loss surgeries?

Why is it that when the fact is that someone can be fat and metabolically healthy has been researched and found to be true (as with all science take with a grain of salt) people STILL cannot accept that a person has a fat body.

Why is it when a fat person says, my health status is personal and none of your business not one of the Anti Obesity patrol has enough decency to say, okay I will leave you alone.

Why is it that when fat people are misdiagnosed. Treated badly or not treated at all for the actual health problems they have, why aren't the Healthists all up in arms? Why are you more angry that I am in your assessment unhealthy rather than the idea that when I am trying to do things that healthy people do (as in seek medical treatment when I need it) I can't get treated?

I feel like this AMA decision was not made for the health care system we have.

This decision and whatever the subsequent fall out will be, this was not the right thing to do.

This is like saying that because many pregnant people have things going on that make their pregnancies high risk, therefore all pregnancies are now high risk.

Obesity itself, just the state of being a fat person is not a disease. It is not a problem.

There are problems correlated with obesity on a wide scale. Like all things that are correlations, these are not causations.

Which is to say that being fat will not cause a body to do X thing.

Some people are not okay being fat.

Whether they are just not okay with it on a personal comfort level or when it comes to their health.

That's fine.

What's more important than deciding that ALL OBESE people are suffering from THE OBESITY and must be medicalized, would be to decide that all people regardless of their size are entitled to good healthcare.

What's happening is not really about health. Again it just isn't.

It's about making money for the medical industrial complex. It's about making up yet another way for medical professionals to deny or mistreat fat patients for simply being fat. Or being fat with an opinion. Or being fat and being fairly healthy. Etc.

This is not okay.

This does not bode well for fat people nor does it bode well for any people.

Remember people who are not fat, you are not safe either.

There is a good possibility that those of you who are in the "safe" zone in the BMI might not be in two years. Not because your body changed but because the BMI changes when somebody farts and decides it should change.

You are not safe because I am not safe.

I urge you folks who are so anti fat to really seriously take a minute to forget the name calling and bullying and think about the kind of health care you would want for yourself or your loved ones.

Would you want care that is appropriate or care just because you are in a certain state?

I am very very worried y'all.

Homo Out.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When the little fatty runs right past you.

A thing happened today and while it was funny it shows a lot of why I talk about the things I do.

Today I had to run about half a block up a steep hill, around a bunch of people and across an intersection to catch a bus.

A thinner woman commented to me with lots of surprise that I wasn't winded.

I just looked at her until she changed seats.

Look thin people, people really into fitness etc here is some free advice.

Don't do that.

I'm going to give you a whole bunch of free advice that will help you be a less annoying human being.

Before we start understand that these are things that I have actually experienced. This isn't theory, this isn't a what if. This is from my life.

Let's go.

  1. Do not introduce yourself to people by criticising what you think is their lifestyle. Also under this umbrella is what you think they eat, how you think they do or don't exercise, etc etc. What you're doing is assumptive, rude and frankly is an asshole thing to do. You may think you're being helpful but, if you walk up to me and tell me all about how you are the One True Knower of all and have the One True Way to beauty, fitness, health and whatnot I'm going to tell you to fuck off. More so if you know nothing about me save for what you see. Because you know nothing about me.
  2. Do not act like you're the victim if you do the above and get told off. That is entitled behavior. Here's the thing. You are not entitled to having an opinion about how I feed myself or how anyone exercises. More so if you then turn around and bully, threaten or berate someone for not wanting your strange advice. Let's put that in a different context. Let us pretend that I hate freckles (I don't so don't get upset) and I see that you have freckles and I walk up to you, point at your face and say "I can help you heal from that and be beautiful!" Is that okay? No not really.I don't feel like I should explain why, if you can't figure it out you have personal work to do.
  3. Do not presume that what is good and awesome and what makes you happy in your body is going to be the thing that makes me feel good in my body. Don't proselytize about diets, whatever yoga you're doing etc to me. Can we talk about it? Sure. If we're talking bodies and happy would I like to hear about it from you? YES give me it. But do not beat me over the head with it. Think about it this way. No one likes it when other people batter at us with their religion. Why would we be into it when it comes to something equally as personal as health, diet and fitness?
  4. Do not use your own body shame to try and shame other people into feeling equally as awful as you do. That means, don't say to the fat person in a wonderful outfit, "wow you are so brave I could never do that." You may think you are being nice, you're not. It's a shitty thing to say and we don't want to hear it.
As with all things, if we're talking about fitness or health say whatever you want to. If I don't know you, you don't know me etc keep your opinions to yourself. Or tell people you know but don't try and engage me on that level.

If you do try to engage me on that level, don't expect to be treated like the Thinness Messiah for telling me to cut down on eating sugar or white food or meat or whatever.

One of the most wonderful super fit people I have ever known told me once when I tried to emulate her exercise and diet that, it wouldn't do for me what I wanted it to because it wasn't for me.

Who involved in health, fitness and wellness ever says that?

We are supposed to believe that X thing is a panacea for everything and everyone.

If we understand that yes we are all different, it's clear how much bullshit that is.

If you want to talk bodies with people who are bigger than you here's how you do it.

Think of a conversation laid out like a message board thread.

Keep it on topic, don't bust in all ass and elbows thinking you are the One True Knower of things. If you do behave that way, don't be surprised if people think you are trolling or just a gigantic douchebag.

Understand that there is literally nothing you can say to a fat person about their weight and how you think they should lose it that they haven't heard before. Nothing.

Don't use fatness as your go to metaphor for every bad thing under the sun. You may not think it matters but it does.

Don't walk into fat spaces and expect to be catered to.

Don't ignore Death Fat people or say shit like, "I believe in accepting your body up to-" nope. Stop. Hit the brakes.

Don't lie.

Don't pretend to be into bodily autonomy and acceptance and then think there is a cut off number of pounds a person can weight where they no longer get those things.


Now I am talking to you too fat folks.

Those of you new to FA don't say shitty things about thinner people. Don't say shitty things about Death Fat people. Just Don't.

That is a false means of buoying your self esteem and in the end it is as empty as every magazine message is.

If we as a group of humans on the planet are ever going to do something about skyrocketing numbers of eating disorders, misinformation, sizeism, the awful state of health care etc we need to at least agree on a few basic things.

  • Everyone is entitled to their own bodily autonomy. Fat people, Death Fat people, thin people, average people, able bodied people, Trans* people,  gender non conforming people, you know. People. 
  • People (all those mentioned above and more) don't deserve to be shamed or bullied about their bodies ever period. 
  • Neither you nor I are entitled to press our own personal habits on other people. 
  • None of us are ever going to be or feel okay unless we are given a modicum of respect and flat out are left alone.
  • We deserve health care that is not abusive or so classist/sizeist/racist we cannot bring ourselves to seek it out.
  • We deserve health care that is not suddenly sexualized because we may have vaginas or breasts.
If you are one of those people who is gung ho about fighting Obesity, how about we start with these things?

How about if instead of just wanting people not to be fat, you use that big beautiful brain for the good and talk about how yes even the fattest fat fat fat person ever deserves respectful health care. That person who is used as the medias headless, soulless inhuman Obesity Terror deserves not to fear seeking medical attention, deserves to go outside without being abused. 

If you cannot do even these basic things, you don't care about people, you don't care about bodies and you are a liar and need to deal with that.

For everyone else, sit down, buckle your safety belt and let's go.

Homo Out.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Welcome Bloop and other delights.


I posted this before I finished it,


Take two.

I am right  now in bed cuddled up with my brand new Chromebook whom I have dubbed Bloop the Mighty, I am wrapped in my leopard print snuggy, I have coconut milk to drink.

This reclining while writing thing is pretty amazing.

My aching knees are not cold, my back doesn't hurt. I'm not saving every thirty seconds in a paranoid fashion.

I've even made my first writing submissions from wee Bloop.

This is all just amazing and wonderful.

Thank you again K. Thank you so so much.

Now can we talk about something?

If you are bothered by talk about periods I bid you farewell because we need to talk about my period.

Once upon a time I thought periods were no big deal. I sneered and made fun of people who lamented about them or whined about being bed ridden with cramps,

And then I turned 30.

Holy fucking shit.

Since I turned 30 my periods first just got wild. It was like playing Russian Roulette with my uterus. Clots, heavy bleeding, light spotting for a full seven days.

And then a couple of years ago the pain settled in.

My already cranky knees get swollen and sore. Or for some reason things like my hips or hands or feet hurt.

What the real actual fuck?

Also I'm regular. As in I've been using a period tracker app and even though about twice a year my period moves backward through the calender, I'm regular. 25 (um really body? TWENTY FIVE DAY CYCLE WTF R U DOING) day cycle, and then the roll of the dice.

If I bleed lightly everything hurts. I mean from the back of my neck to my toes, my scalp is tender my tits hurt. It's just not okay.

Or I bleed like it's a race and my uterus will win.

And the eating.

Goodness. My body demands fuel for the bleeds and wow. I am never so constantly hungry for EVERYTHING.

I used to just have cravings. You know I'd want fries, or meat, or nothing.


I often joke that my uterus has found the fountain of youth. When I was a teenager (I started a bit late) I thought I was supposed to have PERIODS. I mean that in an absolutely all caps holy shit way. I was pretty disappointed I didn't have that and then I thought well, all the hype is just hype and went skipping through the proverbial meadow as we all who have periods do.

As I get older it amazes me just how much bullshit I totally thought was legit this is how it is type stuff. All because it's what doctors and the tv said.

I can admit it. I was a total asshole about period related pain. When friends would say they were curled up in the fetal position in bed with a heating pad and drugs and in tears, I called bullshit.

And now this.

This leads me to believe that I was right to start questioning what I thought was medical gospel.

Going by what doctors have told me I should be any of these things for various reasons from being fat to being fat AND Black at the same time:

  1. Dead of diabetes (presumed to be unamanaged)
  2. Dead because I just continued to gain ALL THE WEIGHT,
  3. So full of fat I shouldn't be able to walk, talk or breathe.
Etc etc,

When I lost so much weight in my 20s my doctors spent a lot of time alternately congratulating me and giving me dire warnings about regaining weight. As a teenager when I was doing high school activities like being a cheerleader (I know right? LOL) and being on the dance team, I complained then to a doctor about problems I was having with my knees.

I remember my knees swelling up, over time I lost a lot of flexibility and I was really scared.

Yes I was a little chubby and under that chubby along with that chubby I was athletic. I could dance. I wa a pretty good kicker, I was strong. 

My doctor told me I was just fat.

Said with a straight face by someone who was awsare that I passed a lot of my fitness tests with flying colors except for things like coordination, I wasn't (ever) a good runner even at my fittest. But yes I was strong with a good layer of fat.

So I didn't get treated.

I wonder now if I had gotten adequate treatment then and wasn't made to feel like I had to start engaging in what would become a pathological amount of exercise, if my relationship with my body wouldn't have taken so long to get to a good place?

What if, what if.

I can also look back and see where things got me all fucked up,

I fully believed that despite my ability to do sit ups and push ups and pull ups and splits and high kicks blablabla, I was just fat and unfit because I wasn't a sports type athlete.

Also (this may not be right) I was frequently feeling like the fattest fatty fat fat because I was in fact built a lot differently than most of my friends. I was bigger than them.  My perception of the inherent wrongness of my body (as most of us go through in adolescence) and the belief that if only I worked hard enough and did the right exercise I could change the shape of my body and eventually it would be acceptable and be a good body.

I also thought if I forced myself to run, eventually I would love it. 

I never did. I still don't.

What if I had learned back then that I don't have to force myself to run because someone else has a different standard for bodies than I do?

What if I'd been able to even tell my Mother that I was afraid that there was something really wrong with my knees and ask her for help talking to the doctor?

What if my then nascent and still unformed belief that all bodies are good bodies and that fat isn't the devil had been supported?

When I did read my first book that talked about being "fat" (I put it in quotes because the author harped a lot on how awful being a size 12 was and how gross it was and later I found out she lost a shitload of weight and referred to her former self as being know how it is) I was so excited.

Granted I thought if I could be a size 12 too (even back then I was around a 12/14) then maybe I too could radically accept my body.

Here's my point my friends,
This shit is really fucking hard.

Never forget that it is a process and there is no Super Fatty Benchmark of Fat Awesomeness,

None of us who you might look to for advice or wisdom about these things sprung forth from the womb knowing and understanding these things.

Shit some days I STILL don't totally get it,

It takes a lot of work and frequently going through a lot of bullshit to get a handle on body politics.

But here's the awesome part.

Every piece of information you ever needed about bodies, fatness, the politics, the academics, the science, the personal positions, HAES, mindful eating, why Real Women Have Curves type activism is terrible, about how intersectionality works and how to navigate it, how to be a good ally, how to not be a racist dickbag, how to talk about gender in an inclusive way and so much more is right here.

Dudes, DOOODS so much of that information is freaking free.

You have the googles. You have the facebooks. You have the twitters.

Unlike me you won't have to rely on interlibrary book loans, requests for books that nobody has ever heard of, you don't have to buy books unless you want to. Babes, it is all here.

My personal credo is that yes knowledge is power.

You can never know too much about how to navigate intersectionality, you can never know too much about the interactions between parallel and intersecting privileges.

It's so exciting,

And frankly, you can do it. I do not want to hear that it's too academic or that it's too hard. If this were ten years ago I'd buy that but not now because there is a diverse range of voices out there. You just have to do some work.


Fat acceptance, feminism, etc etc whatever you are doing takes work. It takes work and the sure knowledge that you do not yet know all the things. That even if you haev the masters of all masters degrees in something, there are going to be parts of it that you cannot speak to or from because it's just not a part of your life.

That's okay.

Remember you don't have to speak from all angles, I used to try and do that and frankly it drove me nuts. 

The flip side to that is that you must remember that just because something doesn't speak to your personal specific experience, no one is saying your experience is invalid. Nor is anyone ever saying your personal experience is more or less important than mine or another persons,

Experiences are often similar, often just the same and just as often completely different,

No one can create ALL their content tailored to you. That is a shitty position to be in so don't do it,

Right now my homies remember this.

I did not learn these things overnight. I didn't take classes, I don't have a degree, I am just a person who has had an interest in body politics and has talked about them for a very long time. I made the choice a long time ago, even before this little blog was born, before the Fatosphere was a thing, before I found Fatshionista, before I found the internet to learn this shit.

You can too if you want,

And I am very happy to be a part of your learning

Next week I want to talk about stuff that is difficult for me.i want to talk about figuring out some stuff with my health situation, how I am dealing with it and how I am self caring through it,

I love you my homies and haters.

Homo Out.


Monday, June 10, 2013

So eternally grateful.

So something so huge I can't even say how much it means to me happened today.

Someone bought me a laptop.

The chromebook I've been trying to save for and failing because of bills and food.

I've mentioned it but my desktop is on her last legs. I've had her for about ten years and we've been through me learning how to build a computer, rebuilds, hotswapping drives, me learning how to master windows xp, learning how to code HTML, two moves, three monitors, several video and audio cards. I've written thousands of words on her,  I've lost thousands of words on her.

I've been slowly moving files into google drive and working from there. Her dvd deck pooped itself so I haven't been able to burn off backups. It's been a thing.

And then this morning just after I got to work Uniballer said there was a mystery box. Neither of us had ordered anything recently so I told him to open it just in case it was something we needed to return and inside...

First Uniballer sent me an all caps holy shit call home right now message and I was afraid it was landlord business or something and he read me the note and I sat here at my desk at work fighting tears.

I'm fighting tears right now.

This is among the kindest most wonderful things anyone has done for me.

I guys.

I look back on the kindness of strangers over the years. Friends from the internet who bought me food when I didn't have any, the person who bought me pants that at the time were too small but now hilariously fit.

Donations to help me get some thing edited professionally.

All the people who bought my self care book (it's not available just now I am reworking it).

The people who have stuck around this here little spot even when shit is mean.

now this.

I have to be honest, I almost had a panic attack. Such depths of generosity aimed my way break me in the most wonderful way.

Sometimes life is full of bullshit and stress. Dealing with bullshit and microagressions and all the other bullshit that comes along with perambulating the earth in my body. 

And then this.

And you guys.

Homies you are why I'm still here. A big part of my reason for being and doing and writing is that it is important to me to feel like I am doing my part to make the universe a better place for those of us who are on the outside of things. And you all help me fulfill that need.

So before I start sobbing at my desk (seriously) 

Thank you.

Thank you K for believing in my writing and me and sending me the one thing I've been needing the most. A machine to work on safely. You have saved me so much worry and grief. I can't even express how thankful I am. 

Thank you readers. Yes you homies. Thank you for doing self care with me, and telling me how you are doing. I care about you and I want all of us to if not be okay to at least feel a little better. Thank you for coming here and even if you're shy, thank you for reading.

Thank you for being awesome and never making being here unpleasant.

Thank you for reminding me when I need to be nicer to myself.

Thank you.

Thank you for everything.

I love you.

Homo Out.

I am breaking one of my own rules and cross posting this at my writing blog. 


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

When you and your body aren't getting along.

Right this minute I am kind of (read really) pissed off at my body.

My body is doing shit I don't want it to do and I'm angry.

I'm still not sleeping well. My ears are draining and causing my throat to be sore. Things hurt that are not supposed to be hurting.

I am really not happy.

I want to go for a long walk because the nights are warm and nice. I do it and my knees swell up.

I want to dance and my muscles lock up and stiffen.

Again I'm reminded that the weight loss as a cure all for aching joints and other bodily problems is a lie.

I'm frustrated.

I'm having trouble conceptualizing what size of clothing to buy. A lot of the clothes I saved for and bought during the fall to wear this summer don't fit right.

It is not awesome.

I am also living an object lesson.

Right now I can't be mean to myself.

Even though I'm entirely done with how my body is behaving and reacting to everything right now, I am trying really hard to self care.

I make sure I'm taking my vitamins and drinking water.

I am in the fuckin' trenches right now y'all.

My natural instinct at this point tells me that it doesn't matter. Fuck what my body has to say about it and I will do ALL the shit I want. I will walk that mile and a half fuck the consequences. Fuck taking my vitamins. Fuck drinking water I can survive on energy drinks and candy.

Being that my natural instinct leads me to fuck it all I am actively making myself slow down and just not.

I look at myself and say can you just not?

Come on bro *yes I call myself bro* just don't. You know this will not end well. Walk but not that far. Take your vitamins. Fix your eyebrows. Put some lotion on your ashy fucking feet.

I am having this talk with myself every damn day.

The lesson here is that yes, even I who am the Self Caring Like a Mother Fucker Matriarch, has trouble with it.

Sometimes I can't do anything beyond having a snack.

Other days I'm really doing it. I pack a good lunch, I feel cute, I have on my new shoes that don't hurt my feet. I walk but not so far that I'm limping by the time I get home. I take an awesome bath, I have a dinner.

But it's not as consistent as you might think.

As I've told you my friends. Sometimes this shit is really fucking hard.

I'm not immune to tripping up or falling down.

When you think you're failing, you're probably fine. IF not fine, you're not an awful person if you can't do it every day.

The good news is that while it is very stressful to think you are failing at yet another thing, understand that this thing is very easily fixable.

When you feel like you're failing at self care go get a drink of water. Stretch some part of your body until it feels really good. Put lotion on your feet. Put on some chapstick and bang bam boom you're doing it,.

Take a deep breath.

Remember that you and I are human.

We are fragile, breakable, mercurial, we smell bad sometimes and sometimes we can be absolute dickbags to ourselves.

And it's okay.

No really. Regardless of what the voice in your head says or what your Mom said or what anyone else said.

The wonderful and awful thing about you and me and everyone else is that we're human and we do a lot of shit that isn't awesome.

Sometimes that means we have to apologize to others and often we have to apologize to ourselves.

So here is me apologizing to myself.

Hello Self,
Bro I'm sorry I've been such an asshole. I know there are things going on that you can't help or do anything about and I shouldn't be such a bitch about it. I'm trying to stop that. So let's make up. Tonight some eyebrow beautification and shit.
Love Me

What else am I doing to support my self care needs this week?

I am wearing cute clothes. I don't give a fuck. For instance today I'm wearing a two shades of purple satiny skirt that was the bottom half of some kind of fugly formal thing I thrifted.

I am using my lip scrub to get rid of some dead skin and discoloration in the corners of my mouth.

I'm drinking hot things to sooth my throat.

I'm eating food. Granted I haven't been eating super good food but it is food so that is good.

NOw that's all for right now.

Beatfreak how are you doing sugar?

Also the rest of you how is your self care happening or not happening? Do you need some ideas?

HOmo Out.


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