Sunday, April 27, 2014

Help for our Homie B re: physical affection and stuff.

Today my darlings we have a homie who needs our advice.

B says this:

Hello, as from the "nutshell", I have no idea how to show physical affection. I'm going to be coming down from school to see my girlfriend since I'm going back to my homestate permanantly, and although she seems enthralled in how I treat her with my words, I'm not sure my actions can do the same. Plain and simple, I'm awkward. I've never kissed a girl, nor have I done the do (don't plan on it for some time though), but I have no idea how to show physical affection, at all. My motor skills are still kinda crummy from Asperger's and I don't want her to feel she has to compensate for my inability to correctly cuddle, or kiss, or anything that couples do. May I please have some advice on the subject, as well as other ways to show affection? I'm not sure on what's considered "good" or not, since I always worry if she might not like it, and I feel I can't ask because I'm expected to know?

First thing my darling friend is that there is no right way to do physical affection except to get consent.

So first things first, when you are ready ask your girl if you can give them a hug and then open your arms, wait for your bodies to get close and squeeze.

BOOM you did it.

What makes cuddling great is that there is no right way for it to be done. How you and your gf cuddle will depend on how your two awesome bodies connect.

What will make the difference for you and your partner is learning your intimate language. You are ahead of the game, your gf already loves how your words make her feel. That is like a +10 HP. You are doing awesome. You can say, GF I would like to hold your hand, let me know if I'm doing it the way you like.

While you two are in close physical proximity use your words. We'll pretend like I'm your gf and here is a starter convo you can have.

You: I would love to cuddle with you on the couch.

Me: YES let's do it.

Now this is the point where you learn each others bodies, your partner will learn how your motor skills work and you two can squirm around like fussy cats until it feels good.

And if one of you falls off the couch or accidentally hit each other,be embarrassed. The silly whoops things are in my opinion what makes relationships great. It's not serious business, you can laugh at each other because D'OH that was somebody's boob or somebody's foot fell asleep.

There is no shame in learning each other, that is how we build intimacy between us and the right way for the two of you will be your own special way and your own special intimacy.

So relax. You are going to do just fine.

Next kisses.

I know that people always think that a "good" kiss is all smooth and perfect but they really aren't.

You are probably going to bump noses, miss the mark and that is perfect that is great.

Kisses like cuddles and other physical affection doesn't happen smoothly even in the most experienced of us. Don't worry about if it's weird or maybe you miss their mouth on the first shot. This is another moment where you can know that it's okay if it's funny or silly.

The important thing I want to keep stressing to you B is that you are great. You are awesome and your GF thinks you are the bees knees. Everything else will fall into place not because you know the right way but because you are you, she is her and together you two are going to be great.

For every physical relationship there is an adjustment period. For instance.

I don't particularly like to be cuddled and held. I prefer to be rubbed and that took adjustment when my partner got together all those years ago. He had to learn how I like my butt rubbed, I learned where to rub his back or when he needs it scratched.

At first of course we talked about it, and now years later often it is just second nature.

No relationship starts off with perfect movie kisses and cuddles and junk. I just don't believe it.

Getting to know each other's bodies and movements is to me part of the joy in knowing another human.

And you my darling are yards ahead of where I feel like you think you are.

In your note I think you show that you are not only ready but you are going to be great because you are thinking about this stuff.

And let me tell you, you are not expected to know another person's body. You are smart and awesome but you are not a mind reader.

Start your relationship on a good foot by establishing some dialogue about important things like touching, your needs, her needs. That is vitally important. A lot of people don't think it is but, part of trusting your partner is talking to them about stuff that is kid of embarrassing but will serve you both in the long run.

It is not just okay, it is fantastic to say to your partner. Hey, I m new at this part so let's talk about it.

If your gf is more experienced than you, it is perfectly okay to ask her to take the lead and show you what she likes and what makes her comfortable. And you can work it out from there.

I know you are nervous and probably scared and that is okay. That is normal.

And as for her compensating here's the thing.

That is part of life regardless of how our bodies function.

For instance.

My partner Uniballer is disabled. He has some mobility issues.

When we walk together I slow down and often we take easier routes. I check n on him.

Not because I feel like I need to compensate for his inabilities but because I care about him and he is my partner. That is what you do for people you care about. Frankly, if that becomes an issue with your GF that is her issue not yours.

From the way you worded your note, I'm going to guess someone has given you the impression that your needs are somehow out of line.

They are not.

When somebody loves you, they need to love all the things that make you who you are including your motor skills. That is what we do when we are in relationships.

I will use myself and Uniballer as an example again.

Sometimes I have problems with my balance and I have really bad vision. There are times when he has had to hold me up, or take my arm to help keep me from falling. Sometimes (okay a lot) I twitch or flail and drop things. I've broken every single glass I've ever owned, we have two bowls because I've broken the rest and he has had to give up and be mindful of not buying anything in glass jars because I will probably break it.

 Now I have had partners who had no patience to deal with these things or behaved like they were going above and beyond in dealing with them.

Notice I am not with them anymore.

To be with me, one must accept that my body does not always function in what society would call a normal way.

To deny or ignore that is to deny and ignore the totality of what makes a Shannon a Shannon.

That means you too.

You are not incorrect or about to do anything badly. You are perfect B. You are so great, someone wants you in their life with your motor skills and inexperience and all.

So now I want you to take a deep breath.

Let it out.

Listen to me.

Ready?

B you are ready to be a loving and awesome partner.

B you are ready to learn how to do physical affection with your partner.

For some other quick tips.

As you get to know each other physically, remember it is okay to ask. It is great to talk about your needs and those of your partner.

Laugh, cause thi isn't serious business. You can laugh with and at each other because well sometimes stuff is just funny and laughter is a pretty great tension breaker.

You are not doing it wrong. You just haven't yet figured out what works for you and your gf and that is totally okay. That is how humans work.

You are with your impaired motor skills just fine. You are worth geting to know how to work physical affection with.

Understand this B.

When a person cares for you, it is natural to adjust. That is life. That is how any relationship works when it is working well.

We see our partner or friend or kidlet has a need, we work with it.

That is not just good it is great and a good foundation to build a great relationship on.

We understand each other's needs and we talk about them even if they are weird or we may feel like we're asking for too much.

You are not too much you are just right.

I know I'm repeating myself but it is vitally important that I feel like I've let you know B that it's not necessarily the mechanical how of physical intimacy (from holding hands to doing the thing) are done but how we approach them in terms of consent and open communication about what we need.

Let's look at it in the long term for a moment.

Let me tell you another Uniballer/Shannon story.

A few years ago I got a terrible intestinal virus or something.

I got up to to go work, almost fainted and had to crawl to Uniballer to wake him up because I was panicking because I felt so strange.

Then not only was I barfing but I pooped a little on the bathroom floor.

I managed to call into work an then I laid in the hall outside the bathroom crying and when Uniballer checked on me I looked up t him, in tears and said.

"OH GOD I POOPED ON THE FLOOR."

And burst into tears anew.

He wiped up the poo, made sure I had called into work. Helped me wipe my butt and put me back to bed.

I was terribly embarassed once I sort of came to my senses.

He laughed and gave me water.

I tell y'all this to illustrate the point that, part of partnering with other people means sometimes you have to accept their poop.

Both literally and metaphorically.

So remember B.

This is a part of a greater thing. Not only will you two have some time to get to know each other's bodies but you will learn how to communicate your needs with each other and you get to cuddle and stuff.

NOW we do something great. I turn it over to the smartest people on the internet.

I know somebody out there also has Asperger's so if you do too, please feel free to chime in with your advice.

Everybody else, come on. Help our homie B out and B, my friend please feel free to report back.

Bring your GF too if you like. I am super ready to crowd source support for you two.

How is everybody else doing?

I am so close to finishing V2.0 of the self care guide. So close y'all.

Unfortunately I will have to charge 6$ rather than 5. It is just so much work.

Also I am working on possibly (if I sell well enough) doing some special print edition packages.

And I am working on designing some merch.

Some other stuff has been hard but I am working it out.

If you'd like some news on my other writing I was interviewed which you can see here. And as always you can check out my etsy store for cheap literary entertainment.

Now my homies I need some tea and to get back to work.

Homo Out.




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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Come on Anons. Get it together.

One of the responses is this to my last entry, read that here.

I fully agree with this blog and the important message it sends. That being said, educating the general public/creating awareness that decreases discrimination against fat people might go a little better without the intense judgmental attitude (don't lie, you all got lot's of pleasure out of this person being torn into about their negative views) this is understandable since ppl who shame fat ppl really suck. But, how many of the ppl you are truly trying to reach with respond to this blog positively and change their views? I believe you are fact just "preaching to the choir" on this one....


Ahem.

First of all Anon let me tell you a thing.

No I was not nice.

And yes I will in fact judge the hell out of anyone who thinks it is okay to shame, abuse or otherwise mistreat a "friend" simply because of the size of their ass.

I am not friendly with abusers on any level.

It is not okay and it does in fact merit strong language and yes serious judgement because it is not okay behavior. It is so beyond not okay.

Also I am going to assume you are new so let me break it down.

I do not play at tone policing nor do I play at respectability politics.

If you tell me that if only I am a nice fat ass (or a nice Black lady) people would listen, I will tell you in return that 37 years of experience tells me otherwise.

Since you are probably new let me direct you here.

I have been doing this for a long time and if you can't be bothered to read the entries I've linked let me give you the short version.

I spent years, especially at the start of my various activism when I was about 14, being super nice. I was polite. I was quiet. I asked people not to be anti Black around me, or homophobic, or sizeist very nicely.

When I first started blogging and talking online about social justice flavored things I was super nice. I used my skills to be open and understanding, I took the high road.

Guess where it got me?

Nowhere and nothing.

Matter of fact, at one point I was ready to give up doing anything social justice flavored because when I expended so much energy to be nice to abusers, I got death threats. I gt rape threats.

Now anon, here is the thing.

By telling me if I was just a nice fatty, more people would change their mind you are discounting the work I do, you are basically telling me to grin and bear it.

If I was talking about say street harassment would you tell me to smile because the man calling me a fat bitch and trying to get me into the car is just trying to be friends?

I would hope not.

Moving along.

Frankly your assumption that my no bullshit (frankly I was not really mean I was not putting up with bullshit and am assertive about it, totally different thing) attitude actually has garnered quite a bit.

I have gotten notes, messages, comments telling me that yes I have changed minds while not kissing abuser ass.

If you'd like to know, the entry you commented on (as with other of my no nonsense I am not taking shit type entries) are generally the most widely read.

I have a core readership of about 300 or so. Not a huge amount but more than I had when I made the extra effort to be real gentle about my responses to such things.

On the days when I'm extra assertive about my personal boundaries or other tom foolery, my "new" as in not the choir readership tends to reach up to about 3-4K.

And normally after a swell like that, a few hundred keep coming back.

Here's the thing anon.

Being critical and blunt about an issue does not negate what I have to say.

Educating is not analogous to holding the hands of people who are adults and telling them, oh come on shmoopy just be nice.

It isn't about just being nice.

It is about not taking part in an abusive culture.

It is about not being an abusive douchebag to someone one claims to care for and who is already on society's shitlist.

And I will let you in on a secret as well.

I have been that fat friend.

I had "friends" who tried to "fool" me into eating in a manner they thought was healthy.

I had "friends" who would purposefully shame me by giving me too small clothes or telling me if I just lost those last ten pounds I'd be SOOOOOOOOOO PRETTY.

You know how not okay that is?

When I was a child, I grinned and bore it. I kept the too small clothes. I exercised more. I wore baggy clothing so my thin friends wouldn't be subjected to my fat ass.

When I got up the courage to tell my "friends" that they were hurting me guess what happened?

They said that if I tried harder I could lose weight.

I cried to them.

I begged.

Eventually I just hid away because I was being emotionally abused and had nowhere to turn. I am old as fuck and back then I had no FA. I had no other teenage fatty's to turn to for advice.

Nobody stuck up for me and my body.

Nobody put their foot down and said NO MORE.

No one.

Do you know what it would have been like for me had anyone, someone put their foot down and was assertive about how not okay my "friends" behavior was?

And let me assure you.

I get no pleasure out of having to tell a grown ass person not to abuse someone they supposedly care about.

I get no pleasure having to tell people over and over again that their apparent concern is not what they are putting forth.

I get no pleasure knowing that out there somewhere there is some fat person who has that asshole constantly grilling them about their food intake, their exercise and doing fuck all to really be of help or support.

I get no pleasure out of knowing that if you polled my hardcore readers (Beatfreak and the like who have been here with me for years) they would probably say they were once that fat friend too and it is awful.

I get no pleasure knowing that this fat person out there probably has no support system in place so if they would like to work on their health or fitness, they have people around them who won't "support" them into disordered habits.

I get no pleasure knowing that the "care" the person who sent me the original note consists of abusive and manipulative behavior and the fact that they fully believe it is okay to do that because their friend is fat.

What is wrong with you Anon?

Do you think it feels good to me to know, and I mean know intimately what that experience is like and only having the recourse of trying like hell to stop it from afar?

Do you think it feels good to me that I can't reach out to that fat person, hug them and tell them that no, not everyone is going to treat them that way and that they don't deserve to be treated that way?

I sat on that note for a month.

I spent days thinking about that fat person and wanting to really help them. I wanted to show them beautiful fat sized clothes and photos of beautiful happy fat people and tell them, hey you can get there.

But what's important here is the abusers feelings right?

Since you don't know me Anon let me tell you a thing.

The reason I am assertive, the reason I am passionate and angry is because I care very very deeply for my fellow human beings.

It is hugely important to me that for (at this point a lot of people and yes I am bragging) some people, my anger helps them see some shit clearly.

It is immensely gratifying to me when someone sends me an anonymous note telling me they bookmarked a particular entry ad read it when they are sad.

It fuels me when someone tells me that they needed to hear something, yes even if it is in your words judgemental, because it is important.

Now before you suggest to anyone else ever that if only they were nicer, I suggest googling respectability politics and tone policing and why it is not okay and not effective.

Also frankly I am not for everyone and that is fine.

I don't need internet fame so bad that I would make my work palatable to everyone. That is just not my jam.

If my style or attitude is too raw for your taste there are eleventy billion other blogs to read. There are a ton of other fat blogs to read.


I am dead serious about these things and if you can't dig it, that's okay.

Now, in other news Beatfreak I am thinking about you for reasons.

Also I am dedicating one of the chapters in V2.0 to you Beatfreak. For reasons.

How is everyone?

Has spring happened where you are?

OH I have an update from our Wheelie Homie from this  entry.

I have a whole entry planned for that because we need to talk about making it work when we can't afford brand new clothes and I want to do some stuff for my Fat Dudes and Other masculine style homies.

Okay I'm off.

Homo Out.
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

No. Just Stop.

Someone sent me a note asking me how to "help" a fat person without shaming them.

Ahem.

Okay anonymous person I'm going in on you today so put your hard hat on.

First problem.

Did that person ask for your help? Did they ask you to help them move? Pay for a gym membership? Tell them your Thin and Perfectly fit all the time with the most miraculous diet lifestyle secrets?

I'm guessing no.

Look.

In your note you mention that you've read my blog for "a long time" and "are a big fan" if you were you would have seen me talk about this sort of thing time and again.

If the person you're talking about is just fat, what are you helping them with? Are you helping them eat well? Are you telling their doctors to treat them fairly? Are you walking around defending them from street harassment? Are you telling retailers you shop at where your fine tiny ass is covered well, to provide clothing for your fat friend?

Or do you just not want them to be fat anymore?

I am not posting the note you sent me here because I feel like it is insulting, condescending and would probably trigger the shit out of people.

Let me tell you why anonymous.

Your language was dripping with the same kind of pseudo-encouragement fat people get everywhere. You come off like you think you are so nice talking about how pretty your friend is while you are saying they cannot really be happy or pretty because they are as you put it "still fat".

The implication is the same as when people say to fat people:

You'd be so pretty if you lost weight.
You should try black, it's slimming.
WOW you are so brave for wearing that.

Look, you are being an asshole.

You though you profess how much you care about your fat friend, you didn't once mention that you are concerned for their entire health. You made the assumption that your friend is depressed because they are fat, that they are unwell because they are fat. You gave not one impression or seeming though to the fact that they might have other health problems. You did not mention that maybe you are contributing to their malaise with your "encouragement".

So how about fuck you and your concern.

What you are doing is deciding that the "health" of this person is only wrapped up in the size of their ass and if their ass was smaller BOOM they would magically be healthy.

What you are doing is deciding that since your friend is visually unappealing to you, the only answer is that they change their body.

You have shunted the responsibility to make you comfortable onto that person's body.

Rather than being honest and forthright as you claim you are, you are doing the same sneaky abusive bullshit the rest of society does. Instead of outright letting your fat hate flag fly.

You do not "trick" a grown ass person into exercising by luring them outside to go for some bullshit walk with you.

If you wanted to really be helpful to your "friend" here is what you'd do instead.

You'd say, hey friend it is really beautiful out today would you like to go for a walk with me?

If you cared about their health you would never try to fool them into your idea of healthful eatng.

You would not give them clothing that is too small as a "motivation" to lose weight.

You are just like everyone else.

Your concern is a lie.

If you want to really help your fat friend send them links to fat acceptance blogs. Don't try to guilt, "motivate' or otherwise fuck with them about exercise or food ever.

If you want nothing more in the world than for your fried to be healthy and happy, scheming to treat them in an abusive manner would not occur to you.

You would advocate for fat people to get good treatment by medical professionals.

You would speak up when people shame fat people.

You would not behave as you are.

So stop it immediately or come out and tell your friend that you really just want them to have a smaller ass. And after that, you would in fact leave them alone.


Furthermore, I'm going to guess your friend isn't as vocal as I am so let me speak for them for a moment.

Fuck you, fuck your faux concern and how about you shove your opinions about their ass right up your own.

Also a note for future anonymous people.

I am not obligated to be nice to you. I will read you to filth if you contact me with bullshit like this again.

So for the rest of my homies.

My contact things are really fucking full and there was a message about books I cannot find now. You know who you are could you send me your email address again please?

Okay my darlings I am off back to work on the self care V2.0 book.

I am on chapter 8 and on schedule to release it at the end of the month or the start of next month.

Homo Out.


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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Truth Will Out.

There is a person out there who, for the last few months has taken time to message me constantly across lots of social media imploring me to "come clean" about how my unintentional weight loss has miraculously changed my life.

Ahem.

So let me come clean and tell everyone about the miracles losing some pants sizes has created in my life.

#1.

My ass no longer fills out the ass parts of my pants. We all know that I long for a bigger rounder booty. At a size 16/18 I had a little bit of booty. When I walked I could feel it do that bounce jiggle thing and it made me very happy.

#2

My stomach looks weird to me. So do a few other parts of my body where my skin has not quite bounced back yet. People who have lost way more weight than I did can probably attest to that moment when you're just like, okay well fuck me running I have these hangy bits of empty skin and wtf do I do with them?

One of the things few people talk about when it comes to major weight loss is that your body will do some really strange things. If you can't afford something like a full body lift at some point you're just left with all this skin to deal with and nothing to do with it. It can be really traumatic.

Personally, I'd rather just be fat and fill my skin.

#3

Here is a big one are y'all ready?

Health.

I know that the lovingly held notion is that if you work hard, and eat less and everything, lose weight and stuff that you are bam HEALTHY.

The going anti wisdom is that when one loses any amount of weight, that everything will become great and golden. You will be physically healthy, you won't be a fat miserable asshole and you'll get to go to Paris or spin in meadows or whatever the diet commercials tell us.

When we lose any amount of weight for any reason, the expectation is joy. It is expected that yes even if we have cancer or got in a car wreck or just had a baby or changed something in our lives, or shit just happened- we are supposed to have the Glorious World of Thinness open up to us.

Here is the problem.

As many fat and formerly fat people will tell you, health isn't magic. It isn't only about your weight. Nor is it an either or binary thing.

Health is a multi-faceted very complicated very personal thing. How fat your ass is, won't necessarily make or break your entire health.

The other thing is that frankly, for a lot of people who lose a lot of weight it is just traumatic.

I'm talking about everything from feeling like your body isn't the body you know and having conflicting feelings about the praise you get vs how you really feel.

There is so much pressure to have the fat to thin redemption story, especially for women in general that there is little room for people to explore and talk about the reailties of weight loss.

People believe that all of a sudden, especially if you were deathfat and have become thin that you will be happy and able to navigate things like thin privilege without any backlash or potentially crappy feelings.

There is little room for people to process the real deal situation of finding yourself perambulating around the universe in essentially a body you have no idea how to operate in.

My point here, person who thinks I am hiding the truth about how I really feel about my weightloss and the miracle it has brought to my life, is that frankly shit is fucking hard.

For me personally not having my ass the size it was has been stressful. I have had to relearn how to buy clothes. My favorite pairs of make my ass look fantastic pants don't fit.

I am dealing with feeling and sometimes being told that I can't be a fat blogger anymore because I'm not all that fat. That shit hurts.

I am dealing with people like you who rather than listening to what I am really saying, only want me to reinforce the narrative that makes you feel comfortable.

I am dealing with the failure of medical professionals to care for me beyond telling me to be careful not to regain weight and to keep going.

I am dealing with relearning how to use my degree of thin privilege in a manner that is not destructive to fat acceptance, fat people and my personal sense of ethics.

I am dealing with the fact that people like you and some others who have contacted me, cannot understand or comprehend that beyond the size of my personal ass, I have not changed my mind about fatness.

I still do not believe that anyone in a certain BMI range regardless of anything else should be medicalized.

I do not believe that the only treatment for anything if you are fat, is to lose weight.

I do not believe that it is right or smart for clothing retailers to make it so difficult for fat people to clothe themselves.

I do not believe that body size is a moral issue.

I do not believe that my personal health or yours is the business of any other person.

I do not believe that only thin people can be or are fit or healthy.

I do not believe that a person has to be healthy in order to be respected as a human being.

I do not believe that the way to "treat/deal with obesity" is to bully, harass, legislate or otherwise involve myself or the government in people's lives.

I do not believe that it is in the best interest of humanity to abuse fat people because they are fat.

I do not believe that it should be tolerated that size based discrimination is thought to be part of the "solution".

I do not believe that shaming children into not being fat teens or adults is okay.

Here is what I do believe.

Weight loss is personal. For me personally, in my little slice of the universe it has been more problems than it is worth.

I would have preferred to stay the size I was.

For you? I dunno, maybe it is great and that is awesome.

I will not say unequivocally that no one should lose weight ever.

I will say that we need to stop forcing the Magical Weight loss Miracle narrative onto every experience.

The thing is, human experiences are diverse. That is how it is supposed to be. Different does not equal wrong or false it is just different.

Changing your body in any way means there is going to be a learning curve.

Some people will have a great and easy time and wind up as the gleeful after picture from a diet ad.

A lot of people will not.

I believe that in order for us to really start doing some damage to the diet/weight loss as moral redemption narrative we are all constantly subjected to, we need to listen to what people have to say about it even if it goes again our personal body politics.

If we don't listen to the real experiences of people who have done the thing, how can we ever combat the bullshit?

With that my homies and haters I don't want to talk further about the fluctuating size of my ass. It stresses me out and thinking about it upsets me.

In other news, I am hard at work on the new and improved self care book. It is V2.0 and we are GOING IN. It is for you. It is for me. It is for your Mom and everyone else.

Here is a tidbit:

Taking care of our bodies in this manner is not a moral attribute. It is simply because we deserve to survive and not be full of total misery.

And as I will say over and over again, regardless of how we are living in our bodies right this instant, we deserve to have them run as well as we can help them to.

Full. Stop.
~

To get a bigger taste if you have 2$ you can head over to my etsy shop and pick up my new essay on why I don't self identify as a feminist.

If that is not your jam there are some stories in there as well.

So now go forth my homies. I have work to do.

Homo Out.


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