I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Knee Pain with Cinder Ernst

When I tell you I’m lucky I mean I am one lucky gal indeed! This past weekend I got to meet with none other than Cinder Ernst for a very special one on one session at her home (apply here Wow! Y’all know I’ve been struggling with this silly knee injury for ages and with rehearsals for an upcoming dance performance beginning soon I wanted to start off on the right…knee! Ha-ha!
I won’t lie, I woke up after a very short night of sleep (out late the night before at my Beloved Raven’s for her b-day! Woot!) and was so not ready to be up and out in the world. But get up and out I did! I even looked cute, if I do say so myself. ;) Cinder was ready for me and welcomed me right away with a big smile. She’s the best! I hadn’t seen her since she spoke at last year’s Fatty Affair (still seeking a suitable venue for the next one, so hit me up if you’ve got info) but I’ve tried to keep up with all of her events and goings on. She is a busy lady! And for good reason, I say. No one is more caring and compassionate about knee pain. She really listens and asks questions and wants to be sure that you understand the exercises and how certain sitting/standing/laying positions can cause more problems.
My size, weight, ability or health status were not mentioned once, she simply asked what I wanted to get out of our session together. I explained to her about my upcoming rehearsals and the pain and struggle I went through with them last year. She told me how she just started to get into boxing and how it’s helped her. Sounds fun! But we went through my thoughts and feelings and experiences with this knee injury and I was surprised to hear that my suspicions about it were mirrored by her…an expert! Yeah! I was glad because I always feel like I’m coo-coo bananas about my suspicions. She agreed that my tighter-than-a-banjo hamstrings might be the cause of my 2.5 years of knee pain. I always feel like I can’t stretch them enough! She also surprised me with some tips for my commute! I love that! I do spend a good chunk of time in the car each morning and night, so this was just bonus awesomeness!
We went through sitting exercises and she explained to me how my usual way of stretching by flopping over in half and touching the ground and then stretching my hands outward more and more as I stretch is actually not the best since it forces all of my weight to hang off my spine. Oops! I’m learning!!! She offered some suggestions on how to achieve the same stretch without putting addition strain on my spine. She even offered modified ways to stretch areas I wasn’t stretching which will help support my knees. I loved that! I forget that the upper leg muscles support the knee ones, but even when you think about the anatomy we often forget how it can relate to or feel for us in our own bodies.
I will say this here time and again and to myself, be kind, always. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your body and all of it’s parts. Be kind to others, you don’t know what they’ve been through or living with. When we are young we don’t think about the impact our current actions may have on our future, older, bodies. We accumulate wear and tear ya know? We spend so much of our lives in chairs and beds, it’s so important to develop habits that will support us now and later. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Cinder and her expertise and care. Now, back to my “butt bouncers!” ;)

Family Crap Sucks


What an exhausting weekend! I wish it was in the “ohmyglob I partied all weekend” sort of way, but it’s not. I’m physically and emotionally spent and it’s Monday and work is nuts, too. Saturday was spent with my favorite boy and a stop at Torrid along with getting to see The Gran Budapest Hotel (awesome Wes Anderson movie). Sunday was an emotional mess for me. I started out that way and it only got worse for the most part.

We took the pugs to the dog park (#PugLife) and it was super fun, but I knew what was ahead and I had a hard time being present when all I wanted to do was go home and hide/cry. Family shit! Ugh! I hadn’t seen my little brother since 2009 (aprox.) though he only lives thirty miles north of me. I’ve written here before about my bro and I talk to him several times a week on the phone. So we’d planned to have lunch and I wanted to surprise him with a trip to Game Stop. The parents were out of town and so he felt it was easier/safer to plan to hang out this weekend.
Then he called me Saturday afternoon to say that he couldn’t hang out because a family friend had stopped by and wouldn’t leave. We decided it would be better to try the next day, and we did. Only, they weren’t supposed to return until Monday and instead got home before 3pm Sunday. Oops! I know you’re probably wondering what the big deal is, but I’m not speaking to my dad or his wife, haven’t seen them since 2009 as well, though that one is more by choice. They live in a delusional bubble completely disconnected from reality. When I have seen them in the past how they treat my brother leaves me depressed for days or more. My dad’s wife in particular is a major problem for me because she is a compulsive liar and completely in denial about it. When confronted she uses tears and guilt trips and other manipulations and has created such problems for my entire family that I no longer consider her or my dad relatives.
Because of this I had to park around the corner, stakeout style, to wait for my bro to come out. My boyfriend was by my side, holding my hand, the entire time. I was sobbing and just a total mess. I told him he didn’t have to come that this would be really difficult and that maybe it would be too much for him. He insisted on coming and being there for me. He said, “I can’t promise I’ll be chatty or social, but I want to be there for you, even if it’s just to hold your hand.” He really is the greatest thing to ever happen to me! And he did just that, but also tried to distract me from the stress this was causing me by laughing and singing and doing a funny dance in the car with me (he’s usually a more reserved chap).
We sat in the car for nearly an hour while my bro helped unload the truck and trailer from their camping trip before he was allowed to leave (my bro is 31 years old, btw). When I finally saw him coming I couldn’t believe my eyes! My little brother is a grown-ass man! He’s always been tall, but now he’s got a bald spot and a handlebar mustache, too! Wow! Ha-ha! But really, I could see his age in his eyes and that gave me pause. I asked him if I looked old to him, “No way! You look exactly the same, I don’t know how you do that!” I told him I’m a wizard! ;)
We went to DQ and had burgers and fries and mini sundaes and talked about movies and reboots and Star Wars & Star Trek (#GeekLife). It was such a trip, but also really great that my boyfriend finally got to meet my brother after hearing so much about him and our odd phone conversations. Then we headed to Game Stop where I told my bro that I was buying him a PS3 (backwards compatible so he can still play his PS2 games he loves so friggin’ much). Then I said he could pick out one new game or two old ones…that guy lucked out when they had a deal where you get the PS3 plus 2 controllers and 6 games for $279! (I actually think they charged me less, but who cares, it was a great deal and he was ecstatic!)
As he was carrying the box out to the car he said, “Sarah, I’m hugging you in my head right now because I can’t while holding this box! Ha-ha!” I also had a big bag of random stuff I’d bought for him over the years intended for birthdays and what not. He called me later that night to say how he loved all of the goodies. My bff “Q” also gave him a small flat screen TV for his room so now his gaming will look even better! He loves games so much and had wanted a PS3 since it first came out, but my family is and maybe always will be poor. Wev.
I felt a million times better after getting to see my bro. I was worried about a big nasty confrontation with my dad and his wife. I hate that my bro has to deal with their bullshit everyday. He has such a great attitude and is so tolerant of their shit, but I’m not and just can’t with them. They refuse to see how they treat my brother as wrong and the last time my dad called me (last July) he called to tell me that he didn’t like the advice I was giving my brother. That “advice” was simply to ask for a copy of the power of attorney they had on him, that’s it! My brother felt mislead and didn’t fully understand what he signed. My dad’s response was a.) “your brother understood when he signed it” and b.) the state of California sees your brother as mentally disabled” and when I said that this makes zero sense, he got irritated and insisted I stay out of it. I said by collecting disability on his behalf and deeming him disabled he is robbing him of his future and furthermore that not allowing him access to the internet is absolutely robbing him of a future! He then hung up on me.
Yesterday when I picked up my bro my dad text me, “You’re welcome to come in and say hi” to which I did not respond. Why the fuck would I respond, let alone go into the house, of someone who sees my brother as disabled (he’s definitely not, for the record) and who hides him away from the world like he’s something to be ashamed of. Who he won’t allow to watch cartoons or sci fi channel movies (“cartoons are for children” and I don’t know wtf is wrong with the sci fi stuff, my dad is a big sci fi fan). I can’t allow someone in my life, relative or not, who treat my brother like a man servant or worse.
I recently offered to support my brother financially and try to get him a job near me so that he could move out and eventually become independent. He thought about it for a few days but in the end he decided he wanted to attempt this on his own. I respect that completely. It breaks my heart everyday that he lives in that hell hole, but I respect his wishes. I just fear that time will slip away before he realizes and that they have him right where they want him: completely dependent upon them while they become more and more physically dependent upon him. He recently told me that they don’t even put their dishes in the sink, they simply leave them on the table for him to clean up, everyday. They foster beagles and my brother cares for them completely. They don’t get walks, but there is a backyard for them.
I can’t speak to the current conditions of their house (I was terrified of the prospect of going inside yesterday so I am glad that I didn’t end up having to), but the last time I did go inside it was disgusting. Those people, meaning my dad and his wife, should not have foster anything in that house! It should be cleared out entirely and scrubbed from top to bottom. Their health issues (hepatitis, diabetes, hyper tension plus both had lap band surgery two years ago) and financial instability have created the perfect storm of filth and my brother’s dependence upon them for a roof and 3 meals has turned him into their caregiver.
I harbor a ton of guilt for moving out early. I feel like the worst big sister in the world, always. I know better, but that guilt is so big and heavy and painful sometimes that even when I’m doing all the right things I still know that my brother lives there and it kills me. But what can I do? I offered him a chance at freedom and he refused. He says he wants to ask them to lift his internet restriction so he can write his book. I told him that if they do I will buy him a laptop. I also told him that if they tried to take that laptop away that I’d personally show up and punch ‘em both in the fucking face, but my anger at them always makes him uncomfortable. He hates confrontation of any sort.
My brother is so smart and creative and a very mellow dude. He does his best to let everything sort of roll off his shoulders. He’s had the same job as a janitor for OSH since he graduated high school (something I never accomplished, btw). Yet he is treated like someone who cannot take care of himself. He’s truly never been given the chance. His life is ruled by their demands, chores, punishments and filth. He has no friends or contact with the outside world except at work. He only gets about 8 hours of work a week, though he is forced (by my dad & his wife) to pay for his own cell phone bill (not a smartphone) and health insurance. Mind you, they collect a check from disability on his behalf each month.
When he insisted that he wanted to try to become independent on his own I explained that he would have to be working full time hours in order to support himself. He said he would start applying to jobs in January, but here it is nearly April and he’s not filled out one. I really don’t know that he will ever get out of there or out of their grasp without my direct intervention. I don’t know if I will always have the spoons to deal with all of this, but I love my brother like nothing else in this world and will do my best to look out for him when I can. I mean, I fantasize about confronting them and fighting for him, but when I’m not there who will protect him from their wrath? (to my knowledge he’s never been physically struck or otherwise punished, they choose to simply restrict his entire life to the point of zero contact with the outside world.)
I am so grateful for the fact that I get to talk to my brother on the phone at all. There were three years when he wasn’t allowed to and my entire family stopped talking to me, too. All because of my dad’s wife’s fucking lies! Because of those lies I didn’t get to see my sister get married. Meanwhile they gave her grandson a new laptop from a fund created in my grandfather’s name, yet they wouldn’t allow my brother to attend community college. WTF?!?!?! *RAGE* This is venting for mental health, y’all! It helps, if only a bit. Thank you for reading and for giving a shit when sometimes it feels like it’s easier for the world to forget. I know. It’s hard. But I can’t forget, try as I might, because I love my bro too much!

Mirror Mirror


“if you are searching for that one person that will change your life look in the mirror”

I posted a pic with this quote the other day on this blog’s Facebook page and while at the time I liked it, it wasn’t until I saw how many people were into it that I gave it more thought. And I could not agree more! How i felt about myself and my body greatly impacted my everyday life, even in ways I didn’t realize. But I guess this whole thing is about not realizing, eh? Ha-ha!
We have an internal dialogue and it is that dialogue in which we are most honest and most brutal to ourselves. For so many years I hated myself and felt I wasn’t worth the very air I was breathing in order to survive. I felt, deep down, that I deserved to suffer and barely survive and that was my lot in life, nothing more. Pain was my only reminder that I was even alive! And it is because of that that I have an embarrassing and horrifically 90′s tattoo (Chinese characters) that mean: Everlasting Pain *EpicEyeRoll* It’s just who I was at the time, ya know?
Every morning I would avoid the mirror, even just my face was enough to leave me crushed and sad the rest of the day, not that I knew what happy or contentment felt like then. When someone gave me a compliment, genuine or not, I did everything I could to deflect it. I was a mess. I didn’t know it at the time but I know now that I was suffering from severe PTSD symptoms and depression after spending the previous five years of my young and tender life held nearly hostage in my own home by my abuser-boyfriend. I didn’t have an identity, I had nothing and was literally starting over from scratch in a town I had only just heard of.
It took over a decade of work, support, friends and finally the fat community to build my self esteem and show me that I am loved and valued and worth more than just the air I was breathing. When I met my (now ex-) husband, we bonded over heartbreak and a romantic vision of suicide, grunge music and dark humor comic books. Yet as our self esteem grew our relationship changed. Eventually I wanted to go out more and he wanted to stay in more, distrusting the outside world (understandably). As my circle of friends changed and my involvement in activism and the local fat community increased, I began to see the world differently. My opinions of things evolved and this was hard for my ex to understand. (I can now say that we are both in happier and hopefully healthier relationships now and for over a year.)
When I left him and struck out on my own again I was scared and unsure of myself. If you’re read this blog for a long time I’m sure you’ve seen me go through some heavy stuff. But here I am, living to tell the tales and look back on those troubles with gratitude and kindness. The universe throws things at us and we have to decide how best to handle them. When you hate yourself, when you hate the life you have, you can’t see the good or the beauty in the world. It was the simplest of things that pulled me out of my darkest of times.
It wasn’t until I realized that I had a say, that it was my choice to react to things and feel that way about myself that I began to understand how much control I actually had over my own life. I started to experiment with small things like not moaning and groaning the moment my alarm clock went off in the morning. That was actually a big one, come to think of it. Ha! But you get the idea. I soon became more and more aware of how I was feeling in the moment. It was about that time that I started to read about more spiritual things again (since high school) and connected with some buddhist principles, specifically about living in the present and just general patience and kindness.
I don’t necessarily see myself as a “success story” except in the sense that I have the life I’ve always wanted and I’m very happy. But how much control did I have over all of that? Well, I certainly made some big decisions along the way that got me here, for better or worse at the time, it has all seemed to lead me here. For this I am truly grateful, but if you ask me in person, I will insist that I am the luckiest gal on the planet! So is it sheer luck or a culmination of growth and choices? I can’t say for sure. I don’t know that life is ultimately so random.
I do know that when you are feeling great about you that you carry yourself very differently and people notice. When you rock your own socks and dance to your own beat the right people tend to just gravitate toward you. This is what I have found and have seen in my own life. It certainly has shown in my recent career moves and choices. I never would have imagined working for the last company I did or the one I am currently with, but hey, they wanted me for me and all of my experience…I cannot argue with that!
P.S. Now I can look in the mirror and enjoy the smile in my reflection. ;)

Stop Minimizing You


“Everyone is done a disservice when we try to cram our vibrancy into tiny packages to make others more comfortable with our presence.”

The above quote was from an article on elephant journal about how to be an aggressive bitch that people still wanna be around. Ha! Yeah, that spoke to me, but truly, the quoted sentence above spoke volumes! It can be taken both metaphorically and literally/physically. I catch myself often minimizing my own accomplishments, talents and skills. As a recovering anorexic, I know all too well what it felt like to live my entire life in the shadow of the smaller body I ached to achieve. I know that life and myself is a work in progress. This is a journey that I am on, not a destination. 

So, how did I get from minimizing and hiding my sparkle to owning that shit and having a big blue (70′s style) sticker that reads, “Bad Ass” on the back of my car? (Ha-ha!) A little help from my friends, a lot of self work and self care and trusting in the process. Learning to be comfortable in my own skin and allowing myself to be vulnerable, even when it hurts and I have to call a friend in tears to talk me through it. You don’t have to do things alone, it helps to have confidants but even if you don’t have ‘em, you’re not alone! People do care and even if you think they don’t, well, I fucking care and there isn’t a thing you can do about it! ;)
I know so many amazing people struggling right now with personal issues. It always feels so much worse than it really is when you’re in the thick of it. It feels like the sky is falling…on top of you, crushing you. I know. It sucks! But knowing that each day is a new one and that you will never have the moment you’re living in right now ever again can help show you the light on the other-side of your obstacle. You’re not alone! You need only to reach out and someone (me: will be there to grasp your hand and offer their shoulder and ear and just witness what you’re dealing with. Sometimes I think that is hardest of all and yet so very necessary. 
Admitting you’re not happy, just that simple thing, is so tough. I think women especially struggle with this because we’re sort of programmed from a very early age to put on a good face for the world. To pretend, if you will, that everything is right in the world even when we’re screaming in agony on the inside. Many of us have mental illnesses that prevent us from living the life we think we’re supposed to, whether or not it’s the one we actually want to live. Often we think what we’ve always been told is what we want, but if we dig deeper, if we simplify, then we’ll see that isn’t so. 
How do we find and create the life we truly want? Think about it often. Picture it often. Dream of it and wish on it and hope and pray and share it, too. When all that you want consumes your waking thoughts the ways in which it can be created become possible to you. That may sound like a bunch of positive thinking hokum, and maybe it is, but it has worked and helped me immensely. I only know my own lived experience. I know that when I was depressed and suffering the worst of my PTSD symptoms I couldn’t see the sun in the sky, let alone the possibility that I deserved to live a life of my own choosing. 16 years later and I never could have imagined how happy I am now. 
If you’re a goal setter, set goals! If you’re a list maker, make a damned list! Do what works…for you! Don’t worry or give a second thought to anyone else, this is your life and this is for you. Sometimes taking the reigns on your own life can be difficult and painful and certainly not something to be taken too lightly. You may lose relationships of all sorts. You  may feel the need to start over entirely. It’s okay! It’s your journey! You get to do whatever the fuck you want! Woo hoo!
Don’t settle because you think you have to. Knowing your own value and owning it is about doing you, 100%! I still struggle with that whole wanting people to like me thing, but I’m getting better at letting that shit go. It’s not easy! Whoa! In my new job (as Director of Happiness) I struggled a lot at first, desperately trying to find my footing in a large company. But I soon realized that I am here to make folks happy, to assist and support, to make their lives easier. It wasn’t about me and that was a relief! Ha-ha! Two months in and people do like me and I had no say in that. I just did what I do best and the right people gravitated to me. That is how life should be.
Terrible things happen in the world, often to really great people. It is not their fault, these things happen. But we have a choice in how we react and how we can recover and heal from it. We have to be kind to ourselves first, we must be patient and trust in ourselves. When something doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling and explore it. Things can only get worse when we ignore our own instincts. Ask yourself why you’re feeling XYZ about ABC and act accordingly. Only you know what is right for you and no one can do that for you. 
Don’t diminish the brilliant and multi-faceted individual that you are. Let your personal sparkle shine! Be silly! Smile for no reason and just be you! It’s funny because I have been told nearly everyday of my life, “Sarah, smile!” and I fucking hated that shit so much! It made me angry and bitter. It was a burden to me and it didn’t have to be. Now it is a rare occasion for someone to tell me to smile. Mostly because I do so naturally and spontaneously and hey, only I know why! Now when someone says it I say, “After you!” Or heck, I’ll throw a big cheesy one their way and a hair flip, too! Fuck it! 
My point is that how we feel about ourselves, and how we show others how we feel about ourselves, directly impacts our individual quality of life. It just does. It shows in our body language and posture and on our faces and expressions. It’s the reason you can spot a fake smile versus a real one 99% of the time. So why waste the effort on faking it? Spend that energy on you. You deserve it and the life you’ve dreamt of. Feel it, explore it and just be it. 



I have never had the pleasure of celebrating Pi Day before today. What a shame because truly, it is fun and awesome! As the Director of Happiness, I made sure to get pies for my office to properly celebrate this fine day…3/14, Pi, yo! People were blown away! They loved the spontaneity and silliness of it all, not to mention the geekiness of a math based holiday. Awww yeah! A lot of people hadn’t heard of it and thought it was Pie Day, but I was all too ready to inform and have a good laugh. It was such a hit!

579226_10151939367051078_374440614_nMy workplace is so cool and sometimes straight up surreal! Like today when I looked out the windows of the front lobby and saw someone riding a horse up the street. Yup! It happens. Ha-ha! It’s a bit odd, the silicon valley. My office building is up in the hills behind Stanford University/Hospital. Tesla has offices across the street. But it’s surrounded by horse ranches. Oh! And I get to hang out with dogs…All the dogs! They are the best coworkers. They don’t judge or talk behind your back or anything. They just do their job. What? They have a job! Looking cute and being snuggly, duh! 
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Plus, today is Friday!!! Ohmyglob! This was such a long week! I could not be happier that today is the end of it. While my fella has been working extra hard this week he did make a special exception to see me last night. Maybe that’s why I’m in such a good mood? Not like that! (Get yo mind outta the gutter!) He’s just…the sweetest! We went to Red Robin for burgers and I dunno, we just talk and laugh a lot. 
This weekend I plan on doing very little, thank the stars! I did my laundry last night so I’m all set there. Sunday morning I’m having breakfast with two of my bffs, followed by mani-pedis! Woot! I cannot wait! I need a pedicure in a bad way and I just ordered some sandals online! The weather has been begging for it, though I’m sure the rain will return when my sandals arrive, but no biggie. I know I’ll get good use out of them. I actually received them yesterday but they run big and I need to go down a size. They seem good for wide feet, but not super wide. The reviews have lots of tips though, so check it out if you’re looking for simple, durable, wearable sandals. 
Yesterday a sweet coworker gave all of the admins little bunches of daffodils. They were all closed up yesterday but this morning when I cam in they were fully open and so gorgeous! They’ve been such a mood lifter, if I wasn’t already on top of the world! I’ll be taking them home so they don’t wilt and die over the weekend. I know they never last long, but hey, I’m also wearing yellow today so it’s just a great vibe we’ve got going on here! ;)
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend filled with whatever wonderful things you want! 


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