NotBlueAtAll

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

Presence

August18

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 3.33.43 PM

(Image of two horses, one brown and one white.
Text reads: Presence: Find it. Bring it. Rock it.)

I am finding more and more, at this nearing-the-middle stage of life, the value of listening. The importance of being present whilst in conversation. It’s no easy feat, the brain anxiously jumping from one thought to the next, often without any direction from our conscious self. “What time is it? Am I late? Are they talking about me? What’s that sound? My pants don’t fit right. Ugh! I don’t wanna go to that thing tonight. I gotta check on that meeting. Must do laundry! Did I remember to get milk at the store?” buzzing through your mind when someone is telling you about their day or dream or plans or whatever. It takes considerable effort, it seems, to actively listen and to be present. We often listen only to react or respond rather than to truly take in not just the words but the sentiment or feeling being conveyed in conversation. We miss so much as a result.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between reacting and responding. I recently shared the concept/definition of gaslighting with a coworker and it blew her mind! (I especially love this article on the topic as it blew my mind when I read it last year.) How often do others approach us with the intent of getting a rise out of us or an immediate reaction? How often would it be better for all involved to pause a moment and to ponder before providing a response? Many who use gaslighting tactics are not aware of their manipulative actions but instead feel justified in their emotional appeals. It may seem surprising, but when revisiting my own past experiences with this new lens of perception, I can clearly see how many of these tactics have become social norms that even I have used without realizing.

Much miscommunication can be attributed to not being fully present or even because of modern technology as preferred method of communication. We miss out on body language and cues! What a loss!!! How many times has a text message left you wondering at someone’s intended sincerity or snark? Eye contact is huge! I have an odd sense of humor, I’d say, and so being in someone’s company physically can often help whatever absurdity or pun I’m attempting to convey.

I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve been enjoying reading Jane Austen lately. I snagged a great deal on Amazon with 8 of her works for 99 cents (total) for the kindle versions.  I’m halfway through Pride & Prejudice and just finished Sense & Sensibility last week. The formalities and restrictions of that era are entertaining, but I must admit to feeling a minor sense of longing for the skills and art of conversation as it was then. It was deemed of the utmost importance to improve oneself in order to be received as good company or society (lets not get into the whole “good breeding” and “fortunes” and whatnot LOL) or to be invited to social gatherings as such. As for my reading Jane Austen, well, I’d read Northanger Abbey years ago and when I saw the great price I thought I may as well dive right on in! Ha!

How different conversation is now! It’s no longer enjoyed as an art, in and of itself, but merely a burden for many to struggle through in order to not appear rude. I used to consider it a curse when so many strangers would tell me the oddest things about themselves out of nowhere. Once while in line at a deli, the woman behind me told me her entire medical history, unprompted. Now I see it more as a chance for human connection and often that’s all it’s really about. We all just wanna be heard, sometimes it doesn’t even matter by whom! We’ve all felt unseen or ignored, to reach out in order to relate can feel more meaningful than even the trivial subject matter at hand.

In a past career, in the corporate world, I was a big fan of this customer service video called “Give ‘Em The Pickle”. There was a part where Mr. Farrell told a story about a new server he had hired who seemed to only make her life harder by having a bad attitude about customers. He appealed to her, in order to improve things for all involved, to greet customers when she met them and upon making eye contact saying in her head “I Like You” and smiling. Within an hour everyone saw a difference! I think this works in life as well. Certainly we are not all meant to like everyone, but it helps especially when you’re feeling anxious or awkward or are afraid people won’t like you. It helps me be a more attentive listener when I’m uncertain about my own shit or my relationship with that person.

I think our own motives often get in the way of connecting with others. We see others as being “in my way” or “taking up my time” without thinking about that other person’s perspective or intentions. I once asked a friend with some road rage (Love ya P!) “Where are you in such a hurry to get to? Aren’t we just going back to yours to watch t.v.?” he insisted it didn’t matter that we had no immediate deadline, he wanted to get where he was going unhindered and “EVERYONE NEEDS TO GET THE HELL OUTTA MY WAY!” Ha-ha! I always laugh when I think about that one! Hilarious!

I really wish communication techniques were taught from the very beginning of our schooling. Just think how much better things could be if it was just ingrained and a part of our normal socializing?! I spent so much of my life hiding/shrinking/mute in fear of all the things! I still fight those feelings occasionally. When I do have those feelings creep up again I try to push them out of my mind and remind myself that we’re all humans and deserve equal space and voice in life. Ha-ha! Sometimes it’s more of a stubborn internal argument while I’m on the train. I had a man-spreader sit beside me and it was just a big ole NOPE! Like, c’mon, dude! My fat ass and thighs aren’t giving way to nobody! Least of all, you, man-spreader! Ha-ha!

Truly, listening and being present for folks is so rewarding. In my new job (it still feels new, mostly), I have found people gravitate towards me because I have encouraged more than the typical “Good morning” routine. I have found friendship and connection with some so quickly that I hesitate because it seems scary to be so vulnerable, but it was actually the subject of vulnerability that bonded me with a coworker early on that has turned into a relationship that I look forward to coming to work to engage with. He recommended the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown and the rest is history! Ha-ha!

*****************

I hope that perhaps some of this post has been of use to you, if not gently thought provoking. I’m finding myself in a bit of an odd state of mind lately, and as my writing style dictates, I do not always have full command of what comes out of my fingertips these days. When something comes to mind I try to get it down into words before it leaves me, but I’m afraid that often means I’m writing less and less about fat things. If there is ever anything you’d particularly like for me to address or discuss, do please comment or email me about it, it would make my day!

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
https://instagram.com/notblueatall/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO

Cupcakes & Muffintops 2016

August15

What a weekend! It all felt like a whirlwind and yet not really. I was so excited for Cupcakes & Muffintops I gave myself a new manicure on Thursday with a cupcake on my ringer finger nails! Ha-ha! It was quite a hit at the office on Friday! IMG_20160812_114651

Saturday morning arrived and I had the most gorgeous sleep in! Ah! So needed! Then it was a quick hustle and bustle to get ready and to pick up Tigress at work before heading to the main event! I don’t think we’d had much of a chance to catch up since last seeing each other at the Big Moves dance show back in June! It was my first week at my new job, so a lot has happened since then. We got there soon enough and were greeted by a good friend and fat community alum, Carol, attempting to leave. Selfies and chats and hugs and fun! This is fat community, baby!

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Once inside it was a bit overwhelming. In a new venue with more room and accessibility, but still packed to the gills with tables of fabulous fat fashions and gorgeous fatties everywhere! It’s so easy to fall into conversations with folks holding items up to get a closer look or upon themselves to gauge fit or style. Lots of “Does this work?” or “How is this color on me?” came from myself as well. I rarely wear yellow but did get talked into a 3/4 sleeve yellow tunic with pockets…POCKETS! Big selling point, I must say!

Once I’d nearly given up my search, Tigress handed me an Igigi Maxi dress in a black and fuschia print I just couldn’t pass up. Then one of the volunteers held up a mega cute pastel striped dress that had my mouth agape! She smiled big and instantly handed it to me! I was shocked! Surely anyone would have coveted that dress, but she handed it to me and I headed straight for the fitting room to try it! It fit lovely, but was way too tight in the sleeves. No bother! I shall cut them off without a care! Perfect for summer and come fall I can pair it with a cute cardigan for sure!

Another lightweight cotton sundress was discovered by me and quickly thrown over my arm-pile of keepers, and then Tigress held up another gem which I quickly snagged without even wanting to try it on. At this point I decided enough was enough and got in line to pay for my new finds. In total I was lucky enough to grab 4 dresses and the one tunic top, plus a “Love Your Muffintop” screen printed onto a vintage hostess half apron for $35! What a steal!

Next Tigress and I headed over to the bake sale table! I just couldn’t decide and ended up with a few tiny little things to taste and try and delight over. It was so hot inside though, that I went in search of some water. Luckily there were a couple of drinking fountains near the fitting rooms and this is where I lay down my new loot and chugged a bunch of water! I ate my sweet nibbles and chatted with a couple of fatties until Tigress joined me and we made our way towards the exit. Though of course we run into none other than Marilyn Wan right outside! Of course we hugged and hello’d and it was so nice to see everyone!

I received many comments, compliments and demands upon finding out the brand and source of my outfit. It was that very morning that I got my new Beth Ditto “Eat Your Makeup” top in the mail and knew I HAD to wear it! Paired with an old Target black skirt, black teggings and a red elastic Torrid belt from a few years ago, but much cherished. It was a fun outfit! I am in love with that new top! I almost wish I could get another identical just to prolong it’s wearable life. *Sigh*

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I am glad that I didn’t go too overboard, but I won’t lie, I was slightly disappointed in the amount on offer. I usually find at least one Eshakti dress, but I found none. Then again, I had wanted to get there right at the beginning and ended up getting there a half hour later. Traffic! Oh well. I’m quite happy with what I did find and can’t wait to wear it all. It was so great to see rad fatties I hadn’t in ages and to catch up with Tigress in the car on the drive over. The best part though is getting to see fatties who have never attended and are participating for the first time. The joy on their faces, the wonder and awe our rad community inspires, it’s priceless!

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
https://instagram.com/notblueatall/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO

See You, Feel You

August12

Sometimes I encounter someone so invested in diet culture, so tortured and beat down by it, so overwhelmed by their own existence in a non-conformitive body that it just breaks my heart entirely. And isn’t it always the way, when this person is beautiful inside and out and can’t see it in themselves?! What’s worse is when they are highly intelligent and skilled and seemingly in control of every other aspect of life? And yet…

“So I was at my weight loss meeting the other night…” She said to me at the front desk (I’m filling in up there until we can hire a new receptionist). I give a gentle sigh in response, rub my eyes and before she can continue, say, “Ugh, I’m so sorry! I’m still not fully awake yet. I woke up with the worst headache. I hope you’re feeling well today, you look great!” She seemed visibly shaken by this sudden change in conversation and just smiled, and as more people entered the tiny lobby, she shuffled away. I felt bad, but I couldn’t allow this dialogue to enter my already compromised brain.

This is how I handle many of these situations, changing the subject or the focus as best as I can, especially when I don’t know the person or it’s a mixed or work situation. I’m not “out” with my fat activism at work yet, though I’ve dropped the occasional hint. It doesn’t mean I welcome the diet talk bullshit!

It’s difficult, to be certain. It’s not easy for either of us in this instance, but I also feel as though she may be attempting to bond with me in that “don’t all women hate their bodies” sort of way. I hate that shit! I love that someone would want to bond with me, but just not in that way ever! In more confident moments or well acquainted groupings I would be more direct and explain that “we are all perfect just as we are right now! Stop punishing yourself for not being something none of us can ever be!?” and some other such things, but it’s not in me. Not this week, not today, and not at work…yet.

The tougher part of this is that I’m in charge of taking photos of our new hires for our massive employee photo wall and she’s evaded having hers taken four times now, today will be the fifth. I want to tell her that she’s othering herself by avoiding the photo, that’s it’s only a head and shoulders shot, and wouldn’t it be best to just get it over with anyway?! But I feel her inner pain, it shows on her face when she smiles at me each time she encounters my very fat body. I have felt that pain myself and for many years, avoiding any situation that involved a camera.

I want to hug her and reassure her and explain that there is another way to live your best life! That you don’t have to put a damned thing on hold until you lose weight! You can be a Diet Industry Dropout and live a healthier and more fulfilled life at the same time! But such notions feel radical and I fear being too aggressive, making her feel bad, or getting hurt myself somehow. There’s no easy way to handle this shit.

Every time she grabs a hard candy from the dish at the reception desk she makes self-shaming comments to me about how awful it is and how she must do and be better. I counter this, as I have on many such occasions, with my love of reading interviews of the oldest people in the world and how they all seem to eat bacon, smoke cigars or drink whiskey and just try to enjoy the life they have right now and not worry over every little thing. People tend to chuckle at least at the thought, if not laugh heartily at the absurdity of modern stresses.

Seeing her in the kitchen, faced with too many choices, it’s apparent that the world is but a giant “NOT FOR YOU FATTY” sign to her, though her frame is so much smaller than my own. It seems to physically overcome her as her posture drops suddenly as she slinks away with her snack of choice to a secluded corner of the office to work. I want to tell her it’s okay! There’s no moral value to food. Feed thyself, woman! Ha-ha!

I don’t know her. I don’t know her life. But somehow in small mannerisms, turns of phrase, or how one holds themselves it’s all so unbearably familiar. I remember being the corporate office fatty who never felt okay or comfortable ever, while the world never thought a thing was out of place. Because of this I want so badly to offer love and rad fatty support to her, but at the same time feel terribly selfish about it, too. Not that I’m seeking credit or points or whatever, just that, well, sometimes it’s not the right thing to do to approach someone about such things. I am not sure how I would have handled someone mentioned fat acceptance/liberation stuff to me before I discovered it on my own. It’s very personal and while obvious to me, probably not as obvious to most straight sized folks around the office, ya know? I definitely don’t want to make her feel worse! So, I am for now choosing to let it go and just try to be my usual friendly self. But how to get that photo taken care of?! (It’s a big part of the company culture.) I think I’ll wait until she comes in very dressed up (she always looks fab and has a great sense of style) and make a fuss about the perfect day for a photo! Maybe? No? UGH!!!

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

P.S. Will you be in Oakland tomorrow for Cupcakes & Muffintops?! I’ll be there about noon, I hope to see you there! Say hi!

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
https://instagram.com/notblueatall/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO

Blast From My Past Selves

August9

Ohmigosh! I was randomly clearing out some old email folders today, I don’t even know why, but my head is now spinning from a combination of nostalgia and heartache and laughing at silly mistakes (as in people) I’ve made and holy shit you guys?!?! I used to own and operate a cafe all on my lonesome! How did that even happen? It feels like a lifetime ago! I cannot imagine trying to undertake such a task as that now. Whew!

I found poems and song lyrics I’d written and was even impressed with some of it. I came across exchanges with cherished friends and some who have chosen to think the worst of me, too. Pictures of yesterdays and yesterdays gone by and whoa life is fucking nuts! I can’t say that I have any regrets, though I do miss having the ability to write at my former level of quality and care.

I came across the first several conversations my bf and I had on OkCupid that I’d saved! Adorkable! Then I found the notes I used to write to myself after our dates. Ohmigosh! Ridiculous! I can’t believe how the time has flown by!

It is incredible to me now how I can look back at specific instances with absolute clarity as to what went right or wrong. I know they say that hindsight is 20/20, but this is almost spooky! It is so perplexing to me (now) that we can have people in our lives whom we love with all our hearts, friends and lovers and family and whatnot, and spend so much time trying not to annoy or hurt or piss them off, that we end up never living the lives we always wanted to or thought we’d have. We end up side stepping our paths and get to a point where you finally look around you like “WTF! This isn’t what I want at all!” And all because we’re too afraid to be vulnerable with one another, let alone just with ourselves.  It’s not worth it, I can tell you that for a fucking fact! We have to tell each other what we want. We must stop assuming what is best for others or what their wishes might be. ASK! We’ve stopped communicating in real and open ways, I think.

Not that I’m saying all of this from the peak of perfection, hardly! But shit if I can’t look at a past version of myself and want to shake her and say, “Fucking say something!!!” And it’s a truly bizarre feeling to know and see these past versions or iterations of oneself. To know the thoughts I had in my head then and how differently I would handle the exact same situation now. *ShakesHead* Life! That shit is nuts!

I can honestly look back and see just how truly lucky and blessed I have been, and still am, by the people who have come into my life, for whatever reason or cause. I know that mine is not a friendship that can be taken so lightly, that I’m an acquired taste. I can push people away and hide myself away from those I care the most for. I see in this digital archival dig a clear line of evolution (one might call maturity *scoff*). Not just in photos, but in writing style mostly, how I lacked the confidence to express myself or to even use certain words. It seems so silly now! I held myself back from so much, yet there’s no doubt in my mind that had anyone pointed that out at the time that I would have protested and stamped my feet and insisted the notion an insult! Ha-ha!

As for current me, version 5.2? I’m good. I’m happy, mostly. I love my job and the people I work with. Been having troubles with my sleep, but I’m getting back on track, little by little (I must have slept strangely last night, I have a horrible crick in my neck!). My poor puggo has been having tummy troubles that are starting to worry me. I swear, we get one thing taken care of and something else must go wrong. Poor little guy! He’s a happy little baby, though.

I’ve been reading on my train ride to and from work everyday, which has been lovely! I love my kindle! I go through books so quickly on it! I just finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin and started Sense and Sensibility yesterday. So good! 12 years a Slave was excellent (and only fifty-six cents on Amazon)! Haven’t had much time or energy for much else lately, to be honest. I come home pretty damned tired and if I can cook dinner for myself, well, that’s a victory!

This Saturday is Cupcakes & Muffintops! I wouldn’t miss it! It’s the fat event of the season! A true bay area tradition for me! And really, looking back on the last ten or so years has only proved how special and important fat community is for me. I’ve made so many friends and have been able to connect and be inspired by others, it’s a beautiful thing!

I never could have imagined the life I have now, but looking back it’s a funny thing to see where life has lead me. Looking forward to so much more to come!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL!
<3
S

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
https://instagram.com/notblueatall/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO

Ahhh! Update time! I know…I know!!! So long!

June20

So yeah, employment is rad. It’s a real thing! I has it! Ha-ha!

3 weeks of proper full time employment under my belt and it feels good. I won’t disclose where I work exactly, but I can tell you that I’m an administrative assistant on a business operations team for a San Francisco startup and I love it! Everyone is soooooo great! And maybe it’s just my way, if you will, but I swear everyone is so good looking, too! Ha!

I have been struggling with my own adjustment period as far as my body is concerned. I have a train commute which took awhile to figure out my best options for. And my body has not been kind to me or maybe me to it? I had the dance show my first week with rehearsals to boot. I was in so much pain pretty much constantly. This happens but the added stress of new job and commute was tough. While the walking distance from the train to my office isn’t bad at all (two city blocks), the overall stress of being in this big ass city can overwhelm at times. And I’m no newb to SF, but as a daily routine it’s a bit of a shock to the old system.

For one thing, everyone walks so fucking fast! Like, they will mow you down and never take their eyes from their phone screens! Zero kindness, manners or friendliness on the city streets out there, but I can hardly blame anyone when it smells like an open sewer all of the time! Whew! It’s okay in the train station but the moment I get off the train I get a big waft of Subway bread smells (not terrible per se but not great ether) and once at the crosswalk, sewer smells. Blegh! And everything is under construction! Nothing but gravel, construction equipment and giant steel plates everywhere with things barricaded or fenced off. It’s a small part of what I must walk through twice a day but it has an impact. And everything just feels super dirty and covered in grime. Like thick black greasy dust? I dunno…it’s just gross and I don’t know how anyone can wear flip flops or open toed shoes in the city but they do. I do not. And I am so over walking through people’s second hand smoke clouds.

Actually, my feet have been the worst! Random inexplicable swelling and near-constant pain in my left foot (underside, outer bit). I thought I had plantar fascia-itis (sp) at first, but now I don’t think so.  My knees were really terrible the first two weeks but have since improved. I’d been going to bed with ice packs for the last few weeks but finally didn’t need to as of Friday. Woo! Though I must be more careful about my back when moving furniture at work. Some things are harder to learn than others, I suppose.

Another big adjustment of course is just having an actual schedule again! Getting up at 6am and all has been not fun but it does force me to be more responsible about my bedtime. I’m still coming home so exhausted I can barely think let alone cook but I’m hoping this will improve as well.

I’m quite happy with the job itself and my team! My boss is so cool it’s unreal! By cool I mean she randomly caught the Buzzcocks live while on a business trip a week ago. *MindBlown* Like what?!?! Yeah, she’s amazing! My coworkers are rad and there’s always dogs running around the office. I’m very lucky to be there. I’m starting to remember why it is that I have the professional reputation that I do! I am still carrying and healing from all of the trauma from my last startup job. Ugh! I still have fucking nightmares about those assholes. When my awesome new coworker asked to see me in the hallway my stomach dropped! I thought to myself, “This is it! It was all a mistake and they want me gone asap!” but no, she just wanted to show me where some cool stuff was. Ha-ha!

I had really hoped to keep writing and posting here and maybe that will come. I have a couple of ideas but seriously I’m brain dead by the time I get home at night. I was also super mega hoping that I’d have like a stack of guest submissions to post to spread out the gaps and fill in with some rad fatty content (I seriously get so inspired by y’all!). Alas, that did not happen. Of course I do realize that this is my blog and my responsibility, but I also really miss the days of Tank Top Tuesday and other fun things folks would submit to post here.

So, please consider guest posting, submitting a pic for Tank Top Tuesday or a fashion thing or whatever! I’m open to nearly anything! So lay it on me! I dare ya! 😛

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

I’m looking for guest posts!!! Please consider submitting!

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (body positive always, funny sometimes):
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS  Or get the same “shared” content on twitter: @NotBlueAtAll
I also have an Instagram, I rarely use it but would like to more…encourage me to?:
https://instagram.com/notblueatall/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com
If you would like to give money to support this blog via paypal, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/1P2cZgO

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