NotBlueAtAll

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

Living through the pain

May21

Every year while training and rehearsing for our dance performance in the Big Moves show, I injure myself and hit an emotional wall. It seems I freak out about all the things, question my intentions and feel on the brink, every year. I hit that wall on Tuesday of this week. I had practiced pretty hard the night before and was feeling the effects of a poor decision (why didn’t I ice my knee after?!?!?!) while running errands with my boyfriend that morning. With every step a voice in my head began a plea, “Just quit! You don’t have to do the show! It’s not worth it! What’s the point?! Give up! You can’t do this!” the voice got louder and louder. By the time we made it back to the car to leave and head for our lunch destination, I was in tears.

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I didn’t tell him about the voice, but it was obvious that I was in pain. He asked me to not rehearse that evening, though that was the plan. I agreed that I would take it easy but that I still had to go to rehearsal. I did just that, but didn’t tell anyone about the voice. I was trying so hard to just go with the flow, to not hold others back and to keep on keepin’ on. I spent so much time in horrible pain the last few months that this seemed like the right thing to do. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to “take it easy” or to care for myself first, it’s always been about the work.

While having lunch with B he asked about my (obvious) limp and what I was doing to care for it as though this was the most normal conversation in the world. I said nothing but that I was going to ice it. He agreed that was a good idea and even suggested using ace bandages to compress and support the surrounding muscles. Whoa! I never would have thought of that on my own. I wouldn’t have even talked about my knee if he hadn’t brought it up. Today I bought some at Target and wrapped below my knee but cannot figure out how to wrap above it (it keeps rolling down, no matter how loose/tight/positioned).

I know a lot of people with chronic pain issues. I have a very low opinion of how western medicine handles pain management as a result. Our society does not like to talk about pain, does not want to see people in pain and truly doesn’t know how to interact with people who live with pain. I hear often how difficult it is to simply navigate day to day tasks and errands and just general living of life with chronic pain. I have heard so many times someone with chronic pain beat themselves up for not being able to do typical things others take for granted. They often do not seek help out of fear of rejection, ridicule and favor fatigue (asking someone for too many favors, I may have just made that up).

Pain is often not taken seriously, even or especially by medical care providers. Combine that with the stigma associated with fat bodies and you have a recipe for brutality. When I sprained my spine back in March the x-ray technician was so brisk with positioning my body I was in tears. “Why are you crying?” he asked, insistently. “I’m in a lot of pain!” I managed, trying not to choke on my tears.  I was horrified by his dismissal of my pain and seeming confusion that I was crying because of it. Even today I do not feel that anyone took that injury seriously, but I’m glad that I did, for once.

As our bodies age pain will come in new places and forms. Soon we won’t notice the smaller creaks and aches over the sudden and sharper pains. Often people with chronic pain no longer recall what it was like before, they can feel weak and like “babies” when a new pain is too much to handle. We can become overloaded by pain, especially when we’ve grown accustomed to daily pain and a sudden onset of some new pain arises. Suddenly the normal way of doing things, which is likely already modified due to living with chronic pain, is impossible and simple things like bathing are truly too much to handle.

I struggle greatly with asking for help or even knowing how or what to ask for help with or for. I’m not so unusual in that. Most people have a difficult time asking for help, even when it’s vital that they do. People living with chronic pain do things like have a career, family, hobbies, and more. Living independently can be a sanity saver for many, but it can be a struggle if you’re also living with chronic pain. If you’re lucky enough to have a support system locally you fear exhausting that support. And if you don’t have a support system, what do you do?

I guess my point in all of this is to be kind. No one knows what you’re dealing with in your life and you don’t know what they’re dealing with in theirs. Be kind to yourself and be patient and gentle, pain or no. If you are able to offer support to someone you know is in pain, be considerate of their needs and feelings. Offer to do their grocery shopping or run an errand for them instead of simply asking, “Anything I can do to help?” Try to be sensitive to the fact that it’s difficult for them to ask or accept help, even when it’s very needed.

Don’t offer help or support if you are expecting payment (unless previously discussed or agreed upon), don’t make a big fuss about their pain or illness as they may not want that type of attention, don’t hold a favor or gesture over them as though they owe you or you are somehow superior to them. Do offer your companionship! Being in pain can be very isolating, especially when going out and about for things isn’t an option. Invite someone in your life with chronic pain to parties, dinners, events and activities, but don’t hold it against them if they must turn down the invite. Just because a person can’t do something one time doesn’t mean they don’t want to or wouldn’t be able to in the future.

Be kind. Be gentle. Be patient. Be honest.

<3
S

It’s too much to handle…

May20

Just as I was really digging in and doing the hard work of personal growth and job hunting I get a 60 day notice on my housing. This wasn’t a shock exactly, but the timing was greatly unexpected and unfortunate. I am living between a rock and a hard place at this point and the going only gets tougher. I don’t yet know if and/or when I’ll get unemployment benefits and I’m waiting on my severance check (2 weeks pay) to come in the mail. *Sigh*

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No one seems to understand or believe me when they ask me what I’m going to do or “What’s your plan?” Plan?! Are you fucking kidding me?! I didn’t plan on being unemployed or losing my housing so soon! I can’t find new housing without verifiable income! I can’t afford to live anywhere in the entire bay area, no matter how much my next job might pay. If that sounds dire it’s because it is! Everything is fucked! I am doing my best to stay positive. I’m doing all I can to do all the right things.

The truth is I am fucking terrified! I haven’t been this scared for my future and safety and survival since I escaped my abuser when I was 19. This shit is hard as hell. I have no prospects. I have no options. I have nothing. There is no plan! I have to keep applying to every fucking job and contacting every possible apartment in the hopes that something just might pan out, but it all feels futile. I’m at wit’s end. A miracle is all I can hope for and I’m not entirely sure I believe in anything anymore.

All of this has also affected my health, physical and mental. I just started dance rehearsals and I’m already limping constantly from overdoing it on my own the other night. My anxiety is through the roof and even simple things feel like too much. I don’t know how I am going to make things work. Everyone keeps telling me how strong I am, how I’m a survivor and I’ll make it somehow. It’s taking all of my strength to keep my grip on reality. It all feels like far more than I can handle.

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I really hope I don’t have to leave the bay area, it’s all I know. I’ve never lived anywhere else. My beloved Raven and her husband are moving to Nashville at the end of  the month and I am still in disbelief about it. I have an extremely difficult time asking for help, but I don’t even know what help I could ask for that would actually be helpful at this point. But maybe send some good thoughts, wishes, prayers, woo my way?

<3
S

“I Do Exist!”

May14

I think it is valuable and important to talk about things that are difficult. I’m the gal that always seems to “go there” and I’m okay with that. I seem to have a friendly face or am just an obvious good listener? I dunno, but people always seem to come up to me and wanna talk to me. I’ve had people behind me in line tell me their entire medical history, unprompted. *Shrugs* I used to feel this was a curse but with age comes maturity? No, wisdom! Ha-ha! It’s true though, I’ve even had someone tell me some long tale only to end it with, “Why did I just tell you all of that?! Ha-ha! Sorry! You’re just so nice!” No worries.

I want to share with you today something that I’ve been struggling with and some unexpected feelings that came along for the ride. Firstly, I won’t go into it right now, but I’ve had some fat community related trauma that I’ve been healing from very slowly. With all of the other chaos in my life I had to be okay with the slowness of the healing and stepping away from things for awhile. Obviously my blogging has also dried up, though I’m not sure if that’s related or not. So I have been slowly getting back into the swing of things little by little, mostly on the sidelines and just trying to stay up to date with goings on and news. Meeting up with other local rad fatties for general socializing and camaraderie. Good stuff!

Last week Marilyn Wann set up a bunch of location based facebook pages for fats, like “Fat California” and such. I thought this was excellent and was very pleased when a friend added me to the group. I started to read folks introductions and gaze sweetly and fondly at their lovely pictures and descriptions of their lives and interests. I figured I should follow suit and began to look for a picture of myself to include with the introduction but soon found myself full of mixed emotions and then triggered completely and had to walk away from the internet for a day.

I didn’t feel worthy of being included in the group suddenly. I saw so many radical fats being their true authentic selves and living their lives on their own terms and I just don’t feel that way about myself right now. I used to. I have moments now where I get that feeling again but I am just not that gal anymore. I’m not as in-your-face as I was. I’m not the “here I am, deal with it” person I was just a couple of years ago. So much has happened, I’ve learned things and grew but also struggled to survive for so long that some things just don’t matter to me anymore.

I realized that I don’t take selfies anymore, even with others. I don’t do outfit pics or posts. I hadn’t posted a profile pic of myself in over a year and upon noticing this updates with a quick bathroom selfie. I wasn’t expecting such a big response when I posted it, but that is what I got! So when I got dolled up for a friends party I snapped a pic and posted it and again was blown away by the response. I hadn’t done my hair nice in ages! I hadn’t even worn a dress or had the energy to do so in so long…it’s bizarre! I’ve forgotten who I was.

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The pic I chose for the FB Group (from Feb.2015)

At my friend’s lovely party I received such warmth and kindness and compliments, I felt so loved and seen! Gawd, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt SEEN! And I realized that selfies are way more than just “my hair is so cute today, y’all!” it’s more about “I Exist!” and that feels far more important and radical to me. In order to find who I am, in order to feel like the true me, I need to re-engage in these things that affirm and show me, literally, who I am and how I appear! I do exist!

And I started rehearsing with Tigress for the Big Moves Bay Area show again! Woo! Reconnecting with my body in a positive way is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo important!!!! OHMYGLOB!!! But with my recent spine injury I was nervous, worried, stressing and all of that at once. I’m being careful and patient with myself and things are so far feeling really good! If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area the weekend of June 13 & 14th come on out for a fabulous, fat positive time! (Links below.) It’s always a great show, guaranteed to make you smile, laugh and love…fatty style!

Have you ever forgotten who you are or felt you’d lost touch with yourself? How’d you get it back or work it out?

My blog’s facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog:
http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS
Info and tickets for the Big Moves show:
http://on.fb.me/1FlmBOR
http://fatreign.brownpapertickets.com/
And as always, feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me:
notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

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A year ago?! (Setting up for a big event for my job at the time)

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Right after the first Big Moves show I was in TWO years ago!

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Later that same day, a friend had some fun with her fancy camera.

This is what I looked like while writing this very post! IMG_20150513_170718
Yep, no makeup, no hair do, just regular ole me.
😛

“hey, I didn’t sign up for this…”

May13

Can we talk about the small stuff? Can we please just all give ourselves a pat on the fucking back for once?! For what? For surviving in this world, in this society. Just getting through a day, a night, an hour and a minute! Things are hard! If I catch myself thinking out more than a day in advance I have to stop because it is just too heavy. I’m in recovery mode here and stress is a killer! I can’t even, ya know?! So when something does go right, even if it’s tiny, I gotta celebrate that shit! Woo!
colorful-stars-wallpaper-Colorful-Stars-1024x1024If I have to do all this adult-ing garbage, “hey, I didn’t sign up for this shit!”, then I get to make a big deal outta very little, dammit! I went to the post office today, woo hoo! I paid a bill! Yeeaahhhh! And I get to choose how I should celebrate. Right now it’s a glass of Cabernet and some Billy Holiday. Sounds way classier than it is, I promise, but it doesn’t matter. Celebrate the little things how you see fit, so long as it makes you feel good. I have a snoring puggo at my feet and Ms. Holiday’s velvety melodies soothing my soul. It ain’t all bad, ya know?

Sometimes I forget I’m fat. That seems absurd, no doubt. I’m a “DeathFat” at 325 lbs, plus with my red hair there’s just no missing me. I think I have surrounded myself with like minded people for so long that when I am on my own in public I feel like a regular person, I don’t feel bigger than others. I often even refer to myself as “little” but I know better. I know the world doesn’t see me this way. I have been shocked more often than I care to recall with what strangers have said to me in public about my size, my buying choices, food choices, etc. Today I got hit on in a CVS in a clever way and it actually made me feel good. I also forget that humans can be attracted to me.  It’s been awhile, y’all! Ha-ha!

I don’t have a problem with someone noticing my size, but we all get that manners are not optional in such matters, yes? Same for dudes who’s jaws drop when a girl’s showin’ some cleav’! I’m very comfortable in and with my body, but I am endlessly amazed at how disconnected folks are from theirs. I mean, the amount of space some people take up compared to what I know my body needs?! Whew! *Shrugs* Takes all types I suppose, but rudeness isn’t okay. I will tell a person when they cross a line with me. I owe no one a thing!

Having more free time lately has allowed me to wear clothes I haven’t in ages. I’m wearing dresses again and got my nails painted! It’s been 6 months! I toyed with the idea of chopping my hair, but friends talked me out of it. I’m glad that they did. My hair hasn’t been this long since 2004 (though it was down to my ass then)! I am learning to love me again. It’s been far too long. It’s such a strange feeling and so difficult to describe but it’s almost as if I haven’t seen myself in a year. Like, not even in the mirror. Like I’ve blocked out my own identity all of this time.

I’m definitely having an identity crisis. I don’t know what the fuck to do with my life right now. I get words of encouragement from well meaning friends about following passions and finding my creativity again, but you know, bills gotta get paid. I don’t even know what my passion is anymore. I don’t know what I’m good at or how what I can do or have done could turn into a long term job. So many people don’t understand (or don’t want to) what it takes to start or run a business, or that I have no interest or means to do this again. One crisis at a time, please. 😛

I’m definitely in a coming out of something bad phase. I don’t know where life or the universe will lead me next, but I am finding ways to be hopeful again.

Rad Fatty Love,
<3
S

 

but I celebrate them just the same

May11

I worked really hard to be a positive and self accepting and loving person. How did I forget how hard it is to BE that person?! Life events, one right after another, sent me into a whirlwind or a tailspin or whatever and I forgot who I was, what makes me happy or how to feel happy and I wasn’t so sure I would ever shake it. It didn’t seem to ever be getting better. All the bad things and all of the bad thoughts that accompany them. Feeling insignificant in the world and even in the role I played in my own life, it was soul crushing and heart breaking. Physically I went through so much in such a short amount of time that I’m certain I’m still recovering. I am so grateful and beyond lucky to have the few tried and true souls that I do have in my life, they have kept me going when I couldn’t see the point. My boyfriend has remained the most positive person when my darker moments have scared others away. Of this I have been in complete awe of him. But when we met I was that person to him. Life is such a mind-fuck! (When in doubt hyphenate?)

I am once again (again again again) starting anew. It feels very different this time, though I bet I’ve said that every time. Some timing and planning has thus far worked out in my favor in some small but meaningful ways and this has helped me feel a bit less stressed, thank the stars above for that. Stress has been my master these last few months and so the proverbial rug getting pulled out from under me has lifted much of a very heavy stress load provider. To the extent that I’m sort of in shock-mourning, too. Mind-fuck! Ugh! And it’s like I have to keep doing this same pattern over and over and I’m wondering if it’s me and everyone telling me it’s not and I just can’t think straight anymore.

I recently found an old dilapidated box in my garage and hadn’t laid eyes on much of its contents in more than twenty years. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least, but really good overall. Just last week I went to look for a picture to use as an introduction for a fat group on facebook and found myself staring at a stranger, that stranger was me. But I was doing things and feeling fulfilled and looking at it all now just seems so foreign! That person seems a lifetime away. I couldn’t have done all of that?! It made me sad and tired. I’m proud of my accomplishments, don’t get me wrong, but I no longer feel capable of such things now. I feel so worn out. So much has been taken from me, used up.

I was terrified to go to a local rad fatty’s party but had promised I would go and as hard as it was to actually go that first time, I’m so glad that I did! I had such support, but soon found that I didn’t need it. I really was among good people, friends and community. I attended another party of hers solo and had such a great time. I was worried for nothing! Ha-ha! What else is new, eh?! I have been truly touched, moved and have been fortunate to connect with such amazing people there that I am healing some of the hurt that’s been with me awhile.

I’ve been reconnecting a lot. With music and dance and my femme-ness. With learning how to be me again. With learning all over again that it takes a lot of work and mindfulness to be positive. With my sweet little puggo! Oh he’s the best! He’s my little shadow again, by my side with vigilance and love and oh wait no he’s staring at his automatic feeder (I’ve now dubbed “Pug TV”). Ha-ha! I went from no time to breathe to sleepless nights and hours passing like years. Good things happen in tiny snatches of light, but I celebrate them just the same.

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I want to write again, like I used to. I want to use my words, my writing, to share my heart with you all once again. It helped me so much in the past. I hope this begins a new chapter of that, but I’m not yet willing to be hopeful. I would love to hear from you! In comments, in an email, tell me how you’re doing, what’s got you excited, what’s sticking in your craw, what silly thing have you done lately?!?!?! I wanna know! notblueatall@notblueatall.com

I love you all so much, for real!
<3
S

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