NotBlueAtAll

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

Panic Schmanic

August18

Am I really doing this again? Yup, fifth time I’ve been laid off. #ValleyLife A title is just a title, it turns out, but this one hit home for me. I am sad to have to let it go, but perhaps I’ll just continue to refer to myself as the “Director of Happiness” just the same. In the end it’s all I’ve wanted to do, all I’ve ever done in my own weird way. It’s bittersweet but a bit of a relief now that the axe has finally fallen.

I’ve known for awhile that my boss hates me. I made no bones about it. I know I’m not paid to make friends. It just so happens that most people do like me and most of the people I support adore me. I have made a couple of friends, too. It’s just the lies and manipulation that keeps our entire team questioning everything and each other that’s made work incredibly difficult. When I woke up on the morning I was told, I had a gut feeling I couldn’t ignore, I knew she would be letting me go. I had no signs or signals outside of that and I nearly chuckled when she finally told me because of it. Listen to your gut!

So much of my life is once again up in the air. I have been thinking a lot about where I was this same time last year. It’s nearly exactly the same only I have my puggo now. Facing unemployment again at the end of this month, but this time my rent is going up $150 on the 1st and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford it with unemployment alone. Then yesterday I got a call from my insurance regarding an accident I was in two years ago. Things just don’t seem to be looking up for me, and yet…

I have this wonderful man in my life that never hesitates, never doubts and always thinks I’m made of rainbows and sunshine. I have some incredible friends who have my back no matter what. My life may be slightly simpler than in previous years, but it sure seems like the only constant is change. I just hate feeling as though I have no say or choice in my life. I have only told a select few people about my being “let go” due to a “business decision” and each and every one has been far more shocked than I was.

The truth is that I sort of didn’t let it sink in, I guess. I mean, I felt it and semi anticipated it, but it wasn’t until I finally told my fella last Thursday night that it finally seemed real. I cried. I hadn’t done that yet and I was surprised by how sad I felt/feel about it. “Sarah, I promise you that soon you will look back on this and laugh because something so awesome is going to come for you that you won’t even believe it!” my boyfriend said when I told him my news. He’s always insisted they don’t deserve me there and that they treat me terribly, even my mentor said he’d never have been able to stick it out with what I’ve had to deal with. It makes me feel good that I have stuck it out this long, but I have also been wronged and lied to enough by my managers for so long that it’s hard for me to believe anything anymore.

Saturday I got to meet the wonderful and amazing Amanda of FatBodyPolitics for lunch in San Francisco. I had explained to her in advance that I’ve been struggling with my social anxiety more and more lately and she understood. Still, I pushed myself too far. While we had a lovely brunch, the place was small and very crowded. It was a bit hard to hear each other but still the meal was good and getting to talk with Amanda was awesome. Then we headed to Fisherman’s Warf, a large tourist area on a Saturday. I was feeling fine at this point though and just glad to be outside and walking about with Amanda. We had some great conversation and even found a postcard with some fat hate on it. She kept insisting that if I needed to leave it was okay, but I didn’t want to leave. In the end I dropped her off at Pier 39 and headed home. I thought I was okay, just thirsty and a bit overwhelmed, perhaps.

Except I got stuck in traffic when a baseball game let out and I found myself quite suddenly surrounded by thousands of people in orange and cops, lots of cops. I started to panic. I drank all of my water and then just tried to keep breathing. But it was too late, I was heading for a severe panic attack and I didn’t realize it. I felt trapped and afraid. I started to cry and text my boyfriend (I couldn’t move my car). I wasn’t communicating effectively and he didn’t understand what I was trying to tell him. I got to the freeway and soon found myself in traffic once again, this time due to an accident. It was then that I began hysterically crying and couldn’t stop. I made it home (I was supposed to go to my bf’s place) and just ran to my room and cried and cried. I was hyperventilating and truly felt like I was dying. I was hot and cold and lights were too much. I text him that I couldn’t stop crying and that I was afraid. He didn’t understand what was going on and I couldn’t, in that state, explain it.

I ended up curling into a ball on my bed sobbing loudly in the dark for a total of 4.5 hours straight. Exhausting! Truthfully, in the moment and that whole night, I didn’t know what was happening to me. I thought my brain was broken. I thought I was actually crazy. I even googled “How to tell if you’re having a breakdown” and the first article that came up I clicked on. When the page loaded it required that I “sign up” before allowing me to read it. Thanks internet. *Sigh* It was only a bit later that I calmed down enough to sleep.

The next morning I was still afraid to leave my house. My boyfriend came and comforted me and I explained what had happened. I don’t think he fully understood but gosh he is so kind and comforting when I need him to be. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, entangled in his arms, “I just want to stay like this, right here, and never have to leave.” and he said, “Absolutely” but in the end he did coax me out of my hidey hole like no one else could. I was still feeling very fearful and quiet and shaken up and so we had a quiet day together before our work week began.

Today I’m feeling fragile and having to force every smile somehow hurts deeply. I can’t tell people what’s going on and yet some (those who know me) can tell. I told two people whom I know I can trust and it was a bit of a shock when I first arrived this morning and my beloved coworker Patricia said, “Are you okay? I’m worried about you.” *Sigh* She’s amazing. How she can know something is so wrong before I’ve even spoken a word to her is incredible. She and another coworker have given me nothing but love and compassion. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. My boss’s boss, back from two weeks of travel, has not even said a word to me. While my boss will only give feedback/criticism of the things I do or have done/organized.

I cannot wait to be home and feeling safe again but I don’t know that the safe part will come back so soon. It feels like I still have the weight of the world on my shoulders and mind and I’m struggling to maintain composure at work. It’s really hard to explain to someone who’s never had a panic attack, but it almost feels like you’re literally falling and falling into a bottomless pit except you’re sitting or laying on your bed and you know it but somehow your brain can’t make heads or tails of anything in that moment. It’s been just shy of two years since I’ve had a full blown attack like this. Usually I can feel the signs and can calm myself or get to another venue before it escalates, but I was alone and stuck in traffic when it did this time. Knowing my triggers helps, but it’s not a failsafe. *Sigh*

My courage, creativity, strength, confidence, all of it is gone right now. I am having a very hard time focusing on anything for more than a few seconds. Just writing this has taken me 7 hours. Luckily my job is so sporadic and multi task oriented anyway that most haven’t noticed a thing. I am having to train my lovely coworker on how to do all of the things I do in a given day, week, etc and that’s been tough on both of us. She keeps wishing things weren’t happening the way that they are and I swing from near-tears to numb. So far I’ve only cried once today and have staved off more tears by drinking lots of iced green tea and keeping busy. I keep saying, “I’m ok” to myself and to others and each time it gets a little easier. I really wish I could take a sick day but I don’t have them to take and if I miss a day of work I won’t have money for rent. All I want to do is go back to my room, curl into a ball and block out the world, but I can’t. That’s not reality and I can’t hide from it forever anyway.

I share this experience and what I’m going through not to gain sympathy or pity (gawd I hate pity so much), but to hopefully relieve myself and others of some of the shame associated with panic attacks and social anxiety. I have been afraid to tell folks before and when I have I’ve been very nearly called a liar by my nearest and dearest. *Shrugs* I can’t make people see the real me if they choose to keep me in the “Sarah box” they’ve created for me in their own minds. That’s been really hard. I have to just keep on keepin’ on somehow and I’m figuring out new ways to do just that every moment. I have to remind myself to be gentle and kind to/with myself. It’s not been easy. It seems some of my old self deprecating ways have begun to seep back in.

Hugs & <3
S

 

 

 

When Positive Turns Negative

August8

If you’ve read this blog in the past you might know that I’m generally a very positive person. I am this way because I haven’t always been and I know how it feels to not be. Everything is more difficult when you are actively hating, yourself, the world, whatever. I have been able to do a lot of self work and healing through thinking more positively. It has changed nearly every aspect of my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What has surprised me is a sort of backlash when it comes to positivity. I mean, there are always those who reject it immediately and refuse to see it as anything but hokum. I get that. What I don’t get is the way many have used positivity to lift themselves up while tearing others down. This is the worst, for me, to witness. I have seen it in those I love and care about and even some amongst our own fat icons and idols. It has caused me to distance myself from the body positive movement, sadly.

I have had friends who have taken the positivity I live by and turn it into a pedestal for themselves so that they might shit upon those they deem to be beneath them. That is definitely not the type of positivity I work with or towards. It offends me deeply and I have had to cut a couple of people out of my life as a result, unfortunately. I cannot listen to someone call themselves a feminist, an activist and then watch or listen to them tear down “skinny bitches” or make derogatory remarks about someone’s gender or presentation.

I realized this week in a dark and lonely moment that all of my mini posters I made for myself with positive quotes or sayings on them are all covered up. It gave me pause. I wondered and then stopped. They are covered up by clothes hanging from hooks on both of my doors. I have this one corner that has a bunch of positive stuff, even the poster from last year’s Big Moves dance show “En Masse.” I realized the difference in how I felt about myself from then until now. I started to think about who is in my life now versus then and how that makes me feel, too.

Shortly after that dance show was when the ugly side of the fat community showed itself to me and wounded me deeply. To see those I had admired or even considered friends at some point in time say and do things against other fatties or other gendered folks or just being completely cruel in general broke my heart. I know I haven’t recovered from this. To see that these people are still held up as pillars in the fat community hurts me, but more so, all of us. If the very people we celebrate are the ones actively hating on other fatties and genders it hurts our entire community and movement and fight for equal treatment and access. But what can be done?

Often we don’t want to see these things in those we look up to, even or especially when they are pointed out. It is because of this that I feel that I have lost my voice in the fat community and my identity as an activist. I have my own struggles, pain and fears to wade through and work with and often I don’t have enough spoons for even my own shit. I certainly do not think that there is only one or a right way to be an activist or a part of this important movement. I see the value in what so many are doing right now. Yet it feels like a kick in the gut to see meanies held up as the highest examples of fat activism and feminism. No! You don’t get to hate on people in my community and still get all of the glory and fame and yet…I kind of feel like that is the true American way.

The flip side of this is that we’ve all worked so hard to give a platform, to make space and to honor that space, for every identity that no one feels confident speaking up anymore. We’ve all gone silent, or at least many of us have. I’m not sure which is worse…The two-faced liars, the haters or the labeled-into-a-silent-corner? What is the point in seeking to be the spokesperson for a movement that you yourself have hard limits about (size)? Step down and just stop it. Take a moment or a month and just breathe! Do some fucking soul searching and figure your shit out before stepping back into the spotlight to tell the world how we should be acting or treating folks. Get real and get humble and find that thing that makes you just a human again.

I think we all strive to find that thing that sets us apart from the rest, a cut above if you will. But I think we forget to just be ourselves. I think it’s easy to be dazzled by the limelight. It’s way more fun to surround yourself with people who always agree with you rather than have to actually hear a different perspective or lived experience than your own. We are all special little snowflakes, but that is also what makes us mostly the same. We have far more in common with others than we want to believe. Belief and truth, the eternal debate!

I try very hard to live my own truth, to “ride my own melt,” and to share what I have with others. It’s not an easy thing. It’s what I think is right. I don’t expect to have people follow my path or my truth. I don’t attempt to find recruits or followers. I’m just me and that in itself is enough most of the time. I see the value in sharing my lived experiences with others. By sharing my story, by exposing my truth, I have helped people make better choices for themselves. No membership required! No fees, no strings, no hassles, just me. This blog has given me the safe space I needed to work through some very difficult times in my life. I won’t ever regret that.

Friends tell me that my voice will return, that this writer’s block will go away just as mysteriously as it arrived. They tell me that my thirst for activism will come back and I’ll be back out there demonstrating and being all fat at people once again. I try to believe them. I know their intentions are pure. Right now I’m still hurting, though. I see so much happening all around me built up on falsities and all I want to do is hide myself away. Well, truthfully, right now all I want to do is sleep, but that’s it’s own issue right there. Ha-ha!

I feel as though I’m nearly back where I started again and again and everything is always up in the air. I feel as though I have no say in my own life lately and it’s difficult. It’s hard to have people tell me how amazing and awesome they insist I am when I just feel like a giant failure across the board. I know that’s not me! But it’s how I’m feeling lately. I’ve begun to feel insecure about things I haven’t in years and it’s frightening. I’ve lost touch with what makes me tick. I’m not crafty or creative anymore and I’m not sure why that is. I’ve pushed people away that I hadn’t meant to and I’m not sure why or how I can repair that now. Such is life, eh?

It’s not easy to stay positive. It’s not easy to not go along with what society tells us is the only way to be. But nature never intended for us to all look and act and think the same. What a nightmare that would be! I’m not going to start apologizing for all of the things that are different about me. I never have and I don’t intend to start now. I celebrate those differences as much as I can. For me it’s always going to be the deeper meanings and connections I seek out. The surface-y stuff? Nah, not my bag, baby! If I’ve become more introverted over time, so be it. I wish this lead to more or just better writing on my part, but as much as I struggle with what the universe brings into my life, I am happy to have what I do.

There will always be haters, meanies, bigots, liars and assholes in this world. And as much as I hate to see the truth no one else wants to within our fat community, I am grateful for it. I would rather have the harsh truth than a pretty-sparkly lie any day. Even when it hurts. Even when it changes me. Even when I feel the need to hide. I want to believe that we all get what we give in this world and that old ” what goes around comes around” thing is real. I don’t know that this is true in reality, or that it could be, but I want to believe it. I won’t stop questioning, that is for certain! And neither should you! Question everything and everyone! Stay hungry for knowledge and truth and speak it to power so that some meaningful change can happen in the world. We so sorely need it.

*Hugs*

S

Guest Post from Adam & Eve

July2

The following post does not reflect my own personal beliefs or opinions and was not written by me, NotBlueAtAll. This post is from the company “Adam & Eve” who did not provide me any compensation or material goods for this post, but felt that my readers may be interested in it’s content:

I am no newbie when it comes to sex toys, but even I was a little confused by what in the world Ben Wa Balls are. To be honest, I thought it was some weird new fetish thing that people were doing with Baoding balls, those Chinese meditation/medicine balls you can get from any pagoda in the mall. A quick online search for them will lead you to a lot of sites saying, “Not to be confused with Ben Wa Balls,” so apparently I’m not the only one that didn’t know the difference.

However, I found that the confusion from a lot of us is pretty justified, because both are used for somewhat relatable purposes. Boading balls can be anywhere between the size of a large marble and a golf ball. Yahoo says that the Baoding balls are typically used for relaxation purposes, but that they’re also used by athletes to increase circulation in the hands, improve concentration, and decrease stress, all of which can actually benefit just about anyone.

While playing with Boading balls could strengthen your hands, Ben Wa Balls, also known as a “vaginal ball” or “internal use ball,” are used to strength vaginal muscles. Adam and Eve stated that “Ben Wa Balls are one of the earliest known sex toys for women” and that they were “[originally] implemented in Asia several hundred years ago.” Similar in the size variations of Boading balls, today’s Ben Wa models can feature anything from textured outsides, flexible shells, and even chimes within them.

So how exactly do these little things go about strengthening such a difficult area to tone? Ben Wa Balls aid in increasing the resistance during Kegel exercises — the contracting and relaxing of the muscles of your pelvic floor. Strengthening the muscles is supposed to make it easier for you to orgasm and make them more intense. The resulting tightened muscles can also feel better for your partner during penetration.

While they’ve been around for longer than any other sex toy, they’re becoming increasingly popular lately among women. It’s possible that this is due to the exposure the toy received after being featured in the successful, steamy franchise Fifty Shades of Grey. Times Higher Education says that while the toy was featured in the BDSM novels, the toy isn’t exclusive to those who are a part of the BDSM community; they can be enjoyed by anyone.

Virtual-Strategy even highlighted their medical purpose outside of sexual pleasure. In a recent article, they stated that using the ball to strengthen the muscles of the vagina can also help women suffering from incontinence and bladder control, common issues for women who have recently had a baby.

Everyone is looking for a multi-use product. They may look simple, but these little balls are great for a wide variety of different uses. As an historic toy with modern innovative purposes, it’s no wonder these little guys are a must have for any adult toy box!

By Amber Rodriguez

adameve.com736

Tank Top Tuesday!!!

July1

Today’s TTT post comes from Kathy!

Kathy It took me many years to finally learn to accept myself instead of feeling guilty for inflicting myself upon an unsuspecting public. Then it was more years to learn not to cover myself so I didn’t offend anyone with my fat. I finally hit 50 years old and thought, “I’ve lived half my life dressing to not offend other people. Why?  I deserve to be just as comfortable as everyone else.” So I bought myself some shorts and tank tops and I wear them out in public. In this pic I am sitting in a local Cracker Barrel restaurant. 

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I love this and Kathy! Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous self with the rest of us! :)

I am always looking for submissions from anyone who wants to exercise their right to Bare Arms for future Tank Top Tuesday posts! Email your pics here:notblueatall@notblueatall.com,please include the name you’d like in the post, a blog or etsy shop you wanna plug, your thoughts on bare arms or other fatty philosophies. It does not have to be in a tank top, so long as your arms are bare. Have fun with it! And thank you to all who have submitted and continue to do so. These posts make my week! They are so fun and empowering, too! So keep ‘em comin’ and keep baring those arms!

Gotta Say It Was A Good Day

June19

Today I did something I hadn’t ever done before. I woke up feeling pretty good, more energy and spunk than usual. I consider myself a pretty lazy femme as far as femme-y ways go. I’m low maintenance, but especially when it comes to my hair. I literally woke up, fed my puggyman, pooped, splashed water on my face and simply twirled the front section of my hair and clipped that to my head (I’d had it in a bun all night, took it out and shook it). That’s it! Oh…I got dressed!

I don’t know why, but ever since starting this job ‘o mine, I seem to always wear dresses on Thursdays. I really don’t know why this began or why I keep it up, but I just do. I had bought this Torrid dress a few weeks ago when I spent my Haute Cash and hadn’t worn it yet. This morning, wanting to wear something a bit different, I grabbed this baby, popped off the tag and threw it on over my teggings (from ReDress) and hit the road.

The big deal here is that I didn’t wear a sweater or shrug or even a hoodie over it. I did bring a hoodie, just in case. Just in case what? Just in case I a.) suddenly felt uncomfortable or not so brave, b.) someone made me feel it wasn’t professional enough and c.) I got cold. I did get cold for all of an hour, but the rest of the day I was happily and comfortably sleeveless…at work!!! No one said shit about my arms or being sleeveless. A couple of folks liked my dress, but randomly, even more liked my hair today. “This bed head?” I said. Someone even remarked on my hair color and was amazed it was natural (I showed her my white hairs Ha!).

Torrid size 4 Butterfly Dress <3

Torrid size 4 Butterfly Dress <3

I was feeling pretty dang good all day for no particular reason. Just a pep in my step and a tune in my head. The weather was great, 77 degrees! Couldn’t ask for more. Even went in with a couple of coworkers to have our lunches delivered. We got Super Burritos! Then someone gave all of the admins mini bundt cakes and we got to pick our fave flavor…I went for the chocolate…Because! Then someone had a birthday and gave us all cake. Cake day! So I am saving my mini bundt for tomorrow and happily enjoyed the birthday cake in the late afternoon. Nice!

When I got home from work after sitting in so much traffic (Oh Bay Area!) I had to pee right away. Ha-ha! Then I changed my shoes and took my little puggo for a long walk. This time I grabbed my big comfy headphones, plugged ‘em into my phone, and hit the pavement! We had so much fun! We must have walked a mile and a half (that’s like ten miles by pug/hobbit standard Ha!). I promised myself that I would walk him everyday this week since I’d been out of the house so much the last few weeks. It felt so good! Great music and scenery!

When we got back I fed his little mug and went to the kitchen to grab something for myself. I was so excited when at Target on Monday to find a seasonal Angry Orchard cider that I’d tried last year and loved, Elderflower! It’s subtle but lovely. It’s not too sweet, though sweeter than a traditional draft, and the flavor hits your palette in the finish, a light and flowery aftertaste. Delightful! I have been stocking my cupboard with these Go Picnic things, like a grown up Lunchables. I like the variety in flavors and textures. No refrigeration required. And my love of loves…Noosa! I have long said I hate yogurt and especially yogurt commercials. Yuck! But my lovely boyfriend turned me on to Noosa and there’s no going back for me! It’s supposedly “Australian style” but I just think it’s fucking delicious! It’s thick and rich and creamy, much like Greek style. My favorite is the tart cherry but I don’t think they have a bad flavor in the bunch.

Angry Orchard Elderflower, Go Picnic, Noosa yogurt

Angry Orchard Elderflower, Go Picnic, Noosa yogurt

I grabbed a package on our way back in the house and finally opened it before settling in for the night. Citracal?! Ha-ha! I’ve been staying up, not too late, watching my favorite show of all time, Good Times. Well, there was an advertisement for Citracal that made me feel like I needed it. I am sure I’m not getting much calcium in my diet, well not enough anyway. The reviews were incredible, too. The silly shit I buy, I tell ya! At least it wasn’t an infomercial product! Ha-ha!

Citracal? Yeah, late night t.v. makes me do silly things.

Citracal? Yeah, late night t.v. makes me do silly things.

I have been truly enjoying a nice walk down memory lane watching Good Times. I remember watching reruns as a little kid. Damn it’s a great show! They tackled subjects never even mentioned on t.v. before, in the early 70′s! And I have come to realize that it is because of that show, and specifically “Flo” and “Wilona” that have set the standard for my idea of friendship. They were always there for each other, even when they fought or weren’t speaking.

My good mood is still holding strong. Tomorrow I have first aid training at Red Cross. Don’t even have to go into work! Woot! I even get off early. Finally a Friday I can truly enjoy! Ha-ha! Here’s to music and friends and great weather and just feeling good after so long of feeling awful and tired. Look out weekend ’cause, here I come!

Look at that mug!!!

Look at that mug!!!

Take care of you!
<3
S

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