NotBlueAtAll

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

Sunday Dinner Prayer

June17

Growing up, most Sundays were spent at my grandma’s house. The whole family would spend much of the day and evening there, usually with me or my siblings nodding off in the car on the drive home, around 9 pm. I always enjoyed myself and looked forward to seeing my grandparents and well, my grandma always had special little surprises for us too. Things like those magnetic board things you can draw with or any other such toys and games you’d find at your local drug store toy aisle (her favorite was Long’s drug store). Ha-ha! I never cared where it was from, I was just happy to have anything new and my grandparents were very good about giving me their undivided attention. My grandpa was the first to show me a computer keyboard and how it worked. He tried to show me some math stuff but I was too young and I’ve never liked math. My grandma and I, for a time, would go through her old magazines and cut out anything we thought was beautiful and put the clippings into a self adhesive photo album. Seems silly and frivolous, I’m sure, but I can see how that simple past time actually helped me so much later on, even through grieving her passing.

My grandparents met in WWII, in the army, my grandma was a nurse. My grandpa was a school teacher and a postman. They were so smart and so empathetic. They never raised their voices in my presence. I don’t remember my grandpa’s voice but he was very quiet, but my grandma’s voice I don’t think I’ll ever forget. She had the best sense of humor, loved the movies Blazing Saddles and Born in East L.A.. I can hear her laugh always! When they couldn’t conceive at first they fostered children. Later when my dad came along, he grew up with a young Black boy (I cannot recall his name and for that I feel awful but I haven’t talked to my dad in years and years). He used to tell stories of their fun times as kids in the late 50’s/early 60’s. I don’t recall anyone mentioning what happened to him or that they stayed in touch.   

At home we never had sweets in the house unless my mom baked, and she usually burned whatever it was she was baking or cooking. My dad would always joke that the extra charcoal was good for you. A treat in my house was watered down cherry Kool Aid or pickles, especially in the summer. My family was poor, my dad worked retail and my mom stayed home with 3 kids. We rarely had real milk in the house, it was usually powdered milk that went into our cereal or oatmeal. Before my sister was born, I remember many a Friday night anxiously waiting for my dad to come home because it was his payday. He worked at Gemco which had a grocery department, so he would come home with groceries. By that time there was nothing left in the house to eat. Family dinners at home consisted of mostly ground beef and whatever medley of frozen veggies, rice or noodles we had on hand. My dad would throw a week’s worth of leftovers into a pot, dump cream of mushroom soup and some water into it, ramen noodles too, cook it all together, and worst of all, he called it “Goop”. “Goop” haunted my childhood. It was a grey gelatinous mass of unidentifiable ingredients, but there was no missing one ingredient, salt. Oof! My dad once made my siblings and I a pot of mac n’ cheese so salty I physically couldn’t eat it. My brother didn’t mind it.

So Sunday dinners at my grandparents house were always special! My grandma would always make a small green salad and I would often help prepare or just set the table. I took great pride in trying to fold the paper napkins in new and fancy ways, I had no idea what I was doing, but she encouraged me. I looked forward to that salad all week!  She usually had iceberg lettuce, tomato, green onion, celery, cucumber, but she always had a few types of dressing, which seemed so fancy to my young self. She would put the salad in these little clear glass bowls shaped like lettuce. I would be my most careful when assisting with placing those bowls on the table, but I don’t remember her ever warning or admonishing me about it. I think it is just how I am with other people’s stuff. Ha-ha! Once the table was set, my grandma would announce for everyone to wash up and to have a seat at the table.

Now I was raised Catholic. My whole family went to church, I went to catechism and had my first communion, and all of that. I remember my grandma liked to poke fun at Pope John Paul II because he was a few months younger than she was. It was fucking adorable, I can assure you. She never went to church with us, not sure she ever went that I can recall. Maybe a midnight mass? Not sure. My grandpa went to a different church because he liked to sing in their choir (First congregational church, not sure what denomination that is). At home we didn’t pray or anything. We didn’t read the bible or even talk about it. At bedtime we’d sing a “Now I lay me down to sleep” song, but that’s about it. 

On Sunday evenings, however, at my grandma’s house? We would say grace, together, and hold hands as a family. “God is great and god is good, I wish to thank him for our food…” and at the end my grandma would add, with her head still bowed and eyes still closed and very focused, “And lord please take care of all of the babies and the hungry children in the world. Lord, please take care of all of the animals in the world and keep them from pain. Lord, look after the mothers and take care of the elderly.” Sometimes she would go on and on, adding more and more of the lord’s flock to the list she really needed to remind him to look after. I don’t think I could really feel her intentions fully then, but now when I think of her voice, it hits me pretty hard. I know for a fact I got all of my empathy and compassion from her directly.

Her capacity to give a shit never ceased. She wasn’t perfect, and she was very petite woman, but she had an air and an attitude that was warm and caring and just full of love. Even if she was chewing someone out for a parking lot incident (there were many, it’s the SF Bay area!), she did it with humor and humility.

Now I am an atheist. I don’t believe in much. Faith in humanity is certainly in short supply these days. And while I wish I could talk with her about the pandemic and all of that, I am more interested in what she would have to say about the police brutality and demonstrations of protest. After all, she was from the Great/Silent generation. My dad was a bit too young for the civil rights movement of the 60’s. I remember in Junior High when I was obsessed with the sixties culture and music and my dad just being so damned confused by it.

One thing I do hold onto and believe in is that we’re all made up of the same elements from the universe, stardust if you will. Everything else is a construct and thus can be reconstructed. I want to believe in a future where the babies and the animals and the elders and the mothers all are taken care of and looked after and are not suffering in pain or in silence. I think right now we have an opportunity to make that so. Certainly I am not the one who knows how that can happen, but I do know that listening to Black women specifically is the key! I think my grandma would agree with me completely on that. Part of me is grateful she didn’t live to see how we (the USA) are handling all of this right now. She was Catholic, but she hated the GOP with a special sort of venom I never saw directed elsewhere. I carry on that tradition.

BLACK LIVES MATTER!  

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!
I also have an Instagram, though I don’t post much, I have been trying to: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com



“I love my country but it wears a uniform”

June4

This morning as I was driving to the post office for my job, as I do each week since the shutdown began, a song came on my Pandora mix that always delights me, “Labour of Love” by Frente. Their 1992 album, “Marvin the album” was always a go-to for me then, and well, even now. Sometimes you hear a song differently than you used to. Sometimes it is a lyric or a hook, or something just hits you anew and when the song finished another from the same album popped into my head. I kept humming it and singing the lyrics I could remember, but I didn’t even know the track’s name and I wanted to fill in the missing pieces so I could at least sing it to myself.
So I got back home after visiting the office and asked my Alexa device to play the album after a glance at the track list gave me no clues for the song I was thinking of. And then the track began to play…

I love my country
but it wears a uniform
it speaks with foreign guns
in the background you can almost hear
the sound of intervention
and I don’t know when liberty fell
but we rang every mission bell
we rang them loud and clearly
to a world that wouldn’t listen

I don’t want to die
I’m as innocent as anybody
I don’t even know how to spell
revolutionary
Jesus in the sky
the bullets in the guns
you don’t even know what we
mean by repression

blood is the colour of the sunset
you walked into the darkness
I did not hear your last breath
there will not be an inquest
this is not human interest
we danced the dirt with
surrender for our drumbeat
we danced for the balance sheet
died for the kind of lasting peace
that pleases the world policeman

and fatherland raped motherhood
and told her it was for the global good
and now we ring the mission bell
to warn their children
and I don’t want to die
I’m as innocent as anybody
I don’t even know how to spell
revolutionary
Jesus in the sky
the bullets in the guns
you don’t even know what we
mean by repression

blood is the colour of the sunset
you walked into the darkness
I did not hear your last breath
there will not be an inquest
this is not human interest

This song, “Cuscutlan” despite it being old, it’s lyrics are still quite relevant. Cuscutlan is what El Salvador was called before it was conquered and the song is about that takeover and what’s happened in El Salavador (Frente are Australian). You can hear the song (with lyrics) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hl1uIcZfcIY

The line, “I love my country but it wears a uniform” was on repeat in my head this morning when it first came to mind. It brought the image I saw yesterday on Twitter of how the American Police uniform had changed since the 1960’s. Not just the uniform, but the equipment and protective devices/armor/etc they use now as well. It’s to the extent that it’s difficult to tell what is riot gear and what is regular police gear. It is frightening!

I’m not sure I have a huge point to this post. The truth is that white people created all of the problems in this world. Don’t agree? YOU ARE WRONG! Sit with that for a good long time. Being wrong is awesome as it is a chance to learn and grow as a person, thus making you better than you were before you realized you were wrong. Woo!

I’ve been an activist/protestor/demonstrator off and on for thirty years. First with the Gulf War and then animal and environmental demonstrations. I was fully aware and exposed to racism (not directed at me) from the age of 5 when we moved into the duplex where I grew up. I saw the violence first hand that the police dealt to Black people in our neighborhood. I couldn’t understand of course, but I saw horrific and brutal violence and luckily my parents were pretty good about explaining some things back then.

Just because I wasn’t raised with racist parents or ideals doesn’t mean I don’t benefit from white supremacy or the systemic racism in our world. I most definitely do! However, I’m not worried about getting called a Karen or a racist because I know what I put out into the world and the work I have done in my life. And I have been called a racist before, publicly. It was hard to hear, but I owned it and made amends and have worked very hard to not only better myself but also everyone in my circle of influence. I got comfortable being uncomfortable. That was key! Because I had my facts and history straight, I knew and checked my privilege, my intentions were always good. However, intentions do not matter. The impact of what we say and do in the world does. We don’t get to decide what that impact is. If someone tells you that what you said or did was racist and hurt them, believe them, apologize, explain that you want to do better and will work hard to do so. Seek support in your anti racist self education from other anti racist whites. Do not ever ask someone you’ve harmed to explain it to you, they do not owe you that.

Our government has failed us at every turn, so it is up to us to look out for each other and ourselves. White people need to get used to being uncomfortable and put in the work of healing the harm we’ve caused the world over. We absolutely must take this hard on the chin and fucking own it for what it is. (It’s not supposed to feel good!) Only then can we begin to heal and to rebuild our communities without the trappings of white supremacy. We can then change the tide of civilization, heal our planet, and push humanity to a higher plane of consciousness.

We must do all we can to fight oppression and to support the oppressed. Use your privilege to help others, to protect them, to boost their voices and ideas. Not everyone is able to attend demonstrations of protest. Not everyone can donate large sums to Black organizations. I get that. But there are SO MANY other ways to support Black people right now. See this blog’s FB or Twitter page for resources, links, and so much more.

Do NOT under any circumstance ask your Black friends to explain race related shit to you at all ever! Or to tell you what you should be doing about it now. It is not their obligation, regardless of your relationship with them. Nope! That is adding to their burden and emotional load. You CAN give them money to buy food for their families, or ask if you can pay a bill, run an errand, watch their kids, or some other form of support that doesn’t include them doing shit for white people.

If you have ever thought about what you might have done had you been alive and witness to the horrors of the Holocaust or the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, this is your time NOW! Right now! This is not an InstaGram moment, this isn’t even a Kodak moment. This is life or death and it is unbearable to watch Black people being murdered by police every day in our country. It is even worse torture for Black people to see it.

So I’m a fucking tree hugging hippie at heart! Kiss my ass why don’t ya! Ha! I don’t want to buy everyone in the world a Coke, though. I have no solace to offer, no perfect line of wisdom to relay. I can only share my flaws, cares, doubts, and hopes. Music helps. Davy D, of local and KPFA’s “Hard Knock Radio” show fame, has been posting some excellent playlists (follow him, he posts good shit!) along with hard hitting reporting on the ground in Oakland, CA. After binging the Hulu series High Fidelity and My Mad Fat Diary I have been inspired to dive back into listening to albums that were developmentally important to me. Right now I have Paula Abdul’s debut album blaring. I think next will have to be Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, seem appropriate.

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!
I also have an Instagram, though I don’t post much, I have been trying to: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Isolation Tango

May13

So, like most folks, I have been working from home and staying home in general since March 17th. I think most of the initial anxiety, paranoia and confusion I was dealing with has passed. I am finding a pattern in my weeks. My sleep has begun to suffer, though. I just wake up at odd times and can’t get back to sleep. My restless leg syndrome is annoying af and sometimes painful, too. So I stay away from the OTC sleep meds because they all use the same antihistamines which trigger the RLS. Rinse, repeat. I really struggled at first, not with staying home, but with the uncertainty of it all and I convinced myself that I would lose everything (job, home, health, all). So far I have remained ever-grateful and count my lucky stars every damn day for retaining my full-time employment. Many close to me have not been so fortunate. At first a lot of what I was struggling with had nothing to do at all with the pandemic and everything to do with past long stretches of unemployment and how badly that has affected my mental health previously. I had to really push myself to not fall into old/bad habits while also allowing myself some room to breathe. It’s a lot. Everything felt so scary and heavy, not that it doesn’t now, it’s just different. 

Every weekday I get up about 8:30 am and feed the puggo. Then I make my coffee and boot up the laptop for work. I have a small back patio/yard that I have a lil’ box garden and patio furniture in and I have been making small improvements to. I have ideas and plans and seedlings and soil, but I need containers and right now getting things shipped is tricky. My ex-husband gave some buckets for me to grow my tomatoes and peas in. Actually, he was the last human I saw in person. We both had masks on and it was only in his driveway, but still. Wow. I’ve done bucket tomato plants before, so I’m feeling optimistic about that. I really wanted to do a vertical garden of strawberries, but those containers or even the components are expensive. So I nixed that idea entirely. I haven’t bought my strawberry seeds yet and perhaps it’s too late now. I’ll have plenty of tomatoes!

A few weeks ago, I started to cook and bake. I haven’t honestly done much of that in years. I made my first banana bread in over a decade, it was absolutely riddled with walnuts! I made a lemon cake without icing and it was perfect and so comforting. I’m not big on frosting or icing in general, but a nicely made cake is delightful. I made the best lemon bars I’ve ever had in my life! I will have to make more soon. I made carnitas tacos and refried beans from very close to scratch (didn’t use dried beans). I made my first Dutch Baby! I was so proud! I have a tendency to always want to add or do “One more thing!” when I bake and cook and thus had an odd but still tasty fail with another lemon cake I added fresh strawberries to. They sank and the bottom was perpetually soggy. Meh. I think tonight I will try for a chocolate cake. I like simple. I also made some other amazing things that were fun and easy like white sangria and a killer iced tea last week. 

I struggle to use all of my produce each week unless I really plan out my meals, and let’s be real, that is not always doable. I can’t read. Well, I can read short bits of things, but after about three minutes my brain wants to give up. I had to stop reading literature for pleasure. I’m now reading a book on CPTSD and healing from childhood trauma. Well, a few pages at a time, anyway. I go out on my patio at least once a day to simply get sun on my face and to breathe in a good bit of fresh air. There’s a whole row of big lovely trees behind my building that line the border of the property. It’s not much but it gives a nice ambiance and a little bit fresher air than the parking lot would. I have days where I feel like I can just be outside in my Paradiso de Patio (I gotta make a sign, darn it!) and it’s like the rest of the world doesn’t matter. And then I have days where even being outside in my tiny yard feels unsafe and that the world will find a way to destroy me. Good times. Ha-ha!

I’ve become much more of a tea drinker than I have been since I had my cafe and 12 organic teas to choose from on the daily. Ha-ha! It’s so odd to me but I’m actually enjoying this cheap Celestial Seasonings Chamomile with Vanilla. I had an urge back in March to get some teas and I ended up with 5 types that I like but that chamomile is just hitting me right lately. I tell myself that it actually helps to keep me calm because my anxiety is like a roller coaster ride I never bought a ticket for. But hey, last night was fresh sheet and fresh dog and freshly shaved legs night so you know we slept great! Ha-ha! I also hit a point with my insomnia that I started to lean into my seemingly endless supply of espresso and over did it one day to where my heart was racing and I felt high. So…TEA! YAY!

I have found that I have about 3 really productive days each week, usually two together. Saturdays are a crap shoot, if I do the dance class I love most I usually get super emotional but in a good way, it’s a release and we all need that! Plus a bunch of local fat community attends the class but I’m usually the only one with their camera off and I feel weird about that. I know it’s a safe space. I have done the class and been on camera before. I think it’s due to my house, like I have sooooo much trauma and shame and fucked up baggage about the outside world seeing my inside world, regardless of the actual state it’s in at any given time. Also I’ve been feeling disconnected from myself in a few ways. I know this happens and long stretches of isolation just fuck us up in ways we can’t predict or control. I have taken a lot of dance classes since the shutdown began, but most I only do once. The CFO at the company I work for has a niece who just got certified to teach BollywoodX classes and I was fortunate to attend the first one. I even emailed her ahead of time to ask if it was okay to keep my camera off. I noticed that the only other person in that class that had theirs off was the CFO, so that’s awesome and hilarious, he’s cool. The class was super fun but the warm up was like five seconds before she ramped waaaay up! She had so much energy, she must be like 19 yrs old, I swear. But I kept up! Also she didn’t do any count offs. Like, 5-6-7-8…none of that, and I am not used to no counts. Good to get out of that comfort zone and I love learning new modes of movement.

I still go into the office once a week to process the mail so they can pay bills and such. I have to really mentally and physically prepare for this trip every damned week. I can’t say that it gets any easier. My heart will start racing before I even leave the house. I have a whole routine so I make sure things are the same so I can be sure they’re cleaned the same too. With the roads nearly empty, the few cars left drive either 30 in a 65 or 100 mph period. It’s terrifying! Luckily I don’t have too far to go and what would be a nearly hour long commute now takes me 15 minutes, tops! My struggle currently is still about getting used to wearing a mask. I’m claustrophobic af so the sensation of having my mouth and nose covered is awful. Also having specific past trauma regarding airway restriction isn’t fucking helping! Grrrr! I have an N95 left over from the wildfires awhile back and that is what I use. I bought a cloth one on etsy but it is both too big and too small on my face somehow. I ordered some more in different styles to see what works best but this is going to get expensive since you can’t return these things. I want to believe I can find a style that works that I can get used to and live with. I sit at the front desk when my office is open and I want to model the correct protocols, ya know?

I am an office manager and it is my responsibility to source all of the PPE for my company for when we return to office life. This responsibility has had me waking up in a panic sometimes. The amount of information about new protocols, disinfecting offices, and space planning is astounding. What’s more is that most of it is absolute bullshit and you find that the moment you scratch the surface or ask any questions. I would say that most if not all office managers are natural skeptics. Ha-ha! But who can you trust when no one truly knows or has dealt with this on this scale before?! It’s maddening. And what is an office manager without an actual office? This is on my mind constantly. I have order requests in with one of the largest buyers of such things out there, but it’s up to my boss and other executives to approve and direct and I am swimming in insecurities about my role as far as the long run. I know it’s not as bad as my mind often wants me to believe that it is. I know I can handle this. But that doesn’t always help when the anxiety beast it breathing down my neck. Music helps.

One thing that has helped me tremendously is giving myself permission to use my imagination at all times. Seriously, after the first week I was like why am I not making the most of every moment?! I started singing to my doggo again and dancing in my kitchen while cooking or waiting for things to boil. I will sing along, fully belting it out, with nearly any song that tickles me at any given time. I did my own weird-ass version of a ballet inspired non-striptease on my patio (I didn’t actually undress, just pretended). It was fun! I don’t know what it’s like to have to isolate with other people, so I have no advice for you there outside of good communication and boundaries. Isolating alone, however, is like having your own one-woman show…well if you want it to be, that is. It all evokes my early childhood of solitude and solo play before my siblings were born. Other kids had imaginary friends, I always had an imaginary audience. No matter what I did, in my head at least, I was doing it for an audience. I’ve tapped into that again and it’s magical! You won’t see me doing any viral dance moves or challenges on tik tok, but you might catch me acting out scenes set to my favorite songs. 

Also a lot like my childhood is the amount of time watching my television. I really do need to get my Wii and DVD player set up, I just never bothered. At least then I could watch some old faves not yet on streaming services and play some fucking Mario Kart! Oooooh! That would be good for the old soul. Well this one anyway. I have Hulu’d and Netflix’d and IMDB’d and all of the other streaming things that aren’t Apple or Disney. Yes, I know The Simpsons are on Disney now, but I have the best seasons on DVD and they play reruns every single day on at least two different channels. I even got HBO streaming through my amazon thing for a limited deal. I have watched it all it feels like. But then something comes out with another season, like Kim’s Convenience or Ozark or Dead To Me and I lose myself in it all over again. I still watch my usual shows, too. The Daily Show and Late Night with Stephen Colbert are my weeknight staples. I love The Conners (but whoa very emotionally heavy lately, still love it), the Goldbergs, Blackish, Mixedish, and alllllll the cartoons! Cartoons will get me through, that is the truth! I’ve gotten into some new cartoons like Victor & Valentino (So cute!) and the reboot of ThunderCats, but it’s been good ole Spongebob that’s been a bright spot most days. Who’d have thunk it!

As for company and contact with actual humans, well, it’s mostly been through text. Which I prefer, honestly. I have a couple of friends who give great memes! And I’m always snappy with a gif. My bffs did a video happy hour once that was fun, I wore a pink wig with cat ears. The company I work for has been doing them too but I super struggle because you’re just sitting there on camera, along with everyone else, and it feels so forced and gross to me. I’m an introvert and I refuse to feel bad about it. I’m okay with being misunderstood and getting called weird. “I like being weird! Weird’s all I’ve got. That and my sweet style!” Maurice Moss, The IT Crowd, “Are We Not Men” episode. 

I said last year that I would not be dating in 2020. Who knew it would be so easy?! Ha-ha! Truly though, while I did say that and meant it, I really wanted to focus on dating women this year and well that just ain’t happening. I suck at it enough as it is to not have to try to deal with the quarantine stuff on top of it. Plus no one wants to actually have a conversation and that is a deal breaker for me. I already have the best company there is anyway, my puggo! He’s been such a sweet snuggle bug. He is the reason I get out of bed in the morning and not stay up all night. He makes me go to bed at a reasonable hour, though that changes day to day. Sometimes that means 10:30 or 11 pm, sometimes by 9:15 he’s calling it a night and trying his best to insist that I do as well. It’s hilarious!   

You’d think with all this “extra” time on my hands that I’d be writing like a woman possessed, but I really haven’t had a single idea to write about. So I give y’all this silly update about me. To those who actually read and care about me and the few who even reach out, thank you so much. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know, it makes a difference, I promise. If there’s anything you’d like me to write about (should we do Tank Top Tuesday submission posts again? What else?) or post other things here, please do not hesitate to let me know in comments or email me directly: notblueatall@notblueatall.com or if you need an unbiased ear to talk or vent to, I’m here! I’ve been posting a bunch of things on this blog’s facebook page, not my own content but other interesting and often related content. Check it out, follow/like it, or not. I’ve thought about trying to do videos and things but I’m just not sure what people even care about right now as far as those go. So lemme know! Or just tell me what is keeping you going during this isolation tango we’re all doing. 

***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!
I also have an Instagram, though I don’t post much, I have been trying to: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.) notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Sláinte! From Me to You in This Difficult Time

March18

Monday would have been my grandma’s 100th birthday had she lived to see it. I have been thinking about her so much these last few weeks. She was a Registered Nurse, served in the Army in WWII, and during my lifetime she worked in a convalescent hospital. I cannot help but wonder what she would do during this Pandemic, but then I know the thought of that human turd in office may have killed her anyway. She hated Republicans, though she was a Catholic, she was of the type so pure of heart that when faced with only her glare no man would stand a chance against her. Petite in stature, big in humor and heart, I can’t say that she raised me, but was a constant beacon in the darkness of my life back when. Monday evening 6 SF bay area counties (where I live) were ordered to shelter in place, likely until April 7th.

The day after her birthday, was St. Patrick’s day. I didn’t even wear green! I was home the whole day, kept seeing green things and celebrations online, but I didn’t even bother to listen to her/my favorite Irish rebel music. So this morning, in my dimly lit living room, a bit more chilly than I’d like to be, I realized my folly and instructed aloud, “Alexa, play the Clancy Brothers, Live at Carnegie Hall” and she responds, “Playing, In Person at Carnegie Hall, 1963, the Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem” and then I hear it begin and it’s like my grandma and her sister are still here. I can hear their laughter, the clink of a glass, “Sláinte!” shouted briskly. Only they’re gone and it’s only me singing along to “Juice of the Barley” and “Jug of Punch”, the latter being my all-time favorite and never ceases to bring out every last Irish cell in my body to sing and to weep. It is a warming and aching thing to have an Irish heart.  As much as it can swell with love or pride, it will always have the ache of our ancestors too.
Self-isolating isn’t difficult for me at all. I have been relishing my single life and living alone life for over a year now and seeing everyone else at home too makes me feel part of a community in a way. My biggest struggle was getting my groceries. Grocery stores are a big trigger for my C-PTSD on the best day, but with all of the reports of outages and fights and this looming contagion to deal with I know that would be a recipe for a massive panic attack. I have a recurring local grocery delivery every Friday evening, but last Friday I waited through my delivery window until far outside my usual allotment of patience I emailed them and they had rescheduled it for Tuesday. No warning or communication what so ever. Ugh! So that weekend I had to get. bit creative with what I had on hand. Luckily I had taken home about 2 meals with worth of leftovers from work. When they finally were delivered last night I nearly cried from relief!
I grew up with food insecurity. My family was poor and always stretched too thin. I remember a doctor telling my parents when I was about 7 or 8 years old that I was malnourished. They put me on protein shakes that I can smell (and gag from even thinking about) to this very day! I remember being 4 and 5 years old and asking when we could have dinner and it was always later on Friday nights because it was my dad’s payday and since he worked at Gemco (they had a full grocery store inside, similar to Target now but old school) he would cash his check and bring home some groceries. This past weekend brought a lot of those feelings back to me. Those itchy, anxious feelings, not even like hunger or pain. Just the anxiety times eleven!
Once I put everything away in my small-ass apartment fridge (seriously why is it so small?!) I closed it and opened it again like three times. Just to be sure! It was there and it was real. And every time I opened it I would smile and look at my doggo with pride. He didn’t care, he just wanted all the food. Ha-ha! The last time I opened it to check I laughed at myself and finally went to bed. I slept so much better too!
I know that my grandma would be very proud of me and all that I have accomplished since she passed away in October 2003. I’ve had many careers and opened my own cafe since then. Gosh she would have loved my cafe! Sure she missed my first wedding (heavy assumption there, I don’t even think I’d want a second! Ha!), but that cafe was all me, ya know? I can hear her saying my name, “Oh Sarah!” and her tight hugs. Her petite frame was also misleading, she was tough as nails! Being a nurse all those years, she was strong as hell and could probably take down The Rock! Just sayin’! Her sister was no different, though perhaps a bit more straight forward and brusque than my grandma. They were nearly two-sides of the same coin it seemed. Their mother was from Ireland, though the two sisters were born in Connecticut, I believe. I think often of all they had seen during their lifetimes. The world has changed many times over since they were born, and died, really.
As we are all looking towards our unknowable futures, I think it’s valuable to stay connected to your ancestry and cultures in ways that are fulfilling. I don’t have the items needed to make Irish Soda Bread at the moment, but I do remember the last time my grandma shared some with us that she’d bought at Safeway, and how disgusted she was with their chain-store version, as we all slathered it with butter and jam. Ha-ha! I used to make it every year but have not been wanting to bake for a few years now. Or rather, I will want to but often don’t have the energy. I think I will make some as soon as this shelter in place guideline is lifted. Something to look forward to, certainly. I’m very picky about what goes into my soda bread, just as my grandma was. Whole caraway seeds and black currants, never raisins! Unfortunately I have also been a bit of a disappointment to my great-aunt as I cannot stomach any sort of whiskey, not even her beloved Bushmills. Though she did teach me to make a proper vodka tonic…so proper it’ll knock your socks off with your shoes still on! Ha-ha!
With the extra time that working from home allows I have gathered together some of my poetry into a collection with a theme. At first I thought it would be a chapbook, as that’s been on my bucket list for awhile. Once I put them together though I soon realized I had much more than I thought. So a collection it is! Now to look into getting it printed somehow. Not exactly something I’m trying to publish in a big way or get famous for (As if! Ha-ha!), but more just to do it and to have it and to share with interested parties, ya know? I wanted to add my own doodles throughout but I’ll be damned if I can’t even think of a single image. I don’t particularly enjoy drawing anyway but every now and then I can pull something off. Oh well. If you’re a doodler/artist with an open and kind heart, perhaps we might work together? I can pay and wouldn’t require much time for this and it isn’t a profit driven project but a personal one (and quite vulnerable for me). Please reach out if interested, though! I also want to try my hand at this crochet skull shawl, not sure I have enough yarn but it’s been so long since I’ve done any hooking that I will simply enjoy playing with yarn again.
I have been enjoying Cinder Ernst’s daily quick 5 minute exercise/strengthening videos. Check them out here! and seriously join the group it’s very positive and uplifting and not at all corny or shaming in any way! Doing them today and yesterday really lifted my spirits. I found myself trying to incorporate some of the moves just throughout my day. Check out her new book, “plus size knee pain solutions” as well! Cinder has been working with/in fat community in the SF Bay area for many years and is a pleasure and a joy to work with and know. She presented/performed at both of my Fatty Affair events years ago.
What things have you been trying to break up the day? To keep you sane? What are you struggling with? I really do believe that we are all in this together and only need to lean on each other to get through. I have seen a lot of posts on social media about meditation, yoga, and simple breathing exercises to stay calm/grounded. I haven’t left the house since I got home on Monday, but once the rain lets up I plan to do some gardening. This is the first time in my life I’m looking forward to gardening and spring and all of that! I might have to get proper gardening gloves at some point. Ha-ha! I have held off any online ordering for the time being, no point in it until I can actually use it. I want to try to do tomatoes and strawberries in vertical pockets along my back fence. I’m nervously excited to try it, anyway. At least it’s not a very expensive hobby and may produce food in the end, we’ll see!
If you are struggling with isolation please reach out to someone. Even me! notblueatall@notblueatall.com! There is no need to suffer alone and in silence. My friends have been checking in through text and sending funny gifs to each other. Some have started writing postcards and letters through snail mail! I love that! Whatever works for you is awesome! I love seeing ideas and things for this purpose shared everywhere. A lot of people have been cooking and sharing recipes. I love it all! Just know that you aren’t alone and you will get through this. For me this is comfortable, but heavy socializing drains me. I joked with a fellow introvert about how we need downtime to reenergize after socializing and all this isolation will make us all too powerful ad we’ll take over the world. Don’t worry, it will be a peaceful takeover. Lots of tea and books. Ha-ha!
***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram, though I don’t post much, I have been trying to: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Peace

February25
I never thought of peace as something I could have let alone want. It always felt to be a mere threat of a thing that could happen rather than something I would want or seek out. Peace was something that the world should want, but the powers that be never do anything to actually make it happen. It seemed to me a bit of a foreign, and even a changeable, concept.
I can’t say that I have known much peace in my life. Again, it never felt like something real or possible or even desirable. I mean, it’s difficult to want something if you’ve never known or seen it before. As much as I have enjoyed living alone for several years now, peace never entered the equation. Roommates and landlords and odd neighborly situations abound, but peace? Nah.
Peace, at least in my mind, is so often associated with religion and spirituality, something you must work toward and suffer for. Peace is something rich ladies paid a lot of money for fancy retreats in remote locales in order to achieve. It always felt like there was a catch, basically. “Poor kids don’t know peace! Weird kids don’t know peace! This is all just more fluff and woo and attached to a giant price tag! No thank you!” my inner self decided long ago, even insisted on.
The universe, or what I believe to be a force of nature that others may see as “god” in their own forms, has ways of showing us our own bullshit. We have to be paying attention, however, and I’m doubtful that many of us are. It is hard to hear the “good voices” over the bad, internally that is. Especially when you’re stuck in survival mode for so long, it’s definitely hard to hear anything else but your own struggles and needs to get by.
I never knew peace was something you simply needed to create space for. I don’t mean build an altar or buy a book or anything like that. I truly mean just creating space, in your life, for peace to exist. You don’t need to buy or to have anything at all. I suppose time is the real puzzle piece here. Time to get to just yourself and what matters to you most, deep in your core being. Time can be a luxury, I do realize this. I don’t think you need much time though to plant the seeds for peace.
I did not realize just how much of other people’s noise and life messes affected me on a daily basis. It’s like this terrible howling sound in my office no one can figure out, it is awful, but I try to ignore it until I don’t even think about it anymore. It is obviously there and anyone can hear it, but after awhile your brain just sort of gets used to it. This was how I was handling my burnout, too. I knew I was beyond burnout and heading towards real exhaustion, but I just kept going, not really knowing what else to do. Then I went on my first solo vacation and it was life changing!
Suddenly I was just me. I could think and breathe and just be and do whatever even if that meant nothing at all. I live alone but I carry so much with me in my daily life, we all do, and I couldn’t even tell! The feeling that first day on the Big Island was like nothing else I’d ever experienced. Just a freeness and openness and a sense of ownership over myself in a whole new way. The first morning I woke up so refreshed I was almost scared. I’d never awaken from sleep fully rested like that before. I also spent 20 years of my life with a bed mate (not counting puggo).
That first day I went downtown to get coffee I just felt so fresh and free and just…like the intro credits to The Mary Tyler Moore show! Ha-ha! I don’t know how else to describe it! Ha-ha! Energized?! It felt as though I was glowing and I almost think that I was with the way folks in town interacted with me. I was also wearing a vibrant red dress with huge flowers on it, but it was Hawaii so that isn’t unusual at all. Ha! It was the first time I could honestly say that I was care free! Not something I could ever say about myself previously.
That evening after hiking at the volcanoes and venturing to a local hot spot I came back to my air bnb cottage and just sat down and fucking smiled! I was exhilarated by my own existence in that very moment. I couldn’t even eat the food I’d bought, I was just completely at peace with myself and the world. I was tired as fuck, but I had found something I could hold onto in that moment and carry with me even to today!
No, the secret to finding peace isn’t visiting Hawaii, though I encourage you to if that is your thing. It is about finding a way, your own way, to getting rid of all that bullshit that lives in our heads and on our shoulders so we can actually see and feel and know what we want and need versus just doing what we have always done or to go with the flow…whose flow?! Find or make your own, I say!
This morning I woke up ten minutes before my alarm. Normally I would adjust the alarm to allow for an extra 5 or so minutes. Not today. Today I simply turned off the alarm before it went off and I laid in my bed in absolute mindful peace. Like no thoughts in my head at all! That almost never happens. I’ve tried tons of tips and tricks on meditation and breathing and all the things. This was different because it was mine. This was for me by me. I had not yet begun to think about the day or week ahead, even my lil’ puggo had not yet roused from his slumber. It was just me, warm and comfortable in my own bed. I relished in it!
I see myself and my life differently now, ever since that trip. Because now I know what peace feels like and it feels hella good! And you know how it goes, you like how something feels and you just want more of that goodness, right?!  For someone with C-PTSD, along with garden variety anxiety/depression/insomnia, to find peace even for a moment has gotta be some kind of amazing feat! Can I give myself a medal? I just want a medal for some reason. Ha-ha!
I never thought it possible, but I do feel like peace is part of my life now. I am much more mindful of how much is pressing on my mind and how much I am carrying with me that isn’t really mine to carry. I’m far more protective of who I allow into my space, physically and energetically. People often don’t know that they are giving off some fucked up energy but now I swear I can feel it before I even know where it’s coming from. Ugh! I also look forward to time and space with loved ones more than I have in a long time. I want to focus more on all of the people and things and experiences that bring more peace and general good feels in my life. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, but it can be all mine.
Had you told me this a year ago I might’ve laughed. Had you told me I would have traveled, for leisure, on my own, I would have been surprised. Now my weekends are for restoration of self. All that I give away in my professional life, all that I do or take on personally, I choose to let go of and take measure of all what needs to be replenished. That is my Friday nights now. I make no plans with anyone on Friday nights because they are bookmarked for me. I know that if I don’t create this space, and consciously let go of the week’s baggage, I will feel worse for it and it will take a toll on me. I feel it physically when I haven’t had enough time like that to myself to decompress, debrief, destress, and just shake off alllllll that shit. Now if I could just figure out a way to establish a stretching routine into my day…ha-ha!
How do you find peace in your life? How to you create space for it? What have you tried that has helped you let go of all of the things buzzing around in your mind? This is still a work in progress, one that I hope won’t end for some time. While I am not religious, I do see connections to things and humans and how what I see as nature/universe/elements is a lot like what others see as “god”. I find comfort and peace in these just as much as others may in studying or congregating in their faith. I have been paying closer attention to the moon and give thanks to her, no matter how much she is shining for us each night. I feel more grounded now and while I am working through some other personal/internal things, I am quite proud of how far I’ve come in a short amount of time.
***

I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram, though I don’t post much, I have been trying to: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

« Older Entries
Subscribe to my feed