NotBlueAtAll

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

Grocery Shopping While Fat

January6

Grocery shopping is simply a part of life. No matter what is going on in the world or. your own life, you will eventually need supplies and food. Growing up I didn’t really have grocery shopping modeled for me in a normal way. My father worked at Gemco, which had a grocery department, and would do the majority of our shopping on his paydays before leaving work. When Gemco shut down entirely, my dad worked for a grocery store and then a grocery outlet. This is when I first got a fuller grasp of what grocery shopping actually was. My family was poor and it was the eighties so there were a lot of yellow generic boxes with black lettering. Brand names rarely made it into our cart or home. My parents didn’t take any sort of pride or enjoyment in cooking either, it was all simply necessity. 


Years later when I met my abuser, and after I had dropped out of school, he would force me to go grocery shopping with him and make him steak dinners and such, I was 14 years old (he was 21). He expected and demanded that I act a certain way in public with him. I hated every second. Because public restrooms are gendered, he would never let me use them, lest I try to escape his clutches. This created a lot of stress and tension. He forced me to write bad checks a few times as well, it was humiliating when the grocery store finally caught on. We didn’t have cookbooks in the house and the internet was years off from being in homes, so I mostly relied on McCormick seasoning packets for recipes and preparation instructions in general. 


When I escaped my abuser for good I would do quick grocery runs with my roommate but that didn’t last either. I soon relied almost entirely on lean cuisine’s frozen entrees, Cuervo Gold tequila (bought by friends until I was of age), Taco Bell’s #1 combo meal, occasional mall food, and the kindness of my grandma who would pack me a lunch for work any time she saw me, no matter what time of day or night. It was the late nineties by then and I was working at a music store in a mall and a music industry magazine on weekends promoting new artists. Food at that time was something I didn’t want to think about. I struggled with anorexia since I was 14 and while I didn’t know it then, it was a way for me to feel some semblance of control in my life that carried on into my late twenties. 


When I moved in with B in ’99, I really had to start from scratch and figure things out in the real world so to speak. We figured things out together which was wonderful. We started with lots of frozen things because it was easier to prepare. Looking back I’m really impressed with our early years together, we really were a team. When I would make quick grocery runs on my own I would be anxious but it wasn’t unbearable and I didn’t yet know as much about anxiety and C-PTSD and triggers and stuff. When we went to the store together we would focus on each other and chat and laugh the whole time. On my own I tried to get in and out as quickly as possible. Little things started to happen in those solo trips though, other shoppers would give me death stares and seemed to go out of their way to block my path. Figuring it was just coincidence or folks didn’t see me, I didn’t think much of it. Soon though it all escalated.


I really started to notice an escalation in hate and harassment when I was vegan for five years. This is when I, and my then husband, really learned how to cook. I got real into Alton Brown and Rachel Ray, despite who and what they are today, they really made cooking accessible to me then and I will never forget that. This is also when I first set foot in a Whole Foods. I came home very upset once after going to Whole Foods (WF from now on), a woman had hit my cart with hers and then later trapped me in an aisle with her cart and because of an ill placed pillar I couldn’t get away. She didn’t say anything to me, but it was plain as day that there was pure hate in her eyes. My then husband insisted it was some “psycho” (we used that word so much in the 90’s, how embarrassing) and an isolated incident, nothing to worry about. It was not isolated though. This was the early 00’s and the “Obesity Epidemic” was in the news everywhere, and there I was a size 26/28 just trying to live my life. 


Whole Foods became a saving grace for the ingredients I needed for my recipes, but the harassment got so much worse. People would put things in my cart, take things out of my cart, make remarks about things in my cart, even take my whole damn cart. People would make full eye contact with me and then hit me with their cart quite pointedly. And I do mean hit me and not my cart. They would knock things on the ground beside me and then give me the stink eye as though I had done it. They would say things to me in check out their mothers would be embarrassed to repeat! I’ve been hit with strollers and elbows too. Gawd do haters love to throw a fucking elbow, I swear! Not once did any have remorse or offer an apology. I’m sure most if not all assumed they were doing me a massive favor by harassing and assaulting me. At that point in my life I simply didn’t have the self esteem to fight back or speak up. Any time I would share what happened with others they would insist it was a one time thing and not to worry about it. 


After my divorce, I worked for a few startups and didn’t do much grocery shopping for myself, preferring takeout or restaurant meals with friends. Then I got maybe the worst job of my life at a startup that refused outside services and instead paid me to go to WF every week (sometimes more) and get two full carts of groceries for the small staff in that office. This is when things took a severe turn. To me it was plain as day that someone who had two full shopping carts with the store employees assisting me in fulfilling my list that it wasn’t for me alone, but that doesn’t matter when you’re a hardcore, WF shopping, fat hater. Once in checkout with my two carts this woman in her late 60’s walked over from 3 checkouts away to stand very close next to me and watch as I pulled each item out of the cart and place it on the belt. I mean she was standing maybe 12 inches from me with the sternest glare you’ve ever seen. This was almost $2k in groceries and this lady really and genuinely thought I was some monster who would belly the lot of it in a few hours time. The cashier was hella confused, but I knew her deal. We all do, right? You know why someone is behaving that way around you when you’re fat or otherwise marginalized in a way that doesn’t suit them. And that’s really all it is, it isn’t about me as a person, it’s about my existence and visibility and how dare I or anyone appear so revolting in the presence of WF shoppers?! The nerve! Ha-ha!


When I left that job I swore I would never shop at a WF again. I switched to Trader Joe’s for a time and loved it, but the harassment didn’t subside there, and their parking lots are always a nightmare. There is something about WF and TJ shoppers, and entitlement/elitism that makes me not fit with their vibes I guess. When I moved back to my hometown for a few years I would pass a WF store on my way home everyday. After a particularly exhausting day and train ride from the city, I decided to check out the hot bar at WF and it was glorious! I loved their pot roast, hadn’t had it since my grandma passed away and would never cook such a thing for myself. I ended up hitting up that hot bar at least twice a month for awhile. It was a sort of saving grace when things went south at a job I actually liked. I never got the same harassment at that particular location, but I was usually in and out before anyone could clock me anyway. 


After years of anxiety, panic attacks, harassment and more, in December 2018 I finally made the switch to delivery only grocery shopping. I had just moved into my first apartment on my own and had invited friends over for a holiday cocktail evening with lots of tasty treats and bites all made by me. I went bananas, too! I made a blackberry based vodka cocktail thing with lustre dust in nice glass bottles I gave as gifts that year. At that point I simply didn’t have the time to shop but still needed supplies. My little cocktail party was a hit and my homemade concoctions were enjoyed by all. I have a family owned grocery store about a block away from my apartment, but I rarely go in there unless I absolutely have to. Grocery delivery has been such a gift to myself. I would often get sensory overload in grocery stores even without the harassment and it could trigger a panic attack. I had a bf once joke about it because I said the checkout lanes at Target feel like they have heat lamps above them. I really just couldn’t put myself through all that again (or date anyone so rude, selfish, and callous either).

When the pandemic first hit I felt even better about my grocery delivery life. Even when shortages forced some random substitutions, my delivery placed did well in communicating and crediting and such. Then my gallbladder went bad on me and what I could eat shrank down to like 5 single items of food. Knowing I could rely on that grocery delivery gave me such peace of mind. Like, hello, nobody can bully or harass me if I don’t leave my fucking house! It felt like a win when nothing else in the world could. I realize that some may see this as letting the haters win, but I don’t. Even without direct harassment grocery stores were never an easy thing for me to handle. I am glad that I have other options now. I am also very glad that more people have access to delivery options. It really is a huge amount of bullshit and stress off my shoulders and that was all before I had long covid. Now I cannot imagine trying to do a full shop in person, I would likely pass out.


I did recently enter a grocery store for the first time. I had to buy some supplies for a work happy hour. I messaged one of our EA’s in the office to ask her if anything had changed, what should I expect and explained that I didn’t want to look like a weirdo. She misunderstood my message and brought it up in front of my whole team! I was mortified but only briefly as my team is awesome and once I explained they completely understood my concern. And I survived! I didn’t enjoy it at all, like not in any measurable amount what so ever. I had a few moments of near-panic but talked myself through and I didn’t need much stuff so it was a quick trip. I don’t plan on doing that again if I can help it, but glad to know I can manage it still if needed. I think spending so much time literally alone has become helpful in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. I know right away when I’m being triggered now when before I would never have enough time between recognizing a trigger and a panic attack coming on. I think anything affecting my peace is immediately apparent now whereas years ago I would mask and try to be normal or whatever before actually taking care of my need to feel safe. 


Having said aaaaallllll of this, the next time someone tries to fuck with me in a grocery store is getting an elbow thrown their way before the words get to leave their dry-ass lips! I’m done! 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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex, with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 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’m also on Space Hey, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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

Escape to Survive

November16

(Content warning: Discussion of my own abuse survival and brief mention of suicide.)

I read a statistic last week about domestic violence survivors and how many times they typically attempt to escape. That statistic was 7-10 times or attempts. It struck me in particular because being a survivor myself I hadn’t thought about my own escape attempts in years. I had to really think about it and count them. Not a pleasant thing to consider, but it was enlightening. It took me 6 attempts to escape my abuser. The first two times I called the police, but the results of both of those calls only made my situation worse. I will very likely never call. the police for shit ever again. I have never talked about my escape attempts, though I believe I’ve mentioned the constant planning and hoping in previous posts on the subject of domestic violence/DV. Five years is a long time to live in those conditions, and I was only 14 years old when it began. I still cannot understand how no adult intervened, but I’m 45 now and I know most adults are feckless in the face of things they’d rather not see let alone say or do something about it. 

Today I came across this news report about a shooting in the town where my abuse happened. I couldn’t help but scoff loudly at the part where the police were already aware of the abuser in the car and yet that motherfucker was free and wrecking this family’s life. The police are not here to help or save anybody, please know that, it could save your life. Yes, I know how that sounds. The PD in my hometown was, and I’m sure still is, completely worthless when it comes to helping anyone. When I moved back for a few years out of necessity they pulled me over once to make sure I was aware of a pedestrian who was on the corner standing but had made no signal or attempt to actually cross the street. But showing them physical evidence of being beaten and bloodied made them all fucking chuckle in my face and insist I must be very clumsy when I was 14 and 16 years old! All while cracking jokes with my abuser. And why would they take domestic violence seriously when 40%+ (reported, so you know it’s way higher!) of police are abusers themselves?! 

Some people want to win the lottery to live big and fancy and gilded with gold and all of that. I want to win the lottery to create an organization that will help women in these impossible situations not just escape but heal and become independent. Everything that took me decades to figure out on my own. Often people don’t want to know how horrible these situations are or even talk about it because it makes them feel helpless. What can they do about it, right? I don’t know how my life would have been impacted or changed had my high school counselor not dismissed me outright without so much as eye contact when I said I was dropping out but that I wanted to go into independent studies. I don’t think she even raised her eyes from whatever paperwork she was reading before saying, “We don’t have independent studies here.” which isn’t true and I had to go to the district office myself, again at 14 years old, and ask and insist. How was that not a giant red flag for her? Why didn’t she call my dad at the very least? I don’t know what a school counselor’s actual job is, but I feel confident saying that one sucked.

There are always signs! Abusers isolate you and then gaslight you so that your entire reality is distorted and curated by them and them only. Think about that! Removed from my school friends, and only a couple bothered to stay in touch when I wasn’t in school anymore, no one asked why or looked at this 21 year old man living in my family home and thought anything was off. I can’t wrap my head around that. To be fair, it was the early 90’s and we didn’t have the internet yet. You better believe had I had that kind of tool to research and connect outside of my immediate family I would have gotten myself out sooner. The isolation is the point, y’all! Someone who was once constantly social and then suddenly nowhere to be seen is a huge red flag! Yeah I was a hella depressed teen even before meeting my abuser but I still socialized a ton! I was always on the phone or hanging out with friends.

Thinking about this org of my dreams, it would be a text line to start maybe, that you could text anything to and get replies that seem normal or display some innocuous business name, but would be a real person who could start a file to build strategies for escape. Even sending an Uber/Lyft pre-paid as needed. Because there were a few times where I thought I had escaped and then soon found myself right back where I started. I cannot express the pain and weight of carrying that for so many years in words right now, but it was immense. Had I had a lifeline like that to the outside world for even a chance to get away I would have done anything! Someone who could tell me that my situation wasn’t my fault and to explain how it works (DARVO and all that stuff) would have given me so much more strength and confidence to truly get out. To have the language to explain to someone who could help would have changed everything.  

I never told anyone while I was in that situation that I was being abused or beaten or raped or any of it. I never told anyone about calling the police or attempting escapes while it was happening or after. I have never talked about how my abuser befriended this dude and at one point I pinned every hope for my survival on this sad sack of a dude to help me out of my situation. Yeah, I bonded with him a bit, light jokes in front of the abuser and such, nothing that would raise suspicions, and then the abuser started a fight with me (regularly) and this time I decided to show up at sad sack dude’s house and spend the night. I didn’t specifically offer myself up to this dude, but I was prepared/willing had he made any move or inclination. My abuser, not knowing where I was, nearly broke him and I relished in my tiny taste of freedom. But sad sack dude was a sad sack because he was stuck on some girl who broke his heart and that was all he talked about into the wee hours after listening to the “New” Metallica album…ReLoad. Ha-ha! But there was no chance of actual escape or stability there, sadly for me. I would have been fine just sleeping on his couch but my abuser soon figured shit out and I was back in the shit with him again.

Escape becomes fantastical in your mind when it is all you think about. I would daydream of ex boyfriends or literally anyone “saving” me. Images of burst windows and clouds and fighting for honor or whatever My abuser befriended a few of my ex boyfriends back then because of a shared love of drugs I guess. He was always pulling scams too. I would constantly fantasize about two of them specifically, one of which I knew could take him down in a fight with ease. But it never happened. They never suspected a thing. Most figured I was deep in love. I’m sure that’s how my dad saw it back then. *Shivers in disgust* Blegh! I wonder sometimes specifically about one ex bf but there’s nothing for me from that period of time. Nothing to gain, for sure. I wonder a lot about a bestie that lived with my family for a while before I met my abuser. She taught me so much about life and men and partying safely. I am alive today because of her. I can tell you that. I wonder where she is though and what she saw or remembers from that time.
 
In the end, it was an ex-boyfriend’s little brother who sensed that something was off very casually (he wasn’t in the house to visit me and we weren’t close or anything) and simply offered a safe place to stay with no questions or need to pay rent. That is all a woman needs to GTFO of any situation, lemme tell ya! I didn’t ask questions other than an address. I had my own car, but nowhere to turn. My family didn’t know and my abuser made it abundantly clear every single day for five years that my escape would result in their deaths. I figured if even they didn’t know where I was then he couldn’t do shit to any of us. I want to create that lifeline for all women suffering in these impossible situations. I was lucky that I never got pregnant, though I caught him multiple times tampering with or hiding my pills or finding holes poked in condoms. I can’t say for certain what would have happened but I know at that time I would have sooner jumped off a bridge than reproduce that person’s DNA in me. Ugh! I actually considered suicide pretty much daily for a few of those years. 

You know what sticks in my craw now, is that every time I go to Kaiser (healthcare provider) they ask about feeling safe at home or if anyone is abusing me. I visited the teen clinic at Kaiser a lot from age 15-17 due to a kidney infection and then a tumor. I saw the same nurse practitioner each time, Suzie Cook, I’ll never forget because she talked to me pretty straight forward and that was rare. But she cared more about my reaching 200 lbs than my abuser fretfully waiting in the waiting room each time. Never questioned a bruise or asked about my relationship with this grown ass man. I’m not saying it was her job to spot the trouble necessarily but considering how much time I spent with her, I just can’t know I guess why it was never addressed. Even Planned Parenthood when I had to secretly replace my pills more often than a typical “Oh I lost my pack” situation would call for never asked or brought up the subject of abuse. I’m super glad they are addressed up front now, but gosh! What had to happen and to how many for that to become standard protocol?

Statistics can bring a lot to light. We often see these numbers and think, “Well, I’m not just a number!” but I see it differently. It really helps piece things together for me sometimes, especially things from that dark period of my life. When I first saw those numbers about escape attempts I initially thought it was too high a number until I actually looked at my own attempts. I was surprised it was so many! And then I put myself back into those moments mentally trying to picture my surroundings and the steps I took and whatnot. You really have no idea how you will react to a situation or emergency until you’re in the thick of it, no matter how prepared you think you are. 

I am still healing today, 26 years later, from those 5 years of abuse. C-PTSD is not something you can cure or suddenly be “over” with. I have come an incredibly long way, but my hyper independence is often a problem that I’m simply unwilling to discuss or change. Abuse literally changes our brains permanently. I know it wasn’t my fault, but so much of how the patriarchy affects our daily lives makes us accept or agree to things against our own nature. We don’t want to tell someone anything is wrong ever because we don’t want to seem ungrateful/selfish or bring people down. I know I have been a big bummer for a lot of people to be around and especially back then I would apologize for it constantly. But now I don’t apologize for shit! I didn’t choose any of it and I am doing the best I can every damned day! 

My life is all mine now, so I shall continue on as I see fit. If someone doesn’t like me because I have been through some heavy shit, that I only occasionally hesitate to discuss, that is on them. I’m not here to be anything to anyone but a good person in my own opinion, and I know good people! I am forever in awe of the amazing people I have been blessed to call my friends and chosen family. I can only hope to be worthy of their love and support for many more years to come. At 45 years old now, I am somehow only getting smarter and more gorgeous as time goes by. I hope one day that my story will help others, lottery win or not. 

***

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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex, with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 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’m also on Space Hey, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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

Queen Latifah – Red Table Talk – Novo Nordisk

June9

I have loved Queen Latifah since the 80’s! I have loved her and so many other female MC’s from that era and after. I just super love female MC’s as a general rule, but Queen Latifah was always a favorite. I followed her career over the years as she went from MC to starring on our television screens on Living Single and even the big screen in Set it Off, Chicago, Bessie, and so many other wonderful films. I never saw her as a fat icon in the fat liberation sense, but always appreciated her ability to stand out while truly shining in her spotlight. 


When I happened across a post in my feed that mentioned Queen Latifah by The Curvy Fashionis last night I clicked immediately! As I read their post I got excited, Queen Latifah was on The Red Table Talk…talking about being plus size?! I got so excited, and I don’t usually watch that show. And honestly, I was so full of hope as I watched the intro and even as she began talking about her current passion for “destigmatizing ob*sity”. My hopes were soon dashed, however, as she also talked about ob*sity as a disease and focused hella hard on health and all of the usual things. I watched it to the end and was glad to see some familiar faces from Instagram as they took questions and opened the dialogue, and it did end on a positive note. But damn! What a letdown.


“Often people connect being overweight with not working hard enough to keep the weight off, being lazy, or eating too much, without realizing that it may be genetic. It may be hormonal,” she said. “If people knew that, they might not look at it in the same way.”

I’m not at all implying that Queen Latifah has an obligation to be a full on fat liberation activist or anything. I was surprised she was even talking about this stuff at all because she’s always been private about her life and struggles. I think I was slightly misled by the post by The Curvy Fashionista when they said towards the end of the post, “Queen Latifah, welcome to the plus size community. You’ve been a honorary board member and it is nice to have you celebrate your membership.” I hope they got some money from that post because I never would have known or watched without it.


And then this morning I found out it’s all because she’s partnered with fucking Novo Nordisk (a diabetes drug)! OF COURSE! Because no one actually gives a flying fuck about destigmatizing or improving the lives and treatment of fat people. UGH! I wish this shit wasn’t so damned predictable. Lke, it’s actually laughably boringly predictable at this point. But they fooled me because I never would have thought Queen Latifah would be on this kick. I mean, her overall message was that of knowing and loving yourself and doing right by you whatever that means for you. 


She did get into how clothing is purposefully inaccessible for fat folks (she doesn’t use the word fat in this interview) and that almost felt radical to hear. Almost. I wish she had gotten into medical fatphobia and how it kills us every day, but she didn’t really go there and I’m sure that is part of her partnership to not mention that part. Looking at the Novo Nordisk community guidelines has me laughing my ass off! It’s a classic case of we will do what we want but you don’t get to say shit. (My opinion and summation.)
A Twitter friend in the fat community, @blackqueeriroh (follow them, they are brilliant!) responded to The Root’s post about Queen Latifah’s “It’s Bigger Than Me” live tour, “I don’t even know what to say. This is so gross, especially considering fat Black women are one of the most marginalized groups of fat people. To see Queen Latifah do this is a profound betrayal, and I don’t think I’ll get over it soon.” 


I don’t expect my heroes or role models or any celebrity entity to be some perfect moral compass or anything, but it really felt like she was throwing fat folks under the bus in this talk, and I’m guessing on her whole damned tour. It’s too bad. I loved hearing that someone wants to help remove stigmas associated with larger bodies. I loved hearing how she felt that Lizzo brought a new language and a new way to talk about and live in larger bodies. But we all know there’s a limit with these campaigns or endorsements/partnerships, and it always hurts the fat community. They will get more eyes and ears on a subject but still turn it back on us. 


It just really felt to me that she was framing this whole thing on how she was personally upset and offended to have her celebrity fitness trainer explain to her that according to the BMI she was in the ob*se category. Like her feelings were really hurt and I do get that. But when Jada Pinket Smith said, “Not La!” like, not my friend, they can’t be ob*se, like it’s the worst thing a person can be. And to then lean so hard on the health shit just pissed me off. Saying things like, “It could be due to hormones or genetics” again bringing it back to the good fatty versus bad fatty shit we are all sick of!


No one owes anyone health! And health won’t look the same on everybody. Often what we perceive as health is simply white Euro-centric beauty standards crammed down our throats every day. Not everyone can achieve health. Not everyone has access to health care or the things they need to support their own health. It’s such a cop out to play that health card again and again. Who cares why someone has a certain sized body?! It doesn’t matter and it’s no one else’s business. Yes, take the stigma out of the equation, please! But how is that even possible when they are propped up with pharma monies and you lean so hard on the health shit?! 


It hurts to hear great ideas mixed in with outdated ones when it’s applied to our very personhood. It hurts on a personal and systemic level because these are big names with big platforms. Those messages get further reach, plain and simple. It makes our work as fat liberation activists, and as just regular fat people trying to live our lives, that much harder. We were already fighting this fight, we won’t be stopping now or anything, but money does have a way of making even the best of intentions sour.


I hope that Queen Latifah can hear our messages and take them to heart. We are not going away, we live here and will  continue to speak up and take up the space we need to be heard. We may not get those big pharma dollars, but I for one don’t want them anyway. 

***

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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex, with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 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’m also on Space Hey, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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

Same Ole Same With Old Navy

May24

Every morning after I catch up on my inbox and any other urgent or pending matters, I check the headlines in my google news feed and see what horrible things are happening in the world, and I like to read my horoscope. It’s fun! It was absolutely no surprise to me when a bunch of headlines related to Old Navy’s so-called inclusivity campaign and its utter failure popped up in my feed. The first headline I saw actually made me chuckle, but not in a funny joking way. More of a “oooooh you fooled us with this shit before!” sort of a chuckle. Like, surely they are fucking joking by trying to blame the fatties, yeah?!
Oh, they are not joking, friends. They are really trying to blame us for their failure. And they are falling hard, too! I laugh because it is absolute bullshit! I follow Mary Fran on InstaGram and she was a huge Old Navy fan up until like this fucking week. She went in and went through the entire store and found nothing over an XXL! When they finally asked about the plus sizes they were told they have a few but they never get put out on the sales floor. WOW! Yep, you read that correctly. They aren’t even bothering to put the sizes they have in stock out where customers can find them!  What?!


I wish I could make it make sense. This isn’t even the first time they have pulled this shit on us. Last time they blamed us for the same fucking issue and then threw all of their plus sizes online with a big flashy “Exclusive” banner all over it. We got mad, so they offered free returns in stores. Then they took that away, too. Then they had just free returns through the mail. Rinse and repeat. FUCK OLD NAVY! 
Look, I didn’t even know that Old Navy carried plus sizes at all until that drama in the late 00’s came up and by then they were online only. I was able to make a return in the store for free once, but the second time I was treated so badly I never went back. It’s unfortunate because for a lot of fatties Old Navy is one of the few places you can find affordable basics in plus sizing. And they have a decent variety of options for most things, too. Activewear being a big one, because it’s so hard to find activewear in plus sizes, specifically. 


Their inclusivity campaign was cute, the ads they ran with Aidy Bryant dancing and being her cute and sassy self, were a revelation! They actually almost convinced me, almost. I love seeing anyone dance, but fat folks especially because we’re always excluded or told we simply can’t dance. Fuck that! Seeing Aidy on my big tv made me fucking happy as hell! Seeing Aidy on my TV always makes me happy. Those ads promised to include plus sizes not just in Old Navy stores, though. They promised to do away with the separate sections and to simply stock it all together on the sales floor. Their web site also has things together so that you don’t have to click on that appalling “Exclusively online” banner bullshit anymore.
Fool us once…Fuck you! They fucked this exact shit up over a decade ago. They claimed to have done the research and listened to what their customers really wanted, at all sizes. They claimed a lot if you ask me because how are you gonna say you listened to anybody when the stock isn’t hitting that sales floor?! How can you blame us when we can’t find the things we want to buy from you? How can you throw us under the bus when even the big influencers are saying they can’t find their size in your stores when that wasn’t a problem for them previously?!?!?!? Make it make sense, dammit!


There’s about four different headlines on this story and they all claim the same nonsense to blame us. One even threw in a nice little piece of shit quote from Diane von Furstenberg about how it’s not fair to charge the same for XS as XXL because it penalizes the smaller bodied people. Fuck her! And fuck the journallist who thought it was a good idea to through that non sequitur at the end of their article, they must’ve needed the word count. It’s embarrassing and pathetic, for them! Let’s be clear on that, it ain’t on us at all! 


The truth is I do peruse Old Navy’s web site from time to time, usually when I’m looking for something specific or I hear about a great sale. Yet when I checked my records, I haven’t placed an order with them in over five years. Hmmm…no why would that be? I would actually love to buy some of their pixie pants and have heard great things about their rockstar jeans. But these are things I simply always have to try on! I just returned two pair of pants to Eloquii because they didn’t fit. Both were the same size, one too big, one too small. UGH! 


We can’t win with these big retailers! They refuse to listen, even when they claim to have done the research. They even went as far as to make the damned clothing we want, but then failed to actually stock it in stores. People from all over are reporting that the middle sizes sell out first and then the higher and lower ends of the sizing spectrum just sit and go stale (yeah in the stock room!).  They finally feature an actual fat person in their ad, even dancing and showing a range of body types dancing in their jeans, too. But it was all a lie! Isn’t it always?!


Forgive me for saying this, but it may just be time to let go of brick and mortar stores as a general concept. I say this as a former business owner during a bad recession, it would rough! I cannot imagine how they are keeping up with current market pricing as well as skyrocketing rents and supply chain issues while still turning a profit. My guess is that they aren’t and needed something to tell their board for the reduced earnings, and now here the hell we are.


Have you been to an Old Navy store in person since September 2021? Were you able to find your size? Were the sales associates helpful? Because what I’m seeing is that the sales associates can be kind of nasty to fatties who come to their stores looking for their size. Which is unacceptable. I don’t care how you feel about fat folks or your employer, you should still treat customers correctly. Damn! 


I am not saying that I have the ultimate golden answer for this situation. I don’t think I’ve ever truly been in Old Navy’s preferred demographic. What is that demographic? I dunno, but it certainly seems like they would prefer a family of 4-5 all dressed in matching ensembles for each holiday or family occasion, and never plus sized, ever. It’s too bad too because my Old Navy active yoga pants are such a prized staple in my comfort wardrobe. I still wear some of their pajama bottoms from over ten years ago. The few times I have visited their stores I cannot say that I ever felt welcome or comfortable there. That could just be me, I’m weird. It also could just be that Old Navy has some deep-seated feelings about fat folks. It certainly feels that way to me.  

***

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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex, with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 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’m also on Space Hey, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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

Disfunction Junction

May23

CW/TW for mentions of abuse

This past Saturday morning, as I was luxuriating in bed and just enjoying the moment without an alarm, I checked the time and it was only 7 am. My grocery delivery window didn’t begin until 10 am. So back to sleep I went. I wrapped myself up and hugged my pillow and drifted away. I woke up a few more times, not surprising since my weekday schedule is to wake by 7:30 am, but I was insistent, I wanted more sleep. Finally around 9 am as I was awaking again I got this very clear memory/flashback of two specific instances in my past where my father told my abuser things instead of me. One was when my grandfather had died, my dad had paged me I think (it was the nineties!) and I was at a shopping center with my abuser and a friend. I called and my dad just asked for my abuser to get on the phone. My abuser said a few words and then hung up the pay phone. Then he told me my grandpa died. That was it. But it was so crisp and clear that even all these years later the voices were immediately recognizable. A few more moments of similar feelings and memories and I started to become enraged. The kind of rage where hot, thick tears stream down both cheeks and you can barely breathe! 

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I was fourteen years old! No one ever tried even a tiny bit or even pretended to fucking protect me from a twenty-one year old man! Oh wait! Yet my father would tell my abuser things because he thought I was too young to understand?! That can’t be it, right?! Being my father, certainly he would know best how to communicate difficult things. And then it hit me, oh yeah, my dad was hitting on my high school friends before I had even met my abuser. He would always make inappropriate jokes about “bumping uglies” in front of me and my friends since I was around eleven years old. My dad would often tickle me and my siblings growing up, but as I got older it waned a bit, until he decided it was an easy way to grope my boobs in a very obvious manner. My dad couldn’t protect me from my abuser because he didn’t see what was going on as not normal because he himself was fucked up! I hate it here! (Mind you, I was molested by a friend of my best friend’s family when we were seven years old. The whole protecting children thing, though much touted, wasn’t as big in the eighties as it is now.)

I am unbelievably grateful for my bff M who was already texting me that morning about something else entirely when I woke up with all of this absolute shit popping off in my head. I was so angry! I still am! I don’t think I was able to put these things together in my head until now because my brain was trying to protect me. As I sobbed until I couldn’t any more, she let me unload all of this and was so caring and patient with me. It is not easy to hear, from anybody, but especially from those we love that have been hurt by those who should have loved them. I realized that a lot of what I was feeling about my parents was right and I really do need to trust my own instincts so much more! The more I connect the dots of my past to one another and the full truth of all I survived, the more obvious it is to me that people had to know, and simply didn’t want to know, or it was just so normalized that it didn’t register at all. 

Having giant realizations about one’s parents within a short amount of time is hella exhausting, y’all! The first was a few months ago while on magic mushrooms with a friend when a very clear memory came back to me that I never actually forgot but soon realized how pivotal that moment was for me. It was about a year or so after my bio mom had left us, I don’t recall the reason for the visit, only that it was at our house which I think only happened once. I had this deep hope that somehow my mother would see my abuser for what and who he was. I hadn’t seen my mother since the day she had left and she and I had been on bad terms well before that. The child in me desperately wanted at least one parent to save her. Instead, the woman who birthed me offered my abuser a joint to share between them. It was at that moment I knew that no one would ever save or help me. It took me a couple more years for me to escape my abuser, but my feelings of hate towards my mother preceded even this memory when she kidnapped my brother, and tried to get my sister and I but failed, and my dad had to get the cops involved to get my brother back. I will never forgive her for either of these events. 

Is it any wonder that I had a meltdown on my 35th birthday when my dad texted me “happy birthday”, as I sat on my ex-husband’s couch, when I realized “I hate my dad!” I couldn’t understand why or where those feelings were coming from. The thing is, I know and saw and remember waaaaaay more than my parents or any adults back then knew. People were not so worried about things like what was said or done in front of children back then. My dad had a full on affair with someone he reunited with at a high school reunion and brought me along because she had a kid my age. We had a blast, too! Chris was a really smart nerd and I was just a weird and shy kid, so we got on great! I never really questioned why my mom or brother weren’t invited over to Cathy’s house, but I always had a good time and was glad for the break from the norm. My dad had several affairs, but not in the grand or dramatic or even romantic sort of way at all. I think he just got lucky (ha!) and then just boned them. He had no money to speak of, a retail job with 3 kids at home, and these were independent working women, too. My mother was far too isolated for anything ongoing, but did have a fling later on, but that guy was later found out to be a child molester (later convicted). I used to babysit his kid. What a fucked up world!

The last year my mom lived with us was tumultuous as fuck! Every day it was something new with her, something sticking in her craw, and it always seemed to be my fault somehow. Or at least, the brunt of it fell on me, at least until my dad got home from work. The last month or so it was non-stop fighting with me and her. I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy the last of my summertime before I started high school. She was an emotional wreck! Every morning when I would go into the kitchen for my orange juice she would start on me about how my dad treated her like a whore or she’d wait until I had friends over, burst in unannounced and tearfully exclaim she was a lesbian (we were thirteen). I just wanted to hang out with my friends and kiss boys, nothing else really mattered to me then. But my mom was at wit’s end with no support and I was a stubborn ass kid, we fought a lot. It was never fair, but she would hit an emotional wall and just decide I was to be punished. I remember the first time I had had enough of it and slapped her back. I don’t know how many times my dad came home and had to play diplomat with my mom and me. Often having to unground me just minutes after my mom insisted I was grounded (my siblings were never grounded once, mind you they didn’t have lives outside the home, yet I was pushed out from age four) for some trivial thing that may or may not have even happened. 

I won’t pretend to have ever been a model child or an easy to handle teen, but the ways in which my parents forced me to be an adult very early on are shocking to me now. Is it any wonder I didn’t want my own kids when I had to raise my siblings? Is it any wonder I never bought into the domestic bliss bullshit when I saw firsthand that all adults are liars at best?! I feel as though I will never escape the mistakes and baggage my parents brought into my life. When a cousin reached out to me through 23 and Me in order to get in touch with my mom because her parents’ health was in rapid decline, I became furious! I simply didn’t want to hear or know about her or that family period. I have nothing against my cousin, but we were cut off from that family because of my parents divorce. It’s a long story and more complicated than just that, but that family never truly included us because my mom was the oldest of her siblings and had a different father. Thinking back, the majority of fatphobic bullshit heaped on my mom came from her mother and sisters. And having had no contact with my bio mom in close to thirty years when I got my cousin’s message, it was a lot. I don’t know where she is, and I honestly don’t care. I don’t want to know. 

 

Fuck forgiveness! What was done to me is not about me at all, but about the abuser who decided that I was an easy target for their abuse. I carry no fucking shame for what I was put through, but they absolutely fucking should! The fact that my dad still texts me on birthdays and holidays is proof that he has no idea why I don’t talk to him. I haven’t talked to him in years, at first because of how he and his 2nd wife would treat my brother, it would trigger me horribly and leave me depressed for a week plus after a visit. I didn’t even realize it myself  until my then husband confronted me about it. Then his 2nd wife got the entire family to stop talking to me for over three years through various lies and manipulations. When my great aunt and I compared notes one day it became clear that this was orchestrated and his wife was a pathological liar. When I told my dad that his wife had tried to rip me off of $5k, he simply replied, “Well, I don’t believe that.” I didn’t even argue or question it, I knew right then where I stood and that it wasn’t worth fighting for. It was his wife that wouldn’t allow my brother to use the internet for years because he looked at porn ONCE, AS AN ADULT! Once I found out, because he was also not allowed to talk to me (AS AN ADULT), I figured out if I bought him a PS3 he could get online through wifi and they’d be none the wiser. It worked out great!

All men have power in some form. All men are corrupted by power in some form. It may not always be abuse, it may not always be towards women, but in any given scenario, a man will abuse his power. I believe this because I have lived it and seen it with my own eyes every day of my fucking life! It is the ones you least expect, too. I don’t believe there is an exception or exemption in this. I hate it. I wish it wasn’t so and I wish those who can recognize it and have the power to do something about it fucking would already, but they won’t. They benefit far too much to even see it for or in themselves. The things I have seen and know to be true are upsetting and it’s taken decades to put the pieces of it together thanks to the abuses dealt to me that have traumatized my brain to that extent. I am hoping that through these newer connections and deeper understanding that I will be able to further my own healing. This weekend’s breakthrough left me exhausted and unable to do much elsen though I would have loved to do anything else. My C-PTSD brain wouldn’t allow it, I mostly just spaced out. There is only so much our minds can handle at once. 


The next day I didn’t not bother even trying to sleep in. 


To all of the abuse survivors that might be reading this: I love you. It was and will never be your fault. You are worth every ounce of energy and effort in this world. You deserve to be loved wholly and completely for who you are right this very second, no changes needed. I love you. I cherish your existence. Please take care of you. 

***

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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex, with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 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’m also on Space Hey, MySpace, LiveJournal and all the other places: 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

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