NotBlueAtAll

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

The Shame of my Home Game

February27

This post talks about how anxiety and depression can impact our lives in unexpected and often not talked about ways. If you’d rather not know about the very personal impact of these things on me, or feel it may be triggering for you, please come back to the blog another day or feel free to explore the archives. Thank you and take care of you! <3

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Today what is on my mind is my mind, literally. Weekend before last, I came across an article, “17 Honest Photos of the ‘Embarrassing’ Sides of Depression We Don’t Talk About“, and it kind of shook me to my core. It was like holding up a mirror to the life I’d been living for the last 2.5 years. I was not prepared for that. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for that. I really had no idea how common this was or what it looked or felt like for others. Isn’t that always the way, though? We think we’re so weird or wrong that we can’t imagine our experience being common/normal.

Basically, when I moved into my current place it was right after some serious trauma and everything just sort of stopped for me, mentally. Moving back to the town I grew up in and experienced the worst trauma of my life (physically and emotionally abusive relationship from ages 14-19), I was frozen in time in a sense. So I never truly unpacked except necessities. I left boxes out on the patio, at first under a canopy but later that got shredded by the elements, as did my boxes, and finally the neighborhood rodent society took refuge.

My small studio in-law unit remained as it was when I moved in, half unpacked, some things very much randomly plunked, and my life continued around these obstacles without acknowledging them. This was fine at first, I kept the place reasonably tidy, which was easier with everything in boxes. But soon those boxes became bigger obstacles, items spilled out, or the boxes deteriorated. At first I was holding out for my landlord to affix my large bookcase to the wall before I filled it, living in earthquake country, but that never happened.

It felt like one thing after another kept me from settling into my lil’ shack (no hate, I love it, honestly) and while my life continued on with new people and jobs and troubles and so forth, my ability to keep it tidy fell away completely. I started to tell my then boyfriend not to come over anymore, that I was too ashamed of the mess but unable to tackle/manage it on my own. He never understood, but at least had compassion for my situation. The thing is though, I never attributed this combination of feeling overwhelmed and yet unable to do anything with my mess of a house to my anxiety and depression. The mess also never was as bad as it is now, or has been the last year.

A year ago my long term boyfriend and I broke up. I was in the midst of rearranging and organizing some things I’d been putting off when it happened. He’d even bought me a new gorgeous set of dishes with butterflies on them. I said I didn’t want to take them out of the box until my house was tidy again. Those dishes are still in their original box. They are too beautiful to live in my space as it is now. I long for the day where I can have a friend over and cook for them using these lovely dishes on the table.

It is very difficult to explain the feelings involved in all of this, but I can tell you that everything in that article rang true for me. The worse my “mess” got, the more overwhelmed I felt, the more I felt unable to deal with it…on top of the usual injury/pain issues I have (spine, knee, one foot), depression is exhausting and it hurts, too. I felt trapped in a semi-catatonic state almost. I just felt helpless and stuck in a really terrible and shame filled way.

I thought I was coping and appeared fine, and I did. No one was the wiser until anyone mentioned coming over to my place and my stomach would knot instantly. I would fluff it off as being inaccessible (it sort of is), too small for company (not a lie), or whatever else was going on in my life at the time. I told my 3 closest friends, but one lives many states away, the other two live very much in a messy state as well, though are always willing to help out. But I can’t accept help, nor ask for it. The thought of someone having to sift through my mess makes me feel ill.

I grew up in this state of mess, sometimes worse, but the realization of this came a couple of months ago. I had lost my job and thought to myself that while I have the time to job hunt I could also make time for getting my place together. My sights were not set high, I am okay with my usual bit of clutter, but I had a moment where I looked around and I was surrounded by recycling and I realized that this combined with many clothes hampers full of clean clothes looked an awful lot like my childhood squalor-filled home. It sucked the wind from my sails entirely.

Then sometime in November I had a few days of what professionals might call mania but it just felt like finally having the energy and focus to tackle something (ANYTHING!) and actually got rid of a lot of stuff. Like 12 garbage bags full! It was recycling guilt that kept the cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes piling higher on my kitchen table. But then disposing of everything was difficult. My landlord’s home only has one very small trash bin and one regular sized recycle bin. So, I went into stealth mode! Ha-ha!

I felt a great sense of relief after this, but then soon found depression taking over entirely once again, just in time for the loneliest holiday season of my entire life. I truly felt like I was on a deserted island for about a week solid. It got rough. I was not my best self nor even a decent friend to myself. I reached out but no one seemed to be around or maybe didn’t know how to be supportive, who knows. Then after the new year I kicked my job hunt into into the highest gear ever and ended up in a whirlwind of non-stop interviews for nearly a month solid. I lost my voice several times.

I know this isn’t the best version of myself. I know I deserve to live in a space that I’m proud of and can look after on my own. I have lived in many other places with roommates and partners and have never had it get like this. I keep telling myself that I just need one big reset and then I can start fresh and keep it up. I even paid a woman last year to do just that, but after 3 hours and $300 she’d really only hung up most of my clothes and gathered things into bags (which honestly made a lot of things worse).

Shame is such a powerful and terrible thing to live with. People have told me that they always thought I was fancy or well-off, dates have called me intimidating, and all of this leaves me so confused. If they knew where and what I came from, if they knew the way I live now, they’d never think those things of me. Coping is a serious endeavor and for survivors of long-term abuse, to those who live with PTSD their entire lives, you cope without realizing. You present yourself in ways to appease and please others automatically. You keep secrets from everyone without trying, without even knowing sometimes. It takes a lot of fucking self work to acknowledge and process and work through and maintain. I have been on this path for over twenty years and was doing pretty fucking great, actually, until I moved back to my hometown.

After reading that article I didn’t leave the house for 3 days. I was in shock. I felt as though the curtains of my shame had been ripped away, exposed to the world. Then I went back to work at my new job and tried to be okay with everything until I couldn’t. Last week I reached out to a company that assists hoarders with removal and organization. This was so difficult for me to do. To open myself even mentally to the outside world like that, but I trusted that this was an org that specialized in this unique service and understood the needs for both me and my place. I know I’m not a hoarder, but thought the basics would align in what I needed in the end. Unfortunately no one ever got back to me and that’s probably fine. I am certain I couldn’t afford it anyway.

I will be reaching out to my healthcare provider once my coverage has begun. I have decided that I should explore the option of antidepressants. My previous thoughts and feelings on the subject have changed and while I am very much averse to ongoing unnecessary medication, this feels too important to not at least try. It is terrifying, I’ve never even had therapy for my various mental health concerns, but I also don’t believe I need the traditional talk therapy setting now. I have done the work and research in that realm for the last 20+ years and feel very capable and supported emotionally. But if there’s a chance that I could feel as I did those few days in November, where I had the energy and focus needed to get my house together, for longer than just a few days, I need to find out. If I can improve my quality of life at home I know it will allow me to excel in my career and personal life, too. I deserve the chance, at the very least.

Once I get a few paychecks, my first coming tomorrow, I can pay someone to haul away the damaged stuff on the patio at least. You’d be surprised how much such a thing costs, as I was when I first called 1800gotjunk to take the stuff away in November, only for them to take 1/3rd of it for $200 (they wanted $750 for all of it, but I was out of work and the $200 maxed my only credit card). It would be nice to use the outdoor table and chairs when the weather warms up again. I would love to have my bffs over for card games, or my dance partner for rehearsals and you know, just dinner.

I am trying to see my new job as a new leaf, a new start sort of, in the sense that I’ll be making a bit more than my last job and a helluva lot more than unemployment was providing, so I can pay for things I’ve put off (like puggo’s overdue vet exams and vaccinations) and hire help for my mess…hopefully. I don’t even know what would have happened if my unemployment had continued on as it did two years ago. I was already close to the brink, as it were, after only three months.

If you’re reading this and you relate, please say so. If you’re reading this and you know how I can get the support I need to get my place together, please say so. If you don’t have these issues or know what orgs can assist, but you have deep sympathy for this situation, please say so. So much of our lives is spent afraid of saying something. It feels so lonely not knowing that so many others in the world are in the same situation. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I will say that despite all of this, I do have a life full of love from great friends who are patient with me and kind, always. I have not spoken so openly about this before now, but that was the shame hanging over me. It’s still there, but beginning to feel just a little less heavy. I’m quite certain that the cause of the state of my childhood home being in such disarray is the same reason I’m living like this now. I know my bio-mom was always mentally ill. It’s one (of many) reasons why I didn’t think I wanted to reproduce. I never thought I would return to my hometown nor the state of the living conditions I grew up in. I hope I can move past this period of my life and onto brighter days and nights, cozy and warm, snuggled up with my puggo, in peace.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

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 (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

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

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: 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

Outgrowing = Growth

December31

I think it is a very healthy and important thing to recognize the things and people in your life that you’ve outgrown. Often this doesn’t happen, though, and we find ourselves conflicted or in conflict with those things. Sometimes it’s obvious, but often it’s far from it. We will avoid things, facing them, because we don’t know or can’t acknowledge what it is or why you’re feeling a certain kind of way about it if you can even get that far. We often ignore our gut feelings about things in the name of manners, courtesy, obligation, and societal pressures. It makes it very difficult to move on or grow in this world.

Some of you have specifics in mind already. You know deep down what is no longer serving your life’s purpose, path or journey. Maybe you have a negative ninny in your life? A job that feels so heavy and pointless that you want to run screaming from the building every day? A friend who only calls you to complain? A person you’ve shared your life with that no longer shares theirs with you? A career path or dream that no longer lifts you up as it once did? A relative that leaves you wishing you were an orphan? There are so many things that just no longer feel right anymore, to me, to you, to everyone. It’s a natural thing, mind you, for things to run their course. The hard part is acknowledging it, of course, but then to take action. Okay, maybe even just deciding that action is needed, even before you get to what that action should be.

I guess most often this is in the context of a romantic relationship, but I think friend breakups are toughest. Sometimes there isn’t even an actual breakup, but just a break or a tapering or ghosting. I’m not sure what’s worse, but they all fucking suck! Family shit is hard, but I think most just stay entwined or under the spell of obligation, guilt, and shame. I’ve never believed the whole “blood is thicker than water” bullshit. Humans are human, flawed and terrible, fantastic and incredible. We will push others away without realizing it. Our behaviors towards them may change before we’ve even identified our feelings about them. We may begin to hide things or stop sharing things with them.

I have said before that the best way to tell how you really feel about someone deep down is that first instant that their name pops up on your phone, be it for a call or text or email. It’s such a quick thing we often ignore or shake off before acting, by answering or replying. Think about it, though, how does that moment feel? Try it. The next time anyone calls or texts, don’t act right away, just look at the name on your screen and think about what you’re feeling in that moment. I’ve often suggested changing contact names to what that person makes you feel. So, instead of “Pat”, you might change it to “Belittled” or “Insecure” when you know that isn’t who you are or want to be.

Of course, no one is perfect. Perfection is a myth, in my opinion. Only you know what is right or wrong for you. Creating healthy boundaries is a mature and awesome thing to do! That can be telling your mother that you will no longer engage in conversations about size/weight/diets/food/etc or an ex you no longer want to be mentioned. It can be setting an expectation together with your spouse or partner so that you both are on the same page and can act accordingly. Unexpressed expectations are dangerous and detrimental! I spent years and years in relationships where both parties held the other to expectations that were never spoken. Nightmare!

Consider open dialogues over ultimatums. I have never been a fan of ultimatums. Ultimately it only forces someone to make a choice on someone else’s terms and that just doesn’t fucking work! Life is never so black and white. When dealing with actual humans, emotions, struggles, baggage, trauma, survival, abuse, love, etc. you cannot force a decision or timeline. You can appeal to someone and communicate your needs and feelings, but if an ultimatum is what you’re considering, I ask that you simply walk away entirely. You cannot help or support someone by forcing them to choose something that doesn’t align with what is best for them. You can say why, of course, but demanding a choice be made is unfair at the very least (damaging and abusive at worst).

What’s great and okay is to read books and blogs on interpersonal relationships and communication. It’s healthy and awesome to seek counseling and therapy and more support in your life overall. You deserve to feel safe and supported in your life. You get to decide what that means and what that looks like for you! It’s pretty rad! I mean, what other point in being an adult is there?! Find a quiet moment to be alone and think about what this means for you. Paint a picture of what you want in life, what fulfillment looks like, what a good balance might be for you. Then think about what obstacles lay in your current path. Can you remove or change those? No? Can you correct your course to move around them? When you consider all that you’ve been through and have become as a result, how does that person or thing or relationship or environment fit in?

I think everyone and everything that comes into our lives is meant to teach us something. Though many of my life’s lessons have been learned through brutality, that hasn’t always been the case. It is sometimes through gentleness and love that I found that even the best of intentions can still hurt. That control can come in many forms and rarely do we believe that we’re attempting to control others, even when it’s pointed out to us. Sometimes we don’t realize how much has been taken from us or how long we allowed someone to shrink our lives around us. My last relationship was fulfilling in many ways, but I couldn’t shrink myself to fit into the box they wanted for us to live in and I never will.

Ultimately, to find and live your most authentic life, you have to decide for yourself what is right and necessary. It will be painful at times, as all big changes often are, but know that you are worth every ounce of effort and energy to find that path for yourself. It’s your journey, it’s your life, you cannot change others or make them see from your perspective, but you can remove them from your life. It doesn’t matter how long or how involved, if they are not lifting you up or helping you to grow, they aren’t supporting the life you want to live. So live it! Love it! Be the you that you know you want to be! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, their opinions are none of your business anyway. You will soon find that what aligns best with your life and dreams will be attracted to you naturally. Go get ’em!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

 

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

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 (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

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

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: 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

You’ve Got You!

December25

Everyone is talking about “The Holidays” but I won’t. I don’t buy into societal obligations that leave us stressed out and feeling like garbage. NOPE! And, No Thank You!!! I want to talk about our support systems, most importantly starting with ourselves. Yes, you are the biggest and most important part of your support system. It seems like no one talks about that vital component. It’s always addressed in the external. Your friends, family, etcetera. In our quietest moments, in the darkest of times, the one thing we have always is ourselves.

That thought used to make me feel a great sense of unease. It wasn’t until one of the darkest times in my life that I really faced this fear of being alone with my thoughts. I had avoided it for so long, relied on so many coping mechanisms, quite successfully, for so long that I wasn’t sure what would be left to face and that was enough to avoid it. Brains that have experienced the amount of trauma, especially during more formative years such as I have, work extra hard to avoid the scariest bits of both our minds and the world. It doesn’t matter how long ago the trauma happened, it’s all still in there.

It was the day I had filed for my divorce. I had left my husband six months prior but kept putting off that final step, though we’d signed all the documents well before this. I went to the courthouse alone, didn’t see much reason not to, though my husband later wished he could have gone along, that’s just who he is. I had paid Legal Zoom to prepare all of the paperwork since such things make my head spin (like taxes), so I felt prepared. The court clerk was helping someone else before me. As I waited and couldn’t help overhearing how this woman had already filed a restraining order against her husband and was trying to finalize a divorce that seemed to have been dragged out, my heart hurt. I felt fine otherwise, but she began to cry and I wanted to comfort her but who the hell was I to this person, ya know?

Soon it was my turn at the clerk’s window. I handed over my stack of papers and said, “I would like to file for divorce, please.” with the meekest smile that ever crawled across my lips. The clerk began to go through the papers and soon started shouting what seemed to me to be random letters and numbers, getting louder and more insistent with each repetition. I was taken aback and stunned and confused. This was certainly apparent on my face as the clerk became overly flustered. “I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t know what those letters and numbers mean.” I pleaded. Finally, and I mean a good five minutes of this bullshit, she explained that I had in my packet an extra and unnecessary form. Why she couldn’t simply say this from the start I don’t know, but she slid it back to me under the security glass and I tucked it away from her sight. After that, all was done and I was told I’d be contacted for my court date.

I drove home, it was still pretty early in the day, about 10 or 11 am at the latest. I text a couple of friends, I didn’t contact my husband that day.  A sinking feeling took hold of me. Then wave after crashing wave of inexplicable sadness. I was so confused and felt abandoned and more alone than ever before in my life. “But why?!?!” I kept thinking and even whimpering to myself in my dim and later dark bedroom. It felt like mental hell, but I couldn’t figure out why and that was the worst of all. Then, finally, hours later, a bff I had known for over twenty years replied to my text from that morning, “Yeah, it just feels like the worst failure ever, even when you know it was the right thing to do. Ride it out.” (They are not the empathetic or compassionate sort. We’ve since lost touch.)

It did feel like the worst failure ever. I had an amicable split and remained close friends. We weren’t happy together, but we didn’t really fight or ever betray or lie to each other. Others thought we had the perfect relationship, and in a lot of ways we did, but I knew better. I left to find an identity for myself outside of any relationship, something I had never in my life had. I felt compelled to leave, it was what I wanted and needed to be happy or to at least seek the happiness I thought the world might hold for me. Yet I couldn’t avoid the feeling of failure. I wasn’t talking to my family at all by this point, but my grandma is always in my heart and mind. Would she understand? (She had passed just a few months before I was married, but we’d been engaged for 3 years, together for 6 before then.) I forced myself to face these demons alone in my room that day and evening. It felt like facing death. (I was not so well versed in the ways of my panic attacks at that time. Now I would have recognized the preceeding symptoms and possibly have been able to prevent the eight hours of crying and hyperventillating.)

After about eight hours (I know how dreadful that sounds and I can assure you it felt worse), something finally gave and I started to feel a sense of why this all was. It was for me! It was my choice, I did this to create the life I wanted. This mattered so much! It felt like a beacon of light from within myself. It felt like a baby step towards the person I wanted to become, my truest self. It felt like a friendly and helping hand, only from within. I put on some music and lay on my bed, wrapped in blankets, still fully clothed from that morning’s outing. I tried to envision the life I wanted to carve out of the world for myself. I pictured dancing, laughing, hugging fellow rad fatties, creating and crafting, touching and moving, all seemed to be in support of myself through the service and support of others. And that realization was a breakthrough. I didn’t leave my room until the following day, but I felt loads better before actually finding solace in sleep.

I spent five years of my teens in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. It had stripped away more than just my identity. It left me physically and mentally destroyed. Escaping was an obsession, but I was mostly obsessed with who would or could save me. In the end, I saved myself, with the support of one of the few friends I had in the world (though when they re-entered my life I barely knew them). They sensed something was very wrong without knowing exactly what. They offered me a place to live twenty miles away from my abuser. While it wasn’t exactly that simple and straightforward, it did truly save my life, they saved my fucking life! We never talked about what was wrong or why I needed to leave, no one wanted to, especially me. They were going through a divorce at the age of eighteen, I was lost and terrified at age nineteen. We became great friends for a time, we had fun and leaned on each other for support. I’ll never forget the first week after I had moved in, we had an epic whipped cream fight after buying a pumpkin pie at the store.

It took me years of self-loathing, both related and completely unrelated to my body and eating disorder issues, some damaging behaviors, and risky encounters before I finally met someone who saw me for me. That was when I met who would later become my husband. We were friends at first, but abuse survivors recognize each other, even unconsciously. We bonded over that shared pain and fell in love when we both split from our relationships. I still love my now ex-husband, but I can’t speak for their feelings for me. I left when I realized that all of the trying in the world on my part wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans if they refused to do anything at all to save our marriage. I had saved myself before, but this time I had to save us both by leaving. It hurt, a fuck ton!

This time I had no more self-loathing, I had healed most of the harm done to me at the hands of others and myself and had very few fucks left to give. I had never lived alone, though. I had found a room for rent about three blocks away from my husband and best friends apartment building. My new roommate was a stranger to me and it took us both a long time to warm up to one another, though we were always kind and accommodating. There were no distractions, though, not even from myself. I was forced to deal with all that I hadn’t until that point. It was hard, and it was powerful. What I had was a better foundation within myself and support system in my friends.

Years later I finally enjoy being alone. I often prefer my own company, and that of my puggo, to general socializing. I have been through another fucked up long-term relationship, an even more fucked up breakup, mental and physical trauma from a couple of terrible jobs, but I have and know myself more than ever! I know what I am capable of and feel quite certain and sure of myself. I have found great strength and inspiration in the works of the Bronte sisters and Luisa May Alcott. The women in their books often had nothing at all but themselves and yet they didn’t die and even when they failed and flailed and struggled through the most desperate of times, they held onto that inner sense of self for strength and persevered.

I now see the world and my own life’s journey very different than even just a year ago. I am beholden to no one but myself (and my ridiculous puggo). Yet I feel more supported and loved and wanted and needed in the world than ever before in my life! I’m broke as shit, have been unemployed for two and a half months and have had to face some severe depressive episodes, but I feel strong. I feel more me.  Sometimes I feel the tap on my shoulder of depression or the whisper in my ear of self-loathing and self-harm, but I know that deep down, even if I succumb to those often unavoidable moments and spells, I will pull through and be a better me on the other side of it. I can face these things head on even when I don’t get a toe-hold before they take possession of me for awhile.

Yes, I have friends that make me feel cared for and loved and seen, but what makes that possible is that I am able to do that for myself, too (though not consistently, I’ll confess). It takes a shitload of self-work, self-reflection, and exploration, sitting with feelings that make me want to scream and run and crawl out of my skin, being the most vulnerable with myself and deciding to just fucking own it. I no longer run from my aloneness. I don’t avoid the deeper and darker crevices of my own mind. I sometimes prefer to dig even deeper because I know it will be meaningful and provide perspective and growth that others simply cannot provide. I have to be here for me first, before anyone else, or I won’t survive. And I have been through far too fucking much to hide from all of that again.

I have found incredible strength and inspiration, especially very recently, by those who have found some value in my words and stories here on this blog. I know I don’t write like others, I still struggle with some hidden shame in that, but I love that I am able to help others find their inner light and strength by sharing my own and how I got here, how I keep fighting and trusting in the journey that this life has given me. I cherish each voice and story that reaches me. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I love you. It is an awe inspiring thing to connect in this way and I thank you ever so much for coming along for the ride.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!

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 (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

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

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: 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

You Can’t Change Someone

November20

(White text box with black text that reads: “You can’t change someone who doesn’t see an issue with their actions.”

Aprox. 9 minute read
I came across the above-unattributed statement whilst scrolling my Facebook feed and whoa did it strike the nail right on the head! Whew! We need to talk about the people in our lives who abuse, shame, blame, and frame us! I would say especially this time of year, but no, these assholes are always dragging us down and we just allow it until, well, we don’t. I’m definitely of the “don’t” group more often than not, as I have learned far too many times the hard way that sooner is better than later with these jerks. Yeah, jerks! 😛
Okay, first of all, you can’t change someone else, in my opinion. You can influence, you can encourage and reinforce, but you can’t actually change another human being. Like, yes by knowing someone we all over time change, but that’s not what this is about. This is about the people in our lives we may, in fact, love, but who simply refuse to see how damaging or unreasonable their behavior is. Typically at first, it’s easy to forgive a misstep or misunderstanding. I am not an unforgiving soul, but I’m also not willing to be complicit in my own oppression. That is what this is really about!
I know it’s easier for some than others to cut someone out of your life. I have sort of become known for this trait. I don’t hold this as a positive or negative, only something that is necessary from time to time. Some may view this as heartless, cold, or unreasonable, but in most ways, for me, it’s been a matter of sanity and survival. Personally, this has been my bio-mother, friends, romantic partners/interests, and later my step-mother and finally my father. It’s never easy, or something you truly want to do. You want the other person to see how much they are hurting you or how they make you feel. I think all anyone really wants in their relationships is to be seen and understood and supported. When you look at the people in your life, do they make you feel seen, understood, and supported? Do you think you do that for them? It’s something to think about. (And Gaslighting is a real thing that happens more often than we can tell, check out this article on the topic, it was an eye-opener for me.)
I think it’s very telling (and vital) to pay attention to how you feel, that first natural feeling when someone’s name pops up on your phone (call or text). I think most of us ignore that fleeting feeling and move onto action mode, which is unfortunate. If you take a beat and a breath after that name pops up, what then? I think it’s a moment of honesty and self-reflection. If someone makes you feel gross, about anything, maybe give some space and time to that relationship and see how you feel in a few weeks. It will give you time to process your feelings and assess the relationship from a new perspective. It’s healthy! And often by doing so you can improve and strengthen that relationship! It’s not all doom and gloom! Haha! I have often advised friends who were uncertain about whether to break up with someone or end a friendship that they should change their phone contacts’ name for that person to how they make them feel. This way when they get a call or text they’ll see, “betrayal, shame, hurt” instead of Pat. Kinda forces you to think about it if it’s something you were avoiding. I have heard it helps. I’m just glad that Android and most social media settings allow for blocking certain people all together!
My step-mother lied to my entire family (had 3-4 different stories, depending on whom you asked) in order to get them to stop talking to me…for three years! What did I do? NOTHING! In fact, I went out of my way at every opportunity with her (agreed to let her legally adopt me as an adult) in order to keep peace within my family and make my dad happy. Ha! No one was fucking happy, doubt anyone is now, but I digress. No one ever told her that her incessant lying and manipulating was wrong. When my little brother asked her calmly and plainly why she lied to him as she was in the middle of the lie she would start to cry and go right into the next lie to get out of the first. Maddening! When my then-husband and I would meet up with my  family for dinner at restaurants, even when there was no present drama (she once burst into tears and threatened to make us all leave because her shrimp was spicy…she ordered the Cajun shrimp. *sigh*), I would fall into a deep depression for sometimes two weeks afterwards. Mostly due to how both parental entities interacted with my brother (telling him to shut up the moment he said a word), or outdated and offensive jokes they would later deny knowledge of. I didn’t even catch it myself, but my then-husband did. He hated seeing me suffer, and we talked about it.
Guess what? You’re an adult! (I’m guessing, but perhaps not. No biggie! I still think you get to decide for yourself who you allow in your life.) You get to decide who you let into your life and share space with. With the exception of work, I suppose. Can we all just agree to try to nip toxic behaviors in the workplace in the bud collectively? Cool. If you’re not one for confrontation, it is perfectly okay and acceptable and grown-up to let someone know that they are making you feel uncomfortable. There’s no argument against stating your immediate feeling. I prefer to tell someone to their face that their behavior is unacceptable, but your mileage may vary. Another helpful phrase I recently heard was, “We don’t do that here.” It’s a plain and neutral statement, no need for further explanation. Solid! In a society built upon white supremacy and misogyny, we all need to work together to keep these clueless assholes from continuing their reign of violence and idiocy!!! Ahem.
Yeah, I’m going there because we all need to fucking go there!!! Because some people who find themselves with a particle of power will find a way to abuse it! More often than not, this goes unchecked, maybe forever. I say fuck that! Life is too short and too precious to put up with that bullshit! Seriously, even in small doses or minor-seeming offenses, these things add up and they can tear people and families and companies and democracies apart! Microaggressions are real and they chip away at our self-esteem and hold us back from having the lives we work so hard for. It’s important to take a moment to pause and really consider how people impact us. Sometimes it’s our own behaviors exacerbating a problem or perhaps we’re just not seeing eye to eye and a sort of relationship stalemate occurs. This is pretty common, I think. Two of my oldest friendships are definitely there. I don’t think any of us actually hate or condemn one another. It’s just that we live very different lives and kind of forgot how to relate to each other now. This is natural.
Substance abuse has a huge impact on all of our lives. Though I haven’t struggled with addiction myself, I have been very close to many who have. It is heartbreaking what it can do to otherwise brilliant humans. After spending five years as a hostage in an abusive relationship with someone addicted to many substances, I became hyper-aware of those behaviors in others. I once had to walk away, though temporarily (thank the universe), from even my oldest friendship because I felt unsafe and was at the time unable to process those feelings and associations. I felt bad about it at the time, but I see now how integral to my survival it was, too. I do think it is okay to walk away from something you just know you can’t handle. It’s extra hard when you know that the person you’re walking away from isn’t the person you truly cared about, to begin with. Substances change people and turn them into monsters, though not always. I have a lot of compassion for anyone’s life’s struggles, it’s not an easy feat for anyone to go through.
At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself. You can’t help others if you’re suffering, too! This is a life lesson I have learned, the hard way, repeatedly. I expand and contract with each new human I allow in my life and bond with. I trust until I can’t and then I never want to again, over and over. It feels sometimes as though everyone only wants to take from everyone else or they’re out to get you. I know it’s not true, but dammit if it doesn’t feel that way at times. Especially when going through tough times, it feels as though folks would rather watch you go down flames than offering any actual compassion or support. Yeah, that’s part of the reason why I haven’t been able to write for so long. When people make you feel unsafe or gross about being yourself: RED FLAG! I worked hard to become the person I am today, hot mess that I am. It is a journey and I don’t need fuckers throwing nails on my road, dammit!
Truth is, I’ve written about this subject before, but it was centered around fatness. I think this post does a bit deeper dive into interpersonal relationships, rather than our bodies. Our bodies are not the cause of other people’s behaviors, though they will claim that it is and that it’s all our fault, every step of the way. It’s not. You and I and everyone deserves to exist in the world and live the best life that they can! There will always be fat haters, but you don’t have to allow them into your actual life! You can tell them why, or not, whatever works for you. Fat acceptance is about autonomy, plain and simple! That’s it! Live and let live, ya know? I’ve had a few people cut me out of their lives without explanation, a couple even said that they honestly didn’t know why, and then continued to not want to communicate after and I respect that. It’s not for me to decide what’s best for them. Nor is it anyone else’s to decide for me. Autonomy! Woo!
Are you struggling with certain relationships in your life? Are you dreading interacting with certain people? Are “The Holidays” giving you anxiety because of certain people you feel you can’t avoid? Have you cut someone out of your life? What other relationship struggles are you dealing with? Let’s talk, discuss, and share!

Thank you so much for your continued love and support! I have been truly touched by the kindness and generosity of the readers of this blog. My fat community has been such a bright light in a dark time. You have my undying gratitude and affection!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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Fats Hating Fats

July25

I know that I no longer really use the term Fat Acceptance anymore, but for the context of this post I will. I have been a fat activist and fat acceptance blogger/supporter for many years. Gosh, how long has it been now? Well, I’m not exactly sure, but a long ass time. For me it all started with a copy of BUST magazine and the article about the U.K. Chubsters fatty gang. I immediate hopped online to discover all I could about  them and the movement they represented and talked about.

Soon I found myself jumping from link to link to blog to blog until finally happening upon the community that would change my life for the better: LiveJournal.com’s Fatshionista community. Without that community I never would have dabbled in fashion, question my own internalized fatphobia, learned to heal my relationship with my body, taken a helicopter ride over Maui (had to buy 2 seats and feared fat shame, so glad I did it!), started my own small business or this very blog.

I longed for fat friends, solidarity and community. It took awhile, but I did find it. The key was that I refused to quit no matter how hard it got. The first few meet ups I organized were disappointing. When I had my cafe there were times when no one would show up at all. Or the clothing swap where only four people came and I was left with a car full of left over clothes to donate. Slowly but surely though I met the right people and found my community in fat acceptance.

I have met some very famous fats on my journey but only one gave me that awkward “OMZ! I have your book!” feeling and moment. What I have found is that most fats, famous or not, are awesome people. I never had fat friends growing up and the few that I did hated themselves and the world, too. I haven’t always been fat myself, but was fatter than most and then some once I hit puberty. I had a fat bff when I had the cafe, but her refusal to accept my fat body and her constant self hate was too much for me to handle.

Years of attending fat events and conferences and meet ups and dances and picnics and more and I thought I knew what my local fat community was: awesome! What I hadn’t realized until the last year or so is how it is also very fluid. It changes and reshapes itself constantly. There are the veterans and the newbies and while I thought everyone was accepting and positive and loving and all of that, I was very wrong.

Even in a community where we share the same pain, oppression and battle against a society brainwashed by marketing schemes, there are still cliques and mean girl attitudes that continue to shock me. This past weekend I heard stories of fats hating fats. Of famous fatties saying things like, “I’m fat, but not mid western fat!” or terms like “Forklift fat” and more. I’ve heard disabled fats feeling invisible or worse, that their needs were “just too much.” It seems even in a community where we bond over our mutual struggles in the world, there is still so much room to grow in just loving and accepting each other. The worst is the whole “good fatty versus bad fatty” mentality. It has got to end if we are to make any progress outside of our own community.

Racism is an especially vital subject that often isn’t addressed in the fat acceptance realm. Racism is something I have been keenly aware of, an activist and ally against and a struggle in my own life as far back as I can remember. In a space like No Lose I learned so much last year in the anti racism workshops and white allies group on Facebook. I had no idea until then what a privilege I have by having grown up in such a diverse community (the San Francisco Bay Area). I was looking forward to doing more of this type of work and learning this year and was excited to jump back into the tough dialogues and conversations necessary to make this community inclusive and safe for everybody.

What I hadn’t thought I would hear in such a space is how I and other white allies, regardless of the work we do within our community and at home, would be reduced to nothing but a skin color. I heard a story from a fellow fat that in seeking information to coordinate for a workshop they were told, “I’m not talking to white people this week.” and dismissed. Had this person given them even a moment to speak they would have thanked them for helping them through a difficult time last year, but they never had the chance. It breaks my heart to see past connections broken like this. I have no idea what caused this, nor is it my place to guess, but it was still a surprise and in an activist space I do not think that this is okay.

From the No Lose page:

NOLOSE* is a vibrant community of

fat queers and our allies,
with a shared commitment to feminist, anti-oppression ideology and action, seeking to end the oppression of fat people!  

I did not see this philosophy or attitude at the conference itself. The workshops I attended did not once mention solutions, healing, community support or even open discussion. It seemed to be more of a sharing of painful stories, anger, frustration and experiences thing and not a workshop at all. I understand and support having a safe space for connecting and bonding over shared pain and experiences. I think that it is important and vital to have this, but not alone. There needs to be more of a creative mindset, I feel. There were caucuses for this, but workshops? Nothing was “workshopped” in my eyes. At least not in the five or six workshops I attended.

No Lose may provide a more revolutionary space than the straight world has to offer, but it is not the inclusive utopia it strives so hard to be. There is work being done, don’t get me wrong. But the work and solutions versus accusations and calling people out and insisting upon accountability without making it safe to do so just isn’t happening or working. In a previous post I was put upon to hold those accountable who bullied me at the conference. If you’ve ever been bullied you know this is not an easy task, often it is impossible to feel safe to do so.

I was minutes away from a full blown panic attack when I was physically pushed aside by a smaller fat. This was moments before the talent show began. When it was time for me to hit the stage there was an issue with the mic stand on the stage (I needed it moved in order to dance) and then my music started late and I could barely hear it and I forgot all of my choreography. The moment I left the stage my panic attack hit me harder than a brick wall and I ran hysterically crying up to my hotel room. By the time I’d composed myself and calmed down enough to re-enter the conference space again, everyone was gone. The dance party was canceled and so I chose to hang out with some awesome people in the bar for an hour instead.

The following morning was my volunteer shift bright and early and then the Sunday Salon where I read my controversial piece “Fatty Dancer” and things would never be the same again. Not once did I feel safe enough to report or hold accountable the people that bullied me (physically or emotionally, there was way more than the pushing incident). There was so much going on, and in the end, what would it have accomplished? All I have ever wanted to be is myself. I fight for the right to be me and to live the life I want to live everyday in the straight world. I didn’t have it in me to fight for that at No Lose. Perhaps that is on me, so be it.

Since no one is willing to tell me exactly what I have done wrong, what specifically in my piece hurt people or is racist, I cannot see that anything with it or me is wrong. I was held accountable, I got up in front of the entire conference and acknowledged the pain I’d caused without knowing how or what caused it. In an activist space I expected more information, compassion and discussion. There was no discussion that I was allowed into. Many superfats felt invisible in a conference where the social currency was fuckability and always the smaller fats deemed more popular/accepted.

I wanted to quit being an activist due to how I and other fats were treated. But fuck that! I am an activist. I have always been and always will be an activist! I may not always have the spoons to speak up for myself but I almost always want to help and stand up for the underdog. I know the work I have done and continue to do can speak for itself. My events are inclusive to all. There is talk and sharing of pain and struggle, but always with a message of healing and connecting and community. No one is an island, but we all know what that feels like.

Living in a fat body in western society is hard enough. We are the embodiment of many people’s worst nightmares. Those on either end of the spectrum of oppression get it worst of all and that doesn’t take or give to anyone else. We have to stay connected and work with each other and for each other in order to make things right. Hating people you do not personally know is continuing the oppression you claim, as a fat activist, to want to end. What the fuck is that about?! We can do better! So stop spouting hate about who is or isn’t in your cool fatty club and realize that you’re harming all of us by doing so. There are so many great minds and vibrant voices being silenced and shut out. I refuse to sit idly while this happens. I will not be silenced and I will not stop working towards something better. Please join me.

Rad Fatty Love to you ALL!
<3
S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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