NotBlueAtAll

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

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

Do the Damned Thing!

December24

Apply for that job. Date that person. Buy that plane ticket.
Move to that city. Do all the things that scare you, because they’re worth it.

What have you held yourself back from doing?
Who in your life has insisted you couldn’t do something?
Have you been told you can’t do something simply because of your size?
Has fear kept you from living your most authentic life?
What would you do, right now, if you knew you couldn’t fail or be hurt or shamed?

One of my nearest and dearest friends, Tigress, posted something along these lines on her iofthetigress page and I found myself typing my own responses before reading what others had written. I just immediately knew what that list was and how much I’ve done in my life despite what others said I couldn’t or shouldn’t. My list of things I’ve done feels both bigger and smaller now than they did when I did them. Time is a funny thing! Haha!

It is a terrible thing to allow others to steal your thunder, to crush your dreams, and worst of all, make you doubt yourself and what you’re capable of. These things become impossible to affect you once you stop caring what anyone else thinks of you. They are also impossible to live with if you want to live a life of our own making and choosing. At a certain point, you have to decide what is best for you. No one else can do that but you.

At the age of 14, I was part fearless and partly lost. It was an exciting time, it was a dangerous time. I’m quite certain that many who knew me then but didn’t keep in touch would assume the worst of my life’s course from that point on. Luckily, I’m one helluva survivor and fighter when I need to be. It is unfortunate that I had needed to be at such a young age and for so long after.  An abusive boyfriend took control of every aspect of my life and identity, though I escaped five years later, it left me a shell of my former self. I literally had to start over from scratch. I really don’t want to call it a blessing. I’ll never know what those important and formative years could have meant for my life’s trajectory, but it is what I survived and formed the individual that I am today.

Finding love in a friend and bonding over our mutual life traumas created a relationship that was strong, long lasting, if not entirely healthy. We were young and broken. We tried to fill each other’s brokenness, but never addressed our own on our own. Instead of telling each other that a traditional marriage wasn’t really our thing, we both entered into that institution thinking it the only way to stay together. We spent so much of our lives not living for ourselves but for each other. That likely sounds normal and right to many of you, but I can assure it is not. Making life decisions for yourself so that you won’t upset or lose the other person is not an authentic life at all. You begin to live a lie and lose yourself and all that you are in the relationship. That is the reason I left my marriage, after fifteen years together in life. I can assure you that nothing has scared me more than leaving my best friend. I am not sure I would make that same decision knowing what I do now, but it felt absolutely necessary at the time.

“If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” David Bowie

When I first had the idea to open my own cafe, it seemed so ridiculous and far-fetched. I went to my nearest and dearest friends with the idea, secretly hoping they’d talk me out of it immediately. They did not. They cheered me on, lent a helping hand, and encouraged me every step of the way. Every second of that, we’ll call it a project or obsession as it was never a lifelong sort of dream, felt terrifying. And yet it is one of my proudest achievements! It taught me so much about myself, what I’m capable of, who my true friends are, and where I do and don’t belong in the world (business is the short answer). It was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done on my own terms. I had so many business professionals insist that what I wanted to do was pointless, fruitless, if not downright impossible. I defiantly smiled right into their faces and said, “You don’t get it. So, watch me!”

What other great big scary things have I done? I started fat positive meet up groups a few times. I started this blog and talked about so many things others call taboo. I organized 2, some may say legendary, fat positive events in San Jose that were free and open to the public: Fatty Affair! I have become a regular performer in the annual big moves bay area dance shows, both as a dancer and later as a singer. I have walked a fashion runway three times now (once in lingerie), though each time it feels so ridiculous and not “me” at all. Haha! I have walked an imaginary runway in front of a group of not imaginary strangers completely naked. I have been photographed completely nude for Adipositivity. I have flown in a helicopter in Maui, even though I had to buy two seats…it was gloriously worth it! I have been to Paris and Rome and a large portion of Ireland. All at a size 26/28 or roughly 300 lbs. Yeah, I did that shit! It was scary as fuck each and every time! But I did those damned things and no one can take that away!

We can’t allow others, the haters, to dictate our lives! Whatever obstacles you may have, I hope you will stop holding yourself back from living your best life! You deserve to have and be whatever you want! Get out of your comfort zone and Choose You! You’re worth it!

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

Movin’ & Shakin’

June20

I’m so regretting not taking before and after pictures, but I had no idea getting my car washed would turn into a massive spring (summer?) cleaning project. Actually, this was a big fucking deal, dude! I had a bee in a bonnet, or a wild hair up my ass, whatever, and cleaned and rearranged my entire room! It looks like an actual grown up room now! It no longer looks like my dressers are mid-vomit. Ha-ha! For real, I had broken drawers and clothes stacked nearly to the ceiling. I had shoes everywhere and just stuff, so much stuff! Now? Everything has a place!!! I didn’t even know that was a thing! Ohmigosh! I can walk and dance and move in my room, y’all! This is amazing!

(Pic is from BitStrips, Facebook app…I love it so!)

 I was never actually worried about how my room looked. In fact I really didn’t care. I have had company over and never gave it a second thought. But I also always knew I wanted something better I just never knew where to start or what to do with all the stuff exactly. Who knew where to start was with my car?! I mean, I’d been wanting to get that thing washed for awhile, but after Saturday’s partying it became obvious that my beloved little car needed some serious scrubbing! After that happened I started to move and arrange things in my car and then did some laundry and then and then and then…BAM! It’s like I have a whole new room!

My room now is how it should be. It’s the room I’ve always wanted. It took all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday but it’s beautiful! I keep looking around and cannot believe my eyes! Growing up in the messiest house was always a source of shame, but it was always something I had no control over. No one ever taught me how to keep a house or even to really care for myself, when it gets right down to it. So finally having a clean and organized room AND CLOSET is like the proudest moment, man. All of my stuff is neatly stacked in boxes in the closet and all of my shoes are on the shoe rack I haven’t seen since I moved in. It’s a work of art!

Then tonight when my roommate came home she’d gotten some stuff to spruce up our living room. Now we’re talking about painting and stuff…so awesome! Is anyone else getting this urge to get things moving? I so rarely want to do this stuff, or should I say, the motivation. Ha-ha! While my original motivation wasn’t entirely pure, it certainly ended up that way. It is kind of amazing how emotionally healing this whole thing was. I mean, I feel like serving tea and crumpets on my bed now!

Unfortunately, last night ended on a sour note and left me full of self doubt and questioning. On top of the unexplained disappointment, my insomnia has decided to stop by for a spell and is truly fucking things up. My sleep schedule is way out of whack and just falling asleep has become agonizing. Why is it when we don’t know something that our minds go directly to the worst shit ever?! Not cool! I went from feeling on top of the world (and looking smashing, lemme tell ya!) to feeling like the saddest sack of all. Just wish I knew what happened. Hate feeling like I did something or am not enough…I’m more than enough! I’m awesome!

Well, at least I have this kick ass room. Only a fool wouldn’t consider himself lucky to be invited in. 😉  Now to recruit some tall people to hang some artwork I’ve been saving. Ha! I do have a nifty little craft station now and have given my sad old antenna ball a new life covered in red and black glitter! Oh yeah! Pimpin’ my ride DIY style! It is impressive how much I can get done when my obsessive nature taps into that sweet vein of compulsion. Whew! Even gave myself a pedicure!

Self-Care Struggles

February9

One of the most difficult parts of moving last week/weekend was suddenly not being able to trust my body. The very first box I attempted to carry down the stairs of my old apartment, I nearly fell! I was instantly in a state of shock and horror! I began to cry…I don’t do that! It was scary. It was because of my knees. I was truly frightened. I hated that I couldn’t rely on what had always been there for me. I’ve never had knee problems before the few months and just when they seem to get better I either re-injure them or I don’t know what. Frustrating doesn’t even cut it! I was angry and sad and everything in between.

*GetsOnSelf-CareSoapbox* Ahem…  *TapsMic*

Y’all! We cannot be our most authentic and amazing selves or even be there for others properly if we are not mindful of our bodies and what they need. We cannot put off pain and rest and healing. We must treat our bodies as our most precious of possessions and resources, because that is exactly what they are! I have been putting ice packs on my knees each night (20 minutes on/off/etc as prescribed by my CMT husband) and it helps. It slows blood flow to the area for a bit and then when removed allows fresh, good, healing blood to flow through the area once again. When I skip a night, I feel it in the morning. The stiffness is mostly gone on normal days, but when I ski a night of icing, I am stiff the next morning and that blows. When I do remember, and I try, I have no stiffness and can get up with little pain.

Why is self-care so damned hard to remember/do? Because we’re taught to think only of others, to be selfless and blah blah blah! Fuck all of that! Be selfish! It’s totally okay! If you don’t, your health will suffer. Your mental health will suffer. I believe that suffering, while a part of life for sure, and should be lessened whenever possible. But here’s the hardest bit for me: Asking for help, time, breaks, assistance, access, care, being held and so on. I realized the other night when I was asked outright, “What do you want/need?” I was dumbstruck! WTF?! I am so rarely speechless. I was suddenly unable to speak! My mind went blank (that never happens) and I sort of just gasped.

How do I get better at this? What steps could I take to improve? How do I take the pressure off of the act of asking? Because let’s face it, being on your own and fending for yourself is not an easy endeavor. I know this, but I also take great pride and satisfaction from doing things for myself, by myself, etc. Perhaps too much pride, stubbornness, etc…but I’m a Scorpio! Ha-ha! But I want to get better at this…no I NEED to get better at this!

I am open to all of your advice and suggestions. I have been able to ask for help with some things, but they were minor. I’m the gal that says, “Can I ask you for a huge favor? Could you pass me that ___?” Real “huge”, eh?! Ha-ha! Every favor or assistance, etc, feels major to me. I have been self sufficient in some manner my entire life, okay, well since I was five. To ask for help was always met with, “no!” or “Get it yourself” or “if you don’t learn to do it on your own you’ll never ___” these old patterns are difficult to break. I know this. I understand where it began and how it’s impacted my life. My logical/rational brain does anyway, but my emotional side? Not so much.

So yeah…self-care! Woo!

posted under DIY | 8 Comments »

My STANDard

February8

There’s an effort afoot, led by Ragen Chastain, to buy space for a billboard in Georgia saying “WARNING!  Shame is bad for your health!”  If you want to help out, they’re raising funds at http://www.gofundme.com/dp16w 

Also check out this great post on this same topic:

http://healthateverysizeblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-haes-files-a-tale-of-two-billboards/

Please join in the “I STAND…” photos, if you like! Email your photo and credo to marilyn@fatso.com

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