NotBlueAtAll

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

LSP: Unintentionally Inspirational?

August7

This is “LSP” or “Lumpy Space Princess” (if you’re nasty?!)…she’s from a cartoon I love called “Adventure Time” on the Cartoon Network. She sounds like a valley girl and is, um, lumpy! I fucking love her!!! She floats around and generally just talks smack and snarks at people, but you also see the insecurity behind the lumps, if you will, and how difficult it is to be a teenage girl in today’s society. LSP is both sassy and confident and insecure and dying to fit in (she once wanted surgery to smooth out her lumps so she’d be seen as hot or attractive)! It is because of this, her realness and honesty, that I love her so.

Her catchphrases include: “Lump off!” “What the lump?!” “Oh my glob!” and “You can’t handle these lumps!”

In fact, I love her so much I want to dress up as LSP for Halloween this year! I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and only now started to look into it online. When I looked up “Lumpy Space Princess Cosplay” in google images? Holy amazeballs! So many rad fatties!!! I realized right then that I couldn’t be the only one to notice this possibly unintentionally inspirational rad fatty cartoon character! Yay!

And oh how inspiring the fatty cosplay stuff is! People never cease to amaze me! So fucking creative and awesome! I love them all, but I won’t lie, the one that really made me want to be LSP for Halloween was this one:

There’s actually a bunch of pics of this rad fatty in her LSP costume (on Tumblr) and it’s so fabulous! There’s also tons of human-like fan art of LSP:

So fun! If you haven’t seen the show or just aren’t into cartoons, well, you might like it? It’s sort of a fantastical world where magic and shit happens. All in the name of ADVENTURE!!! *SwordThrust* I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m hooked! My favorite character changes often, but LSP has some great and memorable lines. Watching her character struggle and remind me of some old pressures and cliches, I’ve grown to love her so!

What do you think about LSP? Accidental fat inspo? Do I have it all wrong? Hit me up in comments! 😉

 

 

(I love her so much that when my bf saw a little plushy LSP at the store he exclaimed, “Oh! I have got to get this for you!”I now keep her on my bedside table. <3 “You can’t handle these lumps!”)

 

So Many Pictures!

July31

All of the following photos are from the Talent Show and Fashion Show at NoLose 2013 (All photos by the lovely, gorgeous and talented Lilia Schwartz who through her photos I finally saw what others do. <3 )

I kind of love the pic of my back in the blue dress…it has it’s own sass! I had no idea! I love that! Yay back!

Unfortunately I was unable to get video of my first solo dance, but these photos make my performance look way better than what I felt happened. Ha-ha! I have learned some things from my two forays back into dance/performing: 1.) A solid/bold outfit always wins 2.) smiles and sass will cover your ass (when you forget all of your choreography) 3.) no one knows the choreography but you anyway, so improvise when you have to or just want to. 😉

The black and white dress was a JCP clearance gem, the flower a cheepy mall grab and the fedora was $3 at Daiso! Not to mention my ever present teggings! The blue dress was from Size Queen clothing which I wore with my Fat necklace that I got custom made for hella cheap on Etsy!

Also, I’d just like to point something out here, proudly…SO MUCH ARMS! Look at my gloriously free, unashamed display of fat flailing goodness!!!

Thank you to those who love and support me, past and present. When I tear myself down, my friends always seem to know how to put me back together again. <3

 

No Lose 2013: My Pics!

July26
My No Lose weekend wasn’t entirely horrific.
I was still surrounded by some amazing and incredible people.
I pushed myself outside my comfort zone and even managed a few Kodak moments.
😉
Size Queen Clothing: NoLose: Fashion Show

Nervously excited before the fashion show, I wanted this dress so bad!
Alas, I am but a poor, fierce fat femme.

And my boyfriend made my night with this text,
“So…you’re saying I’m dating a model?! 🙂 ”
*Blushes*

Alex & I both: Unicorns!

Saturday in the vendor’s room, Alex and I matched in our enthusiasm and
desire to become the unicorns we’ve always known we are!
I’m wearing an Eshakti.com dress.

Moments before No Lose Talent Show

Can you see the terror on my face? No? Well, believe me, it was bubbling just under the surface. I hear my performance was great, but honestly I felt like a failure. Oh well. Never had so many awesome people tell me I’m hot in one night!
Dress was from JCP and hat was $3 a Daiso, flower clip $2.50 from random accessories shop at the mall.

Me & Veronica from http://musingsfromthesoapbox.blogspot.com/

The dance party was canceled due to technical difficulties. I met up with Veronica, a fellow fat blogger from Norway, and headed to the bar for some cocktails and wonderful conversation. (My dress is from HipsandCurves.com)
<3

BFF “Q” at Gustav’s <3

Sunday night “Q” and I hit up my favorite: Gustav’s!
For healing, hearty German food…And a blackberry margarita!

Me & Blackberry Margarita at Gustav’s

I seriously have to come to Gustav’s every time I visit Portland.
It’s just, necessary!
Another Eshakti.com dress…my soulmate outfit!

Eugene the cat, from Eugene, OR

We met “Eugene” the cat outside the Denny’s by U of O in Eugen, Oregon.
This was literally the coolest, sweetest, most lovey cat we’d ever met!
When the server said we could and should take him home, “Q” was beyond tempted!
So we tried to, but in the end he’s actually a fairly healthy wild cat who seems pretty damn happy.
We miss you, Eugene! <3

Mount Shasta

That wonderful moment you realize you’re back in California which means we’re sort of, kind of, almost home. 🙂

In the end I did get to hang out with some fabulous fatties as well as make some new connections and bonds.
Thanks for reading and supporting me with/through this difficult experience.
I’m doing so much better now, thanks to all of you!

Rad Fatty Love to you ALL!
<3

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Lose 2013: Sunday Salon Submission “Fatty Dancer”

July24

This is the piece I submitted and read to the attendees of No Lose for the Sunday Salon. A lot has been said and assumed about this piece and about me because of it. I have reflected and acknowledged that people were hurt by this piece at the community feedback session that same day (see my quote/response and thoughts below).

No Lose 2013: Sunday Salon Submission  “Fatty Dancer”

I want to tell you that I am fat. I want to tell you that I’m a dancer. But the truth is I haven’t always been either of those. I started dancing when my toddler feet hit the ground, but I was a weird, skinny kid who always felt awkward and ugly. At age five I was at a friend’s house dancing to the radio when her sister came in and told me, “What do you think you’re doing? White girls can’t dance!” I was crushed. I ran home crying and begged my mother to change me so that I could dance once again.

As friends went to dance lessons and gymnastics, I stayed home and danced in my carport. I pretended there was a grand ball or a life changing showcase for all to witness my amazing dance skills. I danced with my bff to the radio and cassettes. We had dance routines for everything! We had big dreams and bigger hearts. We loved to dance and refused to stop.

Junior high meant social dances, just like in the movies. Only, the big song of the day was “Me so horny” and I was boy crazy! Puberty hit and with it so did a lot of other stuff. Drugs, boys, depression, weight gain…these things are common, for sure, but for me it felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders, too. High school was a special kind of torture. I fell in with the “wrong” kids and started cutting classes, experimenting with drugs and sneaking out at night to kiss boys in graveyards.

By the time I met my abuser I’d forgotten all about my dancing days. Somehow I thought having a boyfriend was the biggest priority. Oh if I could shake some sense into my fourteen year old self! Meeting that individual would change the course of my entire life. I spent the next five years as a hostage in my own home. Every aspect of my life was controlled by him. I would spend so much time in my head and retreat and disconnect entirely from my body. I had to. I disconnected to protect myself from the abuse. I would fantasize about escaping, about being saved, about evaporating into a vapor. I did not dance for those five years.

When I finally escaped I was 19 and didn’t know who I was or how I fit into the world. At a size 20 I soon realized that I didn’t. I wore baggy corduroys, baggy t-shirts and coordinating flannels to hide what my body had become: fat! I was in a new town with a new job and no idea what my life was supposed to be now. I’d been given another shot at a life, but I was so depressed and unknowingly suffering from PTSD that I mostly just sat home and cried a lot. Soon my old friends came back into the picture and insisted I get out and dance!

We tried dance clubs where we could get in, but not being 21 made that tough. Until they talked me into going to a goth club in San Francisco called “The So What” and it was like a light bulb moment for me. I fought and resisted, “What is this goth shit anyway?” I complained. But they dragged me there kicking and screaming with smuggled in liquor and the promise of a good time. I didn’t believe them for a second. Until we hit the dance floor and this industrial band was playing and in a flash, I was in love!

The fashion, this different style of dance so new to my eyes. I was among the freaks and the weirdos…my people! They were free spirits and moved as they pleased, on their own, no couples! This was fantastic and I soon fell right into it! I bought a cassette of the band (16 Volt) playing that night and tucked it into my back pocket. Years  later I got to meet and hang out with those dudes in San Jose. So cool!

I went back to that club with friends and on my own. Sometimes I would go just to have a space to dance without people judging me. It always felt so free and right when I would dance there. It was when I first tried to love my body. I wore an oddly put together mish-mash of lingerie pieces and satin and random chains and crosses. I didn’t know how to do my own make up and would just sort of smear black eye liner here and there.

When I met my future (and now ex) husband, he wasn’t into dancing at all. He went with me to the goth club once but just stood against the wall, I’m sure trying his best to have a good time. I never went back. Later, that club closed and I never found one even close to as good as that.

13 years later, after so many careers, pitfalls and even running my own cafe, a friend talked me into going to FFE (full figured entertainment) in Oakland. I hesitated, but then figured I was in good fat company. I’d been a fat activist and blogger for some years and felt comfortable in my own skin. But dancing? I thought I was “too old” for the club. Ha-ha! I didn’t really know how to dress, but went with it just the same. I didn’t know most of the music but I picked up some new dance moves on the floor and had the best time! Soon I found myself returning to FFE with my friend as well as others. I got to know the club promoter, Tigress and even tried other dance clubs.

I did find a goth night in San Jose, but it will never be anything close to as awesome as “The So What” but what can ya do? It was perhaps a moment in time. I go to 80’s and new wave nights, I go to goth nights and sometimes I go to a local BBW club when my friend talks me into it. I’m not into the whole BBW scene, but when you’re with the right people and dancing you kind of forget about all of that other stuff (at least I try to).

When Tigress asked me to join her in a dance duet for Big Moves Bay Area’s spring show “En Masse” I said yes without thinking. I had not performed on a stage in seventeen years! I had moments of doubt and insecurity, but Tigress was awesome and we had so much fun busting our humps rehearsing for the show. I had never before experienced that whole “runner’s high” thing until those rehearsals. I get it now! It is a wonderful feeling. It is addictive. I fell in love with dancing all over again!

What was amusing to me was how few people knew I could dance or that I enjoy it. Some friends were shocked, others cried at my performance and many thought it would be a very different style altogether. Okay, they thought I’d be doing a bunch of booty shaking, which I’m obviously not opposed to, but they were so not expecting a serious number from the likes of me and Tigress. Ha-ha! I love that! It was such an honor to be a part of “En Masse!” It was a fantastic show and I would have attended even if I wasn’t in it.

I felt like a bit of a phony at first. These other girls had been performing and rehearsing and who was I to be in this big amazing show?! But they were all so kind and supportive. It was an emotional journey for me as well as a physical one. I had some childhood stuff come back to haunt me but worked through it with some major help from my friends. After our tech and dress rehearsals I had so many people tell me how fantastic our piece was that I couldn’t believe it. Then after the two performances, to see the looks on my friends and new boyfriend’s faces?! Well, that is priceless!

I felt a bit of loss after those shows were over, though. No more rehearsals? No more laughing and being silly with Tigress? Nothing to look forward to or work towards? I was in mourning for dance. I hit up the club as best I could, but that local BBW club’s DJ is the worst ever and it just wasn’t filling the dance gap. When I saw that No Lose was looking for people to be in the talent show I signed up, again, without even thinking. I had no ideas, no song in mind and no inspiration. I had to dig deep for that one! Ha-ha! I wanted to do it just to keep dancing.

I want to tell you that I am fat. I want to tell you that I’m a dancer. And I am both of those things now. I spent far too much time away from doing the thing I love to do that I just cannot stop now! I want to be the dancing granny on YouTube, in a dancing grannies dance troupe! I want to take every opportunity to move in a joyful way! I often say that human connection is the spice of life for me. Conversation is my drug of choice and listening to my glorious gut will never steer me wrong. But now I also know how very powerful movement can be.

I used to watch the Big Moves performances and be in tears the whole time. They were tears of joy, mind you, but inside of me lived an ache for dance. A knee injury and lack of health insurance kept me fearful for so long that I thought I could never do it. A little low-cost acupuncture here and learning to stretch properly there and being mindful and connected to my body now and I can honestly say that I have never felt better!

I know and love every roll, lump and wrinkle on my body now. I feel like I own my body and don’t just lease it. I had to learn how to eat things that would support my body better as well as my dancing. Because, leg cramps!!! Ha-ha! When people see me dancing all night long, all arm fat flailing and rump shakin’ goodness? I no longer care what they think of me. I’m having the time of my life while they’re holding themselves back. I cannot worry about that or them. I can only worry about what the next song will be and how I am going to bust all the moves when it hits! And when “California Love” comes on? You better clear the dance floor because that is my jam and I am going to get down! Ha-ha!

It took me 35 years to get here. To be the dancer I always wanted to be. To love the incredible gift that is this body, all 325 lbs of it. To understand and heal and appreciate what it can do for me and where it can take me. As it changes shape, I get to rediscover and reconnect with it. My grandma often told me, “Never get old, Sarah!” and while I can’t promise anything on that note, I can honestly say that I feel so much younger now than I did in my twenties. I no longer carry the weight of the world, I only carry my own. And I am happy with that.

Now I choose to celebrate life with every step…Dancing!

This is what I said at the feedback session later that day in response to several people saying that they were hurt by this piece, that it is racist or has “clear racist undertones” and I felt I needed to respond and respect their feelings.

“I want to acknowledge that people were really hurt by the piece I wrote for this morning’s salon. This was not my intention. I wanted to share my lived experience. I am going to take some time to reflect on it and I do not want to place that responsibility on anyone else. Racism is something that I work on in my life everyday and will absolutely continue to do so. Thank you.”

I never thought I would ever in my life be accused of being racist or that something I wrote would or could have racist undertones because of how and where I grew up and how and where I live my life now. I have always been committed to equality for all and work very hard within my communities to create a safe space for everyone. I know it is not the responsibility of those who were hurt by this piece to educate me on the how’s and the why’s. At the same time I do not at all understand but I want to very badly. I understand accountability and mistakes and I would absolutely admit to such an occurrence. What I don’t yet fully get is how sharing my lived experience has hurt people.

I don’t consider myself an ignorant person, despite the fact that I’ve had only up to a 9th grade education. I work very hard to be informed, educate myself and be involved in community and activism, not just in issues of size acceptance. I consider myself an ally to the oppressed and feel that everyone’s story is important and should be heard. When we take away the voices of others, when they are silenced and shut down, we continue that oppression.

I have done a lot of thinking on this and discussed it with others. It was brought up that perhaps how I was dressed/presented myself that made me appear a certain way that isn’t actually true of my real life. I was dressed in my Sunday best because I was speaking in public to a large audience. I felt safe to do so. I had planned my outfits over many months and was excited to get into my costumes for No Lose.

I would and could not hurt someone intentionally. I do my absolute best to not hurt anyone ever. To have my words twisted and misrepresented is hard and painful. What was worse was getting thanked and called brave for apologizing from other white folks when in fact I hadn’t apologized. What hurt more than that was not feeling allowed to talk about it, to question it or to ask what I could do to make things right. I have survived so very much in my short life, I help other survivors and those who are currently struggling, all of the time. I do it because I care and because I have been there. I am a compassionate individual but also a very publicly vulnerable one. This has taken me years of work to get here and I’m finding it hard to stay true to myself while carrying the burden of fear and shame along, too.

If you have questions, please ask me. If you have a comment, please leave one. I am always open to discussing things. I don’t pretend to know everything, far from it, and always seek more knowledge. I do realize that putting myself “out there” carries a risk. I have always accepted that risk. I want to be responsible in my vulnerability and compassion, though. Fat people get enough shit thrown at and on them and it has been a real eye opener to see that come from other fat people (not just on the subjects of this post). I hope that together we can improve things so that everyone feels safe in our community. I am willing and ready to continue to do the work.

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