NotBlueAtAll

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

Without Judgement

August31

We learn to judge sometime in our childhood. We learn to judge others and eventually ourselves. We begin to see the world through this new lens, but when we turn that lens upon ourselves we choose (or are taught) to see the negative. I think this self-judgement only worsens with time/age/environment. And I think that right now, in time or this year or whatever, it is worse than ever before in history. Women and girls see their self-worth directly tied to their weight and beauty. We push ourselves to a previously unfathomable degree and then sit back in shock and horror when such behaviors blow up in our collective faces. When breaking away from this type of thinking or behavior lands you in the “other” category or worse getting bullied.

I am still on my own personal path to a judgement-free life. I know it’s possible, I feel as though I am halfway there. I see people like Yoko Ono, the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey and more, teach these concepts and practices hoping to reach even a few minds ready for change. And that is the crux of it, isn’t it? Change. It is what drives us and freezes us in terror. The unknown is what scares us. Change is what we think we want when we feel positive. But it is when things are drastically wrong that we rally together for that change. When we are instructed or asked to change for our “own good” we resist with a resistance against it like little else in the world. As though changing one iota of ourselves for health or well-being or for the health and safety of our loved ones, would change yourself and your personality for good. I used to believe that people do not actually ever change, but I know now that that just isn’t so. I have changed so much that when I look back I am often horrified at the person I was or the shit I allowed to be done to me or brought into my life.

With every passing year I think I see the world slightly differently. It used to be me against the world. Then me and my husband against the world. Now it’s just us trying to live in harmony with the world as best we can. That is a major shift! I used to walk around with a black cloud overhead, the living gal version of Eeyore. I believe at one point that I was so worthless that I didn’t even deserve death, that the best punishment for someone like me (I was in my mid to late teens) is to live in misery and agony for the rest of my natural life. I believed that in my heart of hearts (where did that saying come from?). I bought into that self-created philosophy for many years. Even got a tattoo with Chinese characters that say “Everlasting Pain”. *HeadDesk* That is not the person I am now. Not even close! But I changed. I grew. I evolved and I opened myself up to new things and people and concepts and lifestyles and ideas and I made informed changes in my life.

What inspired this post is an article about a woman who gave up mirrors for a year. I was struck by that concept, especially how it might pertain to Fat Liberation. When we look at ourselves in the mirror we see what others see (or so we think). A good friend of mine once told me a story about shopping at a local Target and seeing an older but stylish woman looking at her from behind a clothes rack. Well, that woman was her! She was alarmed at how much older she appeared in the mirror (though don’t get me started on department store mirrors, yo). She and I are one month apart in age. I found the story humorous, but poignant, too. At what point do we hold onto an image of ourselves and refuse to let go? I have been exposed to a large swath of the population and it varies, I can tell you that much. I have found that for men, 21-25 is their ideal image of themselves (no research was done, this is a guestimation y’all). And for women it can be much younger or older than that. I think it has more to do with what was going on in their lives than anything else, hindsight being 20-20 and all.

This all reminds me of a quote from Andy Warhol, “I know a girl who just looks at her face in the medicine cabinet mirror and never looks below her shoulders, and she’s four or five hundred pounds but she doesn’t see all that, she just sees a beautiful face and therefore she thinks she’s a beauty. And therefore, I think she’s a beauty, too, because I usually accept people on the basis of their self-images, because their self-images have more to do with the way they think than their objective-images do.” That Andy knew what was up! I think that girl is me! Ha-ha! seriously! I don’t own a full-length mirror anymore (not intentionally, just situationally) and thus can only view myself from the shoulders up. Sometimes I see myself as a beauty, other times I just look tired. But I am who I am and I accept that. I try not to dwell on that reflected image, either.

Could I (could you?) give up mirrors for a year? I don’t know. I mean, I suppose I could, but driving? Hmm, that would be the hardest bit. To resist the ultimate temptation of looking in the rear view mirror at myself? I don’t think I could. But I don’t hate what I see in the mirror anymore. I know who I am and while certain aspects of my personality may always be in flux, I know that the core of my being is good and kind and strong and capable and important. I hold that closest to me. I remind myself often. I have to. Because in this world, right now, with the hate flowing from every pore and person? I have no choice but to love me for me, I can’t expect to receive or buy that anywhere else. There’s no installment plan for self-acceptance.  It takes work and it takes a willingness to be open to that concept to begin with.  And I am a much better person for having found it! I now have more meaningful relationships and work to honor and value them. I hope that you can find a way to accept and love yourself, too. For now, accept that I love and accept you just as you are, right now!

<3
S

Check out all of this coolness:

August19

There is so much awesomeness going around right now that I thought I’d share some of my faves with you! Woo!

First off, can I just say how much I fucking love LOVE! love Virgie Tovar?! She is amazing and incredible and is doing a video series, “Virgie Tovar’s Guide to Fat Girl Living” and they are flabulous!!! Here’s episode one to whet your appetite (believe me, you won’t be able to stop!):

Dr.Pattie Thomas & PDA Nation want to hear Your Story (and for more resources, links, etc http://revolutionsresources.blogspot.com/):

Please consider submitting your own story through video or text (you can comment on the videos on YouTube).

Amanda Levitt of FatWaitress & Love Your Body Detroit just opened a fabulous fat positive Etsy shop to raise funds for more fat activism: http://www.etsy.com/shop/LYBDetroit
Do check it out, buy something for yourself (like the fat rights tool kit!!! OMZ!!!)

And a bit of not so greatness, but I hope we can have an impact before it comes out…I first heard about this from Marilyn Wann and wanted to share it with you: Please go to the Amazon pages (US and UK) and post a comment responding to the godawful children’s book, “Maggie Goes on a Diet.”
I was personally shocked that the story itself is about a 14 year old going on a diet, but the targeted age for readers is 4-8 years old. Yikes!!! I hope that you will read the discussion and consider adding your own voice! <3

The Lies We Eat

July29

(Trigger Warning for food issues/demonizing)

I witnessed an exchange yesterday that made me cringe. The son has a severe gluten allergy and my cafe makes gluten-free Belgian waffles. He ate his entire waffle, but his sister barely touched hers. Mom then began to eat the waffle after eating her own panini, but grew too full. She then insisted out loud that it was just too good to waste! And tried to get her son to eat it:

Mom to son: Please, take this last bite of waffle! I didn’t touch it!
Son: No!
Mom: You’re going to make me eat all of these extra calories?!
Son: What? (looks very confused)
Mom: C’mon! Just eat one bite!
Son: No!
Mom to me: He is a germaphobe, very OCD if you know what I mean. Ugh! I can’t believe he won’t eat it! It’s so good! *chews*

Prior to this exchange she was asking me about my paninis and which was “the least fattening?” To which I replied (with a smile), “Are you asking my opinion, because I’m not sure you would want it.” She laughed, so did I, but insisted on which had the least fat and calories and I refused to answer. She went with the vegetarian one (grilled eggplant with sun dried tomato spread, grilled onions and mozzarella) and insisted it was the most delicious thing ever!

My next customer wanted to know similar things, “What kind of bread do you use? Is it thick? I am trying to cut my carb intake…*mutters* and calories (with a sad face).” I reply, “But you need carbs and calories for your brain to function, for your body to move and work and play! Don’t you hate that we’re told that all of this stuff is bad and they make us feel awful for it?” She nods yes and looks slightly surprised by my response. Then I say, “Sorry, I don’t mean to preach, but I read a lot about nutrition and I get so upset that so much of what we’re told about food and nutrition and health are lies. It’s all marketing, you know? It is too bad.” She agrees and orders what she wants and then admits that the restaurants that show the calorie counts on foods really affects her. She says she has a hard time making a decision when faced with these figures. And I agree that it doesn’t really help. Then I explain that our body craves certain foods because it wants those nutrients. Substitutes don’t give those nutrients and often lead to more severe cravings. To this she agrees wholeheartedly and smiles.

I have these exchanges almost everyday. I don’t always get so wordy or mouthy about it, but I am tired of just smiling and nodding and letting these people demonize my food and my fat! Half the time it’s the adults that are the pickiest of eaters, kids just was food! No guilt or emotional attachments…just food/fuel! And food allergies are a serious concern! I cannot stand it when people make light of someone’s allergies or illnesses. Ugh!

I’m sick of people just repeating the exact same lies that are in ad campaigns! I want people to question this shit! To research it and to decide what is right for themselves. But they don’t know TO do that. They just take things on face value. “Oh! Whole grain means healthy!” Um, not exactly. *sigh* It’s an uphill battle. I don’t have $65 Billion to get the truth out there. The diet corporations do. And this is why Fat Liberation seems so daunting to many.

This is where I think we can make an impact though: with our moolah! None of us is rolling in money these days, but there are small things we can do to make small changes in the world and that begins with how you spend your money. Do you buy something that is suddenly advertising in a magazine or on a tv station that is fat hating? Call or email or tweet or facebook them to let them know you cannot support them if they support the fat hate! It works! So few people actually do speak up and contact these companies that when they do get more than say three people calling, they are surprised and want to please their customers (usually). Look into parent companies and see if you can contact them, too! In fact, get to know your congressperson and contact them regularly about discrimination based on height & weight! Many haven’t even heard of this stuff and will be interested and will want to listen to you!

You don’t have to get all shouty or overly political about it (even though it totally is), you can simply tell them that you refuse to support their products and company because where they are advertising (specify) supports the oppression of people based on their looks (weight/height/etc). Yes, you will most likely get a canned response, but you’d be surprised at how few people/complaints it takes before someone takes action! I saw this in the town where my cafe is. People were so annoyed at dealing with the strict 1 hour parking, but few actually complained to the city. I complained, a few of my customers complained, but not enough people did at first. Then I just got angry because they were straight up lying about how many tickets they were giving out (they claimed one a day when I watch them give out a minimum of five!) and started telling anyone who complained to contact the city. It took awhile, but it’s now been changed to two hours. I thought I was dreaming the day I saw the guys changing out the old signs to the new ones! Ha-ha! But they specifically said that enough people complained! Simple as that!

People don’t like to complain to the city/county/state/country. They like to complain to their friends/spouses/neighbors/etc. It’s like a past time for some people. When you suggest they take it up with someone who can actually do something about the issue? “Oh, they won’t listen!” is all I hear. And that is bullshit! If you don’t try how will you or they ever know?! They need to know, dammit! Business need this feedback, they need to hear from their customers or they will ASSUME they are doing the right thing every damned time! I don’t want anyone assuming what I want. I prefer to make my own choices and my own voice heard, thanks.

Okay, so I’m ranty this week, but that’s okay! It’s what I do. I’m tired of just complaining to like-minded individuals (and wonderful as y’all are), I feel compelled to start actually speaking up to these corporations and letting them know what I think. I may be naive in some of my thinking, do let me know, but it’s just too frustrating to be silent.

What products are advertising in fat hating media? I’d love to put together a list and post it. Thanks for reading! Happy Friday (for those who have weekends)! I hope you are all well and in good spirits! <3

Queer. Fat. Political.

July27

Sunday night I was fortunate enough to attend Queer. Fat. Political.: “a flabulous star-studded, politically inspired evening of fierce fattitude and performance sponsored by the GLBT Historical Society’s Womyn’s Committee.  Commemorating the life and work of fat activist Judy Freespirit (who has an archive at the Historical Society) and will feature performance from the legendary FAT LIP Readers’ Theater, Jezebel Delilah X and others! Performances will be followed by a discussion/Q&A and is meant to create dialogue between generations of fat queer activists.”

It was one of the most powerful evenings of my life! It is right up there with the flesh mob I participated in for International No Diet Day. THAT GOOD! I was asked by Virgie Tovar to video tape the evening’s performances and little did I know that this would have such an impact on me. Did I already say “Wow!?” Because WOW!!! We’re talking about a room of radical feminists of varying ages, fat liberation activists from the 70’s, 80’s and now! But I don’t want to get into the who’s who and all of that…

I felt a great responsibility standing in the back of the room. A responsibility to do more, to be more out there and active and public and political. To keep fighting the good fat fight! The feminist fight! To liberate us all and create equality in a nation built upon the opposite. Heavy task, certainly, but I now feel more compelled than ever to organize and do more! These women created these huge radical, very public and very political actions! But I feel that this is something left behind and that pisses me off, for myself and for them. There is no second wave of fat liberation activism because nothing has changed! We’re still dealing with the same shit they did back when.

I love attending fat events. I LOVE IT! I look forward to them and after I am high on fat positivity! But then I go home, I work, I blog, I live. Nothing truly happened, ya know? But when I participated in the flesh mob for INDD? I changed! We made an impact on actual people!  I do feel that these more social events (performances, swaps, etc) are great for the uninitiated or for those who are intimidated or would like to reengage in fat liberation/fat acceptance. They recharge my batteries for sure. But what else? You eat cupcakes, maybe get some cool clothes, but no awareness was created, no waves made. We stick to online activism because it’s accessible, easy, fits into our collective schedules…and there is nothing wrong with that. I just want to do more!

The fire has been reignited and baby? I’m ready to start cookin’! Talking to Virgie and some other local fats all over the bay area, we all want to do more! It’s a fabulous feeling! So now we’re going to start researching and seeing what venues we can find and what things we can put together to keep people engaged, to become more accessible and to stay more political! I just couldn’t walk out of that building without having some sort of mission. I have big ideas, y’all! But I want some of yours, too!

What would you like to get involved in for fat liberation? Do you have a skill or talent or ability that may be useful or helpful for an organized fat action? Artists? Writers? Dancers? You name it! I wanna hear from everyone! What do you want to see happen to create more awareness? Do you think it’s all in vain? Do you think it’s bullshit? I wann hear it all! No judgment here! You know how I roll, honesty, baby, yeah! Ha-ha!

 

Role of Fat Females in Entertainment

July21

Fattiboombalatti here:

Okay so I admit that I have been under a rock for the past year. Working full time and finishing up my masters degree full time kind of does this to a person.  So I was hanging out with some g-friends o’ mine at a karaoke bar and one of them picked a song that I knew subconsciously, Adele. Her music video came on and I would like, double take… WHAT? A chubby chick with a banging voice actually got a music video?!?!  Can it be that the world is thawing in its hatred of fatties? Is it possible that a luscious fatty that I am instantly in love with can actually be known for her music without adhering to the narrow definitions of “beauty” being currently promulgated by our culture?

So I ran into this article about Adele:

http://zeldalily.com/index.php/2011/04/this-just-in-adele-isn%E2%80%99t-thin/

 The article talks about the role of fat women in the entertainment industry: either they are “sideshow” attraction for the entertainment industry, or if they commit to losing weight and are they traitors to who they are. We have seen this latter phenomenon ad nauseum : rad fatty with killer voice/acting ability loses sudden and dramatic weight with her (or his) “I did weight watchers.” Story scoffed by one and all.

This last piece particularly reminds me of something that happened to me when I was in college. I was a rad fatty then and I had rad fatty friends but ended up spending a year in China. During that year I lost a lot of weight, not that I noticed because in China I was considered Sasquatch like in proportions and I was miserable there so when I came back to be enveloped in the soft loving arms of my friends I was kept at a distance. At lunch with them I made a fat joke and was promptly told by them that they were uncomfortable with my joke because clearly I wasn’t like them anymore. Oy Vey!  I was hurt by that because even when I have passed for thin, inside I am and will always be a fat girl. The body that somehow meanders to normal still houses a fat soul.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that we all, all of us as a society, focus too damn much on looks, size, weight, blah blah blah. I don’t know about you, but I am kinda sick and tired of the obsession with the self and how the body is used as a social marker for where we “belong” and who we can be associated with. The whole thing is just one damn hot mess when really we as a society should be thinking about oh I don’t know how about being good and kind people? Helping others or working to resolve the environmental damage we are wrecking as a species?

But none of that can happen until we decide that no one body is inherently better, or more morally upright than any other. That our talents and skills and abilities should be judged by their own merit not as an accoutrement to our looks. Naïve? Yeah probably. But I honestly don’t see any other way around it.  The day that singers like Adele (who is clearly an inbetweenie at least it looks like it to me) can also burst on the scene as a deathfat and the only thing you hear is, “wow her voice is stunning!” is the day I can finally step down from this soap box with a feeling that my work is done.

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