NotBlueAtAll

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

Live Longer Through Community

April17
I’ve read a few articles lately about the one thing allows people to live longer and healthier lives and I was not at all surprised, though many have been. It’s feeling connected to community. I can honestly say without hesitation that without that connectedness, without my local fat community, I wouldn’t be here. Fat community keeps me alive when even I don’t want to be. That is the truth in it’s purest form, folks. I have gone through many big life events in the last ten years and fat community was there for me at each and every turn.
Your community may not be fat, it might be queer or feminist or all three of those things at once. Your community may be nature fungi foragers, only you know what your identities and people are. How does one find their community, though? Ultimately, that is something I cannot answer for you. I can say that you have to seek it out, that it may suck at first, you may feel more lost or unconnected, but you should definitely keep trying! My first several attempts at fostering fat community locally failed, but in the end I found my peeps and some lifelong friends, too.
My fat community finding/fostering began with setting up a meet up at a local mall. I think I posted on Fatshionista, a LiveJournal group that I adored and was popular at the time. It was more of a “Hey would anyone be interested in meeting up and going shopping together?” We met up at the Cheesecake Factory and it was my first time meeting folks of size outside of work/school/life things. I was still new to calling myself fat in a positive way. It felt radical to be meeting in public as fat people, we took up space and then some and it was awesome! We ordered our food without guilt, though other needs were discussed (for medical or other reasons). We chatted and relished stories of coming out as fat, so to speak. We had about 12 people, if memory serves me, from the entire spectrum of fat (babyfat to superfat, if you will).
After we ate we decided to hit up Torrid in the mall. I had only ever been to Torrid once or twice at that time, I didn’t really have a sense of my own style as I had spent my youth hiding beneath layers of baggy clothing to conceal both my fat body and my femininity. But I was soooooo stoked to be in a fat pack of awesome people cruising the mall together. Torrid didn’t know what hit ’em! One couple bought each other sexy things to wear and even modeled for us and it was so fun and empowering and visually dazzling! I bought two heart necklaces that I still own and wear regularly (I cherish them, even if they are plastic).
Next we headed to Lane Bryant, the only other option in that particular mall. At LB I did try on clothes and had fun with some of the other folks from the meet up in the dressing rooms. Just that feeling of, “Oh hey this is cool we all get that this is hard so let’s make it fun” sort of a thing. Like tossing each other things to try and others running to get each other different sizes. I recall a classic trench coat I had wanted badly, but even their 26/28 was ill fitting in how the buttons gaped. We discussed sizing bullshit and size-ist bullshit and it was a great time. I never really heard from or saw those folks again, save one.
I tried several more times and once I opened my own cafe I started a regular one on Saturdays there. It was great to have my own space and to host, something I’d never been able to before. Accessibility being a struggle, always, it was so important to me that my own cafe be open and inviting to all, but it was also a historic building where there were no ramps. My meet ups there were intermittent in attendance, but I was there and hopeful for every one we scheduled! More often than not, no one showed, but I shrugged it off and kept at it. Luckily I had also started this blog around this time and got to meet some of my readers this way. I made great friends at that time and some I still consider tried and true, though I’ll admit that others have come and gone, for better or worse.
I first realized that I had fat community, and that I was (am) fat community at a Big Moves dance show, the first I attended. It was also my first time going strapless in public and I was accompanied by my two bffs. I had chatted with Marilyn Wann online about something (honestly can’t recall) and we were to try to meet each other after the show. The show itself was a life changer! Never before had I seen such joy embodied entirely, start to finish. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much! After the show we waited outside, but Marilyn never showed. Through happenstance we asked a nice person nearby to take our photo. It just so happened to be one of the original Fat Lip Readers, former professional portrait taker, and the ever lovely and fabulous Carol Squires who supports Big Moves to this very day!
I did end up meeting Marilyn Wann at my cafe not long after. She signed my copy of her book, “Fat! So?” and even made me feel better about a haircut mishap I was feeling bad about (though the front was hella cute). Through these meet ups and Fatshionista and Marilyn, I was riding high on my fat activism and positivity at that time. It was 2011 and International No Diet Day was an epic event for me, still is. I met people at that “Flesh Mob” that I still call friends (I have written about it here).
Soon I was attending NAAFA and NoLose conferences, BBW Dance Clubs and a Bash and figuring out where I belong, if I belonged at all. The short answer is that I didn’t belong, at least not in those specific groups/conferences. So I started Fatty Affair, which was a fat positive event in San Jose, California, free to the public, that included performances, a clothing swap, a bake sale and vendor tables. It was intended to be a one-off event, but turned into two; the first in 2012, the second in 2013. I have had many people ask me about another (some downright demanding), but alas we outgrew our awesome venue and I have yet to find another suitable spot for our fabulousness.

It seems through all of the great fat things I was doing and attending, I gathered my own version of community close to my heart unwittingly. I began performing with Tigress in the annual Big Moves shows. I started to find power in my vulnerability and a strong sense of responsibility to do the very things for others that were such an inspiration to me before I was part of that world. That is what keeps me going. It’s a belonging, it’s a connectedness, but it’s also a community of misfits.
When you think about community as a basic word, we often think our neighborhood or schools, associations we may be a part of. When you think about what you truly feel connected to, when the chips are down as they say, what do you envision? Do you see your city council members or mayor? Do you see the PTA? Do you see your family and friends? What makes you feel most fulfilled and connected? For me that has been fat community, hands down.
I was recently out of work for a spell and not just down on my luck but truly heading towards dire straits. My blog’s annual hosting bill was looming and as the deadline drew closer I was afraid that I would have to lose it entirely. I didn’t want to ask for help, but didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t need to look far, my local fat community stepped up in a big way! I was so surprised and moved! It actually got me back into writing again, too! My blog saved and so many people wishing me well and sending good vibes and love, I felt connected and seen and humbled and inspired. You can’t put a price on that.
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

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

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram, though I need to get back into posting there: 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

Beth or Bust!

March26

This past weekend was full of such fun, but such struggle for me, too. After a whirlwind of a week at work office manager-ing, there was a dance night in downtown San Jose: Madonna Vs. Blondie, that a bunch of friends were meeting up for. I was so excited for it! After work I went home to rest and unwind before getting ready to dance the night away. I just kind of spaced out completely for two hours as I was fucking braindead! I did finally get myself together and changed and made it to the club before anyone else. It was more new wave music than just strictly Madonna and Blondie, but it was great music over all. When I first arrived though it was like a bad junior high dance flashback with everyone clinging to the walls and the deserted dance floor looked haunted! Ha-ha! I grabbed a cider at the bar and people watched until my friends arrived. Once they played the first Madonna song folks started to flood the dance floor. Once my friends arrived we spent the next three hours solid on the dance floor and I could barely walk the next day! So fun, though!

I literally spent Saturday just resting and recuperating from the previous night’s fun time. Everything was stiff and sore and I definitely over did it but no regrets! I had a blast and got to see my favorite people and hear awesome music all at once! Can’t beat that! I wish I had thought to take pics, but I also know that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I was so looking forward to that night for so long, ya know? But in the end I has to just sit at the bar until everyone was ready to leave. I felt really down for bit about it, too. But I know better and eventually snapped out of it. Aging bodies, injured bodies, require different things and can’t just keep going all night like the old days.
Sunday I had a ticket to see Beth Ditto at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, a favorite venue of mine! Only my anxiety was running mega high (for me) all day and because of this I didn’t think I would end up going. My bff Michaela text me encouraging things, even called the box office about ADA seating in an attempt to alleviate some of those anxious thoughts, too. In the end it didn’t matter, my anxiety was in charge and it was up to me to either just sit with it or push through. I did a bit of both, actually, but did manage to push through and mostly have a good time. I sort of talked myself through it as I would a loved one. “You can just get ready, you don’t have to actually leave the house. You can just look cute and take selfies, no one will be the wiser!” I told myself as I got out of the shower and started to get my eye makeup going. Then it was, “Maybe you won’t find parking and that’s okay, you tried, that’s enough, you can just go home.” as I was driving up there. Once I got there and ended up finding pretty darn great parking, I told myself, “You’re a grown up, no one is making you be here or stay, you can go home whenever you like and that is perfectly okay.” And so I went in!
Once inside I hit up the merchandise tables hoping for a 3x in a certain pink tee, but they had already sold out, as I gotten there just after the opening act started, so they had been open for over an hour already. I will get that shirt online, no worries. The merch lady was deeply sorry and insisted that Beth always has 3x in all her merch, and I know this to be true, but it’s also rare to get a not white or black t-shirt in a 3x ever, so that is why I’ll grab mine online for sure. After that I headed straight up this very long marble staircase (it’s a very old building) to the balcony area. If it’s a general admission show, and it was, anyone can sit up there. As I had partially torn my achilles tendon the week before, I needed to sit for this show, and really all shows going forward, no choice in the matter. There was also a bar up there, so I grabbed my vodka-cran and grabbed a nice aisle seat pretty close to the stage, but up above. I stayed in that spot the entire night, except when a couple wanted to get passed me to sit further down my row. I was worried a bit that if I got up for another drink I could lose my choice of seat and having the aisle meant I could stretch my poor Achilles nicely without bothering anyone. I also didn’t want to have to deal with the bathroom situation in such an old building that usually houses punk and electronica shows. Ha-ha! All in all it worked out great!
Honestly, this was my fourth concert flying solo, but my first as a single person. I had also never had anxiety that bad and pushed through for such a public outing. So while I enjoyed myself over all, it was really fucking hard and weird to be in the moment and get into the right state of mind. Luckily it was a Beth (motherfucking) Ditto show and she keeps it 100% real, always! She came out in shining silver sequins and just lit up the entire place with her effervescence! My love for and of her knows no bounds, obviously, as I did all I could to get there and see her. I bought my ticket months ago when I was out of work because I needed something to look forward to. I should have been excited, but anxiety was such a killjoy that entire day and night. I did enjoy the show, she is an incredible vocalist, and I couldn’t believe the show wasn’t sold out. She was very funny and candid, gave the band a hard time, even got some rimshots for her cornier jokes. She had an issue with something in her eye but she was so cute and funny about it and just kept talking and singing, like the pro that she is. This was a Beth Ditto show, not a Gossip show. That was apparent, as I’d seen Gossip play years ago when their album “Music for Men” came out, at this same venue. Different vibes, but honestly, her voice was better than ever! After her “last song” she came back out for the encore in a red lame` dress (with pockets!) and did her big solo single, “Fire” as well as some Gossip songs that she threw in some other sort of mashup-y things into; such fun!
I will say that going down that marble staircase was much more difficult (and honestly a bit scary) than going up, but I managed alright and took my time. Luckily I just missed the crowd when I hit the exit and saw everyone flooding in behind me. Whew! I’m super glad I went to the show, but I cannot believe I had to push myself so hard to do it! I do not think I will make an attempt to go to a show alone again unless it’s The Cure or Portishead or some other amazing and legendary concert that I have not yet seen and would be rare to catch on tour. Like last year I had to see TOOL and it was amazing!
I used to work in music, both as a promoter of new artists for an industry magazine (HITS), as well as manager of a music store for several years. I have been to hundreds of shows. I would get tickets from labels all of the time or just happen to get on “the list” or whatever. I feel like I have seen and done it all and honestly it is rarely worth the trouble anymore, not to mention the cost. My ticket for this show was $25 + whatever absurd service fees they tacked on, and I found great and free parking. I really do like the Regency Ballroom though, both for it’s size, as it’s not too big and still feels mostly intimate, but more so it’s accessible seating for me. I was comfortable and didn’t feel squished, though I know others wouldn’t feel accommodated at all and I’m certain that there must be an elevator in the building as the ADA seating is limited on the floor with more up in the balcony, too. I considered leaving early a couple of times due to the anxious feels, but I’m glad I powered through and got to see what was a really special show.
Beth Ditto is a personal hero of mine. I have read her autobiography (and even shipped it to a friend on the east coast when I was done, Hi Charlie!), have followed her career for many years (and through many of my own careers – Ha!), bought a crystal barrette from Fat Fancy (Portland, Oregon) that she once owned, followed her fashion lines and endeavors, and truly find much inspiration in how she has handled it all. To see someone close to my size (though for sure I’m bigger than she) look so confident and present is such a gift! Her vocal abilities never cease to amaze me, and believe me when I say that she is a big reason why I wanted to start singing again at all. Her realness, her whatever we’re fucking doing this thing – ness, is something missing from our western, over-curated experiences. I did see phones and lots of videos and selfies being taken, but most folks were really there in the moment, too. That is a rare thing these days. Even at a punk show last year I was distracted and irritated with phones surrounding my eye-line to the stage that I really struggled to even see let alone pay attention or enjoy the show. I hope the rest of her tour is just as amazing! I wish her the very best, as she has given me so much over the years!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

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

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

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

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

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

Writing & Poetry

March16

I haven’t been writing here much lately but I have been writing! I took the cue from my horoscope about three weeks ago when it said I’d meet my next great love on a certain day. I dressed extra special that day (nothing fancy, just very me), and decided that I would go to a local independent bookstore (the last in my area) that I love. I had found a few books of poetry there years ago that really changed how I view the art form, but also how to write it. At the time it actually stifled my ability to write poetry. I began to hate everything I wrote and started to see all of my writing as whiny, teenagery, angst-filled bullshit (my own thoughts).

This time, I went with the hope of reconnecting with poetry and maybe even discovering a new writer or compilation book of poems that I could dive into. Alas, like meeting my next great love that day, it wasn’t meant to be. In fact I really struggled to like or connect to anything. I started going through the staff picks to hopefully find some direction or inspiration. I grew frustrated and moved onto biographies, again hoping to connect with something. Anything. But didn’t.
I finally went back to the poetry section and grabbed a staff pick that I’d previously put away. I decided to just buy it because I wanted to support the store, and half thought that perhaps another mood would benefit a reread of the poems within. I left the store disheartened. I had a silly daydream about reading a beautiful poem and getting caught up in the moment with an audible sigh when a kind stranger would see my expression and ask what I was reading and we’d fall into a deep conversation and live happily ever after. Ha-ha! Ridiculous, I know! So I figured I’d buy myself a nice dinner instead, only by the time I got back to my car I was just plain old sad. Driving home I even began to cry a bit, though not really having a specific reason to. (Not that a reason is required, crying can be very cleansing after all.)
The next day I took the book I’d bought to work to read at lunch. My usual lunch buddy was out of town and I figured it would be a good chance to reignite my reading habit. It worked! New day, new mood, and I loved the book! It’s called, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur and I recommend it! It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching and everything I love about poetry. And it got me to look at some of my old writing and see it in a better light. I’ve since written many new poems and have been enjoying it immensely! I have a small but steady notion to publish a chapbook, for no reason other than why the fuck not?! Ha-ha!
It does feel good to get some of these words that float around my head down in text. I don’t know yet how to go about the process of publishing my works, but perhaps just doing it myself is best. I’m not seeking anything other than to contribute to the world in my own small way. I was glad to come across a book about hating poetry but was itself a book of poems. It was lovely and refreshing, though not what I was looking for. It helped me get over my fears and hate of my own writing as well as the form of poetry itself.
I would love to get back into making art, but I think that will have to wait quite awhile before I start that up again. It takes so much time, supplies, space, energy and I’m just not there yet. I think I am getting there, though. I have been feeling so much better mentally, at least less bogged down by just internal terribleness. A local fat community member and big moves dancer/organizer passed very suddenly last week, Cindy Cutts, and it didn’t really hit me until Friday/Saturday. We weren’t close, but she was always very kind to me and encouraging and just a fantastic presence backstage at every show, and contributed so much to fat community. We’re close in age and her husband wrote the most beautiful blog post about her and I just cannot imagine such a loss. I have been avoiding social media for the most part as a result because the things folks have shared have been very moving but also bringing up a lot of things for me personally that I’m not wanting to process just now. Writing helps. Taking the time I needed to decompress on Saturday was necessary.
I’m hoping to have things to write about here soon. We should be close to publishing our second episode of the Fat As Fuck Podcast and hopefully find our groove for more to come. The feedback has been so touching and epic and inspiring and I just want to hug everyone collectively-virtually right now! Our time is too precious to waste. Tell people you love them when you can and you mean it. We forget how much impact our words can be, for better or worse. Spending time with my loved ones this last weekend really gave me some needed healing. I’ve been at my new job for over a month and really like it, so today isn’t as bad as it could be.
What are you working on or through? Do you write? Do you like poetry? What have you been struggling with this week? Are there projects or art forms you’ve wanted to try but have been hesitating? I’d love to hear from you!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

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

Current Obsession: Miranda

March2

I have been obsessed with the show Miranda (streaming now on Hulu), a British comedy series, since Christmas evening 2017, whilst trying my hardest to snap out of a really terrible pit of despair. It worked fantastically that night. I just finished watching the entire series (4 seasons in all, 6 episodes per season, but the last has only two) last night for the fourth time and it hit me right in the feels, again, but it was for a different reason. It’s funny how every time we watch something over again and again we pick up on new things or don’t know how we missed something on the first or second viewing.

Miranda, the character and the comedian playing her, is self effacing and aggrandizing. She bemoans and bemuses the minutia of life’s daily struggles. I adore and envy her relationship with her best friend Stevie in the show. She celebrates her single life, living alone, being a quirky, and often called a weirdo. She struggles with her size, but mostly (and only, IMO) due to the lack of acceptance from others. SO RELATABLE! In fact the romantic interests in her life never mention her size at all, only her quirkiness.
Miranda is a bit clumsy, a bit gassy, always hilarious – even if she’s the only one laughing, and truly and completely lovely. I won’t give away anything or the overall story arc of the show (it’s so good!!!), but I would encourage anyone to give it a shot. I think it’s the perfect sitcom, though it’s a few years old, it’s mostly a critique of the path of the traditional, cis-hetero woman in England/the west, from dating to marriage to reproducing, only she fights it every step of the way. She questions and protests, despite, or to spite, her overbearing mother’s constant intervening.
She celebrates silliness, has vegete-pals and fruit friends, creates games for her own pleasure like snack fishing and muffin tetherball. Amazing! She tries to travel solo but ends up only going to a hotel around the corner! Ha-ha! But she thoroughly enjoys herself there, perhaps a bit too much! I found such comfort and connection to all of the shows characters. I feel like she gets single life in a way I haven’t found for myself yet, but I’m getting closer thanks to this show.
Every time I watch it, I am floored in the best possible way by this line:
“Women like me can be sexy. It’s just, the world might never affirm it, so it takes us a little longer to realize it.” THIS!!!!
I hope you give Miranda, the show, a chance. I’ll be looking into reading Miranda Hart, the comedian’s books, too!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

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

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

********************************

 

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

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