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

Prohibition Then And Now


After watching Ken Burns’ PBS series “Prohibition”  this week (three parts, each two hours – you can watch online at the link), it is no small wonder to me how anyone could see the similarities between the 1920’s and now. I would venture that every era, every generation has some social swell of some specific issue or struggle to address and/or overcome. Why, right now, we’ve got a tome’s worth! I am thinking about our social climate. Our financial struggles. The environment. Our prison industrial complex. So many things all going down those proverbial tubes. We’re all scratching our heads, clenching our fists, muffling our sobs and hoping beyond all reasonable hope that something will give, something will improve…it has to!

Prohibition began as a moral movement. Basically, how I took it, was a religious/conservative group gathered and organized on the platform that alcohol consumption led to corruption, prostitution, spousal abuse and other criminal activities. They believed the only solution was to prohibit, enforce and criminalize alcohol in all of its many forms. Does this sound familiar? No? Okay, consider for a moment the bootlegging that took the place of saloons and brewers. Many people died as a direct result of the illicit ways people got and distributed the booze. Think of the doctors prescribing whiskey as medicine, if you knew the right doctor that is, medicinal use being legal even after the nationwide ban on alcohol. Yet the consumption of alcohol itself wasn’t technically illegal. In fact you could make your own wines at home as many families did back then.

Many saw prohibition as a direct attack on immigrants who held fast to their cultures and rituals and often saw nothing at all wrong with alcohol. Suddenly self-appointed rabbis of any background were enjoying their own private supply as this, due to its religious significance, was also still legal. Soon petty thieves found themselves knee-deep in opportunity and flush with loads of cash for any and all liquor they could get their hands on. With this money came power they hadn’t the conscience nor education to put to good use (my opinion mind you). And basically, all hell broke loose! Speakeasies were raided, people were killed in clumsy displays of not in my backyard and many were jailed for periods far outweighing their crimes.

Sound familiar yet? Okay, let me put it this way, there are a lot of problems we currently have in this country. Many of these same problems were happening back in the twenties, too. The solution for the lack of jobs, floundering economy, a country overcome by unemployment and despair: end prohibition! How did they do it after such a long and successful battle by those who sought to turn this country into some sort of moral compass for the world? They found the right woman for the job! She had money, connections, charisma, power and above all else, she was fearless!

Right now we could fix a lot of our problems both environmental and economic. We need sustainable products to replace things like cotton, paper, oils, etc…we need to create jobs and fast…we need new revenue to get our deficit down and our economy flowing again! The solution: end prohibition…of cannabis!!! Think about it, it got its bad name and reputation because of a certain media mogul of those same roaring twenties: William Randolph Hearst! Hemp threatened his empire and so he sought to destroy it and whoa did he?! This may be my lay person’s grasp of it, but he did more than just destroy the industry itself. What he did (or eventually happened) was outright demonize not just hemp but cannabis itself in all of its various forms and uses.

There in lies the problem. Our prohibition of cannabis has turned petty crooks into power hungry lunatics. Ordinary citizens into life-sentence-serving prisoners thanks to steep drug laws, ravenous politicians and corrupt law enforcement and judges…not to mention California’s three strikes law. Ugh! That needs to be repealed, man. By ending prohibition on cannabis and repealing all laws to restrict, enforce, criminalize, stigmatize and whatever else they’ve chosen to throw at us, we could actually improve our entire socioeconomic situation!



New taxes! State-run dispensaries! Safer access! Hemp fiber industry jobs! We could actually bring manufacturing back to the USA with hemp. We could corner the market and find new ways to use the stuff. My husband was just telling me about the dire situation every winter in the colder parts of our country where senior citizens are forced to choose between heating oil and other necessities due to the endless rate hikes in oil. Hemp seed oil would be so much cheaper! Hemp is stronger than cotton, too. My grandpa had an old hemp rope that seemed a thousand years old. Ha-ha!

After watching the final installment of “Prohibition” last night I told my husband that what was needed to end the prohibition of cannabis was the right person to represent the movement. Someone with charisma and power. Someone well-connected and hopefully with lots of money! Someone who understood the impact and improvements possible with its repeal. I don’t know who that person could be, but I do believe that this simple thing could truly help us as a nation. If we can just step away from the stigma of it and focus on the hard facts, I think it could make a real difference.

I know that this post has absolutely nothing to do with fat, but it was on my mind in a big way. I spent the first part of this week very depressed. I’m not sure I’m out of it completely yet, certainly the police activity in my area has not been great for my anxiety and paranoia, but part of it is absolutely the economy and how it has ravaged my life and those I love. The arguments against cannabis are preposterous, absurd and full of stereotypes and stigma. I have yet to actually meet a person who is anti-cannabis. Even people who have never used it recreationally (as a drug or whatever) still understand its many varied and great uses and how it could improve our economy. It is something I believe in made all the more clear thanks to Ken Burns and his fabulous documentary series. I admit that I have always felt a deep connection to the prohibition era and it will always be an important era in my heart and mind. But that my lovelies is a post for another day…

Thank you for reading. Do share your thoughts on the topic. I would love to hear your suggestions, too. Take care of YOU!


Without Judgement


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!


Check out all of this coolness:


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

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:
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


(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.


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!


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