Category Archives: a-ha

ootd no. 2 – when i no longer hated shopping

I’m sure some of you can relate. Shopping can suck. That is, if you can even find on-trend stores that carry your sizes (like looking for a GD unicorn). And I’m fairly certain it’s not just us fatties that have trouble shopping, so I don’t want to pretend that we own that little corner of the world. however, there are more of us in that corner than non-fats, i think. I’ve ranted before about how much I detest the fact that I am relegated to online shopping for a lot of my clothes.

I’ve never been a huge fan of shopping for clothes, for pretty typical reasons: nothing seems to fit, I hate how i look in everything, every time I go into (yet another) straight size store with my friends, I quarantine myself to the jewelry and/or handbag section. There are only so many times you can “ooo” and “aaah” at a necklace, amirite? anyway, shopping for my home? perusing bookstores? design stores? sign me UP. I think that’s because I actually like the process of shopping…when I get rewarded at the end with cute stuff to buy.

Before I became familiar with the fatosphere, and, more specifically, the fatshion bloggers out there, my clothing stores of “choice” were department stores like Macys or Nordstrom, the 8th circle of hell that is Old Navy, Target (for clothes that look ok but that I know will fall apart in two months), and Torrid. These will all certainly do in a pinch, and in fact, I’ve come to totally love the “woman’s section” of Macys (what does that mean, btw? non-women shop in the straight size section? whatever). They have great stuff and fantastic sales! In the last couple of years I’ve started to enjoy shopping for clothes again. Part of it is because I’ve focused my frustration, when I have it, outward…at the clothing manufacturers, at the department store for not carrying a wide enough range of sizes, you name it. I’m not angry or frustrated at myself because my body just won’t fit whatever it is I’m trying on anymore. This has been tremendously helpful. The other helpful thing? I just try more stuff on. I don’t assume things won’t fit by holding it up. And I don’t assume something will look hideous on me right off the bat.

Enter this ootd. I love this dress. love love love it. And I thought it was totally blech and meh when I saw it on the hanger. You name it, I didn’t like it about the dress (or “garment” as they say on Project Runway). The material was cheap looking, the pattern was too busy, a maxi dress on a fatty? lord help me. Then I tried it on and all of that went out the window. The dress is super flowy, which makes it feel absolutely divine around my legs in the summer when there is a breeze. The colors are bright and cheery and interesting. And what is this? I LOVE maxi dresses! As anyone in my life will tell you, I’m also partial to a good jean jacket. Delightful. The two together? Yes and please and thank you.

So, moral of the story! Try shit on! And be prepared to hate some of it. And don’t get pissed at yourself when things don’t fit – it’s not your fault.

I’d love to get some suggestions as to where you do your clothes shopping! I mentioned the physical stores I tend to head to, and online I’m in love with Asos Curve right now. What else?

dress: Inc. (Macys)
jean jacket: Old Navy
earrings: boutique in Richmond, VA

so pretty, right? like a painting.


the only diet i’ll ever be on again

I lied! it’s not a diet! however, it does fall under the commonly used definition of diet – a particular selection of something (usually food) meant to assist someone in attaining a goal (usually losing weight). My diet for the next few months is different.

It came to me yesterday as i was home sick. I follow a few blogs that i love every day that help me to see just how lovely, amazing, gorgeous, and awesome fat women who love fashion, social justice, feminism, and humor are. yesterday, however, I started branching out and spent hours upon hours looking at new (to me) blogs that marry fat and fashion (fatshion – how clever). There is a mirror at the end of my hallway and i can see myself in it when I walk to my bedroom or the bathroom. being stuck inside a one bedroom apartment all day means you walk around quite a bit, so i got several glimpses of myself. and I can’t really explain it perfectly, but generally when i walk by a mirror i’m like, “ok, whatever. not awesome, not awful, kind of meh.” or i don’t even bother to identify my thoughts (this isn’t always the case, i must say. some days i look in the mirror and go “dayum. yes.”). The thing was, toward the end of the day, my body in the mirror didn’t look odd, weird, or different. it just…was. And while that may not seem like such a big deal, and in fact it sounds similar to when i walk by a mirror and don’t stop to identify my thoughts, THIS was different. fantastic. eye-opening. why, you may ask? I think it’s because i had spent much of my day getting desensitized to fat bodies. i actively sought out and perused thousands of pics of women in various outfits, women who look like me. And I think that toward the end of the day, I began to see ME in these women that I love.

Where does the diet part come in? it’s coming. I really don’t like the phrase “guilty pleasure.” I mean, sure, I watch some crap tv. But it doesn’t make me feel guilty. crap tv has its place. Same goes for “bad” foods. I have spent too many of my days feeling like shit after I chose to eat something. Not helpful and dare I say destructive. One of the things I do that others definitely classify as a guilty pleasure is buy all of those horrible tabloid weekly magazines and peruse shitty gossip websites on a daily basis. I used to buy those mags weekly but the last couple years I’ve held myself to only buying them when I fly.

Now comes the diet!

For the next few months, I am going to refrain from intentional consumption of shitty gossip magazines and gossip sites. They perpetuate all of the negative shit about body image that I hate. They are misogynistic, some are racist, and they tell me (and others like me) again and again that I don’t have the ideal body type and that I should feel ashamed of that. Sure, they don’t come out and SAY that (well, most don’t), but seeing pictures of very thin women coupled with mountains upon MOUNTAINS of body snarking certainly takes its toll.

So, here I go! If you’ve got any good blog suggestions (to take the place of the crap, you see), send ’em my way!

the personal is political and all that

in my body image work, i feel that there are so few moments when things just click. it’s generally just a string of fucking hard experiences, thoughts, confusions, and the like. i’m not complaining – i think the hard stuff is where the good stuff is, so bring it. however, when those flashes of OHMYGODTHISMAKESSOMUCHSENSEIAMAGENIUS come around? yes please. I had quite the a-ha (TM Oprah) moment during therapy before I moved down to CA. i wish i could remember the backstory so i could paint this whole dramatic arc, but alas, i only remember the actual deep thought and it is this: eating has become a very political/social statement for me. i certainly would have agreed with that back when i was living at home and dad asked me if i really wanted the second bowl of cereal. fuck you i want the second bowl of cereal. and then a third. so there!

but this is different.

i shall illustrate with an example. This is embarrassing to say, but one of the reasons i wish I was thinner is because I want to wear J. Crew clothes. they. are. just. adorable. They’ve especially upped the awesome factor in the last few years. So, I want to lose weight so I can fit into their adorable yet quirky yet sophisticated clothes. However! My brain immediately says this: “but then they win.” Win what, exactly? They win the social and cultural war that dictates how women should look, and i’m so not ok with that. if *I* change my body to fit their mold, then it follows, in my head, that I have somehow ignored who i really am and instead just molded myself to what others say is socially appropriate. and MY ENTIRE purpose (well, most of the purpose) of diving into this body image work is to say eff you to what is socially appropriate and dare to be happy just the way I am (christ, that is cheesy).

so, back from the example for a second. In describing myself, i would put empathetic right near the top of the list. the work (career-wise) that i do, the issues that get me all fired up, they all have a common theme – I find meaning in fighting for and alongside those of us who have been historically marginalized. I side with the outsiders. I want to fight for them by changing the structures that oppress them. ERGO, if I were to lose weight and therefore fit into J Crew clothes? I would NOT be changing the structure that oppresses me, but instead I would be fitting into the framework that has been proscribed for the appropriate body type. So i eat. I eat to say fuck you, J Crew and Banana Republic and Anthropologie and every other store that I go into with friends and am relegated to the shoes/handbags/jewelry/occasional cardigan that may fit sections. Yes, I’m angry about it, and yes, I may come off as a victim, but that’s because I am angry and I am a victim of what other people (and I, let’s be honest) have decided is physically attractive.

My job now is to figure out how to hold on fiercely to both – to appreciate and love myself now while also putting myself back on a path to get healthier and lose weight so I can (a) feel good and (b) wear cute J Crew clothes (i fully get that there are other, non-J crew clothes that are out there, but that’s for another post). Most importantly, I have to not beat myself up for wanting the cute clothes…I have not and will not ever lose my empathetic nature. It’s who I am and it’s who I will always be, whether I’m fat or straight-sized or skinny.