Category Archives: society

#ihavecellulite!

I ran across a brief post on Jezebel today about how Lauren Conrad feels that the paparazzi ruined going to the beach for her, because they took pictures of her in a bikini and OMZG you could see her cellulite (for the uninitiated, Ms. Conrad was a regular on a reality show about Laguna Beach, a wealthy town south of Los Angeles, and all of the, you know, rich people problems and hilarity that ensues as a result of said money. I’m not sure what else she was famous for, except she then got her own spin off and now makes clothes or something? anyway.) She says:

On [a recent] vacation to Cabo, I wore a bathing suit on the beach for the first time in years. Usually I’m just petrified. A couple of years ago someone zoomed in on my cellulite and it was so mean. I took it really personally. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in L.A. in years because of that.

So, yes, that is some sadness right there. She didn’t wear a bathing suit for YEARS because of a pic of some cellulite? Yes, sure, we could all wax sarcastic about “ohhh, it must be so hard to be a rich white blond girl who enjoys thin privilege!” but honestly? I’m mostly just sad. What in the fresh-hell kind of fucked up culture do we live in that people refuse to go to the beach when it’s warm out because they are so ashamed of something that nearly EVERY woman has? To be very clear, I don’t want to lambast folks who feel the same way as Lauren Conrad does. This is not your fault (cue Good Will Hunting clip). It isn’t. This is a god-damn sad illustration of just how good we are at shaming people about their bodies. It’s mind-boggling how good we are at it. Yay us!

So, as soon as I got home from work today, I snapped this pic.

It’s not the best shot of cellulite that ever existed, but you get the point. It’s certainly about as risque as I’ve ever gotten in terms of posting things to the interwebs (I know, I lead a very dangerous and salacious life, watch out). If I had more followers and was more savvy regarding social media, I’d try to make this “a thing,” but instead I’m just putting it out here in this little corner of the internet world. I will also be Tweeting it under #ihavecellulite! and I encourage any and all of you to do the same! Show us your cellulite! Because fuck this noise, people. It’s important that those of us who feel comfortable doing so help spread the word that cellulite isn’t something to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It isn’t inherently evil. It’s part of us. So hug it or something!

ootd no. 3 – ode to jeggings

I think that one of my first radical “I’m fat and don’t give a shit if what I wear is ‘appropriate’ or ‘figure-flattering’ enough for you” acts was purchasing and then wearing the ever-loving hell out of my first pair of jeggings. I love these things! Until rather recently, i would not have been caught dead in form-fitting pants. I watched a lot of “what not to wear”and by god, I knew how to “dress for my figure,” whatever the hell that means. But when I threw the rules out the window, there was no looking back. jeggings, bodycon dresses, maxi dresses, all thrown in the mix.

These jeggings are on their way out, I’m afraid. I’ve caught wind about these things called teggings, but I haven’t done much research. Anyone have a pair? Thoughts?

sweater: Target
tank top: Gap
jeggings: Lane Bryant
shoes: Calvin Klein (endless.com)
fat necklace: Definatalie!

closeup of the ever-so-amazing Fat Necklace!

I tried to capture the joy I have every time I put this necklace on, but the shutter went off before I was ready, so you can’t see the whole necklace in all of it’s glory. but you get the point. and i liked the pic anyway. One things this ootd exercise is teaching me is how to relax about seeing my image in photos. I’m grateful for that.

I absolutely adore this tank top so i’m giving you a close-up of the shiny stripes. shiny stripes! what’s not to love?

So what about you all? What was the first thing you remember wearing that was a distinct “fuck you” to those who’ve told you there are very specific rules you must ascribe to when dressing yourself?

look, a fatty!

I was at a meeting the other day and during a break a friend/colleague of mine was talking to her high school friend on the phone about their recent 10 year reunion that she wasn’t able to attend. She came back after a while and gave us the play by play. Overall, she said she loved catching up on all their old friends. Then she said she asked her friend, “so, who got fat?” and then after what seemed like a bit of an awkward pause (to me), she said, “and also who got skinny?” I felt like that second question wasn’t actually posed and was instead stated for my benefit. “see, i’m not singling out fat people, i’m just curious about the changing shapes of all bodies!” and frankly even that is problematic. but i wanted to talk about how it made me feel. to put it bluntly, it made me feel like shit.

being fat isn’t something to be gossiped about. when you want to find out “who got fat?” you’re asking about who “let themselves go,” or who “doesn’t have it anymore.” Inherent in all of this is the idea that being fat isn’t correct, it isn’t right, we shouldn’t be it.

I am not saying it’s abnormal to notice a change in someone’s weight or appearance. We’re visual creatures, I get that. And some of the time, statements like that don’t carry with it the intention of judging someone. But most of the time? I’d venture to say nearly all of the time? Comments about people’s weight or appearance aren’t simply a statement of fact. They’re riddled with judgment. And above all, it reduces someone’s weight or appearance to a story, to gossip. Fat people are more than just a story to be gossiped about over a phone conversation. I went a while back to the a Fat Meet Up at the ever so lovely coffee shop of Not Blue At All, and we had a great discussion about being fat in public, especially around children. One of the people there said she gets the “look mom, she’s so fat!” all the time, and she sees it as a teaching moment for the children, because inevitably the parents will be mortified, pull their children away, and whisper furiously “we do NOT say things like at!” What message do you think kids get when they are simply pointing out what is, to them, just a fact? Look, she is fat. Look, he is tall. Look, I’m noticing these things as a new person in the world and it’s amazing to me! In the blink of an eye, they have fully received society’s message that fat is a bad word, that even if someone IS it, we certainly don’t point it out. And ta da, society’s boatload of shit is laid down upon some child who was just pointing out a fact. That child likely wasn’t judging her body, she was simply noticing it. Then adults come in and fuck everything up.

Here’s the bottom line…my friend’s question to her friend about who got fat in the last 10 years didn’t feel like an innocent noticing of the fact, a la kids. It felt like I, and people who look like me, was being reduced to something to be sensationalized, gossiped about. And it sucked. But I have to say that it didn’t crush me to a million pieces like it may have a couple years ago, so for that I am grateful.

Who has called this type of behavior out in friends before (nicely or not-so-nicely)? How’d the conversation go?

it’s about to get heavy

Possible triggering re: weight loss.

I’ve been feeling…off lately. Scattered. Uneasy. Skittish. I think it’s because I’m about to really get into some shit. Some heavy mental lifting, if you will. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact I’m looking forward to it. But I can tell I’ve been preparing myself because I’ve been pretty withdrawn the past couple weeks (as evidenced in part by my complete lack of presence on this here blog). Not really wanting to go out for drinks, not particularly interested in meeting new people, in fact not wanting to be around people at all. I went to my parents house last weekend when they were away and it was simply delightful (love the ‘rents, but damn I wanted some alone time!). Which is interesting, this concept of wanting some alone time. I live alone. I haven’t made tons of friends here yet. I’m gettin’ plenty of alone time. But I needed something a bit more. So off I went with my dog and two bags full of dirty laundry (seriously Sabrina? You’re 30. time to stop taking dirty laundry home to your parents house. does anyone else still do this?) for a weekend full of close to nothing. Just me and three dogs, some horses, and chickens:

I sat outside a lot, just kind of staring at the pretty trees, talking to the animals, soaking up the sun. and I started Dr. Linda Bacon’s “Healthy at Every Size” which is blowing. my. mind. I’ve had the book for quite a few months now, but for whatever reason, didn’t pick it up until I was packing to go home. And I am so glad I brought it. I’ve spoken before about HAES, so I won’t go into detail again here. And I’m not going to turn this into a book review, at least, not until I’ve read the whole thing. Suffice to say, when a friend of mine asked me what I loved about it so much, I responded, “it’s like someone telling me it’s not my fault.” So powerful. And honestly? I think maybe I wasn’t ready to read it until just now. Because it’s bringing up all sorts of stuff for me, mostly around my relationship with food.

Historically, I’ve examined my relationship with food as a bit of a passing hobby. Sure, it came up in therapy (note to self: find a therapist here), but I haven’t dedicated a whole hell of a lot of time into really examining how I interact with food.

I think I’ve been withdrawn so that I could shore up energy, if I may get super touchy feely hippie for a moment. This shit ain’t easy, and the idea of spending real focused time examining, pulling apart, and staring at my relationship with food is utterly terrifying. But the best part is it is simultaneously the clearest thing in the world to me.

***so I wrote all of that up there about 3 weeks ago and then disappeared again. And I think I know why. I had quite the solitary and meditative Sunday this past weekend, and it just sort of hit me like a ton of bricks. I want to lose weight. This may not seem like much of a statement to most of you, but let me tell you in that in the fatosphere, and for those of us who call ourselves fat activists? Them’s fighting words. Or at the very least, they’re words will get you some attention.

But let me explain myself.

“I want to lose weight.” Even saying those words out loud to myself shook me. Why? Why all of a sudden am I starting to go there? It felt like going backward. If I’m all “hooray, fat activism, I love my body!” then how can I want to change it simultaneously? This tension has been with me from the beginning of my FA journey, to be sure. It’s just starting to come up a bit more. But then, on Sunday, I REALLY sat with that statement. What do I mean? What about losing weight is appealing to me right now? And it was as clear as day: I don’t necessarily want to lose weight, I want to feel better. Those are two very different things, but historically, they have NOT been two different things to me. The answer to the question “how can I feel better” was always, without fail, 100% of the time, to lose weight. So now, when I don’t feel right in my body, the answer that comes to me right away is: lose weight. The next step in this for me was to unpack it and go from there.

For the last few months, I haven’t been paying attention to my body when it comes to feeding it. It’s sort of been all processed, all the time.  As I have made abundantly clear in this space before, I am not interested in labeling foods as good or bad. Before we came in to fuck everything up, food didn’t have moral value. It was. just. food. Anyway, the food I’ve been eating lately hasn’t been the most, shall we say, whole and natural. (disclaimer: I don’t give two shits what anyone else eats. Eat Taco Bell and Cheetos every single day for every single meal if you want, I will not judge you for it, this I promise) Instead, my diet has consisted of foods on the more processed side of the spectrum. And it doesn’t make me feel good. Sure, it may make me feel good in that moment, but I’ve been feeling off for a while and it’s due, in part, to my dissociation from my body and my diet.

I joke that my diet (as in, the food I eat, not “DIET” in the way most of us use the word) only works in extremes. I’m either throwing back frozen pizza and no veggies or I’m cooking gourmet, locally-sourced, free-range whatever. There isn’t much in between for me. The time has come to head toward the more whole foods side of things (foods that are whole, not the store). I’ve been focusing on this for the last few days and it’s incredible how much better I feel already. I should also note how appreciative I am that I can make this choice. Cheaper food isn’t necessarily the food with the most nutrients, and there are millions of folks every day who don’t have the opportunity to choose the more expensive/more nutrient rich option.

I’m not saying this was the magic bullet and now all of my problems will go out the window. But it’s been such a glorious relief to recognize the difference between “I want to lose weight” and “I want to feel better.” And besides being a relief? It feels powerful. And I like it very much.

reason # 323496349872 I don’t watch The Biggest Loser

I’m watching Top Chef Masters right now (pirated, I don’t have tv so I gots ta get it via the interwebs) and the challenge for this episode is to re-work the favorite meals of contestants from The Biggest Loser into three meals (plus dessert) that don’t go over 1,500 calories total. Of course the favorite meals that they trot out are calorie-laden monster plates of deep dish pizza, bacon cheeseburgers, and the like. NOW, I am not judging the fact that those are someone’s favorite meal. Shit, a bacon cheeseburger? Essentially perfection on a plate. And even if I didn’t like the food someone chooses as her favorite, who the hell am I to say anything about it? Rock on with your food choices! My beef has more to do with the producers. Of course they only choose the foods that most folks would label as “bad.” Listen, I’m fat. Like, super fat. And my favorite meal is probably a caprese salad and some sort of California-style phroofy thin-crust pizza. I know other fat people who would kill someone over the perfect roast chicken. Did I see a plate of roast chicken with asparagus and fingerling potatoes in the show? I’ll give you seven guesses. Again, I’m not interested in getting into a good fatty/bad fatty discussion – of course people should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of what they choose to eat – I’m interested in the narrative that the producers wish to share with us. There is ONE fat person in this world, and she is lazy and eats everything in sight and that’s the reason she’s fat. One chef even says something like “jesus, I could feed my family for an entire week with what’s just on that one plate.” You, sir, should shut up.

On to the challenge itself. “1500 calories?” i thought. that doesn’t seem like much. Apparently the suggested caloric intake for women, according to the FDA, is 1500-2000. Ok, cool. So it’s not like The Biggest Loser is in the habit of starving people, right? But then I get to thinking about someone who weighs what I do trying to get by on 1500 calories. Wouldn’t my body think it’s starving and go into survival mode? And how is that sustainable? when I plug in my height and weight and indicate that I am active for 30 minutes about three times a week, i’m told that I need to take in about 2550 calories a day. This comes from the Mayo Clinic, it’s not some super random website. The difference between 1500 and 2550 is a lot. What about folks who weigh more than I do?

I don’t have any amazing epiphanies or anything, it just frustrates me to no end that there isn’t any further discussion. CUT and DRIED, people. Fat folks eat gross food, they should severely restrict their diet (and exercise 3+ hours a day like they do during taping of the show), and voila! they will be happy, healthy (read: less fat), and ready to be introduced to the world with confetti and bells and whistles in front of a live studio audience!

Wow, I’m feeling snark-tastic tonight. Love it.

Update: So now (sidebar: I feel like I’m live-blogging this damn thing), the chefs are talking to each Biggest Loser contestant about the food that will get a makeover, and one of the chefs is trying to convince the college student who loves her a bacon cheeseburger that a veggie patty is the way to go because meat is so bad for you. I’ve had some positively amazing veggie burgers in my life, so that doesn’t concern me. what concerns me is his statement later to the camera in which he says, “I do this for a living. I work in this industry with nutritionists and I have great respect for [the contestant], so shame on me if I present anything but a veggie burger.” Ummm, what dude? SHAME on you if you DARE to serve her anything but a veggie burger? What a hero, coming to rescue the fat maiden from her life of beef and hideousness. My hat’s off to you.

Update II: Now some of the chefs are crowing about how all three of their meals were under 1000 calories. See, this is where the shit hits the fan for me. This hasn’t become an exercise in mindful eating anymore, it’s a game to see how low you can go (calories, weight watchers).

Update III: Ok, there is some justice in the world! The preachy chef got sent home because, as one critic put it, he served them a “lecture on a plate.” Awesomesauce.

things that make me tired

I’m tired of spilling my heart out and explaining FA to friends to then have them say, “Did you hear about the HCG diet? My sister is on it and she’s lost tons of weight!” *blink blink. Or “i don’t understand why seriously obese people don’t just start eating right instead of complaining all the time.”

I’m tired of booths and seats in restaurants that make it extremely uncomfortable to sit and enjoy dinner. I’m tired of having to scan the room before I sit down to figure out where I CAN actually sit.

I’m tired of having only two actual, physical stores to shop in (neither of which are in my city) and instead am relegated to online shopping, wherein sizes are never consistent and I spend tons of money and time getting clothes shipped to me, then shipping them back because they don’t fit or don’t look like they did on the website, then getting NEW sizes shipped back to me, and holding my breath that those will fit, then finally getting an outfit together 3 weeks later.

I’m tired of people snarking on other peoples’ clothing choices, eating habits, and lifestyle decisions.

I’m tired of a lack of people in my real (not virtual) life who get what it’s like to be fat.

I’m tired of the serious dearth of good, performance-style sports bras. Seriously, I have one.

I realize most (all?) of these are #firstworldprobs, as the kids say these days, but they are my reality right now. And sometimes i’m just fucking tired.

come be tired with me! what are you tired of?

sometimes you just need a break

I haven’t posted in about two weeks, which is the longest break i’ve taken since perhaps November of last year. And this past week is certainly the first this year that I didn’t meet my new years intention of posting once a week in 2011. And you know? I’m totally ok with it. I was gettin’ pretty bummed there for a little while, what with the constant shit-storm being lobbed at low income folks, women of color, fatties, etc. And while my instinct is generally to dive into the FA movement head first, spending glorious hours online in this community of awesomeness, I felt myself pulling away a little bit. I’m still not exactly sure why, but my first thought is that i was simply tired. This shit takes work. It takes work to care, and it takes work to fight a system set up to frankly push anyone who may be on the margins away, so far away that they don’t have a voice. I don’t mean to pretend like I’m a martyr and that my problems even come close to the struggles others face on a daily basis, and I am privileged in all sorts of areas of my life, but it does just become really heavy on your soul after a while.

Last Friday, my office had a retreat and for the afternoon we had a training on how oppression shows up in the body. Essentially (truly, this is a 30 second breakdown of what took the instructor over 30 minutes to explain to us, so please know that I’m sure I’m leaving out some pretty important stuff, but I’m trying to nail the basics), our bodies are conditioned, through hundreds of years on this earth, to do one of five things when we come into contact with oppression, in whatever form: fight, flight, freeze, appease, dissociate. Apparently our bodies deal with oppression (racial, class, gender, ability, size, etc) in much the same way that they deal with trauma, as oppression is a form of social trauma. How we react has almost nothing to do with our “thinking” brain and almost everything to do with our “animal” brain. It’s our gut reaction, one that has worked for our ancestors for years and years. In order to start to dismantle that animal reaction (if one chooses to do that), a hell of a lot of work must be done such that we can choose which of the five reactions to use at any given time, depending on the circumstances.

Up until recently, whenever I dealt with oppression because of my size, my animal instinct was to dissociate from my body. I’m fairly certain this is common among the fats. If you can remove yourself from your physical body – the body that is being oppressed when it tries to fit into a seat and can’t, the body that is being yelled at on the street for being “unattractive” – you can protect yourself. You can protect your heart and your soul from just getting crushed. But this, for me, was dangerous, because it allowed me to talk SO much shit about my body because, you see, it really wasn’t even my body. It was just…something else. Not even someONE else. Just a thing. And it’s easy to say awful and mean things to a thing, isn’t it?

So I think this is what I was doing when everything just started to feel like a bit much. I went back to my historical animal instinct and dissociated, I can’t point to any one particular incident, I think it was just an aggregation of a bunch of little things. And it must be said that our animal instincts aren’t ever really wrong. They’re what has worked for us a thousand times over, otherwise we likely wouldn’t do them! We’re smart creatures. Our ancestors were smart creatures. We want to survive. So we do what allows us to survive. For me, it was pulling away from examining my body in the world, from engaging in the FA community and movement for a couple weeks.

Fortunately, I have another tool in my toolkit when it comes to dealing with oppression, and that tool is to fight. So I’m back to fighting, and I think it’s because of my dissociation for a little while that I am able to say the following. Bring it.