a rite of passage – my first troll

So, I got a comment the other day from my first troll. I’m a big lady blogger now! It actually makes me feel a little like I’ve “made it,” so to speak. It happens to most of us (and for an absolutely epic takedown of trolls, please see Fat Heffalump’s piece from a couple weeks ago), so I can’t say I’m surprised. I should say I don’t want to make light of the situation. I have been extremely lucky in that they are few and far between for me. Some folks get this drivel on a daily fucking basis and I can’t even imagine how that must feel. So I’m also sending a special shout-out to any other folks out there who have to deal with mean-spirited, small-minded people who spew hatred in their direction. I’m sending you happiness and sunshine! And the occasional “fuck you” to the trolls on your behalf!

I won’t give him or her (I don’t know the gender of the commenter but for sake of ease, he’s a he in this post) the air time and paste the comment here, but basically this person is seriously, truly concerned that I am a huge massive fatty fatty 2 by 4. I’ve been compared to an animal of the sea (hint: an awesomely fierce and beautiful whale of the killer variety) and have been told that I shouldn’t post pictures of myself. Among other things.

And you know what? I’m not even mad. Are you kidding me? While anger can be an absolutely fantastic outlet for people (and it certainly has been for me, I’m not knocking the anger!), this time all I felt (well, after I laughed) was sorrow for the commenter. What must be going on in his life such that he feels it necessary to take time out of his day to tell someone they shouldn’t do what they obviously enjoy doing. Is he unhappy with his life? Do I intimidate him? Does my obvious comfort with how I look make him feel like shit about his own body? I don’t know, but on my best days (and fortunately I read the comment on one of those days), all I want to do is send good vibes out into the universe so that this person can feel better about himself and not feel the need to post what he perceives to be mean things about some random person on the internet. On my bad days? That’s where the anger comes in handy.

And if the person who sent me that comment is reading this? To you I say: I hope whatever is going on in your life rights itself, because life is too god-damn short to be an asshole about what other people choose to do with their bodies. peace.

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learning to be my own advocate

I’m really good at speaking up for others. I’m still learning to speak up for myself. It helps to get super pissed. I was sad and upset at first, and while I still am both of those, I’m really starting to get pissed.

I had an appointment last week with a new ob/gyn. I’ve spoken before about my trepidation around going to the doctor, a concern that I’m afraid many fat people share. I really liked my primary care doc. The ob/gyn I saw? Not so much. I have so many words and emotions rolling through my head right now about how it all went down, and I’m not even sure how to adequately express just how awful it was.

In short, I went in because I’ve been feeling tired lately, and just a little off. I can’t explain it much more than that-  I just felt like something wasn’t right. A friend was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and her symptoms sounded similar to mine, so I thought I’d have that conversation with the gyn. I brought it up to her and then it all went to hell.

She didn’t treat me like a person who came to her with questions. She didn’t even treat me like a person. She just went straight into the “it’s because your FAAAAAT omgobesityFAAATZ” spiel and never looked back. I’m not looking to be besties with my doc, she doesn’t need to know my life story and all of my hopes and dreams or anything, but a question here and there, especially during a first visit, isn’t out of the question. In fact, it’s expected.

She didn’t listen to me. When I told her that I knew I’d gained weight the last few months but didn’t want to know the number because I’m trying to focus on a Healthy At Every Size approach to my life, three minutes later she pointed to my weight on the computer screen. Huh, thanks for that.  She also kept extolling the virtues of their nutrition program, pointing out that they have a great team that can help you (nutritionists in a group therapy setting – sweet jesus, no thank you. that may work for other folks, and rock on for them. not for me.).

Her: “It’s expensive but really worth it. I had a patient who lost 100 pounds on it.”
Me: “I’m not interested in losing 100 pounds. As I mentioned before, I’m more interested in keeping my health front and center, not my weight.”
Her: “You need to go on a diet.”
Me: “Diets don’t work; I’ve been dieting almost my entire life.”
Her: “But it depends upon the type of diet. What I’m talking about is healthy foods and exercise.”
Me (in my head after I left and got my bearings again): “Oh my god! You mean I should be eating healthy? Like, fruits and vegetables?? This is brand new information to me! You are CHANGING my LIFE!”
Me (in reality): “…”

It felt like she was tolerating me. Like I was an imposition and she needed to just get me over with and be on her way. Maybe she was having a bad day, but I’m not feeling that magnanimous, quite frankly.

Active listening, lady. Try it sometime. “I hear you and understand that you’re wary of dieting and all that the word implies, but what I’m talking about is …”

So then as we’re finishing up I have to remind her again that I’m interested in learning more about a PCOS diagnosis. I read that one test is a fasting glucose, so I hadn’t eaten just in case she suggested that. She did, so off I went to the lab (after having to find it myself, she didn’t even point me in the right direction), blah blah blood test, moving on.

I got the results the same day and then finally heard from her today. This is when the getting pissed off part starts to really take its shape. She writes (in short), “your blood tests are normal except for low ‘good cholesterol’ and an elevated fasting glucose, which probably means you have diabetes. See your primary care physician.” I freak out and email back, asking if this means PCOS is off the table. Her response, “you probably had PCOS as a pre-diabetic condition. You now have diabetes.” Literally. You. Now. Have. Diabetes. Now I don’t know about you, but getting that news in a one sentence email from a doctor who treated like me like total shit was not the kind of afternoon I had hoped to have.

I email my primary care physician and explain the situation, and bless her heart she responds back in under 10 minutes, saying, essentially, “um, yeah, you’re fine. Make sure to do cardio. We’ll test again in a couple months.”

??????

Ok, so the problems here are hopefully very evident. Namely, perhaps an ob/gyn shouldn’t be diagnosing someone about something that isn’t in their own field house of expertise, so to speak?

Two notes about all of this: 1., it doesn’t matter if I had the most beautiful numbers on the planet, or if my glucose levels were sky-high, we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of our weight OR health. Which are, of course, two different things. And 2., I’m not denying that diet and exercise don’t have implications on our health. And as I’ve said before, I want to feel better, and I know that part of that means moving my body more and paying more attention to what foods I put in it.

Generally, I’m not the kind to share all of my medical-y business in such a public way, but I feel like these kinds of stories need to get told so that when someone else gets treated like an inconvenience, a bother, a non-person, she or he won’t need to feel like the piece of shit I felt like.

Now I’m off to write a strongly-worded email to the doctor and her supervisor.

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?

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.

ootd no. 1 – dipping a toe in

So I’ve done one ootd before (well, it was a half) and I’ve decided it’s time to start integrating more pics of myself into this here space. For several reasons, really. Namely, I have *so* much fun perusing all of the fatshion blogs out there – every time I see someone who has a body like mine? it’s like…I’m not sure I can even explain it. It makes me smile inside. I breathe freer. I want more. Yes, yes, I know. Seems extreme, doesn’t it? But, to go from hardly ever seeing your likeness portrayed in the media, in magazines, online, etc, to being able to spend hours looking at fun and pretty and funky and out-there and punk and girly and creative fashion rocked by fat girls? yes fucking please and thank you. I’m not saying I even come close to the level of raditude out there (see: ivory jinelleDefinatalie, most of tumblr, bearly on earth, gabifresh, and on and on), but anything i can do to add to the beautiful fat and fashionable masses out there, I’m all over that shit. I should also add, that blogs of fashionable “death fats” (of which I am one) don’t match the non-death fat blogs in numbers, so that’s another reason I’m throwing my hat into the ring. Another reason? It’s powerful to be visible.

so, without further ado, i bring you ootd no. 1:


dress: Target
sweater: Anthropologie (i know! never thought they would have stuff that fit me. always try it on!)
shoes: Seychelles (Nordstrom, I think?)
necklace: gifted by my fabulous co-workers

closer view of the whole situation

surprisingly comfortable! ish.

an even closer shot of the necklace b/c i heart it so much

wisdom for the ages

Every so often, i check out the ways people find me here using various search engines (yay site stats!). some of them crack me up. some of them make me sad. some of them i just don’t understand. so i thought i’d respond to a few of them and if ya’ll have any additional advice, throw ’em in the comments!

common searches that lead folks to my blog:

1. “I was set up with a fat girl” or “why do my friends fix me up with fat women” or “why do I always get set up with fat girls” or some variation on that theme.

I’m assuming this person isn’t comfortable with the fact that s/he has been set up with fat women. Perhaps not, perhaps s/he’s looking for intel on how to date the species…”what do fat people talk about?” “do fat people kiss like regular people?” “will i be able to eat any of the food we get at dinner, or will she hog it all?” You know, the important questions. To the person who gets set up with fat women, I say this…fat women, on the whole, are very much like non-fat women! it’s amazing how that works! there are nice fat women, and mean fat women. fat women who are great kissers and fat women who suck at kissing. fat people talk about all sorts of things! trains, the weather, politics, clothes, religion, food, movies, and more. trust me, if you date this fat woman like you would date any other woman, i think you’ll be ok.

And to the people asking these questions because they’re pissed that their friends set them up with fat women? piss off. get over yourself, your ego, and your desire to make sure you date “appropriate” women. you may even, gasp, have a delightful date with a fatty!

2. “met online i’m fat” or “dating while fat” or “how to make friends while fat” or “best friend isn’t attracted to me overweight.”

Yeah, I feel you. I’ve been there. shit, sometimes i AM there. sometimes it just sucks to be fat. there really isn’t any other more direct way to say it. Here’s the thing: dating is just generally awful for a lot of people, regardless of your weight. It can be awkward, it can be forced. And even if you put a legit picture of yourself (read: full body or one where it’s very clear that you’re fat) on your online dating profile, there are heart palpitations and sweaty palms when you think about him/her seeing you in person and running from the table screaming. Because even with online dating, a lot of us want to say the “right” thing. “Absolutely, I would date someone ‘overweight.’ Look at me, I’m so open-minded.” But then, when an actual fat person is right in front of them, they think “oh, wait. i thought you meant ‘fat’ like jennifer lopez. like, curvy, big ass. nevermind.” Sometimes the thought of meeting new potential partners freaks me the fuck out, I’ll just say it. But you know? It wasn’t until i finally said to myself, “um, this just isn’t worth it. who CARES if someone doesn’t like me because I’m fat? I may not like them because they’re mean! or dumb! or conservative!” that I began to really relax. The beauty of it is…when you take your power and agency BACK from other people, they can’t hurt you. You don’t LET others make you feel badly because you are perfectly happy with who you are. jesus, that is SUCH a self-help book thing to say, isn’t it? but it’s true!

As to the “how to make friends while fat” piece, I can only say that much of my advice is the same. focus on yourself, find things you love about YOU. also? there is this totally awesome FA community just waiting for you, so start poking around the interwebs!

3. “i have really fat friends, will i get fat.”

yes, probably. watch out, that shit is contagious.

This was fun! I’ve saved some for next time, stay tuned!

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?