Sunday, January 2, 2011

The toad elevating moment.

2010 was a pretty spiffy year for me. I’m not going to go into lengthy detail as to why it was a pleasant row to hoe, but suffice it to say, I can look back at the year and say “I had myself a grand old time and got some shit done”.

However, I do have one vague regret (though I’m a person who doesn’t do regret very often) – I barely wrote. I can still recall my glory days of writing constantly, constantly, constantly, the rush that came with telling a story and writing a screenplay in two weeks and not being able to walk away from something until I vomited forth every single thing that was knocking around in my head. A massive hard drive failure in July of 2006 in which I lost a tremendous amount of work killed a goodly portion of my creative spark, as did having that realization that decent writers are a dime a dozen, and I’m not quite so egotistical to think that I have that super-special-something that elevates me above any of the trillions of people who are able to slap together some charming sentences.

Instead, I started a long-view kind of approach to my life, as I had a large amount of fixing and tweaking and revamping to do on it, and writing fell to the side. When I discovered Fat Acceptance (FA), it provided an avenue for me to write again, and I did so quite enthusiastically because it’s a concept/social justice movement that I’m quite invested in. However, as 2010 wore on and other bloggers who were far more prolific and far better at saying the things that needed saying before I even noticed what the hell was going on wrote, I wrote less...and less...and less. Not that my investment level has changed, but my interest in writing what I felt essentially boiled down to a rehash of the same damn thing dropped to almost zippo. I couldn’t contribute anything new or insightful to the conversation, so I chose not to contribute. Instead, I became an interested observer who floats around a party and occasionally opens up her yap to rapid-fire opine and then goes back to eyeballing the bar and snacks.

So, to kick off 2011, I’ve decided I need to start having conversations again. The thing is, in order to try and rediscover that creative spark (because I do miss it terribly), I can’t limit myself to one conversation anymore. As a result, I’m starting up a new blog called, simply, the Jane C. Nolan Blog. I’m still going to talk about FA (lord, will I ever), but I also want to talk about movies or music or random weird happenings in my day or pop culture or what’s kicking at my synapses at any given moment. If you’re a mind to, bookmark the new space or chuck it into your reader or whatever you like, as effective today, Casual Blasphemies is going dark.

The conversation continues at...The Jane C. Nolan Blog.

Thanks for reading and responding over the last couple of years. It's been a lovely experience.

Jane Read more on this article...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A spoonful of stupid.

So I was over at Shakesville and watching a very cute video of a cute little baby kid who clearly has discovered the word "no" and, as a result, says "no!" to every question posed. "Do you want a million dollars?" "No no!" Very cute. It kicks off, however, by a commercial for (I suspect it's Dannon) Light and Fit Yogurt that is only 80 calories, people, versus that dreadful 100 calories that some OTHER bastardly yogurt is because that 20 CALORIES WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR LOSING .5 POUNDS AND ONE FULL POUND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY

*cough* Anyway, it's the typical three ladies at a cafe table eating the LUXURIOUS and DELICIOUS sweet JESUS this could possibly HEAL THE SICK and bring PEACE to the WORLD yogurt and talking about all the magical properties it contains and how it will make their apparently dreadful lives so much better. One woman proclaims, "Here's to finding more than one outfit that fits me!" The next woman adds, "Here's to my pants not leaving marks on my waist at the end of the day!" They giggle like ladies are wont to do. "Here's to 80 calories tasting CRAZY good," the third woman says.

Okay, I've got an easy solution for them - how about finding fucking clothes that FUCKING FIT YOU? Hey, if you want to get down with some Light and Fit yogurt because it's tasty (I myself am not averse to yogurt, be it the full-metal full-fat yogurt or taking a spin with some random "light" yogurt because it can be tasty - particularly with some granola being involved), knock yourself out. But if you want to avoid those tragic marks on your waist? WEAR PANTS THAT FUCKING FIT YOU. It's remarkable how I, a fatty fat fatty fat Lady Mayoress of Fatville, is able to manage such a feat, as do many of my compatriots. You want more than one outfit that fits you? Go to the store and BUY SOME OUTFITS THAT FIT YOU. I mean, we've heard quite a lot of horseshit diet ad/diet product scripts over the years - how can you avoid it - but this one comes close to being at the top of my "COMPLETELY DEFIES LOGIC AND REASON" list. It's right up there with the "now that I'm thin, I can go to Paris!!!" crap as being "inspiration" to diet.

Well, the UNICORN POWERED YOGURT did serve me some inspiration, I guess...inspiration to want to run around my room going "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!" for a few minutes. HEY that might BURN CALORIES and MAKE ME LOSE .0000003 OUNCES. The tip of my right index finger looks slimmer already! Read more on this article...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here at the end of all things.

The year 2010 is drawing rapidly to a close, which kind of blows my mind a bit because it seems like the year has raced by for me. And 2011 is looking like the kind of year that's going to zip by, too, since I'll be out of the country for a goodly chunk of February and then...who knows what other kind of tomfoolery I'll get into.

I'm a horribly lazy writer. Even when I was at my peak of writing about 900 years ago, where it was not unusual for me to spend hours merrily and furiously typing away, I'd still hunt for any reason not to sit down and write. Not much has changed...except for those blissful periods of furious typing. So I'm hoping that might change a bit in 2011. Not that it will mean more blog posts, of course. I was thinking about whether having a non-FA centric blog might spur me to write more, but I haven't devoted much more thought to it than just that sentence, pretty much. I suppose that's a decision I'll leave to the wee hours of January 1, 2011.

Since the odds are fairly slim I will update before the heady rush of Christmas and New Year's gets on a roll, I wish you the best for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. Read more on this article...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Lecture Loft is open!

If there’s anything I like doing, it’s entrancing people into, at the very least, getting some science dropped on them regarding Fat Acceptance and its existence as an alternative to the current societal demand for physical perfection from its denizens. And when I say “science”, I don’t mean the studies and that sort of thing because analyzing and parsing the scientifical stuff is not in my skillset. I’m more of a “this is how I feel/this is how I react/this is how I roll” writer. I like the “A-Ha” moment, I dig on seeing that happen. It doesn’t happen often enough for my taste, of course, but I do what I can when I can. I also think that some “a-ha” moments need to come from within and nothing anyone says or does can make that “a-ha” happen until the person’s ready to rock it.

But for the moment, I’m going to riff (oh god, I used “riff” in a non-ironic context. Sigh) a bit at those who might be struggling a tad with getting their minds wrapped around Fat Acceptance and how it might apply in their lives.

It’s not fat acceptance if all you’re doing is being really, really angry at thin people.

FA’s got layers, and one of the first things I figured out was to hate the game, not the players, if you will. Do I have an internal wince and perhaps an eyeroll or 15 when diet – aka “Being ‘Good’” talk breaks out? Oh heavens yes. But I *get* the conversation, I get why it’s happening, and 95 percent of the time (the same percentage of diets that fail OH SHIZZ) I don’t take it personally. I don’t grumble and snarl at thin people that I encounter because they’re not the enemy. Teethgrindingly oppressive beauty standards pile onto everyone, not just the fat. There are segments of that everyone that don’t feel it as keenly as others, but it wrecks everyone’s jazz up, ultimately.

Of course you’re going to encounter thin people that are insufferable assholes whose validation in life is predicated on the notion that they are morally superior to those whom they believe “don’t take care of themselves”. But you’re going to encounter insufferable assholes that are a myriad of sizes. I’ve experienced thin insufferable assholes, fat insufferable assholes, short, tall, they run the gamut. It’s wiser to let someone earn their “Insufferable Asshole” certificate than to simply tag a group of people as being said assholes before they prove their worth, as it were.

If you want to be “successful” at FA, if you want to “pass” FA…in my way of thinking, the first thing you need to do is quit with the fucking crabbing about the thin people and oh the thin people and ach the thin people and their thin ways and their egos and bragging or whatever other villainous adjectives you want to lay at their feet. Stop with the “she looks like a social x-ray /lollipop/bobblehead” or “he’s a musclebound lunkhead idiot doucheweasel” crap. Because that’s not a) helpful or b) really the jist of Fat Acceptance because it’s got absolutely nothing to do with YOU and YOUR acceptance of YOURSELF. You can’t spread the good word if 98 percent of your words are about how ugly and wretched and evil thin people are.

I’m a high roader, I admit. After internet flame wars in my distant youth where I said some fucking horrific things, I have found it far easier for my own personal karmic level to resist the urge to spew forth rage and bile and whatnot. I know it’s hard to high road when it seems like the universe in general is bound and determined to low road our collective ass, but ultimately, I don’t think it serves a greater purpose to saddle up and go apeshit on those who froth at the fat and the evil we apparently do. And when I say “apeshit”, I’m talking about lowering the level of discourse versus responding in a mannered and level-headed fashion. You know, putting into practice the whole “walk away for a few minutes, perhaps run around in a circle, collect one’s thoughts, and dial it back, spiffy” thing. Taking a moment to dial back and collect doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be angry. Shit, I am fueled on caffeine, defiance, and anger. But the moment I lose control of that finely tuned anger and rage, I’m of no use to me or anyone. Yes, yes, it’s all very Jedi, dammit.

So let’s redirect and have a moment of think – what are you accomplishing with the “thin people are jerks and they’re the reason why I’m so miserable” campaign? I think it’s safe to say, not much. Fat Acceptance’s central message isn’t “Let Us Destroy the Thin For It Is They Who Have Caused Me Such Angst and What Have You”*. If that’s what you think Fat Acceptance has given you the green light to do, it’s time for you to start reading up. Read more on this article...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm quite happy to terrify you.

So yeah, there's this blog and it's over at Marie Claire's website and I'm not linking to it because I don't want to give the writer or Marie Claire one more goddamnable hit on their website, and two writers I enjoy have already thrown down exquisitely regarding the subject:

Lesley Kinzel at Fatshionista aaaand

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville

..and they say what I would say in response to the utter claptrap that appeared at Marie Claire today.


To reiterate to those who read me and those who know me and those who might wander across this blog looking for some sort of assurance that they are worthwhile human beings who deserve to be treated like human beings: you can thrive on a steady diet of defiance. You can thrive in spite of a trillion messages being pounded down your throat every day that you are lesser and worthless because of your fat. I know sometimes there's frustration because you may feel like you're not doing "enough" for Fat Acceptance because you might not blog or write letters or whatever, but SIMPLY EXISTING and BEING and LIVING in public is a gigantic protest in and of itself. Walking out the door every day and making it to the end of that day is a rebellious act. Owning yourself, every single fucking inch of yourself, is a glorious "fuck you" to every person who thinks what Marie Claire writer-person wrote is right on the money or every mouthbreathing internet commentator who takes shelter in anonymity to vomit out bile and bullshit.

You don't have to answer to anyone about your body. You don't have to justify your existence to one single solitary person in this entire fucking universe. You don't have to apologize, you don't have to explain your exercise routine (if you have one, which you don't have to have) or go into detail about what you eat or smile and nod politely when someone who "means well" gives you weight loss diet advice.

And when you have those shitty days (because you will) when you cannot take one. more. bullshit. article or report about what horrendous creatures fat people are, know that you can be renewed just as easily by something positive you read about fat people or a song that you dig or a movie that you love or that knitting project you've been putting off (*looks forlornly at knitting needles and yarn lying dormant on desktop*). You can be renewed and you can summon up the strength to get up and go out and THRIVE on the defiance that is the fuel in this fight.

Fat acceptance and self-admiration/enjoyment/love is, at its heart, in this society as it stands today, the shit-hot ultimate in defiance. Don't despair, my thin compatriots, because the shit end of the stick gets brandished at you a-plenty too. There's always "more" you could be doing, am I right? It's never quite good enough, is it. That? That kind of tripe is precisely why Fat Acceptance isn't simply for the fat. If you're still scared of the word "fat" and all the baggage it carries, then by all means, call it "size acceptance" or "body acceptance", but my message remains precisely the same: you are absolutely, 100 percent a-okay the way you are this very day, this very second. There's no disclaimer, there are no rules that state you can only dig yourself if you're X pounds and X size and X height. And those that would tell you there are are, well, full of shit.

I can only class it up so much, you know.

Defy and thrive, everyone. Defy and thrive. Read more on this article...

Friday, October 1, 2010

I don't think that's the right question.

I was watching the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric tonight, and they did a story about Tyler Clementi. It segued into Katie Couric's Question of the Day or whatever silly-ass way they term it, and the Question focused on the internet and privacy.

All I could think was that's not the right question. Yes, privacy was certainly an issue in regards to Tyler Clementi, but in my head, the question should have been why the hell this young man had to feel so low, so awful, so rotten for his sexuality? Why the hell are we, as a society, still a-okay and supercool with being completely fucking awful to others and insisting that harassment and abuse and dismissing human beings as being less than because of their sexuality or their appearance is "a rite of passage", "a character builder", "something everyone goes through, so suck it up and tough it out"? I want to know what people think about *that*, not coughing up the same rote bullshit about "well, if you're on the internet, don't expect things to be private".

Lesley Kinzel's amazing piece at Fatshionista got me thinking about my own past, and then the Katie Couric question just launched me into orbit and thinking about how fucking lucky I was. I still can't explain to you why I dodged so many metaphorical bullets in my youth. I had one bad year, my freshman year in high school, and I can conjure up memories from that year in an instant. I had been privileged until that point - yes, I was the fat girl, but I had a loud mouth and was eager to please and overcompensate to the billionth degree in order to make people like me. Or, at least, to not blow shit at me for existing. And it had worked until freshman year.

From day one in homeroom, I became a target for being fat, for being "weird", for being who the fuck knows (even to this day). Tacks were left on my chair, signs were stuck to my back, I could feel the staring and the eye-rolling glances directed at me if I wore something "odd", the heat in my face as I turned redder and did my best to "ignore it" (we're always supposed to ignore it, aren't we). One guy (and he was fat, he should have been on my side, right?) barked at me, "I'd kill myself if I were you". I could not/STILL CAN'T fathom why I drew their ire, why they hated me so much, what I'd done to deserve this (because of course we must have done something to deserve it), why couldn't they just leave me alone, WHY.

I haven't thought deeply about that year in a long time. I see my survival and my (eventual) thriving as another piece of my privilege, of being able to push it to the cobwebby parts of my brain that I access less and less. But this story of this young man, and how more and more stories that follow a similar through line like his has conjured up so much hurt and so much anger in me. The hurt isn't as sharp as it was, time does dull it, but oh, Christ, the anger. The fervent wishing that I could go back in time and just punish every one of those smug fuckers, punish them with the irony that in three years' time, they'd be watching me with my ratted up Robert Smith hair and combat boots marching my fat ass up on stage to accept an award for being voted "Most Original" - shit, they may very well have voted for me.

At 38 years old, I want to stay on the high road, I want to be the bigger person and each and every trite, bullshitty cliche that gets whipped out, but the anger fuels me tonight. It burns hard for all the young (and grown up) people who are gone and who are lost and don't know what to do or where they can go, for those who hear that they aren't alone but can't believe it yet, for those who don't know if they have any fight left in them to go through one more day facing the people who seem so eager to destroy them.

I want people to be held accountable.

I want there to be consequences.

I want a reckoning.

I want the answer to "why".

Read more on this article...

Monday, September 27, 2010

No, not a blog break, just lazy.

Given that weeks tend to fly by between my blog postings, one could easily interpret my radio silence as being blog breaks...well, no. Back in the days of LiveJournal when it was fresh and new and you had to get a supersecret invite code and all that stuff, I would update that mother two, even three times a day., it's like pulling teeth.

It's not that I don't have anything to say, but I'm a big fan of saying it only if no one else has covered it. And as of late, far better writers than I say it in such a more awesomey fashion.

For instance (oh yeah, it's shaping up to be a "let's link to other people's blog posts" kind of night)...the effervescent and all-around delightful Marianne Kirby at the Rotund. She rocked my athletic socks right the frig off my feet with her latest post - and it's one I'm keen to bookmark for future re-reads. It's something I try to remember when I get all fired up and clenchy about things - to me, as much as I personally am not down with dieting and all manner of gastric surgery, I have to be cool about people choosing those choices because I respect, above all things, body autonomy.

Where it gets muddy, though, is that more often than not, that respect for body autonomy is not returned. There are few things more irritating in my little world than being on the receiving end of Weight Loss Messiah-ing. I ditched a friendship because of it, and I damn near stopped talking to my sister because of it as well. And certainly society at large does NOT want you to make a choice that doesn't involve dieting for weight loss purposes or bariatric surgery. How often does Fat Acceptance get tagged as "giving up"? Like...constantly? Yet, inside my head, going back to my old habits of dieting and self-loathing and riding that unicycle of suck is my version of giving up.

I've got some horses I'd like to hop back upon - being more active is the main one. I've been doing a lot of thinking and mulling about my activity level, and I think one of the main reasons why I bailed on going to the gym (which I actually enjoyed - hopping on a machine hamster-style appealed to my love of routine) was that it fooled me, you see. When I was a regular gym goer, I was in Fat Acceptance Short Pants - I was in an internal war, torn between "I want to lose weight" and "I just want to be active and feeling good". I dropped some pounds and unfortunately, became entranced with that. And once I slammed up against that wall, like we all do, I stopped focusing on the "feeling good" and got mired in the "but why won't I lose any more weight" whining which led to "I don't feel like going to the gym/I'll go tomorrow/I'll go next week/I'll start up again on Monday/oh shit look my membership's expired". Now that my mind's far more aligned with where I need it to be, I find myself trapped in my personal routine and for those of you that are routine-minded as I am know damn well that breaking out of a routine is a gigantic pain in the ass. But perhaps, with this blog post, I will find the internal spark to find my way back to motivating my carcass hither and yon.

Or...I will continue to play Angry Birds until my pointer finger falls off. Yes, I KNOW the rest of the world totally knows about Angry Birds and playing Angry Birds. I'm the woman who is just figuring out Rick-Rolling, for Christ's sake. It's just...oh my stars, it's a festive little game. Perhaps I could do leg lifts while I'm playing it...well, if nothing else, I will have a most muscular pointer finger by the time I'm done with it. Read more on this article...