Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Holiday Message From Your Holiday A-Hole.

In recent weeks, I've determined that rather than being a bearer of good tidings, I'm more of a...Holiday A-Hole. Not that I'm not an A-Hole 365 days of the year, but my A-Holishness seems to kick up a few notches during the Holiday Season. So it seems fitting that I would end this year (seeing as I suspect my lazy ass probably won't blog again until 2009--SEE YOUSE NEXT YEAR HURR HURR) with some of my patented amicable irritation and rage. (It's mostly not fat-themed and wow, I am using some adult language, that is for sure.)

1. Stop bitching about not being “allowed” to say “Merry Christmas” because it’s OMG NOT P.C. Unless you have supercool mind-reading abilities that can tell you the person you’re dealing with is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist or whatev (or the person is sporting hijab, peyos, yarmulke etc.), a good rule of thumb to remember for all eternity is ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION. So, even though it may make your buttocks clench with fiery, righteous rage, say “Happy Holidays” if you don’t know the person’s persuasion. However, on the flip side…

2. Unless you’re wearing the garb of your particular religious persuasion (i.e. hijab, peyos, yarmulke, etc.), people can’t tell what persuasion you happen to be. So cool your jets, ace, and don’t get all hinky because someone said “Merry Christmas” to you instead of “Happy Holidays” or said “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. I had an instance of that a couple of weeks ago. A guy needed change for a five. I didn’t have change, but I did have a couple of singles, so I told him to take the singles and rock on. When he approached me on the el platform to thank me again, I said “have a nice holiday” and he admonished me for getting it wrong. “Christmas, I celebrate Christmas”. In my head I was thinking, “I want my fucking two dollars back, you jackass.”

3. If you encounter someone like me, someone who does not care for this time of year and can’t wait for it to be over, please don’t try to infuse me and my ilk with Holiday Cheer. The reasons why I don’t like this time of year are varied and would probably not make sense to you, and that’s okay because it’s none of your goddamned business. I’m perfectly content not liking Christmas. I’m not trying to dissuade you from being in love with the season. Knock yourselves out. Stop thinking it’s some sort of tragedy that I don’t like it. Stop thinking you’re going to be the one who is going to “fix it”. That kind of behavior doesn’t endear you to me. It’s off-putting and obtrusive. Don’t get passive-aggressive about it either, because that’s even more off-putting. (P.S. to a certain person: the key to passive-aggression is subtlety. You’re doing it wrong.)

4. A special message to the jackholes who were behind me at the Nine Inch Nails concert in Vegas: I HOPE YOUR COLONS FALL OUT. See, I’m one of those crrrrazy people who go to a concert to listen to the music, not to hear your conversations. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the volume level at a NIN show, let’s just say it’s like a jet engine times a motrillion. Imagine being seated in front of people who take that as a challenge to talk over the jet engine-level volume. I had Huey, Duey, and Louie yapping endlessly while getting ‘faced (yeah, you are SEW KEWL because you can drink in Vegas!) in one ear, and then JoeBob Superfan and his girlfriend directly behind me. JoeBob’s a true superfan because he owns almost all the CDs and DVDs, you know. When he wasn’t whistling at eardrum-shattering levels directly into my other ear, he was shouting along with my beloved Trent Reznor or explaining to his girlfriend the deeper meanings behind songs. It was all I could do not to turn around and offer all of them $20 a piece to shut the fuck up. Thankfully, TR brought some serious-ass rock and my lingering memories will be of him blowing the roof off the dump rather than the douchetronics seated behind me.

5. Take a day off from berating yourself for, you know, eating. There are creepy creatures out there who would tell you the Best Way To Be is to go to holiday dinners and parties with a notebook to document in detail what you put into your mouth. Nothing says “holiday fun” like whipping out a notebook to exhaustively document what you eat. And FYI: dieting doesn’t make you a saint or a better person. It just makes you boring as hell if you’re incapable of not talking about it.

6. Hey, Mom – please stop with the “my son is married and my daughters are single but VERY successful, which is fine”. It’s kind of annoying, particularly when it only applies to two of your daughters. I haven’t been put in jail, so I reckon that makes me “successful”. And it’s not “fine” for me, frankly. Let’s lead this into...

6a. Please refrain from telling me I should be grateful. I’ve discussed this before, but let me bring it up one more time since the “grateful” tends to go hand-in-hand with the whole “How can you hate Chriiiiiiiiistmissssssssss???”. For everything that I do have (friends, roof over head, employment, blah blah blah), there is always going to be a metaphorical hole in my alleged heart that is not going to be filled by friends, roof over head, employment, hobbies, blah blah blah. Platonic love, such as it is, will never satisfy me. Being the wacky asexual sidekick/third wheel doesn’t make me turn cartwheels of glee. I don’t “need” a partner/relationship. I want one. But because of whatever (anonymous commenters like to point out that I’m “angry” and that’s why I’m kryptonite to the male population of the universe), it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. You can also refrain from suggesting every dating site on the interwebs, too – I have been a busy beave over the last few months, sending out messages on a variety of sites to cats and I have not received one response. And let me again emphasize that is FINE. I understand that I am not 99.99999 percent of the universe’s bag. I get that. But don’t tell me that I shouldn’t have moments of sadness, that I shouldn’t be a touch resentful, and I shouldn’t be ANGRY that I ain’t feeling too great about being alone. Mind you, I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, I am able to function, entertain myself, travel alone and I won’t be sitting in the house every weekend and I will make do until I kick off. But I will rage about it and I will raise hell about it until the day I fucking die, and if that’s problematic for you? Tough titty says the kitty. If nothing else, feel free to use me as your own lesson in gratitude. (However, I do charge for the privilege. I have PayPal.)

So that’s how I’m ending this year. I request 2008 get the fuck out of my face A.S.A.P. and here’s hoping 2009 doesn’t suck completely. Thanks for reading, and I hope you are able to find the occasional chuckle/coherent thought in this potpourri of genial raging that I do.


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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why we need an under-informed person tax.

New York governor David Paterson weighs in today on CNN.com about why, for the love of God and all that's holy, New York state needs an "obesity" tax--that is, a tax on sugared pop ("soda" for some of you) and juices that have less than 70 percent actual juice in them.

Here's the link to the article itself: O M G THE CHILLLLLDREN!!!!!

It's the usual song-and-dance that we're all used to - OMG the fat children are taking over OMG fat causes everything that's bad and wrong with the world OMG the only way to solve it is to tax the shit out of junk food OMG OMG OMG.

The one bit that actually is worth more than an eye-roll is this:

"To address the obesity crisis, we need more than just a surcharge on soda. We need to take junk food out of our schools. We need to encourage our children to exercise more. And we need to increase the availability of healthy food in underserved communities."

Now, of course, take out the "to address the obesity crisis" and replace it with "to address the lack of access many communities and citizens have to quality foods and adequate healthcare", and you've got something there. But instead, Gov. Paterson is, like so many ill-informed government types and regular folks, waving the OBEEEESITY EPIDEMIC!!!!! flag because panic sells. Panic is profitable. Actual information isn't sexy, people.

Let us take a moment to repeat the following: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.

Obesity causes serious health problems like type 2 diabetes - WRONG. CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION
It puts children at much greater risk for life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer

"Just as the cigarette tax has helped reduce the number of smokers and smoking-related deaths, a tax on highly caloric, non-nutritional beverages can help reduce the prevalence of obesity." No, it'll just mean that people will either pay the tax on sugared pop/pseudo-juice and CONTINUE BEING FAT or cut back on drinking sugared pop/pseudo-juice and CONTINUE BEING FAT. It's wacky how that whole thing works. I rarely drink sugared pop. I like the taste of diet pop so that is what I choose to drink. Holy shit, folks, STILL FAT.

The deliciously spectacular Kate Harding discusses it further, so have a peek. There's also a link in there leading to another quality post about how it would be so lovely for the government to invest some serious money in getting people good food, safe places to get out and gad about, and quality healthcare. It would be such a delight if the government would invest some serious time in actually making an effort to do research and for someone--ANYONE--to use some critical thinking. I mean, I know that's plumb nutty to even suggest, but I reckon it's worth a try.

Oh, and the other thing that made me snort, because PLEASE:

We must never stigmatize children who are overweight or obese.

But you already do, boss. And with more and more legislative horseshit like this, with "The Biggest Loser" and every ad for every weight-loss company, and every bit of media that screams "FAT = DEATH", you stigmatize fat kids, you stigmatize fat adults. By recycling junk science and half-truths, you're not going to magically make people healthy. You're making it clear who is acceptable and who isn't, who is worthy and who isn't, who belongs and who doesn't. Who is the enemy and who isn't. You are simply helping along a nation that already has an eating disorder spiral down the drain at an ever-quickening pace.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On Blago, Oprah, and Other Sundry Items.

I should preface this by saying I'm not a political animal by any stretch of the imagination. I don't like debating politics in general, and the stuff that I believe is the stuff I believe, and know that my mind won't change on those stuffs, so it's folly for me to think I can change someone else's point of view. So you'll have to excuse my rather...lighthearted attitude regarding the governor of my state being, essentially, a less-murderous, big-haired Tony Soprano.

I do think it's a horrible thing, don't get me wrong--I mean, this cat was threatening to cut funding for A CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL if it didn't pony up a sizable campaign contribution, for Christ's sake. But I can't help but be hugely amused by the hubris of this guy. He knew he was being wiretapped, he knew he was under serious-ass scrutiny, and his response? "I think there's nothing but sunshine hanging over me. By the way, I should say if anyone wants to tape my conversations, go right ahead, feel free to do it. I appreciate anybody who wants to tape me openly." Allegedly, his wife Patti can be heard in the background on the tapes, right-onning Blago's working over people for cash, dropping just as many f-bombs as he does as he angles and connives and threatens. When I heard that, all I could conjure up in my head was Carmela Soprano bringing the pie to that lawyer's office to get a letter of recommendation for Meadow to attend Georgetown:

Carmela: I don’t think you understand. I want you to write that letter.

Joan: Excuse me?

Carmela: I said I want you to write the letter.

Joan: Are you threatening me?

Carmela: Threat, what threatening? I brought you a ricotta pie and high school transcripts so you could write a letter of recommendation for my little daughter to Georgetown.

"I've got this thing, and it's fucking golden and uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for fucking nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And, and I can always use it. I can parachute me there." - no, not Tony Soprano...but Rod Blagojevich discussing Obama's Senate seat that HE WAS GOING TO GIVE TO THE HIGHEST FRIGGING BIDDER

Can you imagine what he could have accomplished had he used his power for good and not evil?

Meanwhile, on Oprah Watch, she kind of made me sad today. I am not an Oprah fan in the least. On a good day, she makes me grind my teeth. So when I read that SWEET MOTHER OF GOD OPRAH IS 200 POUNDS and the subsequent self-hatred she flung out there, I was simultaneously grinding and thinking, "woman, you are worth so much more than this public self-flagellation horseshit". My personal opinion of her aside, there's no getting around that she has accomplished some significant shit. There's something so...pathetic, watching a woman who has the world by the ass a) providing comedians/assholes ammunition to debase her solely based on her weight and b) essentially discounting all she's accomplished because she's *gasp* 200 pounds. And reinforcing the message that you are a failure, no matter what, if you're fat. That nothing is more important than being thin. She has millions of Oprahlytes who look to her for guidance and suggestions on how to live a better life - can you imagine what she could accomplish if she used her powers for good and not evil?

And finally, this piece on McSweeney's made me laugh this week - laugh and THINK (oooooh). It was this bit in particular:

Whoops, I don't know what I was thinking, talking about my problems when you're so much more lovably flawed.

I don't know about you, but I've had that fleeting thought more than once in my real-life relationships. I've believe I've mentioned it before, my tendency to become the zany wacky fat girl sidekick in a good 99 percent of my relationships. We've all had that friend that we believe to be prettier, smarter, better than us, the charming narcissist who will allow us that token 30 seconds to share what how we're feeling and soon navigates the conversation back to her feelings and her struggles. And because we're convinced we're not quite worth the oxygen to talk about what we might be feeling or struggling with, it becomes habit to zip it and let the lovable minx keep on yapping...and yapping...and yapping.

At some point, however, I realized it was okay for me to talk about me for a while. In fact, it was super-okay to jettison people out of my life who weren't willing to talk about me for a wee bit. It was downright kickass to give the heave-ho to people that weren't willing to support me, to comfort me, to regard me as something beyond an asexual sarcasm/heartfelt advice generator. It's cliche, but that phrase "it's not the quantity, it's the quality"? So true when it comes to friendships. It takes a while to accept that it's worth doing the dumper on people that bring us down, but holy shit, it is so...freeing. Not that I'm suggesting you should go out tonight and go on a friend-jettisoning spree, but if you're feeling like someone in your life is consistently crapping on you? It might be time to do a little housecleaning.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

But the-- and the -- oh, for the LOVE.

So I made the grave error of watching the "Sex and the City" movie Saturday night. Watching a modern-day fairy tale with the obligatory happy ending -- not the best idea I've had as of late. (Spoilers lay ahead)

I was an intermittent viewer of the show. It depended on whether or not I had HBO at any given time, basically. While I could find it entertaining, more often than not I found it baffling and irritating. But at the end of the day, I was never the target audience for a show about four single women navigating the wilds of single life in New York City because I was never a single woman navigating the wilds of single life. I never had anything resembling a "single life" (and one could quite easily argue, have never had anything resembling a "life"). If I went out with my fellow single girlfriends, I sat at the bar observing as they were talked up by the dudes. I never got very bent over whether or not I'd have a date on Friday or Saturday night because it simply wasn't something that ever happened to me. And I'm not boo-hoo-poor-me-ing, it's just the way things were. When I read advice columns (I READ WAAAY TOO MANY ADVICE COLUMNS), the agony aunts go-to advice is "OMG, ask yer friends to set you up!" Well...that wasn't something my friends did, either. Trust me, I am a tough fucking sell on a good day, I'm self-aware enough to realize that. So coming from the background that I have, watching "Sex and the City" (TV and movie) is like watching a foreign film without dubbing or subtitles or a twisted version of the "Planet Earth" mini-series. Imagine a breathless Sir David Attenborough narrating the wacky hi-jinks and heartbreaking moments of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. Wait, I think I may have just made it more entertaining for myself.

My mood swings with the SATC movie began within the first two minutes of the narration as Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) explained that women moved to New York City in search of "labels and love". Forget advancing your career, ladies. That's not sexy. Spending beyond your means so you can have Vivienne Westwood on your hiney: THAT IS SEXY. It's SEX-AY, even. Goddamned irritating. But I sucked it up, tabled it in my head, and soldiered on. I must be honest and say that I enjoyed it here and there. I always thought Cynthia Nixon was excellent on the show and I liked her relationship with Steve (David Eigenberg). I laughed out loud hither and yon. I was generally bored with Samantha (Kim Cattrall) as I was when I watched the series and love-and-hatey with Charlotte (Kristin Davis). I thought it was rather brave of SJP (not to be confused with Super Jackpot Party) to appear on film sans make-up and looking like a woman of age when Carrie is in her post-Big-wedding-bailage depression. And my personal jury will always, always be out on whether Big's a rang-dang-diggety-douche or swoon-worthy.

But I don't know if I have enough words available at the moment for the utter ridiculousness of actual screen time being devoted to Samantha's tragic, horrific...WEIGHT GAIN. I know, I know, hold onto your hats and tell the children to leave the room, A WOMAN GAINED WEIGHT AND SHE DIDN'T STAY INDOORS SO AS TO NOT SULLY THE WORLD. Of course, the requisite "what the hell is wrong with you" scolding went down with a weak-ass side of "but we'd still love you and you'd be beautiful at any weight" and Samantha was shown scarfing down food so as to further hammer home the message that she was being shameful and lacking control. But as I reflected upon the movie later on (and tried very hard not to be irritated with my mother for fucking up my red velvet cake that I had baked earlier in the day), SATC has always talked out of both sides of its mouth. Women should be independent individuals who should take pride in their achievements and are not defined by the men they are with, but...how awfully tragic it is to be without a man and certainly without pretty shoes. Why on earth would I expect that they would avoid the silly-ass trope of a woman eating her feelings and begging forgiveness for being "bad" and "out of control"?

And why in the name of all that is good and holy did I think I wasn't going to wind up in my well-decorated and cozy pit of despair after watching a movie that in my world should have been titled "Sex (Which You Don't Have) and the City (Which You No Longer Live In Because You Are Quite the Loser--Keep On Keepin' On, Failurebritches)". To make it even worse, TBS was showing "Shrek"--you know, the HI-larious fun cartoon movie about the anti-social ogre who manages to find someone to love him. OF COURSE I COULDN'T TURN THE CHANNEL. I had to blubber through John Cale's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and simper through Shrek coming to Fiona's rescue at the wedding and spew firehose-strength tears as they proclaimed their love for each other. The best thing - THE ONLY THING - I could do at that point? Grab my DVD of "Aliens" and revel in a movie that contained nary a whit of romance and an absolute fuckton of...well, "Aliens".

The lesson learned (yet one more for the "Life Lessons" folder)? Avoid movies that have "Sex", "Love", "Sweet", or "Heart" in the title; limit viewing to movies that contain many explosions, some car chases, and enormous amounts of martial arts; and just keep watching Discovery. Never turn away from Discovery if I can avoid it. "Mythbusters" will not break my heart.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pardon me if my party hat's not on.

When I think about achievements one could muster up in life, I can dream up many things: having a book published, passing a difficult test, getting a promotion at work. Losing weight through dieting will never be one of those things I will muster up praise for.

I can’t clap my hands and say “yay!!!!” for the kind of mental trauma people put themselves through, counting calories or points and berating themselves and kicking their own asses around the block and then some if they don’t do everything just so on any given day. I can’t say “bully for you” when you talk about how hideous you look and how terrible a person you are because your thighs don’t look like a supermodel’s. I won’t encourage self-hatred. I won’t congratulate self-abuse. I won’t lead a cheer for obsession.

If that makes me a bad person or if I'm overreacting or if I'm mean-spirited, so be it. My disinterest won’t stop you from beating yourself up for not being the “real you” you think is lurking somewhere underneath your skin since there are many, many more people in the world that are willing to fall over themselves to give you kudos for weight loss. You can mutter I’m jealous because I’ve obviously “failed” and “given up” and don’t have “control” (oh, that mystical “control”). You won’t be the first person to tag me with that, believe me. I’m jealous of assorted people for many reasons, but not of the mindset that is inevitable when it comes to dieting for the purposes of weight loss. I did my time angsting over the size of my ass and it’s not a place I ever care to go back to again. If I learned anything, it was that the ever-elusive happiness that I still seek isn’t going to appear if I whittle myself down to a socially acceptable size. Satisfaction with my life won’t come simply because I can shop at a straight store. The issues that I have creaking in my cranium aren’t going to go away if I boogie down to the local J. Craig and get my salt-laden crapfeast on.

There’s a scary percentage of people who would rather get hit by a truck than look anything like me. In a life where any number of things can go horribly, horribly, horribly wrong, where we can suffer so much loss and hurt and hate and misery...really? Being hit by a truck is preferable? But I’m the one with the problem. Hmm.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m an advice column reader. I’m fascinated by people’s issues and what sort of solutions are proposed to them by both the columnist and (if the website has comments enabled, a’la Salon) readers. For better or worse, I tend strongly toward trying to solve my own issues, which…has…worked out so well? *ahem* Anyhoo, I read Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post and this particular nugget caught my eye:

Part One and then the follow-up (thank Christ for posting it the same day as I’m stumbling through trying to express my thoughts): Part Two

Read it and then come back. I’ll wait.

I’m of two minds on this particular subject, which in and of itself is quite vexing at present. On the one hand, I’m super-annoyed in general by the “oh sweet lord God you don’t mean to TELL ME…THAT SHE GAINED WEIGHT?!?!?! *trumpets of doom*” tone from both Carolyn and the letter-writer (let’s just say the letter-writer would not be a winner-winner-chicken dinner in my book with his need to emphasize just how HOT his fiancée was and the lackluster tap dance of “well, it’s not the ONLY reason…HOT!”). Carolyn’s is, of course, playing the Concern Troll. But on the flip, I’m kind of feeling the “presenting a false front” angle. I understand the irritation—NOT the primary reason he wants to jettison his fiancée, but the irritation at being hornswaggled, PLEASE NOTE in glittery text and fiery exclamation points. I swear I will get to the fatness angle eventually (you know it takes me 18 hours to arrive at a point – pack a lunch). I feel it with women who intentionally present themselves as less intelligent so as to appeal to men—a friend of mine called it her “cute and stupid” persona. I much preferred it when she’d use her far more interesting and honest “smart and wicked sense of humor and still remarkably adorable” persona (thankfully, her honest self won out when she met her husband – they’ll be celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary on Halloween). I feel it with men who gamely trail behind their wives/girlfriends at various activities or events that they’d much rather not be involved in, but feel like they “have to”. I mean, maybe I’m pie-in-the-skying, unrealistic and dumb, but if my Imaginary Boyfriend didn’t like the Cure, I’m not going to demand (either right out front or passive-aggressively) he go see the Cure with me because I’m a damn grown woman and I can go to a goddamned concert by myself. Or I can go shopping by myself. Or I can go to the movies by myself. Or any number of activities that my Imaginary Boyfriend might not be interested in, and vice-versa. To me, that’s logical and fair. In my head, I would have enough in common with my Imaginary Boyfriend (I really should give him a name one of these days) that we could unite in doing the things we both like to do and not have snitters over doing things on our own or with friends that does not include our partner. However, my learnings from the internet, advice columnists, and hearing tales from my friends who have non-Imaginary spouses/partners would tell me that there seems to be no place for my logic. Personally, I would find it weird and wrong to pretend to be interested in my Imaginary Boyfriend’s hobbies/activities if they weren’t compelling to me. If I pretended to be super into spelunking simply to attract a mate, imagine how fucked I’d be when the time came to don my helmet with the shiny light on top and receive the request to belay somebody. It would be a sad day at the cave, my friends. A very sad, tragic day.

But to get back to the OMG FAT BRIDE thing for a mo’...it’s a tough friggin’ sell in my book to screech “I didn’t get what I bargained for (i.e. my fiancée didn’t stay what I consider to be HOT)” and put on a show for sympathy, no matter how hard Carolyn's on board with his boo-hooing. When I think about whom I might marry one day and all the things that might change about him physically or personality-wise, I think finding out he bricked his pet cat into the basement wall or he had a shoebox full of heads of women that he was acquainted with and had meticulously carved out of photographs that he would then paste onto centerfolds from porn magazines and masturbated to every day* would be a much bigger dealbreaker than him putting on 40 pounds after engagement-ringing me. But the brawl between those who think it’s acceptable to lose their shit over their significant other putting on pounds and those who think that attitude makes them superficial jerks will rage for all eternity. The only thing any of us can hope is that we stay as far away from those men and women and let them impose their regulations on each other.

But then it makes me think about other shit, about men and women tiptoeing around what they look like, particularly in the online dating universe. It’s fucking nerve-wracking as hell winging up photographs of oneself on a dating profile, let alone pictures that are in focus, not taken in shadows, and not cutting oneself off at the chest line so as to minimize what one imagines being one’s worst “flaws”. I spent quite a while deciding what pictures I was going to put on my various profiles floating around the ether. The most important thing to me was being up front about my appearance, and I realized I’ve always been like that. Way way way back when, when I first got internetting, I was a weekend fixture in the X-Files chatroom on AOL (I’d say...1995-ish, perhaps). I didn’t have internet access or a PC at home, so I’d truck out to my parents’ house every weekend to “visit the parents” but mostly to bullshit with online friends about "The X-Files". A fellow took something of a shine to me and I was quite frank that I was a fat girl. The one thing I remember the most about the entire silly situation was his insisting that I was lying in order to “test” him or that I was exaggerating when I said I was built like a linebacker. It pissed me off that he was insinuating that I was trying to garner sympathy by being the sad clown fat girl or fishing for compliments somehow because I was simply being my special brand of honest. I don’t like surprises, and I don’t like surprising others (except with, say, a Hallmark card or a Tower of Treats from Harry and David). So my pictures at my dating profiles feature how my face double-chins when I smile, my semi-slouchy posture, my belly, my smallish rack. I’ve only one picture where I’m wearing make-up because I rarely wear it. I don’t want to come away with a story where I wind up meeting a guy for tea and the first thing I see is his face falling at the sight of me. I want to screen out fellows that aren’t down with my appearance. And I don’t want to bullshit someone into thinking I look like someone I’m not. I understand the fear men and women have. Christ, do I ever. We all want to appear like the most fabulous cats to ever walk the earth. But if you’re going to kick off a potential relationship with fear-based fudging, what good is that? Where’s the honesty in it? And it makes me think: what else aren’t you telling me? What else am I in for?

Look, I’m absolutely a huge proponent of the inner being more important in the long run than the outer. I would hope whatever man that might dig me would be hot for my brain and my carcass. But I’m not willing to hide myself or disguise myself because that is what we are told to do every single fucking day. All of us, not just the fats. The message is clear every single day that our basic selves, with the zits and the rolls and the receding hairlines, will not do and that we must change, change, change in order to meet that ever-elusive standard of “good”. Instead of aspiring for that mysterious good, I’d love for everyone to show themselves, and show themselves without the self-deprecating commentary (“uggh, I look terrible in that picture/it’s 50 pounds ago/I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep the night before/I’m so old”) that we’re conditioned to throw down.

Show yourselves.

(in comments, even!)

*true story...(didn't happen to me, but to someone I know)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Loving one's body when it feels like no one else will.

It's an unsavory thing, being reminded that the body type one inhabits seems so universally loathed. Especially on a day like today, Love Your Body day. On a good day, I embrace every inch and every pound of myself, and on a bad day...well, like today, for example. On a bad day, every single shitty, stupid comment ever made about the way I look is in the forefront of my brain. Every single, shitty, stupid comment that can be made on the internet about how awful fat people are seems to be in my view. Everything that I feel I'm not -- beautiful, attractive, worthy of being loved back -- crashes on top of me. And it just gets harder to surface from beneath the ignorance, the hatred--the societal as well as the self-inflicted.

All I want to do today is completely retreat from the world. The world doesn't care for me, and I don't particularly care for it. Like the Beach Boys sing, "I just wasn't made for these times". Even the anger I have (I have plenty and that's why I'm single, according to an anonymous commenter) isn't sustaining me. All I've got is resignation with a heaping helping of apathy at present. So I'm open to suggestions: what helps you get up in the morning? What keeps you going? What do you hang onto to make anything worth it?

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just call me 'Squatch.

So I'm reading about this Australian teen* who has decided to compete as a sumo wrestler, which is awesome. Pictures of her can be found here, and as always, if you treasure your brain, don't read the comments. I discovered the story at another website, and the thing that kept causing synapses in my head to continually misfire were the vehement assertions that there's no WAY in shrieking hell that this girl could be healthy, and that if she's 280 lbs. at 14, her legs are going to crumble and she's yet another ticking time bomb.

Thing is, though, when I was 14? I was 260 lbs., and 'Lantic Ocean, I'm still here. Which is, apparently, a miraculous, borderline fictitious thing.

I topped out at 5'9" when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. I was always taller than most of my classmates, and certainly larger than most of them. Being built like a brawler was a distinct advantage when I went through my "Kissing Monster" phase. No, I wasn't 31 at the time--for whatever reason, when I was five or six, I decided the best game in the world would be to run around the playground and try to kiss as many boys (and girls, I was an equal-opportunity Kissing Monster) as I possibly could. A teacher, Mr. Rossi, would eventually put a stop to my kissing by telling me (not unkindly) "the boys don't like it when you do that!"

Oh, irony.

But I was a bruiser from birth. There isn't a photograph of me in existence where I'm not fat, either as a child, adolescent, or adult. I never had a glorious, storied "skinny" time in my life. And what struck me most about Samantha-Jane Stacey when I looked at photographs of her was Jesus H., she looks like me. She's got more boob than I do and bless her hamstrings and flexibility, she can crouch so beautifully. But yeah, Samantha-Jane's got some Nolan in her for sure. The other thing that I dig is that she isn't sitting back and being the sad fat kid in the corner like society would prefer her to be. She is out and rocking all 280 lbs of herself in a male-dominated sport and she is aiming to win.

I've seen commenters getting tight about her competing in an "adult" sport. If that's so troubling, then I'd like to see some hand-wringing over kids playing ANY sport whatsoever. Sports injuries among kids are an ever-increasing problem as kids are being pushed to compete harder and harder long before they're physically (or mentally) ready to handle it. I can't help but feel a vibe that there's far less hang-wringing about the notion of kids being involved in such sports as baseball, football, gymnastics, or track because those are sports where 98 percent of the participants "look right". Sumo is a sport dominated by men (and perhaps one day, women) who aren't going to be on the cover of GQ wearing an Armani suit while fashion models are draped over them. Sumo wrestlers are seen as walking punchlines, not muscular warriors of sport.

And, since everyone on the internet has a medical degree, over and over again the following is declared as True Facts:

*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she's healthy
*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she's going to be able to walk by the time she's an adult because there's NO WAY her leg bones could POSSIBLY carry 280 lbs
*It is simply IMPOSSIBLE that she can't lose weight

As I mentioned before, I was probably clocking in at 260 lbs. at 14, and I'm obviously a mythical creature like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster because I can ambulate just fine. I can jump, I can skip, I can dance the hootchie-koo. Even when I was 320 lbs, I could walk, jump, do stairs, all the benchmarks set by the Internet Doctors as being signs of health. It seems like a DUH at this point, but just to remind the planet: you cannot determine what someone's health status is by simply looking at them. Unless you have superpowers that include being able to analyze a person's innards and outnards with a mere glance, when you open your yap and declare in dramatic, operatic tones that so-and-so CANNOT POSSIBLY BE HEALTHY, you sound silly (and not fun silly). The unfortunate thing is that there are so many people thinking they are in possession of those superpowers, opening their yaps and asserting they are able to determine on sight who is healthy and "good", the ones who do it don't realize how silly they sound. It's hard to when you're surrounded by similarly silly people.

So, rock on with your very bad ass self, Samantha-Jane. This Jane is cheering you on (I won't say "rooting" since, in Australia, it definitely does not mean "cheering you on").

*Hey, UPI, thanks for categorizing this story under Odd News, you fucking doucheweasels.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A smattering of nattering.

My brain’s all over the joint so, as a result, this post will probably cover 18 katrillion topics and I’m not 100 percent sure it will make any sense, let alone come to any sort of point. But hey, Monday's almost over. Let’s roll the dice and see what comes out of my idiot head.

I’ve been ruminating on this comment I read over at Jezebel a couple of weeks ago:

...do we ever tell single men to just suck it up and be happy alone? To me, it seems like we just want these older single women to shut up because there aren't any solutions.

It rang my bell something fierce, and since then, I’ve been paying slightly closer attention to the various message boards and whatnots that I peruse and it really is rather striking how older single fellows bemoaning their single status are given the “keep yer chin up, buddy, she’s out there/don’t give up, man, Ms. Right’s right around the corner!!” platitudes and rah-rahing, but us older single women…yeah, why don’t we shut our traps and be happy with what we have, huh? Be grateful that you have friends/family/a roof over your head/a job to go to/two legs to stand on/two eyeballs to see out of/the sun shines/the wind blows etc. etc. etc. and fucking on and on. You don’t NEED a relationship, you know. So BE GRATEFUL, and you’d damn well better keep any of those stupid thoughts about how it pretty much sucks being the third wheel/ignored/alone to yourself so the rest of us aren’t bummed out.

If I sound bitter, it’s because I am. Bitter and kind of furious at times, actually. I know I trot out this song-and-dance more often than anyone really gives a rat’s ass about, but as I’m preparing to embark on one last ridonk attempt at online dateage, perhaps I’m trying to pump out the last remnants of bitterness from the lower decks of my very large failboat, the U.S.S. Chunky-n-Doom’d in order to embark upon this project with some semblance of optimism. Or, at least, the ability to put on a convincing show of it. But I think we all have that moment of “bwuh!!!” when someone tells us of a double-standard and then we see it in practice for ourselves. And mercy, am I bwuhing my ass off lately. I think it’s the most hurtful when it comes from people who you’re close to, be they family or friends. When my mother trots out the old saw about “Life Lessons” and “Everything happens for a reason”, I would like to put her in the shed because I’m waaaaaaaaaaay over Life Lessons Happening For a Reason. I’m at the point in my life where I would much rather just be presented with a list of all the Reasons the Life Lessons are happening and what I could do in order to pass the next exam. Someone tell me where I can pick up the Cliff’s Notes and I’ll study up something fucking fierce.


I had this thought many times today: JUST FUCKING EAT FUCKING EAT FUCKING EAAAAAAT. No, not directed at myself, but overhearing co-workers getting tight over calorie counts and dress sizes and being "disgusting" and "pigs" and the usual foorahrah, accompanied by oohing and aahing over a co-worker just back from maternity leave. The same woman that insisted I'd lost weight while I was overseas was borderline frothing as she told New Mom she'd lost weight ohyesyouhavethebabyweight'salmostallgoneohmygoodness! I really loathe how diet conversation has become a lo-cal substitute (har har) for CONVERSATION. That discussing one's diet/exercise regimen and how many calories are consumed and what "bad" things you avoid eating and how "bad" you've been if you had a cookie is considered interesting chat while at work or out with friends. Not that I'm looking to have a deep, philosophical chat with my co-workers, but good gravy, could it be chatter that isn't a competition to see who can come up with the most colorfully hatey ways to deride oneself? I suspect I may be repeating myself, but it's appalling to me that self-loathing has become a rite of passage. It's absolutely acceptable for a person to participate in a conversation that consists primarily of which body parts of ours we find to be horrifically disgusting and how we HAVE to get in shape (the only appropriate shape being thin) and coveting bodies that it is downright scientifically impossible to have. I think about Dara Torres, the 41-year-old Olympic swimmer that made so many headlines because she was coming back to compete at *gasp* the ancient age of 41 AND *super-mega-gasp* after having had a BABY! You know goddamned well millions of women saw the photographs of her and her washboard abs and muscular thighs and immediately thought themselves shitty because they didn't have those abs and muscular thighs--never mind the fact that Dara Torres' job...is being a SWIMMER. She spends $100,000 a year on a head coach, a sprint coach, two stretchers, two masseuses, a chiropractor, and a nanny. That's why she's got friggin' washboard abs and muscular thighs--because she can devote every friggin' free moment to flopping around in the friggin' pool, friends. But that kind of logic doesn't penetrate our brains because we are so caught up in the magic being sold to us each and every day that our lives will practically turn into a never-ending utopia of awesome and unicorns if we could just stop being such out-of-control hogbeasts and GET. THIN. Oh, I mean, GET IN SHAPE.


Lastly, I do wish to report I'm in love with something shiny, pretty, and with a blinky light. I bought a 500GB hard drive tonight and it's...it's a delight, frankly. A couple of years ago, I had a massive hard drive implosion that ate much of my writing, including 15 or so completed screenplays. Yep, a LIFE LESSON if there ever was one. Not that I've been able to write shit since then, but I suddenly came over all "must have external hard drive now" this evening and trotted out to pick myself up my new best friend. We'll just overlook the large amount of surge-protecting power strips I have in my Bachelorette Lair (a.k.a. my room in my parents' house) *cough* because it's important that my bass amp be at the ready at all times in case I feel a need to jam, or it only take mere seconds for my PC to leap to life because dammit, I NEED TO KNOW WHERE CHRIS MAKEPEACE IS.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Strike 193,882,093, Alton Brown.

Paul over at BigFatBlog blows shit at Alton Brown waaay better than I can at the moment because when I'm steamed, coherency is not my friend. Instead, it's a lot of gasping, eye-rolling, and "fu-huh-huck YOU"-ing. Followed by a rant that is plentiful with expletives not ever deleted.

I mean, not that I needed an additional reason to call Alton Brown fucking clownshoes. It just boggles my freaking mind that a cat would feel so comfortable displaying his utter contempt for the people who PAY HIS GODDAMNED BILLS. Well, I should say, the FAT people who pay his goddamned bills. I can only hope that any fat person in anything resembling a non-self-loathing space that is a fan of his stops being a fan of his, stops buying his shit, and stops lining the pockets of this ginormous, throbbing, overrated doucheweasel.

Then, join me in penning a lovely letter to the Food Network. Their physical address appears to be:

75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011

And what makes it even more kneeslappingly laughable (in that "I really want to kick the world in its ass right about now" way) is the "Core Values" blabbetty blah on their website (parent company: Scripps).

I'd love it if Alton Brown didn't have a job anymore. I'm dreaming big, I know. But for fuck's sake, Food Network shitcanned the dude from "Dinner Impossible" for fudging his resume'. However, Alton Brown's dish of hatred and contempt is delicious? Yeah, no. Time for Food Network and Alton Brown to be on the receiving end of some major pushback.

(Anyone who has better contact info for Food Network, lay it on me in the comments.)

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Romper stomper bomper Pru.

Dear Prudence (real name: Emily Yoffe),

I read your advice column every Thursday on slate.com. I'm an avid reader of advice columns, in fact, from Dear Abby to Carolyn Hax to Miss Conduct. I'm always curious to see if they're presented with situations similar to any I may have (or may be) going through at any given time, and I like to see the responses to fat-related scenarios as well. It's not often that an advice columnist surprises me. More often than not, when someone writes in with some sort of fat-related query, it turns into a polite screed about The Evils of Fat: while it's not okay to haterate against fat people, well, they sure do need some fixing is the usual tone. Basically, save the delightful Miss Conduct (a.k.a. Robin Abrahams, who is a friend of Fat Acceptance), advice columnists generally demonstrate Concern Trollesque behavior.

And this week, I knew I was in for a doozy when the video question was titled "Heavier and Hard Up" (a transcript follows after the cut):

Dear Prudence,

I've been living with my boyfriend for a year. I'm 23, and he's 35. He's usually a very gentle and caring man, but two weeks ago he dropped a bomb on me. When I asked him why we don't have sex as often as we used to, he told me he no longer finds me as physically attractive because of my recent weight gain.

I know I've gained weight - I went from a size 16 to a size 20, and I'm not happy about it either. But it didn't bother me much until I found out about his true feelings. He swears up and down that he still loves the person inside just as much as ever. But I can't help but feel that if he won't accept me physically, he doesn't really love me. Now I feel like if I want this to work, I need to change. But I haven't tried to change him. So how is that fair?

Signed, Confused in the Country

Now, Prudence, if I had been presented with this question, I would be dying for more details. What was her activity level like prior to moving in with her boyfriend? Had she been ill? Any major life changes besides moving in with the boyfriend? What is the general relationship like, since there is a sizable age difference? Basically, I'd be hard-pressed to fire off a response without having more information. But we don't want to let human curiosity or the natural inclination to have more facts to go on get in our way of doling out some terribly "fine" advice, do we.

Dear Confused,

You're only 23 and you've gone up two dress sizes in a year, to a size that by any measure puts you in the plus category. (oh god OH GOD NO NOT THE PLUS CATEGORY) It's not unreasonable for your boyfriend to be concerned about this trajectory (sweet mother of Christ YOU ARE GOING TO END UP 500 POUNDS AND BEING TAKEN OUT OF YOUR HOUSE BY A CRANE). Of course we all want to be loved for who we are regardless of what we look like. But hey, people care about what they look like and what their partners look like (so SHAPE THE FUCK UP, FATTY!). Try to separate this issue out from your relationship and instead take a look at your relationship with food (I CAN SENSE YOU SIT ON THE COUCH ALL DAY AND WATCH TV AND EAT DONUTS BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT ALL FAT PEOPLE DO). For the sake of your future health (YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, CHUBS), join Weight Watchers (it's not a diet, it's a LIFESTYLE!), get into an exercise program, try to do something to get this problem under control (BECAUSE YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL FAT FATTERSON).

I strongly suggest watching the video, because my transcript (or even my, uh, editorial whimsy) cannot possibly communicate the kind of...pompous disdain that drips out of Emily's mouth. Of COURSE if you're fat, you've got a fucked up relationship with food. What made my jaw drop a bit more was the "tough shit, people are superficial so get with the program if you want to be loved" tone. Like...it's not cool to be superficial, right? So...why on earth would you endorse asshole behavior? Oh wait, of course, we're talking about OMG KILLER FAT KILLING KILLING KILLING RUN AWAY. And that point's nailed home with the deathly serious "For the sake of your future health". For the SAKE of your FUTURE HEALTH, Confused, JOIN WEIGHT WATCHERS.

*record scratch*

Yeah, that'd be the last thing I'd prescribe anybody, really. If I wanted to teach someone how to be neurotic about what he/she puts into his/her mouth even more so than just regular old-fashioned no-cost dieting does, then yeah, I'd tell them to hop on the Weight Watchers train.

As for the "my boyfriend doesn't want to fuck me because I've gained the weight" thing...well, I'd be inclined to say "then he can go find someone else to fuck and you find someone who wants to fuck you", personally. But of course, let me add on the disclaimer of never having been in a relationship, blah blah blee blah blah. So I've been lucky enough never to be on the receiving end of such a proclamation. I can only imagine what I, at my frostiest and best, would do. Most likely, I would crawl into the nearest liquor cabinet and not come out for a few weeks. Shit, I've crawled into the liquor cabinet for far less emotionally devastating things. And I would be hunting down the nearest Weight Watchers meeting if I wasn't in the mindset that I'm in now, which is "I am who I am and I look the way I look, and it's not my problem if you can't dig on it".

I think about the woman who wrote this letter in the first place. You have to figure she must be a fairly avid reader of ole Prudence, and must think that most of the advice Prudie's dispensing is sound and fair. She must have been thrilled to see that her letter was going to be published AND to discover it was a featured video--! That is ZOMG level of excitement right there. I'd wager she hoped Prudence might assure her that she's not being unreasonable to WTF her boyfriend a little bit for his stance. I'd wager that once Prudence was done informing her she was an out-of-control, lazy sack of unlovable shit, she had a full-snot cry, maybe a few shots, and immediately got rid of any "bad" food in the house. She's probably started "cutting back" and "behaving herself", tracking every single bit of food that goes into her mouth, counting every calorie, every fat gram, every second spent on the treadmill or the walking track.

She is going to be good and worthy of love just as soon as those 20 pounds, those 30 pounds, those 50 pounds come off. You'll see.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

A sweet mouthful.

First off, if anyone's interested, here's a link to photos I took at Lollapalooza 2008, and some links to videos I took:

The opening of Rage Against the Machine's set

Radiohead doing a bit of "Airbag"

A super-wee bit of Gogol Bordello

The conclusion of "March of the Pigs" by Nine Inch Nails and

Love and Rockets doing a bit of "No New Tale to Tell"

It was my first experience with any kind of music festival and I have to say I was pleased overall. Sometimes, the bleedthrough from other bands' sets was annoying and the volume at the Rage show was way, way, way too low. Sunday brought a virtual sellout of pop-based products, so I was extremely nervous that Grant Park (and Nine Inch Nails' set) was going to turn into an alcohol-soaked nightmare of 75,000 drunkards (of course, they still had plenty of beer and wine and, to be fair, water remained plentiful). A return trip for me would hinge on what kind of lineup they manage to assemble for next year and if I could sucker someone into going with me. While I can certainly operate on a solo basis without any problem, it was annoying having to pack up my blanket and gather up all my crap in order to go on a bathroom run or get something to drink/eat. The super-bonus was discovering that Grant Park has FLUSH TOILETS. Since they had so many porta-potties, the lines at the flushies were quite mellow. I touched Perry Farrell, that was rather exciting. I'd been lurking around the DJ area and Perry was slated to do a set. I was standing on the sidewalk and turned around to see Perry and his people getting out of a golfcart at the curb. Somehow he was coming in my general direction and in my usual "smooth" fashion, I touched his shoulder as if to guide him past the unsavory rabble (i.e. anyone but me because I'm the RAWK). We exchanged big smiles and "Hiiiiiiiiiiii!"'s. I've been a Jane's Addiction fan for quite a long time (couldn't tell you how many times I've been asked, "Jane, what's your...ADDICTION? HURRHURRHURRHURRRRRR"), so having a little Perry moment...very neat.

And now for something completely different: fudge.

I was enjoying a bit of fudge from North Carolina this evening, a little slab of plain chocolate fudge and a little slab of orange-and-chocolate fudge, and for whatever reason it made me think about "Fat Monica" on "Friends". Every time she made an appearance, she was almost constantly eating. It was rare she was without a candy bar in her hand--not that it stayed in her hand very long, since lord knows us fatties can't stop ourselves from stuffing candy in our yaps the second it crosses our palms. I always found Fat Monica to be fairly galling for several reasons: the make-up job on Courteney Cox was atrocious, the fat girl cliches flew fast and furiously, and "Friends" co-creator Marta Kauffman certainly was far more sizable than the women employed on her megahit show. It would have been such a plum opportunity to blow up some Fat Girl Cliches, but instead they relied on the same old song and dance: Fat Girl eats constantly, Fat Girl wears appalling, ill-fitting outfits, Fat Girl can't get a date. Even a flashback episode revealing that Chandler would have hooked up with Monica regardless of her size smacked of jerkwater bullshit. If I remember correctly (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong), the day after they sleep together doesn't she start craving vegetables or something? I swear that the super-brief-semi-positive body moment (as rare as a sighting of Bigfoot) was completely shat upon with a "NOW Fat Girl is going to get herself UNDER CONTROL!" footnote.

I got on Fat Monica because I was enjoying my fudge and thinking about how I wasn't snarfing it down or double-fisting it or stuffing my face with it. I wasn't inhaling a full fucking pound, I was having enough to satisfy me. I can't help but laugh (as well as quietly rage) at how mass media loves to portray fat people as beasts incapable of controlling themselves when it comes to food, particularly anything sweet or classified as "unhealthy". Have I squirmed a bit with delight when eating something particularly delicious? Absolutely. I've actually skipped with joy when tasting something yummy. But I've never found myself writhing on the floor in sweaty ecstasy, a ring of chocolate or fudge or whipped cream around my mouth because I live in REALITY. And it makes me even testier when I read/see fat people who are insistent on perpetuating the notion that we are all batshit walking Hoovers sucking down every foodstuff within our grasp, that we are these less-than-human monsters with insatiable appetites, usually in the name of "humor". Or trotting out the old chestnut "well, they're just going to make fun of me, so I'll make fun of me first". I used to drive that bandwagon, but then I started to realize that even if I *did* make fun of myself first, it wasn't going to change anyone's opinion that I was a walking fat-laden time bomb of obese epidemictude. If anything, it only reinforced beliefs that I was worthy of mockery. To me, doing the "beating them to the punch" routine meant I was giving them permission to blow shit at me. That gets old after a while, especially if you're already in self-loathe mode. So, you know, quit it.

I know that's not much of an ending, but I'm still recovering from being on vacation, with part of it spent in Vegas. Damn fucking straight I ate at buffets. And went up for seconds.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

If this blog's rockin'...

...it means I've spent the last two days (with one more to go) in Grant Park at Lollapalooza. I tend to make poor clothing choices when I go to outdoorsy/semi-activity-centric things, and for the last two days, I've been in long shorts that are just a mite too big. I generally wear clothing that's a bit too big because I don't like that "tight" feeling. I like to be flowy, like...a...flowy thing. Anyway. So I wore shorts that were a mite too big, which resulted in me, while walking to the train, hitching up my drawers every few steps. Today, the shorts fit properly, dammit, and should not fall off when I'm doing my weird gesticulating/dancing that I do when it comes to Nine Inch Nails.

I mean, they may fall off from excitement, but not from jumping/dancing.

I touched Perry Farrell yesterday. That was quite neat. I've been a Jane's Addiction enthusiast for many a moon, and it was one of those "I turned around and holy fuck, it's Perry Farrell" kind of moments. So, as he was making his way toward the DJ tent, I touched his shoulder ever so delicately as if to guide him where he needed to be (I'm such a douchelette). We exchanged very chipper "Hiiiiiiiiii!"'s and then I proceeded to text pretty much everyone in the universe that I knew would know who I was talking about.

Tonight, I'm just grateful I have a hotel room downtown so that I don't have to deal with the 45-minute train ride home with 19,000,000 of my closest friends. I work downtown as well, so I won't have to roll my very sore, very tired ass out of bed until 6 a.m. That will be so delicious. Once I get all my picture ducks in a row (along with a smattering of videos), I will be sure to post some up for your reading and listening pleasure. Of course, I'm about to head into two super-busy weeks, with a friend coming in from out of town and going to Vegas...could someone please put 48 hours into one day so I can get some crap done? So your guess is as good as mine as to when that's going to occur. Let's just call it...soon-esque.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eat it.

Or, In Defense of Food.

I'm super-cranky today. I'm having one of those cranky days that involves tears, loads of self-loathing, and the Anger (or Angrrrrrrrrr!) that is my constant co-pilot is off the motherfucking charts. So, there will be a lot of obscenity ahead. Lots and lots of (borderline nonsensical) obscenity. Let's fucking talk about food and stuff we love to eat without ANY hang-ups or fears or fat content or calorie-fucking-counts.

I had salmon today. It was awesome. I had this flatbread fold-up thingy involving eggs and cheese and sausage and mushrooms for breakfast. It was awesome, too. Felt like a Twix bar. Goddamn if I didn't enjoy that Twix. It hit the spot and helped to soothe my savage beast (that is not a euphemism). Pork chops for dinner? Hot damn, those were good, too. I'm feeling the urge for a good caesar salad tomorrow. I'm lucky in that my workplace has a righteous cafeteria and a staff of fabulous Hispanic dudes who salute me with, "HEY MAMA!" and give me shit about not liking super-spicy things in my eats. My aversion to spicery stems from having gallstones at 17 and a sure-fire trigger for an attack was pretty much anything containing a kick. I was de-gallbladdered in 1998--oh hell's bells, I have to tangent on this for a moment.

The Final Attack came on the weekend "The Negotiator" starring Kevin Spacey and Samuel L. Jackson was released, and I remember watching the movie while feeling hellacious thanks to the wretched, spasming gallbladder from Hell. I was living on my own in the city at the time (why I wound up moving back home with my parents after being on my own for 13 years is a tale for another day), and I'd pop out to the 'burbs on the weekend to see how the seniors were getting along, visit with my three siblings, etc. etc. blah. My oldest sister and I are movie buddies and of course we had to see "The Negotiator". I started feeling funky Friday night, but figured/hoped it was just wicked indigestion. Once the vomiting began, however, I knew after a years-long hiatus that an Attack was in full swing. Usually, if I chucked, things would calm down and I'd be feeling fine. However, hurlage was not doing the trick. (Sorry to bring up vomit - har - in a post about food, but I've got a strong stomach. Remind me one day to tell you about the Christmas Vomiting.) I went to the movies the next day and was still in pain...sat up most of the night, still in pain, and finally...I broke down and said, "take me to the E.friggin.R".

Long story longer, once the Demerol kicked in, life was so good. And the g-bladder stopped spasming. However, my very mysterious doctor whose name I can't recall was insistent it come out, which was fine by me because hey, time off work! He preferred to work at night, so I didn't go under the knife (rather, the laparoscope) until Monday evening. I remember really enjoying anesthesia a whole bunch. I liked how I couldn't mark the passage of time. A curtain dropped and then it came up and everything was all done. I was fascinated by the feeling of my organs shifting to fill the space left behind by my non-existent gallbladder. And I was delighted to have two full weeks off of work, despite only really needing one because by the end of the week, I felt like a million bucks. Ten years on, I still regret not milking that shit a little bit more. /tangent

ANYHOO. I <3 my workplace cafeteria because the selection is massive. You can have sandwiches made, salads whipped up, a full-metal salad bar containing two of my favoritest things: mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Ohhhhh, artichoke hearts. If I want a beef or a turkey burger, I can have it. And not just because they *make* it, because I am allowed a fucking cheeseburger and fries whenever the hell I fucking want it. If I'm in the mood for a salad, by gum, I am going to have a got-damned salad. It's not part of a "plan", I'm not counting friggin' Points, there's no exchanging, there's no guilt, there's no shame, there's just me making my choices to suit what my bod is telling me it wants. I wish we (the Royal Fat Acceptance We) could convince the masses sooner rather than later that holy fucking SHIT, food is good. That spinach is tasty as hell and so are those Nilla Cakesters (srsly--a nice sweet treat that can't be beat), to stop seeing eating as a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds three times a day (or when the hell ever) because the risk is so high that you might be...BAD. That nourishing ourselves is so totes superior to dieting ourselves.

I do have to bring down the room for a mo', though, because my body's pissed (yet adorably so, much like Jennifer Aniston) because I've been a slackhound in the activity department. I've been wrangling with a particularly shitty case of ennui the last few weeks (*cough*years*cough*), and trying to tend to my surly brain has superceded my trotting to the gym. It infuriates my logical side because my logical side screeches, "YOU FEEL SO MUCH BETTER BRAINALLY AFTER YOU WORK OUT, JACKASS", but my dumb-dumb far-too-sensitive-lately emotional bits just want to go home, curl up in bed, watch Animal Planet, sleep. I need (and I say that in a low, urgent voice, shaking my fist) to get back to the shiny gym and my strangely belov'd treadmill because I've got some songs on my iPod that are perfect for strutting on it. (And I need to recharge my freaking iPod because it's damn near spent, now that I write/think about it.) I'm going to Lollapalooza in a mere two and a half weeks and I have GOT to be on my game for flailing, jumping, and weird dancing/gesticulating to Rage Against the Machine and *happy, happy sigh* Nine Inch Nails.

I'll explain the weird dancing/gesticulating another time.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

My, it's...moist.

The greater Chicagoland area is in the throes of a typical summer day: hot and humid. The humidity is unruly, almost...evil in how it blankets everything and makes my upper lip sweat so uncontrollably. I mean, not to say that all of my sweat glands are concentrated in my upper lip so as to render it a fount that gushes forth endlessly as if I was a walking water feature. My sweating is equally distributed around my generous carcass. But it's annoying. Just constantly wiping my mouth on my sleeve like a six-year-old.

I had my hair cut last Saturday. The cut's fine, nothing terribly transcendent, not that I was looking for anything particularly transcendent this time around. Last time I got my hair cut was probably in January, and I took off a fuckton of hair to end up with a very short 'do. Then...I let it grow for about, um, seven months, and wound up sporting a faux mullet that was not doing anyone any favors. The thing that kind of amused me about my hour or so in the fancy-dance salon/spa -- well, before I get to that, let me just say there are few nicer feelings than having someone else wash your hair really, really well. The scalp massage action...ohhhhh yes. If I could have been drinking a Coke Slurpee while it was going on, I may have very well had a brief glimpse of Nirvana. Anyway, the thing that kind of amused me about my hour in the fancy-dance salon was the barely-disguised look of horror the stylist had when I explained to her that last time I was in, I'd gotten something akin to a pixie cut. Someone with my facial features (FAT) isn't supposed to have super-short hair, you know. I knew I would have to fight her to cut it that short, I really wasn't in the mood for a brawl (Saturday morning at 8 a.m. = not all right for fighting), and I'm ridiculously casual about my hair. So I let her do her "texturizing" and her "razoring" and whatever, knowing full well that all of the "product" she was foisting upon my coiff was going to get either combed or pushed out of my hair (as I'm always pushing my hair off my face with my hands). And it turned out fine, I'm pleased with it. I just have to pick up the box of dye at the Target and get it all one color again. Since I'm not monogamous with hairstylists, we'll see what the next person does...whenever I'm arsed to go to the fancy-dance salon again. I'm thinking...Christmas.

I have to say, I've always been pretty lucky with hairstylists. I had one woman I went to from third grade until I was in college that was always game to let me be goofy with my hair. Even if it sometimes resulted in the most tragic hairstyle ever recorded in my history:

Seriously, I look like a roadie for Def fucking Leppard. 1983 was the year I got tagged to start seeing a social worker (diet books and hand puppets FTW!)--is it any wonder I was moody? Thankfully, I swore off perms for the remainder of eternity not too long after that.

Then, I started swearing by Sebastian hairspray and backcombing because I was super into the Cure, dammit!

My routine for the vast majority of my senior year of high school was ratting the everloving fuck out of my hair every morning (I was shaved on the sides and the back), spraying as much CFC-loaded muck upon it as I could stand, and then, each night, combing it all out. My hairstylist loved having the opportunity to take the clippers to my head. She never lectured me about having a haircut that was "suitable" for my chubby funster (tm Ricky Gervais) self, she just listened to what I wanted and went to town. I was so grateful that she didn't give me shit and, really, my family didn't either. Well, whenever I went with a short cut in my younger days, my father was always quick to proclaim, "Be sure to wear earrings so you don't look like a guy!" Sorry, Pops. Even with the earrings and hair down to the middle of my back, I'd get mistaken for a guy.

The last seriously extreme hair I had was in 1994. I was living with a gay man who excelled at make-up and thought it would be super-cool if I went platinum blond. I wasn't sure it would be quite as super-cool, but I was a gamer and wanted to please him (augh, my Achilles' heel for eternity), so I went to the salon that he worked at and proceeded to platinum myself...which took FIVE HOURS (I had old dye still in my hair, so that had to be stripped out), burned the hell out of my scalp, and by the end of it, I would have welcomed death. However, I'm still fond of how it wound up looking:

Within two weeks, roots were already visible and there was no way in hell I was going to drop $50 (if not more) every couple of months to maintain the shit. Three months later, I was back to mousy brown if, for nothing else, to allow my scalp to simply REST...and weep silently from all the abuse it had suffered over the course of about five years.

Before I close out, here's a couple of things that are pleasing me.

*"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog": In the last two days, I have seen more blogs touting this...so of course, I must join in. The final act goes up at midnight eastern tonight (maybe? Details are not my forte). I have such a warm and lusty feeling for Nathan Fillion that seeing him play such a blowhard douchebag of a "hero" pleases me. And what more can be said about the myth, the man, the legend that is Neil Patrick Harris? I love that he managed to survive being "Doogie Howser" and is made of 100 percent grade A awesome. I'm not a huge Joss Whedon-head (though I powered through all seven seasons of "Buffy" after it went off the air and carry an eternal love for Anthony Stewart Head O.M.GGGGGGGGGGGGGG.), but I enjoy how damn smart his stuff can be. And "Dr. Horrible" is no exception. Some of the stuff he pulls out from who knows where, the subtle stuff, stuff that one might consider throwaway, pleases me so much. "Bad Horse - the thoroughbred of sin?"

"The Venture Brothers": Season Three is ridiculously loopy and I'm loving it. I love that adultswim.com puts up Sunday's episode on Friday-ish, and I love that it's a show that is made by two guys that aren't in their early twenties. It's made by two guys that are in MY PEER GROUP. That's a huge thing when you're staring down the barrel at 40 and have little to no patience for those who haven't cracked 25 yet. You know you've reached some sort of bizarro milestone when you realize that 18-year-olds can be kind of douchey and irritating because they think they know everything...and then you realize that oh sweet mother of God, you were that douchey at 18 as well and you thought "old" (you know, anyone over 30) people were stupid and were full of crap when they'd say things like "yeah, fighting about people's opinions on music or movies is pretty damn dumb and a waste of time" because there is NOTHING more important than telling someone their opinion about "The Dark Knight" is fucking weak sauce and that they truly don't understand the inner turmoil of Batman quite like you do.

I just happened to be a douchey 18-year-old that dressed like Robert Smith and douched out at the import record store every weekend, buying Inspiral Carpets records because I was going to be CUTTING EDGE with my love of the Manchester sound. Rolling Stone, Schmolling Stone! Poseurs. I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel ON THE INSIDE. And Andie should have picked Duckie! Blane was a TOOL!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Show me the way to go home.

It’s an unfortunate aspect of my personality that I think way, way, way too much about various things. I think about things that have been said to me, experiences that I’ve had (more often the missteps and humiliations than anything that’s pleasant), and I chew on it all like I’m chewing on my own cud consisting of bitterness and bafflement. It’s an irksome tendency because I feel like I’m being childish because so much of what I chew on revolves around my being alone. I feel ashamed because I should be dedicating that brainspace to something more…important, like issues in the FA movement or politics or philosophy or working on an actual creative writing-type project or any number of things, but instead I walk around in a state of almost perpetual irritation with the entirety of the universe because I just DON’T GET IT. I don’t get why I’m alone and I don’t get WHY I CAN’T STOP CARING ABOUT IT.

I bagged my match.com profile about a month and a half ago, because that was just dumb. Gave a fat-centric dating site a whirl, and that was even dopier. I actually pinged a guy and never got a response. So that certainly did wonders for the bountiful wonderland that is my stupid head. Today, I peeked at a place that someone had touted somewhere and I had to physically back away from the screen in a bit of horror, as it does not seem to be, uh, my kind of place (that is, a festival of people wanting “intimate relations” and that’s…about…it). The thing is, I know what I want. I also know that at the end of the day, I’m not about to change fuck-all about me. I am fat. I will not diet. I am plain. I rarely, if ever, wear make-up because I don’t like how I look in it. I dress like a fucking 14-year-old boy (well, one that occasionally does drag). I am smart, I am cynical, I am funny, and I will not play stupid in order to soothe someone’s ego. I would rather be alone for the next 40 years than compromise anything I believe in just so I can say “well, I had a boyfriend once upon a time”.


It is kind of a blow to the ego (and mine is decidedly healthy in certain areas, believe me) to think that-—rather, to pretty much KNOW-—I am nobody’s bag. I am not anyone’s idea of a good time, unless it’s within the realm of “wacky fat girl sidekick”. I am not the girl that gets the happy endings I used to write so fervently. I’m not walking out of the church to see Jake across the street, leaning up against his red Porsche. Edward Ferrars ain’t showing up at my door to FYI me that his heart is mine. Two words: MR. DARCY. (Sorry, I’ve been on a Jane Austen novel kick over the last few months. And my Colin Firth kick is eternal.) Not that I think life should be one gigantic romantic comedy/dramedy or that it’s any way to live a realistic life, but for CHRIST’S SAKE. Could I have at least ONE moment in my life? One moment with a male human person that, when I look back way too many years from now, I could nod and say, “hot shit, now that was something else”? I’ve done a lot of stuff in my time, stuff that was pretty cool, seen some amazing things. I know how to eat fire, for example. Okay, pull up a chair, it’s tangent time:

Back in...oh, let’s say, 1991, I was rather enthusiastic about Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame (as you can see here). One of Penn’s skills is fire-eating. Because I have a few synapses that tend to misfire, I decided I wanted to learn how to eat fire as well. Funny...it’s not something on which you can pick up a how-to book. Perhaps it’s due to that whole risk of burning your fucking face off thing. After much research that went nowhere, I resigned myself to the belief that I would never learn (short of becoming BFFs with Penn). Then, one day, a flier appeared on the bulletin board at my fine arts college from a guy who would teach juggling...and/OR HOW TO EAT FIRE. I was so mega-stoked. I called the cat, he happened to live in a suburb near mine, and I arranged to meet him at his house. He wore a very jaunty knitted beret and, of course, worked weekend at the renaissance faire in Wisconsin. Of course. For liability purposes, I can’t go into specifics regarding what I was taught (though I’m sure at this stage of the game, you can google “fire-eating” and get the general mechanics of it), but within an afternoon, I was eating fire. I was sticking fucking flaming torches into my mouth on purpose. I’ve got scars on the back of my right hand from learning the lesson that polyester doesn’t burn, it melts (kids, no matter how tempting, don’t practice eating fire in your bedroom). I mean, I’m sorry, not to toot my own, but that has to earn me some cool points, right? I can light a torch off my tongue!! Shouldn’t that entrance some male on some planet?? I just found this disclaimer on an old website somewhere, for Christ's sake--how does this NOT MAKE ME COOL?!?!

Fire Eating and particularly Fire-Breathing is possibly the most dangerous and potentially injurious art to be found in circus, theatre and street performing.

DAMN RIGHT! Sheesh. Anyway.

I do take pride in the fact that I’m independent, so much of the stuff I’ve done has been done on my own, completely self-sufficient, not needing anyone. So it riles me, it makes me downright scrappy, to be so immensely bothered by my state of being. I would like a list of things that are wrong with me so that I could work on them. Maybe I chew too loudly. That’s something I could actually improve. I’m kind of sucky with details. I tend to miss details in conversations so that when I have to report information back to someone, I blank out a bit unless I take copious notes. That’s something I could work on. A bit of a procrastinator, most certainly (as evidenced by how often I update this bleedin’ blog). You know, all sorts of things are probably wrong with me...THAT ARE WRONG WITH 99.9999 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION (except George Clooney. Or Colin Firth. NOTHING is wrong with either of them...especially when they are shirtless, and I will not have Clooney-Colin negativity here).

I want to not care that I’m alone. I want to not be irritated by the platitudes I mentioned in my far-too-willing-to-be-honest post (perhaps another failing of mine—my tendency to overshare). I want to get to the point where the thought of being the 35th wheel doesn’t make me take to my bed and cry for an hour and I can ably pretend that I’m having a good time while the couple-conversations whirl around me at a social event or wherever I happen to be. I want to feel like I’m not being ripped off.

Just one moment. Just one that makes my heart stop and tears come to my eyes...out of happiness. Just one.

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

When Miss Manners bans your ass, you know you're in trouble.

This letter in today's Miss Manners column was so chucklelicious I knew the second I read it there was no way I couldn't put fingers to keyboard. It's rare I come across something that puts a skip in my step--actually, not just a skip, but a full-metal skip, hop, and a half-twirl in this case because I get what the letter writer is trying to say, but hoo boy, it's just so...dammit, it's downright loopy. It's like the first sentence got my arm up in the air to give the writer an imaginary high-five, but as I continued on, my arm slowly fell back to my side with every subsequent bizarro conceit. Basically, the letter is a textual LOLcat of "UR doing it wrong".

I have to break it down because it's just that yummy.

Dieting in public is a serious etiquette problem in a society that has made saints of women who wear a size 2. Okay, all right, I'm with you. I mean, I can't quite tie it to an etiquette violation, per se, since the "if you're not dieting, it is YOU who is the ball-licker" attitude is so widespread that it's perfectly acceptable and considered quite normal to spend a dinner out with friends talking about all the food you aren't going to eat. While certainly the pressure is most high on women to adhere to an unattainable perfection, it's getting harder and harder for men to dodge the bullet, so dropping it all on women is fairly douchey. I also think "saints" is something of a push. The sainthood is temporary -- just ask anyone who's lost weight and gained it back and then some.

It is rude and offensive for a person to attend a joyous food-related outing and spoil the trip by ordering "a small salad." Well...I...um...I mean, salads are yummy, you know. Sometimes you feel like a nut (a steak) and sometimes you don't (a small salad).

Public dieting casts a pall of misery over any such occasion. Actually, let's shorten that a bit to simply dieting casts a pall of misery.

This is where the train completely derails in a massive fashion (and had me rolling):

If the dieter wants a diet soda, she should ask for it quietly, as though requesting something with which to take medication and have it poured into a glass to ensure that the nature of the drink is not obvious.

*whispers to waiter* "May I have a...:: narrows eyes and checks the perimeter :: diet pop, please?" I mean, seriously. Believe me, it makes my asshole close up when I hear or read things like "I ran five miles in 90-degree heat while wearing a sweatsuit in order to lose that last half a pound" or "I was SO BAD because I had three cookies" or "I can never eat _____ again!!!!!" But to get bent over someone ordering a diet pop? This person would clout me about the ears because 99.999 percent of the time, I'm only drinking diet pop because I just...do. Undoubtedly, I started fueling myself on it when I was 13 or 14 in some attempt to lose weight, but now, I like the taste of the shit. Every so often, I get a jones for a full-metal pop (or, in the case of Flesor's Candy Kitchen in Tuscola, Illinois, an old-school cherry Coke made with soda water and syrup and OH MY GOD IT IS AWESOME). Yes, many fatties drink the diet beverages as much as the dieting dieters of Dietonia do, so do have the decency to shut it.

If a person is on a super-restricted diet that requires she eat abnormally, she needs to stay home, instead of making everyone miserable.

Hear that, you diabetics/keepin' Kosher/observant Muslims/vegetarians?? STAY. THE EFF. HOME. Your insistence on eating abnormally is a BUZZKILL and making all of us MISERABLE. I'm so MISERABLE THAT I AM LEANING ON THE CAPSLOCK KEY WITH ALL MY MIGHT TO EXPRESS MY MISERY AT YOUR ABNORMAL NOT-EATING-OF-PORK-AND-WHATNOT DIETS.

Dieting is not something I do anymore. I don't cheerlead when people I know and often love (if they haven't crossed me) do on a frequent basis. They know that I am not the person who is going to rub their butts with praise when they've lost X amount of pounds. They also know that if we're out to breakfast/lunch/dinner and they start going on and on about what they "can" and "can't" eat or start the air-raid-siren whine about "feeling fat", they're going to get the John Belushi eyebrow of "Really?" from me. But the nature of the beast is that unless you're very lucky and you're at a table with like-minded FAers or you're with people who don't feel it necessary to inform the universe constantly that THEY ARE WATCHING THEIR FIGURES, you're going to be participating in social eating rituals with someone who is actively dieting--probably multiple people, in fact. And the odds are quite high that at some point, they will engage in diet yammer. In my way of thinking (which might not be yours, of course), if they don't comment on what I'm ingesting, I'm able to muddle through the evening. However, the second any sort of shade gets thrown at my particular meal choice, I simply have no other option than to be a vengeful, snotty child and order the most bodacious, luxurious dessert imaginable (think deep-fried cheesecake with whipped cream, hot fudge, and vanilla ice cream) and make the most rapturous yummy sounds I can manage while I lovingly spoon each morsel into my mouth. It's how my rolls roll.

I was at a wedding once where a person at the table was very pointed about making sure everyone at the table knew she was on a diet and that she was being VERY bad for eating pretty much anything off the scrumptious buffet. What made it even more appalling was how, as she was eating a slice of cake, she made sure the BRIDE was aware that she was breaking her diet to have that slice of cake. It's that sort of mania, among many other things, that helped seal my "I will never fucking diet again" belief. And what's so utterly sad is that that almost nobody at that table blinked an eye (my eye, on the other hand, was blinking like I'd just had a contact slip behind my eyeball). They praised her for her restraint. They assured her that a brisk walk or time on the treadmill would quickly take care of that sinful, terrible, life-taking buffet and cake. And whenever I see things like that or read stories along those lines from people who are so devoted that they flagellate themselves for having anything that isn't on their "plan", it only makes me more determined to be as vocal as I possibly can about HAES in the hopes that it might turn at least one head for even a millisecond.

Anyway, back to this very special episode of Miss Manners. The letter writer isn't done yet--he/she has to get in one last bit of snark before ten-fouring Miss Manners:

Perhaps she can join the group later for a concert or movie if she is not too weak to stay out past 8 p.m. Now that's just bitchy. Admittedly, I chortled a bit, but still. Miss Manners shuts the shit down with her version of "STFU", manages to wedge in a little tsk-tsk at dieters who would blow shit at someone for eating in a non-Weight Watchers fashion, and all ends firmly and yes, as ever, politely.

Letter Writer, there are so many awesome ways you could have gone with this. Instead, you came straight from Planet Bwuuuh?, and blew an opportunity to say something good and biting about the dieting culture. On the flip, however...thanks for putting a spring in my bloggy step.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm completely someone.

Interesting post over at Shapely Prose today. That Kate Harding always manages to ring my bell when I least expect it, particularly this quote:

So many of us go through our lives as fat people doing our very best to ignore our bodies entirely, to pretend they’re just not there, because thinking about these shameful vessels we live in is so painful. (Which is one reason why exercise can seem like such a daunting task when you’re new to it. It means actually acknowledging your body and inhabiting it, instead of keeping your mind — the good part of you — comfortably separate from its housing.)

I spent years disconnected from my body. Dialogue from the movie "Impromptu" starring Judy Davis and Hugh Grant summed up my attitude almost perfectly. Hugh Grant plays Chopin, who was reluctant to enter into a love affair with French writer George Sand (Judy Davis) primarily because he was chronically ill: "...my body is such a great disappointment to me, that I've already said goodbye to it, I'm... not really in it any more, I'm just... happier floating about in music. And if I should come back inside this miserable collection of bones, then I am afraid that it would probably collapse altogether." My primary interest was my brain and the development of it. It was my refuge from a world that I didn't feel a part of--to trot out yet ANOTHER quote, this time from the Beach Boys: "I just wasn't made for these times". My twenties were essentially spent writing screenplays and spending as much time inside my head as I possibly could because my head wasn't a disappointment to me. Of course, the kind of world inside my head was as Fantasy of Being Thin as you get. In my head, I was thin (or, at the very least, just merely "chubby", since it seemed like the chubby girls were able to get something of a pass, socially speaking), even though the main characters in my screenplays were always fat girls who managed to get The Guy. But they were never fat like me, they were Showbiz Fat, girls who were maybe, maybe clocking in at a double-digit size. They had "problem areas", but they certainly didn't have problem areas like me with my big belly and my wibwobbly thighs and stretch marks and varicose veins. Think America Ferrera or Kate Winslet or Toni Collette (in "Muriel's Wedding"). It was utterly inconceivable to me that a girl that looked like me could ever, EVER get The Guy, so I certainly wasn't going to write that way. I felt I was doing my part simply making it clear that the lead female wasn't a cookie-cutter starlet.

As I've gotten older and become more invested in fat acceptance and the amount of kick-ass shit my body is capable of, it's now my brain that's developed problem areas. It's almost like my brain's a bit pissed off that I've stopped spending as much time inside of it. So every time I make some sort of a step forward in my own personal affection toward myself, the brain is determined to amp up the voice that tells me how completely stupid I am for thinking I'm worth anything. Basically, my brain is the most poorly-trained yappy dog you can imagine, and no amount of scolding shuts the fucker up. Like I'm wearing a Pomeranian as a hat and I can never take it off. What makes it super-frustrating is that there's a significant portion of my brain that has remained cool and Spock-logical and tells me when the more irrational, Goofy Spock-illogical portion is kicking in to not listen to Goofy Spock because Goofy Spock is just that: goofy. However, when so much shit in the media and entertainment and life in general is parroting exactly what Goofy Spock is hissing, it's nigh impossible to resist sliding back into my old ways and my old hatred. When you put up dating profiles on various sites and don't get a bite...yeah, a little difficult to hitch up oneself by the bootstraps and be all "YAY ME!" Or seeing people that are appalling winding up in happy relationships...not exactly something to inspire one to whip out the pom-poms (not to be confused with the Pomeranian Hat) and jump around screaming "J-A-N-E YOU ARE FAB AND OVER 30!!!!"

(If you're thinking I'm inordinately focused on relationships and love, why, you would be correct. It's a consistent pain point and has been since I figured out that boys didn't actually have cooties. Though they all seem to think I still do.)

But divorcing my body from my brain, despite all the hiccups, doesn't make me whole and it doesn't make me happy. It simply makes me unbalanced. I'm not fully present. I spent so much time not being present in the interest of avoiding being hurt that I managed to miss out on a lot of things, a lot of opportunities. Trying to avoid being hurt didn't stop me from being hurt. I may not have been getting hurt by unrequited love, but I was getting hurt by any number of other things, whether it was failing to make a living by writing or performing or even having the gumption to try; or failing to avoid having to move back home with my parents at 33. My head is still trying to learn that my body isn't simply here to be a hindrance or a hairshirt. It can be a source of strength, strength that my head may not have at any given time. It can be a source of pride. It can be a canvas. It can be any number of things I can imagine--but instead of keeping it inside my head, it needs to stop hiding. I need to stop hiding.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Girlish notions.

I am changing my name to Satin. Or Cashmere. Or something as sumptuous because right now I'm feeling a powerful love for Velvet D'Amour, whom many of you might recognize from her doing the catwalk in a Jean-Paul Gaultier show not too too terribly long ago. POWERFUL love.

What kind of stunned me was that Jezebel.com, of all places, is running an article about Velvet today and, so far, the comments haven't devolved into a wanky crapfest about the obesity epidemic and how she must be screamingly unhealthy and OMG WTF ZOMG THE CHILDREN!!!!. And dammit, my much younger self wishes she knew how on earth Velvet managed to keep those thigh-highs up because I know I couldn't do it back when I was in my "I must buy enormous amounts of lingerie even though I'm the only one seeing it" period. It wasn't unusual for me to find one or both of my thigh-highs pooled around my ankles if I walked more than 40 feet. I don't remember if I ever wore them with skirts. There was a sad, sad moment in time where jumpsuits (I think they were called jumpsuits) made a semi-comeback in the early 90's, and...yeah, I had two of them. Looking back at pictures of me in them...ohhhhhhhh no. No, no, noooooooooo. Imagine the scene from the end of "Revenge of the Sith" when Vader does the NOOOOOOOOOOOOO and that's me looking back at photos of me on my 21st birthday, having dinner with the family at Rosebud. Hurtful.

But I digress. I run hot and cold with Jezebel. Sometimes, the articles and analysis is spot on, and other times...my teeth are practically worn down to nubs from all the gritting and gnashing I do. I feel like there's a lot of talking out of both sides of the Jezebel mouth on a variety of subjects. Whenever a fat-related article gets posted, Katie bar the door because nine times out of ten, the Internet Scientists come roaring in with their factoids about killer fat and diabetes and the same old song and dance within 10 posts. Some commenters do their best to provide an alternate view, but we all know how well that works out.

And there are other subjects where all I can do is scratch my head and kind of go "huh" because I can't relate to it at all. There are times where I feel downright alien when observing online conversations both in the Fatosphere and other woman-centric places. The Rotund wrote an amazing piece recently talking about a shopping trip she had in Brooklyn with other members of the FA community and while I dug it on the level where I love stories about women bonding hardcore, I was simultaneously kind of "whuh?" because clothes and shopping and that sort of thing hasn't been my bag in years. I can put together an Outfit with a capital O if I have to and every so often, I'll put on the dog, but in general...I will do whatever it takes to avoid it. It's kind of a drag because a part of me feels like I'm missing out in some way or I imagine myself in that situation and think, "oh jeez, I might have been a massive buzzkill because I'm not a shopper and not a dresser-upper anymore". Although, I have an odd knack for helping others put together outfits, so who knows. I flirt with the idea of trying out a life where I get snazzy every day and see what the reaction would be, and then I get very very tired at the thought of putting on make-up and arranging my hair and wearing clothes that I wouldn't be that comfortable in. But then I see pictures of Velvet or other Fatshionistas and think "fwaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrr, they look so foxy"...and something in my head goes *ping* and I feel the itch to go back to the days where I would do it up every day in my own special way. And then I feel tired again and consider laying down for a quick snooze.

Perhaps my primary lack of interest in clothing and whatnot springs from feeling like even if I *did* engage in jazzin' it up, I'd look stupid and *not* cute. I had an odd moment of that a couple of months ago, where I wore a skirt. My main reason for wearing it was that I'd run out of clean clothes on a two-week-long overseas trip, but I do like to bust out a skirt every so often because I enjoy my gams. The person who picked me up at the airport is almost professionally sarcastic, and our relationship is one based on an odd combination of mutual admiration, true affection and a driving need to be almost brutally evil to each other. He smoked on up to me and said, "a SKIRT?!" in a tone that one part of my brain acknowledged was just him being himself and giving me guff*, but then the other part of my brain that we'll call The Paranoid and Insecure Sector completely went :( and immediately instructed the remainder of my brain that I, indeed, looked quite ridiculous in a skirt that dared to hit above the knee (and has adorable little faux mirrors stitched into the hem that I got at Lane Bryant a lifetime ago and I will never give up because I <3 it). Now, keep in mind I willingly wore jumpsuits with massive floral patterns on them for far too long, so clearly I'm not all that worried about what other people think of what I wear or how I look.

But I'm not quite the same person I was when I was trotting about town in floral jumpsuits or a half-shaved head or big-ass snake earrings. Years of the world screeching "NO BAD WRONG" at you will do that to a girl. Now the challenge is trying to reclaim that person. Just...without...the jumpsuits.

*Note: some two months later, my friend told me that I had, indeed, looked good in that skirt. And then when I explained to him how I felt and it was going into my blog for all the Fatosphere to see, he apologized profusely and begged forgiveness and sent me a present. OH WAIT HE HASN'T...YET.
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