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: " 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, 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 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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Monday, June 2, 2008

Hey Subway!

No no, don't eat fresh, Subway. EAT ME. They have a new ad now that's targeting fat panic at men, where if you don't eat Subway Jared-style and dare to have *gasp* a burger and fries, the following is going to happen to you:

*you'll have to wear the dreaded "fat pants"
*you'll need a seatbelt extender
*you'll have to wear bigger clothes
*you'll have to read diet books
*you'll have to get a gym membership
*you'll have to wear more deodorant (because after all, FAT PEOPLE SWEAT MORE--in fact, we sweat so uncontrollably we walk through life looking like Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News" when he gets his shot at the weekend anchor desk and suffers a massive attack of the flop sweats)
*you'll be more paranoid
*you'll need a therapist

Not for nothing, but having a gym membership in and of itself isn't a bad thing. I have a gym membership at a very swank and shiny gym where the emphasis isn't on health but on how to look better naked. Despite the completely fucking ridiculousness of that whole concept, the folks that work there are nice and I've never experienced any static from other gym members about Ole Fattie hopping on the treadmills or whatnot.

I would also venture to say that if you have a burger and fries when the mood strikes you, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SUDDENLY BALLOON UP 50 POUNDS. Having a piece of cheesecake does not result in an instant weight gain of 10 pounds. Your heart isn't going to stop, your head isn't going to explode.

As for being fat making you paranoid...well, how ridiculous. Certainly, we've all learned that being fat in society is downright beloved. It's not as if there are stories every day about how if you're fat, you're a lazy sack; or fat people being portrayed in movies and TV shows as gluttonous hogs trying to devour the world; or wank-filled brawls in internet communities about the evildoings of fat people. It's not unusual for me to be walking down the street and suddenly, someone stops me to hug me to let me know how much my being fat is embraced and adored.


And as we all know, if you're thin, there's absolutely no need for therapy or any sort of psychiatric assistance. Thin people are never depressed. It's true.

Look, Subway, I dialed out on eating your shit when Jared was trotted out, and the more you've gone the way of fat-panicking the nation into buying your decidedly weak-ass subs, the more I'm determined to mock the hell out of you. Seriously. You'll need to buy more deodorant??


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