Saturday, October 31, 2009

This is who I am.

You know, I was all souped up to write a blog today that was full of anger at myself because I went clothes shopping and I was horrified at what I saw in the mirror. I was horrified at the shape my body’s in – the literal shape of it. I’m not the hourglassy big-boobed, big-assed fat girl with curves that go kablam, I’m the deathfat small boobed, big-bellied, backfatted flat-assed fat girl with curves that go in all the wrong ways. I was horrified as the clerk at the Lane folded my new pants and I swear they sounded like a truck stop gigantor American flag that is the size of a football field unfurling. It didn’t help matters that I was shopping with my inbetweenie sister who was able to buy all sorts of cute things and all the while bitching about what a fat hog she was.

Things didn’t improve when I got home and went to a message board and read posts filled with hate and disdain for people like me, people fat like me, people that purport to be my friend or friendly with me spewing this hate and disdain but would be the first to screech, “But I don’t mean youuuuu!” And the hate and disdain was just so fucking casual, so infuriatingly breezy, because me and others like me are subhuman, barely worth the oxygen we inhale, barely worth the space we take up unless we proclaim that we are “trying” and we’re so very sorry for sullying your view and we promise that one day, we’ll be thin, honest. But they don’t mean me, they never mean me, except when they mean me and shake their heads at how unhealthy I must be and how miserable I must be and how I’d be such a better person if I just wasn’t know.

And I bought it all for a while, I was deep inside my head and going through all the familiar rigmarole of what I “needed” to do to “get back on the horse” and “exert some self-control”. Then I took a wander over to Jezebel and read this article and naturally, this paragraph leapt out, grabbed me by the shoulders, and gave me a good shake:

Large women are a lot like killer whales. Desperate for attention, consume massive amounts of raw fish, and need to be taught right from wrong on a pretty regular basis. By sleeping with a chubby gal who thinks that her double D breasts are, in any way, attractive is just fooling herself. If breasts, regardless of size, are propped up by a sumo-sized stomach, it doesn't count as sexy and by looking at them you're just re-enforcing bad behavior. Do you want to be part of the problem? Or part of the solution to try to get fat girls off of the streets and on a one way sewage barge to Australia.

The hate’s kind of breathtaking, isn’t it? And it’s hate that’s acceptable, appropriate, and oh so hiiiilarious because we’re subhuman, remember? Thing is, it’s not having the effect the epic, epic pile of excrement was hoping for. This sort of loathsome nonsense, coupled with the loathsome half-truths vomited out by the ill-informed only fuels my fire, it only makes me work harder, and be more determined that I will not accept that I am only as worthy as my size will allow. I will work as long as I have to so people aren’t consumed with self-hate like I was, like so many of us were, like so many of us still are, burning years of our lives swearing it’ll be better, different, do-able the second we’re thin, pretty/handsome, perfect.

I’m sure I’m repeating myself – I’d wager that I’ve said a variation on this a good...bazillionty times since the inception of this blog. I’ll repeat this message until I fall over dead because it’s a message that needs to be screamed on an endless loop, screamed into a din that is at the volume of jet engines, and maybe I’ll lose my voice before I make any significant dent in the utter insanity that is gripping our society. But I will continue writing what I write and saying what I say and believing what I believe because I don’t think I have a choice in the matter.

Read more on this article...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Off Topic: Some 20 years.

I am a nerdular fan of Nine Inch Nails. Very nerdular. NIN is a band that I was down with from the very beginning – the beginning which happens to be 20 years ago today, the 20th anniversary of the release of NIN’s debut record, “Pretty Hate Machine”. It rapidly became the soundtrack of the latter half of my junior year and a goodly part of my senior year of high school (alongside “Disintegration” by the Cure, of course) because I was extremely, extremely angry at that point in time.

I was in a massively fucked up unrequited love sort of situation that picked at my self esteem and picked at my wobbly brain chemistry and picked at my ego (which was shockingly enormous, based on journal entries from that general time period and my own recollection). The object of my affection, which doubled as my best friend, knew how I felt and exploited it time and time again, humiliating me and coloring my relationships for years. At one point, I considered suicide. What saved me was I wanted to see what kind of awards I would get at the end of my senior year for all the activities I was involved in. Once that was done, I swore, I would end it all. My ego saved my life, which is why I stroke it so lovingly to this day. After yet another humiliating event that I can’t bring myself to go into at the present time, I finally dismissed him out of my life with a phone call that I ended with “I can’t see you anymore”. Click, done, over, free.

But it wasn’t over, not really – the jerkwad douchebag dungfuck assholes that we encounter in our lives may eventually exit our lives, but they always leave a trace, a hint of stink. And his scent lingered over me for a very, very long time. I spent most my twenties in a fairly solitary state, living alone in the city of Chicago and going to work, renting movies, smoking cigarettes, venturing into the suburbs on the weekends to see my family and my couple of friends that lived out there as well. I wrote screenplays and would send unsolicited manuscripts of “The X-Files” out to Fox (I did manage to get a couple episodes to the reader stage), but for the most part, I kept to myself because I had learned that to be vulnerable, to be honest, to be an open book was asking to be terrorized, mocked, and humiliated. I was incredibly lonely. I watched my friends couple up, get married, and well-meaning friends would always say, “I don’t understand why you don’t have anyone”. Well, I did. I mean, problem number one: I never went out of my apartment! Problem number two: I was convinced that me fat = hideous horrible awful ugly disgusting smelly rotten poopy. My personality in general was (and is) kind of a hard sell, so to couple it with a body that didn’t look the way I wanted it to look? Oh, hell no and then some. Of course I was dieting through all of this mishmosh. On and off and on and off and lose and gain and lose and gain. Let me tell you, I was a pile of sunshine and delight.

But somehow – I couldn’t tell you how because at 37, I’m finding it very hard to remember the details of anything that happened before 34 or 35 - I emerged out of my twenties fairly intact and discovering the world again via the internet, of all things. I started being social again with folks both online and off. My urge to diet dialed back, though I hadn’t quite seized onto the concept of fat acceptance yet. I was approaching some semblance of peace. Not contentment, mind you, that is something that eludes me somewhat, though I can feel it nearing, but a peace with myself, a self that I beat the shit out of for so many years because of the actions of one single jerkwad douchebag dungfuck asshole. Not that I completely stopped beating the shit out of myself, oh no no no. I still take a swing every now and then. I was feeling good, feeling confident, doing my thing. Then, one day, while out in the suburbs visiting the family, I went into a grocery store while my dad and sister waited in the car at the curb. I was walking down an aisle when I spied the jerkwad douchebag dungfuck asshole and his wife and their kid. I’ve experienced many things in my life, but I had never felt the kind of utter fright and terror I did when I saw them. I hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years or more and as I started to shake, I knew there was no way in hell that this day was going to be the day I’d break that streak. The item I’d been sent in to find wasn’t something that was difficult to find (we’re talking, like, a loaf of bread), but I couldn’t find it and I ran out of the store and climbed into the car, still shaking and begging my dad to drive away as fast as he could.

Later, I berated myself for having such a reaction. I should have marched straight up to him and been cooler than cool (ice cold). I should have made up an exotic boyfriend to show him that he hadn’t destroyed my ability to connect romantically with someone! I should have should have should have ohhhhhhh for God’s sake, I did the right thing running out of the store like I did because my brain knew I needed to protect myself. I had a ways to go, but a few years later when I got a MySpace message from him telling me that he figured I was the kind of girl who would let bygones be bygones, I wasn’t a gelatinous sobbing mess for the next few days. I muttered, “oh, go fuck yourself” and clicked “delete”.

When I think about the me that was 20 years ago, I’m occasionally shocked that I survived because I have a long memory for my excruciating miseries and missteps, so much of which was accompanied by Nine Inch Nails. The electronic cacophony and driving guitars and the rage that Trent Reznor wrote and sang about served as a comfort for me because NIN was the first band that really, really got the roiling, unsettled landscape that was my brain and my heart and gave it a sound and gave me the opportunity to scream it out, exorcise it. Earlier this year, Trent announced that NIN would be playing its final shows for a very, very, very long time (if not the last time) and I managed to get a ticket for one of the Chicago shows. My life is quite different than when I first listened to “Pretty Hate Machine” – hell, it’s different than when I first listened to “The Slip” in 2008. Instead of the show serving as a way for me to vent all the unhappiness that was filling me up, I had the chance to celebrate myself and the fact that I have survived. As Trent says in “Hurt”, “I am still right here”. I may never be able to explain precisely how I managed it, but goddamn am I grateful I did.

Read more on this article...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not so much fluffy as just plain fat.

I would like to be able to whip out a merry tra-la-la kind of post, but I’ve got things gnawing at me like they tend to do. They’re just small things, the kind of innocuous, little things that I tend to write about – you could call it my “small stuff-ing it”, I suppose. I’ve noticed that more often than not, it’s the small stuff that gets stuck and chews and grates on me, while bigger stuff seems eminently easier to handle, easier to process. And when I say it gnaws and chews and grates, it’s more that they’re things that make me clench my fists and swear quite vigorously and write e-mails that have many words in capital letters...and then I’m playing Peggle and being entranced by rainbows and unicorns (literally).

But goddamn, it pisses me off when I’m watching a favorite show or reading a blog or something from someone I enjoy and they whip out a fucking fat joke or go on a bitch about fat people.

Case in point, “Dirty Jobs” on Discovery. Hoo boy, do I enjoy that show a bunch. I enjoy Mike Rowe. I enjoy his humor (mostly) and how he doesn’t treat the folks he’s working alongside like they’re dummies or somehow “beneath” because they’re doing jobs that others would say they’re simply too “good” to do. I enjoy Mike Rowe when he’s shirtless. But I did not enjoy it on this week’s episode when Mike trotted out the old har-dee-har-har, “dating a fat girl is like riding a moped – it’s a lot of fun, but you don’t want anyone to see you doing it”. Oh dear, what a...kneeslapper? See, when I was younger, I did what a lot of fat people tend to do – we do the whole “oh, I’m going to insult myself first before anyone else does” when we’re in social situations. We launch the volley of fat jokes and self-deprecating remarks just so you can be assured that:

a) we know we’re fat
b) we know you’re disgusted by us
c) we’ll do our darnedest to entertain you so you don’t rip on us too hard once this social interaction has come to a close

And, in grand fat tradition, if someone makes some sort of fat joke, it behooves us to find it just as funny as everyone else because – all together now – ”I DON’T MEAN YOU”. (I wish I could insert a grand, operatic “TA DA!!!!!!” right now.) I swear to Christ, that’s one of those phrases, along with “you have such a pretty face” and “I only like you as a friend” that if I had a buck for every time I’ve heard it, I would be writing this from my ultra-cool underground lair that would be heated appropriately because HI SUBURBAN CHICAGO, I AM NOT READY FOR THE CRAZYCOLD YET. Uh, sorry, I digress, mainly because I’ve had to stop and blow warm air on my hands.

They don’t mean you, they don’t mean us, because we’re their friends, their sidekicks, their loyal pals, the ones who listen to all their bullshit and then flee the moment we might want to have a moment to discuss what’s going on in our lives. Okay, I might be spinning things a bit bitterly. And I should say to all of my friends who read this, I...uh, don’t mean you. But you feel me, readers. Because I would venture to say more of us than not have had that awkward moment where someone we’d tag as being a dear friend or a beloved family member spews out a fat joke or rattles off some sort of casual fat loathing/expression of disgust for fat people and we either half-heartedly chuckle or just stare in horror at them. And when it comes on the heels of maybe feeling like said friend or family member might not be quite so reciprocatey when it comes in the General Support Department...I’ve felt a lot of feelings in my life (that may be the most awful sentence I’ve ever typed, but roll with me), but few things feel worse than when someone you trust basically lets you know they think you’re a horrific piece of shit, someone – hell, something - worth only mockery and derision.

“But Jane,” you might say, “they’re not talking about you, remember? They don’t mean you!” The problem with the whole “I don’t mean you” thing is that it’s an excuse – it’s an excuse along the lines of “but one of my best friends is ____!” It’s not necessarily a conscious decision on the speaker’s part – I’d wager that if Friend Z tells a fat joke, zie’s not thinking in zie’s head, “I am going to tell a fat joke just so I can make Jane feel like shit and THEN I’m totes going to tell her that I don’t mean her!”. Mike Rowe didn’t bust out the “fat girl/moped” gag thinking about the fat women he might piss off. If he has fat women that are close to him in his life, I suspect “I don’t mean you” would come flying out of his mouth at the speed of sound if he dropped that joke and got a less-than-enthusiastic response. But what the ultimate problem is is that at the end of the day, kids, you do mean us. We fats that you insist you adore, etc. are part of that pulsating, terrifying amalgamation of deadly obesity that you’re told almost every single day is responsible for just about every ill in the world, that you mock, that you hate, that anger you for existing. So when you break out the hilarious fat gags or you’re propped up on your soapbox about that lazy lardass you saw at the grocery store whose cart was filled with nothing but what you would consider “junk food”, the message you’re sending to your fat friends is, essentially, “ew on you”.

Yes, my astonishingly deep summation is “ew on you”. I can’t spin gold 100 percent of the time.

As for the instinctive response of the fat person to sputter out a collection of self-deprecating, self-insulting fat jokes, it’s amazing to me how it makes me have such a visceral reaction, particularly when it comes out of nowhere. I used to be the Queen of the self-deprecation action, but now that I don’t think it’s particularly cricket to hate myself or for anyone else to hate me or for anyone to hate themselves, it puts me right over the edge when I see it*. I challenge those of us amongst us who still fall into that reflexive position to take a 24-hour (or however long you wish) break from doing it. Just give it a whirl, even if someone serves up a “perfect” opportunity for you.

*You may be at a different point in your FA journey than me, so do take what I talk about with whatever size grain of salt you wish. Hell, as big as a salt lick for a deer if need be. Your trip will take as much time as it takes.

Read more on this article...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Subway, eat crap.

Subway is at it again, shaming those of us who are audacious enough to choose the dreaded “fast food” instead of the allegedly nutrient-packed Subway products. In the commercial I saw this evening whilst immersed in a “Mythbusters” marathon (ostensibly in preparation for the new season’s debut on Wednesday OMG CAN’T WAIT) featured a couple of fellows taking a lunch break while working in a warehouse. As one average-looking fellow was presented with his greasy bag of Satan, a voice-over intoned (and I will be forced to paraphrase because doing a Google search only caused me to crawl into the liquor cabinet), “Here’s your bag of opposite sex repellent”; then, of course, there’s the token fat guy who doesn’t know he’s fat, HAR HAR getting his bag of “the 'I’m not fat, I’m husky special'”.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Subway, the hilarity, it just burns!

Look, I’ve bitched about you before, Subway, and the bottom line is, I will never, ever patronize your establishments if my options are eating shit that is sugar-coated or eating one of your dreadful fucking subs. You started going straight to hell when you eliminated the wacky cut and topping subs with the resulting strippy bit of bread, and you sealed your fate the second you latched onto the magical tale of Jared and the Subway Diet. Your product is about as appetizing to me as stale turds in a punch bowl, and the angle your silly-ass advertising team takes even less so.

Plus, your stores have a funny smell. I don’t like you. Go away.

As for fat being an “opposite sex repellent”, I think all of those in The Museum of Fat Love would disagree with you.

Read more on this article...