Archive for April, 2008

30
Apr
08

My Raison D’Etre

WARNING! THIS PIECE MAY BE POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING. PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION.

I’m not the average girl from your video

It didn’t take me long to realize I wasn’t quite like the other kids. While other 4 and 5 year olds were blissfully riding bikes, catching frogs, and playing in mud puddles, I was holed up in my grandmother’s house reading. Ok, well, I did enjoy the occasional mud puddle, but if there was a book about mud puddles? Damn the actual puddle! Let’s go and see if someone was gonna go on a journey inside of one in my book.

This love for the written word became my crutch in later years. When I didn’t think that folks would love the rest of me: with my fat body, bad skin, glasses, and crooked teeth–I leaned on my intelligence. If nothing else, I figured, I’d at least have study partners. And maybe one could look past my flaws and be my friend. And they were, except it wasn’t my brain that brought them to me. It was my personality, which, despite my low self-esteem, I had a bit of. Except I wasn’t ready to understand that just yet.

And I ain’t built like a supermodel

Even though I knew that I was a pretty smart child, I didn’t realize how much emphasis people put on looks. That is, I never noticed until my first stepfather. One year, for my birthday, I came home from school to a treadmill in the kitchen. “Now that I’ve bought this,” he intoned, “you’re gonna run on this thing for 30 minutes a day, every day. No exceptions. You’re fat, and we need to stop it now before it becomes an issue.”

I’d just turned seven.

Once my mother realized what my stepfather had been saying to me (and he’d been saying the same things to her, but for cripe’s sake! a child doesn’t deserve that!) she left him. As I’d never liked him (but I never said a word because I wanted her to be happy, which she was at the time) I was ecstatic. But his ugly words wormed their way into my psyche and laid eggs. Once the larvae of self-doubt were born, I had an infestation of horrid thoughts about myself like you wouldn’t believe. My mother noticed, and tried her best to show me that no matter what the size I was beautiful. On a weekly basis, she’d bring home clippings and articles about plus-sized models and let me know that I had the ability to grace a runway or a magazine cover, no matter WHAT anyone had to say about it.

And I wanted to believe her. But since the kids at school all said otherwise, well, my mother’s voice was lost amidst all the negativity. It was like trying to hear someone shouting across Grand Central Station during rush hour: impossible. But I hid behind my books: Alice Walker never made me cry because of my looks. But I tried to rebel: I dressed as fashionably as I could afford. This, naturally just make the teasing worse. Who the hell do I think I am? I don’t get to have style. I should simply wear whatever makes me fade into the background. I stuck with that mentality until my freshman year of high school, when I adopted the sweats and tees uniform. Now, I don’t knock ANYONE who lives in sweats and tees. In fact, I envy you, cause sweats and tees are mad comfy. But I’m sure most of y’all live in sweats and tees because you WANT to, and not because you wanted to become invisible, as I did. And for the most part, it worked. I was bothered only for folks who wanted me to do their homework or let them copy a test. And for the right price, I obliged.

Hey. I had to benefit from this some kind of way, you know?

But I learned to love myself unconditionally

The summer after I graduated high school, I hunkered down to do diet number 34872687586586. Now, by this time, I’d secured my arrogant personality, gotten into several colleges, earned several scholarships, lost my virginity, gotten braces and contacts, and gotten a new stepfather who loves me as his own daughter. But see, I was still lacking.

I was still fat.

So, hell bent on ridding myself of the final scourge that stood between me and perfection, I began working out daily, restricting my diet, and regarding all things fatty, sugary, and generally delicious as evil. And it “worked”. I lost 15 pounds before my freshman year of college. My family congratulated me, but warned me about the evil freshman 15.

They didn’t have to worry. By spring semester, I’d lost another 16 pounds. Only eating one plate of food for lunch and dinner, no breakfast, limited snacks, and deliberately walking massive hills in 90+ degree weather will do that to you. When I went home for winter break, my family was excited. “Girl, you keep this up, and you’ll get you a man in no time!” Heh. They still thought I was a virgin. I was single by choice, having adopted a “free love” lifestyle. Getting men was no problem. But I still had to lose weight, cause otherwise I wasn’t gonna be able to keep one.

It wasn’t true. Before I graduated college, I’d been engaged (we broke it off) and had numerous boyfriends. The relationships ended for various reasons, but my weight had nothing to do with it. Yet I still wasn’t ready to believe it. By the time I ended up back home with mom, I’d gained all the weight back. I still felt pretty, but clearly fat is unhealthy, so I had to do something about it. So, one day, I ended up on Elastic Waist looking for workout playlists so I could get on the evil elliptical machine, and I came across Kate Harding’s blog.

I read. And read. And read more. And the more I clicked through the Fatosphere I realized: these folks are talking about me. I am the way I am because it’s how I’m destined to be. Yes, I gained my weight back, but it isn’t a moral failure. I’m not some terrible, awful person.

And then, I was ready.

Because I am a queen.

It’s been a journey, y’all. Although it hasn’t been a year that I became enlightened, more and more each day I find different things to investigate and inform myself of. I’m learning how to listen to what my body wants to eat despite what my annoying diet-brain THINKS I should be eating. And to help solidify what I believe and practice, I started this blog. Sometimes the going gets tough. Sometimes I feel accused of things that I feel are untrue. But I push on. I continue to learn, and I hope to help teach others as well as being taught. I finally accept my crown that’s been carved for me since birth. Numerous times that crown has been offered, and I shoved it aside because I didn’t feel worthy. Now I do, and I wear it with pride. Each lesson I learn is a new jewel to place in the points. I know countless others have been shoving their crowns aside as well. I’m hoping that what I write here helps folks to place their crowns on their head and strut because they know they deserve it.

This is why I blog. This is why I’m here. And even when the going gets rough, I’m gonna stay here until I feel my purpose is served.

The lyrics in italics are from India.Arie’s song “Video”.

26
Apr
08

Saturday Swag: I Got Some New Threads, Y’all!

Alright. Let’s lighten up the mood around here. I wanna show y’all what I got from Old Navy and Target!

Yeah. I have an attitude with Old Navy taking their plus-size line out of the stores. As their stuff fits differently on me than say, Lane Bryant or Ashley Stewart, I usually need to try their things on before purchasing. As that’s no longer possible, I have to make a reasonable guesstimate using my measurements and the size chart. The good thing is that if I need to return or exchange anything, the shipping is free. If I just need to exchange, I can call Old Navy, and they’ll send a new size immediately. Then all I have to worry about is sending the too large/small merchandise back. Perfect? No, but I do give them kudos for at least making the process slightly better.

Although if they put the line back in the stores, that’d be even better. But I digress.

So, I had a free shipping code email earlier this week (code: SHIP4FREE), so I figured I’d scoop some pretty warm weather stuff, since I have friends I need to visit (IntellectualFeminist and BuddingStarlet, I’m talkin’ to y’all!) So, here’s what I got:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knotted Halter Dress 

This glorious little sundress is super comfortable, soft, and pretty. It has a very flowy feel to it, and is easily dressed up with heels or down with cute flats. Now for the sizing: I got a 3x to try and accommodate my hips and bum, but that actually wasn’t needed. The halter back (elasticised for comfort) is way too loose, so I’ll have to scale back to a 2x, and my bum o’ doom will be perfectly fine in it. Length: I’m about 5’7, and it hit about an inch or 2 below my knee. It’ll probably be a complete inch shorter when I get the 2x, so the length is perfect for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Halter Tanks 

Now, this halter is made of the same fabric as the dress, I think. It is also quite comfortable and flattering. When you put the top on, it’s gonna be a bit fitted (much like the pic up there), but it isn’t so tight as to bind. Now, I picked mine up in a 3x, anticipating the fitted form, but it too is way too big on me. The 2x will fit fine, and it won’t be restricting (even though I can tell its fitted in the larger size, there’s plenty of wiggle room.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low-Rise Twill Bermudas

Now, I usually hate anything called a short, because my bum alters the fit. As my waist is considerably smaller than my hips, I have to fit the shorts to my hips and wear a belt, unless the material is stretchy. (Have I ever told y’all I want to smooch the folks responsible for Lycra and Spandex? Cause that stuff rawks, yo.) So, even though I usualy wear a 24, I bought these in a 26. Now, there’s about 2% spandex in these, but the hips would have been tighter than I like. And these fit hips and bum perfectly…and the waist is loose. No matter, I have a wide collection of belts to pair up with them. And they’re so cute and comfy!

All in all, even though my sizing was off, it’s a pretty good haul. Now, on to the cute little Target skirt I got:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merona Novelty Print Skirt–Aqua

Nope, those aren’t my legs up there. But she is wearing my skirt! 🙂 Now, I didn’t pay the price listed online for this skirt ($19.99). I paid 14.99 in the store (it’s on clearance). I also had to get this one in a 26 for the hips, and it fits perfectly (there’s no stretch in this material at all. It’s all cotton.) But the length is perfect (grazes my knees) and it’s comfy and cute all at once. And I live for comfy and cute.

Shopping is full of win, especially at relatively good prices. Now, since I celebrate my 23rd birthday next Wednesday, and payday is Friday, I’ll probably be doing another one of these posts very soon. It’ll probably be shoes and smell-good stuff.

Did any of y’all get something fabulous you want to tell us about? Come on, go ahead and brag! (Linkies are welcome..if the spamtrap thinks it a delicious snack, I’ll fish it out.) And it’s not restricted to clothes. Did you get a new book, or your lil’ munchkin brought you a flower from the yard? Let us know!

And y’all have a great weekend!

24
Apr
08

Some Folks Just Don’t Get It

Commenter Staci had a couple of things to say about my post about eating what one wants. Here’s her response in its entirety:

What’s your point exactly? You bought a lot of fattening crap then overheard a normal-weight person stressing about buying one item of fattening crap. Then you felt guilty so you posted about it so that your online fatass friends could tell you it’s OK to eat what you want. Instant forgiveness – isn’t the internet wonderful?

Oh, boy. Doesn’t someone with excellent Photoshop skills want to make me a “Congrats! You Completely Missed The Point!” graphic? Per the brand-spankin’ new comments policy up yonder, here’s my wonderful response (completely reprinted from the comments, and a bit of editing done):

I don’t feel guilty for what I eat. My point, ma’am, is that NO ONE ELSE should feel guilty for what they eat. I’m not admonishing the woman for stressing over the cookie. Unfortunately, as women in this fatphobic world, we are conditioned to scrutinize every bit of what we eat. Dealing with assholes like you, for example, would be the reason behind that woman’s stress over ONE FUCKING COOKIE. Now then, I don’t need ANYBODY to tell me that it’s ok to eat. I’m a grown ass woman. I do what I damn well please. What I am doing with this post, in fact, what I (and IntellectualFeminist) am doing with this BLOG is informing those who aren’t aware that what one eats and how much or how little one weighs is not a fuckin’ moral failure.

And the internet is indeed wonderful, Staci. The most wonderful thing about it is your address bar. You got a fuckin’ problem with what I write, see your way to another fuckin’ website. If you can’t help with discourse here, and make a better (read: non-sarcastic) attempt to understand what I and my co-blogger write about, take your ass to another, perhaps fat-hating, website. The shit ain’t gonna fly here.

Man. Folks seriously don’t get it. Nobody needs justification for eating whatever it is they want, be it healthy or unhealthy. But to reiterate, it’s boneheaded comments like these that send women over the edge when it comes to eating and food. Now let us be serious here, do you want to be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution?

You have an issue with Fat Acceptance? You have a problem with fat folks no longer feeling the need to justify what goes in their mouths? Too fuckin’ bad. I’m done with being ashamed, IntellectualFeminist is done being ashamed, and the Fatosphere is done with being ashamed.

In conclusion, your ignorance is showing. Please zip your mental fly.

24
Apr
08

Things I Wish I Would Have Said

To my diet obsessed coworker:

Yes, I am in fact a vegetarian. I have been for a few years now. I know what you’re thinking. “You’re awfully fat to be a vegetarian. You must be on a diet.”  I choose a cruelty free lifestyle for several reasons. Dieting is not one of them. As far as I’m concerned there is a reason that the word only has four letters. So, the next time you find yourself itching to share your latest weight loss fad with me during a meeting at the water cooler, save it for someone else. I also do not want to go to the gym with you. The gym is an evil place and I’m not on a diet. Next time ask me if I want to go outside and play, which I will do with you any time.

And the last time I checked I was well versed in the English language. I’ve been reading since age three. Ergo, if I wanted to know how many grams of fat are in my peanut butter and blueberry preserve sandwich, or my french fries, or my 12oz bottle of coke I would read it on the label. I do not need your commentary. And for your information, I don’t care how many calories are in any of those things. I love yummy peanut butter and oh so tasty french fried potatoes and as long as I love those things, I will continue to eat them.

And the next time we go to a steakhouse for a company function, know that you are doing me no favors by pointing out the house salad on the menu. (A) See above, concerning my spectacular reading comprehension. (B) Lettuce, tomato, and cheese do not a salad make. (C)  Although I would consider myself cute and cuddly, I am not a rabbit. I can’t live on a house salad for dinner.

Lastly, stay the hell away from me during the next office bar outing. If I ever hear you say again how depressed you are every time a “fat girl” leaves with the man you were eying, I just might lose it. Although I wasn’t the one who took your new man away from you, I certainly applauded the woman who did. I am convinced that she has more confidence in one inch of her beautiful, curvy physique than you will ever have in your entire life.

To be quite honest, I am sad for you. I know your disdain at the fact that I do not share you petite frame is simply a reflection of how poor a self image you really have. I am sad because I know that no matter how much you diet and exercise, or how revealing your clothes, or how much makeup you wear, this will not make you love yourself any more.

 I love my shapeliness. My hips, my stomach, my thighs. I love the fact that I have chubby cheeks. And I thank the universe every day that my mother raised me to be comfortable in my own skin. I am saddened that you may never feel this wonderful feeling. But, I will keep hoping that someday you might discover something amazing inside yourself, and you too will know how I feel.

Best wishes with all sincerity,

intellectualfeminist 

22
Apr
08

With Reckless Abandon

So, I was at work, and I ran downstairs to the little cafe to get an afternoon snack. I wasn’t alone, as several of my coworkers ambled down to grab one of the many tasty nuggets of goodness the shop offered. As I paid for my ice-cream sandwich, baked Lays, and gummy fruits, I overheard a woman speaking with her friends about buying a cookie.

Co-Worker 1: “Aw, man. I should have never looked at those cookies. Now I want one!”

Co-Worker 2: “I know! They look so delicious! Darn! Now I want a cookie too.”

Me: (under breath) “Just BUY the damned cookie already.”

Co-Worker 1: “Well, it’s ok to be naughty every once in a while, right? I’ll take one chocolate chip cookie, please.”

Co-Worker 2: “Of COURSE it’s ok to indulge. Just don’t go about eating cookies with reckless abandon!”

And with that, I snatched my snacks (already thoroughly enjoying the ice cream sandwich, naturally) and made my way back up to my floor, shaking my head the entire time.

One cookie equals reckless abandon? The hell? ONE bloody cookie?! I cannot imagine what they thought of my snacks: ice cream, chips, AND gummy fruits? Reckless abandon is probably an understatement.

But barring the fact that one cookie is not going to send one down the slope to potential fatness, why can’t we eat with reckless abandon? Now, and I may be taking too much liberty with definitions here, but the phrase “reckless abandon” means enjoyment, right? If that be the case, why shouldn’t I enjoy a cookie (or 3) or an ice cream sandwich, or chips, or candy, or a salad, or…well, y’all get the point. Folks place so much weight (Puns. I has dem. Not intentionally, though.) on a “good” food or a “bad” food it prevents them from enjoying it on a normal level, never mind with reckless abandon.

So, for the purpose of us sticklers for accuracy here, let me define a good food: one that you like, is tasty to you, makes you happy, and does not make you feel as if your belly will detach and run away if you eat it. A bad food, then, is disgusting to you, you dislike it, makes you terribly unhappy, and does indeed make your belly run for the hills without the rest of you when you eat it (or will kill you because of food allergies).

Get it?

If you eat the good foods, you will be happy and healthy both mentally and physically (very rarely will your body ask you for something it doesn’t need. Confused? Research “intuitive eating”for more info.) If you eat the bad foods simply because some loved one/evil diet/clueless doctor/whodafuckever told you to because fat is evil/fat is deadly/fat is unattractive/whydafuckever, you are going to be fuckin’ miserable. Who wants to live that way? Why force that upon yourself? It’s wrong, and those of you that are in (or like me, have been in) this situation KNOW how wrong it is.

Toss off those shackles of good and bad, y’all. And grab that cookie or food you’ve been depriving yourself of and nosh away–with reckless abandon and zero guilt.

19
Apr
08

What’s Your Favorite Body Part?

Yes, folks. I’m asking for your favorite body part. Why? More often than not, when one gets into a discussion about his or her body, instead of focusing on their favorite areas, the attention is turned to their “problem areas.” These areas that tend to hinder folks from certain outfits or activities…you know the deal.

But seriously, folks just don’t focus on the positive. My godmother, for example, has the most amazing rack I’ve ever seen on a woman. If I had boobs like hers, I’d wear low cut tops and shove them suckers as high as I could get them. I’d become a modern day Narcissus, except I’d be mesmerised by my boobs instead of my gorgeous face. My godmother on the other hand? She makes sure they’re completely covered, even going so far as to yank her top to further cover her cleavage…even if only she can see said cleavage.

When I (or mom, or *insert person here*) points out how amazing her boobs are, she’ll say, “Yeah, I suppose, but why doesn’t my ass match?” *heaves sigh* See? Folks pay ridiculous amounts of money to get a rack like hers, and all she can think about is having a bum. I just don’t get it.

So today, ladies (and gentlemen!), I’m callin’ all of y’all out. This thread is to be nothing but a slew of self-love, yo. I don’t want to hear about y’alls supposed flaws or problem areas or *insert name for body issue here.* I want to hear about your favorite body part. (Yes, you can tell us how sexy your brain is. It’s totally a body part.)

What’s mine? Well, I alluded to it in the piece I wrote at work the other day. Here, I’ll let Sir Mix-a-Lot tell y’all all about it:

Yes, indeed. Badonkadonk, ass, lil’ red wagon, junk in the trunk. No matter what name you use, it all applies. It’s been the one thing that’s been with me, well, it seems like forever.  When most folks hit puberty, they got a rack. Me? I got an ass. (The rack, while it ain’t on Rack ‘o Doom status, is pretty amazing, but it has nothin’ on my rump, y’all.) I can remember as early as 12 having lil’ boys admiring it. Fat or not, when I walk by in some heels and a dress…you can hear the gasps of admiration (and I can feel holes being burnt through it.)

Weirdly enough, I wanted to get rid of this bum ‘o mine. I was like my godmother: I don’t want others to see it. I’m happy I can’t see it. But it all changed because I noticed my silhouette. I love that curve and dip in my back and hip. It’s beautiful, and I’ve come to appreciate it for what it is. In the interest of full disclosure, even when I lost weight? That bad boy was STILL back there. Never budged. In fact, all the exercise I do now don’t make it move. But it does sit a little higher and rounder. And that’s awesome.

All this to say: it’s not worth it to harp on a “problem area.” Because in all seriousness, a problem area is rarely a problem for the person WITH the area. It’s a problem with the person who SEES the area. Same applies to folks who note that I have a “weight problem.” Negative. I have weight; YOU are the one who has the problem with it. So y’all stop internalizing that bullshit. I know it’s a hard road to travel. But I know it can happen. It just takes baby steps.

16
Apr
08

Why I am a Feminist

Editor’s Note: As I have been revamping my blog, I have invited a good friend of mine to join me. You’ve seen me refer to her in previous posts under a different moniker. But before she was the FutureProfessor, she was the IntellectualFeminist. There will be an about tab soon just for her! And now…her first post…

I am ashamed to say that I have spent most of my life trying not to ruffle feathers. And so, for every person who has ever asked me why I am a feminist I have given a less than honest answer, crippled by unexplainable fear of confrontation.

As complicated as my journey to self acceptance has been, my reason for being a feminist is actually quite simple.

Truthfully, feminism is the armor I wear to face a society that feeds on my hatred of self and of my body. I wear this armor in preparation for a battle that I have yet to undertake, until now.

Why am I a feminist?

Because I have something to say and I am no longer afraid to say it. I am ready to engage in the war of words and ideas that is the way that women look at themselves and their bodies. That journey starts with me, but it doesn’t end there. Madeleine Albright says it best:

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women

I realize that this fight is one that I cannot fight alone. And that is what brings me here. To fearlessly begin that trek to the battlefield and invite those who read this to take up arms.

 

 




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