[Hiatus over. Still sad. Also, still fat, so onwards and upwards.]
[Oh yeah, and trigger warning for anyone who don’t want to read about the diet commercials and diet talk that’s frakking KILLING me.]
I have never felt quite so bad about myself as I do right now.
Hold on—give me a second to explain.
Over Christmas I was snowed in at my mom’s house. We weren’t expecting much in the way of holly jolly magic anyway (since my dad died only a month ago), but all that time stuck inside meant I watched a heap more TV than usual. And as Christmas passed, the commercials for diets and gyms and Truvia and Special K and cake-flavored yogurt made me bananas. REDRUM indeed.
This year, I’ve gained weight. Stress made me lethargic and sleepy and gave me an unquenchable taste for Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in a tube. That accounts for some of it. The rest? Who the hell knows. I’m not going to overthink my rotundity. It’s there. I’ve grown to like it as it has grown around me. I’ve spent a full year steeped in FA and HAES, discovering more new rad fatties every day. (NOTE: If were to apply to that MTV show, MADE I want to be one thing : a Re/Dress shop girl. For serious.) I can get great clothes. I know some of the people who make them. I feel generally healthy, and I’ve got a battery of doctor appointments planned for February just to be sure. I’ve put off going to the doctor because of the new fluff, but my dad’s passing scared me to pieces. To the doctor I will go. Also, I’m running low on my dearly beloved antidepressants.
Back to the commercials. So here I am, fat and proud-ish, in a blue state (figuratively and literally) trying to get through a hard holiday. And after the three thousandth Weight Watchers commercial, I start to get Stockholm Syndrome. By the grace of god or the universe or the great sparkly unicorn in the sky, I FINALLY started reading Linda Bacon’s “Health at Every Size” before Christmas. I got the principle of it and read plenty of summaries, but never the source itself. So here I am, flipping through the book on my iPhone while simultaneously being beaten over the head with that godforsaken Truvia commercial, and the Truvia starts winning.
I mean, heck, I didn’t have an app last time I did Weight Watchers (and lost 40 pounds only to gain back 60). Maybe the app would do the trick? And then my inbox pinged and LiveStrong.com and mydietdiary.com and youaretoofat.com (ok, last one is mine) wanted me to try their apps. Damn it. Screw Linda Bacon, the commercials knew better. Chocolate cake yogurt, indeed. Bring it. I started researching the apps online and feeling like a hot mess. Jennifer Hudson started singing and she was feeling good and didn’t I deserve to feel good too?
After Christmas I took a train ride and sat near a family who spent the entire trip, 60 minutes, discussing the points values of the Applebee’s menu. If they said, “Margarita Chicken” one more time, I was going to have to throw myself from the train.
From Ronkonkoma to Woodside, Linda Bacon was winning. I could see that they were, as a family, completely obsessed with the points. Health was irrelevant. Mom was explaining how important it was not to drink on an empty stomach to her college-age daughter. “Save some points for that, honey. And drink light beer.” Holy bananas, great fat unicorn above.
But then I got back in front of the TV. And the facebook resolution status updates came like a great plague. And Jennifer Hudson would NOT SHUT UP and that song, THAT TRUVIA SONG. Then a slimy guy pinged me on a dating site (even if you were born in ‘69, please don’t reference it in your username boys, OK?). And that the guy I’ve been pining over for too long doesn’t want me back? And did I mention my college boyfriend (of 8 years) is getting married this year? And that I’m single? And losing ovary-strength by the second? And that I feel like I’m a bad friend and a bad daughter and that I’m FAT which is clearly a fate worse than death according the the frakking commercials.
Vacation ended and the train spit me out into Queens and I was a quivering mess. That was yesterday. Today I did not watch TV and I did read Linda Bacon and I am feeling wobbly still. I don’t want to feel wobbly. I want to feel strong and fierce and magical. And I want to laugh at the commercials and the diet apps and to throw a kitten heel at the TV screen the next time I hear, “I love you sweetness…”
But I’m not there. Tomorrow, I will wear my hot pink teggings to work with my favorite not-too-sparkly-for-the-office dress. And I’m going to try so damn hard not to let the resolutions and the commercials and the jingles nick me so much. I’ve felt much too fragile for the last few months. There’s good reason for it, but god, I hate feeling like a delicate piece of spun sugar.
My dad passed away yesterday. You can read about how awesome he was here.
It’s been quiet here while he’s been sick, and it will be quieter still while I help my mom.
Someday, I know I will feel a little better.
My dad loved color, so I’ll be wearing my black polka dot dress with bright green teggings and cowboy boots. He will be wearing a satin Dale Ernhardt jacket, and that makes me really happy.
I love this and I bought it and it came in the mail today. It’s a bit short for my liking, but for Christmas sake, it’s got a kitten on it! It could be a half-shirt and I’d find a way to make it happen.
The first shipment was lost in the mail. OK, fine. So they re-shipped it and it came in 2 days. The lovely Fatshionista expressed some angst about Asos shipping on the twitter. I adore the things I’ve purchased from Asos, but I don’t like the shipping weirdness. Good thing I’m going to London for business later in the month. I can just hand them piles of my money and leave with the cuteness in hand.
Saturday brought a stomach ache that kept me bundled up in a blanket while the world spun round and fun things happened.
There are things I wanted to do. They didn’t get done.
Time is on my mind lately, more than usual. My dad is really sick and a girl can’t help but start thinking about time in a permanent, finite way. Will he be here for Christmas? When booking that business trip to London, should I stay an extra few days or rush back home—just. in. case? When he was first diagnosed a few doctors said he probably had six months. That was in September and there days where I very literally feel like I can see the time slipping past me as I walk to my train.
And because of my dad I’m thinking hard about the time I have and how I use it. I am greedy for time.
I have time for work and my family (not quite enough for family, but I need to eek out a smidge of time for me or I’ll go bananas). I don’t have enough time for friends, not nearly enough time. I had to cut out volunteering while life is uncertain. I wanted to join the Y and water aerobicize with Golda, that’s on hold for now too. I wanted to help out with Full-Figured Fashion Week in Los Angeles last week (by all accounts it was magical—again—because Gwen is magical). I wanted to go to the Kiss-In or take a day off work to get extra PR for it. I want to write more. Go to Re/Dress once a week. Live in a sparkling clean apartment. Take my friends out for brunch. Knit presents for new babies. Visit the new babies. Make dolls for Christmas. Plan weekend trips.
But there’s not enough time right now. I am still adjusting to what it means to have a sick dad. I will find some more time for the things I’m missing. I will find a way to not feel like a terrible daughter for taking business trips and not going home every weekend to help. I know I will. But now I’m a little bit frozen. A little bit confused. A little bit overwhelmed by what I should be doing and what I want to be doing. Is it wrong to date when your dad has terminal cancer? Is it wrong to get inordinately excited when your tights from WeLoveColors arrive in the mail (red, teal and scout green, if you’re wondering).
I don’t know.
Sometimes I wish too hard for a real-life version of Hermione’s time turning necklace to find its way around into my hands. One Rachel home. One at work. Another sitting in Madison Square Park knitting baby things out of soft soft yarn while sipping a caramel milkshake.
Oh my. I (with a sad sad heart) missed the Kiss-In. But I help out by sending off a press release about the event to the NY media. Let me tell you that Stacy and Aris and Substantia and Marilyn and all the Kiss-In organizers are amazing to have pulled this off with speed, humor and overall awesomeness.
Let’s all do more of this! This is exciting and positive and good. Every time we put the heads back on the fatties, it’s good (great).
OK—so the press wrap-up is here (tadah!):
Wall Street Journal’s "Speakeasy" Blog (with pictures—a nice long piece!)
The NY Daily News and in the gossip section of the Daily News as well (including a quote from Substantia). It’s a gossip page, so it’s not so nice.
Jezebel got right on the news too.
OntheRedCarpet and on BlogHer and on TheFrisky and PRNewswer and Racked.
It’s also mentioned in this Huffington Post piece which is as critical of the reaction to the piece as she is of the piece itself. And there’s another critical piece up on Ology.
And on the Forbes (yes, Forbes?!) blog, a reporter calls for a counter-protest to defend Maura Kelly’s freedom of speech.
If I’m missing things, please ping me or leave the links in the comments.
A group of wonderful women came up with the idea for a Kiss-In outside of the Marie Claire offices. I like like like. I whipped up a press release about it. Fast and dirty, but I wanted to get the word out with speed! I know there are other Kiss-Ins planned tomorrow—feel free to use the copy at will.
Activists Organize a Kiss-In to Protest Marie Claire Article
New York, NY. Activists from coast-to-coast are banding together to counter a controversial post on the Marie Claire website in which the writer, Maura Kelly, shares that she’d be, “grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.” Tomorrow, Friday, October 29th, women and men of all shapes and sizes are invited to The Big Fat Kiss-In, outside the Marie Claireoffices in NYC.
One of the events organizers, Substantia Jones, has this to say: “A few decades ago, folks felt justified expressing their disdain for seeing black people express physical affection for one another. Similar animosity has more recently been directed at the LGBT community and the disabled. That a mainstream fashion magazine, in 2010, believes it’s okay to purvey such hate speech makes me sad and furious. And it makes me want to KISS.” Jones is creator of The Adipositivity Project (http://adipositivity.com/) which aims ”to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. Her hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.”
Another organizer, Marilyn Wann, San Francisco-based author of FAT!SO? and a weight diversity speaker, agrees: “It’s not cool or healthy to hate an entire group of people! People of all sizes suffer when this prejudice goes unchallenged. I’ll be blowing big, fat kisses from San Francisco on Friday.”
You are invited to The Big Fat Kiss-In!
Marie Claire chose to publish an essay in which the author shares her utter disgust for fat people - but moreover - physical displays of affection between said fat people.
That being said, WE WANT YOU to join us TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCTOBER 29, 2010 at 6:00pm outside of Marie Claire at the Hearst Building to make the statement that LOVE HAS NO WEIGHT LIMIT!
ALL SHAPES AND SIZES! EVERYONE IS INVITED!
(link to Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164609923568922)
Here are two not-great pictures of my in some of my Beth Ditto finery. I have labeled the lightning bolt sweater my SHAZAM! sweater. It is comfy and warm and I feel very much like a rock star when I wear it. It pills like crazy, but I don’t mind. It’s frakkin’ fantastic and I will wear it until it’s a pile of yarn. Everyone smiles when they see it, and I’ve gotten tons of compliments. Love.
And in the other pic I’m goofing around with my nephew in the heart tunic thing. It is comfortable and dressy enough for a meeting at work, which I like (because I hate boring work clothes, but I’ve decided to kick it up a notch since my promotion this summer). I wish the sleeves were different. How? I don’t know. No elastic at the wrists? That would be good. But I LOVE that the skirt is super-full and fabulous. The print is lovely and expensive looking.
I also bought the polka dot dress with the round collar and it’s magical. Fits like a total dream. Tons of compliments, and I pretended I was a real live woman of Mad Men all day (but without the smoking). The polka-dot tee is cute too.
I’m also waiting on a few things from the recent sale at ASOS including a kitty-cat print sweater and a green velvet dress. That I’m going to London for work in November could be bad bad bad news for my wallet. Fortunately, it’s close to Christmas so I need to buy things for people who aren’t me :)
I’ve been going home a lot on the weekends because of my dad. This weekend was extra bonus special because my niece(6) and nephew(10) were up visiting from Florida. I love those two little people more than a basket of baby unicorns.
Delaney, the niece, and I were up late on Saturday bedazzling a sock (we were practicing before moving onto a t-shirt). She turned to me in her princess footsie pajamas and said, “I like thin people best.”
Now, Delaney and I have talked about this kind of thing before. When she was 5 she started calling her belly a frog belly. She does have the cutest little belly that juts out like a frog. So when I was visiting she asked me why I had a big belly. I said everyone has a different kind of belly, and since I really liked cookies I would call mine a cookie belly. She solemnly accepted that explanation, patted my belly and said, “Hello cookie belly!” Later, her little friends came over. One of them looked at me and said, “Why are you so fat?” Delaney got mad and said, “She’s NOT fat! She has a cookie belly!” and that seemed to satisfy everyone in the room. They nodded in agreement and went back to playing.
So on Saturday, I figured that Delaney might be testing the waters. When she said she liked thin people best, I said, “But Delaney, I’m not thin. Don’t you like me?” “Of course I like you!” she said. And I said, “Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Kevin—we’re all not skinny!”
And she looked at me and pointed at me and tried to find the words, “No, I DO like people who are… .”
"Fat?" I said. "You can say fat, pumpkin! It’s not a bad word, it’s just a description. It’s ok."
"Yup, it’s only a bad word if you mean it to be a bad word, or if you use it to describe something bad."
"Oh, so if you say ‘Fat people are ugly, that’s bad!"
And I told her she had it exactly right.
"But you’re really really cute, Aunt Rache. I mean it. You are CUTE."
And I thanked her and said that anyone can be cute, big or small or regular (Delaney’s word choice—we’re either skinny, fat or regular in 6-year old parlance). And then I gave her a crazy big hug and told her I loved her to pieces.
I don’t get to see my niece enough. I could have just diverted her back to bedazzling. It would have been faster and easier. But I’m glad she said what she said, and I’m glad she said it to me. At six she’s learning how to navigate the world, and I’m happy she’s making difficult statements and asking hard questions. She’s good stuff, my niece. Good good stuff.
Few things scare me as much as a group of teenagers do. I am 35 and strong and sure but a group of fifteen-year-old boys makes my heart palpitate.
It’s not hard to imagine why. I was a fat-enough teenager and I was, in my own way, a bad ass. I still spent most of my young-adult life waiting for SOMEONE, anyone, to make a smart ass comment about my body. When I look back I want to slap little Girthful Girl and tell her that she’s gorgeous. But because I had a healthy dose of bad-ass buzzing around my fluffy self, I was always ready with a counter attack. I rarely had to do it, but I was ready.
I’m still a bad ass, but last week I was blindsided by a group of 5 or 6 teens. Were they in 9th grade? 11th? Not sure. But it was a Monday night and I was happily almost home when the group approached from the other direction. One of the boys started laughing and the whole group started in. As we passed, me-alone and looking fierce in polka dots—the instigator of the group lunged toward me as if to grab me. I froze in fear—and then I ran. And they laughed.
I am angry that I felt unsafe on my block. I am angry that I left myself be so unnerved. I am angry that these mean teens will turn into mean adults.
Today I was waiting outside my building for Golda to pick my up. I’d taken a Zumba class earlier in the day and I was wearing a cute dress. I was feeling happy. And right before Golda pulled up, two boys (possibly two from the Monday-night group) walked past and started hooting “sexy” while laughing themselves silly.
Fuck them. Golda picked me up and we went on a tour of the Y and checked out their lovely pool and then sat outside in the sun drinking iced tea and splitting an outrageously weird and good plate of chicken and waffles.
Jerk-ass teenagers—beware. I’m happy to be crass and tell you to suck it.
Here’s the thing—I haven’t dieted or considered dieting since I got the FA bug last year. In fact, I’ll never do that again. I’ve read enough and heard enough and I believe enough to feel good about that decision. I am fat—I’m always going to be fat!
Whew, that’s such a relief.
And as it turns out, I’ve gained some weight in the past year. And no, the FA is not related to the extra Rachel fluff. No m’am. I didn’t think: FA? YAY! Now I can eat two whole cakes at every meal! (God bless Lesley for turning that into the best. meme. ever.) Nah, I just had a crazy nutsy stressful year, and the last thing I thought about was buying food that made me feel good. I just wanted food that was fast and easy. I don’t feel great when I eat like that. There’s a happy medium between powdered donuts and celery, and I couldn’t find it. I ate what I ate, and that’s that.
But I was WAY down in the dumps, and I know myself well enough to know that living on pie wasn’t helping me feel better. And so I struggled a bit because I worried that if I ate too healthy, it would feel like dieting. And I hate dieting! It’s bad bad bad. But green food from the ground isn’t bad!
Geez, what a mess. My head was a mess.
So here’s what I did: I got myself to Trader Joe’s and waited on a really long line (I miss the suburban pleasure of NOT waiting on a line). And I bought food that I dig, that fuels me, that isn’t processed within an inch of its life. I bought hummus and nan and curry chicken and frozen mango chunks and greek yogurt and peanut butter filled pretzels. And I brought it all home and started eating dinners that I loved more than take-out. My diet is not a “diet.” My diet is the food I eat everyday and I call the shots. And right now the shots include smoothies and breakfast pizza and applewood smoked bacon and spanikopita. I’m allowed to eat what I want from kale to Krispy Kreme.
I wish food was just food and not a huge mindfuck.
Right, so that’s the food part. But wait—what is this Zumba I speak of?
Once my gym-membership-of-shame expired on September 15th (yay!) I decided to find a dance class or activity that I liked. Never in my adult life have I done anything athletic that wasn’t linked to a burning desire to be thin. I sign up at gyms and never go because I hate the gym. I do like dancing around like a nut and getting sweaty and talking cold showers when I get home. That’s pure good. I like feeling my muscles get sore. Maybe I’m a little masochistic.
I started doing my research and looking for a fat-friendly dance class or yoga class or any class. I found a couple, but the scheduling didn’t work for me, and the descriptions didn’t get my heart racing. This shizzit isn’t supposed to be a chore! And a big motivation for me is stress relief. With my dad being sick, I need to do something to burn off the stress, and I’m pretty sure that jumping around like a maniac will do the trick.
Which is where the Zumba comes in. A few friends said I’d love it. And you know what? After one class I’m not head-over-heels in love. BUT, it felt good. I feel good now. And the music is fun, and the dance steps are fun, and I think after a few classes I will not feel like my heart is going to free itself from my chest and land with an angry thud on the floor. I was lucky to have a friend come with me (yay Golda!), and the two of us were the only students in a very small, warm studio and we made it through the hour.
I’m going to go back. No pressure. No contract. No weighing myself pre and post workout (no weighing myself at all, in fact). Just dancing like a nut, learning I have hips that do not wriggle, and rocking out my kick-ass, fierce, jiggly, amazing fat self.